Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Way to Defeat Sin

A quote from the book, "A Table of Inwardness," by Calvin Miller tells us the most effective way of dealing with sin:

"The Best way of dealing with sin is not to attempt reform but to adore the Savior. Winning over our lower nature is made positive by adoration. While we worship the enthroned and inner Christ, we cannot be intrigued by negative preoccupation with sin (p. 29)."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What is at stake when someon walks in open rebellion against God.

Recently I heard about someone who is in outright and open sin, who, I think, would identify himself as a believer yet is not part of any type of local expression of the body of Christ, a ‘church.’ When I offered my help they informed me, that the issue was of no concern of mine. They thanked me for calling and doing my job. I thought, “my job?” I did not call because it was my job, I called them because as a brother in Christ, I had a moral obligation to help in any way I can so I tried. I called because I care about this person and what they are doing to their family. I called because rebelling against the clear commands of Scripture is not producing fruit that demonstrates true repentance and puts them in danger of falling away from grace (Mat 3:8-10). I called because we are warned against having an evil unbelieving heart that leads one to fall away from the living God (Heb. 3:12). I called because I am commanded to exhort them every day so that they may not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). I called because my heart breaks that this is a train wreck that will cause collateral damage to those near the train tracks. I called called because the reputation of Christ (Col. 1:10) and the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) and the transforming power of the gospel is at stake (Phil 1:27).
Next time I want to handle how to treat an unrepentant brother or sister and then address if someone can be a Christ follower and not be involved in a local church.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Being thankful to God

1 Timothy 1:12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

God has graciously shown me recently through several situations that I am not thankful for His blessings in my life. I am not very content; I am more focused on what is wrong in my life than what is right; I see problems where I should see possibilities; and I am unhappy about circumstances rather than being grateful and thankful for all that God is doing in my life. I have the best wife, I have great kids who love God and are pursuing him, I have plenty of money, the church I pastor is going great, and I am healthy. Why then am I so discontent and always wanting life and ministry to go better? Bottom line I am dissatisfied with Jesus, what he did for me on the cross, and what he promises to be for me on a daily basis. He is not enough for me. Symptomatic of my unbelief, I want more from this world.
Yet how do I correct my spiritual condition? I am very task oriented so I want to look at ways or things I can do to correct my problem. But this will not be resolved by checking off a list of spiritual exercises meant to make me more thankful. I can thank God more but if my heart is not thankful, it is meaningless. I am not sure I agree with the 12 step mantra, fake it 'til you make it! The only way to combat this competing unbelief in my heart is to do battle with a stronger and better desire, the desire to be satisfied with who Christ promises to be for me. These competing desires in my heart will only be conquered by a greater satisfaction in who Christ is and promises to be for me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let's Conspire Together this Holiday Season

Many of us have been planning and preparing for Thanksgiving dinner for the past few weeks and are already planning for the Christmas season. The flurry of events and activities that focus on fun and food often leave me unsettled and empty. Oh, we pray at the meals, but that seems more a token than anything else. So my thoughts at this time of the year tend to see how we can be more Christ Centered.
So I thought how we as a body could make Christ more central. Then I thought of a Conspiracy. A conspiracy is acting together in harmony toward a common end. So lets conspire together to make this holiday season more centered on Christ. Specifically, this season, let’s conspire to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All.

Worship Fully
It starts with Jesus and it ends with Jesus. This season is not primarily about family, friends, and food. The holiday season is a yearly reminder on our calendars that we are called to put down our burdens and lift up a song of thanksgiving up to our God. Enter this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest. He is the reigning and coming King!

Spend Less
Americans spent a total of $28.5 billion on Thanksgiving alone last year, and 90% of that went toward food. According to the American Farm Bureau, the average cost of a Thanksgiving Day feast for 10 was $44.61 last year. That's cheap considering that includes turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and everything else. The rest of the money was spent on Thanksgiving decorations and other festive trimmings. But there is also the Thanksgiving travel. Many families spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on travel to visit their loved ones for Thanksgiving, the busiest travel holiday in North America. Christmas is much higher! It is probably too late to make changes to our Thanksgiving celebration but it is not too late to cut back on Christmas spending!

Give More
God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that the holidays should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift the holiday season can offer and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found shopping. Turn off the television and spend quality time talking. Invite someone over for dinner or coffee who needs Jesus. Take time to bake really good cookies and give them to a neighbor or coworker. Take time to make love visible through relational giving.

Love All
When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less during the holiday season, we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most. You don’t have to look across the world to see people in need, look across the street.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shout for JOY!

I ran across this question on a blog today and it made me think about my own worship, raising my own questions.

Have you ever thought about the fact that shouting is commanded in Scripture?

Psalm 66:1: "Shout for joy to God, all the earth..."

Shouting is a very undignified thing to do. Important people don't shout. Prideful people let others do the shouting. What or who do you shout for? A sports team? In anger? To get someone's attention? It makes me pause and think, 'what do I do or do not do and why do I do or not do it?'

Shout in joy for God.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When You Don’t Feel Like It, Take Heart :: Desiring God

When You Don’t Feel Like It, Take Heart :: Desiring God

Friday, November 6, 2009

Are you Gossiping? Nine questions to ask yourself.

Question of the Week:
Concerning your many conversations with others, how do you know when it is OK to share information and when it could be useless or destructive to do so?

Kevin A. Miller (Is This Gossip? 9 questions to help you decide) provides some great questions to ask yourself before you share information with others:

1. Am I telling this to someone who can do something about the problem by helping the person or offering discipline or correction?
2. If not, am I telling this to someone who is wise enough to help me sort out my feelings and courageous enough to make me do the right thing: to confront the person or to confess where I was at fault?
3. Is this news approved for sharing?
4. Am I breaking a confidence? If so, is it only because the person is endangering someone's life, including his or her own?
5. Am I willing to say from whom I got this information so the information can be checked for accuracy?
6. When I say this, does it break my heart?
7. Have I taken the time to examine my life and confess to God how I also sin like that?
8. Am I praying for the person?
9. Would I feel comfortable if someone were saying this about me?

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be" (James 3:9-10).

taken from Pastors Weekly Briefing from Focus on the Family.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A look at an example of Christianity gone amuck

The Gospel-Driven Church: Six Flags Over Jesus

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Willingly Do People Go to Hell? :: Desiring God

How Willingly Do People Go to Hell? :: Desiring God

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some thougths on the Sovereignty of God from Isaiah

I am in Isaiah in my yearly reading program (about a month behind!). The book of Isaiah describes God’s just judgments and his patient and enduring love toward his people, whom he chose to pour out his grace and mercy. Isaiah looks to a future king who will rule them and who will also be a servant. All of Israel’s kings were Messiahs in some sense but this King and Servant will be the ultimate King, not only for Israel, but for all the nations of the world.

Isaiah is continually reminding Israel that Yahweh is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords; there is none like Him. He proves this by continually reminding them that Yahweh alone is sovereign. For instance, he says,

“I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things (45:7).”

This chapter starts out describing Cyrus as God’s chosen instrument to accomplish His purpose. The Lord is in control of history, he uses Cyrus for His own purposes. Cyrus will conquer nations and then help Israel rebuild. All this is to awaken faith in all the nations of the world and let them know that He is the only Sovereign and Savior. God not only saves Israel but uses pagan kings to accomplish his purposes! Here is the application. When things do not look like they are going as planned, that Gods purposes are not being fulfilled, we are to remember that He is still sovereign and that nothing is outside His control. In the next chapter, Isaiah describes how Israel has a tendency to give credit to idols for the work of God. Idolatry in our hearts leads to idolatry in our thoughts and actions.

"Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose (46:8-10).”'

Israel is commanded to remember and stand firm that God is unique and unlike the pagan gods they tend to worship. Only his counsel and his purposes shall stand. God can say something will happen because God makes it happen. If God is not absolutely sovereign over everything, He could not predict the future with any certainty and we could not trust prophecy to come true, nor his Word.

We, the people of God, are charged to remember and stand firm in this truth because in a world full of idolatry our clarity of God becomes eroded. Remember, you who follow Christ, God is in control of history and just because things don’t look like they are going Gods way does not mean they are not. That is true of our present economic and geopolitical landscape, as well as your life today! Do not look to anything but your God for hope, peace, and yes, even your security.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meditating on Scripture

The poet, T.S. Eliot, once observed: “Everything we eat has some effect upon us. It affects us during the process of assimilation and digestion; and I believe exactly the same is true of anything we read.”

In other words, you are what you read. So reading without meditating is like eating without digesting. If you want to absorb the nutrients, you can’t just read scripture, you have to chew on it. You have to digest it. Meditation is the way we metabolize Scripture.

Are you metabolizing Scripture? I have to slow myself down, focus on my reading to meditate on what I am reading. This week I talked with someone about generating an appetite for God. I told them the main means by which God does that in our lives is the Bible, his word. But we cannot not just mindlessly read it and expect to be fed and nourished spiritually. We must think about what we are reading - engage with what the author is saying by what he wrote and what he means by what he wrote and then how that applies to me. That takes work! We can rake the ground for leaves or we can dig for gold. Digging take more effort but is more rewarding. We will never find gold raking for leaves.

Four Dangers Of Leadership Part Three - Pride

Four Dangers Of Leadership Part Three ? Pride :: Perry Noble | Leadership, Vision & Creativity

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Gospel-Driven Church: First World Problems

Problems third world citizens can only dream about.
The Gospel-Driven Church: First World Problems

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Bible verse ban spawns 'wave of support for Christ' (

God frequently uses persecution to advance his kingdom (Acts 8:1-4).
Bible verse ban spawns 'wave of support for Christ' (

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re: four dangers of Leadership, part one

I am going to be posting a series of four articles I am reading on leadership. This first one is on jealousy. I have been guilty of it at times and thought it would be good to reflect on for those I know who are in leadership. One way of combating jealousy that he does not mention is the sovereignty of God. If God is indeed blessing another's ministry, in His wisdom, he is doing it for reasons that are unkown to us for good reason.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reflecting on Death

My oldest brother Scott died last night of cancer. It came upon him suddenly and viciously. By the time treatment began, it had the upper hand. So I am thinking about death and my own mortality. Death can help me to think more clearly by facing the fact that I too will eventually die.

Death reminds of my own mortality. I could die at any moment from cancer or a car accident. Every breathe I take is given to me by God (Acts 17:28).

Death reminds me that sin is the source of all forms of evil. Adam led the human race into our fallen and sinful condition. Everything terrible about this world is because of sin. Our selfishness, crime, hate, war, disease, fear, and envy and everything else is because of sin.

Death reminds me that my condition from birth is sinful and alienated from God. I need someone else to reconcile me to God and that is Jesus Christ.

Death reminds me that this life is short lived and eternity is forever. I am to live to enhance my eternal condition, namely joy, and fight against the tendency to live to enhance this short life.

Death reminds me that because of Christ and his death on the cross for my sin death has lost its sting. I am not afraid of death because to die is gain (Phil. 1:21b).

Death reminds me that the goal of beating cancer is not because I value this life as ultimate but because I value my spiritual life as ultimate. The former is only significant because of the latter. The only life worth living is one where I can honestly say, ‘to live is Christ (Phil 1:21a).’

Death reminds me that I do not grieve as one who has no hope (1 Thes. 4:13).

Dear friends, consider the claims of Christ. My life has never made more sense nor been more meaningful and more joyful since I became a follower of Christ.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nehemiah 10: Nehemiah Renews the Covenant

Nehemiah leads Israel in specific commitments, renewing the Covenant God gave to Moses. God requires of leadership to lead not only in vision but also in holiness. Here is an example of revival and renewal led by Nehemiah. Chapter 13 tells us that when he left there were lapses in covenantal faithfulness that Nehemiah corrects when he returns. In chapter 13 he is no longer the Governor of Jerusalem but he still has influence which is evident in his reforms in chapter 13.
Leadership must set the pace in our pursuit of God and holiness. Robert Coleman in his little book, Master Plan of Evangelism, makes a statement that has stuck with me for over 20 year. From observing the life of Jesus, he says that, “More is caught than taught.” If we want a church that has direction but also that is passionately pursuing Christ then our leadership must set the pace not only in vision and mission but also in holiness.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nehemiah 6 and oppossition

Nehemiah 6:14,19 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid. . . . Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to make me afraid.

Whenever a leader faces opposition in making progress, they will have enemies from within and enemies from without.  Those who are in the community of faith and those outside the community of faith that will seek to bring them down.  Here, Tobiah and Sanballat are from without and Shemaiah (v. 10) and a number of prophets are from within.  Both groups are trying to intimidate him into quiting his call to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.  Fear arises when we are not certain of the outcome and expect the worst or at the least unfavorable results.  In this way Nehemiah's enemies were seeking to intimidate him into quiting.  They were attempting to convince his mind that God was not with him and would not help them to finish the rebuilding - walk in unbelief.
Yet God promises that he did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self control (2 Tim 1:7).  We are not to walk in fear because God’s Spirit in us is a Spirit of boldness not cowardliness.  There was a time last year when I was questioning my call to CCC.  After my resolve I got an anonymous email that did not have a return address nor could I trace with the words, “Quit!”  Was it a fluke or by evil design to intimidate me, question God, and my ability to hear the voice of God?  I think the latter!  Evil was trying to intimidate me to cower and walk in fear and insecurity rather than allowing God's spirit to spirit rise up in boldness and in the confidence of him who called me!

Friday, September 18, 2009

God's resources are withheld to starve us out of prayerlessness.

I read through a teaching outline by Mike Bickle this morning on prayer.  I have never been enamored with his teaching but I know he is a man of prayer so I decided to look at this teaching someone sent me.  He had the following quote that caused me to ponder:
God's resources are withheld to starve us out of prayerlessness.
He goes on to say that God jealously protects His relationship with us by not answering our need until we ask for them.  He says there are blessings that God has chosen to give, but only as His people ask Him in faith.  I am reminded of many scriptures that encourage us to persevere and persist in prayer, the friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-13) or the Peristant widow (Luke 18:1-8).  The purpose of God withholding his resources toward us are to starve out of us prayerlessness.  The very means by which he starves prayerlessness is withholding his resources!  Yet the ultimate reason for prayer is not the resources we request but the resources - God himself.  Too often we go to God in prayer to get what we need and more often what we want.  How often do we go to God to get more of Him?  To connect with Him, to experience His presence, to be intimate with Him?  I do not want to be like either of the brothers in the parable of the Prodigal who did not want their Father but wanted his wealth.  
Father, incline my heart to you so that I want you more than I want something from your hand.
Thanks!  David