Monday, October 31, 2011

Remembering Stackhouse and Wallace

Go Heels!

Death- DeYoung

When You feel like Death.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope.
Everyone has affliction.  Both Christians and non-Christian mourn.  They hurt.  They suffer.  Loved ones die.  Tragedy happens.  Everyone grieves.  Christians too.  We are not immune to suffering.  We are not somehow above it all, as if we were promised in this life nothing but success and ease and happiness.  We grieve, as much or more than anyone.
But not as those who have no hope.
The Christian cries differently.  Our tears are not tears of hopelessness.  Death is not the end.  There is a hope we have that the world does not have.  To be sure, there will be fine sounding platitudes at any funeral you attend.  And sadly, the empty, content-less cliches and platitudes show up at Christian funerals too.  But we have something more than inspiring words or some vague notion about a place in the clouds or singing with the angels or looking up to grandpa as he watches down over us.  We have a firm hope that is grounded in the work of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
There’s the difference.  We do not grieve as those who have no hope, because Jesus died and yet he lives. There is no more important event in the history of the world than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And if you believe that Jesus (Son of God and Son of Man) died for sins and rose again on the third day–if you truly believe that to the depths of your being, it will change everything.
The churches get packed out on Easter because, at least ostensibly, all these people believe in the resurrection.  We love magnificent hymns like “See What a Morning” and “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” where we sing out our faith in the resurrection of Jesus.  We recite the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, where we confess that on the third day Jesus rose again from the dead.  We gather for worship on Sunday as a reminder that the stone was rolled away and the women discovered the empty tomb on the first day of the week.  When we truly believe all of this, it changes everything.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.
When we are hurting, when we lose a husband or daughter or grandmother, when we face our own mortality–whether in a month or a year or a decade or seven decades–when we gather around the hospital bed to pray with the sick and dying, when we comfort the afflicted, do we talk about the resurrection?  Do we talk about Jesus?  Do we talk about the empty tomb?  Or do we offer empty platitudes and nothing more than the well-meaning sympathy that says, “I’ve suffered too,” or worse, that God suffers with them? Do you tell them in a casual sort of way that everything’s going to be alright?  Do you rebuke them for their doubts?  Or do we encourage one another with our faith in the resurrection?
We can have hope in the midst of affliction, because our God raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia.  For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.  But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.  You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessings granted us through the prayers of many.
Burden and Despair
Corinth was a posh city.  Certainly many people were poor, but there was lots of prosperity.  One of the things it seemed the Corinthians struggled with was accepting suffering as a part of Christian discipleship.  The mystery cults, Emperor worship, the whole context of Corinth encouraged a spirituality of triumphalism and pleasure and success.  We have many of the same dynamics in this country.  We have great prosperity around us (although less than it once was), plus a self-help therapeutic worldview that says we can manage our happiness, not to mention all the voices telling us to dream it and do it, name and claim it, believe and receive.
Yet, into this world of ours speaks the word of God, just like it spoke to the Corinthians.  Paul says, “I don’t want to hide anything.  I don’t want to sugar coat this.  You need to know what following Jesus entails.  Count the cost. You can’t be a Christian and be ashamed of suffering.  I’m not ashamed.  I do not want you to be ignorant of the rough time I’ve been having.”
We often hide our afflictions.  Maybe we think real Christians shouldn’t feel the way we do.  Or maybe we want to seem stronger than we are.  Or maybe we sense that missionary letters about our struggles won’t keep the support checks coming.  Or maybe we just don’t want to discourage others.  For whatever reason, we are not real with very many people.  Where I’m from there’s a saying that everyone has a Dutch front.  If you go to these little Dutch burgs in America, you’ll see a lot of stores on main street with these nice looking fronts that resemble what you might see in the Netherlands.  Unfortunately, many people in these towns put the same sort of nice looking fronts on their lives too.  We are not any different.
But look at Paul.  “I am struggling in Asia,” he says.  No one knows for sure what he’s talking about.  Paul might be referring to the riot that happened in Ephesus in Acts 19.  He might be talking about an illness that’s flared up.  Or he might be referring to an imprisonment or some other persecution we just don’t know about.  Whatever is was, it was bad.  He says, “We”–and I think this is the royal “we” although he could be talking others who have suffered with him–”were so utterly burdened beyond our strength.”  The RSV says “utterly, unbearably crushed.
Did you know the great Apostle Paul felt that way at times?  Psalm 44 says “Our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground.”  Psalm 88 ends by saying “my companions have become darkness” or “darkness has become my only companion.”  Job says very pointedly in Job 10:1 “I loathe my life.”
Do you ever feel that way?  I’m not talking about suicide.  There’s never any sense that Job or Paul or David thought about taking their own lives-that’s wrong, and if you feel that way get some help immediately. But we do see people in the Bible who felt utterly, unbearably crushed.  You can think of reasons why people feel like this as well as I can: depression, chronic illness, death of a friend, abuse, hurt, disappointment.  There are a hundred ways in which we can feel burdened beyond our own strength.
And they aren’t always the big ways: cancer, dying, infertility.  Those are burdens for sure, bigger than most, but sleeplessness is a burden.  Aging parents can be a burden.  Feeling overwhelmed with your housework is a burden.  Feeling like you have the squirreliest, most disobedient kids on the planet is a burden.  Feeling like you are behind in every area of your life and you will never have time to catch up is a burden.  Feeling like you have too many responsibilities and you do all of them at a level between mediocre and poor is a burden.  Does this resonate with you?
I feel like I have lived to this point an incredibly blessed life.  There are a lot of griefs and struggles and bad circumstances that I have been spared.  And yet, I’ll tell you there are days where verse 8 resonates with me. I get hurt.  I get weary.  I get discouraged.  I waste my time.  I don’t pray enough.  I don’t feel like I am doing much of anything the way I’d like to. On some Mondays (though this is less frequent than it used to be) I get post-preaching mini-depression and feel like another Sunday came and nothing changed, nobody was helped, people probably got upset, I don’t know what I’m doing or how to do it.  I take off my glasses and rub my eyes and pull at my hair.
I hear the Apostle Paul loud and clear.  And so do many of you.  You have days, maybe weeks or years, where you are burdened beyond your strength, like a boat weighed with too much cargo, like a traveler whose backpack is overloaded and he can’t take another step.  That’s how all of us feel at times and how some of you feel right now.
Paul says he despaired of life itself.  This may mean he didn’t think he could go on any more.  He wanted to go home to be the Lord.  That may be part of Paul’s point. But I think the main idea is that Paul thought this was the end for him. He felt like he had received a death sentence.  Whether he was in a riot of persecution and he was sure he was a goner, or he was in prison and actually had been sentenced to death, or perhaps he got sick and was convinced he was not going to better—whatever the situation, Paul didn’t think he was going to live.  He didn’t think he was going to make it.  He was on death row as far as he was concerned. What hope was there for the future?
(Kevin DeYoung)

Jerusalem in ESV study Bible

For a quick snapshot of how Jerusalem expanded from the City of David, to the time of Solomon, to the time of Hezekiah, to the time of Nehemiah, to the time of Jesus—this gives a nice overview.
(Justin Taylor)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boundaries in Marriage

Anyone can fall morally

If you think that’s… “something you could NEVER do”  then you are one of those most vulnerable. We have to face the fact we live in a fallen world, and in the wrong place at the wrong time with the right person, we all could make a HUGE mistake.
So here’s the deal. Don’t go there! Set up predetermined boundaries that will allow you to “tap the brakes” before it’s to late.
Some good boundary ideas could be like…
  • Other than your spouse, never be alone with someone of the opposite sex.
  • Let your spouse read all electronic communications, E-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Texts
  • If you are deleting Text msgs…Why? (Smells like trouble)
  • Give a friend the password to your accounts, knowing they will check them
  • Don’t take a second look! 3-second rule, then don’t look again.
  • If you feel your spouse isn’t meeting a need…COMMUNICATE!
  • If  a non-spouse says or does something that “attracts you” never speak with that person alone.
  • Understand the needs of your spouse (“His needs Her needs” book is a good place to start) and be willing to change and adapt to meet them
  • Talk with your spouse DAILY about things that are going on, and how you feel about things
The above can be exhausting at times, but stick with it. You won’t be sorry
These are just a few, care to add any to the list?
(by: artie davis)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Joel Osteen says Mormons are Christians

He really needs to study up on Mormon doctrine. What do you think?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Doubt?- Jared Wilson

I recall during my twelve year-old salvation crisis (brought on by my developed fear of the rapture) being told the illustration of a young girl who was being hounded by the Devil every day. The evil accuser challenged her salvation, lying to her about her conversion and shaking her assurance. An angel of the Lord came to her and took her to a tree in which she had carved the date of her decision, three years earlier. The angel said, “The next time the devil comes to accuse, you show him what is carved in this tree.”

This is a neat little story, and at the time, as dubious as my conversion at six years of age seemed to me, it prompted me to say the sinner’s prayer again and mark the new date. But looking back now I find it theologically tenuous and practically useless for the cause of assurance. My decisions are a shallow hope indeed. These days when the devil comes to accuse, I show him what is carved on my Savior’s hand. I rebuke him not with some sentimental tree memorializing my own spiritual movements but the tree upon which the Son of God was sacrificed for me.
--Jared C. Wilson, Gospel Wakefulness (Crossway, 2011), 30

Thursday, October 20, 2011

J.C. on false teaching

If we would hold fast that which is good, we must never tolerate or support any doctrine which is not the pure doctrine of Christ’s Gospel. There is a hatred which is downright charity – that is the hatred of erroneous doctrine. There is an intolerance which is downright praiseworthy – that is the intolerance of false teaching in the pulpit. Who would ever think of tolerating a little poison given to them day by day? If men come among you who do not preach “all the counsel of God,” who do not preach of Christ, sin, holiness, of ruin, redemption, and regeneration, and do not preach of these things in a Scriptural way, you ought to cease to hear them.
~ J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The importance of preaching by Jack Hyles

Jack Hyles said this:
Oh, how America needs preaching! When John Knox left Scotland, the country had deteriorated morally and spiritually. Finally John Knox decided to return to Scotland. It is said that on every street corner the word was being spread, "Knox is coming! Knox is coming! Knox is coming!" The entire country was filled with electricity because the preacher was returning. Scotland needed Knox. England needed Spurgeon. America needed Moody, and this old sin-cursed world needs preaching again! In Isaiah 61:1, Isaiah called himself a preacher. In Luke 4:18 Jesus was a preacher. In II Peter 2:5 Noah was called "a preacher of righteousness." In Ecclesiastes 1:1 Solomon was called "the Preacher." In I Timothy 2:7 Paul said that he was "ordained a preacher." In Mark 1:14 we find that Jesus came to Galilee "preaching the Gospel." In Matthew 3:la we find, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching." In Jonah 3:2 Jonah was admonished to preach to Nineveh the preaching that God bade him to preach. Acts 8:4 says, "Therefore they that are scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word." In Acts 14:1 we find that they "so spake" that multitudes believed. Oh, how we need some "so-speakers!" Preaching is exactly that. It is "so-speaking."
The most important hour of the week in a nation is the hour when God's men approach the pulpit.

Preaching saved Nineveh, ignited Pentecost and turned the Judean wilderness into a Baptist revival.
When the man of God approaches the pulpit, let angels stop flying, let Heaven's hosannas hush, let adults hearken and children listen, let young people be alert, let Heaven respond, let Hell tremble, let ushers sit down and listen, let the church wait in holy expectation, let all eternity tremble, let Satan and his angels be anointed with fear!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Siri is a game changer- iPhone 4s

Faith glorifies God..

We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do–especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God. That is why God planned for faith to be the way we are justified." 
 John Piper

Monday, October 10, 2011

Grieving- Paul Tripp

Grace for Our Grieving

Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.
The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons" (1 Sam. 15:34-16:1).

For anyone in ministry, this is an interesting and informative moment in the life of Samuel. Samuel was prophet in Israel. He clearly loved Saul. He clearly longed for Saul to be a godly king, but Saul was everything but. Now, God had turned his back on Saul and had torn his kingdom from him. It was a devastating moment for Samuel and all of Israel. Samuel was overcome with grief. At some point God comes to Samuel to say,"The time for grieving is over. My plan marchers on. It is time for you to turn and be part of the new thing that I am doing."
Ministry, this side of eternity, will be marked by moments of grief like Samuel's. Perhaps it will be the death of a vision, the need to discipline a trusted and influential leader, the knowledge of someone plotting against your God-given authority, sinful division among leaders, a resistant congregation, or a catalog of other difficulties that can obstruct and divert the ministry of a pastor and his congregation.
Here are some practical pastoral observations that flow out of this passage.
1. God grieves. It is important to remember that the God you serve is a God who grieves. He is not stoic and without passion. 1 Samuel 15:35 makes this very clear. The regret in this passage is not about God wishing he could take back his decision (see 15:29). No, it is more grief at the sad outcome of the heart choices of Saul. The appropriateness of Samuel's grief and yours in these moments is rooted in the holy grief of God.
2. You should grieve. What kind of prophet would Samuel be if he did not look on this situation with great grief? The ungodly, proud, selfish, and unrestrained rebellion of Saul was this prophet's nightmare. Pastors, there are moments in local church ministry when it is not only right to grieve, it is your calling to grieve. You must, as God's representative, faithfully depict the heart of God in these sad situations. You must not be uncaring. You must not be happy. You must not take a proud I told you so posture. Your ministry should be marked by moments of mourning in the face of the damage sin continues to do.
3. Your grief always reveals your heart. In his grief, Samuel almost lost his way. Perhaps wary was a tug in his heart between his love for Saul, his grief at Saul's demise, and his loyalty to the work God had called for him to do. So, God says, "You've grieved long enough, now get up and do my will." The length and extent of your grief always reveals what is important to you. The size of your grief always depicts what you have attached your hope to. The nature of your grief reveals what you have attached your inner well-being to.
4. Some grief begins to question God. Because grief challenges you at the point of the deepest values of your heart, it can tempt you to question the goodness of God. The danger of grief in your ministry is that in it you may be tempted to doubt the one whose grief you are called represent. In these sad moments we must be on guard against mourning morphing from, "I am so sad that . . . " into a "Why, God, did you . . ." anger. The danger is that you cannot represent well one against whom you are angry and you do not run for help to someone you have come to doubt.
5. Your grief should motivate, not paralyze you. When your grief causes you to want to quit, you know that you are not holding your grief in a biblical way. Moments of pastoral grief should motivate you because they stand as stark and clear reminders of the important gospel work God has called for you to do. As long as sin remains, these moments of grief will stain the lives of all of God's people. It is only when God's powerful grace finally defeats sin that our lives will be grief free. Until then, grief calls us to proclaim the grace that alone has the power to defeat what we grieve.
6. There's grace for your grieving. We all need to remember that we never grieve alone. Because God is a God of tender mercy and grace, he weeps for and with his people. He always gives you the grace you need to do what he calls you to do in the places where he leads you. He is the God of all comfort who comforts us in our suffering so we can bring his comfort to others.
So let yourself grieve, represent the heart God in your grief, guard your heart against the dangers of grief, and remember the empowering grace that makes all of these things possible.
(Gospel Coalition) 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Your apology can lead to change.

Always Sorry....Never Changing: sound familiar? Read how Justin and Trisha eventually solved this problem in their marriage.

About three months before the affair started, Trisha and I got into one of, if not the biggest arguments we’d ever had. Our disagreement started out small but continued to escalate and get louder and more mean as the night went on. I inherited a pretty volatile temper from my dad, so even though I don’t like conflict, my fuse was pretty short, especially when it came to Trish. I don’t remember what our argument was about, but I do remember how it ended. I said, “You are such a b*tch.”
She was done. I realized I had crossed a line. We went to our separate corners.
Later that night, I went to apologize. We were sitting in the hallway outside our bedroom. I said, “I want you to know I am really sorry. I’m sorry for yelling. I’m sorry for calling you names. I’m really sorry.” Trish said, “You are always sorry. You just never change.” I remember feeling so hopeless in that moment. That statement was so true. It was not only true about me, it was true about both of us. We were always sorry, but we never changed.
Unfortunately, it took the affair and our separation for us to move beyond being sorry and to move into being changed. One of our biggest areas of conflict has always centered around money. Trisha would go to Target and buy $40 worth of toiletries and I would go off about how much money she spent. We would get into an argument that would end the same way every argument would end…both of us feeling sorry but hopeless to change.
What I realized when we were separated is that change comes when I am sorry for more than just my behavior. I was always sorry for yelling. I was always sorry for cussing. I was always sorry for my short temper. I was always sorry for overreacting. It wasn’t until I was sorry for the condition of my heart that I was able to change. My issue wasn’t the $40 that Trish spent at Target…my issue is that I am a control freak and don’t like feeling out of control of our money. So it didn’t matter if it was $10 or $400 the argument and my reaction were always the same. Once I identified the core problem in my heart, I asked God to heal that part of me, I was able to change my reaction.
Maybe today you are in a place where you feel like you are always apologizing, but you are never changing. You’re temper is as bad today as it was four years ago. You have the same arguments today that you had when you first got married. You are sorry for going off on your kids. You are sorry for getting home late. You are truly sorry for screaming and yelling. You’re sorry…you just aren’t changing.
Can I encourage you today to look deeper. Look beyond your behavior; look beyond your reaction; look beyond your argument and look inside your heart. There is brokenness in you that is driving your behavior. That is what God longs to heal. That is what God longs to make new.
Your apology can lead to change. It won’t be overnight, but it will come.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Signs your marriage is in trouble..

1. You think that the absence of conflict equals the presence of intimacy.

2. You find yourself keeping certain details of conversations or events from your spouse.

3. You say you forgive but you are really resentful.

4. You care more about being right than being one with your spouse.

5. When you get dressed in the morning, you are hoping that certain person at work notices you.

6. You look for opportunities to run errands, do chores, or work late so you can spend less time at home.

7. You say you’re sorry but you never change.

8. Sexual intimacy is rarely offered or pursued.

9. You are more emotionally connected to another person than you are your spouse.

10. You can’t remember the last time you had a conversation of substance that wasn’t an argument.

11. You haven’t gone on a date with just your spouse in over three months.

This list doesn’t mean that you’re marriage is over. This list means that your marriage is drifting. You don’t avoid these things by accident. You choose to avoid this list. You make a decision every day to walk in the other direction of this list. We are here to help you avoid this list. You don’t have to walk alone.