Friday, April 24, 2015

A New Identity

This video from Jeff Vanderstelt is on the new identity that we have in Christ, resting in who He is and what He has done, which then frees us to do what we are meant to do. Such a good reminder for all of us!

Saturate: A New Identity from Crossway on Vimeo.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prayer of Exaltation from The Pursuit of God

A Prayer of Exaltation from The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer:

O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth's treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determines that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it means the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses. I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee. Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream. Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my healthy and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase, let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou dist ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, "Hosanna in the highest."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Being Hearers and Doers Sermon Audio

This past Sunday I had the privilege of preaching at Drakes Branch Baptist Church in Drakes Branch, VA for Pastor Adam Blosser. My sermon was on being hearers and doers of the Word from James 1:19-27. I apologize that it is not a video upload, but the church currently only does audio recording of sermons. If your church is interested in having me as a guest speaker one weekend or for a special event here is a link to my speaker request form.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Viewing Every Aspect of Life as Ministry

The act of disciple making is the calling of every follower of Jesus. So do not make the mistake of thinking that if you are seminary trained or a leader in the church that you are serving God more faithfully than the stay at home mom, barista, bartender, or salesperson from your church. Each of us in Christ are called to live a life on mission that is about the business of disciple making. 

Jeff Vanderstelt summed this up to the church he pastors by telling everyone at his church that they are paid full-time by their company in order to be a full-time minister at their job. By returning to this New Testament practice the people that make up the church will stop seeing the Sunday gathering as the primary connecting point for those outside the church, but as a way to connect with people in their rhythm of life. This allows one to naturally build community with the insiders of the culture, allowing them to express freedom (gospel) in a contextually appropriate manner. 

We look around and wonder with all of the church planting efforts available today, why 250 million people are still not connected to a church family, 43,000 leave weekly, and 35% of those 15-30 years old have no interest in any form of spirituality at all. A large reason for this is the divide between the professional/laity Christian. If we take a look back at early Christianity, we are reminded that they experienced explosive growth in large part by means of informal missionaries engaging the culture. Think early church. Think America in the 1700’s. Think of most of the church planting movements we are seeing globally today. 

There are numerous examples of seeing people embrace their everyday life as ministry seeing themselves as missionaries, but a couple of examples come to mind. In 1 Thessalonians 1 we see that the Thessalonians had so implemented gospel sharing and disciple making into their everyday life that the Scriptures record it had gone forth everywhere around them and that there was no need for the Apostle Paul to go back behind them to these places.

In Acts 11:19-30 we see that it was unnamed believers who the took gospel to Antioch. These believers were simply living out their faith in midst of their daily existence. I love that Scripture includes pieces of information like that for us and I encourage you to start viewing every aspect of your life as ministry, as the mission field where God has placed you to proclaim his glory. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Cross - Jesus Dies

This post is a summary of content that I developed when I was serving as a church planting catalyst in India to teach Hindus through the metanarrative of Scripture. This lesson focuses in on the death of Christ with it being Good Friday an appropriate time to reflect on the cross.

"God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

First, in essence, Jesus came into the world to die and cover sin.
How did Jesus die?
  • On a cross through crucifixion.
  • Crucifixion is the most excruciating form of death.
  • It was designed for the worst of criminals in society.
  • Jesus was crucified in order to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows (Isa. 53:3-4).
Second, Jesus death on the cross finished his purpose for coming.
  • Jesus himself declared "It is Finished," referring to taking on the sin of the world (John 19:30).
  • Jesus came as our atonement (Rom. 4:25).
  • Jesus came and died in our place:
    • Living the life we were meant to live.
    • Dying the death we deserved to die.
    • Ultimately rising from the dead as a way to prove he conquered sin, death, and the grave.
How does the cross satisfy the wrath of God?
  • The result of sin is death so in order for the wrath of God to be appeased someone has to die.
  • In the Old Testament the wrath of God was appeased through an animal blood sacrifice.
  • In the New Testament we see the ultimate and final blood sacrificed required in Jesus.
  • Jesus, dying in our place, died the death that God revealed we deserved.
    • Hebrews 9:22
    • 1 Peter 1:18-19
  • Jesus ended the need for a blood sacrifice.
    How does the death of Christ justify us before God?
    • God deserves justice and will get justice.
    • Because we are not righteous we cannot justify God.
    • Jesus alone, being the perfect man, could justify us before God (Rom. 1:37; 5:16-17).
    How does God redeem us through the cross?
    • Before the cross we were enslaved in our sin with no hope.
    • Through Jesus alone we have been offered a way out to be redeemed.
      • Justified by his grace (Romans 3:24).
      • Jesus gave himself for us (Titus 2:13-14).
      • Christ became cursed for us (Galatians 3:13-14).
      • Redemption through the blood (Ephesians 1:7).
    So whom did Jesus come to die for?
    • Sinners, which includes all of us (1 Tim. 2:6).
    • He came to be the Savior of all people, but only in a saving way for those that believe/are elect (1 Tim. 4:10).
    How is God triumphant through the cross of Christ?
    • Forgives us of all sin.
    • Expiation
      • Our sin is taken away from us and we are made clean through Jesus.
    • Our sin is taken away and put on Jesus.
    At the cross of Christ we see the ultimate love sacrifice of God for us, which makes a way for reconciliation with God.

    It is Good Friday, the day that we remember the reason that Jesus came to earth to die a bloody gruesome death on the cross in our place. At first look it appears that Christ death was nothing more than death in itself, appearing to some skeptics as proof against the claims of Jesus. But it is only friday and as we will see on Sunday, the resurrection comes and Jesus is Alive!