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February 3, 2017

This morning's devotion written by Charles Spurgeon was beautiful to read and I wanted to share it with you today.  If you haven't read Spurgeon's Morning & Evening Devotions before, they're very good.

There are many people who struggle to get out of financial debt and some successfully achieve that goal.  Many people however, work very hard to eliminate the debt of sin by attempting to work really hard, or try hard to be a good person and do good things that God will accept and therefore, withhold condemning them to hell and grant to them a place in heaven.

Unfortunately, that's not how it works with God.

The quote by John Stott pretty much summarizes the beauty of the debt of our sin that has been placed upon the cross.  Not an empty cross, but upon Jesus Christ, whom suffered and died upon the cross - for a sin that He did not commit and for our debt that could never be repaid.

Thank God, He has satisfied my debt.  Has He satisfied yours?

Forgiven by His blood,
Pastor Kurt


Morning, February 3
So then brothers, we are debtors - Romans 8:12

As God's creatures, we are all debtors to Him: to obey Him with all our body, and soul, and strength. Having broken His commandments, as we all have, we are debtors to His justice, and we owe to Him a vast amount which we are not able to pay. But of the Christian it can be said that he does not owe God's justiceanything, for Christ has paid the debt His people owed; for this reason the believer owes the more to love. I am a debtor to God's grace and forgiving mercy; but I am no debtor to His justice, for He will never accuse me of a debt already paid. Christ said, "It is finished!" and by that He meant, that whatever His people owed was wiped away for ever from the book of remembrance. Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given, and we are debtors to God's justice no longer. But then, because we are not debtors to our Lord in that sense, we become ten times more debtors to God than we should have been otherwise. Christian, pause and ponder for a moment. What a debtor thou art to divine sovereignty! How much thou owest to His disinterested love, for He gave His own Son that He might die for thee. Consider how much you owe to His forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts He loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to His power; how He has raised you from your death in sin; how He has preserved your spiritual life; how He has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way. Consider what you owe to His immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once. Thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast—yield thyself as a living sacrifice, it is but thy reasonable service.

Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening - February 3

February 2, 2017

Don't Believe the Lies from the Devil

On Sunday, January 8th, I had preached a sermon that really impacted many people in our congregation and acknowledged similar experiences themselves at some point in the past.

This sermon is the result of my own personal experience and I had conveyed to a few people in the congregation that I felt that I was going to be voted out as their pastor, at the upcoming annual business meeting at the end of the month.


Satan has made some subtle whispers to me that it was actually going to happen and it caused some distress in my life.  When I had mentioned it to one of the ladies of the church, she said to me, "No way. That's not happening.  If you're voted out, we're going to another church, or wherever you go, but that's not happening."


Another woman also said, "You better NOT leave us!"  But the devil was indeed playing mind games with me and he's done so to others too.


On Saturday afternoon, I asked the Lord, "Since this is something that I'm experiencing and others are, or have also experienced this too, would You help me to preach this to the people at Magnolia Church?"


Just a short while later, when I returned home, I began looking at Luke 4:1-13, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan for 40 days (Luke 4:2).

I asked the Lord's help to develop an outline for preaching this passage and I'm thankful to God, by His Holy Spirit, to have helped me to formulate an outline to preach this passage.

The Facebook Live video from that Sunday was shared by quite a few people at the church and then it was viewed by more than 2,100 people as well.


So, today, I read a recommendation about sharing my sermon notes, whether it be a full manuscript, or an outline on my blog that would help others too.  If you feel this message has been a blessing to you, please share it with others, on social media using the icons at the bottom of this post.


The video has been uploaded to YouTube and you can watch it here.


Faithfully in Christ,

Pastor Kurt

 

January 8, 2017
When the Devil Attempts to Play Mind Games with You
SCRIPTURE TEXT: Luke 4:1-13

SERMON OUTLINE

David Wilkerson said in a sermon back in 2007 titled, “The Private War of a Saint”, “…there will come a time of war. And that war won’t involve the vast body of Christ worldwide, but will be a private war. It will involve battles and struggles known only to you.  These are wars of the flesh — I call them “soul wars” — and they bring a burden you can’t share with anyone. Even your spouse or best friend can’t help you carry them. They simply aren’t able to understand your battle.  Such private wars and battles overwhelm the body and soul. And they are lonely wars. They are just about Jesus and you.”

All of what Jesus experienced here in this passage was a private war and even a personal war too because it was a one-on-one spiritual battle.  

The example we also see here is that what Jesus experienced, He experienced for us, to show us that He understands what it’s like to be tempted by Satan.

1. He’ll attempt to make you feel unknown by God - To doubt your true identity in Christ, more than once (v. 3, 9)
a) He attempted to cause Jesus to doubt His Divinity - “If you are the Son of God,”
b) He attempts to cause Christians to believe the wrong things about themselves
c) He attempts to cause you to doubt your work in service to God

2. He’ll attempt to make you feel unfulfilled - To make promises he can never fulfill (v. 5-7)
a) Don’t let the devil lead you into believing that you can be satisfied by temporary need apart from an eternal purpose that is established by God alone!
b) Don’t let the devil lead you into believing that you can compromise your walk with Christ, for something selfish today.

3. He’ll attempt to make you believe something that’s untrue - To lead you out of the will of God (v. 9-11) 
a) He misinterprets Scripture (v. 10, 11; He’s a bad theologian)
b)The devil would be more than pleased with any person who compromises their worship of God.  He would be more than pleased for the truth of Scripture to be compromised - Preaching, Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Marriage, Family, Tithing.

Friends, don’t believe the lies that Satan has been trying to speak to you.  All he wants to do is try to get to you walk away from Him, to cause division between you and God, even between you and the church too.

In each instance of the Devil’s multiple offers that he made to Jesus, He always responded with the Word to prove Satan wrong.

Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 - “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

Don’t let the devil lead you into believing the lies about your life.  You are blood bought by Jesus Christ, you are sealed permanently and eternally by the Holy Spirit of God, you are now and forever will be a son, or daughter of Almighty God.

The Word of God ALWAYS conquers the one true enemy of our souls - Satan.

Know the Word.
Study the Word.
Apply the Word.
Declare the Word.

Has Satan been playing mind games with you?  Don’t let Satan play mind games with you anymore.


January 25, 2017

The Market, Resistance and Godlessness in the Last Days

Many people will scoff at the thought of the certainty that Jesus is returning at an unexpected time in the future. The Bible tells us of many things that will happen that will point to His imminent return, so that we should be ready.
This morning's news reported that the Greenpeace organization climbed a crane at a construction site, just a few blocks from the White House and fastened a sign that said, "RESIST", which is directed at President Trump and yesterday's Executive Action regarding the building of the Dakota and Keystone Pipelines. (Reuters, The Atlantic)
One of those things we shall most clearly see prior to Jesus' return is the behavior of people when they are observed as lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (2 Timothy 3:2-4), these are the signs of godlessness in the last days.
This past weekend's tirade of Ashley Judd and Madonna at the Women's March, the actions of the House Democrats are occasions also of people being proud, arrogant and abusive to others.  Even the riot "protest" in Washington on the day of the President's inauguration too is a sign of such pride, abuse and ungratefulness.
Even Hillary Clinton's scandal of the (corrupt) Clinton Foundation and all of the money that was given to her, while she served as Secretary of State, where all of that money went to her and her husband, to help fund their personal endeavors is a clear sign of being a lover of money.
It is my hope and prayer for Bill and Hillary that they would genuinely repent of their sins and put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ alone.  While all of what they've done is enough to be condemned to hell if they don't repent and trust in Jesus for their forgiveness and salvation, all of what they've done can be forgiven by God, if they do repent and put their faith in Christ alone for their forgiveness and salvation.
I have often said to people who have argued saying that these types of things have happened in our country for many, many, many years now. They're cyclical and we can expect them to happen and deal with the effects of them and move on.
Surely, someone without an eternal perspective in mind can and will see it this way, but for anyone with a biblical perspective, they will see even these events as additional mounting evidence against those who do not believe the Bible and its prophecies.
God is giving not only enough evidence to see, but signs that are to warn us and prepare us for His imminent return.

For anyone who bought low in the market just a few years ago, they've done so with the hope of the market continuing to rise, recoup their losses from previous years and rebuild their wealth for the future. But how much is that really worth in comparison to your soul and living eternally with God in peace, in heaven? The opposite of that will be to live eternally apart from God in punishment, in hell.


Days of difficulty will come upon us (2 Timothy 3:1), so don't think that just because the Dow went over 20,000 this morning that everything is going to be alright and Jesus will hold off on His return because the market is beginning to soar. He is coming back regardless if the economy is great, or if it has devastatingly crashed.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:26
I am certainly looking for a better economy in the next four years compared to what we've had during the Obama Administration, but I do not want to become comfortable in what good may come of the economy and possibly a greater expression of religious freedom as a Christian because of the election of Donald Trump and forget that Jesus will return at any minute.

We're all in for an interesting 4 years ahead, but Jesus could come back before the end of President Trump's first term, or sooner. Will you be ready?


Pastor Kurt

January 12, 2017

Book review: The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Steven J. Lawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was impacted greatly when I read Preaching & Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones and this book by Steven Lawson truly described the passion that The Doctor had concerning preaching and the Word of God.

In the preface, The Doctor's Mandate, Lawson said, "In a day that clamors for churches to capitulate to the spirit of the age and use entertainment in order to draw crowds, the primacy of biblical preaching must be restored wherever the people of God gather to worship." So true for today, too.

I look forward to reading the other books that Lawson has written, in The Long Line of Godly Men Profile series.

View all my reviews

January 2, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge

Well, Happy New Year everyone!

I hope everyone has learned from their mistakes last year and look forward to starting over in 2017.


With the new year comes a series of resolutions that many people make, in the hope that they will accomplish as many, or all of their resolutions that they made for 2017.


There's 363 days to go until we get to December 31st, so hopefully you've started yesterday and today with good effort and commitment to accomplish your resolutions or goals.


Last year, I was introduced to this reading challenge and shared it with my father and he accomplished reading 16 books.  I, on the other hand, attempted to read 30 books, but only accomplished reading 7.  


It was a challenging goal for sure because I don't read very fast, or much in the course of a month and this would have called for me to read at least 2.5 books per month, to reach my goal.


While I do read every day, much of my reading is focused in the bible and other surrounding resources related to my study and sermon preparation each week.


This year, I'm going to make a stronger effort, to read 16 books minimum for the year and that would mean that I'd have to read one complete book and have completed 1/3 of a new book in the same month, to reach my goal by the end of the year.  This is definitely doable too.


Last year I was introduced to the reading challenge from Tim Challies website and he had a VERY aggressive list of books that he would read.  I only wish I was as voracious a reader as he is.


Click here to read his post on the 2016 Reading Challenge.  Tim has posted a challenge for 2017 too, which you can read here.


This year's Reading Challenge is from Amazon Kindle and Goodreads and the Goodreads website encourages readers to commit to reading a certain number of books for the year, so I say, "Are you up for the challenge?  I am!"


So what will I plan to read this year?  I have created a list in Evernote and these books won't be read in this order, but they are the ones that are on my Kindle and I have started to read them, but just haven't finished.  I'm no where near finishing any of these books either, to accomplish my reading list more easily either.


Here are my proposed books to read in 2017:

  1. The Way of Pentecost by Samuel Chadwick
  2. The Passionate Preaching of Martin Lloyd-Jones by Steven Lawson
  3. Esther by Chuck Swindoll
  4. The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall
  5. Slave by John MacArthur
  6. The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street by Ken Marlin
  7. The Cross of Christ by John Stott
  8. Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper
  9. The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink
  10. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
  11. Text-Driven Preaching by David Allen
  12. The Third Target by Joel Rosenberg
  13. The First Hostage by Joel Rosenberg
  14. Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds
  15. Experiencing the Presence of God by A.W. Tozer
  16. Prayer and Praying Men by E.M. Bounds
  17. Discovering the Power of Christ’s Prayer Life by Charles Spurgeon
  18. Setting Our Affections Upon Glory by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  19. Preaching That Speaks to Women by Alice P. Matthew
  20. I Am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremists
When I was on my first deployment to Okinawa (1992-1993), when I served as a United States Marine, the first long book I read was The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy.

This book was 914 pages and I was never one to enjoy reading books with that many pages, but when I began reading that book, it was great and held me very captive to the story and just continued reading it every day.

I don't remember how long it took me to finish the book, but it might have been a month.  After working and then eating chow, maybe doing some PT in the evening, all I had was time and just occupied myself with reading, instead of possibly getting into trouble, or drinking too much.  Thankfully, I was reading.

I enjoyed reading The Sum of All Fears so much that I then found Clear and Present Danger again by Tom Clancy and read that book, 704 pages and that one might have been on my second deployment (1994-1995).

So, now as a pastor, I've got quite a library of books to read.  A lot of theology related paperback and hardcover books.  Quite a few commentaries and I'm grateful for those books that I've received as gifts from various people too.

I remember when I first visited the library at the ATS seminary, I saw a who set of Charles Spurgeon's commentary, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit and was just in awe of not only this literary work by Spurgeon, but the number of other books that were there, providing a wealth of knowledge for me to experience and learn.

So, what will you be reading in the New Year?  Will you challenge yourself to read more?  Will you participate in the Reading Challenge?  I hope you will.

Have a great New Year!

Pastor Kurt