what is repentance?

This an outstanding quote from D.L. Moody about repentance. I used it in last week’s Sunday Morning sermon. You can listen to that sermon here. The sermon was on repentance and preached from Luke 3.

Here is the quote (taken from Daily Grace for Teens):

“Let me say what it is not. Repentance is not fear. Many think they have to be alarmed and terrified, and in order to repent, they are waiting for some kind of fear to come down upon them.

Repentance is not feeling. I find a great many people are waiting to to turn to God, but think they cannot do it until this feeling comes.

Repentance is not fasting and afflicting the body. A person may fast for weeks and months and years, yet not repent of one sin.

Neither is it remorse. Judas had terrible remorse, but that was not repentance.

Repentance is not conviction of sin. I have seen people under such deep conviction of sin that they could not sleep at night or enjoy a single meal, and yet, they did not truly repent.

Neither is praying repentance. Many people say, “I will pray and read the Bible,” and yet never repent.

It is not quitting one single sin. Forsaking one vice is like breaking off one limb of a tree when the whole tree has to come down.

What is repentance? It is “Right About Face!” It implies that a person walking in one direction has not only faced about, but is actually walking in an exactly contrary direction.”

sticking to commitments – grace & discipline

If you know anything about college basketball this season, then you know about BYU and their sudden success. The Mormon Cougars, led by star player Jimmer Fredette, are ranked #3 in the nation this week and are in the discussions for a #1 seed for the NCAA tournament.

Well also this week, the school announced that starting forward Brandon Davies has been dismissed from the team for breaking the school’s honor code. The school was quick to announce that he has not been kicked out of school; he has not done any criminal offense; and he has not messed up academically. He simply broke the school’s honor code. Every student, athlete or not, at BYU commits to keeping the school’s honor code.

Davies admittedly broke the honor code. And because of that he has been dismissed from the team. (This really hurts the team. Their first game without Davies was last night, and they lost badly.)

ESPN reports today here that Davies had sexual relations with his girlfriend. This is not allowed for any student at Brigham Young University.

My thoughts race quickly to whether this is good or bad. Should they forgive him and restore him? Or should he be punished this?

In a day when integrity is lacking nearly everywhere, especially in collegiate sports, it is nice to see a school stick to their commitments and model integrity.

As BYU’s head coach said:

“A lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it’s a commitment they make. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about commitment.”

I agree. Great statement. Having sex with your girlfriend is wrong, but its not the end of the world. But also getting kicked off the team for this season is not the end of the world. He is still in school.

Discipline is a good thing. Its how people grow. Commitment is a good thing too. If you make a commitment, be committed. And if you are not going to be committed, then just know that discipline may come.

It is nice to see a good example of integrity from the school.

So so good – 5 things you wont find in Bible

R.C. Sproul has written a  very insightful article here.

It is titled ‘5 Things I’m Surprised I Cant Find in the Bible.’

If you are a Christian and member of a church anywhere, please take time to read this. It will help you relax so much about the way you think and it will also encourage you to keep loving the God who speaks to you through His Word.

He concludes “The Bible, like its author, is perfect. Praise that author that He is perfecting me through it.”

when it comes down to it – who?

When it comes down to it, who is your life and friendship and parenting emphasizing?

For everyone who knows you, do they think of Jesus when they think of you? Do your conversations leak Jesus? Are your friendships and family influenced by Him? Do your kids have an overwhelming sense that Jesus is so important?

Colossians 1:16-17 “all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

These verses are talking about Jesus. Life is unquestionably ALL ABOUT JESUS! To understand something else or to not understand that statement is really really bad and wrong.

So that brings me to asking and thinking what is it that we are really about? Him or something else?

The other night Valeria and I got to go eat at the restaurant that I worked at through seminary. That has been several years now. It was like 2003 through 2005. I got to see several people who are still working there that I have not seen in a while. They were all shocked that Val and I have three sons now. That made me proud. One of them stopped by to chat for a bit. In a 3 minute catch-up conversation, he asked me 4 different questions about sports. This really got me thinking. Did I work there for three years and all he remembers about me is sports? Not Jesus?

It could be that since he isn’t a believer, he didn’t want to bring up Jesus. I don’t know. But it got me thinking… what does my life emphasize?

When it comes down to it, lets be sure that we emphasize Jesus!

8 tips for talking to your kids about the sermon

As a father of three young boys, I am extremely nervous and prayerful about raising them well. I thank God daily for a wife who is so good with them. She makes up for the many areas where I am lacking.

But I am always eager to find a good book or article to help me improve on training my boys to trust Jesus.

Here is a great little article about talking to your kids after church.

false assurance

I can remember back in the day when my mother would get on me for something, and she would ask me for my excuse.

For instance, she would get on me by asking, “why did you not mow the yard like  I had asked you to?” And then she would follow that up by saying “and don’t you begin to tell me …”

We are people with all kinds of excuses. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say “well, I didn’t know.” Perhaps, every teenager ever has used that one. But we all know that most excuses do not work.

Worse is when our excuse becomes our assurance. A false assurance. In churches (and out of churches) today, we have so many people thinking that they are saved due to a weak excuse. A false assurance.

I know people who think they are saved and going to heaven because they 1) grew up in church, or 2) they have been baptized, or 3) they walked the aisle, or 4) they prayed the prayer, or 5) their dad is a deacon, or 6) their grandfather was a minister, or 7) they are pretty good person.

The Bible only teaches that faith and repentance toward Jesus is what saves you.  None of those excuses or any others will work. If you are trusting in those or something like those, then you have a false assurance.

In Luke 3:8, John the baptist tells the folks who are coming to baptized to “bear fruits in keeping with repentance”. In other words, live a life that looks like you are saved. But then after that he warns them, “And do not begin to say to yourselves ‘we have Abraham as our father.'”

I love this. It reminds me of how my mother used to train me up. John knew that these people had a false assurance that just because they were in Abraham’s family that they were in good standing with God. Thats not true. Good standing with God only comes through faith in Jesus and repentance away from self.

So be sure that you are saved. Don’t have a false assurance.

the ten plagues

In the book of Exodus, we learn that God’s people are in slavery in Egypt. Pharoah begins to treat God’s people so badly. Then God tells Moses to go and tell Pharoah to let His people go. Pharoah in all his pride and self-centeredness refuses. Pharoah would not listen to Moses and Aaron. Pharoah thought he was god. He did not want to submit to God.

So God brings (10) ten plagues, one by one,  upon Pharoah and his country to show that He (God) is greater and mightier than Pharoah. The story goes that Pharoah still hardens his heart and rejects and ignores God… until the final plague.

Well, many people know about the plagues, but few people actually know them. So a few years ago, as I was teaching through Exodus to the Youth. I came up with a song to memorize them. Lately, I have begun teaching this song to JJ & Eli. (They are a long way from knowing this song, and therefore the plagues. But it is coming.)

Heres the song. Never forget it. Be grounded in God’s Word.

“Blood then Frogs, Gnats then Flies,
Then comes number 5, the livestock dies.

Boils, Hail, Locusts, darkness to the eyes,
Then comes number 10, the firstborn dies.”

This simple little song has been so helpful to me. For about five years now, I have known the 10 plagues.  I hope it is helpful to you.

Lastly, and most importantly, please know that you are not greater than God. Pharoah opposed God and it ended up badly. Don’t oppose God; submit to Him, trust in Him. Run to Him. Be loved by Him. Love Him.

pray for sayed musa

This man in Afghanistan is supposed to be hanged within the next few days for leaving Islam and becoming a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

Please click this link to see the post by Justin Taylor concerning all the details.

Remember Hebrews 13:3 “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

Also remember the great hymn by Martin Luther “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in which he wrote and we sing “let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still.”