Christmas Candlelight Service

On Sunday evening, December 19th at 6:00pm, our church will be having a Candlelight Christmas Service.

This will be a delightfully warm service centered on the love and forgiveness of Jesus. We will sing Christmas songs, Read Christmas passages from the Bible, light candles, and soak in all that God has in store for us this Christmas season.

I am asking all of our people to make plans to have your entire family at this meaningful service.

3 steps to godliness

Obviously, there are not 3 steps to make you godly.

But the pursuit of holiness and godliness is something to be desired by every redeemed child of God. I am often asked by the younger disciples…’how to become more godly?’

While it is a long process… and we will never really get there this side of heaven… and it is a work of the Holy Spirit, there is some Biblical instruction.

In James chapter 1, we have 3 steps in the right direction. James says in 1:26-27 that if you want your religion to be pure and undefiled before God the Father and not worthless, then do these 3 things.

  1. Bridle your tongue (our words reveal our hearts. when you cuss and curse and gossip and slander, you are showing how dirty your heart is. even if what you are saying is somewhat true.)
  2. visit widows and orphans in their affliction (our attention and concern to those who are truly needy is crucial to being the real church)
  3. keep yourself unstained from the world (the world is opposed to God in its sinful rebellion. is it impacting you or are you impacting it? even if its not killing you, is it staining you?)

Again, this isn’t the only way to be godly. Its not as easy as 1,2,3, but this is a great step in the right direction.

How are you doing in these three areas?

what are you excited about it?

D.A. Carson:

“If I have learned anything in 35 or 40 years of teaching, it is that students don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again. That had better be the gospel.

If the gospel—even when you are orthodox—becomes something which you primarily assume, but what you are excited about is what you are doing in some sort of social reconstruction, you will be teaching the people that you influence that the gospel really isn’t all that important. You won’t be saying that—you won’t even mean that—but that’s what you will be teaching. And then you are only half a generation away from losing the gospel.

Make sure that in your own practice and excitement, what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about is Jesus, the gospel, the cross. And out of that framework, by all means, let the transformed life flow.”

position in Christ, or not

The Bible only tells of us two positions that people can be in spiritually:

  1. For God in Christ
  2. Not for God

In our life experiences, this often is muddy or hard to distinguish. For we all know good people who are not committed to God, but they really seem to be good people. And we also know Godly people who have done some bad things. And of course, there are numerous situations in between those two too.

But when we look into the Bible, God’s Word never tells of any other positions possible than the two named above. All people are either 1) For God in Christ or 2) Not for God. Biblically speaking, it is as simple as that.

As we try to figure out which of the two we are, we should know that the Bible teaches that #2 (Not for God) is the default position. All people began that way. If you are #1, it is because God has done a gracious work in you. If you are not sure, then you are probably still in the default position, Not for God.

In John 3:16-36, we have this default position explained well. There are 4 points:

  1. ‘Not for God’ because you’re perishing (v. 16)
  2. ‘Not for God’ because you’re condemned…already (v.18)
  3. ‘Not for God’ because you don’t have new life (v.36)
  4. ‘Not for God’ because the wrath of God remains on you (v.36)

In 3:16, the Bible says whoever believes in Jesus can have eternal life instead of perishing because perishing is the default position. That means you are ‘not for God’.

In 3:17-18, the Bible says Jesus did not come into the world to condemn world but instead to save the world. He did not come to condemn it because it is condemned already. The world is ‘not for God.’

In 3:36, the Bible says whoever believes has eternal life but whoever does not obey shall not see life. The reason being that belief will bring new life, and the absence of belief and obedience leaves you in the default position without life and ‘not for God.’

And in 3:36, the Bible says if you do not believe then the wrath of God remains on you. Not that it may come to you late, but that it remains on you now. That is because the default position for all people is being ‘not for God.’

Now lets look at the first position, #1 ‘For God in Christ.’ In Philippians 3:12-16, we will see this #1 position explained well. There are 4 points:

  1. pressing on to be ‘For God in Christ’ (v.12)
  2. straining forward to be “For God in Christ’ (v.13)
  3. pressing on toward the goal of being ‘For God in Christ’ (v.14)
  4. holding true to being ‘For God in Christ’ (v. 16)

To summarize all 4 points, the default position is strong, but God in His grace calls people out of death and into life. Out of darkness and into light. When God does this, saves someone, they go from being ‘Not for God’ to being ‘For God in Christ.’ And being ‘For God in Christ’ has a very distinct look. It is a pressing on, straining forward, and holding on tight. If ever one decides to let go, the fall right back to the default position. Sadly, it happens far too often. Why? Because people don’t understand the Bible’s claim that there are only 2 positions. One is the default position and it is not a good one. The other one is Awesome, but it is a holding on tight for sake of saving your life.

If someone was drowning in a fast moving river and a helicopter came to rescue them, the helicopter would drop the rope with the float at the end and yell__________! What would they yell? We all know. They would yell “GRAB ON!” And once the person grabbed on, they would yell___________! What would they then yell? We all know. They would yell “HOLD ON TIGHT!” At the very moment that they let go, they would fall back into the water and die.

So is the Good News of Jesus, do not stay in the default position of being ‘Not for God.’ Instead, Grab hold of Him and the forgiveness of sins he gives, and do not let go. Hold on Tight to Him and so prove to be ‘For God in Christ.’

Sills on missions in Latin America

Dr. David Sills writes a very timely article here about missions in Latin America. There is still a lot of urgent work to be done there. If you are interested in missions or care at all, please take time to read this.

Here is an excerpt:

“Rather than leave, our ministries should change. We must train theologians, prepare pastors, teach teachers, and disciple disciplers (2 Timothy 2:2). As we train them, we are ensuring their protection from the cults and false religions that will seek to deceive and win them. As Latin Americans feel called to reach, teach, and preach in their own and neighboring countries, let us train them to the work. They will do it better than we ever could once their heads, hearts, and hands are prepared for the work.”

make a difference

I believe the Bible teaches that Christians can and should be difference-makers in their own little circles. I am not saying everyone should be a superstar, but I am saying that the focus and quality and intensity and sincerity that Christians should exhibit due to their indwelling Holy Spirit and high view of God, his holiness and calling, should be making a difference wherever they are.

I want to be a difference maker.

Here is a little inspiring story of someone small making a difference.

I recently heard of a 4th grade boy who is making a big difference at his school in his classroom. This particular public school allows each day for a 20 minute ‘free reading’ period. During this time students are allowed to read anything they would like. Often kids read comic books, sports books, novels, etc.

Well, this particular 4th grade boy decided he wanted to bring his Bible and read it during the free read time. Knowing the tension between public schools and the one true God, this student first asked his teacher for permission to read his Bible. The teacher told him he was allowed to read his Bible because it is a ‘free reading’ time, and students are allowed to reading anything of their choice.

So the next day this student brings his Bible to school. When ‘free reading’ time comes, he reaches into his backpack and pulls out his Bible and proceeds to read it.  The student sitting next to him notices that he is reading the Bible. So this new observant student asks if he can too.

Sure enough. So the next day, these two neighboring desk students are each reading their Bibles in the public school classroom during the ‘free reading’ time.

Over the next several days, it began to spread. As of last week, the last I had heard, there were now six 4th grade students in that class boldly reading the Bible during the ‘free reading’ time.

One young student took a small step and is now making a big difference.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” –Isaiah 40:8

let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16

c.s lewis on legalism

This excerpt is full of wisdom. All of us ought to worry about our own flaws and fixing ourselves a little more and then worry about others a lot less.

Click here for it.

School Of The Week: Fairdale – Video – WLKY Louisville

School Of The Week: Fairdale – Video – WLKY Louisville.

Over the last several years, our church has worked a lot with the local high school. One of the ways we do this is by feeding some of the sports teams pre-game meals.

Well, this year we really have grown in our relationship with the Fairdale High football team. We love the players and coaches, and we are proud to be a church that supports them.

Fairdale was chosen as the school (or team) of the week by tv station WLKY.

whats in a name?

I have been thinking some about names. Names mean something (or at least they should).

Please click here to view our family blog and read a short post about our kids names and Whats in a name?

taking care of widows & shut-ins

Recently our church has spent some days cleaning yards for some of our ladies. Several people have worked hard to rake and bag leaves. It has been some hard work, but all have enjoyed the time serving together.

The Bible teaches us to be united and genuinely care for each other. This is one small way to do that.