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Category Archives: Quotes

How is church membership like a marriage vow?

It seems like far too many people treat relationships of all sorts as being disposable. As soon as they hit a rough patch of any sort they decide to pull up stakes, move on, and find a new relationship. This is especially the case, I believe, when it comes to church membership.

Rather than viewing one’s church membership as something closer to a marriage, they treat their membership like a health club. When the church does not meet their expectations, they start looking for the door. In this vein I think many in the church look at their membership with a product consumer’s mentality. The membership is all about receiving benefits and service.

A marriage is supposed to be nearly unbreakable. The Bible gives very few legitimate reasons for breaking a marriage vow. The words, “till death do us part,” captures the nearly unbreakable bonds of marriage. Now, while church membership is not a marriage, we should nevertheless treat our membership vows like a marriage vow. In other words, just because we hit a rough patch should not mean that we immediately look for the door.

These are the opening paragraphs of an article written by J. V. Fesko entitled, “Church Membership–Like a Marriage.” Click on the link to read the rest of the article.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2018 in Church, Quotes

 

Put on the Armor of God

Book Review: Overcomer: 8 Ways to Live a Life of Unstoppable Strength, Unmovable Faith, and Unbelievable Power, by Dr. David Jeremiah

What would happen if you faced your challenges in the name of the Lord? What would life be like if your goal in every situation was to bring glory to His name? What would happen if you fully embraced God’s strategy for victory?

If you did those things, you would be living as an Overcomer. And believe it or not, that’s who you are if you have placed your faith and hope in Christ: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

This enticement is found in the prologue of pastor and author Dr. David Jeremiah’s latest offering, Overcomer: 8 Ways to Live a Life of Unstoppable Strength, Unmovable Faith, and Unbelievable Power. The book describes how to put on and take full advantage of the armor of God in daily living.

Using the 8 pieces of the spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6, the author describes how we can overcome weakness with strength, falsehood with truth, evil with good, anxiety with peace, fear with faith, confusion with wisdom, temptation with Scripture, and everything with prayer. Dr. Jeremiah focuses on King David in the first chapter as he was the Old Testament’s greatest overcome. In the final chapter, he tells the story of Jesus, history greatest overcomer. The author combines biblical teaching, personal illustrations, encouraging stories, insightful quotes, and practical ideas that will encourage the reader.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
 

Measure twice

“Measure twice, cut once” were words I lived by when I worked in a steel fabrication shop. It is also good advice when it comes to speech, email, and communication of any nature.

Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2018 in Psalms, Quotes, Tim Challies

 

Reconciliation requires supernatural intervention

Without the power of God breaking through, reconciliation is nearly impossible. This is due, in part, to the hardness of the human heart, as illustrated in these two stories. (Both stories were found on the website – www.sermonillustrations.com

One New Year’s Eve at London’s Garrick Club, British dramatist Frederick Lonsdale was asked by Seymour Hicks to reconcile with a fellow member. The two had quarreled in the past and never restored their friendship. “You must,” Hicks said to Lonsdale. “It is very unkind to be unfriendly at such a time. Go over now and wish him a happy New Year.”

So Lonsdale crossed the room and spoke to his enemy. “I wish you a happy New Year,” he said, “but only one.”

************

A childhood accident caused poet Elizabeth Barrett to lead a life of semi-invalidism before she married Robert Browning in 1846. There’s more to the story. In her youth, Elizabeth had been watched over by her tyrannical father. When she and Robert were married, their wedding was held in secret because of her father’s disapproval. After the wedding the Brownings sailed for Italy, where they lived for the rest of their lives. But even though her parents had disowned her, Elizabeth never gave up on the relationship. Almost weekly she wrote them letters. Not once did they reply. After 10 years, she received a large box in the mail. Inside, Elizabeth found all of her letters; not one had been opened! Today those letters are among the most beautiful in classical English literature. Had her parents only read a few of them, their relationship with Elizabeth might have been restored.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2018 in Character, Preaching, Quotes

 
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J. I. Packer on God’s Sovereignty

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2018 in Quotes, Theology, Tim Challies

 

The Connection Between the Gospel and Discipleship

Book Review: Eternity is Now in Session: A Radical Rediscovery of What Jesus Really Taught About Salvation, Eternity, and Getting to the Good Place, by John Ortberg

“Salvation isn’t about getting you into heaven; it’s about getting heaven into you.” This is one of the statements made by pastor and author John Ortberg in his latest offering, Eternity is Now in Session: A Radical Rediscovery of What Jesus Really Taught About Salvation, Eternity, and Getting to the Good Place.

As the quote implies, Ortberg wants people to see that salvation is about more than just going to heaven. He explains in the acknowledgements,

I fondly hope this little book can help stimulate a fresh conversation about the glorious nature of salvation. I hope it can help people inside the church and out to see the indissoluble connection between the gospel Jesus preached and the discipleship he offered and to encourage people to “sell all they have in great joy” in order to follow him.

The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 focuses on “Rethinking Salvation.” Far too often, we emphasize the importance of believing in Jesus in order to get to heaven. It is sort of the minimum entrance requirements. The author wants us to understand that salvation also involves a daily relationship with Christ. Part 2 describes “Walking with Jesus.” It provides insight into the nature of discipleship. It begins with seeing God everywhere, leaving baggage behind, forming a new mental map, and abiding with Christ.

The book is a typical Ortberg book. The author incorporates truth with humor, teaching what Scripture says and illustrating it with philosophers, movies, history, quotes from Dallas Willard, and personal stories. While perhaps not one of his best books, it will challenge the reader to reexamine what they believe about salvation and encourage them to experience a growing relationship with Christ today rather simply waiting until they arrive at heaven’s door.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network http://tyndaleblognetwork.com/ book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2018 in Books, Discipleship, Heaven, Quotes

 

Join the Resistance

A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to fighting an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign nation through either the use of physical force, or nonviolence. During WWII, there were resistance movements in France, Serbia, Italy, and other countries. The resistance movement has been popularized in the most recent Star Wars movies.

As the apostle Peter closes his first letter (1 Peter 5:5-14), he encourages his readers to join the resistance. He encourages us to resist pride and to resist the enemy. We resist pride by placing ourselves under God’s authority. We resist the enemy by standing firm our faith. When we place ourselves under God’s caring authority, we can stand firm against the enemy.

Resist pride by placing yourself under God’s caring authority (5-7). Peter begins verse five with the word, “likewise.” In doing so, he links his current instruction with his previous one. In verses 1-4, he focused on church leaders. Now, he is focusing on church members. Just as elders submit to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus, so church members should submit to their leaders.

Just in case we think we are exempt from this command, Peter instructs all people to clothe themselves with the garments of humility. There’s a good chance he is thinking of when Christ put on the apron of a servant and washed the feet of the disciples. Peter strongly believes that humility is an essential part of one’s wardrobe.

By putting on humility, we resist our natural tendency towards pride. Peter quotes from the psalms when he says that God stands against the proud but take delight in the humble. By acting with humility, we place ourselves under the authority of our leaders and especially under God’s authority. And we wait for him to promote us.

Another way we demonstrate humility is by giving our cares and concerns to God. When Peter says, “casting all our cares on him,” we tend to think of a fisherman. We cast our cares, and if we don’t catch what we want, we reel it back in. However, when Peter says, “casting,” he means “to abandon.” We give our cares to God and leave them there, knowing that he is a caring God.

Hudson Taylor said, “Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into [God’s] hand; and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about.”

Resist the enemy by standing firm in your faith (8-11). When it comes to Satan, we tend to go to one of two extremes. We either laugh about him or we ignore him completely. We are either overly concerned and consumed or we deny his existence and power. In contrast, Peter wants us to be alert and aware.

Peter uses several key words to help us recognize our enemy for who he is. “Your” means he is a personal enemy. “Adversary” reminds us he is our opponent. “Devil” is a word that means “slanderer,” who is one of his chief strategies. “Prowls around” tells us that he is seeking prey. “Roaring lion” warns us that he is ravenously hungry. “Devour” tells us that he is focused on our complete annihilation.

We are to resist the devil by standing firm our faith. This speaks of our confidence in God and his word. It points out the need for a solid foundation of sound doctrine.

When suffering comes, we tend to feel isolated and alone. However, Peter explains that believers all over the world and going through the same trials. He also points out that suffering is brief, but glory is eternal. Peter also encourages us that the God who called us will give us strength. He will restore—mending and repairing; confirm—making solid; strengthen—fill with strength; and establish—set on a firm foundation. Since nothing is wasted in God’s will, he will use our suffering to help grow and shape our character.

Peter closes this section with a doxology of praise. The one who planned and promised is the one who has the power to make it happen.

Stand firm in the grace of God (12-14). Peter ends his letter with the encouragement to stand firm in the grace of God. He explains the letter had a two-fold purpose—to encourage and to tell of God’s grace.

Join the Resistance. Resist pride. Resist the enemy. When we place ourselves under God’s caring authority, we can stand firm against the enemy.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on August 26, 2018. It is the final message in a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.