Monday, December 29, 2014

Live Through Faith

We live through faith, and we die through faith.  Everything else is garbage.  Even works of righteousness, if not done through faith, are works of self-righteousness and therefore filthy rags.  Be very careful about going to church, reading your Bible, saying prayers, doing good deeds, and reading books like this through anything but faith in the living Lord.  Because the result of all that is belief in a phony Jesus and inoculation to the gospel.  You can end up knowing the jargon and playing pretend.  Be very careful.  Watch your life and your doctrine closely. (1 Tim. 4:16).  ~ Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel 

Monday, December 22, 2014

God With Us, and We With Him!

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:14

Let us today go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in him, and can sing, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance his miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, "The seed of the woman," not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to his human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that he may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note his humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as "a virgin," not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!

Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.

~ Charles Spurgeon, Morning by Morning

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Spirit, or Christian Snob?

In Knowing God, J.I. Packer puts the "Christmas spirit" in perspective for us: 
"The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob.  For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor - spending and being spent - to enrich their fellow-men, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others..."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Now, and Not Yet

The righteous standing of God's people has been accomplished through Christ's work, and the work of purification continues by the Spirit's work among us.

The Lord is daily at work in smoothing out wrinkles and cleansing spots.  From this it follows that the church's holiness is not yet complete.  The church is holy, then, in the sense that it is daily advancing and is not yet perfect.  Mark Dever, quoting John Calvin in The Church: The Gospel Made Visible

Monday, December 1, 2014

Led by the Spirit

Christians desire to be led by the Holy Spirit, yet many struggle with discerning the difference between the Spirit of God and other influences.  This helpful article entitled How to Distinguish the Holy Spirit from the Serpent outlines the way in which the Spirit operates in the life of the believer. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sing!

What is more beautiful than the voices of the redeemed, singing the praises of God from their hearts? This article titled Do You Hear the People Sing is a wonderful description of what our corporate worship should look like.  Below is a brief excerpt:


"But only one instrument sings. Only the voice brings words of praise — explicit expressions of God’s power, goodness, mercy, and wonder. Only a human voice declares the truth. A guitar, an organ, and a banjo all communicate something of the glory of God, but even the most beautiful note can’t save anyone. We are desperate for a voice, a word, a lyric that announces good news, that reminds us of the truth we all need."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Unsung Heroes

Since we've been learning about the body of Christ the last couple of Sunday mornings in church, the following article on The Unsung Heroes of the Body of Christ seems highly fitting!  Read the excerpt below and enjoy the full article by clicking HERE.


"...I’ve been just sitting here marveling at how beautiful the church really is.  I’m not even talking about the newly beautified building, although it looks amazing.  I’m talking about the Body of Christ.

"...this weekend I was struck like never before by how much the church needs other types, too.  It needs the nursery workers.  It needs the cooks.  The quiet, smiling watchers who look for needs they can fulfill.  It needs the table wipers.  The nose wipers.  The toilet cleaners.  The church needs the people who will remember to bring the plants inside when it’s going to get cold overnight.  It needs the list-makers.  It needs the huggers and the handy men and the hand holders.

"In fact, all of these people and countless others are essential to the church.  They are the real heartbeat of it.  They are what make things go, what make people feel special and welcomed, what make the children feel loved and safe and maybe just a little spoiled.  These people, these ceaseless title-less workers, they are the very heart and soul of the church."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thorny Soil

Thorns are anything that distracts us from God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil.  A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it." ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Want To Know Christ

Are you satisfied being "godly enough" to get yourself to heaven, or to look good in comparison to others?  Or can you say with Paul that you "want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Phil. 3:10)? ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't Dilute the Truth

I think the sad tendency of well-meaning Christians who want to share their faith is to water down both.  They say we're not so bad (you actually can clean up your act), and God doesn't really mean it when he says that the unconverted are enemies of God (tut, tut, boys will be boys).  ~ J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger

Monday, September 22, 2014

Loving the Church Is Witnessing for Christ

John 13:35 quotes Jesus as saying that "all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."  Proof of Christ, proof of Christianity, is the love that Christians have for one another.  

Jesus said that if you do not love the church of Christ you are in danger of proving to the world that Jesus is not the Son of God.  ~ J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger

Monday, September 15, 2014

Are You Nice, Or Compassionate?

Jesus calls us to be compassionate and loving, and that's not the same as just being "nice."

Sentimental love bleeds into the Christian mind in a form of niceness.  It's easy to confuse nice with compassion, kindness or love.  But nice is not a biblical word.  Jesus was extremely un-nice at times, because he wanted to go deeply into people's lives, into their sin with the truth, and that's never nice.  ~ J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Does It Mean To Be Bold?

Sharing our faith and proclaiming Christ with our lives may sometimes seem a daunting task, yet we are urged to be bold.

Boldness is not a lack of fear.  It is faith in something bigger than our fears to that we appear fearless.  Confidence in something bigger than our fears gives us the strength to do the right thing in spite of opposition or persecution.  ~ J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Importance of Understanding Sin

If we don't understand the problem, we won't understand how badly we need an answer. For people to recognize their need for Jesus, they must recognize the problem of sin.

We want people to see their sin in all its horror, not so they are motivated to "clean up their act," but so they fall at the feet of Jesus knowing that he is their only hope.  People need to see the depth of their sin so that they come to a fuller understanding of the depth of God's grace.  ~ J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pretenders In The Spirit

"The ragamuffin gospel reveals that Jesus forgives sins - including sins of the flesh - that he is comfortable with sinners who remember how to show compassion, but that he cannot and will not have a relationship with pretenders in the Spirit." ~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Monday, August 18, 2014

Honoring God's Love

"We are enamored and enchanted by God's power.  We stutter and stammer about God's holiness.  We tremble before God's majesty...and yet we grow squeamish and skittish before God's love... 
[The] gifted English mystic Julian of Norwich: 'The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.'"  ~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Monday, August 11, 2014

Good News

"The Good News means we can stop lying to ourselves.  The sweet sound of amazing graces saves us from the necessity of self-deception.  It keeps us from denying that though Christ was victorious, the battle with lust, greed, and pride still rages within us....When I go to church I can leave my white hat at home and admit I have failed.  God not only loves me as I am, but also knows me as I am."  ~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Monday, July 28, 2014

God of Wrath?

"Some people are repulsed by the idea of God being a God of wrath.  But if you think about it, a God who doesn't hate evil is terrifying.  True goodness hates evil.  True righteousness and justice must stand in opposition to injustice and unrighteousness. God's wrath, writes John Stott, 'is in fact his holy reaction to evil.'" ~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, July 21, 2014

Let Your Emotions Be Informed by Knowledge

"If you want to feel deeply, you have to think deeply....but emotion built on emotion is empty.  True emotion  - emotion that is reliable and doesn't lead us astray - is always a response to reality, to truth.  It's only as we study and consider truth about Jesus with our minds that our hearts will be moved by the depth of his greatness and love for us.  When we engage our minds with the doctrine of his person and his work, our emotions are given something to stand on, a reason to worship and revel in the very appropriate feelings of awe and gratefulness and adoration."  ~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Authority of God's Word

 God's Word should be our standard.  Our feelings can change with the wind, and though prophetic words can be encouraging and useful, even Scripture teaches us to test them by Scripture itself.
"The doctrine of Scripture teaches us about the authority of God's Word.  Scripture must be the final rule of faith and practice for our lives.  Not our feelings or emotions.  Not signs or prophetic words or hunches." ~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, July 7, 2014

How God Makes It All Fit Together

There's not one bit of Scripture that is less important than another, all parts are intended, necessary, and integral to the whole story of God's rescue of us.
"There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story.  The story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story.  And at the center of the Story, there is a baby.  Every Story in the Bible whispers his name.  He is like the missing piece in a puzzle - the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture."  ~ Sally Lloyd-Jones

Monday, June 30, 2014

Getting the Right Perspective

"If you were to ask me why it matters that we study the doctrine of God, I'd say for the same reason that it's worth knowing that stars are not tiny pinpricks of light just above our heads.  When we know the truth about God, it fills us with wonder.  If we fail to understand his true character, we'll never be amazed by him.  We'll never feel small as we stare up at him.  We'll never worship him as we ought.  We'll never run to him for refuge or realize the great love he's shown in bridging the measureless distance to rescue us." ~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Center of the Universe

The more we know of God, the more we know His love. 
"Careful study of the character and attributes of God should leave us feeling more amazed, more loved, and more secure in God's love.  But this happens in the most surprising way.  We become more confident of God's love for us as we understand we are not the center of the universe.  God is.  God is not centering himself around us and our worth.  God is centered on his own eternal glory." ~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Monday, June 9, 2014

PILLARS OF FIRE Is Coming to JAG!

Sunday, June 22nd at 6pm, Brent Grosvenor will be presenting his new production "Pillars of Fire" at Jefferson Assembly.  "Pillars of Fire" is a drama based upon the life of Paul the Apostle, and promises to be a moving performance.  Brent is the author of "The Richest Man In The Valley", the Christmas production put on by CoMotion in 2011 & 2012.  Please invite family, friends and neighbors to attend this exciting evening with you!  Admission is free, a simple love offering will be taken.





Monday, May 26, 2014

Not Just About You

Once we give in to the idea that the gospel is only about a personal relationship with God and not about God's redemptive plan to renew all things, we give ourselves permission to stop engaging the world around us.  Once we are no longer engaging the world around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ, once we're no longer caring for the widow and the orphan in their distress but allowing someone else to do it, then we've removed one of the major components of true biblical discipleship.  ~ Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel

Monday, May 19, 2014

True Believer or Just Churchy?

Religious ritual is not equivalent to a real relationship. 
I meet a lot of people swimming neck deep in Christian culture who have been inoculated to Jesus Christ.  They have just enough of him not to want all of him.  When that happens, what you have are people who have been conformed to a pattern of religious behavior but not transformed by the Holy Spirit of God.  ~ Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel

Monday, May 12, 2014

What Is Your Passion?

We get worked up over and excited about a lot of things; is our spiritual life before God one of them?
Where is the nervousness in our guts when we're coming into an assembly of those pursuing God?  Where is the elation over the resurrection?  Where is the desolation over our sins?  Where is it?  Well, it's on basketball.  It's on football.  It's on romance.  It's on tweeting and blogging. ~ Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel

Monday, May 5, 2014

You cannot scare anyone into heaven.  Heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell; it's a place for those who love God."  ~ Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel

Monday, April 28, 2014

Good Medicine

The believer must beware of prescribing humanistic self-help and positive thinking for their doubts and dark times.  There is, however a form of self-talk that is truly helpful:
One of the great lessons the Psalms teach us is that we must learn to speak back to our souls, to expound biblical teaching to them.  We must exhort them to think biblically about our situation, dispensing the medicine Scripture prescribes.  ~Sinclair Ferguson, Doubt and Assurance

Why so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God! (Psalm 42) 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quenching and Grieving

Sometimes spiritual darkness descends on our lives for the purpose of teaching us to doggedly trust in our faithful God.  Sometimes it comes as a result of our own actions.

Above all, grieve not the Spirit.  Quench not the Spirit.  Vex not the Spirit.  Drive Him not to a distance by tampering with small bad habits and little sins.  Little jarrings between husbands and wives make unhappy homes.  Petty inconsistencies, known and allowed, will bring a strangeness in between you and the Spirit.  - J. C. Ryle

Monday, April 14, 2014

God's Purposes In Our Pain

It's seldom easy to understand the trials and suffering we experience, but we must believe that God is in complete control.
He sometimes works painfully in our lives; he always works purposively, even if that purpose becomes clear only alter.  As the Puritan John Flavel once wrote, the providences of God are like Hebrew words - they can only be read backwards.  ~ Os Guinness, Doubt and Assurance

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not Fair-Weather Believers

The character of our faith has a whole lot to do with the character of the One we put our faith in.  This is why we can be confident no matter what the circumstances.
Followers of Christ are not simply fair-weather believers.  They are realistically committed to truth, people who "think in believing and believe in thinking" as Augustine expressed it.  They are, therefore, like experienced pilots who can fly in bad weather as easily as in good, by night as well as by day, and upside down as well as right side up. ~ W. Andrew Hoffecker, Doubt and Assurance

Monday, March 31, 2014

One Effect Of Worship

"When you exalt the Lord...God in your life is increased and the 'you' in your life is decreased!  I don't know about you but I know that I need more of God and less of me...When you stand and you start to praise Him, He is exalted and the things of the earth grow strangely dim." ~ Darlene Zschech, Extravagant Worship

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Can You Bring To Worship?

"There is one thing ... that can stop you from being a truthful worshiper, and that is you feel like you have nothing to offer God.  The only thing you really have to give is yourself...and that's all He wants.God says, 'Just give me your heart.'" ~ Darlene Zschech, Extravagant Worship

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pray Ahead For Worship

Do you pray before entering a worship service?  If you have, then you're properly prepared!  
"Extravagant worshipers know the power of prayer and meditation...as worshipers we seek His face more than we seek anything else." ~ Darlene Zschech, Extravagant Worship

Monday, March 3, 2014

Engage Your Heart

"Regardless of how magnificent the musical moments are, unless your heart is fully engaged in the worship being expressed...it is still only music."  ~ Darlene Zschech, Extravagant Worship

Monday, February 24, 2014

When Church People Can't Get Along

Sometimes the hardest people to get along with are the folks we go to church with.  Jesus said that we'll be known by our love for each other.  Therefore, we have some work to do. 
[I]f Christians share the same spirit and mind - the Spirit of Christ - then unity is a natural expression of that Spirit.  Given the sin which remains in believers in this life, however, unity often requires effort.  Thus Christians "stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel."  Strife should be actively avoided.  Mark Dever, The Church: The Gospel Made Visible

Monday, February 17, 2014

Church Teaching Must Be Gospel Centered

Right teaching about the gospel...requires a right understanding not only about God but also about humanity.  If a church's teaching depicts people as merely spiritually sick, not spiritually dead, teh gospel has been distorted.  Mark Dever, The Church: The Gospel Made Visible
If our teaching simply encourages people to feel better about themselves or gives them some hope that they'll get better eventually, then we've done them a terrible disservice.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Promise Of The Church

There are many reasons the Church exists, and one is to give believers a glimpse of the future day when believers of all ages will gather together in one place for worship.
In the heavenly city Christians will enter fully and eternally into the love of God. The church on earth today presents the glimmering and growing picture of this coming reality. Mark Dever, The Church: The Gospel Made Visible

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Influence of Church Membership

Are you a member only on Sunday mornings?  Consider the following quote from Mark Dever's The Church: The Gospel Made Visible :
A married man goes to work as a married man and goes tot he store as a married man, and the fact that he's married affects how he interacts with others at work and the sore, but neither his work nor shipping are in intrinsic part of being married.  In the same way, a member of a church follows Christ in all sorts of ways  that are not tied to the work that God entrusts to the local church in any institutional fashion.  But the individual's membership should affect how he does everything outside the gathered church.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Adopted, Loved, and Cared For

Have you considered lately what it means to be an adopted child of the Heavenly Father? 
The logic is irrefutable.  The argument should be conclusive:  he is my Father; I am his child.  I (who am sinful) care for my own children, and long for their blessing.  How much more, then, will my (perfect) heavenly Father care for me! ~ Sinclair Ferguson, Children Of The Living God

Monday, January 20, 2014

Grace and restoration revealed by the father of the prodigal: 
"Every command is a meaningful expression of love to his son.  The best robe would be the father's own, and that would signify the son's complete restoration to the family.  The ring was a symbol of business, used to imprint wax and seal a deal.  The ring said, 'You are part of our daily operations.  You may transact business on our behalf.' The shoes squelched any possibility of the son returning as a servant.  Only the family wore shoes.  The fatted calf was simply an expression of deep joy - the best course for the happiest event." ~ David Jeremiah, Captured By Grace

Monday, January 13, 2014

God's Pardon

"Only God knows how to pardon.  Our clumsy human attempts at forgiveness often create more problems than they solve.  IN condescending fashion we crush and humiliate the sinner with our unbearable largesse.  He may feel forgiven but utterly bereft of reassurance, consolation, and encouragement.  Only God knows how to pardon and put all four together.  The prodigal's father said in effect:  'Hush, child.  I don't need to know where you've been or what you've been up to.'" ~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Love Of God In The New Year

"As Christians, we ought to see that everything we enjoy in life - from our tiniest pleasures to the eternal redemption we have found in Christ - is an expression of the great love wherewith God loved us (Eph. 2:4).  The blessing of His love comes to us not because we deserve it, but simply and only because of His sovereign grace.  For certainly we do not deserve HIs blessing, but the very opposite.  yet He pours out His love without measure, and we are invited to partake of its benefits freely." ~ John MacArthur, The Love of God