Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Here is a pastorally wise article by John Piper on the following question:
If there is nothing specifically wrong with my church, but I feel like I've stopped growing, is that a good enough reason to look for another one?
I doubt it. I'm taking seriously the statement, "there is nothing specifically wrong with my church." There is always something wrong with your church!
So I'm just assuming this is a doctrinally sound church and a church in which pastoral care and mutual love is happening, and so on. And I would say, if you've stopped growing then you can't point to your church. It sounds like you can't blame your church.
Something else is going on here, and you need to dig down to the obstacles that emerge in you, and find out whether it's because you've stopped serving or praying or giving your life away. Given this first statement, "If there is nothing specifically wrong with my church, but I feel like I've stopped growing," I would say, do not assume going to a new church is going to change that.
What will happen in a new church, probably, is some artificial new buzz. The worship will sound different, the preaching will sound different, and the difference will feel energizing for a while. But it's artificial. It's probably not the main cause, and you're going to bump into the same stall at that church.
And if you keep doing that, you're going to fail to find out what the problem is. Because I think the Lord would have us grow continually in a church as long as we're there and as long as life lasts. And growth has lots of other obstacles to it than church.
So get people around you who can counsel you as to what the real issue is here, why you're stalling. And it probably isn't church.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Our adult (teens included) Sunday school class will begin a new book starting September 13th led by pastor Dave VanAcker. This class takes place before the worship service at 9 AM. A nursery and kids classes are running at the same time.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still.
But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me.
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose.
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You.
© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI), by Jordan Kauflin
Friday, August 7, 2009
Over the past few weeks I read an outstanding book by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp called Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. The title itself is worth the price of the book. The book was no disappointment. It has been very timely to read this book as I prepare to preach through the second half of the book of Ephesians (4-6). In these chapters, Paul is concerned that Christians live out their salvation in the context of the messiness of relationship.
Here are 8 important points from the book that give us a biblical perspective on our relationships with other people:
- You were made for relationships
- In some way, all relationships are difficult
- Each of us is tempted to make relationships the end rather than the means
- There are no secrets that guarantee problem-free relationships
- At some point you will wonder whether relationships are worth it
- God keeps us in messy relationships for his redemptive purposes
- The fact that our relationships work as well as they do is a sure sign of grace
- Scripture offers a clear hope for our relationships
I thank God that he keeps us in messy relationships for His redemptive purposes! He is in the process of restoration and sanctification.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Last Sunday I reintroduced us to the book of Ephesians (since we have been away from there for a while) by setting the context of chapters 4-6 where I will begin in two weeks.
Where do we live? This is an important question to answer and remember. Here are some very challenging questions given by Paul David Tripp (in Broken-Down House).
Let me ask what may seem like a stupid question. Do you know where you live? No, I don't mean your street address. I want you to see the most deeply spiritual and profoundly personal implications of this question.Here are my three points from last week:
Do you bring to each day the realistic expectations that come from a cogent understanding of your life, yourself, and your world? Still confused? Then let's break it down a little.
Is there anything that is disappointing you right now? Is there a relationship or situation that is leaving you hurt and confused? Are there personal problems that you simply have not been able to solve? Do you ever feel alienated, alone, or misunderstood? Have you had to deal with mistreatment or injustice lately? Have you been hurt, angry, fearful, or discouraged? Is there any place in your life where you feel like giving up or giving in? Does your life ever seem much more complicated than it should be? Does it seem like you are always having to deal with obstacles of one kind or another?
Do you wish you didn't have so many problems on your plate? Does it bug you that even the easy things in life don't turn out to be nearly as easy as you thought they would be?
Are there problems in your past that still haunt you? Do you regularly face difficulties you have sought to solve, but which still lie open and festering? Have you ever envied someone else's life? Have you ever wished you could start over in some area of life, but you know you can't? Have you ever felt too weak and too unqualified to deal with what is confronting you? Does your life seem to move too fast for you ever to be able to catch up? Has there ever been a day in your life that was fundamentally problem-free? (23-24)
- We live in a broken down house because of sin.
- A gracious Restorer has come to this house with the promise of restoration.
- We are called to live a restoration lifestyle.