Here is what Bob Kaughlin says, not only about the ESV, but about the benefits of reading the Bible through:
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Here is what Bob Kaughlin says, not only about the ESV, but about the benefits of reading the Bible through:
What do I want to do in 2010?
Be in the sweet spot of God's will. That needs to be my moment-by-moment desire, goal, passion.
But I've "acquired" a few specific targets. Dare I make the public? Sure...
1. Refocus targeted prayers. Learn to "pray without ceasing" and maintain discipline to pray through my written prayer list.
2. Read my favorite book...Colossians...once daily for the year.
3. Research and help start a training, transition-type, Bible/mission school for young adults.
Lock and load! or, more pertinent, Pray - Aim - Do!
2010 might be your year of release. It might be mine. One year from today, we might be with the Lord. Better by far.
How to get ready and stay ready?
One, let’s die fully reconciled. Are we clear with every brother? “Strive for peace with everyone” (Hebrews 12:14).
Two, let’s die fully consecrated. Are we set apart to God? “Strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Three, let’s die fully forgiven. Are we enjoying the grace of God? “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15).
Four, let’s die in sweetness. Is any resentment spoiling our hearts? “See to it that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
Five, let’s die in purity. Is the blessing of God more savory to us than the pleasures of the body? “See to it that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal” (Hebrews 12:16).
The battle rages. Let’s be ready to die at any time. Our moment will come.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
- Tim Keller
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
“John the Baptist spoke plainly about sin. He taught the absolute necessity of ‘repentance’, before any one can be saved. He preached that repentance must be proved by its ‘fruits’. He warned men not to rest on outward privileges, or outward union with the church.
“This is just the teaching that we all need. We are naturally dead, and blind, and asleep in spiritual things. We are ready to content ourselves with a mere formal religion, and to flatter ourselves, that if we go to church we shall be saved. We need to be told, that except we ‘repent and are converted’ we shall all perish.”
Monday, December 28, 2009
“From start to finish, the whole Christian life is by grace through faith. A new life in Christ commences with faith, continues by faith, and will be completed through faith. To put this another way, the Gospel is for Christians just as much as it is for non-Christians. We never advance beyond the good news of the cross and the empty tomb…Therefore, the Christian always looks back to the Gospel and never to the law as the basis for his righteousness before God…There is no such thing as performance-based Christianity…Justification is a doctrine for the whole Christian life from start to finish. It is not simply a doctrine for coming to Christ in the first place…Justification is a doctrine to live by each and every moment.”
Philip Ryken, Galatians, pp. 90-92
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Though I am one who likes to evaluate, examine, and resolve at this time of the year, I am grateful to
JUSTIN TAYLOR for this:
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in Spiritual Depression
Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression?And, remember this from Robert Murray M'Cheyne:
The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past.
Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ.
Never look back at your sins again.
Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ’.
That is your first step.
Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you.
What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying.
No! You just begin to say:
I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone.
For one look at yourself,
take ten looks at Christ!
Friday, December 25, 2009
Oh, some will be offended by the use of the word I call king-james-donkey (even though it isn't heard); and there may be one or two who actually are FOR obama care; but, in the words of my Rush Limbaugh hating brother, our CHRISTmas present from Washington was the destruction of our country.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Try to imagine that you've NEVER heard the real message of CHRISTmas...watch and listen as if for the first time. May familiarity never lead us to lose the wonder and majesty of that amazing intervention of our altogether wondrous Father and Lord.
Hope...wrapped in a baby
Love...wrapped in a baby
Peace...wrapped in a baby
Forgiveness...wrapped in a baby
Acceptance...wrapped in a baby
Righteousness...wrapped in a baby
Joy...wrapped in a baby
The baby...living the life I could not live...
Three decades later...
The baby wrapped in my filth
The baby wrapped in my guilt
The baby wrapped in my sin
The baby taking my hit.
The baby declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection...wrapping me in His holiness...
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
“We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible. It is a faith that deserves to be placed side by side with that of the penitent thief. The thief saw one dying the death of a criminal, and yet prayed to Him and ‘called Him Lord.’ The wise men saw a new-born babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshiped Him and confessed that He was Christ. Blessed indeed are those that can believe in this fashion!”
~ J.C. Ryle
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Great to see some college students home; as well as about 170 or so teens and youth pastors/workers.
But, as Janelle and I drove home I thought of the truth of something I heard long ago:
Mary had a little lamb,
Grew up to be a sheep;
Went into youth ministry,
And died from lack of sleep.
But whatta way to go!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wise words of warning from D. A.Carson in a tremendous book:
“The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful. Raw factionalism will do it. Rank heresy will do it. Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it–admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively over the long haul. Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it. Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembling of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God. Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism–all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church. And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”- D.A. Carson,
Thursday, December 17, 2009
“When God planned the great work of saving sinners, he provided two gifts. He gave his Son and he gave his Spirit. In fact each person of the Trinity was involved in the great work of salvation. The love, grace and wisdom of the Father planned it; the love, grace and humility of the Son purchased it; and the love, grace and power of the Holy Spirit enabled sinners to believe and receive it.
“The first great truth in this work of salvation is that God sent his Son to take our nature on him and to suffer for us in it. The second great truth is that God gave his Spirit to bring sinners to faith in Christ and so be saved.”
—John Owen, "The Holy Spirit"
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:16-19
Dear Lord Jesus, I’m very much convicted by and drawn to Mary’s response, early in her journey of nursing you and knowing you—the very God who created all things, sustains all things and makes all things new. She “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
“Hurrying off” like a shepherd to tell others about you has always been easier for me than sitting still… and letting you tell me about yourself.
It’s always been easier for me to talk than to listen, to stay busy than to relax, to be “productive” than to be meditative… I confess this as sin, Lord Jesus. This isn’t okay. It can be explained, but not justified.
For knowing about you is not the same thing as knowing you. An informed mind is not the same thing as an enflamed heart.
To know you IS eternal life, and I DO want to know you, Lord Jesus, so much better than I already do. Lead me in the way of treasuring you in my heart and pondering who you are… and pondering everything you’ve already accomplished through your life, death and resurrection… and everything you’re presently doing as the King of kings and Lord of lords… and everything you’ll be about forever in the new heaven and new earth, as the Bridegroom of your beloved Bride. There’s so much to treasure and so much to ponder…
It’s not as though I’m a stranger to treasuring and pondering, for I treasure and ponder a whole lot of things, Lord Jesus—things, however, that lead to a bankrupt spirit and an impoverished heart.
May the gospel slow me, settle me and center me that I might be able to say with the Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And being with you, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Ps 73:25-26).” So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ name.
Monday, December 14, 2009
“One plague of our age is the widespread dislike to what men are pleased to call dogmatic theology. In the place of it, the idol of the day is a kind of jellyfish Christianity – a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or sinew, – without any distinct teaching about the atonement or the work of the Spirit, or justification, or the way of peace with God – a vague, foggy, misty Christianity, of which the only watchwords seem to be, ‘You must be..liberal and kind. You must condemn no man’s doctrinal views. You must consider everybody is right and nobody is wrong’.”
~ J.C. Ryle
Friday, December 11, 2009
Martin Luther, quoted in Reinhard Slenczka, “Luther’s Care of Souls for Our Times,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 67 (2003): 42
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Even if we are in a valley, there is Light, and the shadows come because something gets between us and the Source of Light...
Anything blocking your vision?
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Popular talk show host Larry King was once asked, if he had the choice to interview one person in all of history, who would he choose?
He replied that he would like to interview Jesus Christ, and that he would ask Him just one question: “Are you indeed virgin born?”
Larry understood that the teaching of the virgin birth is pivotal. If Jesus was not supernaturally conceived in the womb of Mary, then He was not God. And if He was not God, then His death on the cross really meant nothing at all.
Even worse, He would be a fraud, giving false hope by claiming to be God in human form and also claiming to be the only way to a relationship with the Father.
Belief in the virgin birth is essential
I would go so far as to say that if you don’t believe Jesus was supernaturally conceived in the womb of a virgin named Mary, then you can’t be a Christian!
You might say, “That’s outrageous!” No, it really isn’t.
Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
The Bible teaches that He was supernaturally conceived in Mary’s womb. He was “fully God,” yet “fully man” at the same time.
Listen, Christ was God, not because He was virgin born. He was virgin born because He was God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “If Jesus Christ is not true God, how could He help us? If He is not true man, how could He help us?
THIS FROM ME: I do not think, and indeed hope, that Laurie is not saying you have to believe in the Virgin Birth to become a Christian. But to profess to be a Christian and deny the virgin birth is to denude yourself of a saviour. Had Jesus been born in the "natural" way He would, like you, been born a sinner and could not provide salvation. The doctrine is vital, not "simply" because of the miracle; but because of its essentiality to the gospel.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
John MacArthur - Study Video from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
“And so, when they find, after a time, that there is a cross to be carried, that our hearts are deceitful, and that there is a busy devil always near us, they cool down in disgust, and return to their old sins. And why? Because they had really never known what Bible Christianity is. They had never learned that we must ‘count the cost’.”
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Just a reminder:
"The good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in His image to know Him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him.
In His great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in Him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ's sacrifice and that God's wrath against us had been exhausted.
He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness.
If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God."
Mark Dever, "The Gospel & Personal Evangelism"
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
10 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Disobedient
Here are 10 Things I had to remind myself today when the job of correcting my children felt especially difficult…
1. You disobey the Lord…and He is the perfect Father.
2. His kindness leads us to repentance.
3. God disciplines those He loves.
4. Your child’s disobedience does not measure your value any more than his obedience showcases your achievement.
5. Your child’s disobedience teaches you dependence on God.
6. And sometimes it’s more than dependence He’s after, it’s complete desperation for Him.
7. Your child is clearly a sinner, and needs to hear the truth of the Gospel, and see it lived out through you.
8. Times of correction serve to remind, or establish within your child, his own sense of need for a Savior.
9. It’s not good behavior you really desire…you want his heart.
10. Your child is a person, not a project.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Carl Trueman’s thoughts on how Christian’s should respond if they are criticized or defamed (specifically on the web):
The answer is simple: for myself, I do not believe that it is appropriate that I spend my time defending my name. My name is nothing—who really cares about it? And I am not called to waste precious hours and energy in fighting off every person with a laptop who wants to have a pop at me. As a Christian, I am not meant to engage in self-justification any more than self-promotion; I am called rather to defend the name of Christ; and, to be honest, I have yet to see a criticism of me, true or untrue, to which I could justifiably respond on the grounds that it was Christ’s honour, and not simply my ego, which was being damaged. I am called to spend my time in being a husband, a father, a minister in my denomination, a member of my church, a good friend to those around me, and a conscientious employee. These things, these people, these locations and contexts, are to shape my priorities and my allocation of time. Hitting back in anger at those who, justly or unjustly, do not like me and for some reason think the world needs to know what they think of me is no part of my God-given vocation. God will look after my reputation if needs be; He has given me other work to do.
Pictured is a transparent sea cucumber captured 1.7 miles beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Yikes?
Jesus created this? Yup. Why? Beats me. But I wonder if He had a grin as He molded this together....
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Is there a real need for youth ministry? Duh. Not picking on the stores represented, but the verbal message of this combines the worst of "political correctness" with the encouragement to "do whatever feels good". Gaggeth a self-respecting maggot.
—J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A classic, though not kind answer, "That's okay, there is plenty of room for another one."
But a while ago someone played that excuse on me, and I responded, "Don't you like the NFL?"
"Of course you know there are a lot of scum bags in the National Football League?"
"But you still like the NFL, right?"
Not sure if I made my point, but it works for me!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
"I have yet to come across a student who struggled with, or even abandoned, the faith, who did not, at some early point in their struggle, abandon the mundane routines of the Christian life: regular attendance at the preaching of the word, prayer, etc. etc. Boring they may be, but they are God’s means of preventing amnesia; and we forget them at our peril."- Carl Truman
Most of us have never really understood that Christianity is not a self-help religion meant to enable moral people to become more moral. We don’t need a self-help book; we need a Savior. We don’t need to get our collective act together; we need death and resurrection and the life-transforming truths of the gospel. And we don’t need them just once, at the beginning of our Christian life; we need them every moment of every day.”
- Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson, "Counsel from the Cross" (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2009), 30
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
1) When you’re tempted to fear, lean into faith.
2) When you want to control, you must let go.
3) When comfort lures you, choose sacrifice.
But this, by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, (The Love of God, pp. 49-50) elaborates in a way I needed to read:
"The more I study the New Testament and live the Christian life, the more convinced I am that our fundamental difficulty, our fundamental lack, is the lack of seeing the love of God. It is not so much our knowledge that is defective but our vision of the love of God. Thus our greatest object and endeavor should be to know Him better, and thus we will love Him more truly."
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
“Happy is the Christian who keeps these two points continually before his eyes! The brightest saint is the man who has the most heart-searching sense of his own sinfulness, and the liveliest sense of his own complete acceptance in Christ.”
~ J.C. Ryle
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I was in Pasadena, California watching tv in a bar when Jeremiah Denton made the incredible statement that appears as part of this video. It made an impact in my life then, but later it would mean incredibly more.
At the end of that year I was arrested in Texas that resulted in a prison sentence in Oregon. While in Texas I was introduced to the Lord and the gospel via reading a paperback book someone had donated.
The Spirit of God did His convicting work, and at the age of 26, from a stereotypical child of the sixties Nam vet, alcoholic, drug dealing thief I was set free.
I use Denton's statement frequently as an illustration that following Christ is NOT about "your best life now," but is about sacrifice, inconvenience, and great joy.
And, by His grace, I challenge me as I challenge others to live in such a way that maybe...maybe...we will one day bow at His feet and state, "Lord Jesus, it has not been easy, I got close to giving up, but by Your power I've come to realize that it has been an honor to serve You under difficult circumstances.:
Thanks to all other veterans, and "welcome home."
(and if there is someone tempted to yell because of the person singing the song, I am aware of the situation; but his sin does not negate the words of the song)
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
His definition of ministry is worth several times the price of the book: "Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God."
As I restarted the book this morning here at Crescent Lake Bible Camp in Rhinelander, Wi I reflected that I first spoke at this camp for a winter retreat probably in 1979. Yikes! And I again reflect on what a slow learner I am...and a book like this challenges, comforts, and kicks-in-the-butt in just the right way to bring about not simply conviction, but change.
If you are satisfied with your life and ministry, ignore the book. If you are open to a sanctified mixture of challenge, conviction, and confirmation, get the book!
And, yeah, you can provide me a few cents for my deputation account if you order off the link below:
Thursday, November 5, 2009
"Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial."
Your future is found in I Corinthians 10:23. It reveals two options: permissible or beneficial. And your destiny will be determined by which option you choose.
Who we become is determined by whether we settle for what is permissible or strive for what is beneficial. It's so tempting to live down to what is required. It's so tempting to live in our comfort zone. It's so tempting to take the path of least resistance, but the path of least resistance never takes you where you really want to go!
What am I getting at? Well, are you setting for what is permissible? Or are you striving for what is beneficial? Are you giving God leftovers? Or are you seeking first the kingdom of God? Where are you compromising? Where have you become comfortable with what is permissible?
Don't let short-term comfort short-circuit God's long-terms plans for your life. Spiritual short-cuts always turn into detours! Take the hard way. Take the high road. Strive for what is beneficial.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
"To be entirely safe from the devil's snares the man of God must be completely obedient to the
Word of the Lord.
The driver on the highway is safe, not when he reads the signs
That Incredible Christian, 51.
Monday, November 2, 2009
This was written by good friend Denny Brownlee for the Morning Show at Family Life Network (the ministry with which I served for over 20 years before moving to Missouri a year ago)
"And now, when I fall into sin, I have not sinned against the law, I have sinned against love. Like the prodigal, I will go back to my Father and I will tell Him, “Father, I am not worthy to be called your son.” But He will embrace me, and He will say, “Do not talk nonsense, you are My child,” and He will shower his love upon me! That is the meaning of putting on the breastplate of righteousness! Never allow the devil to get you into a state of condemnation. Never allow a particular sin to call into question your standing before God. That question has been settled.”
Martyn Lloyd Jones, The Christian Soldier, p. 255
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Okay, it doesn't rock, Steve Green is not everyone's cup of tea; but on this day when spooks and goblins get too much attention, remember Jesus said there is only One whom we, who are His, need fear...and it ain't the devil or his followers...
Friday, October 30, 2009
Knowing our own wretchedness without knowing God makes for despair.
Knowing Jesus Christ strikes the balance because he shows us both God and our own wretchedness.”
- Blaise Pascal
Thursday, October 29, 2009
But, unlike the Great Pumpkin etc, when we share the Gospel, laced with Scripture, the Spirit of God uses the Word supernaturally. Never forget that every incident of "bragging on Jesus" is a victory, whether there is immediate "fruit" or not!