Thursday, March 27, 2008

Something to thank God for

I was reading this morning and what I was reading was very instructive for my prayers for OBC. The author pointed me to this passage...
2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
So, my prayers this morning are ones of thanksgiving to God for several signs of grace in people's lives.
  1. Many are growing in their faith
  2. Many are increasing in their love for each other
  3. Many are persevering in difficulties.
What a job I have! I sit on the front row of God doing amazing things at Ogletown.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I was asked on Monday, "Who are some of your favorite authors?" Where does a book-addict begin to answer that question? However, one of the people who have had a huge impact on my thinking is D.A. Carson. I had never read this biography of him, but it made me respect him even more. Why has he had such an influence on me?
  1. He has written my favorite commentary of any single book of the Bible.

  2. He has written my favorite daily devotional book.

  3. He has written my favorite book on prayer.

  4. He has written one of my favorite books on contemporary church trends.

  5. He has written and edited my favorite book on worship.

  6. He has edited my favorite 1-volume commentary on the Bible.
I probably could list more, but I will stop there.

What did Jesus say about the Holy Spirit?

In preparation for Sunday's messages, I came across these 5 groups of passages that talk about the Holy Spirit. They are the words of Jesus.
John 14:15-17
15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:26
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 15:26-27
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.26 But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

John 16:7-11
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

John 16:12-15
12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
There is much more to say about this (as you will see on Sunday, haha), but I think the church often misses out on the great benefits of understanding the Holy Spirit's work. In these passages he is...
  • the one who helps
  • the person who is truthful
  • the person who never leaves believers
  • the person who dwells in us
  • the one who teaches us things
  • the one who brings things of Christ to mind
  • the one who bears witness of Jesus, allowing us to do the same
  • the one who is coming for our advantage
  • the one who convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment
  • the one who guides us into truth
  • the one who magnifies Jesus
How much should we praise God for the work of the Spirit among and in the believers of Jesus?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Life with children = much to blog about

Our son got a manners book the other day. What is a manners book, you ask? It has a chart that reminds you to say please, thank you, sorry, goodbye, etc, by placing a sticker on the chart every time you display good manners.

As Grandma and Grandpa were leaving yesterday, he seemed all too eager to say "Goodbye" to them. After saying goodbye, he quickly rushed to his book, and place the 'Goodbye' sticker on the chart. He also 'accidentally' knocked over his little sister, and was unusually quick to apologize. Within seconds the 'Sorry' sticker appeared on the chart. He is quite proud of his manners, and even more proud of his chart.

As I was thinking this morning, I realized that in some ways I have 'manners/stickers' theology. I often think that by doing things, God will give me some sort of recognition. Having my devotions surely equals a sticker on my chart. If I do some sort of sacrificial act of kindness, hey, I get another sticker. God surely HAS to look at my chart and be thoroughly impressed. Right?

What struck me this morning is that while the sticker-chart may show some good decisions our son has made, it doesn't reveal the heart. My 'stickers' are much the same way. They may reveal something good about my life, but I may have sinful motivation for getting my stickers.

God help us to not be motivated by 'stickers' but to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter '08 Highlights

Okay, so this was a great day. There are several reasons, but these have to be at the top of the list.
  • The Good Friday service at Faith Baptist was an encouragement. I especially enjoyed (1) hearing the gospel faithfully preached by many preachers in the area, (2) the song that Amy sang before I spoke, and (3) looking out to see many OBC faces!

  • This was our first polar-Easter egg hunt. After we all thawed out, we enjoyed the candy.

  • Waking up this morning to a beautiful sunrise and a great day.

  • Reading the Valley of Vision prayer that I quoted earlier.

  • It was great to see so many families together. I got to meet a few of the parents of our college students.

  • Hearing our church family sing "It Is Well" at the close of the 9:45 and 11:00 services was pretty special.

  • Meeting several guests who came to OBC for the first time. One of those guests found our website last night, and came today!

  • Enjoying lunch with Shawna's family and a grad student from UD.

Christ Is Risen!

from the Valley of Vision (a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions)


O God of my exodus,
Great was the joy of Israel's sons
when Egypt died upon the shore,
Far greater the joy
when the redeemer's foe lay crushed in the dust.
Jesus strides forth as the victor,
conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing might;
He bursts the bands of death,
tramples the powers of darkness down,
and lives for ever.
He, my gracious surety,
apprehended for payment of my debt,
comes forth from the prison house of the grave
free, and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.
Show me herin the proof that his vicarious offering is accepted,
that the claims of justice are satisfied,
that the devil's sceptre is shivered,
that his wrongful throne is levelled.
Give me the assurance that in Christ I died, in him I rose,
in his life I live, in his victory I triumph,
in his ascension I shall be glorified,
Adorable redeemer,
thou who wast lifted up upon a cross
art ascended to hightest heaven.
Thou, who as man of sorrows wast crowned with thorns,
art now as Lord of life wreathed with glory.
Once, no shame more deep than thine,
no agony more bitter, no death more cruel.
Now, no exaltation more high,
no life more glorious, no advocate more effective.
Thou art in the triumph car leading captive thine enemies behind thee.
What more could be done than thou hast done!
Thy death is my life, thy resurrection my peace,
thy ascension my hope, thy prayers my comfort.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are you ready for Easter?

Are you ready for Easter? I'm not referring to clothes, candy, or dinner plans.

Two questions...
  1. Have you intentionally thought about how to prepare your heart this week to remember Jesus' death and resurrection? If not, now is a great time to do that.

  2. Who's coming with you to OBC on Sunday? I cannot think of a better Sunday to invite someone to join you than this one! If you haven't invited someone, you've got a couple of more days!
In the vein of John Piper who would tell us "Don't Waste Your Life," I am reminding myself, "Don't waste Easter '08!"

One last chance for one shining moment

If you are so inclined, remember you have less than 24 hours to be a part of the Ogletown Baptist group by filling out a tournament bracket for March Madness.

FYI, the Mid-Atlantic seems to be filled with people who like to talk trash! I only can point them to this reminder.

Recognition is nice, but...

This past weekend, I came up to church late Saturday afternoon. I noticed that in my mailbox here there was a box with a plaque in it. The plaque recognized our church family for being in the top tier of churches in our gifts to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is a beautiful plaque and was accompanied by a nice letter recognizing the generosity of Ogletown.

Only moments after I had pulled the plaque out of the box, I looked out my window and saw something that wasn't as beautiful. What I saw were the 'remnants' of geese who frequent our front doors. They leave plenty of 'reminders' of their appreciation of our facility. But as I looked more closely, I did see something that surely was grace-filled in God's sight. One of the members had taken it upon himself to make sure the sidewalk was cleaned off, so that nobody stepped in a 'reminder.' He was spraying the sidewalk on a Saturday afternoon, in preparation of people coming to OBC.

Frankly, no pretty plaque was given to him. I would call his name, but would prefer God to reward him openly for what he did in secret. He didn't do it for recognition. He won't be listed in our newsletter as the "Top 5 Servants of OBC." So, I guess recognition is nice, but it surely isn't everything.

Thank you God, for servants who serve unrecognized (by us) for You. Make their reward in heaven great!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Learning from others

I don't want the blog to be a "link machine," but there have been several posts that have been interesting to me.

Some challenging and helpful thoughts.

Monday, March 17, 2008

March Madness

For those who are interested in picking the bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament, you can join the Ogletown Baptist Group on's Tournament Challenge.

A little hint on my picks...I always tend to pick Big 12 teams, and it normally ends up NOT helping me! Maybe this year all of that will change.

UPDATE: We have 18 entries, as of Tuesday. You have to lock your picks in before the first game of the tournament to play! Is everyone afraid of losing to the pastor? :-)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Definition and evaluation of preaching

My 4-yr old son was talking about preaching today. He said that preaching was just talking. And sometimes the talking comes after the music. He informed me with a grin that sometimes he actually liked the music better than the talking. Thanks a lot, bud! :-)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Next three Sundays

In our teaching time over the next three weeks on Sunday mornings, we are going to be taking a serious look at some serious questions. I think that while we may believe the facts of the Bible and the life and death of Jesus, we often don't have a full appreciation of what it all means. There is no way we can cover all that needs to be covered in three weeks, but it is well worth the try! So, here are the questions...

1. What does it mean that Jesus died?
2. What does it mean that Jesus is alive?
3. What does it mean that Jesus left us?

I can't wait to see you on Sunday!

2 books, 2 articles

Last night in our Bible study, we looked at Psalm 27:4 which says
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
I gave a couple of book recommendations to aid in this process of thinking about one thing. They were Knowing God by J.I. Packer and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.

I have also been challenged and provoked by two online articles that I have read recently. I am glad to share them with you.

Happy Reading.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time change

Sorry, I missed you at church yesterday. I forgot to set my clock ahead, and well.... Just kidding! I did miss being at OBC yesterday, but I am excited about what God is doing here. Over the next several weeks, we are going to answer the question "What Does It Mean?' There are so many things that are important in the lives of people who believe in Jesus, but we don't always know what things mean. So, this week we are going to take a look at what it means that Jesus died. I can't wait.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Wii night was not just about the Wii

The jury is in and I think the Wii night was a good time for all (except for a certain person named R*ger H*mpton. who got beat in bowling by our chairman of deacons' mother. I will refrain from giving names here)!

Overall, somewhere between 150-200 OBC'ers put their skills on display. Furthermore, there were some serious Connect Four games going on as well. If you are signed into the OBC Friends and Family group on Facebook, you can see some more pictures and a couple of videos as well.

Good times. I am still waiting on my commission check for selling Wiis!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Worship thoughts

Here is a definition of worship I ran across in Recalling the Hope of Glory by Allen Ross. It is lengthy, but helpful.
"True worship is the celebration of being in covenant fellowship with the sovereign and triune God, by means of the reverent adoration and spontaneous praise of God’s nature and works, the expressed commitment of trust and obedience to the covenant responsibilities, and the memorial reenactment of entering into covenant through ritual acts, all with the confident anticipation of the fulfillment of the covenant promises of glory.”
In the book, Ross also suggests that we are probably not prepared to think and talk about worship until we have done some extensive meditation on passages like Exodus 24; Isaiah 6:1-3; Ezekiel 1:4-28; Matthew 17:1-13; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; Revelation 1:9-20.

For all those who desire to be true worshipers, I don't think the definition or passages of Scripture can be ignored.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Under the weather

Yesterday, I was a little under the weather, which meant I felt like doing nothing more than either sleeping or staring at the television like a zombie. I did plenty of both. There was a lot of coverage on "Super Tuesday II" on the news networks. FYI, I am a closet political junkie. I went from MSNBC to Fox to CNN, and what do you know, they were all saying the same things, and interviewing the same people. Some of my conclusions (if you don't watch the news much, the names will mean very little to you, and I am not sure that is a bad thing, haha)...
  • These news networks analyze and re-analyze things 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Amazing, and I am pretty sure I don't mean 'amazing' in a good way.
  • I like Tim Russert. Anderson Cooper is growing on me.
  • Sean Hannity kind of bugs me, as does Alan Colmes, as does Keith Olbermann.
  • I got a kick out of Brokaw's monotone.
  • Dick Morris gives me the creeps. I don't know why, ...well, maybe I do.
  • It is fascinating to hear Karl Rove's political assessment. Like him or hate him, it is still fascinating. I think that about James Carville as well.
  • Chris Matthews yells a lot.
  • Shepard Smith always seems to smile like he knows something that I don't.
  • CNN had some awesome touch screen stuff last night that John King was using. Pretty neat.
  • Larry King is not my favorite. Greta isn't either. Neither is Tucker. I reach for the remote when I see any of them.
  • Colbert and Stewart are hilarious, but way too crude and oftentimes borderline (or over the top) blasphemous.
  • Everyone on the news has an agenda. Unfair statement? Probably, but it sure seems true.
I try to stay out of politics from the pulpit, but the media seem to be fair game.

Some more thoughts from Philippians

Tonight, at our Wednesday night Bible study, I will be sharing some of these thoughts, but I wanted to put a preview of them on the blog.

Over the last month, I have spent a lot of time in the book of Philippians. I have seen my time spent there as being God's grace beyond measure to me. However, as I have taken a closer look at Paul's words to a church written 2000 years ago, I have been reminded of how Paul uses ordinary language to point people to grace that is found in Jesus. Let me give some examples.
  • Hello - Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • I appreciate you - I thank my God in all my remembrance of you

  • I want to be with you - For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

  • I will be okay - I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

  • I want to keep ministering to you - Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

  • Be united - So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

  • Don’t complain - Do all things without grumbling or questioning,that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
There are so many others, but it is just a good reminder to me that grace should be a part of my regular conversation!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

NewsFlash: Pastor is victorious at Wii Night

Not that anyone is counting, but I think I posted a 2-0 record for Wii Night. I solidly beat my 4 year old son at bowling. Furthermore, I teamed up with another kid to win a match of doubles tennis.

Seriously, I know those who were able to come where we were had a great time. Maybe we'll have to do it again sometime.

P.S. My next sermon series will be on DanceDanceRevolution. Just kidding!