Our church sent a team to Ecuador in July. Here is the re-cap video from our trip.
Our church sent a team to Ecuador in July. Here is the re-cap video from our trip.
“Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to his feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.”
I recently found this gem of a poem while reading David McIntyre’s book The Hidden Life of Prayer.
No one likes trials, but they often prove to be so rich. God uses trials to produce growth in us!
From this sweet poem, notice these solid truths:
It is hard to put into words all that is in your heart and mind once returning from a trip overseas. As Christians, we are in awe of what we see God doing in the world! We are stunningly aware of the truth of God’s statement in Psalm 46:10 “Be Still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Yes, you will God! Yes, you will!
Below I list 5 observations/reflections from our recent trip to Ecuador.
I am already considering and planning how our church can take another separate trip specifically to do pastoral training.
The world is so full of people. We often hear of 7 billion people on earth. And we know that is a large number. But it is always overwhelming to get into a crowded city and think “Wow! There are a lot of people here!” Whether we were in the capital city Quito (2 million plus) or in the small indigenous town of Apatug, we were realizing how great the need is for Christian people to be here making disciples for Jesus.
As always, we were so blessed by this year’s trip. We are continually learning! May God be glorified through us as we serve Him! And may FBC Fairdale become more and more of a Great Commission Church!
There is much discussion these days about the Holy Spirit and the gifts He gives to His people. A lot of the discussion is well and good and helpful. But also a lot of the discussion is unnecessary. With many discussions going on today, much of it is missing the point and not needed.
In the book of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul spends a lot of time discussing the Holy Spirit and the gifts He gives to His church. Corinth is a city with a church, and Paul is helping them believe, understand, think and function properly as a “Spiritual” people. Specifically, chapters 12-14 address Spiritual Gifts.
I want to highlight a few verses from chapter 14 that will bring a lot of clarity to understanding spiritual gifts.
All of that is from one chapter. If you were to read the chapter, his emphasis is even more heavy. He is being so redundant. He is stressing the purpose and significance of spiritual gifts = the building up of the church!
God’s Spirit is in every believer in Jesus. And that Spirit has gifted every believer in different ways. All the different believers with various gifts make up the one body of Christ. And all of those gifts from the Spirit among all those believers inside the one body are for one reason to build the church up for the Glory of God.
In other words, if it is not building up the church then it is not of the Spirit. That is clear from chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians.
The more and more I read the Bible the more I am convinced that God wants the life-changing truth to actually change our lives. Or perhaps better said, the life-changing truth of God actually does change lives!
In other words, Christians are to be people who are changed by their faith in Christ. Christians are to be people who walk the walk along with talking the talk.
This truth is very clear in Paul’s letter to Titus when he begins addressing the different folks in the church. In Titus 2, Paul urges Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine,” and he then explains what to expect from each group. He speaks of older men, older women, younger women, and younger men. The only characteristic that is common among all 4 of those groups is “self-control.”
We understand then that in that church on the island of Crete that Paul was concerned that the Christians there should be self-controlled. All of them should be. The men, the women, the young, the old, all of them are expected to have self-control.
The lack of self-control is an enormous problem today. And the result is that our lives are out of control! The ripple effect then of this problem is many people claiming to be Christians who have no self-control. Christians whose lives are out of control.
Men who are gone too much. Women who worry too much. Kids who play too much. Kids who do not play enough. Parents who work too much. We sit on the couch too much. We play sports too much. We watch too much TV. We are busy too much. Our lives are out of control. We need Self-control.
But the real truth is that self-control does not come from self. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. In other words, once you get saved God empowers you to have self-control. Self-control comes from the Spirit not from self!
If you are convicted because your life lacks the life-change that comes from faith in Christ, I suggest you start with self-control. Do you have it? Is it missing? Are there areas of your life that are out of control? Turn to God. Ask Him, through the Spirit, to give you self-control.
He will. He does. According to Titus 2, God expects all people in the church to be self-controlled!
Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I was excited for an emphasis-day on honoring my mother!
I decided to preach in a manner that I do not normally prefer. I preached a “How-To” sermon on “4 Ways to Honor Your Mother.”
Honor your mother is part of the 5th commandment that God gave to His people through Moses in the 10 Commandments in the book of Exodus. If Honoring your mother is one of God’s 10 great laws, then obviously it is important. Just think – if you were going to create a world and then give it 10 laws, what would be your 10 laws? Would honoring your mother be one of the 10? Obviously, God thinks moms are important!
Here were my 4 Points:
Most mornings while in the car, I listen to Alistair Begg preaching. Its on the radio at 8:00am on 94.7 FM. Lately he has been preaching from Proverbs concerning issues like friendship, honesty, procrastination and laziness.
Here is a quote that stuck with me:
“Laziness is a sin. God made us to work. …
As parents we have a great responsibility in this … the challenge for us is to breed children that are known for the quality of their work, for the consistency of their attendance, for the honesty of their endeavor, for the extra-mile given in the place of their employment. These simple things will increasingly be the marks of the godly as our world gives up on the standards of God’s Word.”
A few months back when the new Lego movie came out, we took our sons to see it. The movie was great. It kept their attention. And we loved it. (My 3 sons are so wildly in to Legos right now!)
Emmett, the main character in the movie, is a happy-go-lucky construction worker who begins each day enthusiastically singing this song – “Everything is Awesome!” The song is very catchy. The lyrics are funny. I especially like the song. My sons and I sing it together often. One line in the song says “Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.” Who doesn’t like happy encouraging words like that?
But the other day a few things were going wrong in our house. It was cold and rainy so the kids could not go outside. We did not allow the TV to be on because we had already watched too much television. It was not the best day in the life of our kids.
Well, Noah was walking through the house singing “Everything is awesome!” He said it several times. And that’s when I heard JJ say to him, “No. Everything is not awesome!”
It was a pivotal moment in our kids lives. I was glad to hear him say that. I am glad that he knows that.
JJ loves that song more than my other kids. He knows all the lyrics. He sings it more often than his brothers. But he knows its not totally true.
I don’t want to be a dad that falsely causes his kids to think everything is awesome. That’s not true. Some days are bad. Some days it rains, and we are stuck indoors. Some days we cannot do what we REALLY want to do. Some days are not awesome.
It is healthy for a kid to learn that reality because the older they get the more it will be clear. Let me give a few examples:
Just in the last week:
These are just some of the things that have happened in the last few days. None of these are on the news. I have not even mentioned the 5 year old in Louisville killed by a drunk-driver, or the ferry in South Korea that sank with hundreds on board, or the lost plane with over 300 passengers unaccounted for. We could go on and on and on with things that are not awesome.
But in all honesty, things just aren’t. They are not awesome. My son, JJ, learned this truth that day. And I am glad he did.
So we need to understand life in light of this realization. If we do not come to understand this truth, then life will be too hard for us. If we do not understand this truth, then we will not understand God.
God tells us in the Bible “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves…” -(Romans 8:22-23) In other words, everything is not awesome. Don’t be confused. Don’t have unrealistic expectations for life. Life indeed can be great at times, but everything is not awesome.
But God is awesome. And if anyone is in Christ, they are safe- they are God’s.
“Come and see what God has done: He is awesome…” -Psalm 66:5
So, lets not look for life to be awesome but instead look to God who is!
My wife has been teaching our kids about the Resurrection of Jesus. She uses a dozen Easter eggs to help them learn it. It seems to work really well. Here is a cool video of Noah (3 years old) explaining what each of the eggs mean.
*The video is full of “Spanglish.” I hope you are able to follow along.
**Also, sorry it doesn’t exactly fit on the blog.