Shoutout to my church

Here is a video of Drew Dillman being interviewed after he finished 2nd place in Nationals for Under 23 Cyclocross.

At the 2:30 mark he speaks about his church. First Baptist Fairdale.

 

Drew “Dizzle” Dillman

This past Sunday one of our dear church members, Fairdae boy and Marian University student Drew Dillman, was riding for Team USA in Belgium. While he was racing there, his mother and sister were being baptized here.

Drew Dillman on the podium at Loenhout

Here is a recent article on Drew and how he is using cycling to magnify Christ!

We are so proud of him!

Reactions to the Christmas Message

During the month of December, we took a break from our usual sermon series from the Gospel of Luke. For the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas, I preached 4 different sermons on Reactions to the Christmas Message. (Our church found this series to be such a blessing. We would recommend it for any future Christmas sermon series.)

Week 1: December 2nd = Joseph’s reaction to the Christmas message from Matthew 1:18-25. In one word, Joseph’s reaction to the Chrismas message was Obedience. You can listen to that whole sermon here.

Week 2: December 9th = Mary’s reaction to the Christmas message from Luke 2:26-38. In one word, Mary’s reaction to the Christmas message was Submission. You can listen to that whole sermon here.

Week 3: December 16th = The Shepherds’ reaction to the Christmas message from Luke 2:8-20. In one word, the Shepherds reaction to the Christmas message was Rejoicing. You can listen to the whole sermon here.

Week 4: December 23rd = The reaction of the Wise Men to the Christmas message from Matthew 2:1-12. In one word, the reaction of the wise men to the Christmas message was Worship. You can listen to the whole sermon here.

The Chrismas message is something that most Americans are quite familiar with. God made the virgin Mary pregnant. The baby was God and would be the Savior of the world. However, we are often not responsive to this powerful, truthful message. We pray God would stir in your hearts that the message would cause you to be Obedient, Submissive, Rejoicing and Worshiping.

Christmas is about God clarifying God

Someone once said that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ This old and familiar phrase means that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. In many ways, I learned this on my first trip to New York City. I had often heard that New York City was so big, so fast-paced, and so diverse. But I wasn’t able to fully grasp it because I had never been to see it. Well, once I finally went I understood. That city is incredible. It really is so big and so fast-paced and so diverse. One might say you just have to be there to know what its truly like.

In many ways, God is like this. God is the most interesting and familiar subject in the world. All people everywhere think about God. They have thoughts on God, beliefs about God, opinions about God and so on. But all the different thoughts and opinions vary about God quite a bit.

One of the reasons why God is so misunderstood is because “no one has ever seen God” (John 1:18a).   Therefore as sinners, humans don’t understand God properly. This is what leads to many people saying things like ‘if god was real he could just come prove himself to everyone.’ And many people say they would believe in god if they ever saw him. Well, they wouldn’t, but that is for another time and discussion.

This thought is what makes Christmas and Christianity so unique and valuable. It is unlike any other religion. Its truly different. It is not people trying to figure out God. It is God showing and explaining Himself to people. God came to us.

In John 1:1-18, John says that God became a human and that human is Jesus. Jesus is God and man. Jesus is the answer to all the worlds questions, confusions, and misunderstandings about God. Jesus Christ the God-man is the picture that is worth more than a thousand words. But He is even more than a picture. He is real life. He is a person. He is just like us. And He is God, so he is just like God. In fact, Hebrews 1 says Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”

John concludes this prologue (verses 1-18) by saying at the end of verse 18 that “he (Jesus)has made him (God) known.” The New American Standard version says it like this “he (Jesus) has explained him (God).” Jesus has made God known to the world. If you want to know what God is like, look to Jesus or look at Jesus. Jesus is the explanation of God. He is God in the flesh. He is God in a picture. As John MacArthur says “All that Jesus says and does interprets and explains who God is and what he does.”

Christmas is the culmination and fulfillment of this beautiful truth. The birth of Christ is the very moment that God became man. Galatians 4:4 says “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His son, born of a woman.” And as Christ lived and taught our understanding of God was becoming more clear. Jesus explained Him. God in Jesus makes sense. He is no longer confusing.

This Christmas take heart that all of God and his promises have been fulfilled… in Jesus. Christmas is about God clarifying God. When the virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus the world received the greatest gift ever. God was blessing the world. God was explaining Himself to us. God was clearing up any confusion about what He is like. No other religion has anything like this. No other god is like our God, the true God. He makes sense to us now. He is great and He has people everywhere. If you this Christmas believe that Jesus is God coming to save us, then you are God’s child. If you will believe this, then you can be God’s child. As 1:12 says “to all who did receive Him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

 

a few thoughts on “the hole in our holiness”

I just finished reading Kevin Deyoung’s book The Hole in Our Holiness.  I found the book to be very good. I was blessed by it.

The book is short and easy to read. It only has 146 pages, and it is 10 chapters long so someone can quite easily read a chapter a day.

On the second page of the book, Deyoung states his purpose “The hole in our holiness is that we don’t really care much about it.”

This purpose in writing is very necessary. Sadly, Christians and non-christians alike are not very concerned or even interested in being like God. The remainder of the book does a good job addressing this “hole.”

I loved the book. For the many, many on-fire young Christians coming up in the church today, I would highly recommend you read this book. Read it so that it sinks in. So that you get it. And for the hundreds of Bible verses he quotes, make sure you get those too. This book is about what God is saying to us.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

 

Chapter 1: “No matter what you profess, if you show disregard for Christ by giving yourself over to sin –impenitently and habitually– then heaven is not your home.” (14) “You would not be happy there [in heaven] if you are not holy here.” (15)

“The Great Commission is about holiness. God wants the world to know Jesus, believe in Jesus, and obey Jesus.” (16)

Chapter 2: J.I. Packer “In reality, holiness is the goal of our redemption.” (24)

“To find acquittal from God on the last day there must be evidence flowing out of us that grace has flowed into us.” (26)

Chapter 3: “In other words, sanctified is what we are and what we must become.” (33)

“Or to put it another way, worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange.” (37)

“If you want to know what holiness looks like, look at God.” (39)

Chapter 4: “Let’s not be afraid to land on law– never as the means of meriting justification, but as the proper expression of having received it.” (54)

“Preachers must preach the law without embarassment. Parents must insist on obedience without shame.” (55)

Chapter 5: “The truth is God’s people can be righteous– not perfectly, but truly, and in a way that genuinely pleases God.” (64)

“Love does not equal unconditional affirmation. Love entails the relentless pursuit of what is for our good.” (73)

“When we sin, our union with Christ is not in jeopardy. But our communion is.” (74)

Chapter 6: John Owen “from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world.” (80)

Chapter 7: “Christ justifies no one whom he does not also sanctify.” (99)

“Do not strive after holiness because you cower in dread of God. Strive after holiness because you are confident you already belong to God.” (102)

Chapter 8: “In moving from darkness to light, one of the first things new Gentile converts had to accept was a radically different sexual ethic.” (109)

“Don’t reason with sexual sin, just run.” (111)

Chapter 9: “The man who attempts Christianity without the church shoots himself in the foot, shoots his children in the leg, and shoots his grandchildren in the heart.” (132)

Chapter 10: (This is one of the best chapters that I have read in a book in a long time. Very good!)

“when it comes to sanctification, it’s more important where you’re going than where you are. Direction matters more than position.” (138)

“Remember, it’s the testimony of all saints that as they get closer to God they see more of their ungodliness. It’s normal to feel less holy as you become more holy.” (139)

“Repentance is a way of life for the holy child of God.” (140)

“It’s one thing to sin your heart out, mumble a few sorrys, and get on with life. It’s quite another thing to hate your sin, cry out to God, and make a spiritual U-turn. Real contrition is hard, painful work.” (140)

“[Repentance] means admitting specific wrong, recognizing your offensiveness to God, changing course, turning to Christ, and wishing with all your heart you had never made the mistake you now despise.” (141)

“Godly grief doesn’t blame parents or the schools or the government or friends or the church. Godly grief says, “Have mercy on me, O God”” (143)

 

 

balancing sleep!

I remember those Saturday mornings as a teenager. The ones that came after late Friday nights from a hard-fought high school basketball game that left me drained. The ones that came at the tail end of a tiring school week full of tests, papers and homework assignments. Those Saturday mornings when nothing sounded better then being able to sleep until about Noon. But instead I was woken up by my father’s loud voice telling me to get outside and help rake leaves. Yes, I remember those mornings when I felt like I needed more sleep, and my dad knew I did not. Sleep is like that. Sometimes you need it, and sometimes you don’t. And then sometimes you think you need it when you don’t. And sometime you don’t think you need it when you actually do.

Well recently, I ran into both of these verses from God’s Word:

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” -Psalm 127:2

“Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty.” -Proverbs 20:13

I think it is remarkable that God says both of these things. The Bible really does address so much of life.

Sleep in our lives is about balance. If you need sleep and you are depriving yourself from sleep because you are worrying so much, then you need to take a deep breath and go to sleep. God has given it to you. So do it, rest up!

But if you sleep all the time or too much and end up neglecting duties and responsibilities in life like work and bills and house chores, then you need to get up and get busy and stop sleeping. God has told you to be faithful to your responsibilities. So, don’t love sleep and become poor.

There is a balance there. Worship God in everything you do- even your sleep!

I wish everyone knew this verse

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

It seems today that “drama” and “issues” are so common.

We live in a day where many people have problems with one another. I often recall Gandhi’s quote “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Reading or hearing that quote hurts. It should not be the case.

This Bible verse above written by the apostle Paul to the believers that make up the church in Ephesus is so clear how we are to be. We are a forgiven people and therefore we should be a forgiving people. As my mentor has said many times, “people of grace should be gracious people.”

I wish that more people, indeed everyone, knew this verse and wanted to live that way!

 

two become one flesh

One of my favorite things about studying the Bible is when one piece of Scripture is quoted in another place in the Bible. This means that one Biblical author knows, believes, interprets, and applies one Bible passage to another part of life. And therefore, we have one “idea” in God’s Word being used in multiple places. This is very cool! Cool from 2 angles. One because it is written by different men in different time periods. Two because God inspired it all and is therefore the author behind all of it. And I use the word cool because the Christian reader is so blessed and encouraged by it. The unity of truth is impactful!

I plan to use a few blog posts here in a row showing you what I am talking about.

Here is an example.  Early in God’s Word in Genesis 2:24 God says (Moses writes):

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

There is a lot to be said about this verse. That will be saved for another time. The point I want to make is this= That awesome statement that has been shaping Biblical view of marriage for thousands of years is quoted 4 times in the New Testament by three different authors.

1. Matthew 19:5 “and (Jesus) said “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”

2. Mark 10:7-8 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

3. 1 Corinthians 6:16 “For as it is written, the two will become one flesh.”

4. Ephesians 5:31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Studying the Bible is great. Being able to recognize and pick-up on themes like this one is so encouraging and enlightening.

The Bible has authority. You really begin to see this authority when one verse from Genesis 2 is remembered and then used again by Matthew, Mark and Paul in the New Testament.

Which of God’s truths show up in your life over and over again? Which are shaping you like they shaped Matthew, Mark and Paul?

Start reading the Bible and taking notice of what ideas repeat themselves!

the reality of hell

The past two Sunday mornings I have preached on “The Reality of Hell.”

You can listen to part one here and you can listen to part two here.

The passage for both sermons is Luke 16:19-31. It is Jesus’s story on the rich man and Lazarus.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The Great Desire of the people who are in Hell is that they do NOT want anyone else to be there.
  • The rich, comfortable man on earth ends up begging in hell while the beggar outside his house ends up comforted in heaven.
  • “A lack of signs is not why people reject Jesus. Rather, people willfully reject him. The heart cannot see what it is not looking for.” -Bock