Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pray for Your Preacher

This Sunday I preached a sermon entitled "Hear the Word" from 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

At the beginning I asked the congregation to pray for me in regards to my charge to "preach the word."

Here are the five things I asked them to pray for:

1) Pray that I would preach the Word with accuracy. Pray that I would not add to it or leave something out.

2) Pray that I would preach the Word with clarity. Pray that I would be given a gift and I would work
hard to make the truth clear and understandable (use of words and language).

3) Pray that I would preach the Word with power. Pray that I would have what the old timers called “unction in the pulpit.” Pray that God would use His Word to bring life.

4) Pray that I would preach the Word with perseverance. Pray that I would not be weary in well doing but faithful regardless of apparent fruitfulness.

5) Pray that I would preach the Word with my life. Pray that my walk would match a faithful preaching of the Gospel.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions on the Tongue

When Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a young man he wrote several resolutions that by God's help he would seek to keep for the glory of God. Since I have been preaching on the tongue (from Ephesians 4:29) I thought I would post his resolutions that relate to the tongue: (obviously we talk a bit different than from the 18th Century)

16.Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

34. Resolved, in narration's never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Every Word Matters

Tomorrow I am preaching (Lord willing) on Ephesians 4:29:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Here is a good video by Paul David Tripp from the 2008 Desiring God Conference.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Good Book on Understanding Catholics

I just started reading a very interesting book by Chris Castaldo called Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic. Castaldo is a former Roman Catholic and is now an evangelical pastor.

In His first chapter he gives the top five reason people have left Catholicism for evangelicalism (according to a questionnaire):

Five areas that they found in a non-catholic, evangelical faith...

1 - Every believer is called to full-time ministry.

2 - Relationship with Christ must take precedence over rule-keeping.

3 - We enjoy direct access to God in Christ.

4 - There is only one proper object of devotion - Jesus the Savior.

5 - God's children should be motivated by grace instead of guilt.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't Fasten Foreign Apples on a Bad Tree

Last Sunday I preached on the importance of our words and the nature of the heart.

Here is a helpful picture of the illustration I gave last Sunday. This illustration comes from Paul Tripp. Changing our behavior in regards to our words (or anger, or truth telling...) without getting to the heart that produces sinful words is like a man who thinks he fixed his dying, apple-less apple tree by fastening store-bought apples on it. Mat Adams made me a picture to illustrate this illustration. :)

"For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:43-45)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fake Beauty All Around

Someone sent me this video. After you watch it, you may want to go back to the beginning.

This reminds me of what C. S. Lewis said in Screwtape Letters.

At one time we have directed it to the statuesque and aristocratic type of beauty, mixing men's vanity with their desires and encouraging the race to breed chiefly from the most arrogant and prodigal women. At another, we have selected an exaggeratedly feminine type, faint and languishing, so that folly and cowardice, and all the general falseness and littleness of mind which go with them, shall be at a premium. At present we are on the opposite tack. The age of jazz has succeeded the age of the waltz, and we now teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys. Since this is a kind of beauty even more transitory than most, we thus aggravate the female's chronic horror of growing old (with many excellent results) and render her less willing and less able to bear children. And that is not all. We have engineered a great increase in the licence which society allows to the representation of the apparent nude (not the real nude) in art, and its exhibition on the stage or the bathing beach. It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn; the real women in bathing suits or tights are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear firmer and more slender and more boyish than nature allows a full-grown woman to be. Yet at the same time, the modern world is taught to believe that it is being "frank" and "healthy" and getting back to nature. As a result we are more and more directing the desires of men to something which does not exist—making the rĂ´le of the eye in sexuality more and more important and at the same time making its demands more and more impossible. What follows you can easily forecast!
Oh, and a much more important and AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE ON THE SUBJECT:

...but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. (The apostle Peter - 1Pe 3:4)