Monthly Archives: March 2011

PLANT Conference 2

There are just a few thoughts I would like to share with you from one of the other PLANT Conference sessions.  The speaker was Mark Dever, who is Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and founder of 9Marks, a ministry to strengthen the local church.  The 9Marks website has lots of great resources www.9marks.org

The big picture of the Bible: (1) God makes promises . . (2) He fulfills those promises . . (3) Will we trust Him?

I thought this was a great way to bring how we approach the Bible into focus.

All God’s sheep used to be wolves

If they remain in the world without meaningful church involvement, they are in danger of remaining wolfish (I am not sure he used that word, but I like it).  All sheep need to come into the flock and under the care of God’s shepherds.

We are in the age of the ear, not the eye

There is an (eternal) age before us when we will see our Savior and the fulfillment of all He has planned and promised.  The revelation of glory and restoration will be seen with our eyes.

However at this time we cannot see many of these things.  We hear them through the preaching of God’s Word. Ministry now is built upon “mouth work”, which is the declaration of God’s truth to men who are parched and desperate for those truths.  The focus of receiving revelation in this age is mouth to ear.  Are we proclaiming His Word?  Are we listening to His word?

JESUS ON A FISH STICK

Man says fish stick has Jesus’ face

KINGSTON, Ontario – An eastern Ontario man is hoping to make a bit of money by auctioning a fish stick he says looks like Jesus.  Fred Whan, who has kept the fish stick in his freezer since burning it at dinner, decided it was time to thaw it out so he could sell it on eBay.

Pole Dancing for Jesus

Fox News HOUSTON – Pole dancing as a workout is nothing new. Over the past few years, independent studios have popped up all over the country, but there is a very unique type of pole dancing class here in our area.  It’s called Pole Fitness for Jesus.

You’re probably thinking: “How on Earth can you mix pole dancing with Jesus?” According to one studio in Spring, you can definitely mix the two.

“I was actually a dancer for 3 years, probably 7 years ago or so. I did it for awhile, it’s not something I felt very rewarded with, but to each his own and it was just something I decided I didn’t want to do anymore so I decided to take the part that I liked about that and bring it here but it’s so much fitness, I don’t teach women to be strippers,” said owner/instructor of Best Shape of Your Life Crystal Deans.

Every 2nd Sunday of the month, Crystal Deans invites female church-goers into her pole dancing studio.

“On Sundays, we do pole fitness for Jesus. We do the upbeat contemporary Christian music because people have to bring their church program to get into the class, so we basically are just continuing the whole worship thing here.”

PETA:  Don’t call animals ‘it’ in the Bible

CNN:  PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is calling for a more animal-friendly update to the Bible. The group is asking translators of the New International Version (NIV) to remove what it calls “speciesist” language and refer to animals as “he” or “she” instead of “it.”

Mankind offers up and grabs after an endless supply of foolishness that supposedly represents God’s heart and work in the world.  How do we sort through the outlandish as well as the subtle distortions of truth?  The answer is to immerse ourselves in the source of truth God has given to guide and protect us.

Read your Bible!  Think about what you read.  Pray about what you read. And keep yourself under solid biblical teaching.

A Little Inspiration For Your Day

PLANT Conference

Last week, I attending the Plant Conference put on by Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Sovereign Grace is an association of churches that faithfully pursues two essential things: planting churches and encouraging pastors.  I have been to their Pastor’s Conference, but this was their first Church Planter’s Conference.

The conference was very helpful and encouraging.  Almost every time the phrase “church planter” was used, they could have replaced it with the phrase “long term pastor” and not missed a beat.  Every session was beneficial, because each message was biblically rooted and gospel centered.

Dave Harvey from Sovereign Grace Ministries gave the first address based out of Philemon.  It was a challenging start!  I do not have exact quotes, but I think I remained faithful to some of the most helpful (to me) points that he made:

Ministry in the future is tied to the care we give people in the present: being “successful” in ministry is connected to how we love, serve and build up the people around us right now.

What do we see in the people who interrupt us, to those who are needy and can seem burdensome?  Do we see interruptions and bother, or do we see God’s opportunity to be His instrument in their life?

When Paul was in prison, a place of chains and limitations, he became a spiritual father.  Ministry does not wait for or rest in, ideal moments.  The most ideal moment for ministry, is the one right in front of us.

The future is made of broken people.  Everyone who will be in heaven started as a broken person.  God always starts with broken and corrupt people (they are the only kind of people on earth).

In Philemon, we are struck by how deeply Paul values reconciliation.  This is because God deeply cares about reconciliation! Philemon is only one chapter, so you can read it quickly right now.  Is reconciliation always our agenda with people.

Make the gospel, the glasses through which we look at people and our world.

This is an exact quote: “No one can speak worse of us than the cross already has.”

 


 


Sermon Leftovers 3/28/11

Mark 15:1-20 ‘Justice and Injustice’

We see injustice everywhere in the arrest and trial of Jesus

 1.  The Chief Priest, the Jewish Council, Pilate, Judas, Peter, the Roman soldiers and the crowd, all acted with exceptional injustice toward Jesus

2.  Jesus who everyone knew was innocent, submitted to all this injustice, so he could free us from our guilt (II Corinthians 5:21)

3.  Think about the anger we have, if we are misrepresented or misused!  We are quickly offended by offenses that are imagined and accidental

4.  Injustice against Christ has continued ever since in many ways:

  • Misrepresentations of his word
  • Denial that he is Creator
  • Rejection of his sovereignty
  • Ignoring his sacrifice

5.  We know these injustices will not last forever.  Christ will return to bring about perfect justice

Sadly here are also many injustices against Christ from those he has saved!

 Doubting if God cares about us and our situation Looking upon the cross should forever remove this injustice from our hearts

Questioning his plan and his goodness toward us:  Remembering God’s plan for us starts with Jesus and ends with Heaven, should keep this injustice from us

Neglecting his ways, and following our own as if they have worked better:  Looking at the fruit of this world’s wisdom should stop us from following this injustice

Keeping Christ at a distance:  Pondering that the eternal Son of God became man forever should keep us from pursuing this injustice

Abusing his grace, by thinking our sin doesn’t matter:  This injustice should be eradicated from our hearts when we realize the Bible says those who pursue sin, do not love God

Fearing Christ rule, as if we cannot trust what he will do with our submission to him:  Reviewing the goodness and faithfulness of Jesus should keep us from ever taking up this injustice

WORSHIP: Part 6 “Worshipping In Spirit”

John 4:20-24 is one of the most instructional passages about worship in the Bible. In this conversation, Jesus told the Samaritan woman that worship for God’s people was about to change, as we saw in my post on Monday. Jesus goes on to make this profound statement:

“True Worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Jesus gives us two essential qualities for “true worshipers”. Today we will look at the first of these. Acceptable worship must be “in spirit”

1. There is no acceptable worship of God without a spiritual birth.

There are a couple reasons for this. Most obvious of all, is that if we are still under the wrath of God, we cannot be acceptable worshipers. Another reason is that we are incapable of loving God and worshiping Him as He desires.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” I Corinthians 2:14

Until we have a spiritual birth, the glories of God do not move us; and His glory is not the desire of our heart

Men can understand the concepts about God, but they have no hold on their heart

Worship requires the involvement of the Holy Spirit in us. Our old sinful nature, continually seeks for self-focus. The Spirit enables us to want God exalted about ourselves

Truth is necessary to being a worshipper; so deepening our grasp and love for biblical truth will enrich our worship. The more we know about God the more we can praise Him. We tend to praise God for benefits we have received and certainly we should praise Him for such things. However, if we read the worship passages in Revelation chapters 4, 5, 7 & 19, we find that heavenly worship declares the character of God.

What language dominates our worship? Do we focus on our experience with God (which can quickly become man-centered) or do we focus on God Himself? A wonderful help in this matter is to read as much as you can about the GOSPEL. That will not only instruct you in truth, it will drive your focus to God instead of yourself.

2. We become deeper worshipers by having more openness to the Holy Spirit

One way to think of being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is to see it as our being emptied of obstructions. The Spirit works more fully in and through us, when we remove self-interest from our life agenda.

Another way for us to imagine the Holy Spirit at work in us is the contrast between a pond and a stream. We are not storing up our knowledge of God or His graces; we are using them for the work of His kingdom in the lives around us.

Being filled with the Spirit is a matter of humbling ourselves and exalting God. That is worship which gives God joy.

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our worship? Do we think of worship as a work we do, or as a response to His work in us? Do we seek the Spirit’s work in our heart as the foundation to true worship, or do we simply sing when other believers are singing and tell ourselves that worship took place?!

Quotes Worth Your Time: 3/25/11

“What we have lost, God will restore, that and Himself, forevermore”

from John Piper’s book of poetry The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God

 

“I used to aspire to be the next Henry Martyn (famous missionary).  However after reading your dad’s diaries, the Lord has given my heart a far loftier goal: simply to be faithful”

from the preface to D.A. Carson’s Life of An Ordinary Pastor

 

“Which is worse, a cell phone ring tone from Led Zeppelin, or when the Pastor quotes from Led Zeppelin?”


from the Sacred sandwich

Interesting Photos

These photo manipulations by young Swedish photographer Erik Johansson were sent to me by one of my blog readers.  They are quirky and interesting. 

WORSHIP: Part 5 “A Picture of Worship”

 

In this famous photograph titled, “Burst of Joy”taken by Associated Press photographer Sal Veder, a wonderful moment is captured.  A P.O.W. is coming home to his family at the end of the Vietnam War.  He has just debarked from the plane on the tarmac. His daughter has broken free from the ceremonial elements of her father’s return and she is running to him with her arms stretched out as far as possible.

This is a great picture of New Testament worship.  We are now children who are no longer separated from our Heavenly Father.  Some Christians think proper worship should be marked by reverence.  I agree, however, there is nothing irreverent about joy, or exuberance for that matter, (for those who disagree, read what happened to David’s wife, Michal, in II Samuel 6:16-23, when she despised his exuberant worship).

Have you trusted in Christ alone as the provision God has made to remove the condemning guilt of our sin?   Then you are His child, and His arms are stretched open . . and you are allowed to run!

SERMON DUDS

 

C.J. Mahaney is on a John Newton kick this year.  He has been mining the treasures of Newton’s writings in his blog, “C.J.’s View from The Cheap Seats”.  I have enjoyed many of these posts.  I thought the people of Greentree might find this recent post on sermon duds especially applicable.

When we hear a sermon dud, what should we remember?

1. Our pastor is weak and sinful, and it’s quite likely that he is already aware of this without our help.

2. Our pastor carries a heavy burden for the flock, and there is nothing he wants more than to serve the souls in his church (including you).

3. Our pastor benefits from our realistic expectations. We should neither puff him up as a celebrity and expect too much, nor diminish him and his gifts and expect too little.

4. Our pastor needs our earnest attention and eager hearts on Sunday. How can we be surprised that we gain so little, when our hearts arrive at church so dull and easily distracted?

5. Our pastor must have our prayers. We should appear at church having already prayed that God will bless the sermon and affect hearts with the gospel.

6. Sermons duds are inevitable, but they are not the sole responsibility of the pastor.

Kyle’s two cents:  God’s word is far to precious to allow a pastor’s weaknesses to distract us from feeding on it every time we hear it proclaimed.