Reading the Christmas passages from the Bible along with Advent devotionals, I have been reminded of what peace truly is.

Peace is not the absence of troubles and problems and stress and drama. Instead, peace is the presence of God.

My observation of the world and the people in it only confirms this belief. Nothing brings peace except God.

So it is fitting that the heavenly host along with the Angel while appearing to the shepherds said

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

Peace is not everywhere. And not everyone will have it. Peace is for those who know God.

psalm 16… refreshing

Psalm 16 ends with this

“you make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Everyone wants that type of satisfaction and happiness, but not everyone knows where you find it.  Notice where David finds it. The first two verses of the Psalm state “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” “

David finds guidance for life, fullness of joy, and pleasures forever in the loss and denial and abandon of himself and the all out surrender and trust in God.

All alone and left to ourselves, there is nothing good. Finding ourselves in God, everything begins to make sense!

try to get this christmas book

A few years ago, I got this book and absolutely loved it. I now get back into it every year at Christmas time. It is an advent devotional book. Nancy Guthrie has taken sermon excerpts from many of the greats and compiled it into one wonderful small volume. Some of the people she has taken from are Charles Spurgeon, Saint Augustine, John MacArthur, John Piper, Joni Erickson-Tada, Martin Luther, and so on. It is phenomonal!

You can buy it here on Amazon for $8. I really recommend this book.

Agnew on problem with ‘Radical’

I went to college with Travis Agnew. I loved him then, and I love him now. (even though we do not talk much)

Click here to read his short but very very good article on his problem with David Platt’s new book Radical. (It is a good problem.) Many of us need to hear what he is saying.

Please take time to check it out.

humility quote

Jonathan Edwards:

“A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble brokenhearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires; their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable, and full of glory, is a humble, brokenhearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit, and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behavior.”

Wow! That is our prayer. God, please give hearts like this!

what sports taught me about life

As I grow up I am seeing more and more that the many things I learned from playing sports while growing up, actually have helped me a great deal in life. Here are 4 phrases that mean a lot. These phrases came from my years in basketball, but they certainly apply to life as well.

  1. Pressure can bust a pipe. Pressure can be very hard. Life is full of pressure. Life is hard. It all depends on how we handle the pressure that will determine whether or not it busts us. Life is hard, not horrible. When we make bad decisions, the pressure can bust us,  and then a hard life becomes horrible.
  2. Never too high, never too low. In our good days, we know worse days are coming. In our worst times, we know better times are coming. The key is to remain steady and constant. Don’t be influenced by your surroundings or circumstances.  Decide who you want to be… and then be that person. Don’t allow people, or stuff, or circumstances cause you to be too high or too low. Instead, stay steady.
  3. When you lose, say little. When you win, say less. It is always wise to let your words be few. Let your life and actions do the talking. If you lose, don’t make excuses. In fact, say very little. If you win, Don’t talk about it. It has always been true… Actions speak louder than words.
  4. Next one in. When I would do hours and hours of shooting drills, my coach would make us yell out “next one in” after every single miss. (I have already taught JJ this when we are practicing shooting on his mini hoop.) Saying this caused us to quickly forget the miss and quickly look on to making the next shot. It taught me optimism. It taught me confidence. It taught me to not let something bad, like a missed shot,  discourage me too much. There is always another shot coming, and if I am effected by the last miss then I will be no good for the future shots. Therefore, in our struggles, we press on, looking to whats next… better things.

I believe sports are powerful. They were powerful in my life. These four phrases helped me then in sports, and more importantly they help me now in life.

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.”