-J. Oswald Sanders received a letter with these words: “Our modern emphases are so experience-oriented, and so centered on happiness and warm feelings instead of holiness and hard thinking, that some Christians’ faith in nearer to the Buddhist’s search for peace in the environment than to the message of the cross of history.” Wow! That is so powerful and so true!
-I am eagerly awaiting the cover of my book Parent Driven Discipleship which will be published by Energion Publications. I hope that it will be available for purchase in the next couple of weeks. Take a moment and check out their website energion.co.
-Last night I had the privilege of meeting with one of the families in our church and talking with one of their daughters about salvation. She prayed to receive Christ as her savior last night!!! Her dad sent me a message that her twin sister also prayed to receive Christ as her savior later in the evening. The kingdom of God grew yesterday!
– Thom Rainer’s post “Seven Reasons Your Church Needs to Go on a Diet” is helpful. This quote is a gem, “Unfortunately, many church leaders equate activities with godliness or ministry fruitfulness…Sadly, some of the busiest churches actually diminish discipleship fruitfulness.” As pastors and church leaders we would do well to take an honest look at how busy our churches are and whether or not that busyness equals kingdom effectiveness.
– I am writing a blog post about trusting God in the midst of discouragement and this YouTube clip of Rick Warren really spoke to me. Jerry Fallwell once said, “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent, wealth, education or determination but you determine a man’s greatness by what it takes to discourage him.” Man, that is good stuff!
– I listened to Michael Hyatt’s podcast, “Sleep and Productivity,” today. Ben Franklin once said, “There will be plenty of time to sleep once you are dead.” Even though this sounds good to us productivity geeks, Michael Hyatt makes it clear that this is not the case. Listen to the podcast and be challenged.
– I have taken a few of weeks off from blogging. I would say it was intentional and planned but the reality is I just haven’t gotten around to writing. I plan to do better 🙂
– Last week I worked through David Alan Black’s book Christian Archy. It was a great read and I plan to post a review sometime soon!
– I spent some time this morning reading John Piper’s book Desiring God (specifically the chapter on prayer). Here is a quote that struck me:
There is a direct correlation between not knowing Jesus well and not asking much from Him. A failure in our prayer life is generally a failure to know Jesus.
Amen or Ouch?!?!?
– I began reading Brian Croft’s book The Pastor’s Family this afternoon and was blown away by the discussion in the first chapter concerning specific sins pastors commit that are linked to the demands of ministry. If you are in ministry consider these:
1. Being enslaved to the demands of approval and appearance could reveal a sinful struggle with the fear of man – fearing what people think rather than obeying what God says.
2. Being controlled by the demands of expectation or significance could demonstrate a struggle with pride, wanting the glory of ourselves instead of humbly giving glory to God.
3. Being driven by the demands of success could sink a pastor into an identity crisis that exposes pastoral ministry as an idol in his heart instead of finding his identity in Christ alone.
4. Being consumed by the demands of friendship could lead to discontentment, emotional detachment from others, and a lack of trust in God’s provision.
Being completely honest, I struggle with 1-3. My how thankful I am for the blood of Jesus that covers my sins!
– I received a call about 6:50am letting me know Nenac had taken her last breath on this earth. She is now in the arms of her Savior. It is bittersweet. Our family will miss her greatly but there is no chance that we would rather her be here with us than in the presence of Jesus. Paul reminds us “to die is gain.” She is experiencing that gain right now!
– Before my mom called I was reading through Luke 15. I don’t know that I have ever noticed the way this chapter speaks of the reaction in heaven when a sinner is redeemed.
“There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)
“I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
I can only imagine the joy when that redeemed sinner comes home! Heaven is throwing a party this morning. Nenac is walking the streets of gold. She is enjoying the company of her husband and son and parents. Most importantly, she sees her Savior face to face. What we know dimly she knows face to face.
– We had a great time of corporate worship today at New Vision Fellowship. It was a joy to see several guests and many of our members. Worship was great and you could sense the presence of the Lord in the sanctuary. I preached from John 9 on Jesus healing the man who was born blind. We talked about how Jesus is in the business of changing lives. Those of us who have experience life change (from death to life) have the privilege of being involved in the lives of people who need to be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Oftentimes all we need to do is faithfully share the story of how Jesus changed our life. We all have a story to tell and we should never forget the Scripture says, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15). Telling our story to unbelievers is a beautiful thing God can use to draw them to himself.
– My great grandmother is still hanging on at this point. I expect a call anytime to let us know that she has gone on to be with Jesus. As I prepared the message for her funeral this week, I was reminded at the brevity of life. Even though she has lived 93 years, that is little more than a blip when you consider eternity. Life is a vapor! I plan to use Proverbs 31:10-31 for the funeral service. I believe these verses encapsulate her life and her faith in Jesus. Here is my outline:
1. She was loved and cherished by her husband (31:10-19).
2. She was loved and cherished by her community (31:20-24).
3. She was loved and cherished by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren (31:25-29).
4. She was loved and cherished by her Savior (31:30-31).
**By far the most important thing my great grandmother did was place her faith and trust in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. This relationship enabled 1-3 to be true of her life. She is a wonderful lady!
– Our local Burger King just underwent a major overhaul and renovation. It looks awesome! They incorporated an indoor playground among other fancy amenities. This is the first fast food indoor playground in Dublin and we headed there for lunch today with the girls. Needless to say, they had a blast along with a number of other kids. Today, business was booming! This is a good thing because I’m sure the renovations were costly. Here is a picture of our girls right before we left.
– College football season is upon us and you can almost taste it! We are only one week away from the UGA vs. Clemson game and I am looking forward to football Saturdays. Go Dawgs!
– Sinclair Ferguson asks a pertinent question in chapter 4 of In Christ Alone: “Why did God become man?” He offered three great reasons:
1. The conquest of Satan required an incarnation (Gen. 3:15).
2. Atonement was impossible without an incarnation (Heb. 2:17).
3. In our continuing frailty we are comforted by the knowledge of Christ’s incarnation (Heb. 7:26).
I was greatly encouraged as I thought through these three truths. What a joy to meditate on the incarnation of Christ and its realities in my own life.
– Janie and I had the joy of going out for breakfast together this morning after dropping both girls off at school. We are planning to do this every Friday morning after we drop the girls off – dates are wonderful when you have little ones at home!