Watch Weekend Sermon - Entries from October 2010
WHY CHRISTIAN BIOGRAPHIES ARE COOL
can be solid sources of encouragement for us, but probably not in the
way that most of us think. When we look at the lives of believers who
have gone before us, and see the pattern of their faith, their model of
diligence and discipline, and quite possibly the massive achievements
that they've made, our thinking can run along one of t
- "Wow, that person is
awesome...I'm going to get out there and do the same," or
- "Wow, Jesus Christ is amazing...My
hope is that I would be used in the similar ways that he has used this
you see the difference? Option one has us praising the character of
the individual, option two we praise Christ.
11-13 is a great place to go for the biblical perspective of
hero-worship. It begins with the great hall of faith in chapter 11
(Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc.), running us into a solid motivation
to persist in the faith ("...let us run with endurance..." 12:1) before
bringing us home to the central concept in 13:8 - "Jesus Christ is the
same yesterday and today and forever."
the author of Hebrews has done is profound. He points us to the
so-called heroes before he rips the goggles off our eyes and points us
to the very reason that these men and women were so great - Jesus
Christ. The message is sweet: The same Jesus who saved Noah, who
blessed Abraham, protected Israel, the same Jesus who gives even faith
itself, is the Jesus we worship today!
So why are Christian biographies
so cool? They're cool because when I read them, if I read them with the
right eyes, I catch a glimpse of what God can do through ordinary men
and women who trust him to move.
With that said, here's a sampling of some of my favorite biographies:
- George Whitefield, by
Arnold Dallimore. A MASSIVE biography stretching across 2 volumes and
some 1000 pages, that is so worth it. Examines Whitefield as a major
instrument of revival during the First Great Awakening. A serious
commitment of time, but a seriously rewarding work.
- No Compromise: The Life Story
of Keith Green, by Melody Green. For the music lovers. A
great well-written bio of a Christian performing artist who loved Jesus
like crazy. Follow Keith through poverty and abuse to fame and a deep
- Through Gates of Splendor,
by Elisabeth Elliot. A missionary biography of five missionaries to
Ecuador's Auca people. What would it look like to try and reach a
stone-age people notorious for their savage warfare? Quick and exciting
read that's pays off richly especially in the second appendix where the
mature perspective of the author some 20 years removed from the story
sheds a bright light.
- Here I Stand: A Life of
Martin Luther, by Roland Bainton. The staple bio for the
reformer written in the 50s. Tougher read, but rich in fact and story.
- John Newton: From Disgrace to
Amazing Grace, by Jonathan Aitken. The story of the writer of
the greatest hymn ever written. Follow the former captain of a slaving
ship to his redemption and new life as a preacher during the Great
Praying for ONE THING for my Children
My greatest desire as a parent is to see my three children pursuing the "ONE THING" in their lives. I'm convinced that one of the best ways that Adrienne and I can help see that happen is through intentional prayer that is guided by God's Word.
Here is a resource I found on a website that has been helpful to me in guiding my times of prayer for my children before the Lord. Each day focuses on a fruit of the Spirit, character quality, or biblical truth that God wants to build into the hearts of our children. If you're looking for a way to ramp up and bring greater focus to your prayers for your children, perhaps this will be helpful to you.
Thank You Jesus for Your Humiliation, thank You Jesus for Your Exaltation
This chart provides a fresh look on the work of Jesus Christ. When properly observed it brings wonder and ignites praise in the hearts of the children of God. In this world of self-obsession we are constantly looking for fresh ways to lift our eyes above the gloomy clouds of sin and selfishness. There is no better way to do this than to drink deep of the gospel. And that’s what this diagram is…it’s the gospel, the work of Jesus Christ.
God the Son left glory to become a man. He entered into the womb of a virgin, He lived a perfect, sinless life and He died a horrific death. He took on the sins of the world and bore the wrath of God. But He did not stay dead, but rose from the dead as the first-fruits of eternal life, raised in a never dying resurrection body. He then ascended to heaven to be seated at the right hand of God, the highest possible position of exaltation. He will return so soon to judge the living and the dead. He will come for His people and He will set up eternal glory for all who trust and live for Him.
Oh the wonder of His willingness to humble Himself, to subject Himself to death and then the continued wonder of His exaltation, His future and complete reign. He is so awesome, so glorious, so loving, so humble, so powerful, so majestic. And He did all this for the glory of God and the love for you and me!!
No wonder Paul exclaimed,
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways.” Rom. 11:33
Thank You Jesus…..thank You for the gift of life and the promises of glory!
I believe in God the Father, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ,
His only begotten Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,
died and was buried. He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion
of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.
Great Quote on Godliness!
From the book "For the Love of God" D.A. Carson says...
“People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven
effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, and obedience
to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise
and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it
freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the
indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch
toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped
legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have
I appreciated this word and have been sitting on it as the Lord convicts me of both apathy and self-effort as opposed to consistent diligent discipline and grace-driven effort.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 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.
Time to re-listen to 1 Timothy?
WHAT'S MY SPIRITUAL GIFT?
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,
as good stewards of God's varied grace
1 Peter 4:10
Let’s be frank, spiritual gifts are notoriously
misunderstood and many of us struggle with putting a finger firmly on what we
believe our gifts to be. If we put
thought to it at all it tends to be in the negative: “I’m definitely not a teacher,” “I’m not gifted
Not knowing what those gifts are in your life can be both
frustrating and discouraging. We can get
in the dumps thinking that maybe we don’t have gifts, or that our gifts are
small and insignificant. In short, we
can let our flesh pull us out of effective and fruitful ministry when we fail
to understand what we have in Christ.
How then do we figure out what gifts the Spirit may have
given to us? How do we rule things out
and how do we confirm what we have? Here’s
a little four part list that may help:
One final thought.
Remember as you read the above that the Spirit of God has equipped the
church for ministry and doing any one of these steps without His help is a bad
idea. Soak each step in prayer and I’m
confident the Lord will lead you to an understanding of how He’s going to use
you to build up the body and massively bless you in the process.
That’s our first step. In order
for us to discern which gifts we may or may not have, it’s helpful to know what
the gifts actually are. The Bible has some significant locations where these gifts are highlighted, and you’ll need
to read all three to get the complete picture:
Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, Ephesians 4:11. Take some time and read through the passages
highlighting the gifts, anchoring your mind in God’s Word and praying through
what you find.
- The second thing we can do to determine our giftedness is
to take a spiritual gifts inventory. These are often helpful tools that survey our
likes and dislikes tracking what could quite possibly be our spiritual
gift(s). Harvest has one of these tools
online and it can be downloaded and printed by clicking HERE. Taking about 20 minutes to go this is time
- Third, seek the input of mature believers around you as
they observe and assess your life watching in many ways. As they witness your life with family, in
service, your struggles, your victories and even the way you spend your free
time, they can have much to say about where God has gifted you. Maturity can speak volumes and be super
helpful in your discovery.
- When you’ve done all these all that’s left to do is JUMP
IN! Remember that the gifts you’ve been
given are not to make you look great or feel great, they’re given to you to
build up the body of Christ. Without
use, the gifts become hoarded goods and the church misses out big time. See where you can serve and dive in. When you serve in a ministry confirmation of your
gifts can come quickly as you pitch in, and likewise the Lord may use your
service to confirm to you what your gifts aren’t.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the
measure of Christ's gift. Ephesians 4:7