Tuesday, July 24, 2012

So true...

If you’re a preacher, then your job description is simple: preach. If you don’t do this one thing, then don’t call yourself a preacher.  
Mark Driscoll

Spontaneous Baptisms?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This couple will be at ETBC next Feb.....

If you don't want to have an affair
One of the ways God has allowed us to use our story is in helping people avoid some of the choices and some of the behavior patterns we’ve had in our marriage. I’m asked several times a week, “What can I do to make sure I or my spouse doesn’t have an affair.” The first thing I say to them is, “If you want to make sure you never have an affair, don’t ever say, ‘I’ll never have an affair.’ Pride always comes before a fall.
Beyond that, here are a few things that will protect your heart, mind and marriage.
1.     Pursue God
I’ve never talked to anyone who has cheated on their spouse who has told me that their relationship with God was healthy when they had an affair. The truth is that your marriage will not be perfect. You will have problems. You will face temptation. But if you are pursuing God; His Word; His truth and allowing Him to form you and shape you, that is the best thing you can do to affair-proof your marriage.
2.     Pursue Your Spouse
Trisha talked about the importance of this a few days ago. It is hard to fall out of love with someone you are pursuing. It is difficult to lose interest in someone that you are prioritizing. Other people don’t look so attractive when you are setting aside time to pursue and date your spouse. Most couples lose interest in one another because they fail to spend time with one another. Sitting next to each other at your kid’s soccer game or a band concert doesn’t count. Date your spouse. Buy her flowers. Put perfume on before he gets home from work. Talk. Laugh. Pursue.
3.     Don’t Fantasize About Someone Else
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I never thought about that, it just happened.” All sin starts in our mind. The Bible calls it temptation. Temptation is normal. Temptation is common. Temptation is something that you are guaranteed to face. Jesus experienced temptation. Temptation becomes sinful when it moves to fantasy. When you begin to fantasize about someone other than your spouse, you have already broken intimacy in your heart and mind with your husband or wife. It is why the Bible says to guard our hearts. Affairs always start in our mind.
4.     Share Your Secrets
Every time we withhold truth from our spouse we create distance in our marriage. Oneness is how the Bible describes our marriage relationship. Secrets have no part of oneness. Secrets break oneness. The word intimacy means, “to be fully known.” When we don’t allow our spouse to fully know us, we compromise intimacy. I am not saying that keeping secrets from your spouse will cause you to have an affair. I am saying that not keeping secrets from your spouse will prevent you from having an affair. It is hard to for sin to grow in light. It is hard for deceit to grow in the context of authentic truth.
5.     Physical Intimacy
Physical intimacy is a gift from God. It will not solve all of your marriage problems. But if you are committed to pursuing God; pursuing your spouse; keeping your mind and heart pure; sexual intimacy will strengthen the oneness in your relationship like nothing else can. Our culture uses sex to sell for a reason…it is a powerful force in our lives. It can and should be a powerful force in our marriages as well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Here is R.C. Sproul's take on the rapture. What do you think?

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 is Paul’s teaching about what is popularly called the rapture. The rapture is the miraculous transportation of all living Christians to heaven at the return of Jesus. There is a lot of misinformation about this event, but this passage gives us some definite truths about it. Paul made it clear that Jesus’ return will not be secret but will be visible; it will be a bodily return; and it will be a triumphant return, for He will not come in lowliness and meekness as He did at His first advent, but in power and glory. The angels told the disciples, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Just as He left visibly on the shekinah cloud, so He will come again visibly on this cloud of glory.
There is a view, one that is very widespread in the church today, that holds that Jesus will come back to rapture the church out of the world, but that the great tribulation will then occur, after which Jesus will return again. I think this view is a result of a serious misunderstanding of what the Apostle described here in 1 Thessalonians.
I once spoke with one of the leading representatives of this school of thought, a man who teaches the “pretribulation” rapture. I said to him, “I do not know a single verse anywhere in the Bible that teaches a pretribulation rapture. Can you tell me where to find that?” I’ll never forget what he said to me: “No, I can’t. But that’s what I was taught from the time I was a little child.” I told him, “Let’s get our theology from the Bible rather than from Sunday school lessons we heard years and years ago.”
Let us look at the events Paul described. First he noted: “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven.… And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:16–17). Here we see that the purpose of the dead rising and our being caught up into the sky is not to go away but to meet Jesus as He is returning. He will not be taking us out of the world to stay. He will be lifting us up to participate with Him in His triumphal return.
When the Roman legions were dispatched to go into a foreign country on a military campaign, their standards bore the letters SPQR, an abbreviation for Senatus Populus Que Romanus, which means “the Senate and the people of Rome.” It was understood in Rome that the conquests of the military were not simply for the politicians who governed, but for all the citizens of the city.
The army might be gone for a campaign of two or three years. Finally, the soldiers would return, leading captives in chains. They would camp outside the city and send in a messenger to alert the Senate and the people that the legions had returned. When that news arrived, the people began to prepare to receive the conquering heroes. When everything was ready, a trumpet was sounded. With that, the citizens of the city went out to where the army was camped and joined the soldiers in marching into the city. The idea was that they had participated in the triumph of their conquering army.
This is exactly the language that Paul used here. He was saying that when Jesus comes back in conquering power, believers, both dead and alive, will be caught up in the air to meet Him, not to stay up there, but to join His return in triumph, to participate in His exaltation.
It seems that Paul’s goal here was to comfort the Thessalonians, who were saddened that their dead loved ones were apparently going to miss the triumphal return of Christ, the great conclusion to the ministry of Jesus at the end of time. Paul assured them that the dead in Christ will not miss His return at all. In fact, they will be there first. The dead will rise first, and then those who are still alive and are Christ’s will be caught up together with this whole assembly to come to the earth again in triumph.

No Condemnation

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus... Romans 8:1

Let's talk about the word "condemnation" for a moment. It's a very interesting word, katakrima. It's used only in Romans. It's a very special word. There are other words similar to it. But this particular word focuses not so much on the sentencing of a criminal, it focuses on the paying of a penalty after the sentencing. It focuses on the punishment. It focuses on the penal bondage, if you will. It focuses on the imprisonment. It focuses on the execution, not so much on the verdict. It isn't a condemnation as in a court when a judge says you're condemned to this sentence, it is the condemnation in the sense of the actual paying of the penalty, the prison, the bondage, the execution. And so what Paul is saying is that there is no penalty to be paid. 

There is no penal bondage to be born. There is no execution to take place. There is no prison to be put into because the believer's penalty has already been paid. And by the way, when it says "no condemnation," it isn't just the simple Greek word for "no," it is a strong negative, oudan(?)...no, no, not a bit of condemnation, not the slightest tinge of condemnation. And it is in my mind a marvelous illustration in Matthew 18 with Jesus and you remember the servant, and we studied it some weeks ago, who came and it was brought to light that he owed Jesus an unpayable debt. And he fell down and worshiped Him and he cried out and begged for mercy really in one sense and in another sense he said, "Be patient with me and I'll pay you all." And the Bible says the Lord loosed him from the debt and forgave him.

In other words, he never had to pay. All that debt, an unpayable debt, an astronomical sum and he just loosed him from the debt and said you never have to pay any of it. Well that's the meaning of katakrimahere. You're free from bondage. You're free from any enslavement. You're free from any need to pay for anything you've done wrong. That's an incredible truth. This, my dear friends, is the heart and soul of the Christian gospel. The most wonderful message the Christian has is the message to the sinner, you are condemned but in Christ there is no, not a bit of condemnation, not a bit, not the slightest bit, for you've been forgiven and loosed from any obligation to pay anything.
(John MacArthur -Grace to You)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jesus and Scripture

Jesus held Scripture in the highest possible esteem. He knew his Bible intimately and loved it deeply. He often spoke with language of Scripture. He easily alluded to Scripture. And in his moments of greatest trial and weakness—like being tempted by the devil or being killed on a cross—he quoted Scripture.
His mission was to fulfill Scripture, and his teaching always upheld Scripture.
He never disrespected, never disregarded, never disagreed with a single text of Scripture.
He affirmed every bit of law, prophecy, narrative, and poetry. He shuddered to think of anyone anywhere violating, ignoring, or rejecting Scripture.
Jesus believed in the inspiration of Scripture, down  to the sentences, to the phrases, to the words, to the smallest letter, to the tiniest mark.
He accepted the chronology, the miracles, and the authorial ascriptions as giving the straightforward facts of history.
He believed in keeping the spirit of the law without ever minimizing the letter of the law. He affirmed the human authorship of Scripture while at the same time bearing witness to the ultimate divine authorship of the Scriptures.
He treated the Bible as a necessary word, a sufficient word, a clear word, and the final word.
It was never acceptable in his mind to contradict Scripture or stand above Scripture.
He believed the Bible was all true, all edifying, all important, and all about him. He believed absolutely that the Bible was from God and was absolutely free from error. What Scripture says God says, and what God said was recorded infallibly in Scripture.
Jesus submitted his will to the Scriptures, committed his brain to study the Scriptures, and humbled his heart to obey the Scriptures.
In summary, it is impossible to revere the Scriptures more deeply or affirm them more completely than Jesus did. The Lord Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, believed his Bible was the word of God down to the tiniest speck and that nothing in all those specks and in all those books in his Bible could ever be broken.
(Kevin DeYoung)

Sunday, July 8, 2012


by Sutton Turner- www.resurgence.com

When I first left the business world to work for the church in 2006, people thought I was crazy.
At the time, I was president of a successful company that was a piece of cake to manage. My life was quiet, comfortable, and easy. I wasn’t looking for a change. Why give up CEO status to be an executive pastor at a church?
For me, the answer was simple (if not easy): God called me out of ajob and into ministry
The difference between job and ministry represents the dividing line between hirelings and shepherds: those who work because they get paid by the church, and those who work because they love the church. A job is a paycheck. Ministry is a calling.


The nature and reality of our calling should be sobering for those of us working for the church. So are you treating it as a job or as ministry? The following scenarios are meant to help us evaluate our motives on an ongoing basis in order to remain faithful to Jesus and our church.
  1. If your primary motivation is to pay your bills and provide for your family, it’s a job. If your primary motivation is to serve Jesus and be used by him as he builds his church, it’s ministry. 
  2. If you want praise and recognition for your work, it’s a job. If no one else besides Jesus needs to commend what you’re doing, it’s ministry. 
  3. If you want to quit because your spouse or kids have a difficult time with you working for the church, it’s a job. If your family understands that serving in a local church is difficult and costly for everyone, and if they count the cost and invest in it with you, it’s ministry. 
  4. If you envision yourself in another job or position outside the church, it’s a job. If there’s no other place you would rather be, it’s ministry.
  5. If you do the job as long as it does not cut into other things (hobbies, family activities, etc.), it’s a job. If you are willing to give up recreation in order to serve, it’s ministry.
  6. If you compare yourself with others outside of church staff who have more free time, more money, and more possessions, it’s a job. If you pray for people outside of church staff and want Jesus to bless them, it’s a ministry.
  7. If it bothers you when the phone rings on evenings and weekends, it’s a job. If you see random calls at odd hours as opportunities to help with gladness, it’s ministry.
  8. If you want to quit because the work is too hard, or the pressure is too great, or your performance is criticized, it’s a job. If you stick it out, no matter what happens, until Jesus clearly tells you that it’s time to go, it’s ministry.
At the end of the day, if what matters most to you is that people meet Jesus, get saved, and transformed to be more like him, then your work is ministry and we praise Jesus for you and your service to him and his church.  


Some people on church staff will read the list above and realize they’re treating ministry like a job. If that’s you, here’s what I suggest:
  1. Pray. Ask Jesus what he has for you, and then spend many days just listening.
  2. Talk with your pastor. If you’re treating ministry like a job, work together to come up with a transition plan. 
  3. Know that it’s not a sin to not be called to full-time ministry. But if you’re not called, you’re taking up resources and staffing space for someone Jesus is actually calling.
  4. Church staff is not for everyone. If you’re not called to full-time ministry, then don’t take the job. The work is too hard, the pay is too little, the hours are too many, and the family sacrifice is too great. There is no reason to bring on the pain unless you are called.
  5. Consider other ways you can vocationally help the church. Start a company or a nonprofit to do what you want to do in such a way that helps the church and glorifies God. Many organizations serve and provide very helpful services to the church that are not full-time ministry. This can be a win-win, but be careful not to use the church to line your pockets.
  6. Find a secular job. Look for something that pays well and gives you the flexibility to do your thing on their time. 


After all of this, if you still believe Jesus is calling you to ministry, ask him if he’s also calling you to serve on a church staff. If that’s the case, here’s what’s next: 
  1. Pray some more. Ask Jesus to clearly direct you in what to do next. 
  2. Prepare or consecrate yourself. Begin immediately a season on preparation or “consecration” (Josh. 3:5). Include your spouse and allow Jesus to strengthen your marriage and prepare you both through prayer, fasting, and meditating on Scripture. As you do, repent: the Holy Spirit will reveal sin and idols along the way. The goal is to pull close to Jesus, focus on Jesus, and listen to Jesus. 
  3. Meet with your pastor. Ask for material for reading, study, and mediation. Ask him, “Where do you see weaknesses in me and in my marriage? Where do I need to grow?” 
  4. Discuss the calling with your family, especially your kids. Pray together and ask for their commitment to wait and hear from Jesus. 
  5. Actively serve as a volunteer in your local church. Don’t wait to get hired. Start serving today! Look for areas of need rather than ways to further your own agenda or build up your spiritual resume. Let Jesus direct things. 
  6. Learn. Apply for an intern or a program like Re:Train. Take advantage of the wealth of Christian education resources online.
  7. Wait for Jesus. If it’s a calling, Jesus will give you clear directions. 
  8. Seek confirmation from people who know and love both you and Jesus. Talk to pastors, deacons, leaders in your church, etc. Confirmation can come from anywhere, so be open and receptive, but always “test the spirits.”
Finally, if you are called, be encouraged that Jesus Christ has called you to serve him in the local church.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Temple

And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”  And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings?  There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”  Mark 13:1-2
This fascinating video fills me with sadness.  The one place on earth where God located his manifest Presence, the place where sinners could come and draw near without being incinerated but made new — that sacred place was truly impressive.  It was also doomed.
We do not handle sacred privilege well, especially over time.  To quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Every institution tends to produce its opposite” (What is an Evangelical?, pages 9-10).  The temple came under the control of values and emotions opposite to what it was originally there for.  It had to be destroyed.
Like that disciple so long ago, we tend to be impressed with the wrong things.  Buildings are necessary.  We are not disembodied spirits, like angels.  We are embodied spirits.  That means we need a roof over our heads and air conditioning and parking spaces and seats.  But heretics and apostates build buildings too.  They build buildings, to serve purposes immediately opposite to the gospel.  Believers can build buildings, to serve purposes eventually opposite to the gospel.  Let’s not take psychological refuge in buildings: “What an awesome building we’ve built.  This proves we’re okay.”  The Lord might say, “Nothing will be left.  Or it might be a Walmart.  Or a Catholic cathedral.  But it’s only a matter of time.”
If our ministries are projections of our own self-idealization, they are idols, no matter how biblical outwardly.  And every idol is doomed.  Whenever the Lord enables us to build a new building, let’s say, “Thank you, Lord, for this building.  Now, please help us not to prostitute your gift.  This is from you, for you.  Please make it stay that way.”
Our refuge is the Lord himself.  And he safeguards not buildings but people who walk before him in integrity, for his glory alone, no matter what the cost, both personally and institutionally.  Let’s keep our churches under the judgment of his sacred purposes, his alone.
(Ray Ortlund- The Gospel Coalition)

Can't get no satisfaction?

  • I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most profitable explanation is that I was made for another world. ~ C.S. Lewis