Sunday, April 25, 2010

Praying for necessities

A quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Is not this one of the most wonderful things in the whole of Scripture, that the God who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the God who is forming His eternal kingdom and who will usher it in at the end, the God to whom the nations are but as 'the small dust of the balance' -
that such a God should be prepared to consider your little needs and mine even down to the minutest details in this matter of daily bread?

But that is the teaching of our Lord everywhere. He tells us that even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without our Father, and that we are of much greater value than many sparrows ... If only we could grasp this fact, that the almighty Lord of the universe is interested in every part
and portion of us! ... the smallest and most trivial details in my little life are known to Him on His everlasting throne ... But that is the way of God, 'the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy'; who nevertheless, as Isaiah tells us, dwells with him also 'that is of a contrite and humble spirit'. That is the whole miracle of redemption; that is the whole meaning of the incarnation which tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ takes hold of us here on earth and links us with the almighty God of glory. The kingdom of God, and my daily bread!

It must be emphasized, of course, that all we pray for must be absolute necessities. We are not told to pray for luxuries or super-abundance, nor are we promised such things. But we are promised that we shall have enough ... The promises of God never fail. But they refer to necessities only, and our idea of necessity is not always God's. But we are told to pray for necessities.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 70-1

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Aimee's Song of the Week April 24, 2010

Check out the new category on the blog, Aimee's Song of the Week. My wife and I share a love for music, so we thought it would be fun to share a song each week. Hope it will be a blessing to you.

We were introduced to 'All I Have is Christ' at the church we've been attending, FCC. The Lyrics are below, and you can listen to a sample and buy the song from Sovereign Grace Ministries here.

All I Have Is Christ
By Jordan Kauflin
As recorded on Looked Upon

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Does God Love Everybody the Same Way?

Someone at work asked me if God loves everyone equally, believers and unbelievers. I believe Scripture says no. While I can't begin to understand God's love and all it's facets, I do believe the Scripture is clear that God has a special love for His children.

It is important to remember that it comes down to the basis of that love. On what basis are we loved by God? Genuine believers are the ones who have been broken of their sin and seen their absolute unworthiness of God's love. You can't know grace or mercy if you think you are in any way deserving. Like we heard Wednesday night at FCC, Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9:1-13 (see 2 Sam 4:4), was a lowlife socially and the grandson of King David's enemy Saul. But because of his love for Jonathan, David sought him out and gave this social outcast (lame in both feet) a place at the royal table so he could feast with the King daily. In the same way, there is nothing loveable or adorable about me that would make God choose me and adopt me into His family. But to say that He loves those who reject him to the grave in the exact same way, ... that to me is not what Scripture teaches. This is especially chilling when I think that people I love and care may prove by their rejection of Christ, that they are not loved this way.

All mankind is born a rebel to the King and His enemy. We are born dead spiritually and need a miracle to be saved. God clearly has the power to raise us to life the way Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave (John 11:43-44). We put limits on God's sovereignty if we say that there are people in hell that He loved the same way as His own. Does this not say that He was not powerful enough to save them? We give ourselves too much credit if we say that there was something special about us that caught God's eye to save us.

Here is a short video of John Piper discussing this very thing. It is not comprehensive, but he goes to Scripture for an answer to this tough question.

Listen to Jesus words in the High Priestly prayer (John 17) and ask yourself if Jesus loves everyone the same way.

1When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

6 "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
One final note. While God loves His sheep in a special saving way, there is one thing that is clear. We do not know who will ultimately become born again. We should never write anyone off as being hopeless. The Bible and experience (i.e. me!) gives a wealth of evidence that God can change the worst of sinners. Look no further than the apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-19)! He was dragging Christians away from their families and throwing them in prison for worshiping Christ, and this on the very day that Christ encountered him on the road to Damascus to change his heart and history forever. So this truth should not affect our evangelistic fervor. In fact quite the opposite. It is empowering to know that we don't have to win souls, God does that! We just have to be faithful to share the glorious truth of the Gospel and leave the results to God.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Persecution in Israel

On Sunday, our church heard a sermon from the letter to the Church at Philadelphia (not Pennsylvania) in Rev 3:7-13. Tim Juhnke also played a video along with the sermon. But like many churches, he didn't play a clip from a popular movie or something else to entertain us. This was more like an illustration that gave a very good idea of the kind of persecution that the church in Philadelphia was going through. Here is the video that was shared.

Messianic Jews (i.e. ethnic Jews who have believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God) are being persecuted for worshiping Christ in Israel.

Two things come to mind.

First, what is our reaction to our Jewish friends in Israel who are persecuting Christians? It goes without saying that we ought to pray for them. Jesus said to pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:44). But what about evangelism? In this sermon, Tim speaks against John Hagee's dual covenant view. Hagee teaches that we do not need to evangelize Israel, just to bless them and God will bless us. But as Tim powerfully points out:

The only way a Jew will ever participate in the Kingdom of God is through their Messiah Jesus Christ. And if we love Israel, if we love the Jewish people, the greatest thing we can do for them is present to them their Savior Jesus Christ, for He alone is the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Second, what kind of persecution are we willing to endure for the name of Christ? In fact, Paul says that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim 3:12, emphasis mine)" Tim wondered what the impact would be to Faith Community Church if we had to walk through a mob of people screaming insults to get to worship Christ. What are we willing to risk for Christ?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today's 'For the Love of God' reading was great!

“BLESSED IS HE WHOSE TRANSGRESSIONS ARE FORGIVEN, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Ps. 32:1-2). In a theistic universe where God keeps the books, it is difficult to imagine any greater blessedness.

The sad tragedy is that when many people reflect on this brute fact — that we must give an account to him, and there is no escaping his justice — almost instinctively they do the wrong thing. They resolve to take the path of self-improvement, they turn over a new leaf, they conceal or even deny the sins of frivolous youth. Thus they add to their guilt something additional — the sin of deceit.

Continue reading entire post

Friday, April 16, 2010

T4G Video

Couldn't make it to T4G? They have made video available of all the speakers! Click here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pastors away from the pulpit

Here is a couple of items from two pastors at Grace Community Church, only not like you have seen them before!

Check out this Twitter exchange between Phil Johnson (Pyro blogger) and the organist for the Atlanta Braves.

Also, check out this video shared by a recent Master's College graduate, featuring John MacArthur, president of TMC.

HT: Dan

Music for you

Free music abounds, so I thought I would wrap these together into one post. I expect there is something for everyone ...

This is last minute (it's today), but if you enjoy listening to a master concert pianist, and live in the north part of KC, check out Andrew Sheffield do his thing TODAY! He is giving a free piano recital at 2:30pm at New Hope Church of the Nazarene, located on North Oak, just north of Briarcliff Road. Andrew has a gift for music and uses it to edify the body at FCC where her serves as worship leader.

Another gifted musician who needs more pub is Nathan Clark George. I talk about him often, and for good reason! He has now added a new free tune on his site. The music is great, but even better are the words. Here is the first verse:

All men are but mortal, all flesh fades like grass
Only through deaths portal to, eternal life we pass
This body here must perish, before it gains reward
Heavenly joys to cherish, for the ransomed of the Lord

Click here to see how he came up with the song, and download it for free!

As we travel the spectrum of musical styles, let's kick off our shoes and pick up a fiddle! I came across this delightful video in a google search for the Rolf Family (featured in this post).

Here is the official Rolf Family website. Devon, if you're reading, I suggest you add an 'Events' section to the site and fill it up with nearby venues!

Finally, slap on your ear goggles (headphones) on and pic up the mic. If you enjoy theology AND rap music, you can download a free album from iSix5 (short for Isaiah 6:5), from Grace Bible Church in Tempe, Arizona. If you're like me, and don't catch all the words, here are the lyrics. Good stuff, lots of Scripture, lots of theology, Christ-exalting. Here is a quick taste:

God Himself is guardin what He placed inside of me/
And His indwelling Spirit is constantly reminding me/
I was filled and sealed to let the flesh die to me/
Conforming to the image of Him, cuz I'm tryna see/
Less JG, that's why I am denying me/
I must decrease to increase His notoriety/

Thanks, Andrew B for that one!

Sorry polka fans, I have nothing for you.

**UPDATE! Devon pointed me to this newer video of the family performing at Silver Dollar City. Enjoy! **

Turnbulls on Conrad Mbewe's blog

Looking at this picture makes me smile! I see God's handiwork all over it. In Ken's humble demeanor, despite his incredible scientific knowledge (He has a PhD in organic chemistry). I saw him suffer greatly when he had a horrible nerve issue in his neck/shoulder, yet he never stopped giving praise to God, who eventually healed him months later. I love the fact that Ian is even in this picture, because God spared him miraculously from a near-death illness (great story by the way!). I just love this family. God's grace is put on display in the Turnbulls. (read more about them here)

So I was thrilled to see this picture on Conrad Mbewe's blog. Having had the privilege to meet Conrad Mbewe (the Spurgeon of Africa) and to spend some time with Dr Ken Turnbull as well (both visited our Bible Study Group at work), it was a treat to see how their ministries are coming together in Zambia. Both of these men are gifted to the extent that they could write their own paycheck if they were to pursue secular careers, but they have forsaken all, 'that they may know Christ and be found in Him' (Phil 3:8-9). God has in turn blessed their ministries! Please read this article and pray for African Christian University, and for these men and their families. Note: I especially enjoyed Mbewe's playful jab at Ken's writing style.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Praying for Myles

Working from home affords some priceless moments. Here is an example:

Myles: You wanna pray about me?
Me: Sure. (Myles runs off) Where are you going?
Myles: To my room.
Me. I thought I was going to pray for you.
Myles: Pray about me by yourself!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Resurrection by J.I. Packer

Resurrection: Jesus Christ was Raised from the Dead
by J.I. Packer

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 24:1-3)

Jesus’ resurrection, which was a divine act involving all three Persons of the Godhead (John 10:17-18; Acts 13:30-35; Rom. 1:4), was not just a resuscitation of the ruined physical frame that was taken down from the cross for burial. It was, rather, a transformation of Jesus’ humanity that enabled him to appear, vanish, and move unseen from one location to another (Luke 24:31, 36). It was the creative renewing of his original body, the body that is now fully glorified and deathless (Phil. 3:21; Heb. 7:16, 24). The Son of God in heaven still lives in and through that body, and will do so forever. In 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, Paul envisages that Christians who are alive on earth at the moment of Christ’s return will undergo a similar transformation, though in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 he shows himself aware that Christians who die before the Second Coming will be “clothed” with their new body (the “eternal house in heaven”) as a distinct event, at or after the time of the old body’s return to dust (Gen. 3:19).

Christianity rests on the certainty of Jesus’ resurrection as a space-time occurrence in history. All four Gospels highlight it, focusing on the empty tomb and resurrection appearances, and Acts insists on it (Acts 1:3; 2:24-35; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30-32; 13:33-37). Paul regarded the Resurrection as indisputable proof that the message about Jesus as Judge and Saviour is true (Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:1-11, 20).

Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated his victory over death (Acts 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:54-57), vindicated him as righteous (John 16:10), and indicated his divine identity (Rom. 1:4). It led on to his ascension and enthronement (Acts 1:9-11; 2:34; Phil. 2:9-11; cf. Isa. 53:10-12) and his present heavenly reign. It guarantees the believer’s present forgiveness and justification (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:17) and is the basis of resurrection life in Christ for the believer here and now (John 11:25-26; Rom. 6; Eph. 1:18-2:10; Col. 2:9-15; 3:1-4).

From: Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert looks like a great book. Can't wait to get it! Here is what the author says about the purpose for writing the book.

I'll write more after I've read it! In the meantime, this post talks about the basics of the Gospel in a very similar outline to what Gilbert uses in his book: God, man, Christ, and a response.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Christ in the Passover

A friend at work shared this video and I saw it for the first time this morning, Good Friday! In the video, the Jewish Passover is demonstrated and explained, and all throughout the presence of the Lamb of God, the Messiah is pointed to. I was brought to tears as I watched how even Jewish traditions (and the entire Old Testament-the Jewish Bible-for that matter) point to the second person of the Trinity: Jesus Christ, the Messiah! Click the full-screen button and enjoy!

DA Carson on Psalm 1

Wonderful exposition of Psalm 1!
01 – April – 2010 – For the Love of God

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Paul's daring word about propitiation

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Christ as the Substitute for Sinners

The true Christian realizes ... God's way of salvation in Christ. This is the great good news. 'This is the thing I am preaching,' says Paul, in effect, to the Romans, 'this righteousness that is of God, that is in Jesus Christ, His righteousness.' What is he talking about? It can be put in the form of a question if you like. What is your view of Christ? Why did He come into the world? What has God done in Christ? Is He merely a teacher, an example, and so on? ... No, this is something positive, this righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Salvation is all in Christ, and unless you feel yourself shut up to Christ with everything else having failed, you are not a Christian, and it is not surprising that you are not happy. 'The righteousness of God in Jesus Christ' means that God sent Him into the world in order that He might honour the Law and so men might be forgiven. Here is One who gave perfect obedience to God.

Here is One, God in the flesh, who has taken human nature unto Himself, and, as man, has rendered perfect homage to God, perfect allegiance, perfect obedience. God's law He kept fully and absolutely without a failure. But not only that ...

Before man can be reconciled to God ... this sin of his must be removed. God has said that He will punish sin, and that the punishment of sin is death and banishment from the face of God ... God has set Him forth as a propitiation . . . [this] means that God has made Him responsible for our sins. They have been placed upon Him and God has dealt with them and punished them there, and therefore ... He can justly forgive us.... It is a daring thing for the Apostle to say, but it has to be said ... God, because He is righteous and holy and eternal, could not forgive the sin of man without punishing it. He said He would punish it, so He must punish it, and, blessed be His Name, He has punished it.

He is just, therefore, and the justifier of them that believe in Jesus.
Spiritual Depression, pp. 32-3

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike