July 17, 2022

Edgewood EdgeUcation: (Part 3) Expository Preaching

This post will also be Episode 41 of my Podcast

 This is Part 3 in my Edgewood Edge-U-Macation series. You can find Part 1 Here and Part 2 Here.

For the third part of this series, I am going to break from my This NOT That pattern. I contemplated a couple of titles for this post that might work, but in the end, I didn't really want to focus on what we don't do... but more on what we do do. In this particular case: Expository Preaching. 

July 12, 2022

Edgewood EdgeUcation: (Part 2) Body Member NOT Church Attender

(This post will also serve as Episode 40 of my Podcast.)

This is the second in a potential series of posts where I would like to introduce newcomers (and others) to Edgewood. In the first post of this series, I started by stating that, "At Edgewood Church, in Danville, IL, we are about the person... NOT the program." (You can read that post by clicking here.) 

In this new post I would like to very briefly tackle the topic of church attendance and maybe even touch on the concept of church membership. I will attempt to do this in two simple points. 

April 14, 2022

EdgeUcation: Person NOT Program

(This post will also serve as episode 39 of my podcast.)

This is the first in a potential series of posts where I would like to introduce newcomers (and others) to Edgewood. 

At Edgewood Church, in Danville, IL, we are about the person... NOT the program. What do I mean by this statement? Well, I'd like to answer that with Five Thoughts. 

March 28, 2022

Sermonic Timing

(This post will also serve as episode 38 of my podcast.)

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;

This coming July, I will have been preaching at Edgewood Church in Danville, IL for thirteen years. I have preached at least three sermons per month, with several long stretches of preaching every sermon in the month. If I had to estimate the total number of sermons that I've preached, it would be well over 600 sermons.

February 19, 2022

What is Old and What is New

In the Gospel According to Matthew, right after a section of recorded parables, we read this: 

[51] “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” [52] And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” 

Matthew 13:51–52 (ESV)

I have no idea what this means. 

I love it. It is wonderful and marvelous and mysterious. Important truths have been opened to me in the reading of this short little parable. But I don't really know what he is talking about. 

I do know that I genuinely want to be a scribe who has been trained for the Kingdom of Heaven. 

February 5, 2022

Filling up the Afflictions of Christ by John Piper - Book Review

 Filling up the Afflictions of Christ is book number five in the series of books by John Piper called, The Swans are not Silent. I think, but I'm not sure, that each of these books... and even each of the three short biographies in each book... sprang from a conference message or a church message that John Piper originally delivered. I believe most of these have sermons that you can find online at DesiringGod.Org. 

In this book we can read about William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton. The unifying thread with these three men is, as the book subtitle states: "The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations..." in each of their lives. 

The title of this book comes from Colossians 1:24 -- 

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

Piper goes on to explain this passage by saying, 

"What is lacking in the afflictions of Christ is not that they are deficient in worth, as though they could not sufficiently cover the sins of all who believe. What is lacking is that the infinite value of Christ's afflictions is not known and trusted in the world. These afflictions and what they mean are still hidden to most peoples. And God's intention is that the mystery be revealed to all the nations. So the afflictions of Christ are 'lacking' in the sense that they are not seen and known and loved among the nations. They must be carried by the missionaries. And those missionaries 'complete' what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ by extending them to others."

All three of these short biographies are impactful in their own right, but I found the elements of Adoniram Judson's life to be the weightiest in my own heart and mind. The enduring hardships, the regular encounters with death, and the deep distresses of dark emotions all left me with a lasting respect for what was accomplished through God's sovereign grace in his life and an odd desire to follow, in what ways I could, in his footsteps. 

The reading of Christian biographies and autobiographies is important for many reasons; including reminding us of our rich heritage, prompting us toward deeper and more lasting affections, and inspiring us to keep our eyes on things that are eternal and lasting. The benefit of this series of books is found in the brevity of the stories, the emphasis on their lasting impact, and the unpacking of how Biblical doctrine that is both wide and deep will serve as the spiritual food and strength for Spirit-filled people. 

February 2, 2022

Contending for Our All by John Piper: Book Review

It is a snow day today... And I just completed a book!

The book is Contending for Our All, by John Piper. This is the 4th book in his series: The Swans are not Silent. 

This is the first book I have read in this series. In this book, John Piper writes about three men who contended for the Faith: Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen. He isn't attempting to give a complete biography of any of these individuals, but instead is seeking to highlight one aspect of their lives. In the case of these three: it is the controversies that surrounded them, and the heart for the beauty of God in the face of Jesus Christ that supported and motivated each of these men through these controversies. 

With each one of the biographical summaries that Piper shares, I found myself to not only be intrigued by these men... wanting to read more of each of their lives and to read more of their writing, but also spurred on toward a more persistent delving into the mysteries of God myself. 

I would encourage you to read this book, especially if you know nothing about the lives of these three men. This book will give you a taste of our rich historical lineage in the truths of Genuine Christianity. 


October 31, 2021

Sermon Number 42 from Luke

 No. 42 from the Gospel According to Luke

Pastor Matt Harmless

October 31st, 2021

October 23, 2021

Parables Will Do A Thing More Bold

Here is a piece of poetry inspired by Luke 8:4-15. I wrote this as I was studying for my upcoming sermon that I will be preaching on Sunday, October 24th, 2021, on this passage. 
The stories that our Savior told,
unlike sweet scripts from modern fold
those pictures that our preachers mold,
parables will do a thing more bold.

Good preachers like to make it clear,
but Jesus would those secrets steer
only to hearts that have an ear:
parables are heard by those who hear.

Sown seed: God's Word, so rest assured
a heart that's hard is what's referred
when on trodden path lands the word,
parables are snatched up by a bird.

To stony ground some seed will fly
start quickly, growing toward the sky
no root is there so by and by
parables in shallow hearts will die.

On thorny ground with weeds in play
overgrown lusts put on display
with other loves fed day by day
parables will soon get choked away

But many seeds land in good soil
take root and grow without recoil
the sower cares not for wearied toil
parables will not always spoil.

Good dirt has room for seed's new shoot
tilled, watered, and manured suit
so in the heart God's Word takes root
parables produce abundant fruit.

Dual purpose: sown word to the field.
For many its truth has been concealed,
but those who have produced a yield
parables were God's word revealed.
I hope this is helpful and enlightening.