Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Nominal Believer?

"[W]hen the Spirit moves in a person's heart and awakens them to faith and repentance, their view of Jesus changes.  The nominal believer respects Jesus, but does not reverence or exalt Him.  The true Christian takes delight in Jesus, a delight that is often palpable and contagious."  ~ Owen Strachan

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Immanuel


Lift up your eyes and see the riches of the
all-sufficient King seated on his throne in glory
See his scepter that stretches the expanse of unmeasured space
Hear Him who holds all things together declare
"All things are mine without exception"
See the curiosity of the cosmos
As Christ condescends to His most cherished creatures
See the astonishment of angels as the Almighty advances towards Earth
See the humility of the pre-existent King born of a virgin birth
The Infinite becomes infant, the Maker becomes man
The divine becomes despised and the Christ is crucified
The Author of all creation cursed upon the tree
That He himself spoke into being
And the Lord of life was laid in the tomb
But the grave could not contain Him
and so the Son of Man was raised to life
But why?
To draw near, to pierce our greatest fear
To shed satisfying blood on our behalf
To give back the life we were meant to have
To enjoy, to hear, to adore, to taste
And to look with peace upon our Savior's face
And to embrace Him with an undying faith
To interpose all His worthiness into us
And serve the most unworthy and undeserving
He is our God and we are mere men made by Him
We are not like Him but he loves us and moves among us
The great uncreated and the created no longer separated
He is Immanuel, God with us

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

For Your Sake He Became Poor

The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor." As the rich saint cannot be true in his communion with his poor brethren unless of his substance he ministers to their necessities, so (the same rule holding with the head as between the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have had fellowship with us unless he had imparted to us of his own abounding wealth, and had become poor to make us rich. Had he remained upon his throne of glory, and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving his salvation, communion would have been impossible on both sides. Our position by the fall, apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible for fallen man to communicate with God as it is for Belial to be in concord with Christ. In order, therefore, that communion might be compassed, it was necessary that the rich kinsman should bestow his estate upon his poor relatives, that the righteous Saviour should give to his sinning brethren of his own perfection, and that we, the poor and guilty, should receive of his fulness grace for grace; that thus in giving and receiving, the One might descend from the heights, and the other ascend from the depths, and so be able to embrace each other in true and hearty fellowship. Poverty must be enriched by him in whom are infinite treasures before it can venture to commune; and guilt must lose itself in imputed and imparted righteousness ere the soul can walk in fellowship with purity. Jesus must clothe his people in his own garments, or he cannot admit them into his palace of glory; and he must wash them in his own blood, or else they will be too defiled for the embrace of his fellowship. O believer, herein is love! For your sake the Lord Jesus "became poor" that he might lift you up into communion with himself.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Need for Godly Parenting

"Though parents may feel inadequate to teach and train, they can take great comfort in knowing that an authentic witness, coupled by sound instruction, has great power.  The lives of countless believers raised by godly parents testify to this reality.  Though they may buttress our parenting, we do not need flashy children's programs or charismatic youth speakers.  We need to be godly parents whose lives back up our faith."  ~ Owen Strachan & Doug Sweeney

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Can You Be Right and Still Act Like Jesus?

"Paul says that the Lord's servant must not correct others with an attitude that is ready to pick a fight or with a desire to rub another's nose in it.  In other words, being right does not justify arrogance, intimidation, rudeness, or harshness.  Holding the right position in the argument never justifies betraying the character of Jesus in our manner." ~ Zack Eswine

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Why Do You Read the Bible?

"To read the Scriptures in a manner that leads us to something other than a greater enjoyment of God and embodied love in Jesus is to know without knowledge, to shine without illumination, and to stand at the door with no key." ~ Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Normal Existence

"When we follow Jesus as the apostles did, we have no idea how he will use us.  He may maximize his glory through us by a faithful but nonetheless 'normal' existence.  Or he may have a more unusual route of glorification."  ~ Owen Strachan, Risky Gospel

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Gospel Driven Discipline

"That's what gospel-driven discipline is:  a response.  It's hearing from your heavenly Father how incredibly much you're loved, and then plunging into everyday life from that joyful perspective." ~ Owen Strachan, Risky Gospel

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Joy Full

"If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full." ~ John Piper

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Changed and Changing

"I'm a sinner.  I don't do everything I should.  But I can look back at my life - even as a young man - and see that God has done good work in me.  He has upgraded my faith over the years.  He's enabled me to kill sin and to build habits of godliness such that I'm not having to start from square one every day.  This is what God wants to do with us:  to train us in holiness, build us up, and leave us changed and changing."  ~ Owen Strachan, Risky Gospel

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Free to Choose

"The will of God for our lives is that we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  The most important decision we face is the daily decision to live for Christ and die to self.  If we do those two things, then we are free to choose between jobs and schools and locations.  God wants us to stop obsessing about the future and trust that He holds the future."  ~ Kevin DeYoung, "Just Do Something"

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Walking In God's Will

"So the end of the matter is this:  Live for God.  Obey the Scriptures.  Think of others before yourself.  Be holy.  Love Jesus.  And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you'll be walking in the will of God."  ~ Kevin DeYoung, "Just Do Something"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On Spiritual Gifts

"Many of our errors where spiritual gifts are concerned arise when we want to make the extraordinary and exceptional to be made frequent and habitual.  Let all who develop excessive desire for 'messages' through the gifts take warning from the wreckage of past generations as well as contemporaries . . . . The Holy Scriptures are a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path."  ~ Donald Gee

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

God's Will For Your Life

"God's will for your life is not very complicated.  Obviously, living a Christlike life is hard work, and what following Jesus entails is not clear in every situation.  But as an overarching principle, the will of God for your life is pretty straightforward:  Be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God."  ~ Kevin DeYoung, "Just Do Something"

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Question God Cares About Most

"The question God cares about most is not 'Where should I live?' but "Do I love the Lord with all my heart?'"  ~ Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Plague of Passivity

Do you like to say you're waiting on God, when He's actually waiting on you to get busy?

"God expects and encourages us to make choices, confident that He's already determined how to fit our choices into His sovereign will.  Passivity is a plague among Christians.  It's not just that we don't do anything; it's that we feel spiritual for not doing anything.  We imagine that our inactivity is patience and sensitivity to God's leading.  At times it may be; but it's also quite possible we are just lazy."  ~ Kevin DeYoung, "Just Do Something"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Magic 8-Ball God

"The conventional approach to the will of God - where God's will is like a corn maze with only one way out and lots of dead ends, or like a bull's-eye with the center of God's will in the middle and second best everywhere else, or like a Magic 8-Ball that we are supposed to shake around until some generic answer floats to the top - is not helpful.  It is not good for our decision making.  It is not good for our sanctification.  And sometimes it is frankly dishonoring to Christ."  ~ Kevin DeYoung, "Just Do Something"

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Think About This . . .

In his book, "Just Do Something", Kevin DeYoung makes the simple statement that, "The church needs lifers and those who can be counted on for the long haul."  What do you think about that?  Have you considered how deep and certain your commitment is to your local church?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Don't Make It A Chore

"When I look at my relationship with God as a chores, a sacrifice, then I am getting the glory - not God.  I keep saying, 'Look what I have sacrificed for God..." or "Listen to what I do for God.  It's hard, exhausting really..."  ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

He Said, "Make Disciples"

Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples.  i wonder, then, whey the last thing Jesus told us was to go in tot world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded?  You'll notice that He didn't add, 'But hey, if that's too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians - you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.'"  ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

All or Nothing

"Jesus' call to commitment is clear:  He wants all or nothing.  The thought of a person calling himself a 'Christian' without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd."  - Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Think Higher Thoughts

"Why should the Trinity be a problem to us?  'We think more loftily of God,' says Michael de Molinos, 'by knowing that He is incomprehensible, and above our understanding, than by conceiving Him under any image, and and creature beauty, according to our rude understanding.'" ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

On Mystery and the Trinity

"Secularism, materialism, and the intrusive presence of things have put out the  light in our souls and turned us in to a generation of zombies.  We cover our deep ignorance with words, but we are ashamed to wonder, we are afraid to whisper 'mystery.'"  ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How Do You View God?

"Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms.  We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need Him.  We want a God we can in some measure control."  ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We Need A Different Viewpoint

"Until we have seen ourselves as God sees us, we are not likely to be much disturbed over conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life.  We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing."  ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

God Is Love: What Does That Mean?

"The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God.  He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures.  Love, for instance, is not something God has and which may grow or diminish or cease to be.  His love is the way God is, and when He loves He is simply being Himself."  ~ A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

All Will Be Well

"But all will be well.  In a world like this tears have their therapeutic effects.  The healing balm distilled from the garments of the enfolding Presence cures our ills before they become fatal.  The knowledge that we are never alone calms the troubled sea of our lives and speaks peace to our souls." ~  A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

No Limit!

" . . . there can be no limit to His presence; He is omnipresent.  In His infinitude He surrounds the finite creation and contains it.  There is no place beyond Him for anything to be.  God is our environment as the sea is to the fish and the air to the bird."  ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

He Never Changes

"God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm.  His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the eastward garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same as when He stretched forth His hands and cried, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'"  ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Never Surprised

"Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well.  he never discovers anything.  he is never surprised, never amazed.  he never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions." ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Think About That!

". . . to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterable sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely.  No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to absash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us" ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

God Cares Like No One Else

"His knowledge of our afflictions and adversities is more than theoretic; it is personal, warm, and compassionate.  Whatever may befall us, God knows and cares as no one else can." ~ A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gospel Growth

"It's not as if we come to know Christ through the gospel word but then use a fundamentally different message to encourage each other as Christians.  The 'word of God', the message that he has revealed in and through Christ by his Spirit - this is what converts us, and it is also what causes us to grow, bearing the fruit of godliness." ~ Colin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Most Important Growth

"Whatever other signs of life and growth we might look for in our congregations - involvement, activities, newcomers, finances, number of staff, buildings, and so on - the only growth that has any significance in God's plans is the growth of believers."  ~ Colin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On Growth

"When the gospel is preached, and the Spirit is at work, then growth is what happens."  ~ Colin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine

We always thank god, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God's people - the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.  In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world - just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace. Colossians 1:3-6


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ultimate Purpose

"Secular work is valuable and good, and must not be despised or downgraded.  But it is not the centre or purpose of our lives, nor the means by which God will save the world.  My primary identity as  Christian is not that I am an accountant or a carpenter, but that I am a disciple-making disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ."  ~ Colin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Substitute

One of the most important doctrines of Scripture is something we call "substitutionary atonement."  In simple terms, in means that one's sins can be paid for by the death of another.  That is what Christ accomplishes, and to toss out or ignore or downplay substitutionary atonement (a.k.a. penal substitution) is to cut the heart out of the gospel.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

One Powerful Word

"The plane went down, but no one was hurt."

"You have cancer, but it's easily treatable."

"Your son was in a car crash, but he's fine."

What a powerful conjuction: but. Even though life doesn't always play out this way, it does in Christ.  Take a look at this snippet from Ephesians:

"You were DEAD in your trespasses and sins . . . BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love . . . made us ALIVE" (Ephesians 2:1,4-5).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Don't Be Confused About Sin

"Another misunderstanding of sin is to say that it's just a matter of negative thinking.  Get rid of your old wineskins!  Think bigger!  God wants to show you is incredible favor, if you'll just get rid of all those negative mind-sets that hold you back!  Now that's a compelling message to self-reliant people who want to believe they can take care of their sin all by themselves.  That's probably why men who proclaim that message have managed to build some of the largest churches in the world."  What Is the Gospel, by Greg Gilbert

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Don't Make Light of Sin, Nor Christ

"Many Christians talk about sin as if it were merely a relational tiff between God and man, and what is needed is for us simply to apologize and accept God's forgiveness.  That image of sin as lovers' quarrel, though, distorts the relationship in which we stand to God.  It communicates that there is no broken law, no violated justice, no righteous wrath, no holy judgment - and therefore, ultimately, no need for a substitute to bear that judgement, either."  What Is the Gospel, by Greg Gilbert

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Whole Truth And Nothing But

"We Christians have done a bang-up job convincing the world that God loves them.  But if we're going to understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that his loving and compassionate God is also holy and righteous, and that he is determined never to overlook, ignore, or tolerate sin."  What Is the Gospel, by Greg Gilbert

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

God As Janitor?

"A common view of God is that he's much like an unscrupulous janitor.  Instead of really dealing with the world's dirt - its sin, evil, and wickedness - he simply sweeps it under the rug, ignores it, and hopes no one will notice.  In fact, many people cannot conceive of a God who would do anything else."

This view of God can't imagine that he would actually punish anyone for sin, but we have to realize that "God's love does not cancel out his justice and righteousness" and that he does not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7).  Really, nobody wants a God who won't deal with evil, just as long as it isn't their evil. What we need to realize is that God is truly just, each of us is truly sinful, and God has provided satisfaction for his justice in the death of Christ.

(All quotes from What Is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Meaning and Responsibility

Everyone seems to be looking for meaning in life; not as many look for responsibility.  However, our human origins bring us both!

"We are created!  Every one of us ins the result of an idea, a plan, and an action of God himself. And that brings both meaning and responsibility to human life (Gen. 1:26-28)." ~ What Is the Gospel, by Greg Gilbert

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Is God Like?

Do you have an accurate conception of God? Or is something like this:
"Thank goodness, all the crankiness you read about sometimes in his old books - you know, having the earth swallow people up, raining fire down on cities, that sort of thing - all that seems to have faded in his old age.  Now he's just  a good-natured, low-maintenance friend who's really easy to talk to - especially since he almost never talks back, and when he does, it's usually to tell me through some slightly weird 'sign' that what I want to do regardless is alright by him.  That really is the best kind of friend, ins't it?"  ~ What Is the Gospel, by Greg Gilbert
We need to be certain that our concept of God comes from Scripture, and not our own imagination.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Four Crucial Questions

Romans 1-4 asks and answers four crucial questions that are basic to the Gospel message:

1.  Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
2.  What is our problem, that is, are we in trouble, and why?
3.  What is God's solution to that problem, that is, how has he acted to save us from it?
4.  How do I come to in included in that salvation, that is, what makes this good news for me?

What are your answers to these questions?  Chapters 1-4 of Romans have the answers.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Finding the Gospel

What's your plan for Bible reading this year?  Hopefully you have one!  A great place to start is the book of Romans.  This book, which is actually a letter, contains a clear, step-by-step expression of  Paul's understanding of the good news.  Romans is the place to start this year if you want to find the Gospel.  And wouldn't that be a good place to begin?