Friday, January 30, 2009

Preaching Granny Lee's Funeral Service

My Granny Lee passed away Tuesday. This morning I will preach her funeral service. Please pray for me that I will faithfully share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with my family.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm soooo prepared for this...

I love living in Texas because of cool stuff like this.

Everyone knows that if Zombies invaded Texas, they would not stand a chance. Zombies are by definition slow and dumb. And every Texan carries at least one gun and has three in the truck and 4 more back at the house. The fight would be so lopsided, I actually feel sorry for the poor Zombies.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holy Resolve

We shall go on to the end,
We shall fight for the gospel in our own hearts and the hearts of our children and fellow believers,
We shall fight to believe God is sovereign and good and loving at all times, even in tragedy,
We shall fight with growing confidence and strength in Christ, the power of God,
We shall fight to forgive and do good to those who sin against us,
We shall fight to not forsake fellowship, even when we feel like quitting,
We shall fight to keep pursuing God in his Word and prayer,
We shall fight to put sin to death in our lives,
We shall fight to keep the simplicity of devotion to Jesus,
We shall fight for the glory of God, whatever the cost may be,
We shall never surrender…

(ht: The Blazing Center)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Piper's Pro-Life Talking Points

As President Obama continues to make good on his campaign promises to support the murder of children in the womb through the act of abortion, John Piper provides 15 taking points for us to consider and share.

"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." - Jesus Christ

1. Existing fetal homicide laws make a man guilty of manslaughter if he kills the baby in a mother's womb (except in the case of abortion).

2. Fetal surgery is performed on babies in the womb to save them while another child the same age is being legally destroyed.

3. Babies can sometimes survive on their own at 23 or 24 weeks, but abortion is legal beyond this limit.

4. Living on its own is not the criterion of human personhood, as we know from the use of respirators and dialysis.

5. Size is irrelevant to human personhood, as we know from the difference between a one-week-old and a six-year-old.

6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood, as we know from the capacities of three-month-old babies.

7. Infants in the womb are human beings scientifically by virtue of their genetic make up.

8. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. All the organs are present, the brain is functioning, the heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are cleaning fluids, and there is a fingerprint. Virtually all abortions happen later than this date.

9. Justice dictates that when two legitimate rights conflict, the limitation of rights that does the least harm is the most just. Bearing a child for adoption does less harm than killing him.

10. Justice dictates that when either of two people must be inconvenienced or hurt to alleviate their united predicament, the one who bore the greater responsibility for the predicament should bear more of the inconvenience or hurt to alleviate it.

11. Justice dictates that a person may not coerce harm on another person by threatening voluntary harm on themselves.

12. The outcast and the disadvantaged and exploited are to be cared for in a special way, especially those with no voice of their own.

13. What is happening in the womb is the unique person-nurturing work of God, who alone has the right to give and take life.

14. There are countless clinics that offer life and hope to both mother and child (and father and parents), with care of every kind lovingly provided by people who will meet every need they can.

15. Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.

Monday, January 26, 2009

5 Bible Translations I Love

1. English Standard Version -- this is my first choice when it comes to reading and studying. I love the ESV. The ESV Study Bible is a must have resource.

2. New King James Version -- I've used NKJV so long now, it feels natural and normal. It's like an pair of old shoes that fit just perfectly.

3. New Living Translation, Second Edition -- The NLT2e is far and away better than the original Living Bible or even the first edition of New Living Translation. There are areas that I think are problematic, but I love reading NLT2e. NLT Study Bible was released last year and it is a good study Bible.

4. New International Version -- I used NIV throughout college. It is an old friend I enjoy spending time with. I've recently started using Today's New International Version and so far, I really like it.

5. New American Standard, 95 Update -- NASB is the most literal Bible available. Excellent for serious, in depth study.

Honorable Mention:

King James Version -- although I don't use KJV on a regular basis, its beauty is unsurpased. I grew up with KJV and deeply apreciate this version.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Definition of the Gospel

The Gospel is the glorious truth and reality that Almighty God, in incredible love toward us sinners, sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the God-Man, who lived a sinless life, died a sinners death, was buried and rose on the third day to make atonement for our sins and make peace between us and God.

All who, in genuine repentance and faith, confess that Jesus is Lord and believe He has risen from the dead, are saved.


What do you think?

Is this a good definition of the Gospel? Did I leave anything out?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One of My Favorite Pictures

I took this photo at the Oklahoma City Zoo a couple of years ago.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Cause for Weeping and Much Prayer

Update: Justin Taylor offers this incisive commentary.

President Obama is moving to keep some of the worst promises he made during the campaign. His actions will result in the murder of countless innocent lives. Unfortunately, this will probably only be the beginning.

God help us.

Obama to Lift Ban on Overseas Abortion Funding

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Lack of Gifting is No Excuse for Disobedience

I believe God has gifted different believers in different ways.

My friend Jason is a gifted evangelist. I've been with Jason when he struck up a conversation with a stranger and turned it to the Gospel smoothly and easily.

Marilyn is a wonderful woman in the church I pastor. She has the gift of mercy. Several years ago her husband committed suicide. By God's grace, she persevered through it and grew through the experience. Now, she has a vibrant grief support ministry helping dozens of people throughout Longview because she is gifted at showing mercy to those in need.

Johnny and Michelle are two of the most generous people I know. They give freely to bless God's people and help missionaries. They aren't rich but they give richly.

And I could go on naming people and their gifts. We all are gifted differently and we should maximize the abilities, resources, skills, and gifts God has given us for His glory and His kingdom.

I admire and at times have a holy jealousy for these and other people. I wish I could do these good works like they do. God in His wisdom did not see fit to gift me in those ways.

But a lack of gifting is no excuse for disobedience.

As a Christian, I am to be faithful to share the Gospel. Even if I do not have the gift of evangelism.

As a Christian, I am called to be merciful to those around me. Even if I do not have the gift of mercy.

As a Christian, I am called to be a good steward and give to those in need and for Kingdom work. Even if I do not have the gift of giving.

Whatever gift God has given us, we should maximize our use of that gifting. If you have any talent or ability, use it all for God's glory.

But if you aren't gifted in some particular area-- like evangelism, showing mercy, giving to those in need, being a peacemaker, giving exhortation, being an encourager, being a prayer warrior, or any number of other things-- you still have no excuse for not obeying God and doing what He would have you do as a Christian.

Paul told Timothy, "Do the work of an evangelist." I think Paul wrote that to Timothy because Timothy wasn't very good at evangelism. And if you aren't good at something, it is easy to leave it off. But Paul didn't say, "Just do those things you are comfortable doing. Just focus on that little area you really excel at." No, Paul told Timothy to be obedient to Christ and do his Christian duty, whether it was easy or not.

There are many things in the Christian life that don't come easy for me. But my lack of gifting is no excuse for disobedience.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Prayer for President Obama and the United States

Almighty God, Heavenly Father,

You alone are the one true God, the maker of heaven and earth, the giver and sustainer of life. All things exist for your pleasure, purpose, and glory. Let all creation bow down before you alone, One God in Three Persons-- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You have made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth. You have determined the allotted periods and boundaries of our dwelling places. In your mercy and for our good, you have established governing authorities to provide order in society and protection from the wicked. No nation comes into existence and no authority has power unless you grant it.

On this day, as we the citizens of the United States of America witness the inauguration of our Forty-Fourth president, Barak Obama, we ask that you would bless our nation and our president and his family.

Bless our nation with the conviction of sin, righteousness and the judgment to come.

Bless our nation with genuine revival.

Bless our nation with Gospel preaching churches and Gospel living Christians.

Bless our nation with men and women of prayer.

Bless our nation with protection from Satan's vile work.

Bless our president with heavenly wisdom and a humble heart.

Bless our president with righteous advisers and godly counselors.

Bless our president with a holy heart devoted to Jesus Christ. May he seek the Lord all of his days and govern with justice.

Bless his family with protection from those that would destroy them.

Let all of your people who are called by your name humble themselves, and pray, and seek your face, and turn from our wicked ways.

Let innocent lives be protected in the womb and among the aged and infirm.

Let laws be enacted that are righteous, just, and fair.

Let the Gospel light shine brightly and boldly as Christians pray and embody the commands to love you with all that we are and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

In the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Bibles

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating interactive graphic showing various Bibles and Bible verses used during Presidential Inaugurations. Very cool.

I pray that all our presidents would not only use the Bible as Inauguration decoration and symbolism, but actually read and govern according to the Scriptures. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent, God is very clear about our duty to the ruling authorities.

1 Timothy 2:1 (ESV)
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Praying Ezra 7:10

Ezra 7:10 "For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel."

Like Ezra, I want to devote myself to the study of the Word of God.

Father, help me be devoted and disciplined to read, meditate, and study your word that I might know You and Your will.

Like Ezra, I want to devote myself to obeying the word of God.

Father, help me put into practice what I learn from Your Word. Help me to obey You, forgive me when I fail, and encourage me to never give up.

Like Ezra, I want to devote myself to teaching the Word of God to the People of God.

Father, thank you for calling me into ministry. By your grace, help me to preach and teach boldly and correctly. Guard me from all error. Help me to be clear. And help your people to hear, receive and believe the Word.

For Your glory and Your Kingdom, I pray in Jesus' name with the help of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Misc. 01.13.2009

  • The Rangers management is about to ruin my summer. Listen up Hicks and Daniels... DON'T MESS WITH YOUNG!!!!! He is the heart and soul of the Texas Rangers and he does not deserve to be treated like this.
  • All my hopes for a good NFL playoff season are now resting with the Arizona Cardinals. I hope they win it all and Kurt Warner rides off into the sunset (even though he beat the Titans 10 years ago... I've forgiven him). I'm an AFC South guy, and the Colts sputtered out and the Titans threw it away. Very disappointing. I'm just trilled the Steelers crushed San Deigo. Steelers/Ravens will be some smash-mouth football. Cardinals/Eagles could be some high-flying fun. My picks, Steelers v. Cardinals in the Super Bowl.
  • Speaking of football, the classiest coach since Tom Landry, Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts, announced he is retiring to spend more time with his family and make a difference in the lives of teenage boys. The NFL and every professional sport needs more men like Tony Dungy. You go Tony!
  • Our washing machine is broken. This is the third major appliance in less than a month we've had to have repaired. The joys of home ownership.
  • The new season of 24 is underway and waaaaay better than last season.
  • I'm preaching through the book of James on Sunday Morning, Baptist Beliefs on Sunday Evening, and teaching Warnings and Cautionary Tales from Villains and Scoundrels in the Acts of the Apostles on Wednesday Evening. I'm having a blast! I love preaching and teaching God's Word to God's people.
  • We had 291 in Sunday Morning Services and the Lord added a couple to our church family! Praise God!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Five Hymns I Love

1. A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Written by Martin Luther, this song stirs me to trust God and be bold for the cause of the Gospel. I could sing this hymn every Sunday and not grow tired of it.

Most powerful line line: "Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever."

2. Great is Thy Faithfulness
Based on Lamentations 3:22-23, this is a faith-building, soul-stirring song.

3. In Christ Alone
This modern hymn is amazing in it's doctrinal depth and ability to move the affections of the singer. It is becoming very popular and has been recorded by several folks. I hope the doctrine expressed in this song takes root.

4. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
A call to worship and adore our Lord Jesus Christ.

5.(tie) How Great Thou Art
5. (tie) Holy, Holy, Holy
I remember singing both of these great hymns from the green Broadman Hymnal sitting in Calvary Baptist Church with my grandma and grandpa.

What are your favorite hymns?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Five Reasons I Love Hymns

1. Hymns contain rich expressions of doctrinal truths.

2. Hymns connect me with generations of other Christians from all over the world.

3. Hymns encourage and strengthen my faith.

4. Hymns support and give voice to my prayers.

5. Hymns are generally God-focused and Scripture-saturated, two things I desire in increasing measure in my life.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Destination: Minneapolis

I'm heading to the DG Conference for Pastors hosted by Bethlehem Baptist Church next month. I am really excited. Commending Christ: The Pastor, The Church, The Perishing. Mark Dever, Matt Chandler, Michael Oh, and John Piper will be preaching. It's going to be awesome.

Is anyone else going? If so, I'd love to connect with you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

10 Lessons on my 10th Anniversary

On January 2, 1999, Sarah said "I do" and my life has never been the same. I am so thankful for my wonderful wife. Proverbs 18:22 says "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." The Lord gave me a wonderful woman-- a far better woman than I deserve. I often think that I am blessed and Sarah is being punished!

Though it is a few days late, I wanted to publicly say I love my wife and am thankful for her. I am looking forward to many more years with her.

Here are 10 lessons I have learned over 10 years of marriage.

1. The home is a happier place when Christ is at the center of everyone's life.

2. You can never say "I love you" too much.

3. The nine words you ought to say frequently and mean it from the bottom of your heart: "I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me."

4. Commitment is more important than romance.

5. Commitment is always stronger when romance is present.

6. Loving your wife more than your kids is good for your kids and essential for your wife.

7. Praying together, reading the Bible together, eating dinner together, laughing together, making decisions together, watching TV together, shopping together... basically, just being and doing things together makes everything better.

8. I am happiest when I care more about her happiness than I care about my own happiness.

9. I don't mind sweeping the floors for her and I am really glad she does the dishes.

10. My wife is my best friend which is really cool.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pleasing God, Not Man

"Unless I remained content with the approbation of God alone, and despised both the foolish and perverse judgments of ignorant men and the wrong and malicious ones of the wicked, things would go ill for me. God has filled my mind with zeal to spread his Kingdom and to further the public good. I am also duly clear in my own conscience, and have God and the angels to witness, that since I undertook the office of teacher in the church, I have had no other purpose than to benefit the church by maintaining the pure doctrine of godliness."

~ John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
As ministers of the Gospel, we will be attacked and assaulted from every direction by those who do not submit to the truth of God's Word. If we aim to make people happy, we will fail God. If we aim to please God by remaining faithful to Him, having no purpose other than His glory manifested in the good of His people, we will be successful in our ministries.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Reading Goals

1. Read through the ESV using the M'Cheyne Bible Reading Calendar.

2. Read through the ESV Study Bible Articles and Book Introductions.

3. Read through the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin following the Reformation21 reading schedule.

4. Read David Well's five (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) volume series on Evangelical Theology, Anthony Hoekema's theology trilogy (1, 2, 3), and Michael Horton's series on Covenant theology (1, 2, 3, 4).