Eternally Thankful
Nov26

Eternally Thankful

I have so much for which to be thankful: family, friends, ministry, employment, health, and so on.  The list would never end, because each breath is a gift! Today, I was struck anew as I considered the work of Christ in my life. What an amazing Savior! Jesus saves me. Let that resonate in your heart… Jesus saves me. Notice that I wrote, “saves me” and not “saved me.” Jesus did not do something once to move me to place of salvation and then leave me to my own. Jesus does not withdraw from those who trust in Him. The bible teaches that Jesus continues to pray for us, to intercede for us. Jesus continues His priestly work for all of eternity.  I am never alone. I am never without my Savior. I am always watched-over, cared for, planned for, and loved. Thank you Jesus.  John Piper develops this well in” Jesus: From Melchizedek to Eternal Savior.” He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.     –Hebrews 7:25 It says that Christ is able to save to the uttermost — forever — since he always lives to make intercession for us. In other words, he would not be able to save us forever if he did not go on interceding for us forever. This means our salvation is as secure as Christ’s priesthood is indestructible. This is why we needed a priest so much greater than any human. Christ’s deity secures his indestructible priesthood for us. This means we should not talk about our salvation in static terms the way we often do — as if I did something once in an act of decision, and Christ did something once when he died and rose again, and that’s all there is to it. That’s not all there is to it. This very day I am being saved by the eternal intercession of Jesus in heaven. Jesus is praying for us and that is our salvation. We are saved eternally by the eternal prayers (Romans 8:34) and advocacy (1 John 2:1) of Jesus in heaven as our high priest. He prays for us and his prayers are answered because he prays perfectly on the basis of his perfect sacrifice.     Today, let each of us renew our thankfulness and continue to surrender our will to the Lord. Let us thankfully accept the privilege of being the fullest expression of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.    Thank you...

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The Work of the Gospel
Jun26

The Work of the Gospel

As I reflect upon the news today I am increasingly convinced that the redefinition of marriage is proportionally parallel to the redefinition of the gospel.  I often hear people express the gospel as an intellectual acknowledgment of God’s universally indiscriminate love and sovereign decree of absolute happiness to all of mankind.  The gospel message has so often been stripped of repentance, self-denial, and transformation that it is no longer a message or a call to good news, but an affirmation to maintain the status quo.  I cannot help but see a strong parallel between the watered-down, false gospel that has become so common and the collapse of biblical authority within our culture. The gospel is about transformation not preservation of self. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.                                                                                – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Three points: 1) The focus is upon eternity, not momentary pleasure. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? This letter was written to the church, and this statement was made to the believers in the church.  The focus of Christianity and the Christian life is not on being happy.  The focus is not on emotional happiness, financial happiness, relational happiness, etc.  The focus is upon the kingdom of God and the judgement to come; the need of every person in all of creation to seek forgiveness offered through faith in Jesus Christ.  This is our greatest need and the only lasting source of joy. How can we look our neighbor in the eyes or honestly say that we care about our neighbor if we willfully perpetuate and repeat a false gospel that does not save?  If we know the truth and the transformative, saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will keep our focus upon the eternal even at the cost of the moment. 2) Know the Truth Do not be deceived: We have a responsibility to know the scriptures.  When I type, “know” I...

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10 Questions To Ask Your Pastor
Mar21

10 Questions To Ask Your Pastor

As a pastor of a church, I expect to be asked questions about the bible, eternity, and God.  It seems like an obvious connection for a pastor to be asked questions of theology.  I enjoy talking about the bible, talking about the church, or talking about the great thinkers and doers of the day that speak about the bible and the church.  This is much more than an interest or a hobby, it is a passionate obsession. Unexpectedly, one of the most common questions I am asked, however, is how to identify a healthy church.  Specifically, the question is most commonly phrased, “how do you choose a church?” Honestly, for the past several years, God has chosen the church for me as He calls me and draws me to serve Him and His people at the place of His choosing. Nevertheless, I responded to the often-asked question in a blog post that I now refer people to read. In the theme of this discussion, I was recently asked what I would ask the pastor of a church that I was considering on joining.  This was a great question!  I have listed 10 discussion questions below that I think are significant before submitting to the authority of a pastor and the service of the church:   1) What does expository preaching mean to you?  Why is expository preaching important? This question assumes that you have already identified that the style of preaching is expository; therefore, the real purpose of the question is to open a dialogue to understand why the pastor has committed to this style. Motivation is important, proper motivation will endure the trial of time and seasons of drought. Another reason for this question is to discuss the sermon preparation process.  Does the pastor study and build the sermon from the original language?  How dependant is he upon commentaries and resources?  Without a deep understanding of the original languages, much of the precious truths of the bible may evade the pastor.     2) What is the ministry orientation of the church? I recently read on a Twitter feed, “No where in the bible are the lost commanded to go to church, but the bible clearly commands the church to go to the lost.”  This simple phrase captures the purpose of the second question.  The church must be focused on the Great Commission, which requires at outward-focused ministry orientation.   I understand that there are necessary ministries that are oriented inward (finance, building and grounds, etc.); however, these should not be the majority of the church’s ministries.  The majority of the ministries should be outward-focused, gospel-impacting, and highly...

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