The Global God Who Gives the Great Commission

The Global God Who Gives the Great Commission.

If you can, please please please find an hour to watch this sermon.

I loved it.

It is Louie Giglio preaching at the Desiring God National Conference 2011 from earlier this month. It contains one of the coolest, neatest things I have ever seen in which Giglio combines the sound of stars and galaxies with the sounds of whales with the sounds of humans. Breathtaking! Brought me to tears!

Check it out!

how do you hear it?

In Luke 8, Jesus tells a parable that applies to everybody.

He says that everytime the Word of God is spoken, or spread, there are 4 different ways that it is received or heard.

  1. Never wanted to. Some people hear the word and nothing happens. They hear but never want to respond to God.
  2. Used to want to. Some people hear the word and get excited. They receive it joyfully. But there is no root in them, and so eventually it dies out. Then they hear and dont want God.
  3. Want to but won’t or can’t. Some people hear the word and begin responding. But then worldly cares and persecution arise and choke them out. So their faith dies.  Then they hear the word and want to follow God, but won’t do it or cannot do it because everything is stronger or more important.
  4. Wants to and does. Lastly, some people hear the word and they respond by doing the word. They obey God. Jesus goes on to say this person bears fruit hundredfold. They hear the word and do the word.

This passage is also seen in Matthew 13 and Mark 4. It is incredible because it addresses everybody. Jesus is the best teacher ever. Only he could tell a story that means and effects so much.

So which are you? #1, #2, #3 or #4? How do you hear the word? What does the hearing the word of God do to you?

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:8

Fair Float

Last week was the Fairdale Fair. Saturday during the Fair, there is a Fairdale Parade. Its a lot of fun. While every year that I have been here our church has participated in the parade, this is the first year in a long time that we have had a float in the parade. Here is our float.

Our family (boys expecially) loved riding in the parade and throwing out the candy to all the people.

life is ‘not’ good

Life is NOT good.

Ever seen this logo before? Its a clothing brand. Ever worn it before? Ever thought this before?

I used to think that life was good. For the most part my life has been pretty good. But as I keep growing up and experiencing more and more of life, I am more and more aware that life is not good. I am serious, and I mean that.

Here is what I think: Life is not good. Life can sometimes be good and sometimes be really really not good. God is good.

Many times people love to say, or wear, or post a status that says ‘life is good.’ But often times that very same person on another day, or even hour, will be quick to say how awful life is at the moment. So what they really meant is not that “life is good” but more like “life is good sometimes.” Well if you begin to measure whether it is good or bad more often, which would it be?

God is good and He brings good things into our lives on a regular basis.

“every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” -James 1:16

What are people meaning when they say that life is good?

Whats our comfort

Lets think about the 28 year old who gets a phone call saying that his 55 year old father just fell over dead due to a massive heart attack.
Or what about the 22 year old lady working long hours yet still sturggling to make ends meet who has three young children at home and a man who has completely abandoned them.
Or what about the 48 year old man who in all his misery is so addicted to alcohol that he sleeps on park benches and spends every penny he can find on more alcohol.
Or what about the Father and Mother who have a son who is addicted to drugs, already messed up his entire life and is on the verge of overdose and suicide.
Or what about the young babies and kids who have been left out on the streets because their families cannot take care of them and they nothing else to do with them.
Or what about the millions of young girls around the world who are being forced into sex-trafficking.

The list goes on and on of examples. Real life examples. I didnt have to make those up because as a community guy I know people who are right now in situations just like those. Would we even begin to try and speak the word “Life is good” in their presence? Would you want to be wearing that t-shirt if you were helping them? Oh the arrogance!

I think folks, and especially Christians and churches, need to think through this. We are wrong when we declare that life is good. When we say this, we lose focus and misplace the “good”. Life is not good. God is good. When life is bad, we should turn to God and trust Him that He is good and He can carry us through it. When life seems good, we should turn to God and be humbled, undeserving, and thank Him for the blessing. We never stop at saying Life is Good. If it seems good to you, then that is wonderful and God has been good to you. Don’t take it for granted.

Their is such a display of misunderstanding life and gifts when we take things for granted. All things are gifts. Nothing is a given. Don’t take it for granted.

(Don’t get me wrong. I am not a pessimist. I am very high on life. I love to live life. I am excited to live. I am big into positive thinking and the glass is most often half-full to me, but all because of God. I see it through God. Everything good is good because of Him. Everything bad has the hope that God can change things.)

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” -Psalm 63:3

It is not the goodness of life that should be causing us to smile and make t-shirts. It is the goodness of the God who gives life. Let us praise him because His love for us in Christ is better than life.

our new church covenant

(adopted September 7, 2011)

“As a gathered church of believers in Jesus Christ in Fairdale, Kentucky, we covenant together in the bonds of love to walk as the family of God in the following ways.

1.   We will seek to follow after God privately and individually through trusting him, obeying him, praying to him, and learning about him from his word.

2.   We will seek by the Holy Spirit to maintain lives of holiness through drawing near to God, resisting the Devil, putting to death our sins, and living unto righteousness. We will personally watch over the souls of our fellow church members and urge them on to holiness and purity.

3.   We will seek to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ both personally and corporately. We will support efforts to extend the gospel in our community, our state, our country, and the world.

4.   We will seek to gather regularly to worship God, listen to the preaching of the word, and encourage one another.

5.   We will seek to support the ministries and mission of the church through praying for the church, exercising our spiritual gifts, and contributing financially to its needs.

6.   We will seek by the Holy Spirit to love one another sincerely while maintaining the unity and peace of the church. We will abstain from gossip, backbiting, and other sins that cause division within the church.

7.   We will strive to learn, support, and promote the church’s doctrine. We will also submit to the discipline of the church and its leadership.

8.   If we move from this place, we will seek, as soon as possible, to unite with some other church of like faith and practice where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant.”

people pleasing – know the balance

The other day I was struck by these two verses.

Galatians 1:10

‘For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 10:33

“just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

What is the balance in these two verses? It seems to be a tug-of-war in Paul. But thats just it… there is not. Because it is not about Paul. In Galatians, he clarifies with calling himself a “servant of Christ.” In Corinthians, he clarifies with “not seeking my own advantage.”

The Christian life is like that. The person who has died with Christ, died to self, and alive in him. The person who does not count his life as having any value at all except living for Christ is the one who is able to live to please God and live to please everyone.

Now thats a fine line for self. But its not a problem if self is crucified and gone.

To God be the glory!

who you gonna marry?

As a 31 year old pastor, I have many people who approach me about pursuing marriage. Actually way more than I was prepared to deal with. I am thankful for all the God-ordained opportunities though.

Also, as our church’s former youth pastor, I have lots of young people that I mentored in the past who are now grown up and looking toward marriage. I pray for them as they pursue it.

I say those things because I am aware and familiar with many of the challenges and struggles in this pre-marriage-stage-of-life. This article by the Resurgence is very helpful. It is short and good. Please take time to read it.

Here is a great line from the article:

“Instead of finding a compatible mate, Christians are instructed to marry another Christian and become a compatible mate.”

8 reasons why you ought to value the Bible

My wife, Valeria, has been reading the book The Best of J.C. Ryle and it blessed me so much when she shared this chapter with me. Valeria has enjoyed reading Ryle since she first heard of him while in college.

In chapter 6 entitled “Bible Reading,” Ryle writes:

“Give me your attention while I supply you with a few plain reasons why every one who cares for his soul ought to value the Bible highly, to study it regularly, and to make himself thoroughly acquainted with its contents.”

Here are his 8 points:

  1. There is no book in existence written in such a manner as the Bible.
  2. There is no knowledge absolutely needful to a man’s salvation, except a knowledge of the things which are to be found in the Bible.
  3. No book in existence contains such important matter as the Bible.
  4. No book in existence has produced such wonderful effects on mankind at large as the Bible.
  5. No book in existence can do so much for every one who reads it rightly as the Bible.
  6. The Bible is the only rule by which all questions of doctrine or of duty can be tried.
  7. The Bible is the book which all true servants of God have always lived on and loved.
  8. The Bible is the only book which can comfort a man in the last hours of his life.

I especially like those last 2 points. If you have never read any J.C. Ryle, I highly recommend it.

get at it!

I saw this quote the other day and it has not left me.

“if your presence makes no difference, your absence won’t either.”

What a thought! May there be more and more people who are wanting to make a difference.

Romans 12:10-11

“Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”