February 28, 2012

There's No Use Cryin' Over




(and yes... At least as much went into the house when he dropped the gallon of milk.)

February 27, 2012

Birthday Haiku

it is her birthday,
celebrating her life with
butter cream icing.


February 25, 2012

Free Books on Prayer

Musician Andrew Case is offering three books on prayer for free.  There is one for husbands, one for wives, and one for children.  You can download them in kindle format or pdf.  He also offers the books in print, but as cheap as possible.  There is a pay-what-you-can policy in place on his site.

He also offers his music for free.  I'm going to be downloading some in a bit, I've heard of him before, and heard good things.  Plus, I like free music.

I wanted to share these free resources with you.  I know that I have been motivated to spend more time, and more meaningful time in prayer.  I'm hoping to get continued good advice/thoughts on this topic.

Here is a link to the free books.

February 23, 2012

Should God Repent?

In John Piper's book, Jesus: The Only Way to God, he shares a short story of missionary William Carey, who served in India for forty years.
Once [Carey] was talking with a Brahman in 1797.  The Brahman was defending idol worship, and Carey cited Acts 14:16 and 17:30. 
God formerly "suffered all nations to walk in their own ways," said Carey, "but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." 
"Indeed," said the native, "I think God ought to repent for not sending the gospel sooner to us."
Carey was not without an answer.   
He said, "Suppose a kingdom had been long overrun by the enemies of its true king, and he though possessed of sufficient power to conquer them, should yet suffer them to prevail, and establish themselves as much as they could desire, would not the valour and wisdom of that king be far more conspicuous in exterminating them, than it would have been if he had opposed them at first, and prevented their entering the country?  Thus by the diffusion of gospel light, the wisdom, power, and grace of God will be more conspicuous in overcoming such deep rooted idolatries, and in destroying all that darkness and vice which have so universally prevailed in this country, than they would have been if all had not been suffered to walk in their own ways for so many ages past."
You must have a very big view of God and His purposes to even begin to wrap your mind around these thoughts.  But these are Biblical thoughts that Carey is sharing with the Brahman.  They are well-thought-out Biblical thoughts.  They are not based in any, "...well I think..." or "...I just feel that..." type arguments.  Piper closes this quote by saying the following:
Carey's answer to why God allowed nations to walk in their own ways is that in doing so the final victory of God will be all the more glorious.  There is a divine wisdom in the timing of God's deliverances from darkness.  We should humble ourselves to see it, rather than presume to know better how God should deal with a rebellious world. 
(This story of William Carey comes from Tom Wells book A Vision for Missions.)

February 22, 2012

Not of Us

I've started typing this post four times, but it just isn't working.  When I have a thought on my mind that I want to post on the blog, I usually like to build up to it a bit before I really get to what I want to talk about.  I like to think that I am taking the reader (if there are any) through the process that led me up to that thought.  Today, I just can't seem to get the words to flow correctly.  So, if you would permit me, I would like to jump directly to the thought on my mind instead of building up to it.

Here it is: What is going on with people who leave the church?

I don't know about where you live, but Danville is full of people who've gone to church at some point in their life, most likely when they were young, but now they don't.  In fact, I've met many who have attended the small church where I am currently the pastor at some point in their past.

What is alarming is how many who will leave the church, but they don't believe that has any implications on their faith or their future destination.  Consider what John has to say about this:
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
(1 John 2:19 ESV)
There are many implications in this passage.  Some of those implications might set you ill at ease.  It should.

Notice, if you would though, the implied benefit for those who stay.  The spiritual reality of those who have left has become plain to us.  In other words, we don't need to be bewildered or even apathetic about those who've left the church.  That is the reaction that many have.  They see their friend or neighbor or relative that used to go to church.  Instead of concern for them, the reactions tend to border on blatant disregard.  I mean, how can you really love someone without being concerned over their eternal state?  If they have left the church, then you have every reason to believe that their souls are in imminent danger and no reason to believe that they are probably fine.  They are in need of our prayers, and if necessary, some doctrinal correction.

February 14, 2012

Happy Corporation Day!


Corporate day is what it should be called.
Well no, not really, but maybe should be,
As items are bought so wife is enthralled,
And companies dance in Valentine’s glee.

Their corporate engines blazed to the full,
With radio, TV and ads galore.
All this talk of love has made me to mull,
Grazing over cards at the local store.

But then I see one that stirs the heart strings,
Purchase is made, in the envelope shoved,
Moved by the words and the thoughts that they bring,
Of those sweet years with the one that I’ve loved.

Rushing home with these thoughts, I really must say,
That every single day should be Valentine’s day.

February 10, 2012

Jōb the Film

A few years ago I read the book Jōb, by John Piper.  I also had the audio version which was read by the author.  I loved that book.  A year or so ago I got the updated version with the new artwork.  Challies.com has some of that artwork as their monthly background art give-away.  I noticed when I was looking at that art that there was a link to jobthefilm.com.  I clicked on through to have a peak and found this trailer:


Jōb the Film from Chris Koelle on Vimeo.

I have requested this film for our church.  I believe that they offer free scheduling for churches.  If it comes through, I will be posting here for updates on the showing of this movie.

If you are interested in seeing this, let me know.

February 9, 2012

Relevance

I've been reading Finally Alive by John Piper.  Basically, I want to quote the entire book to you.  Nearly every page has been a bit of reading joy.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone, even though I haven't completed it yet.  I've owned it since last Christmas, and just now started it after a year.  I would like to share a tidbit with you, here is a portion of chapter eight that has to do with relevance in preaching:
Just before writing this book, I read the autobiography of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir.  He had been raised a Roman Catholic and attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts.  But while there, he parted ways with the church, though not forever.  Here is what he said: 
"During my second week on campus, I went to Mass for the first and last time at Holy Cross. I don't know why I bothered -- probably habit, or guilt -- but whatever the reasons, I got up and walked out midway through the homily. It was all about Church dogma, not the social problems with which I was obsessed, and seemed to me hopelessly irrelevant." 
As a preacher, I think a lot about relevance. Why should anyone listen to what i have to say? Why should anybody care?  Relevance is an ambiguous word. It might mean that a sermon is relevant if it feels to the listeners that it will make a significant difference in their lives. Or it might mean that a sermon is relevant if it will make a significant difference in their lives whether they feel it or not. 
That second kind of relevance is what guides my sermons and my writing. In other words, I want to say things that are really significant for your life whether you know they are or not. My way of doing that is to stay as close as I can to what God says is important in his word, not what we think is important apart from God's word. 
So, in any given worship service a dozen young, idealistic Clarence Thomases might be present, full of anger about racism, or global warming, or abortion, or limited health care for children, or homelessness, or poverty, or the war in Iraq, or white-collar crime, or human trafficking, or the global AIDS crisis, or rampant fatherlessness, or the greed behind the subprime mortgage crisis, or the treatment of illegal aliens, or the plight of Christians just coming out of prison.  And then they hear me announce that today we are going to talk about the way a person can be born again.  And they might react like Clarence Thomas did and simply walk out and say, "That has nothing to do with the real problems this world is facing." 

February 8, 2012

Twelve Ordinary Men Study at Edgewood!

Click to View
I finally picked the book for the men's study at Edgewood!

Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur is a book that I have owned since it first came out.  I have had it in the back of my truck for almost 6 years.  I started reading it, but got bogged down with other books.  The former pastor of Edgewood even bought me the study guide a few years ago.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been trying to decide what study to do at the church.  A friend of mine had donated several weeks to coming to our church and teaching the adult Sunday School class, but his time is up and he really needs to return to serving at his own church.  Instead of looking for another teacher, my wife and I decided to split the group between the men and the women.  I would take the teen boys and the men and my wife would take the teen girls and the women.  This seemed like a reasonable solution, and my wife was able to pick a topic and a book fairly quickly, I on the other hand, was having trouble picking a book.  This morning it just popped in my head!

So, if you are in the Danville area and you have been looking for a church to attend, now would be a great time as we begin these two new studies.  If you don't live around here, but you are of the praying sort... consider adding Danville to your prayer list: we need it.

February 7, 2012

How Big is your View of God's Salvation?

New Title Slide for Current Sermon Series
At Edgewood, we have been studying the book of Ephesians.  I think we started last September.  There was a short break in the study over the holidays, but January 1st we jumped back in. 

The theme for the book has been, "How big is your view of God?"  I left it at that through the course of the first 14 verses as Paul discussed all that God has done in Christ.  In verses 15 to 23 the theme was, "How big is your view of God's Church?"  because of the building emphasis on the church in the final two verses.  Paul built up through this prayer for the recipients of the letter, ending in this amazing pronouncement about the church, which, quite frankly, hardly fits what most people would think of the church.  If you would like to listen through either one of those first two mini-series portions of the Book of Ephesians, just visit our church's sermon audio blog.  

We are now in chapter two.  This is one of my favorite portions of the entire Bible.  I was able to preach through the first three verses last week which dealt with man's natural spiritual state.  We are dead, spiritually speaking, and by our very nature we deserve wrath.  That was a difficult message to preach through, mostly because our tendency, when talking about sin, is to deflect, thinking about the sinfulness of others while missing my own sinfulness.  Paul didn't do that.  He used words like "you" and "we" when discussing sin, instead of "them" and "those" as many of us do. 

I am looking forward to this coming week's message which includes two of the most important words in the Bible, "but God..."  Where would we be without these two words?

(image via a Google search)

February 3, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore

If you know me, then you know that I love books.  This little story really hit home.  It is the story of Morris Lessmore and the Fantastic Flying Books.  The video's creator gave it this description:
“Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story.
I believe it won an award or two.  Watch it and see if you can read anything into this story.


February 2, 2012

Trusting God Audio Book for Free

Christian Audio's free book of the month is Jerry Bridge's book, Trusting God.

If you have never listened to an audio book, picking one up while it is free is the way to go.  I just went to Christian Audio and downloaded my copy.  This book has been on my "to read" list for quite awhile.  This will be a good opportunity to finally read it.

You can go to Christian Audio's page for this book by clicking here.

Or, you can go to Amazon to get the actual book or the Kindle version by clicking on this link: Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts