Monday, April 27, 2009

God's Kind of Worship

In the past two days I have come across a wonderful passage of Scripture that had never really caught my eye before -- Isaiah 58. I strongly encourage you to spend some time there yourself in the days ahead. For a preview, Isaiah contrasts for us true worship vs. false worship:

False worship is:

  1. Ritual

  2. Focused on receiving something from God (think extortion)

  3. All form and no substance

  4. Oppressive to those around us (I believe this can be either through commission or omission)

True worship is:

  1. Focused upon giving to God (praise, service, etc.)

  2. Being aware of and addressing God's heart for others (specifically the poor, homeless, and hungry)

  3. Delighting in God and following His path.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Gospel Coalition

This week I had the privilege to attend the Gospel Coalition ( Conference in Chicago and listen to some of the greatest preachers of our day. Here are a few noteworthy quotes from the 10 Sessions:

An idol is anything in your life that is so central to your life that you can’t have a life if you lose it. -- Tim Keller

You never break any of commandments 2-10 without breaking commandment 1 first. -- Tim Keller

One of the best ways to keep the faith is to pass on the faith (referencing 2 Tim. 2:2) -- Phil Ryken

God is on the throne, and he isn't up for reelection. -- K. Edward Copeland

One day even death will have a funeral. -- K. Edward Copeland

What you win them by you win them to. -- Ligon Duncan quoting the late James Boice

All of the sessions are available for free at

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Five P's

Today I am going to share something from my personal walk that I hope will be helpful to you.

Over time, I have developed 5 key areas in my life that I use to evaluate my spiritual health. I regularly pray over each area and pay special attention to how I need to grow in each. They are:

  1. Prayer

  2. Purity

  3. Pride

  4. Patience

  5. Perseverance

In future postings I will address each P in more detail, but for now I will simply say that while these aren't the only areas that I need to work on, they are the one's that the Lord most frequently draws me to and where I find my greatest needs. Starting them all with P makes them easy to remember and recite.

I firmly believe that evaluation is a key to growth -- if we don't know where we need to grow and\or what we need to strengthen, it's likely that many areas of our walk will be unaddressed. Having simple evaluation tools for our Christian lives are very helpful.

These are my 5 P's, at least for now. What are yours?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,“In returning [repentance] and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”But you were unwilling, 16 and you said,“No! We will flee upon horses”;therefore you shall flee away;and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift." Isaiah 30:15-16 (ESV)

These two verses wonderfully and succinctly sum up God's relationship with Israel (in this instance, Judah specifically) in the OT. He continually offered his provision and salvation, and they continually attempted to save themselves.

Unfortunately, this is how we today often attempt to live our lives. We really aren't much different than the Israelites. Our salvation (whether eternally or in a specific situation) cannot be gained of our own accord. Rather, salvation is only to be had through repenting and trusting in the Lord.
Our amazing and wonderful God continually offers salvation, but in many instances we simply aren't willing to trust in Him. The result, of course, is failure, and often with it a great deal of pain, hurt, and distress.
As believers we must come to grips with the reality that the key to victory in life is not found in ourselves, but rather in resting and trusting in the grace of God. When we do this, He delights to show mercy and rescue us, every time!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

God's Mighty Strength is Available Today

This weekend we will celebrate the two most significant events in human history: Christ's death on a Roman cross and his subsequent resurrection three days later. There are many things to contemplate, celebrate, and savor regarding Good Friday and Easter; things that we should turn to one a regular basis. I would encourage you to reflect on this one from the Apostle Paul:

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.... Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV)

Friends, the same power that the Father used in raising Christ from the dead is available to you today to live a full life of obedience, love, and joy in Jesus Christ. This weekend as you celebrate the Resurrection, remember that the same great power that the Father exerted in raising Christ from the dead is available to you today, and every day for the rest of your life!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friend or Enemy?

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6 (ESV)

A question for you today: in your relationships are you a true friend or a secret enemy? Do you love your friends enough to "wound them" (which might result in you being wounded as well), or do you simply flatter them. This proverb tells us that sometimes love hurts.

Sometimes people tell me, I love them too much to confront them about that. Or, I love my child too much to discipline them like that.

My response is, no, you love yourself too much. You are more concerned about what it might cost you rather than what it might cost them. True love requires sacrifice. It requires hard choices. It sometimes requires hard words. Sometimes true love requires the risk of losing a relationship. The path of love is almost always the harder way. Just ask Jesus:

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (ESV).



About Me

I am a husband to Eva, father of 4, pastor, and most of all passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of my life is to make the most of every opportunity God gives me to bring glory to Him. Outside of the time spent in my role as a pastor, I spend most of my time with my family -- a good deal of that coaching various sports teams that my children are involved with. Every fall and winter you will find me rushing to the woods of Indiana and West Virginia in search of a monster whitetail buck.