September 30, 2010

The S.O.S. 31 Day Challenge

"If there existed only one man or woman who did not love the Saviour, and if that person lived among the wilds of Siberia, and if it were necessary that all the millions of believers on the face of the earth should journey there, and every one of them plead with him to come to Jesus before he could be converted, it would be well worth all the zeal, labour, and expense. If we had to preach to thousands year after year, and never rescued but one soul, that one soul would be full reward for all our labour, for a soul is of countless price." Charles Spurgeon

September 29, 2010

I never made a sacrifice

"David Livingstone, a missionary to Africa during the 1800s, once said during a speech to students at Cambridge University, "People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much time of my life in Africa...I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of 'sacrifice' when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father's throne on high to give Himself for us."

"...we have a great High Priest who passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,..." Hebrews 4:14

  • Have you ever said, or believed that you were making a great sacrifice to serve God?  
  • How does Livingstone's perspective of God's sacrifice of His Son, change your perspective of what sacrifice means to you?

September 17, 2010

How much do you treasure God's Word?

David Seymour. “Blind Boy Reading With His Lips”.
1948. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
"Back in the gospel of Mark, if you will. I was reading this week in kind of a random fashion and I came across an interesting little account. In France, some years ago, there lived a poor blind girl and she had obtained, according to the writer, a gospel of Mark in Braille and it was all she had. She read it with the tips of her fingers and she read it and read it and read it until her fingers became callous and her sense of touch diminished so that she could no longer distinguish the characters.

"In an ill-conceived effort to re-sensitize her fingers, she cut them at the ends which only made them less sensitive. And the writer says she felt that she must now give up her beloved book of Mark and weeping she pressed it to her lips saying, “Farewell, farewell, sweet Word of my Savior.”

"To her surprise, her lips more delegate than her fingers discerned the form of the letters. All night she perused with her lips the book of Mark and overflowed with joy at this new acquisition.

"I don’t know how precious the book of Mark is to you, but I hope it’s precious, it is to me. And the more I go through this book, the more hours I spend in this book, the more precious it has become to me."

Taken from the sermon, Spiritual Blindness, Part 2 by John MacArthur

I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.  Job 23:12

September 16, 2010

The Danger of Being Lukewarm

Last night, I had the privilege again to lead our mid-week Bible Study at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, CT.  I am humbled by Pastor Phil Morgan's continued trust and confidence in me, to faithfully exposit the text for the edification of the congregation.

We are reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan and the chapter title for this week's study is, Serving Leftover's to a Holy God and I decided to focus on one of the verses in the chapter for last night's study, which was Revelation 3:15-18.

15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

The audio for this sermon has been uploaded to the podcast player of this site to listen, or you can subscribe to the podcast and have it downloaded to your iTunes account too. 

Just click on the PODCAST page tab at the top of the horizontal red bar above and follow the instructions there regarding how to add future messages to your iPod.

I hope you are challenged greatly in your walk with Christ, in light of the text that was addressed in this sermon.

Here were a few of the questions that were asked for the small group discussion after the chapter video was viewed.
  • What do you think it means to be "lukewarm?"
  • Francis Chan says in his book Crazy Love, those who live like the lukewarm won't be in heaven.  Do you agree or disagree with that statement and why?
  • Is it true that the church has made the "non-fruit" bearing Christian a means of making Christian living easier?  Why or why not?
  • How does God measure our lives?  (1 Corinthians 13:2-3)

September 12, 2010

Jealous for Your Love

I read Spurgeon's morning devotional and I love the way Spurgeon describes, in this short message, the jealousy of God's love for the believer.  His love is constant and unchanging for the believer and how I wish that my love for him was the same, each and every day.

But I thank Him for His grace and His work in and through me, to conform me into the image of His Son on a daily basis.

Let the world become jealous of your love for Christ and of God's love for you.

God is Jealous - Nahum 1:2

Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer.  Did He choose you?  He cannot bear that you should choose another.  Did He buy you with His own blood?  He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world.  He loved you with such a love that He would not stop in heaven without you; He would sooner die than you should perish, and He cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart's love and Himself.  He is very jealous of your trust.  He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh.  He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you.  When we lean upon Him, He is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend-worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, He is displeased, and will chasten us that He may bring us to Himself.  He is also very jealous of our company.  There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus.  To abide in Him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with Him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord.  He would fain have us abide in Him, and enjoy constant fellowship with Himself; and many of the trials which He sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon Himself.  Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if He loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that He will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies.  Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world!

September 10, 2010

Fall Semester Text Books

So here is the list of books that I have to read this semester.

For my Old Testament class on the book of Daniel:
  • Apocalyptic Imagination, 2nd edition, John J. Collins
  • Prophecy and Apocalyticism. The Post Exilic Social Setting, Stephen Cook
  • First Enoch: A New Translation; Based on the Hermeneia Commentary, George W.E. Nickelsburg
  • Sinai and Zion, Jon Levenson
For my Proclamation & Communication (Preaching) class, the following books:
  • On-Purpose Leadership: Multiplying Your Ministry by Becoming a Leader of Leaders, Galloway & Bird
  • Big Idea of Biblical Preaching: Connecting the Bible to People, Scott Gibson
  • Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip & Dan Heath
  • Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, Noah J. Goldstein & Steve J. Martin, Robert B. Cialdini
  • Unleashing the Word: Rediscovering the Public Reading of Scripture, Max Maclean & Warren Bird
An optional book I can read, among 28 to choose from, I'll read either:
  • The Moody Handbook of Preaching, John Koessler, or, The Preacher's Portrait, John Stott (I may buy both but read one of them for the class and read the other later).
For my Spiritual Formation Capstone class:
  • Listening to God: Spiritual Formation in Congregations, John Ackerman
  • A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling  Your Mission in Life, Kevin & Kay Marie Brennfleck
  • Betrayal of Trust: Confronting and Preventing Clergy Sexual Misconduct, Stanley Grenz & Roy Bell
  • The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, Os Guiness
  • The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen
  • The Power of Mentoring, Martin Sanders
For my Worship, Arts and Discipline class:
  • Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views, Paul Basben
  • Emerging Worship: Creating Wrorship Gatherings for New Generations, Dan Kimball & David Crowder
  • The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime, Phyllis Tickle
  • Introduction to Christian Worship (3rd. ed), James White
  • Worship Old & New, Robert Webber
For my Hebrew Exegesis class:
  • Old Testament Exegesis:  A Primer for Pastors and Students, 2nd ed. rev. (There are 8 recommended books for this class, but I'll probably choose this one to read).

22 books altogether and most of them are electronic, so I can read them on my Kindle, but some of them I'll have to purchase the paperback for.  

Fortunately I set up a Fall Text book wish list at Amazon to know which books I have to purchase for school this semester.

This is going to be quite the reading challenge for me this semester.

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 ...