Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

As I think about it, I am most thankful to God for His grace, my family, so many friends, a loving church, God's Word, good books, freedom to worship, a great place to call home, really there are too many things to name.

But God has been TOO good to me.

P.S. I would even be grateful if the Cowboys could pull off a win today! (But, I am not holding my breath. I've watched the Cowboys too much to be cocky.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why church matters

The last few weeks I have been talking about "Church Matters" in our Sunday morning gatherings. I came across these verses this morning in preparing for this Sunday's message.
Ephesians 3:8-12 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
Some thoughts
  • God uses the church to display His wisdom.
  • The wisdom of God displayed by the church is put on display for heavenly rulers and authorities (my understanding is that not all of them would be angels, some would be of spiritual darkness).
  • God's plan is NEVER a "plan B." His plan is eternal. As a matter of fact, 'plan' is probably a poor word to use. 'Purpose' is much better.
  • All of this should lead us to greater confidence in our access to Him. Reminds me of Hebrews 10:19-22!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Prayer and care

It's only Tuesday, and I am already looking forward to Sunday! "Why?" you might ask. Because of what I have been studying in Ephesians 6:10-24.
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. 21So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. 23Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

We are going to be talking about the subject of prayer, and the role it plays in stirring each other up to love and good deeds (i.e. Hebrews 10:24-25).

Appreciation Days

This past Sunday, the staff of OBC was treated to a "Staff Appreciation" reception. I was talking about it with another staff member today. We were realizing how appreciative WE are as a staff to serve the people of Ogletown.

Nothing would happen here apart from God working in the lives of people. As we talked, I was freshly reminded that it is a joy to serve the congregation of Ogletown. And in this season of Thanksgiving, I am overwhelmed by gratitude for the people who are worshipping, walking with, and working for Jesus at this place.

I am certainly blessed, and I thank God for you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chili Cook-Off 2008

I mentioned that I was in need of 'prayers' this past Sunday. Well, all went well, and my stomach has fully recovered from judging and eating 17 varieties of chili.

Seriously, it was a great time. Steve Chopko brought home the trophy for the best chili. As best I can tell, there are some OBC men who take their chili-making skills pretty seriously. I detected the evil eye from some when they were not announced as the winner. Could this be pride? I am not sure! Fortunately, there have been no threats made to me or any of the other judges.

Good times.

Impact on others

In preparing for tonight's Bible study, I came across Malachi 2:7-8:
Malachi 2:7-8 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts.
The verses reminded me of the importance of godly leadership. It reminded me of my responsibility to guard my soul from "turning aside from the way of the Lord." If I don't, then the impact will most likely (1) impact others and cause them to stumble, and (2) reflect poorly on the character of Jesus Christ and His good covenant.

Serious things to think about!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Come thou fount

Sometimes, hymns have really rich expressions of truth. We sang this one (Come, Thou Fount) in both of our services yesterday. There are some verses we did not sing yesterday. They are pretty instructive as well. Maybe we can work them in the next time we sing it.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Privileged position before God

I read something so encouraging this morning that reminded me of the highlights of what we have in Christ.
Far greater than living longer and enjoying ourselves and our circumstances is the unfathomable richness of our life together with God, reconciled even while we were enemies, made alive even while we were spiritually dead, brought near even while we were strangers, and adopted as coheirs of the entire estate even while we were hostile to the things of God. Even now we begin to enjoy a foretaste of this feast, as those for whom “there is therefore now no condemnation.” --Michael Horton in Christless Christianity
That truly is good news. And that is what Jesus accomplished for those who repent and believe in Him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prayers for the pastor

On Sunday afternoon, I will embark on a new journey. A new role for me. That's right. I will be filling the highly coveted position of "Chili Judge" at our Men's Chili Cook-off.

I request your prayers. Not for wisdom in judging, but that my stomach will not revolt against eating 17 different varieties of chili. My hope is that the men of OBC don't get carried away with the hot sauce, but I think that hope is in vain!

All joking aside, I am looking forward to a fun afternoon and a great time with the men of OBC.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recommendations: book and blog

The book...I read Sunday from a book by Paul David Tripp called Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy. Using Psalm 51, he calls out sin (which is painful) and he illuminates God's mercy (which is healing). I think the worth of this book could be amazing in the life of Christians.

The blog...I have been reading Been Thinking About for a few years. I am always provoked and interested in Mart De Haan's musings. Always well worth my time.

Some things are too good not to share.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Some blogs are pretty unique. I keep up with one written by Abraham Piper. It is called 22 words and a recent post about 'spanking' brought back some good memories (I played countless hours with Fisher-Price people back in the day), and some smiles as well!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why I love Bradford Pear trees

How to get rid of a large tree in your front yard in three easy steps.

Gotta love that nice gentle breeze in Delaware.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thoughts on November 5th

So, the election is over, and God's will has been done. There will be much said concerning this election. I read an article from the president of one of the schools I attended.

The article is lengthy, but helpful, and I think could be instructive to all Christians. Here is the closing paragraph.
America has chosen a President. President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead. This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President. There is no time to lose.
Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mind-numbing, but I appreciate it

One of the great benefits of living in a technologically advanced age is the sheer amount of resources that are available. Sometimes, it can be a distraction, but most of the time it is extremely valuable.

As I thought about the morning and early afternoon, I realized that I had...
  • listened to an audio interview of David Powlison
  • read a commentary on Mark by David Garland
  • listened to a podcast discussion of the Sovereign Grace leadership team on "The Pastor and Time."
  • read a commentary on Mark by R.T. France
  • read an online article about premarital counseling by Winston Smith
  • skimmed a couple of pages in a book on 1 Corinthians 12-14 by D.A. Carson
  • listened to a couple of podcast episodes of "Ask Pastor John" by John Piper
It is amazing the resources at our disposal. God will surely hold us accountable for our stewardship of them.