Thursday, October 30, 2008

A couple of reminders

Sometimes, you get reminded of truth in a couple of different ways. I was reminded of some of the great words of Psalm 130:6 today. The psalm is so helpful in reminding us of our need to wait on the Lord for everything.

Here is where I got the reminders...
I definitely recommend both of these and have appreciated their ministry to me.

I Stand in Awe

I have talked about some 'lost verses' of hymns. I also came across the second verse of a newer song. Mark Altrogge, who wrote the song, added the second verse years after it was originally recorded, but I love the emphasis on the cross and the scriptural imagery.


You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depths of Your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above

And I stand I stand in awe of You
I stand I stand in awe of You
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

You are beautiful beyond description
Yet God crushed You for my sin
In agony and deep affliction
Cut off that I might enter in
Who can grasp such tender compassion
Who can fathom this mercy so free
You are beautiful beyond description
Lamb of God who died for me

Prayer for the election - 5

We should pray that God would make His body wise in applying Scripture to our privilege and responsibility of voting.

We should be the last ones to be swayed by uninformed political emotionalism.
Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What a prayer

I was just reviewing some verses that I plan on teaching through tonight.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
As I read them, I began to be blown away at how Paul communicated something so incredible in a few words.

Some thoughts...
  • Paul prays that Jesus Himself would do all these things. Not an angel, not another person.
  • Jesus and God are presented on an equal platform. They are both God.
  • God loved us. John 3:16 may be quoted often, but it is always powerful.
  • He gave us eternal comfort and good hope.
  • The comfort and hope come through the means of God's grace, the undeserved riches of Christ, that are mine because of His death.
  • Our hearts can be comforted
  • All of this results in the fact that we can have a life filled with good words and good deeds.

Prayer for the election - 4

We should pray that God would use us (as His body) to provide relief, support, and love for people when they look for it to come from other sources like the government.

Too often the government has failed at what the church has been commissioned to do which is to share the good news with accompanying good deeds.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Galatians 2:10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Prayer for the election - 3

We should pray that God would show us how to think, live and love in a kingdom that is not yet of Christ.

Since there is no earthly government that is not flawed, we need wisdom from above to engage in this world in a Christ-honoring way.
Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Prayer for the election - 2

We should pray that God would keep us from trusting in government or earthly leader to be our Rescuer.

If our confidence is in the policies of a political party or the vision of a politician, we will be regularly disappointed. God alone is our Rescuer who in Christ can save us, give us hope, and be ultimately worthy of our confidence.
Psalm 33:17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prayer for the election - 1

I mentioned in a previous post that I would be sharing how I am praying for the election.

We should pray that God would give grace to submit to His will and to our God-ordained leaders.

We must recognize that God has a plan for November 5, January 20, and every day following. It is our duty and privilege to submit to it, regardless of who is in office.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Romans 13:1-5 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

1 Timothy 2:1-5 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Your kingdom come, your will be done

Over the last few weeks, many organizations and individuals have asked for the church to engage in the political process of this election. As I have prayed about what our role as a church (not just individual Christians) should be, I have felt led to pray in these directions. So, rather than distribute a “voter guide” or other political material, I feel compelled to share with you a resource that will guide my prayers over the next several days. I will begin sharing each day until the election, a way that I am praying. The first requests will be for our lives to honor Christ, and the next set of prayers will focus on the gospel being spread.

If you desire to have a voter guide, I am quite sure there is no shortage of them on the internet. Here is one that deals with issues related to Delaware. Additionally, I have in a previous post called attention to a forum that the candidates for president participated in that was very helpful to me personally.

May God use this election (and every event of life, for that matter) for us as the people of God to show our love for Christ and our obedient loyalty to His Word.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


A personal friend (as well as a brother in Christ at OBC) went 'home' this week. The Lord gives us words of comfort. They are words that we need for the moment! I believe this is His grace to us, and I wanted to share some of those verses that have been running through my mind in thinking about death and (eternal) life.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
What a hope! There is more to life and death for the Christian than the years God gives us on earth.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another hymn peculiarity

I ran across a translation of the German hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" that is different than what most Christians sing. I think I like the standard translation better, but it is still neat to see different words express the same thoughts.
A mighty fortress is our God, a trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need that hath us now overtaken.
The old evil foe now means deadly woe; deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight; on Earth is not his equal.

With might of ours can naught be done, soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the Valiant One, whom God Himself elected.
Ask ye, who is this? Jesus Christ it is.
Of Sabaoth Lord, and there’s none other God;
He holds the field forever.

Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill, they shall not overpower us.
This world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none, he’s judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.

The Word they still shall let remain nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain with His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife,
Let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won;
The Kingdom ours remaineth.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Opportune time

Call me a bandwagon jumper, a front-runner, or whatever you want, but I am glad to have jumped on the Phillies train this year (please refrain from suggesting I should jump on the Eagles train).

162 baseball games are a bit much for me, but playoff baseball is a good time. Especially when Sabbathia gets rocked, and Manny can't hit enough home runs.

Good times. Go Phillies. Can't wait until Wednesday.

FYI, the picture is of my dad and me at a game this summer against some minor league team from Atlanta. :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hidden hymn verses

I am a big music buff. I love it, and it sometimes can be an idol in my life, so I have to ask for the Spirit's help to keep it in proper perspective. I really enjoy a lot of different genres of music as well. One genre that has been a part of my life for 31 years are hymns.

What is humorous to me is that I grew up almost always singing the first, second, and fourth verses of the hymns. Why was the third stanza the castaway? Who knows? But, I have come to discover another hymn phenomena. Verses of hymns are often left out of our modern hymnals. Why have these verses been 'left behind?' Once again, who knows? But, it is like a treasure to me when I recover an old verse of a hymn I love. One of my favorite hymns is And Can It Be. I found a couple of verses that are not in our hymnal. Shame on us for not singing them, and shame on the hymnal maker for not printing them (haha - only kidding). I have highlighted the verses that were 'left behind.'

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Accountability encouraged

I am not sure that we could emphasize accountability enough at OBC. I think it is essential for all Christians to have other believers who can spiritually challenge and encourage us to be more like Christ. I think it is also essential for some of these relationships to drill down beyond formalities, to really help us evaluate our hearts before the Lord.

I have said before that we are our own WORST accountability partners. We will deceive ourselves into thinking we are okay, when we really are not. So, one of God's means of grace to us is in the form of other believers who watch over our soul, and help us do the same.

Emily, our college minister, pointed the rest of our staff to some pages of accountability questions. They are great, and could be used by groups of 2-3 in our church to encourage each other in the gospel. My hope is not in the questions, but I think they could be an aid for the Spirit's work in making us more like Jesus.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A verse to memorize/meditate on

I have memorized this verse before, but I am working on recommitting it to memory this week. Check it out.
For we have this treasure [the treasure of the gospel] in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. --2 Corinthians 4:7

So, several reasons to be grateful for this truth:
  • We didn't earn the treasure. It was give to us.
  • The gospel is a treasure.
  • Our bodies (jars of clay) are insignificant, in compared to what is contained within.
  • We don't have power in and of ourselves.
  • Christ is all-powerful. He can be relied on!

Back to the basics?

I have become increasingly convinced that I need to look and listen to the gospel more and more in my life. I have been slowly reading through The Gospel and Revelation by Graeme Goldsworthy.

A couple of quotes stand out...
  • "The gospel is the only means we have of beginning, continuing and persevering in the Christian life."
  • In contrast to that: "[Many have] the idea that the gospel is the gateway to Christian experience, and thus to eternal life, but once we enter that gateway we move on to another more solid reality by which we progress."
He closes the chapter by reminding believers:
  1. Christ is the meaning of Creation.
  2. Christ is the meaning of the Old Testament Covenants and Law.
  3. Christ is the meaning of prophecy.
  4. Christ is the meaning of Christian existence.
  5. Christ is the meaning of the Second Coming.
Good reminders to begin the week!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How are we doing at listening?

I encouraged OBC Sunday to make sure we are good listeners to God's Word. A book that I have recently read deals with the subject. It is called What Is a Healthy Church Member? and it is written by Thabiti Anyabwile (say that 3 times fast).

The first chapter is about listening to God's Word, and he reminds us...
Just as the pastor's preaching agenda should be determined by the meaning of Scripture, so too should the Christian's listening agenda be driven by the meaning of Scripture. When we listen to the preaching of the Word, we should not listen primarily for "practical how-to advice," though Scripture teaches us much about everyday matters. Nor should we listen for messages that bolster our self-esteem or that rouse us to political and social causes. Rather, as members of Christian churches we should listen primarily for the voice and message of God as revealed in His Word.
Good things to think about.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Update on my teams (if anyone cares)

  • OU is #1. All I can say is that I love their offense, am concerned about their defensive secondary, am glad that Bradford is QB, and am glad that Stoops is on the sidelines. Boomer Sooner!
  • Dallas is....Dallas. A great team to watch, but they can drive me crazy (a.k.a this past weekend). T.O., PacMan, Tank...what's not to like?

  • I think I am the good luck charm for the Phillies. I move here and they go to the playoffs. I am here for a year, and they win a playoff game (which is more than Dallas can say for the last few years).

  • You didn't REALLY think that I follow this closely, did you?

Not that any of this matters, but it is fun to follow.

A great parable

This Sunday, we will continue our journey through Mark by taking a look at the parable of the sower (4:1-34). As I have studied, thought through, and prayed about this parable, I have come to appreciate the simplicity of the parable as well as its depth. I also have been challenged by its message.

A few questions I am asking are...
  • Am I attentive to God?
  • Do I recognize that He is speaking to me through His Word?
  • Do I desire other things more than God?
  • Is my heart hard or soft to the things of God?
As you can imagine, it has been a convicting week! Hopefully, the Spirit will use Sunday to help us listen to God more closely than we ever have before.