Sept. 23, 2016

Repentance: Running to the Greatest of All Treasures

This fits pretty well with the theme of my most recent post.

The proper response to the gospel is to repent (Acts 2:38). The question is, have you repented? If you haven’t repented in such a way that you’ve turned to Jesus by faith, your so-called repentance is deficient and damning.

What Does TV Say About Sex?

This is a much needed call for us to be mindful of what media is teaching us.

In ten minutes, I heard at least three lies: 

  1. Heterosexual sex outside of marriage is commendable and good.
  2. Homosexual relationships are commendable and good.
  3. It’s fun and exciting to invite someone you don’t know to come on to you sexually.

Save Your Soul: Stop Writing

As writers, we often hand over our souls and stories for the price of approval, advances, page-views, speaking opportunities, and more book deals. But sometimes (not always) the best thing to do is to be silent. To listen. To hear.

15 Reasons Why Visitation Is Vital for Your Pastor

Here Andrew Roycroft writes a response to Thom Rainer’s post on why pastor’s should not visit much. I really appreciate the thoughts of both Roycroft and Rainer, and together the two articles provide a nice balance for pastoral and congregational visitation.

Pushing Kids Into Transgenderism Is Medical Malpractice

The problem with taking the steps to transition physically—cross-gender hormones and surgeries—is that physical changes are likely permanent, but the feelings driving the desire may change, especially for young people.

 

 

Sept. 16, 2016

Below are a few Internet articles that I found quite beneficial to read.

What’s Wrong with Western Missionaries?

If I were to start my missionary life over, I would bury my pride and unpack some humility. I would become a brother, a friend, and a peer. I would care more about the names of my brothers and sisters on the “mission field” and less about the numbers of baptisms, people discipled, churches planted, and orphanages built.

They Unchurched the Church

A great thought on the failure of seeker-friendly churches.

It breaks my heart to consider this perspective. I think of an unbeliever going to church, a Christian church, and walking away disappointed because it lacked a seriousness, weightiness, and gospel content. It was so practical that it was irrelevant. What in the world are we doing? 

I’m kinda sick of church

Don’t be the traditional church. Don’t be the liberal church. Don’t be the political church. Don’t be the hipster church. Don’t be the young church. Don’t be the old church. Don’t be the contmeporary church. 

Just be the Church.

The Law of Christ | Charles Leiter

I’m reading through Leiter’s book right now (so hopefully a You Should Read post will follow). This three-part teaching explores some of the main ideas of his book.

God’s Will for the Average Layman

Not everyone who gets saved should feel like they need to quit their job and become a pastor in order to work in the ministry. The office of pastor and elder is not for everyone. I pray I have made it easy to see that as long as we are following God’s commands in scripture, working diligently to live righteously and holy by obedience to His law, and spreading the gospel and making disciples, then we are doing the will of God. 

 

 

Sept. 9, 2016

Below are a few Internet articles that I found quite beneficial to read.

Treat Yourself to the Voice of God

The world, the flesh, and the devil himself muster their collective energies to deceive us into orienting on God’s word as some mere duty, rather than receiving it as the delight it is. We’re prone to take one of the single greatest gifts available to us and treat it as a life-sucking obligation rather than a life-giving opportunity.

Simple Ways to Spark a Lukewarm Devotional Life

Don’t allow your lack of interest to keep you from doing what you know is so good for your soul. Read and pray and trust that the warm desire will return.

22 Years Ago, The Clintons Pulled A Colin Kaepernick On Mother Teresa

“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want,” she said. “This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

How to Make the Bible Support Any Sexual Practice in 3 Easy Steps

A wonderfully sarcastic read that dives into the mechanics of how people twist Scripture to make it support their cause.

12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting Something Online

Is what you’re about to communicate going to help or hinder those you’re evangelizing? Is it likely to diminish the significance (to them) of your commitment to the gospel, or enhance it?

beauty

Real and vulnerable.

Bring Back the Church Prayer Meeting

Amen!

Aug 21-27, 2016

Here is a roundup of online articles that I found helpful this week.

As for Me and My Household…

I stumbled upon these guys at Reformed Outlook (and their podcast), and I’m glad I did. This article discusses the difficulties and joys of shepherding your children. Since my wife and I desire (but currently don’t have) children, it was a particular blessing to read.

Pastoral Ministry Does Not Have to Be Sedentary 

Considering last week I wrote a post about my confession of gluttony, this article certainly affirms much of my thinking. Especially as leaders of the church, pastors are called to be self-controlled and disciplined, which includes our bodies.

Batman, Realism and a couple of Fight Club references

Begin with a discourse on the Dark Knight films, and end with a declaration that God cannot fit inside the mental boxes we create… How could that not be worth a few minutes to read?

Does Your Pastor Love You?

“How can you tell how much a pastor loves Christ and his people? It is by his preaching. Doctrinal preaching feeds and protects the sheep.”

A.P.T.A.T.: Practical Steps to Walk by Faith

This is actually a couple of weeks old, but I just watched the video this week.

Ecclesiastes

The guys at The Bible Project consistently crank out outstanding content, but due to my love for Ecclesiastes, this one just swept me away. But don’t forget to watch their Proverbs video first, if you haven’t already.

A Prayerful Longing for God (Psalm 84)

Psalms Study Guide (Week 5)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:2)

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  (Psalm 84:10)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

OPENING THOUGHT

We have already seen that worship encompasses virtually every aspect of our lives, and even all of creation calls us to worship our God, the Creator. Last week, we saw a key component for true worship: repentance. Through the prayerful repentance of David, we saw how the follower of Christ ought to be broken by sin and how we should to pray in response to our sins.

Just as the psalms themselves frequently shift moods, we turn now to a significantly brighter psalm. Written, likely, by the Sons of Korah, this psalm is entirely about desiring to be with the LORD. Their poetic longings flow through each line as they declare their love for the courts and dwelling place of God. There is such a degree of exuberance to their words that we might even say that they are desperate to be in the presence of the LORD.

Interestingly, the center of their focus though is upon the temple of the LORD, the designated house of worship for Israel. Within the temple, worship was primarily made through animal sacrifices to God. There likely should a level of shock to us in thinking about how the psalmist speaks so longingly about a place of ritual sacrifices; however, painted within this psalm is a picture of the sacrifices that the LORD desires. He wants us to come before Him in joy and delight, longing to be with our Father. Do we likewise desire to be in worship of God?

Read verses 1-4 and discuss the following.

  1. The psalmist opens this hymn by pronouncing his overwhelming desire for being in the temple (aka the LORD’s dwelling place). For what reason did the psalmist so strongly desire to be in the temple?
  2. After expressing his opening desire for being within the courts of the LORD, the psalmist exuberantly declares the blessings of dwelling within the house of God, singing forever His praises. How is this similar to our anticipation of heaven’s joys? Why will we never grow weary of praising the LORD?

Read verses 5-9 and discuss the following.

  1. The description within these verses of a worshiper traveling toward the temple led to this psalm being sung frequently by Israelites making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Here the psalmist is determined to complete his journey, resolving to be as unstoppable as possible. Do you have a similar determination to meet with God in prayer, through reading the Scriptures, and in corporate worship with other believers?

Read verses 10-12 and discuss the following.

  1. The psalmist claims that he would rather be a doorkeeper within God’s house for a day than spend one thousand days anywhere else. Is this similar to how you value God?
  2. We find in verse 11 a very strong statement that God will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Does this mean that we can claim material blessings as some prosperity teachers might interpret this verse? How do we reconcile this verse with the fact that good things do appear to be withheld from us at times?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Consider the psalmist’s longing for the LORD. Resolve to fast as the LORD leads you (for example: one meal, one day, or one week), praying for a greater hunger and thirst for the God.
  • Pray for a greater joy and delight in God.