Showing posts from March, 2016

The Pastor's Prayer

Ever climbing. Ever strategizing. Ever studying. Ever worried about outcomes and growth and finances and hurting people. This is the life of a pastor. It is a good life. Rich with joy and the glory of the gospel. But this life is not about how well I can climb or what solutions I can devise. This is in fact God's cause. And I rejoice to be in it. Today I am thankful for the reminder from this prayer from the Valley of Vision. "Sovereign God, Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart, and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom to set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns; Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice, for to bring honour to thy name is my sole desire. I adore thee that thou are God, and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it. O that all men might love and praise thee, that thou mightest have all glory from the intelligent world! Let sinners be brought to thee for thy dear name! To the eye of reason everything respecting the conversion of oth

Few Minutes of Fantastic New Episode 29

Jesus is risen indeed. The resurrection proved the work of the cross was accomplished and now we can enter into the resurrection in Christ. It is fantastic news! [embed][/embed]  

To Know Him

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 ESV) Jesus prays his high priestly prayer asking the Father to glorify him as he brings the Father glory. To unite the followers of Jesus for the life ahead of them. To sanctify them, transforming them into his likeness. That Scripture would be fulfilled and the world would experience the love of God in Jesus. God has given Jesus authority to give eternal life to all whom he has given him. And this is eternal life — to know the one true God. To know Jesus. If you randomly asked me on the street what eternal life is, I am not sure this would be my first answer. I might say the end of death… paradise… harps and puffy clouds… a never-ending story of fun! But to know Jesus? But the Savior makes clear that this is eternal life — it is the way, weight and wholeness of life without end — to know the Triune God. We too quickly pass over this and miss it. But this is the prize of et

The Full Weight of Us

Today is Good. That is what we call it. Not because in some places we get the day off. Or because it represents the last Friday you can't eat meat...(what is that about anyway!) And not because it is the first Friday of Spring this year. It is the day we reflect on the death of Jesus Christ. For some a historical figure. For some, Savior. For those of us who claim him as Savior, this day is good because it was the burden we carried that was shouldered by Jesus before a council of the religious and a judgment of the oppressors. His death sentence was something we earned for sin and corruption since that early day in the garden when our first parents chose disobedience and since the earliest days of our own lives when we lived out our inherited sinfulness. And upon that cross it all was lifted. He who knew no sin became sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus hung on the cross with the full weight of us bearing down on him. The pain. The mocking. And the ab

The Whole Christ

There has been much fanfare and acclaim for the latest offering from Sinclair Ferguson (as recent as yesterday Ray Ortlund suggested this was a must read for pastors) so I was highly expectant when I picked up The Whole Christ . This helpful book evaluates, in a historical and current context, the sufficiency of Christ's work, our response to it and our union with Christ. Recounting a theological debate from hundreds of years ago, Ferguson highlights biblical perspectives that match many questions believers may have today. What is necessary from us for our salvation? Is our belief and repentance a fruit of grace or do they earn grace? How do I go on living after salvation? It really is the whole Christ that we cling to and from whom we find our assurance. Ferguson covers the shared basis of legalism and antinomianism, which serves as a good warning for us and guidance for answering these labels in our day. The current value of The Whole Christ is in Ferguson's sharing of a pre

Chosen to be Blameless

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Ephesians 1:3–4 ESV) We can look at Paul’s opening of this letter to the Ephesian church and land where many people do that study this text — thinking it is only about predestination. That is God chose those that would be saved from the foundation of the earth. Many a disagreement and battle has been waged over this truth. But today let’s focus on what we were chosen for. Those that are in Christ, that have believed in him, were given the freedom to believe that they should be holy and blameless before him. God chose you so that you would be righteous and able to stand before his throne. Welcomed in to a place you could never earn. Because this is truly who you are in Jesus. Holy and blameless. All of your corruption, your nastiest sins

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 28

This is Holy Week, working our way through the comemoration of Jesus' final days of ministry and death on the cross, and the celebration of his resurrection. Psalm 22 gives us a glimpse of the pain of the cross but also the praise that comes after it. Let's tap into that today. [ audio ] Listen here .


One of my favorite shirts to wear as of late is one that says "No Pressure No Diamonds." It gets noticed and what was simply a 99 cent thrift store purchase is becoming a bit of a mantra for me. It is not that I am experiencing a season of hardship or any terrible pressure, but a reminder that as someone who follows Jesus, suffering is a biblical guarantee. We are to expect it, but we are not left alone in it and it is not meaningless. Truth is, I think the things of pressure, the difficult things in life position us to cling all the more tightly to the goodness and provision of Christ. When I have nothing else, he is more than enough. And I think this is right where the Lord wants us, fully dependent on him. In our dependence then, each struggle and pain is securing for us an eternal weight of glory. We are going to shine. I know that sounds cheesy but I don't care. All of this life will one day fade and glory will be fully revealed. The radiance of Jesus will shine on u

Consolation Under Lament

"Thus Christ himself calls to me and says, 'Come to me all who are weary and burdened, I will refresh you.' But I am weary and burdened. Thus, I come to the Lord Christ and am certain that he will refresh my body and soul." With such a consolation we conquer the devil in the midst of fears of death and hell. A few years ago a sick man, while he lay in bed alone, and saw the evil enemy visibly come to him. he sat down next to the bed and demanded the sick man tell his sins - of which he was conscious - one after the other. For the devil wanted to record all of them in a register which he had. In such a frightful situation, the poor man answered, "I will tell as many as I know of but first write at the beginning: "The woman's seed will crush the snake's head.'" As soon as the sick man said that, the evil enemy stood up and retreated, leaving behind him a nasty stench in the whole house. This is a true and consoling history." Nikolaus Seln

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 27

In Psalm 67, along with Israel, we plead for blessing so that others may know God. What a benefit it is to be used by God and blessed by him so the watching world will take notice. [ audio ] Listen here .


“Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.” (John 3:33 ESV) John the Baptist, the one leading the way for the Messiah is giving his final words to his followers and he makes clear that he is to decrease for that Jesus can increase. That Jesus’ message can go forth. That his ministry can usher in the kingdom. Jesus is the One whom utters the words of God and the Spirit pours out. And for those that believe in him? They set his seal. And he seals them. Forever. This is the change all of humanity had been waiting for. He comes form above, is above all. There are many who don’t receive his testimony, but for those that do, everything changes. Your belief declares that God is true. His word is powerful. This is the good news for you. You are kept for eternity in Him. As a coheir with Christ, your place is settled. Why not let that sink in. Today, as you believe in Jesus, you have set your seal. Rest in that.

Wear Your Adoption

As many of you know, the Shradar family is in the middle of the international adoption process. We are very excited to see our family grow in this way and to give a little girl a forever family. To that end, we are raising as much money as we can to get over the finish line. In the coming days we will make available tax deductible giving and right now you can order one of our "Adopted Forever" t-shirts to support our effort. Order here . Here is what Stacy says about our reason for adoption: "As Christians we have come to understand that we have been adopted into God's family through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross for us. Just as he gave us a new identity, we want to give a beautiful child a new identity too. One in which she will know she is wanted, loved, cared for and welcomed into her forever family. We want her to know the love of an earthly father but more so we want her to know the unending love of the Heavenly Father." Amen. God "predestined

A Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 26

God comes to those that are poor and needy. This is good news from Psalm 86. [ audio ] Listen here .

For Our Sake

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV) Stop the presses. Now hear this. Jesus took on the weight and punishment of sin so that in him you would be the righteousness of God. And that means you can stand before a perfect and holy God and not be ruined by the wrath you deserve. In Jesus you are made right. In the grand scheme of things this all works out for God’s greatest glory. His redemptive plan throughout all of history is adding to his glory and we are headed toward a crescendo of glory we can’t even imagine. All of this glory will be God’s alone. But don’t for a second miss the exciting truth in this letter to the Corinthian church. “For our sake…” It was for your sake that Jesus took on the punishment that he did. Every lash of the whip. Every shameful insult. Every nail pounded through his hands and feet. For your sake. This is really good news, however bloody. Jesus did all of this,

This Love

We like the idea of God's love for us. But we tend to think it is far off or something only to be experienced occasionally, when we are really good or sufficiently in need. In Christ, when you believe in Jesus, you exist in this love. It is your atmosphere. It sounds weird, but its true. Be encouraged today. This love never leaves. It never forgets you. It is yours in Jesus.

The Parched Ground of Our Souls

"Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty , their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress." (Psalm 107:4-6 ESV) Do you ever feel like you are wandering? Kind of going through life listless and without purpose. Passion has wained and you can't quite see any hope over the horizon. This was reality for Israel in the wilderness. Wandering, nearing forgetting the promise of a land for them to dwell in. All they could construct for themselves were small shacks hardly capable of keeping the cold out and easy to disassemble for the next day's journey. It was a physical reality that broke them inside. Their soul fainted. For us, maybe the reality is not physical in the same way but oh man do we understand the sense of our souls fainting. I don't even have to describe it to you. The unknown. Lack of security. A numbing of our world. We feel disconnected.