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Monthly Archives: August 2019

Wise advice from Colorado

Back in the spring, Carol and I were in my home state of Colorado for a week long retreat at SonScape. On our day of Sabbath, we visited Breckenridge, where we picked up this plaque, which now hangs in our kitchen. Good advice.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2019 in Colorado

 

The power of a good example

St. Francis once called to one of his young monks, “Let’s go down to the town to preach.” The novice, delighted at being singled out to be the companion of Francis, quickly obeyed. They passed through the principal streets, turned down many of the byways and alleys, made their way out to some of the suburbs, and at length returned by a winding route to the monastery gate. As they approached it, the younger man reminded Francis of his original intention. “You have forgotten, Father,” he said, “that we went down to the town to preach!” “My son,” Francis replied, “we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. We have been seen by many; our behavior has been closely watched; it was thus that we preached our morning sermon. It is of no use, my son, to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!”

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2019 in Personal growth, Preaching, Quotes

 

Don’t let anger lead you into sin

Eve had to be talked into sin by Satan (Genesis 3:1-7). Cain was so angry he could not be talked out of sin, even by God (Genesis 4:1-8).

When we give into anger, we give the devil a foothold in our lives (Ephesians 4:26-27).

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2019 in Genesis, Scripture

 

Project Management

If only this worked in real life, and especially, for sermon preparation . 😉 Unfortunately, there is no substitute for hard work.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2019 in Non-Sequitur, Preaching

 

Faith Has Its Reasons

In Hebrews 10:38-39, the author of the book encourages his readers to live by faith. But what does that look like in real life? How do you live by faith … if you are the only Christ follower in your family … a single parent … a senior living on a fixed income with rising expenses … faced with temptation … filled with doubt … part of a dysfunctional family … faced with an overwhelming task … plagued with questions? What does it mean to live by faith in today’s world?

Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the “Hall of Fame of Faith.” We tend to elevate the individuals listed here to superhero status. The reality is that they were ordinary people who took God at his word and acted accordingly. The chapter is a call to stumbling, bumbling Christians to live boldly in today’s world. The author’s argument is that if these people lived by faith, so can we.

Faith is not simply a set of beliefs or a creed. It is not a blind leap of faith that is contrary to logic and reason. It is not a “hope so” optimism. In Hebrews 11:1-3, we learn that faith brings confidence in God’s promises and show trust in his character.

The Essence of Faith (1). Faith is both a present and continuing reality. Depending on your translation, verse 1 may describe the objective sense, “substance,” or the subjective sense, “confidence” or “assurance.” It helps us to understand that faith is both a conviction and a sense of certainty. One author described it as the title deed on which we build our lives. The verse also helps us to understand that faith is the organ that helps us to see the unseen.

The African Impala is a beautiful animal that can jump over a height of ten feet and a span of 30 feet. But it can be kept in a zoo enclosure with only a three-foot wall. The reason is that the impala will not jump where it cannot see where its feet will land. Faith enables us to trust God and to venture into the unknown and the unseen.

The Testimony of Faith (2). The people of old described in chapter 11 bore witness to God, and he bore witness to them. Verse 2 becomes the thesis or theme of the chapter as it describes that the life of faith is the only way to please God.

An Illustration of Faith (3). Faith enables us to develop convictions about creation. Verse 3 refers back to Genesis 1 where we read, “and God said, ‘Let there be …’” and the universe sprang into existence. The verse affirms the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, creation out of nothing.

The question we must all wrestle with is, Will your life be characterized by your trust in God? Will you take God at his word? Will you obey his commands? If we want to receive God’s approval, we must build our lives on the foundation of faith.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on August 25, 2019. It is part of a series of expository sermons on the book of Hebrews. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

The compelling call of ministry

Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll has written a very encouraging article on the call of ministry. “The Most Magnificent Life” is found in the Summer 2019 edition of DTS Magazine, the publication of Dallas Theological Seminary.

Dr. Swindoll affirms the experience of many, including myself, of the compelling sense of “having” to do ministry because nothing else would satisfy.

I often think that most who study at DTS are here because they can’t help it. It was the great preacher of the Victorian era in Great Britain, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who said, “Do not enter the ministry if you can help it.” If you can’t, you are entering into something as permanent as marriage, till death separates you. You are in it for the long haul . . . for life.

A calling of God fuels the passion of the one going into ministry. He’s the One who lights our fire and fans the flame. There is no magic in these buildings, in the desks, in the library, or in the books. Seminary is extremely hard work. Students think more in-depth than ever in their lives. They endure rigorous testing. They don’t casually arrive or come on a lark—they pray about it. They seek advice, and because they can’t help it, they come. They are in it because they can’t stay away. They are compelled by the Spirit of God to be here!

I can’t imagine being fulfilled doing anything else other than ministry. Could I be successful in doing something else? Maybe. Could I find fulfillment? Never. It’s the most fulfilling, the most rewarding of all callings. The most magnificent life a person can have is to be in the nucleus of God’s will, and for those who decide to study at DTS, that’s called preparing for a lifetime of ministry.

 Click on the link to read the rest of the article.

 

 
 

Trust God for the unseen

The African Impala is a beautiful animal that can jump over a height of ten feet and a span of 30 feet. But it can be kept in a zoo enclosure with only a three-foot wall. The reason is that the impala will not jump where it cannot see where its feet will land.

Faith enables us to trust God and to venture into the unknown and the unseen. Hebrews 11:1 explains, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Don’t let fear of the unknown or unseen keep you a prisoner. Trust God and take a bold step of faith.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2019 in Faith, Hebrews, Scripture