Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Richard Baxter (12 November 1615 - 8 December 1691), quoted in Geoffrey F. Nuttall, Howel Harris: 1714-1773, page 42.
"Can I share a couple of personal definitions? Worship is bragging about God to God. Evangelism is bragging about God to others. In other words, evangelism is a form of worship. We start bragging about who God is and what God has done as we worship Him. And we don't stop.
I know that a lot of Christians feel subconscious guilt about not sharing their faith enough. That really isn't the issue. It's a byproduct of a deeper issue and the issue is this: we don't love God and love others like we could or should. If you really love someone what you really want for them is a relationship with Christ. And the more you love them the more you want it."
Monday, June 29, 2009
- John Piper, in a message given at the re:Focus pastors conference
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The camp is quiet, the students are gone, the "glow" is after...
It has been a marvelous week. Thursday evening, in particular, was an inexplicable event as the Spirit of God moved in worship and proclamation. I won't attempt to describe it, except to add the trite truth that "you had to be there."
The worship band (Kneel), the director, other adults and I concur that it had been a singularly unique evening...
Many students made various commitments...will they stand the test of time? I pray so...I expect to hear from many of them before the weekend is over...the blessings of rapid communication!
Pray as the staff, counselors, and I rest up for a few hours before we do it all again with senior highers. Pray that this is a fantastic week of impact that lasts.
As I often say, camp can be a dangerous thing if well-intentioned speakers/counselors press for "decisions" rather than lasting change. All too often heartfelt "invitations" forget to get people lost before they get found. Peer pressure can result in full altars that are emotional only.
"No one comes to the Son except the Father draws (compels) him." "Salvation is of the Lord."
So don't ask how many students got saved this week. I'm not the Holy Spirit. Rejoice with me that the Word was sung, proclaimed, modeled and shared...and that Word will not return void.
And pray for these students as they leave the nibble-of-heaven that a well-run Christian camp is (and Crescent Lake is in the head of the list)and return to the free fire zone called life 101.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
There for a while I was on a kick lately of eating chocolate toffee almond nuggets: creamy and sweet.
Unfortunately, when I ate those choice chocolates, I hadn’t seen the last of them. After they have tasted great, they show up just above my belt. As good as they are, they are not worth the calories. When I eat a chocolate, I give it a free pass to head for my stomach and out into my body.
That says, Proverbs is how gossip is.
“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts (Proverbs 18:8).”
So, important is this Proverb, that it is repeated verbatim later in Proverbs 26:22.
Bits of gossip are like chocolate nuggets: smooth and creamy, they melt in your mouth: it tastes good to be in the loop; it is sweet to hear someone else notice the same weaknesses in another that have frustrated you; it feels spiritual to ask for prayer – - gossip and grumbling and complaining are a tempting treat.
But, remember this. As sweet as those gossip nuggets may taste, snacking on them is not the end. Words of gossip accumulate on our spiritual waistlines. They shape the inmost part of our being. Gossip muddies our windshields so that everything looks dirty.
The next time you are tempted to take the tinfoil off a piece of gossip and pop it in your mouth. Think again. Words of gossip go down to our innermost being.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Yeah, right. I have spent over three years of my life (somewhere around 180-190 weeks) speaking at teen camps; I love and am appreciative of the opportunity to teach/preach; am amazed I get to do it; but I also love just hanging out with the students.
During last week's camp we had a water fight...and the director announced, "5 points if you hit someone, and 10 points if you hit Jack!!!!"
So, yeah, I got a bit wet! And, now that I'm at Crescent Lake Bible Camp in Rhinelander, Wi we are just about to go out to the athletic fields for water wars...methinks I'll get wet again!
What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer.
Edward McKendree (E. M.) Bounds
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Speaking of "men," here's an old observation from a sharp, sharp mind; and his premise flies in the face of much that is taught/caught currently:
Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans, Vol. 1, 252):
It is an interesting thing that there are men, especially, who prefer a message when it does hit them and hurt them, and the one thing they cannot abide is sentimentality. Give them something strong, even severe, and, though it hurts, they know it is right, and they will listen to it. But if you once give them the idea that you are getting at them, and trying to influence them by certain methods and a certain psychological approach, they will not even come and put themselves under the possibility of being affected.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Back in the day when I was on staff with Kansas City Youth For Christ ( a loooong time ago) we used to do the first part of this video with teenagers/audience participation. These guys do it a tad better!
It might be worth six minutes of your time to be refreshed!
I reminded the students that puppy love is simply being in love with the idea of love; not a person. I then suggested that there is a sort of "Jesus" puppy love; where one is in love with the idea of Jesus, the benefits of Jesus, the music of Jesus, but not in love with Jesus.
We talked about "you are My friends if you do whatever I command," and, of course, John 14.21.
Then this afternoon I found this quote from John R. W. Stott:
John Stott in an appendix with the title, “Reflections of an Octogenarian, 27 April 2001”:
. . . Let me share with you a conviction about obedience. John 14:21 is one of my favorite verses. Here are the words of Jesus: “Whoever has my commandments and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
The verse ends with a particularly precious promise: “I will show myself to him (or her)”, or “I will manifest myself to him.” Is this just what we are longing for, namely a clearer vision of Christ? . . .
But this promise of Jesus is conditional. He reveals himself only to his lovers. And who are his lovers? Not those who make loud protestations of love, and then go out like Peter to deny him. Not those who sing rather sentimental songs “Jesus, I love you.” (It is all right to sing them too, but they do not prove anything.) No, those who truly love the Lord Jesus are those who obey his commandments.
To sum up, the test of love is obedience, and the reward of love is a self-manifestation of Christ.
- John Stott , The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor
I kinda wish I'd found the quote before I preached!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
"You need to get used to this reality. Once you become a parent, for the rest of your life, you'll never be happier than your unhappiest child, because your heart is tied to your kids. That is a way of learning the gospel because before you have kids you don't really know what it means that God suffers for your sins. He has to. He has to suffer for your sins, because when you have children you suffer for their sins. Your heart is tied up to them."
What follows is a recent entry that really has me thinking...and praying:
"A mature Christian is easily edified."
Chip Stam cited those words by Harold Best in the first video I linked to earlier. Those words have been rolling around in my heart and mind for the past couple of days.
Isn't that a wonderful goal--a sign of good mental health and genuine obedience of faith?
I'm afraid that far too often an accurate assessment of myself would reveal:
* easily annoyed
* easily irritated
* easily impatient
* easily hurt
* easily angered
* easily distracted
* easily arrogant
But wouldn't it be great if those who knew us best could honestly say, "It is so easy to edify him. It doesn't take much. It doesn't need to be the best sermon ever preached or the most excellent song ever composed or the most powerful book ever written or the most theologically eloquent statement ever uttered. Just the simplest truth was enough to refresh his heart in Christ."
Not a bad way to pray--for ourselves and for others.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The love of God is in fact true but sadly has been so overly emphasized in most Christian teaching that one wonders if God is love or if love is now God."
- Mark Driscoll, Death By Love, p. 128
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Lord, make my life a miracle!"
Raymond C. Ortlund, Lord, Make My Life A Miracle, page 151.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
One moment you are in a warzone, the next you are (in my case) in Australia enjoying seven days of relaxation. But, from the first moment, in the back of your mind, in ever increasing volume, is the tick-tock of the clock...four days, three days, 73 hours...and, boom, back to the war zone.
Students who come to Christian camps are, in varying degrees, leaving the war zone of "real life" and coming to what, prayerfully, will be a taste, a nibble, of heaven. Surrounded by staff/counselors/speakers who love Jesus, away from the all negative media and so forth...enjoying life, laughter, and being challenged by the Word of God.
Oh yeah, and exhausted!
But, in many of their minds, the reality of time slipping away thunders in their heads...three more days, two more, 27 hours...and, boom, back to the war zone.
So our goal should be to equip and arm them to fight the good fight when they get back to the real world. Obviously we want to declare the gospel to those outside the family of the redeemed; and we want to challenge and encourage Christians to "grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ" and give them tools and ideas to accomplish that growth; but we dare not get so "numbers" oriented that we think it is all about "decisions" and "going forward."
After all, profession of faith is not the same as possession of faith.
But too often the emphasis is on "decisions". Obviously some wonderful transformations take place when God's Word is preached; but by the middle of the week the students are so tired and emotional that a careless or impurely solely emotional "altar call" will get plenty of "results," but not often Spirit-prompted commitments.
And we must emphasize that Ephesians 2.10 is just as inspired as Ephesians 2.8,9; salvation works! And we must combat the sloppy agape stuff that indicates it is all about us, and emphasize that the life of a Christian is one of sacrifice,inconvenience, and great joy.
The battle is the Lords, yes, but we are participants in the battle. Lock and Load!
"Prayer mirrors the gospel. In the gospel, the Father takes us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of salvation. In prayer, the Father receives us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of help. We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks as the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy, meandering prayers.”
—Paul Miller, A Praying Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress 2009), 55
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
“In every other religion the indicative flows from the imperative. Which means, ‘because I do, therefore I am… because I do this, therefore I’m a child of God.’ But only in Christianity does the imperative flow from the indicative. ‘Because I am in Christ all these things, therefore I obey.’ Exactly the opposite.”
- Tim Keller, Led by the Spirit (message given at Redeemer Presbyterian Church)
Friday, June 5, 2009
GOD TEXTS THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
BY JAMIE QUATRO
- - - -
1. no1 b4 me. srsly.
2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
3. no omg's
4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool
6. dnt kill ppl
7. :-X only w/ m8
8. dnt steal
9. dnt lie re: bf
10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.
M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
"Everyone who has faith is called to profess faith, but not everybody who professes faith has faith. A lot of people, it seems to me, in the evangelical world, believe that if they have walked the walk, raised the hand, signed the card - that is, made some kind of methodological profession of faith - that they're saved."
The author, Warren Cole Smith, continues, "This statement is an affront to much of modern evangelicalism, but it should be familiar to anyone who knows the teachings of Jesus: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7.21)
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Unless you are the type who only reads books with which you know you'll agree; I have a challenge for you.
But first a quote from the book, not totally in context so I don't scare people away:
(the author writes about Christian radio, and the fact that many of them use a tagline, "safe for the entire family")
"Some of us cannot hear that tagline without experiencing a bit of unintended irony. We remember C. S. Lewis's description of Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: 'Course He isn't safe. But He's good.' The modern evangelical church, on the other hand, has become satisfied with a lion that no longer roars. The church has become safe, but no longer good."
Blood pressure up? Though I'm only half-way through the book, it is challenging, convicting, and a tad confirming. I challenge you to read it. The book, "A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church" is authored by Warren Cole Smith and, if you'd like (which would also help me a bit) you may order it here: