Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reading and Beyond

Here is a list of the books I read from cover to cover in 2010. There were a number of other books started and not finished. I finished #50 today driving back from Arkansas (well, technically, Sarah was driving while I was reading).
  1. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
  2. The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington
  3. Words from the Fire by R. Albert Mohler
  4. Axiom by Bill Hybels
  5. Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
  6. Twelve Challenges Churches Face by Mark Dever
  7. God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts
  8. Why we Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
  9. The Most Loving Place in Town by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
  10. Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris
  11. The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
  12. The Basis of Unity by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  13. Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World edited by C.J. Mahaney
  14. A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper
  15. The Power of Words and the Wonder of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor
  16. Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft
  17. Christ's Words from the Cross by Charles H. Spurgeon
  18. Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock
  19. What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace by Richard D. Phillips
  20. Engaging with the Holy Spirit: Real Questions, Practical Answers by Graham A. Cole
  21. Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper
  22. Five Who Changed the World by Daniel L. Akin
  23. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
  24. This Little Church Had None by Gary Gilley with Jay Wegter
  25. C.H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller
  26. Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  27. Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson
  28. Simplify Your Spiritual Life by Donald Whitney
  29. Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
  30. Love That Lasts by Gary and Betsy Ricucci
  31. Fear Not! Death and the Afterlife from a Christian Perspective by Ligon Duncan
  32. The Living Church by John Stott
  33. Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
  34. Church Planting is for Wimps by Mike McKinley
  35. From the Resurrection to His Return: Living Faithfully in the Last Days by Don Carson
  36. Tap: Defeating the Sins that Defeat You by Yancey Arrington
  37. The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson
  38. Marks of the Messenger by J. Mack Stiles
  39. Towards Spiritual Maturity by William Still
  40. Radical by David Platt
  41. Think by John Piper
  42. Teach them to Pray by Paul Tautges
  43. Christless Christianity by Michael Horton
  44. A Not-So-Silent Night by Verlyn Verbrugge
  45. My Soul Magnifies the Lord by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  46. Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer
  47. Holy Subversion by Trevin Wax
  48. When Worlds Collide by R.C. Sproul
  49. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus edited by Nancy Guthrie
  50. The Radical Disciple by John Stott
I'm looking forward to the books I'm going to read in 2011. I've started The Truth War by John MacArthur tonight. I need to read The Transformational Church by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer & The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne for local book reading clubs in January. And I will be reading and reviewing Randy Alcorn's If God Is Good. January is going to be a busy book month!

Taking the lead from my friend Josh King, I've committed to reading a dozen or so books by Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs in 2011.

Happy New Year and happy reading!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top 5(ish) Books I Read in 2010

Honorable Mention: Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
This memoir from my favorite (former) NFL coach is insightful and touching. Tony exemplifies all that is good in professional athletics. May his tribe increase.

5a. Christless Christianity by Michael Horton
Do you ever look around at Evangelicalism and think something is wrong? So does Horton. And he shows us what it is... We, like the Laodicean Church of Revelation 3, have forgotten Jesus and left him out in the cold. This book is a strong critique that the church in American desperately needs to hear.

5b. Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer
Like Horton's book, Spencer sees a number of problems in contemporary evangelicalism. He calls us back to a "Jesus-shaped spirituality." In other words, just don't talk about Jesus, actually walk with Jesus and know him and love him.

5c. Why we Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
Are there problems in the church? Yes. But like DeYoung and Kluck, I love the church. Horton and Spencer alone may make you cynical toward the church. DeYoung and Kluck help us see the good and all three together give us a good perspective of what church should be.

4. Christ's Words from the Cross by Charles Spurgeon
This little book complies a sermon or writing on each of Christ's seven statements uttered from the cross. I've read this little book several times in the last 15 years and each time its truths become even more precious to me.

3. Church Planting is for Wimps by Mike McKinley
This little book is powerful. It is encouraging and instructive, hopeful and realistic. Best of all, it it rooted in the Gospel and exemplifies true pastoral shepherding.

2. Radical by David Platt
This book will stir your heart for discipleship and missions on every level. Warning: it will kick you in the gut... but in a good way.

1. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
This is the first book I read in 2010, and what a book to start the year off with. Keller exposes all sorts of idols and calls us to faithfulness to the Lord. A must read!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer

I was in seminary when I first read Michael Spencer's blog Back in the day, I was working through some major theological truths that were rocking my world. Theology of Worship with Dr. Holmes was challenging everything I had previously thought about church, worship, ministry, and even the doctrine of salvation itself.

Doing some research for that class on organizing and leading a worship service, Google took me to the IMonk's essay on Christless preaching. This essay has shaped my preaching and teaching ministry since that time. I am now and always grateful for it.

In April of this year, Michael died. But before the cancer destroyed his body, Michael wrote Mere Churchianity. What a way to end one's pilgrimage.

In his later years, Michael became disenchanted with what what he called "church-shaped spirituality" or "churchianity." This is the false form of Christianity that pervades much of evangelicalism today. Instead, he called us back to a "Jesus-shaped spirituality." For all his flaws and struggles, Michael consistently looked to and pointed others toward Jesus. That is what makes this a very good book.

I am in the group Michael is criticizing. I am a pastor in an evangelical, (informally) institutional, Baptist church. Much in my life and ministry has distracted people away from Jesus. My work in youth ministry often replaced Jesus with some cool fad. I was (and in many ways still am) enamored with doctrinal correctness and stiff theologizing. And I can contribute to the problem.

But Michael urges me to keep Jesus at the center, in my life and in my ministry. While I may not agree with Michael's solutions, or even his diagnoses of the problems, I do agree that the answer is always Jesus kept front and center. Or, to say it better, Jesus followed and loved supremely.

I urge church leaders to read Mere Churchianity as a diagnostic tool. Is your church and ministry shaped by Jesus, or by the institution of your church? Michael urges me, and I hope you, to make it all about Jesus in a real way.

Some favorite quotes from the book:

Jesus-shaped discipleship produces people whose lives, habits, commitments, and words resemble Jesus more than the cultural ideals of comfort, convenience, and economic prosperity. (p. 15)

When you view evangelicalism from a distance, it becomes clear that almost all the problems can be traced back to evangelicalism's unquestioned commitment to be successful and relevant. (p. 25)

Wrong ideas about God are, themselves, false gods. They are idols just as much as a graven image. (p. 34)

When I first began to think about Jesus-shaped spirituality, I would ask this door opening question: If I spent three years with Jesus, how would I feel about...? The question is appropriate and revealing, no matter what the subject or issue happens to be. How would Jesus shape me in this area if he deeply influenced my thinking and living? (p. 42)

You can't have a Christian experience, in a church or outside one, without Jesus. (p. 49)

It's pointless to be cool, because trying to make Jesus sexy is a waste of time. (p. 79)

Faith is a lack of contentment with what I am, but a sense of satisfaction with what God has given me of himself in Jesus. The mark of saving faith is not just resting passively in the promises of the gospel (though that is exactly what justification does), but it's an ongoing war with the reality of my condition. (p. 146)

...sanctification consists, in large measure, in seeing our sin and acknowledging how deeply and extensively it has marred us. (p. 149)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series

The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament is an exceptional series. I picked up James a couple of years ago and was blown over by it. This series is helpful for those who, like me, have had Greek in seminary, know the importance of the original languages, but through the busyness of ministry have neglected to keep it up. The ZECNT serves as a kind of prompt to help you remember what you studied and ease back into using Greek.

But it does more than that. It offers great exegetical insights into the text. Unlike other exegetical commentaries, it does not overwhelm you with interaction from other critical sources. You don't read page after page of interaction with other commentaries and monographs. That is not to say this series ignores other material. It simply keeps the focus on the Greek text. For this reason, I can't recommend this series highly enough.

Zondervan recently sent me a copy of the newly released Ephesians commentary. I plan on preaching through Ephesians in 2011 and this will be a much used resource. Thumbing through it I can already see this will be a helpful resource to enrich my study and sermon preparation.

This may be one of the best new commentary series available. Even though it deals with the Greek text, those with little to no Greek backgrounds will benefit from it greatly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving: 30 Scriptures

I intended to post a Scripture every day this month. I even have a Scripture selected for each day. But events and negligence ruined that. So instead, I'm going to post all thirty for your thoughtful reflection.

  1. Psalm 69:30 (ESV) I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

  2. 1 Chron. 16:34 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

  3. Psalm 30:4 (ESV) Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.

  4. 2 Cor. 9:15 (ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

  5. 1 Thes. 5:18 (ESV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  6. Romans 6:17 (ESV) But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

  7. 2 Cor. 2:14 (ESV) But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

  8. Ephes. 5:4 (ESV) Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

  9. Col. 4:2 (ESV) Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

  10. Psalm 56:12 (ESV) I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.

  11. 1 Chron. 29:13 (ESV) And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

  12. Psalm 92:1 (ESV) It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;

  13. 1 Cor. 1:4 (ESV) I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

  14. Col. 3:17 (ESV) And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  15. Psalm 107:15 (ESV) Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men!

  16. Hebrews 12:28 (ESV) Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

  17. Jonah 2:9 (ESV) But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!"

  18. Philip. 4:6 (ESV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

  19. Psalm 140:13 (ESV) Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.

  20. Isaiah 12:1 (ESV) You will say in that day: "I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.”

  21. Psalm 9:1 (ESV) I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

  22. Psalm 35:18 (ESV) I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.

  23. Psalm 86:12 (ESV) I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

  24. Psalm 97:12 (ESV) Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

  25. Psalm 100:4 (ESV) Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

  26. Psalm 118:1 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

  27. Psalm 75:1 (ESV) We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.

  28. Psalm 118:28 (ESV) You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.

  29. Psalm 145:10 (ESV) All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!

  30. 1 Cor. 15:57 (ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Think: A Review

John Piper is a personal hero. I've read many of his books, listened to dozens of his sermons, watched his videos, and attended his conferences. I always learn and am inspired when I sit under the teaching of John Piper.

Think is a good book and I found it helpful. I don't think that Think will end up on a Piper "must read" list. This book will not appeal to a wide audience. In fact, Piper states so much in the conclusion of the book. However, having said that, I do believe this book should be read by college students and other "thinkers" or people being challenged on an intellectual level. It is not so much an apologetic as it is an antidote to blindly accepting humanistic assumptions. And it is a call to Biblical thinking which is sorely lacking today.

The best chapters in the book are:
  • Chapter 3- Reading as Thinking... for help in how to read and understand the Bible.
  • Chapter 5- Rational Gospel, Spiritual Light... for understanding the relationship between human comprehension of the Gospel and the Divine unveiling of the Gospel to man.
  • Chapter 6- Love for God: Treasuring God with All Your Mind... for unpacking the Biblical command to love the Lord your God with all your mind.
  • Chapter 8- The Immorality of Relativism... for exposing the sinfulness and corruption of relativistic thinking.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God." (p. 27)

" the bottom of human irrationality ("darkened in their understanding") and at the bottom of spiritual ignorance ("the ignorance that is in them") is hardness of heart. That is, our self-centered hearts distort our reason to the point where we cannot use it to draw true inferences from what is really there." (p. 63)

"What does it mean to love God "with all your mind"? I take it to mean that we direct our thinking in a certain way; namely, our thinking should be wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things." (p. 83)

"...relativism only looks humble but is inherently a cloak of pride. It works like this. Truth with a capital T- Truth rooted in God's objective reality and word- is a massive, unchanging reality that we little humans must submit to. Coming to know this truth is the humble task of putting ourselves under this reality and submitting to it. Understanding is literally taking the humble position to stand under the truth and let it be our rule." (p. 112)
Below is a video of Piper introducing Think.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

He's Alive! TBC Sermon Series

November 7
John 20:1-23
He's Alive! Rejoicing in the Resurrection

November 14, 2010
John 20:24-31
He's Alive! Believing in the Resurrection

November 21, 2010
John 21:1-25
He's Alive! Restored by the Resurrection

Come worship with us at Tremont Baptist Church every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ together.

A Month of Thanksgiving: November 4

2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving: November 3

Psalm 30: 4 (ESV) Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving: November 2

1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving: November 1

I love Thanksgiving. It is one of the last (mostly) pure and (relatively) uncommercialized holidays we have left.

For the month of November, I am going to post a Scripture a day related to the theme of Thanksgiving.


"I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving."
Psalm 69:30 (ESV)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

JK on Prayer

My friend Josh King has just written an excellent post about prayer. You should go read it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Radical: A Review

Radical by David Platt is a challenging and convicting book. The thesis of the book is simple: Christians have abandoned a Biblical calling to carry the Gospel to the nations for the American dream of health, wealth, and pleasure. Platt pleads with his readers to be moved with compassion for the 4.5 billion people who are without Christ and the more than 1 billion who live in abject poverty. Platt interweaves Biblical exposition with personal stories from his life and from his church.

I strongly urge you to pick up this book (you can order it from Amazon right now for about the same price of a fast food value meal).

Be warned though. After reading this book, it may affect your life in a radical way.

Here are some favorite quotes:

"... somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves."

"He created human beings, not only to enjoy his grace in a relationship with him, but also to extend his glory to the ends of the earth. Simple enough. Enjoy his grace and extend his glory. This is the twofold purpose behind the creation of the human race in Genesis 1..."

"...there will continue to be millions and millions of people who do not hear as long as we continue to use spare time and spare money to reach them. Those are two radically different questions. "What can we spare?" and "What will it take?"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Knowing and Obeying Scripture: Verses and Books

Knowing and Obeying Scripture is basic to living the Christian life. Therefore, it ought to be a priority for every Christian.

Psalm 119:9 (ESV) How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

Psalm 119:11 (ESV) I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:16 (ESV) I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Psalm 119:105 (ESV) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

John 17:17 (ESV) Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Ezra 7:10 (ESV) 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.

2 Tim. 3:14-17 (ESV) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [15] and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righ teousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Tim. 2:15 (ESV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

James 1:22 (ESV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

1 Peter 1:22-2:3 (ESV) Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, [23] since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; [24] for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, [25] but the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you. [2:1] So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. [2] Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation— [3] if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.


Living by the Book by Hendricks

Personal Bible Study Methods by Warren

How to Apply the Bible by Veerman

How to Study the Bible by Arthur

Knowing Scripture by Sproul

Ryken's Bible Handbook

Can I Trust the Bible by Sproul

How to Study the Bible by MacArthur

Promises Made: The Message of the Old Testament by Dever

Promises Kept: The Message of the New Testament by Dever

MacArthur Study Bible (Available in NKJV, NASB, and ESV)

ESV Study Bible

NLT Study Bible

HCSB Study Bible

Special Note:

I highly recommend James White's book The King James Only Controversy. Even if you are not interested in the KJV Only debate that exists, this book helps the reader understand how we got out Bible and why we can have confidence in our English Bibles.

I also recommend The Origin of the Bible which explains issues like inspiration, canonization, and translation.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Being Wise: Books and Scripture

Wisdom is an attribute I highly value. I crave wisdom for myself, for my family, and for those in my church.

Scriptures related to Wisdom

The Book of Proverbs -- seriously, read the whole book regularly. Once a month or so.

Psalm 51:6 (ESV) Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 90:12 (ESV) So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 111:10 (ESV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Acts 6:3 (ESV) Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.

1 Cor. 1:30 (ESV) He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

Col. 3:16 (ESV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

James 1:5 (ESV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 3:13 (ESV) Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

James 3:17 (ESV) But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Books on Making Wise Decisions

Decision, Decisions by Swavly

Discovering God's Will by Ferguson

Decision Making and the Will of God by Friesen

Found: God's Will by MacArthur

Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? by Waltke

Books on Wisdom

The Discipline of Discernment by Challies

Spurgeon's Practical Wisdom by Spurgeon

Fool's Gold by MacArthur

A Proverbs Driven life by Selvaggio

Holman Bible Commentary on Proverbs by Anders

Gospel Fear by Burroughs

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MLB Playoffs 2010: My Predictions

So, it should be clear a) I am a Rangers fan and b) I think they are going to win. I know, I know... that's just crazy fan talk, right? Well... maybe. BUT, the Rangers are legitimate. They have a very solid pitching staff and bullpen, great offensive players, and pretty good defense. That's not to say there aren't issues and concerns. Injuries have been a damper for the last month of the season. But it seems like the Rangers are getting back to form and so this October should be a lot of fun.

I'm not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet... and I'm not sure prophets care a lot about baseball. Regardless, here are my predictions (sure to go wrong) for the 2010 playoffs.

Rangers over the Rays in 5
Yankees over the Twins in 4

Phillies over the Reds in 4
Braves over the Giants in 3

Rangers over the Yankees in 6

Phillies over the Braves in 5

World Series
Texas Rangers over the Philadelphia Phillies in 6

World Series MVP
Josh Hamilton... with Cliff Lee as a close second

However it all shakes out... Go Rangers! It's time!

Loving Others: Scriptures and Books

The Importance of Love:

Proverbs 3:3 (NIV) Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

1 Cor. 13:13 (NIV) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Loving our families:

Ephesians 5:25 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Ephesians 5:28 (NIV) In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Colossians 3:19 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Titus 2:4 (NIV) Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,

Loving other Christians:

John 13:35 (NIV) By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

1 Peter 2:17 (NIV) Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Loving our neighbors:

Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Romans 13:9-10 (NIV) The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." [10] Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Galatians 5:14 (NIV) The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

James 2:8 (NIV) If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.

Loving our Enemies:

Luke 6:27 (NIV) But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Luke 6:35 (NIV) But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.


Love Walked Among Us by Paul Miller

Love or Die by Alexander Strauch

Charity and It's Fruits by Jonathan Edwards

This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

Gospel-Powered Parenting by Farley

Christian Love by Hugh Binning

Love That Lasts by Gary Ricucci

Leading with Love by Alexander Strauch

Compelled by Love by Ed Stetzer

Love Your Neighbor by Norman Geisler

Maximum Impact by Wayne Mack

20 Biblical Ways to Glorify God

1. Give God verbal declarations of praise (Rev. 4:8-9).

2. Live a life of noticeable piety (Matt. 5:16; James 1:27; 1 Peter 2:12).

3. Ask God for things in Jesus’ name (John 14:13).

4. Bear fruit and show yourself to be a disciple of Jesus (John 15:8).

5. Declare the truth about Jesus (John 16:14).

6. Love your life less than God (John 21:19; 1 Peter 1:7; 4:16).

7. Worship God as God (Rom. 1:21).

8. Live a life of sexual purity (1 Cor. 6:20).

9. Live a life of generosity (2 Cor. 9:13).

10. Rejoice in God’s glory displayed in creation (Psalm 19:1).

11. Do the works of faith (2 Thess. 1:12).

12. Use your gifts in God’s strength (1 Peter 4:11).

13. Make sure everyone knows you’re not God (Acts 12:23).

14. Live a life of gratitude (Psalm 50:23; 2 Cor. 4:15).

15. In matters of liberty, seek the good of others (1 Cor 10:31).

16. Extend grace to sinners (2 Cor. 8:19).

17. Be a part of a local church (2 Cor. 8:23; Eph. 3:20-21).

18. Tell God you are wrong and he is right (Josh. 7:19; Jer. 13:16; Rev. 16:9).

19. Obey God (Lev. 10:3; Mal. 2:2).

20. Go from a Christ-despiser to a Christ-worshiper (Gal. 1:24).

(HT Kevin DeYoung)

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Sermon Series @ TBC Begins This Sunday

The Road to Calvary
John 18-19

October 10 - The Arrest, John 18:1-11

October 17 - The Trials, John 18:12-27

October 24 - The Condemnation, John 18:28-40

October 31 - The Cross, John 19:1-42

Glorifying God: Scriptures and Books

The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the question: What is the chief end of man?

The answer: To glorying God and enjoy Him forever.

Glorifying God is the ultimate aim for everything. All other ambitions, goals, and purposes come under this one great end-- to glorify God by knowing Him, loving Him, fearing Him, honoring Him, serving Him, and delighting in Him.

Psalm 34:3 (NIV) Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 57:5 (NIV) Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

Isaiah 6:1-3 (NIV) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. [2] Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. [3] And they were calling to one another:

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."

John 15:8 (NIV) This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

1 Cor. 10:31 (NIV) So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Ephes. 1:11-12 (NIV) In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, [12] in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Ephes. 3:20-21 (NIV) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Rev. 4:11 (NIV) "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

Matthew 5:16 (NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Books for additional study:

Desiring God by John Piper

The Pleasures of God by John Piper

God's Passion for His Glory by John Piper

A God Entranced Vision of All Things edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock

No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God by John S. Feinberg

Our God is Awesome by Tony Evans

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

Pleasures Evermore by Sam Storms

Friday, October 1, 2010

Values and Priorities

We all have values and priorities. These guide us personally and shape the way we lead and influence others, either in our families, churches, or businesses. As a Christians, husband, father, and pastor, I've given a lot of thought to what is most important, what I value on a personal level and what I want to pass on to others. They are:
  • Glorifying God
  • Loving Others (God first, family, friends, neighbors, and enemies)
  • Being Wise
  • Knowing and Obeying Scripture
  • Praying
  • Making Disciples
  • Being respectful
  • Learning and growing
These eight values overlap and intersect. However, it has been helpful for me to think in these categories. Next week, Lord willing, I hope to share Scriptures for each value along with some helpful books for each one.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some Things You Should Always Pray For

  1. Your government leaders -- 1 Timothy 2:1-4
  2. The salvation of the Lost -- Romans 10:1
  3. The advancement of the Gospel -- 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  4. More laborers in Gospel work -- Matthew 9:37-38
  5. Anything you are worried about -- 1 Peter 5:7 & Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

5 Principles of Biblical Conversion

1. Conversion is required. ("You must be born again")

2. Conversion requires understanding. (1 Corinthians 2:12)

3. True conversion requires genuine faith. (John 3:36)

4. A radically changed life attests to true conversion. (Titus 1:15-16, James 2:19, and Ephesians 2:8-10)

5. Conversion results from God's action. (John 15:16, 2 Thessalonians 2:13)

from Marks of the Messenger by J. Mack Stiles

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday Worship at TBC 9.26.2010

Standing on the Promises
Thy Word
Ancient Words
We Believe
How Firm a Foundation

Jesus' Prayer and the Word of God
John 17:6-19, esp. verse 17

"Your Word is Truth": The Nature of Scripture- What the Bible IS
1. God's Word is inspired.
2. God's Word is inerrant.
3. God's Word is infallible.
4. God's Word is knowable.
5. God's Word is timeless.
6. God's Word is authoritative.

"Sanctify them by the Truth": The Work of Scripture- What the Bible Does
1. God's Goal- Our Sanctification
2. God's Means- His Word
3. God's Requirement- Study and Application

Listen to the sermon here.

Take the 90 Day New Testament Challenge here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to Lose the Gospel in 4 Generations

Looking at post-Christian Europe, and nearly post-Christian America, it is alarmingly evident how rapidly the Gospel can lost. Mack Stiles, in his book Marks of the Messenger points out the decline.

Generation 1: The Gospel is Accepted

Generation 2: The Gospel is Assumed

Generation 3: The Gospel is Confused

Generation 4: The Gospel is Lost

(Stiles, pg. 40)

NEVER assume the Gospel. Preach the Gospel. If the Gospel is to you nothing more than a means of avoiding Hell, you've already confused it! The Gospel is for all of life.

Don't assume the Gospel. If you are confused, get clear on the Gospel. And, if you are in a church that has lost the Gospel, do all you can to bring it back.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (NIV)
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Worship @ TBC 9.19.2010

Everlasting God
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
In Christ Alone
How Deep the Father's Love For Us
Blessed Assurance

Jesus' Prayer and the People of God
John 17:6-19

1. God's people are peculiar.
v. 14- "they are not of the world"

2. God's people are possessed.
v. 6- "They were yours; you gave them to me"

3. God's people are protected.
v. 11- "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name"

Listen to the sermon

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Examine Yourselves

2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV) "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"

Drawing from Jonathan Edwards on True Christianity by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney, Trevin Wax offers these seven questions for examining one's claim to be a Christian.

1. Do you love God?

2. Do you love the Bible?

3. Do you love living out and sharing the Gospel?

4. Do you love Christians?

5. Do you enjoy church and draw nourishment from it?

6. Does the matter of eternity concern you?

7. Does the Bible shape your morals and ethics?

For an expansion of these questions, check out Kingdom People.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes!

They’re also having a special limited-time sale on their Mac and PC base packages and upgrades. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who should repent?

He commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30)

Thomas Watson lists 6 kinds of people who should repent:

1. Those in civil or political power

2. The flagrantly wicked

3. Liars and cheaters

4. Good, upstanding citizens; decent, moral people

5. Hypocrites

6. God's own people

Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, pages 63-69

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Nature of True Repentance

Acts 3:19 (ESV) "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out."

The Puritan Thomas Watson publish The Doctrine of Repentance in 1668. It is needed more now than ever. What a treasure it is! And what a clarion call it sounds! I commend this little book to you for your careful reading and meditation.

What is repentance? "Repentance is a grace of God's Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed." (p. 18)

Watson lists six ingredients that formulate genuine repentance.
  1. Sight of sin (seeing and perceiving sin for what it is)
  2. Sorrow for sin (for the sin itself, and not just the consequences of sin)
  3. Confession of sin (agreeing with God about the sinfulness of sin and not making excuses for sin)
  4. Shame for sin
  5. Hatred for sin
  6. Turning from sin
"If any one is left out it loses its virtue."

Pick up this little book. Read it slowly and repetitively. Learn how, by God's grace, to repent.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vacation Goals

Next week we will head out on vacation. Here's what I hope to accomplish:

1. Rest, recharge, and refresh my ministerial batteries.

2. Enjoy my family and have an attitude and actions that allow my family to enjoy me.

3. Read and journal through the Minor Prophets.

4. Read some great books. I'm packing Mere Churchianity, Sticky Church, The Fading Flesh and the Flourishing Faith, The Radical Disciple, Holy Subversion, Fear Not!, Dug Down Deep, Radical, and Jonathan Edwards: Lover of God. I hope to complete at least five of these.

5. Eat some great Tex-Mex and Chick-Fil-A.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review: Insights on John

Chuck Swindoll is an excellent Bible teacher. His voice is radio perfect and his "insights" are extremely helpful. His new series of commentaries on the New Testament are a great resource and are vintage Swindoll.

These books will be useful for serious Bible Students, Sunday School teachers, and small group leaders. Swindoll writes in an engaging style without dumbing down the text. Pastors will find helpful points of application that will flesh out their sermons.

Insights on John is the second volume in this series. I received it as a promotion from Zondervan and am very grateful for it. I am currently preaching through the Gospel of John and have found it to be a helpful tool.

This book won't replace the more scholarly commentaries on John, but it will sit very nicely on your shelf next to the the NIV Application Commentary or other "expositional" commentaries.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Win Holy Vocabulary Bible Study

Go here to sign up to win a new Threads small group Bible study!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Am Preparing a Place for You: Jesus and the Doctrine of Heaven

Preached at Tremont Baptist Church
May 30, 2010

John 14:1-6
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."

5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

1. Jesus' assurance of heaven should give us hope and peace in life. (verse 1)

  • This world is temporary. Do not build your life in this world. See Matthew 6:19-20; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Philippians 1:21, 23
  • When you do suffer in this world, you realize that this life is temporary and God has something far greater in store for you.
2. Jesus is preparing heaven for His disciples. (verse 2)
  • When we die, our spirits go immediately to be with Jesus. See Luke 23:43; Acts 7:59; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; Revelation 6:9-11
  • When Christ returns, our bodies will be resurrected. Our spirits will be reunited with our glorified bodies. We will live in the New Heavens and New Earth. We will have physical bodies, just like Jesus' resurrected body. See 1 Corinthians 15:42-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; Revelation chapters 21:1-22:6
3. Jesus will return to take his disciples to heaven. (verse 3)

4. Jesus is the only way to heaven. (verses 4-6)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Commitment to Expository Preaching

My duty as a minister of the Gospel is to “preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Of all the things a pastor can do and should do, faithfully preaching to and teaching the people of God in his care is the most important. The apostles devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). Pastors today are to follow this example today. A myriad of activities compete with the pastor’s attention, but a faithful pastor must be committed to and not dissuaded from this sacred charge (see John 21:15-17).

My commitment to the church I pastor is to preach the Word each and every week. I do this through “Expository Preaching.” Expository preaching is the method of studying a particular passage of Scripture, discovering the main point or big idea of that passage, explaining that point to the church and making points of application from that passage’s big idea.

It is my conviction that all sermons should be expository sermons in order to be faithful to the Word of God. When a preacher chooses to preach on a topic or a theme, he runs the risk of injecting his personal opinions or agendas into the sermon and neglecting the main idea of the Biblical text. Every expository sermon follows the same format: the text is read, the text is explained, and the text is applied.

This is why I normally preach through a book of the Bible in a consecutive fashion (like I’m currently doing in the Gospel of John). However, one does not have to preach through an entire book to preach an expository sermon. The key in expository preaching is to take a passage of Scripture, discover its main point, and shape the sermon around that main point.

This approach is exemplified by the great Old Testament priest Ezra. In Ezra 7:10, we read, “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Ezra committed himself to studying God’s Word and applying it to his life on a personal level. He then read the Word, taught the Word, and applied the Word to the nation of Israel.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Review: C.H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller

This little book is a gem. Steve Miller has served us all well by cataloging and synthesizing eight leadership lessons from the Prince of Preachers. We are living in an era where spiritual leadership is sorely lacking in many areas of the church. The wise counsel collected from Spurgeon's writings, lectures, prayers, and sermons in this book will help strengthen true spiritual leadership. We need fewer worldly ideas about leadership and more Biblical, Christocentric ideas about leadership.

Chapter One covered a passion for prayer. Spiritual leaders must be committed to walking and communing privately with God.

Chapter two took up the theme of faith that endures. Without bold confidence in the Lord, a minister will give up quickly.

Chapter three focused on a commitment to holiness. I looked over this chapter a couple of times, and feel the need to return to it. We face a famine of holiness in our day.

Chapter four pointed out Spurgeon's lifestyle of service and offered wise counsel in this area.

Chapter five urged us to love the Lord and His word in ever greater intensity.

Chapter six reminded us that a willingness to suffer is a key to spiritual growth and effectiveness in ministry.

Chapter seven called us to zealously proclaim God's Word and chapter eight drove home a passion for lost souls.

Miller concludes the book by noting that Spurgeon, although he was involved in numerous activities and developed dozens of large and significant ministries, ultimately had only one driving purpose and aim in his life. Everything Spurgeon did was to glorify God. God's glory was his motive. There was nothing else.

As Spurgeon said, "We must see to it that His glory is the one sole object of all we do." (Miller, p. 181)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When Christianity is Illegal

Al Mohler is reporting that a street preacher in London, England has been arrested. His crime, preaching the Gospel and telling people that homosexuality is sin.

We are living in dangerous times. In an age of so called "tolerance" and "pluralism," the only worldview and belief system that is out of bounds is a Biblical one. In Europe, Christianity is slowing being criminalized. Is the US far behind?

In 2 Timothy 3:1, the Apostle Paul warned "There will be terrible times in the last days." Jesus told us that the world will hate us because it hated Him (John 15:18) and we will face persecution (John 15:20).

What will we do when Christianity is declared illegal? I pray we will remain faithful to the Word of God, not matter the cost.

2 Timothy 2:1-3 (NIV) "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

Acts 5:27-32 (NIV) "Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."

29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

May God grant the grace to be as bold as Peter and as faithful as Paul in the face of persecution and opposition.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Must Read-- The Glory of God: Our Supreme Passion

[Note: This article was originally posted at I came across it as I was preparing to preach on the Glory of God.]

The Glory of God: Our Passion

[This article is written by a missionary for other missionaries working in the "Last Frontier." For security reasons, the author must remain anonymous.]

This is the first and most important of the basic principles of our work. Real Christianity is God--centered. Real Christianity recognizes, as Jesus Himself said, that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind. Those who have glimpsed the greatness, the grandeur, the majesty and the excellence of our God through the eyes of trust in Jesus never get over that vision. An obsession with the glory of God is the hallmark of true knowledge of God.

What is the glory of God? The original meaning of glory has to do with weightiness. The glory of God summarizes the seriousness, the perfection, and the infinite significance of all of the attributes of God. It sums up who He is, in the awesome brightness and weightiness of all His perfections. What does it mean then for us to glorify God? We cannot add to His glory, for He is already perfectly and infinitely glorious. Rather, for us to glorify God means for us to ascribe the glory that is due His Name in worship. It means that we acknowledge His glory by living as though His perfections are as serious and significant as they really are, so that we reflect His glory through a pure mirror. It means that nothing horrifies us more than the thought of bringing dishonor to His glorious Name, and nothing delights us more than to feel His pleasure as we live to the praise of His glory. It also means that we declare His glory among the nations, inviting others to join us in our love affair with His glorious perfection. Glorifying God thus consumes and defines every aspect of our life and witness as well as our worship.

We urgently need to recapture the centrality of glorifying God in our lives and work. Too much of what passes for evangelical Christianity in America is man-centered or even self-centered. God is reduced to a means to some other end, whether it be my own self-fulfillment or the welfare of others. The results are disastrous for worship, for discipleship, and for witness. Worship either becomes tepid, or it becomes an experience we offer to people as a sort of consumer product rather than adoration and consecration we offer to God. Discipleship becomes a self-help program that leaves huge areas of life untouched, rather than a life-long love affair with God that lays every area of life on the altar to be consecrated to Him and to be conformed to His image. Witness becomes an invitation to sample a product rather than a royal summons to flee to a sovereign Savior. In effect, we reduce the Good News to mere good advice.

If the glory of God is our supreme passion, this will redefine both the goal of our task and the manner in which we pursue that task. The goal of our task is that the earth be filled with the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the sea. Our passion is to see Him receive the glory that is due His Name from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. Everything else is simply a means to that end. We are not seeking to add numbers that we can report to the organization; we are seeking to add worshippers to the choir of heaven, who will live every area of their lives to the praise of His glory. This focus invests a new, holy seriousness to discipleship and the life of the church. We are not content unless His glory is proclaimed, reflected, upheld and adored among the people to whom He has called us. The task is not about us, and it's not even ultimately about the nations. The focus is on Him.

A passion for the glory of God will also redefine the manner in which we pursue our task. If our supreme goal is to glorify Him, we will not be able to separate our personal lives from our work lives. The way we treat our families, the way we entertain ourselves, the way we spend our money, the way we relate to others, the way we treat our bodies, the hidden attitudes of our hearts, the time we spend nourishing our own relationship with Him, cannot be compartmentalized away from our "work." It is our job to glorify Him in every area of life, not just through the tasks written on our job descriptions. Failure in the former will mean failure in the latter as well. We also cannot accept any means to the end that does not equally bring glory to God. This passion thus has a purifying effect, safeguarding us from the temptation to take shortcuts or utilize worldly means in the pursuit of our work.

As I read over the words I have just written, I get overwhelmed with the conviction that I fall very far short of my own counsel. That brings me to my final point. We can only live for His glory by His grace. Apart from His enabling, I can do nothing. And even what I do by His strength is still tainted by my sinfulness, so that it must be covered by the blood of His sacrifice to be acceptable to my holy Father. Bless His Name that both His power and His grace are infinitely sufficient to meet all my need! Brothers and sisters, I plead with you to seek His grace to make the glory of God your supreme passion. It is His supreme passion, and the pursuit of anything else would constitute failure to fulfill our calling.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sermon Summary: Authenitc Worship vs. False Worship

In John 12:1-16, I see one expression of authentic, God-honoring worship and three forms of false worship.

Mary and Costly Worship

The first comes from Mary in verses 1-4. Mary brings a bottle of expensive (about a years wages worth) perfume. She breaks the bottle and then pours it out over Jesus as an act of loving devotion toward Him. Her act of worship is: 1) Physical, 2) Emotional, 3) Humble, 4) Spiritual, and 5) spiritual. All acts of true worship (presenting our lives to the Lord in loving devotion) will have these five marks. Mary’s worship was connected to the cross (v. 7), as will ours be. We worship Christ because he is the crucified, buried, and resurrected Lord and Savior.

Judas Iscariot and Contested Worship

In verses 4-8, we find Judas Iscariot objecting to such an extravagant display of worship. He suggests selling the perfume and giving the proceeds to the poor. He sounds pious, but he is really a thief. Beware of robbing from God.

The Religious Leaders and Corrupted Worship

In verses 8-11, the spiritual leaders of the people plan to kill not only Jesus but also Lazarus because Lazarus’s testimony is turning more people toward Christ. These leaders have a zeal (Romans 10:2), but it is ultimately not for God or for the truth. They are serving their own religious system and not the Lord.

The Crowds and Confused Worship

The crowds gather and celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (vv. 12-16). Although they say the right things (they are quoting from Psalm 118), and have the right outward actions, ultimately they are confused about Christ and in less than a week’s time, they will by crying out for Jesus’ crucifixion.


We are to give ourselves in worship to the Lord. However, we must worship rightly. May our worship be Christ-centered and Gospel-tethered, just like Mary’s was. Otherwise, our worship becomes false and an abomination before God.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Review: Five Who Changed the World

by Daniel L. Akin
published by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2008

This little book collects in print five biographical sermons preached by Dr. Akin in Chapel services at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Using the lives of five missionaries, he preaches/writes about five great texts to encourage us to give our lives to the cause of global missions.

The sermons are:

The Great Commission & William Carey: A Passionate Global Vision from Matthew 28:16-20

Marked for Death, Messengers of Life: Adoniram & Ann Judson from Romans 8:28-39

Jesus is Everything to Me!: Glorious Truth in the Life and Death of Bill Wallace from Philippians 1:21

The Power of a Consecrated Life: The Ministry of Lottie Moon from Romans 12:1

Let All the Nations Give God Glory!: A Passion in the Life & Martyrdom of Jim Elliot

Dr. Akin has done us a great service by publishing this little book in at least two ways. First, he models for us preachers an excellent way to blend church history and Christian biography with expositional preaching. He deals faithfully with the text and uses the life stories of these great missionaries to illustrate the Biblical points.

Secondly, and more importantly, he challenges us through the Biblical text and the lives of these five great missionaries to give our lives to the work of missions and global evangelization. A true child of God cannot read God's Word and the testimonies of great missionaries without being stirred to do more.

Great Quote:
"[These missionaries] are a reminder that God can take our little and do a lot. He can take our weakness and show Himself strong. He can take a short life and have it make an impact for all eternity. Jim Elliot said it so well: we are just a 'bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody.' May God by His grace and for His glory multiply the 'nobodies,' who have as their life's passion a desire to exalt the 'Somebody' whose name is Jesus." (p. 100)

I recommend this book to every Christian to read.

Buy It
Call 919-761-2270 to order the book.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some Sentence Prayers from the Bible You Can Pray

A Prayer for When You Don't Know What to Do
"O our God...We do not know what to do, but your eyes are on you."
2 Chronicles 20:12

A Prayer for Mercy
"God, be merciful to me, a sinner."
Luke 18:13

A Prayer for Faith
"Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Mark 9:24

A Prayer of Praise
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name."
Psalm 103:1

A Prayer for Guidance
"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths."
Psalm 25:4

A Prayer for God's Will
"Your kingdom come, your will be done."
Matthew 6:10

"Not as I will, but as You will."
Matthew 26:39

A Prayer of Hope
"My hope is in you."
Psalm 39:7

A Prayer for Christ's Glory
"May the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified in you."
2 Thessalonians 1:12

The Shortest Prayer
"Lord, save me!"
Matthew 14:30

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Should I Listen (or read, or watch, or play)?

Two questions:

1. Does the music (or book, or magazine, or TV program, or movie, or game) you listen to lead you to love the Savior more or cause your affections for Christ to diminish?

2. Does your music (etc.) lead you to value an eternal perspective or influence you to adopt the mindset of "this present evil age"?

from Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World (p. 81)

Monday, February 15, 2010

What is Sin?

What is sin?
The Glory of God not honored.
The Holiness of God not reverenced.
The Greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The Truth of God not sought.
The Wisdom of God not Esteemed.
The Beauty of God not treasured.
The Goodness of God not savored.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The Commandments of God not obeyed.
The Justice of God not respected.
The Wrath of God not feared.
The Grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized
The person of God not loved.
That is sin.

- John Piper

(ht: Already Not Yet)