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

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 ...