April 28, 2010

Interview with Pastor Phil Morgan

Since January of this year, my wife and I have had the fortunate opportunity to sit under the preaching ministry of Pastor Phil Morgan (left), senior pastor at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, Connecticut.

As a pastoral intern here at First Assembly, Pastor Phil Morgan has been instrumental in helping me improve my preaching ability through expositional study of the Scriptures.

One of the distinct emphases of the pastors at First Assembly is the focus on expository preaching on a weekly basis.  Whenever the church gathers for a study of the Word of God, the way in which the text is communicated is by exposition.

What follows is a brief interview I had with Pastor Phil regarding the significance of expository preaching in pastoral ministry.

April 26, 2010

What assurance do you have of heaven when you die?

Assurance in the Hour of Death

The strong consolation which assurance can give in the hour of death is a point of great importance. We may depend on it, we shall never think assurance so precious as when our turn comes to die. In that awful hour there are few believers who do not find out the value and privilege of an “assured hope,” whatever they may have thought about it during their lives. General “hopes” and “trusts” are all very well to live upon while the sun shines and the body is strong; but when we come to die, we shall want to be able to say, “I know” and “I feel.”  ~ J.C. Ryle, http://jcrylequotes.com/

Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, “Assurance”, [Moscow, ID: Charles Nolan Publishing, 2001], 135.

April 22, 2010

Before the Throne of God Above

On Tuesday morning, I heard this song on the radio as I was driving to catch the train into New York City, to meet with some of my classmates from seminary.

The lyrics to this song are beautiful too!  The song is performed by the Promise Keepers Band and there's nothing like hearing the voices of men, singing from the depths of their soul, to the glory of Christ.

When was the last time you heard a group of men singing to the glory of Christ?  Oh, how I long to hear this again and more often too!

The lyrics are below for you to read as you listen to this song.


by Promise Keepers Band

April 16, 2010

Is He That Person For Me?

Many people, even today don't feel that Christ is for them mainly because they feel their sin is too great, too reviling, too offensive to God to even consider forgiving. They certainly want His forgiveness, but do not feel deserving of it also.

How quickly we forget that God's grace is far greater toward us through righteousness in Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:20-21).  Think about that for a minute.

The person that remains under the judgment of God for their sin and who will justly deserve it too, if they are coming to God with humility of heart before the Lord, the blurriness of God's grace begins to become more clear and the joy of forgiveness and salvation in Christ more exciting than ever before.

When Peter witnessed the tremendous catch of fish with Jesus on his boat, he felt deeply convicted in his heart to say to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).

Can we say like Peter did that Christ is not for me, depart from me because I am a sinner?

We can relate to Peter's assessment of himself before the Lord, at least those who are honest about it.  But Peter didn't depart from the Lord despite the tremendous catch of fish, he followed the Lord.  He did deny Jesus before He was crucified, but again, in God's mercy and grace, Peter was restored and instructed by Jesus to care for those that would follow the Lord after His ascension (John 21).

April 12, 2010

Give me your best interpretation of John 3:16

The other day, a friend of mine from high school, whom has asked me questions concering the Bible in the past, posted a comment on my wall on Facebook asking, "What is your best interpretation of John 3:16?"

I think if I had not been exposed to the benefit of expository preaching of the Bible, I doubt that I would have been able to compose a response where Scripture interprets Scripture and explains itself.

Too often in today's preaching environment, there is a greater accommodation to the hearer than to the text of Scripture and those that adhere to such a philosophy do more harm to themselves and to those that hear them.  Preaching in depth concerning Scripture is averted and scorned as being too deep, or not practical enough to help somone be able to understand and apply Scripture.

So what follows, is my response to my friend Billy.  I hope that you find this as educational and a blessing to yourself and anyone that you may share it with.

April 8, 2010

He Saw The Heinousness Of His Sin

Each morning and just before going to bed at night, I try to make it a regular practice to read Spurgeon's devotional book, Morning & Evening on my Kindle.  Last night's reading was definitely one worth blogging and sharing too.

Spurgeon writes how King David recognized the atrocity of his sin before a Holy God and it made me consider if I see sin the same as David did.  Too often, society minimizes the gravity of sin and calls it a moral failure, or a mistake. 

If we fail to see sin as sin and nothing else, we will also fail to see God as Holy and Just.

I am so grateful for this collection of devotional readings from Charles Spurgeon and the daily challenge his words are to me.

David saw the heinousness of his sin before God and I hope this devotion challenges you about how you view sin as it did to me.

April 6, 2010

Challenged by the Words of Spurgeon

This morning I read this devotion by Charles Spurgeon on my Kindle.  I continue to love reading Spurgeon's works with amazement how he has communicated Scripture, simply and yet profoundly.

There is hardly a time when I've read something by Spurgeon that I have not highlighted something he has said, so that I can refer to it again another time.  This time was no different. 

I hope this will be a blessing and an encouragement in your walk with Christ to you, as it was to me.

April 4, 2010

The Power of a Promise Kept

Devotions for Holy Week
From First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT
Resurrection Sunday, April 4th, 2010

The Power of a Promise Kept

“And the third day He will rise again." (Luke 18:33)

March 11, 1942 was a dark, desperate day at Corregidor. The Pacific Theatre of war was threatening and bleak. One island after another had been buffeted into submission by the Japanese. The enemy was now marching confidently into the Philippines and surrender was inevitable. American General, Douglas MacArthur, spoke just three words as he stepped into the escape boat destined for Australia: that now famous line, “I shall return.”

It took a little over 2 ½ years for the tide of war to be turned in the Pacific, but finally, on October 20, 1944, MacArthur stood once again on Philippine soil on Leyte Island. Life magazine published the famous photograph of him walking up the beach with his adjutant, and this is what he declared: “This is the voice of freedom, General MacArthur speaking. People of the Philippines: I have returned!”


April 3, 2010

Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit

Devotions for Holy Week
From First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT
Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

The 7th Saying of Jesus on the Cross

 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)

We may not realize this, or have forgotten, but the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scripture that prophesied this very moment, actually pleased God, by allowing His Son to become the acceptable offering of sin (Isaiah 53:10).

Here is the Son of God, the one that performed a number of miracles and displayed unbelievable supernatural power to bring people back from near death or death itself, such as the son of the widowed woman from Nain (Luke 7:11-16), Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:50-56) and his beloved friend Lazarus (John 11:38-44). Death was imminent for Jesus now as the onlookers encouraged the so-called Son of God, to save himself if He were indeed the King of the Jews (Luke 23:35-37).

April 2, 2010

It Is Finished!

Devotions for Holy Week
From First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT
Friday, April 2nd, 2010

The 6th Saying of Jesus on the Cross

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)

I shared during Super Bowl season that this exclamation was more like a football player’s exclamation of victory when he scores a touchdown than the weak mumblings that we normally see in movies or plays about the crucifixion. Perhaps Jesus did just barely get these words out before he died. He had been through one of the worst tortures a person could endure. But in spirit, His words were some of the most triumphant ever spoken.

Much has been written on the Greek word “tetelestai.” This is the word from which we get our phrase “it is finished”. According to John it is the last word that Jesus speaks before facing the ultimate in human experience: death.

April 1, 2010

I Thirst

Devotions for Holy Week
From First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT
Thursday, April 1, 2010

The 5th Saying of Jesus on the Cross

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. (John 19:28-29)

Thirst, we have all felt it, and we have all experienced a longing for the intensely satisfying refreshment that comes from a cool glass of water on a hot day. The rich man in Luke 16 who died unrepentant, begged Abraham for just a drop of water to cool his tongue, because he was tormented in the flames. The woman of Samaria, although she had the necessary implements to draw water from Jacob’s well, to give a drink to anyone who asked for it, was herself bankrupt of the living water that could only be provided to her by an encounter with Jesus, the true living water.

Have you betrayed Jesus?

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray ...