Showing posts from April, 2016

So Were We

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3–7 ESV) Go ahead and read that again. Let it sink in today. You were, you add the descriptors, and Jesus saved you. Not because of anything you had done or might one day do, but according to his mercy. He renews you by the Spirit, he changes your heart and flooded in his grace we are made heirs with him and we have eternal hope. It is a done deal; we are secure in Jesus no matter where you are from. Now this is mo

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 33

God's forgotten memory... he forgets your sin and he remembers you. [embed][/embed]

Filling the Pulpit in Spanish and Otherwise

The pastor of a partner church in Tijuana, Mexico has recently been on a health sabbatical and ours has been among the church sending preachers to open God's Word in these past weeks. Today it was my honor to preach and remind these dear saints of the lasting value and unimaginable riches of the gospel. This was my first time preaching with an interpreter and despite my inexperience, we made it through and opened Hebrews 10 for God's glory and our good. Preaching for me is so much about a rhythm, a flow unpacking the text before the congregation. Breaking after each thought or phrase can make this quite interesting but to the trained ear it worked just fine. Today I am thankful for those who labor in hard places and take joy in Christ not matter their circumstance. The wonderful folks at Comunidad Cristiana increase my faith by letting me watch theirs. (And the Musical Worship was great too!)

Getting Ready to Worship

"Every person who has trusted in Christ will be an honored attendee at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Looking around, we'll be amazed to see table after table, stretching endlessly beyond what our eyes can make out. Men and women of every background, ethnicity, and nation will be eating, laughing, perhaps singing, awash in peace, joy, and an overwhelming sense of loving and being loved." "We'll notice people whose faith we questioned in this life. Individuals who irritated us, who seemed immature, who actually made our life harder. We'll see people we thought had no shot of sitting at this table. And before any shred of self-righteous judgment rises up in our hearts, we'll be rendered speechlessly grateful." "Because you and I had no shot of sitting at this table. But we're there, each of us an undeserving guest made fit by the Bridegroom. We've been made fit after blindly rebelling against God's right to rule us; made fit after pu

The Weight of Yo

"It's all about Yo!" Bill the Elder has me pegged. Every time I mention how I want something, to build my little kingdom, to get my way, to accumulate accolades, "man, it is all about Yo!" His reminder that I am selfish and all about myself. And he is right. You are the exact same way. But if you are a follower of Jesus, by the Spirit we are to be killing the "Yo." We are to die to our self and war against selfishness. We already have all we need and more in Christ and the cultural lure of looking out for number one is flatly in opposition to the gospel. It is actually a weight we carry. Like fat, engorged beings too full of the longings of our own will to move far or run a race we are called to. I have days, weeks, maybe even longer like this. So wrapped up in "Yo" that I don't notice the purpose I have been given and certainly don't labor in that direction. But the better way is illuminated for us. The race has been run and the cour

Cultural Mourning

Today Prince died. It is a sad day. Among the greatest guitarists of a generation has passed away at just 57. We don't wake up expecting "greats" to be lost but the march continues. All the more motivation to spread the good news of Jesus to those celebrated in culture and those cast out. Watch the gift we lost at work (solo begins around 3:27).

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 32

In union with Christ we are perfect and being perfected. Hebrews 10:14. Such good news. [embed][/embed]

Rise to Fight

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12 ESV) Paul’s words to Timothy the young pastor are words for us as well. Rise to fight the good fight of faith. Stick to the gospel of grace that has been proclaimed to you and ward off attempts to water down or hamper the truth of Jesus. This is the fight that the Spirit of God empowers us to fight. We get ammunition for the battle in the Word and fuel for the challenge in worship. Then as we cling all the more tightly to the goodness of the gospel, we take hold of the life we have been secured in Jesus. This is the life of purpose and faith. Running the race looking to our Savior. How can you fight today? By being reminded of your good confession in Scripture? By speaking words of of worship in the course of the day? Live from the gift of grace you have been given. Look to Jesus, and fully take hold

Following trails already blazed!

Stacy and I have a dear friend who has been doing some amazing work as a yoga instructor and general life-encourager in Washington, D.C. Angelyn has been handing out inspiration and tools for a few years and when our family first moved West to pursue ministry She gave me the opportunity to share our story. This week she invited me back to give an update and talk about all the transitions that have come since then.You can read the interview here . I encourage you to check it out!

Freedom to Obey

"The leaders of the church had placed John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, in prison for preaching the gospel. They told him, “You can’t go on telling people that Christ’s righteousness has been credited to them in full. If they believe that, they’ll feel like they can do whatever they want!” Bunyan replied, “If people really see that Christ’s righteousness has been given to them entirely as a gift, they’ll do whatever He wants.” J.D. Greear in his book Gospel , on John Bunyan and preaching the good news of Jesus. May we all go on telling people that Christ's righteousness, his perfect obedience, is theirs by faith. Because that is what the Bible declares. And may we, so awestruck by the gift of grace do whatever Jesus wants of us.

Patient Plodding

"Slow-moving and unexciting." That is how we define "plodding." And this is exactly what I want to suggest to you that life is like most of the time. I want it differently. I want immediate results. I want to have thirty years of experience and expertise yesterday. I want engaged, exciting and expanding events to occur every day. I want a lottery worth of cash right now without labor and skill. I imagine I am not alone in this. In fact our culture is all about quick fixes, immediate results. The weight loss pill that gives you a slim waistline if it doesn't make you heart burst. The two-minute date that will give you a full understanding of you potential mate. Get-rich-quick fixes over years of work. Really we just want to "arrive." We want the things we think will give us comfort, confidence and credibility so we can arrive in the place we dream of. I know as a leader in a church I can become obsessed with results and growth overnight. But rapid arriv

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 31

Our eternal comfort and hope was secured on the cross and it brings us increasing comfort as we walk with Jesus. [embed][/embed]

Divinely Established

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 ESV) The church has been given a challenge to stay awake and not be swayed by those that desire to lead them away from the gospel. Instead stand firm in the truths of the good news of Jesus that was proclaimed to them, and in which they believed. Paul then prays for them, and it is a prayer for us too. That Jesus would comforts us, give us peace, and establish us, keep us firm, in every work and word he has given. This is the inclination that drives everything of our world. To gain some sense of comfort and to understand peace. For some that means control and harm to people; for others it means the avoidance of any conflict or hardship. For the Christian however, this is peace in the midst of violence and the hardships of life as well as the good times. And it is so

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 30

The command of Jesus to his followers to love one another is actually really great news when we realize our motivation for it! Let's look at John 15:9-14. [embed][/embed]

Reminded to Pray

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2 ESV) The Christians in this little town are being reminded of their identity, of the peace of Christ, and they must continue in prayer. With a watchful eye they are to live a life of thankfulness. Seems easy enough. But truth is, we need the reminder. Life happens and even when we have the best of intentions, we forget to pray. We neglect to remain in steadfast prayer. So is there something to motivates us, or draw us back to prayer when the busy times of life come? How about the fact that your prayers are heard? Because of the work of Jesus on the cross for you, you have 24/7 access to the Father through the Son. Not only do you have the ability to be heard, Jesus prays for you at the side of the Father constantly. When we are toward to continue steadfastly in prayer it is a reflection of Christ’s ongoing intercession for us. Since we are heard and Jesus petitions for us, we can be watchful, we l