Monday, June 29, 2009

Orphan Care and the Great Commission Resurgence

This caught my eye because my friend Luke is leaving for St. Louis tomorrow on a trip to finalize their family's adoption of an amazing black boy named Andrew!

Orphan Care and the Great Commission Resurgence

I'm not in a Southern Baptist but I love every word of what Russell Moore says in this article.

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day 25

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

Suddenly, in the context of this promised rescue, Isaiah is describing someone totally unattractive and unimposing—not someone acclaimed, but someone “despised and rejected”; not someone who conquers, but someone who is “crushed.” (Isa 53:5) Reading this account for the first time, you would wonder: “Is this the guy who’s supposed to deliver us? Can this guy even remotely be ‘the arm of the LORD’ (Isa 51:9; 52:10; 53:1) Isaiah promised?”

No wonder Isaiah begins chapter 53 with these words: “Who has believed what they heard from us?” Who has believed? No one. And that includes us, for apart from divine revelation and the Spirit’s awakening, none of us would ever know genuine faith.

Human expectations of what a savior should be haven’t changed much down through the ages. Seven centuries after Isaiah’s prophecy, the apostle Paul would summarize people’s continuing misconceptions: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to Gentiles.” (1 Cor 1:22-23) By divine design the gospel is foolishness to all who through pride are governed by the wisdom of this world, restricted to human observation and impressed only by outward appearance. (p 52)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day 24

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

Surprisingly, one of the best places in Scripture to reflect deeply on the meaning of Christ’s death is not in the New Testament, but in the Old—in a passage Spurgeon described as “the Bible in miniature and the gospel in essence.” He was speaking of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah.

This chapter “takes us to the heart of the human problem and the heart of the divine mind,” according to Derek Tidball in The Message of the Cross; he calls it “one of the peaks of the Old Testament’s revelation of God. From this vantage point we obtain a clear view of His work on the far-off summit of Calvary and gain a definitive perspective on its meaning.”

Though Isaiah 53 was written some seven hundred years before Christ’s death, “it looks,” writes Franz Delitzsch, “as if it had been written beneath the cross upon Golgotha”
No other portion of sacred Scripture gives us such a profound and detailed account of Christ’s suffering on the cross—while revealing as well its glorious meaning. All of Scripture is blood-stained, but Christ’s death is particularly pronounced in this passage. From his unique and inspired vantage point, the prophet Isaiah brings us right to the cross…so we can behold the Savior hanging there, and begin to understand what it all means. (p 49)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day 23

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

What Does it All Mean?

Near the end of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the children Lucy and Susan are on the Hill of the Stone Table on a moonlit night. From a distance they watch tearfully as Aslan the lion submits to the torment from the White Witch and her rabble of monsters—who are there because of the treachery of the girls’ brother Edmund. He is bound, shorn of his golden mane, muzzled… then tied to the table and killed.

After these vile creatures have gone, the two sisters creep out of their hiding place to approach the table. They spend the rest of that night weeping over Aslan’s body.

When dawn comes and the girls are shivering in the early morning coolness, they turn from the table to try and warm themselves by walking. As they watch the sky turn red and gold from the sunrise, they hear behind them “a great crackling, deafening noise.”
They hurry back, and are overcome with yet more grief at what they see:
The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
Suddenly their cries and questions are interrupted by “a great voice behind their backs.”
They looked round There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
Susan tries to ask him if he’s a ghost.
Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forehead. The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell that seemed to hang about his har came all over her.
“Do I look it?” he said.
Finally, after both girls have “flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses,” Susan asks a pressing question: “But what does it all mean?”

A better question simply could not have been asked of Aslan—or, more importantly, of the Savior he so closely represents.

What is the meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? When The Passion of the Christ was released, a Time magazine cover asked, “Why did Jesus have to die?”—in other words, what does it all mean? No magazine cover ever asked a more significant or relevant question.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Twenty-two

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

“Abide hard by the cross and search the mystery of His wounds.”—Charles Hadden Spurgeon

Behind Christ’s wounds are mysteries, mysteries that are revealed in Scripture. So we want to look carefully and study closely the purpose of our Savior’s sufferings, from His agonized prayer in the garden to His cry of forsakenness on the cross. We want to look with more depth and detail at why He suffered and what He uniquely accomplished by His suffering in relation to God and for the sinner. (p 47)

Monday, June 22, 2009

CU Mission School Supplies - Share the Gospel!

City Union Mission is gearing up for their School Supplies effort starting July 29 thru August 28. This is a neat program where qualified families can come in and receive backpacks full of school supplies, for their school age children.

As part of the program the clients are asked to sit with a counselor to go over their physical and spiritual needs. They are looking to have 4 Gospel Presenters on hand at a time, weekdays between 10-4. Volunteers don't have to stay the whole time, be are asked to be on hand for at least two hours at a time.

Great opportunity to reach out to folks who go through this program and share the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Any questions, call Bret Kroh-volunteer coordinator (816-329-1469), or shoot me an email (

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Twenty-One

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

Vast numbers of non-Christians watched The Passion of the Christ and witnessed its excruciatingly violent yet realistic images, and as a result, countless evangelistic opportunities opened up for our church and for Christians worldwide. For that, I’m profoundly grateful.

Images, however, cannot adequately convey the gospel’s content. The gospel message isn’t visual; it’s truth. It is truth to be believed, not simply a collection of images to be viewed. Scripture is clear: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing though the word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)” It’s only the preaching of the gospel, not the depiction of it, that God promises to accompany with saving effect.

Paul reminded the Galatians, “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publically portrayed as crucified.(Gal 3:1)” These Galatians weren’t present, of course, for the actual crucifixion of Christ; but it had been vividly and effectively portrayed to them through Paul’s preaching of the gospel.

Although The Passion of the Christ brought millions to an unprecedented awareness of how Jesus died, it couldn’t adequately convey why He died, and so the pronounced burden I felt was this: How could we as Christians explain to these moviegoers the true reasons behind Gethsemane and Calvary, as Paul did to the Galatians? Otherwise I feared that without clarifying theological explanation, the movie’s impact for most people would be only superficial, vague, and fleeting.

But do we ourselves adequately understand the deepest reasons behind the cross? If not, how can we take hold of those reasons—not only to be more compelled in sharing the good news of God’s grace with others, but also to more fully and personally experience the gospel’s “unsearchable riches” (Eph 3:8)”

Friday, June 19, 2009

99 out of 100 get this passage wrong!

The following is from an article by Jim Elliff, Christian Communicators Worldwide:

What do these verses mean?

What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.

So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Matthew 18:12-14)

What these verses are not about

First, these verses are plainly not about ninety-nine Christians and one lost person. It is not an evangelistic text. I admit that the passage would make a colorful gospel text if it were intended by Jesus to be that, but, it is not. We are compelled to read it another way because of the context. Context kills a lot of good sermons and this is a case in point.

The phrase, “little ones,” is defined in what precedes it. Jesus said in verse six, “But whoever causes one of the little ones who believe in Me to stumble . . .” indicating that these “little ones” are believers rather than unconverted people.
Click here to read the entire article on

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Honey, I Shrunk the Lake of Fire! and other random thoughts ...

No, the Lord hasn't taken me home, just been busy! Here are a few things to check out ...

Dan Phillips responds to N.T. Wright's heretical teaching on hell (i.e. that it's not a literal place of eternal torment) by asking some probing, Biblical questions. N.T. Wright is very popular, so this is timely and needed.

On a related note, Aimee and I led the 1st thru 3rd graders in worship during church Sunday. Our curriculum is Desiring God's children's church curriculum, The ABC's of God. Last week was "R" is for Righteous. This week, "W" is for Wrath. That's right. The wrath of God (Rom 1:18, Nahum 1:6, Gen 19:24-28, Psalm 18:7-8). Talk about preaching the whole counsel of God! Did we 'shrink' away from this? I don't think so. Funny thing is the kids completely understand this concept! One sharp boy, Ethan, could recount almost every detail of the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. They get it. They haven't been diluted by years of soft, one-sided preaching (i.e. Warren, Osteen).

Andy Naselli has put together an incredible wealth of resources of the published works of D.A. Carson. Shrinking Carsons brain by 1/25th of its size would result in my intelligence on a good day! If you're a Carson fan and missed Justin Taylor's post a few weeks back, enjoy ...

Finally, a picture.

Not too long ago one of Myles's croc's ended up going through the dryer. Now one shoe is about 3 sizes smaller than the other one. No worries, though, he already outgrew the unshrunk one!

FYI - I plan to resume the Cross-Centered Life quotes soon. It's been a crazy couple of weeks!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Twenty

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

One Sunday morning, Charles Spurgeon was the guest preacher at a church in a country town in eastern England. Seated behind him was his grandfather, who was also a preacher. Spurgeon was speaking that day on Ephesians 2:8—“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

As Spurgeon carefully explained this glories gospel of grace, now and again he would hear the encouraging voice of his grandfather behind him, saying gently, “Good! Good!” At one point, he even heard this gentle prod from the old man’s voice: “Tell them that again, Charles.”

And of course, Spurgeon did indeed “tell them that again.”

Most likely you’re no stranger to the gospel of grace and the basic truths of the cross of Christ.

This book, however, is an opportunity for us to follow the wise exhortation of Spurgeon’s granfather and to see and hear those wonderful realities again, more clearly than eve, so that God’s grace may astound us as never before” (p 42)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Nineteen

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

Let me ask you: Where do you consistently direct your faith? What does it rest on? Is it your emotional state…or the objective realities that the Word of God and the Spirit of God have revealed? When you read or hear biblical truth proclaimed, what internal conversation takes place in your soul? Is your first reaction, What do I feel about this?

If so, do you plan to continue submitting everything ultimately to your feelings? Or will you instead trust in God’s testimony, so that whenever you encounter biblical truth, your initial question will always be, Do I believe it? That’s the only reliable way to transform your emotions… and to take them into a realm of love and adoration for the Lord that you’ve never before experienced. (p 41)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Eighteen

Outward Instead of Inward
Another way to highlight this difference between talking to ourselves and listening to ourselves is to think of an outward, objective focus versus an inward, subjective focus.
As Scottish theologian Sinclair Ferguson notes, “The evangelical orientation is inward and subjective. We are far better at looking inward than we are at looking outward. Instead, we need to expend our energies admiring, exploring, expositing, and extolling Jesus Christ.”
We can learn to focus outward (and upward!), regardless of how we feel, because the gospel and its events remain completely unaffected by whatever is agitating our emotions. The gospel is objective fact.
That which is subjective changes regularly, like shifting sand. But that which is objective is built on solid rock. When we look inward, we live by the subjective, the temporal, the everchanging, the unreliable, the likely-to-be-false. When we look outward, to the gospel, we live by the objective, the never-changing, that which is perfectly reliable and always completely true.
Your life in Christ is built on solid, objective truth. And of all the innumerable glorious truths of Scripture, the most critical is that Jesus died for our sins.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Seventeen

Mahaney tells a great story to illustrate how he listened to the voice of his feelings. Here is the audio of C.J. telling this story.

Click here to listen to the famous 'laptop story'.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Sixteen

Listening To Ourselves
To exalt and rely on our feelings is what Lloyd-Jones called listening to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves. “Have you realized,” he observed, “that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”
I agree. Let me explain what Mr. Lloyd-Jones means by “listening to yourself.” If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance you do it every day. You know the routine. Every morning the alarm clock erupts, demanding attention.
Make it stop … make it stop!You hit the snooze button.
A precious eight minutes of floating, timeless oblivion pass. Then the grating alarm starts again. You open your eyes and the “listening” begins.
Today is…Thursday. Oh, no, sales meeting this morning! Yet another chance to see more incompetence in the company.
You roll over. But there’s no more rest as you remember the weird noise the car started making yesterday… and the checkbook that needs balancing…and all the sarcasm expressed around the dinner table last night.
Life is just one big broken, whirring mess…
You slip out of bed. You know you should exercise, but your back is sore. Forget it.
As your bare feet hit the cold bathroom floor, the voice picks up its pace.
Can’t anyone in this family learn to put the toothpaste back?
There’s so much to do today, and you know you should pray.
But I haven’t got time.
You didn’t pray yesterday either.
No time.
You stare in the mirror.
Oh, I feel so drained …
The fleeting thought recurs that it might help to spend a few moments in prayer and reading the Scriptures.
But God feels so distant…
On a daily basis we’re faced with two simple choices. We can either listen to ourselves and our constantly changing feelings about our circumstances, or we can talk to ourselves about the unchanging truth of who God is and what He’s accomplished for us at the cross through His Son Jesus.

June is PRIDE month: what does a Christian do?

(photo courtesy of Minge La Chatte)

June is PRIDE month and we're not talking pride in the Royals or pride in how good my wife's cooking tastes (not that it doesn't) ... This kind of pride is public celebration of the 'acceptance' of homosexuality.

Why am I writing about this? As Christians we have a responsibility to deal with sin, to confront it. If God hates sin so should we. (despite liberal churches capitulating to the homosexual agenda, John MacArthur has written on the clear teaching of Scripture that homosexuality is a sin). But we are also shown in God's Word that the Gospel is for sinners (1 Tim 1:15) and we should be reaching out to unbelievers with compassion to share the Gospel.

How are we to make sense of these two seemingly-conflicting mandates? Al Mohler has written about this tension in a great article called Courage and Compassion on Homosexuality. Here is a portion of the article:

The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender--what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God's gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.

Courage is far too rare in many Christian circles. This explains the surrender of so many denominations, seminaries, and churches to the homosexual agenda. But no surrender on this issue would have been possible, if the authority of Scripture had not already been undermined.

And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well--compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin.

June is a great month to be praying for our friends and family who are living the homosexual lifestyle, or who struggle with homosexual sin. Know God's Word that homosexuality is a sin. And do not be afraid to call sin sin. But we also need to reach out to the lost with the love of Christ and with the compassion that Jesus showed when he was willing to eat with tax collectors and sinners.

Finally, John Piper shares a letter about how to minister to a relative who is a homosexual. Very touching and also helpful.

Most of us know people caught up in this lifestyle, and we should seek ways to share the love of Christ with these who-like everyone else (Rom 3:23)-are sinners who need a Savior.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim 1:12-17)

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike