Monthly Archives: December 2008

My Favorite Christmas Gift This Year

We have had an interesting Christmas. Since my lovely wife has been grounded by the doctor (can’t go more than 20 miles away from the hospital where Ms. Adelyn Grace will be born), we have spent the whole Christmas season at home. Initially we were a little dissapointed, but it’s turned out to be a great time for our family!

So, I wanted to brag on my sweet wife for getting me a wonderuful Christmas present this year. First of all if you’ve been to the Together for the Gospel Conference(s), you’ll agree that one of the highlights was the gathered voices of 5,000 plus pastors in one room! Thanks to the folks at Sovereign Grace Ministries, we now have the audio on cd.

This was my favorite Christmas present. I found myself back at the conference, moved by the Spirit all over again!

Is it 2010 yet?

Sermon Introduction: The Divinity of Christ

Sermon Title: The Necessity and Reality of the Divinity of Jesus
Audio available here.

This past summer (July, 2008) Matthew Reis almost died. Reis is a 22 year old Iowa Park native who was deep sea fishing with some friends in the Gulf of Mexico, near Galveston, when his power boat capsized, killing one of his friends. When the boat flipped, Matthew was able to secure some life jackets for his friends before he was swept away. He was at sea for over 27 hours…drifting nearly 20 miles away from the accident scene without a life jacket. Just imagine what that would be like for a moment…Drifting at sea, without a lifejacket…experiencing extreme fatigue, but knowing that to rest means to die…not to mention the threat of sharks! By the grace of God, Matthew Reis found an unmanned oil platform and managed to climb onto it…that is where he was rescued by a coast guard helicopter. Can you imagine the joy of seeing that helicopter? He was scratched up, dehydrated and barely able to talk after the ordeal but he was able to make a full recovery.

This is true story, but let me tell you another one…that is fiction. Once I heard an illustration given by an evangelist who was truly seeking to illustrate the urgency and need for conversion. He was trying to communicate the need for people to reach out and take hold of Christ, which should resonate with anyone who’s heart is broken for this lost. He painted the picture of someone who had been stranded at sea for days. This unfortunate castaway was tired, sunburned and on the verge of drowning. Suddenly, out of the thick fog, a ship appears. The captain of the ship throws out a life preserver and shouts to the victim, “just grab hold!” “That is God’s message to you my friends,” he said. “Just take hold of Christ.” “The sharks are circling and you don’t have much strength left.” “You are in bad shape and you won’t make it much longer.”

So what do Matthew Reis and this fictional character have in common with you and I? They both are in desperate need of rescue…they are in serious danger…And for the past two weeks, we have been studying the Incarnation, the doctrine that teaches that God himself became flesh (man) to rescue sinners from sin…But my question is this: “Why did our hero, rescuer have to be God?” What if Jesus was not fully divine…does that change things that much? And how does the Bible picture our state before God’s rescue? Are humans really in grave danger, or worse? After all, Jesus indicated that it would be “difficult” for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:23). (We would all agree that we are “rich” in comparison to other countries…) What did he mean “difficult?” Does that mean with great effort? That we have to stretch ourselves to the limits, like Matthew Reis, spending 27 hours at sea, fighting off sharks ands exhaustion…but we can finally find the oil rig and helicopter? Jesus defined difficult in the next verse when he said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. In case you are wondering, that is impossible…the disciples agree with you!

That picture brings us to our title this morning: “Immanuel: The Necessity and Reality of Jesus’ Divinity…”

Website for Matthew Reis Story: http://texomashomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=11231

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Pray for James MacDonald

…because he has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. In this post he explains how God is giving his family grace during this time. It is extremely encouraging!

Here’s a clip:

So that’s it! I have cancer and I can diagnose the theology as well as any oncologist can diagnose the pathology. But here’s the great part. I truly believe those things. I am not especially anxious, I am not struggling with God’s goodness or asking a lot of penetrating ‘why’s?’ I am more aware of my pending mortality and the brevity of this life by eternal standards.

(HT: Straight Up)

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Stay tuned for more Alethia Audio Interviews over the holidays!

Blessings!

Tommy Dahn Interview is Back Online…As Well As New Redeemer Sermons

For those of you who were wondering, we had a technical bug to work out…but our interview with Tommy Dahn that was mentioned in a previous post is now back online.

Also, the sermon page for Baptist Church of the Redeemer has been updated. Part 1 of my series on the Incarnation is online as well as a great sermon preached by John Thacker on November 23rd. Part two of my sermon series bit the dust (the audio was lost…but hopefully the sermon did not bite the dust!), but stay tuned, Lord willing for Parts 3 and 4 to come.

R.C. Sproul and Redeeming the Time

I am not a naturally disciplined person. I am at home with laziness, relaxation and oversleeping. For as long as I have been a Christian, I have fought the battle of redemption of time, and I don’t think that I’m on the winning side at this point. However, the grace of God is abundant and sufficient for enduring change!

I read this exerpt from an article by R.C. Sproul in Table Talk Magazine on CJ Mahaney’s blog and I had to share it with you. May the Lord give us the grace to redeem the time, because these wicked days are moving by faster than we all know. Take some time to evaluate your schedule (or make one!). You won’t regret it!

Time Well Spent (excerpt)
By R.C. Sproul

Time is the great leveler. It is one resource that is allocated in absolute egalitarian terms. Every living person has the same number of hours to use in every day. Busy people are not given a special bonus added on to the hours of the day. The clock plays no favorites.

We all have an equal measure of time in every day. Where we differ from one another is in how we redeem the time allotted. When something is redeemed it is rescued or purchased from some negative condition. The basic negative condition we are concerned with is the condition of waste. To waste time is to spend it on that which has little or no value.

I am a time waster. When I think of the time I have wasted over the course of my life, I am hounded by remorse. This guilt is not a false one fostered by an overactive work ethic. The guilt is real because the time I have wasted is real time.

The late Vince Lombardi introduced the adage, “I never lost a game, I just ran out of time.” This explanation points to one of the most dramatic elements of sports—the race against the clock. The team that is most productive in the allotted time is the team that wins the game. Of course, in sports, unlike life, there are provisions for calling time-out. The clock in a sports contest can be temporarily halted. But in real life there are no timeouts…

Given my propensity to waste time, I have learned a few tricks to help me beat the clock. They may be helpful to some of you.

First, I realize that all of my time is God’s time and all of my time is my time by His delegation. God owns me and my time. Yet, He has given me a measure of time over which I am a steward. I can commit that time to work for other people, visit other people, etc. But it is time for which I must give an account.

Second, time can be redeemed by concentration and focus. One of the greatest wastes of time occurs in the human mind. Our hands may be busy but our minds idle. Likewise, our hands may be idle while our minds are busy. Woolgathering, day-dreaming, and indulging in frivolous fantasy are ways in which thoughts may be wasted in real time. To focus our minds on the task at hand—with fierce concentration—makes for productive use of time.

Third, the mind can redeem valuable time taken up by ordinary or mechanical functions. For example, the mechanics of taking a shower are not difficult. In this setting the mind is free for problem solving, creative thinking, or the composition of themes. Many of my messages and lectures are germinated in the shower. When I used to play a lot of golf, I found that the time I had between shots was a great time for composing messages in my mind.

Fourth, use your leisure time for pursuits that are life enriching. Leisure time is often spent on avocations. Reading is a valuable use of time. It enriches life to read outside of your major field or area of expertise. Augustine once advised believers to learn as much as possible about as many things as possible, since all truth is God’s truth. Other avocations that are enriching include the arts. I like to study the piano and I dabble in painting. No one will ever mistake me for a serious musician or an accomplished artist. But these avocations open up the world of beauty to me that enhances my view of God and His manifold perfections. I also enjoy working cross-word puzzles to warm up the little gray cells and to expand my vista of verbal expression.

Fifth, find ways to cheat the “Sand Man.” Several years ago I had an epiphany about time management. Though my life-long pattern had been to stay up late at night I realized that for me, the hours between 9–12 p.m. were not very productive. I reasoned that if I used those hours to sleep I might secure more time for more productive things. Since then my habit has been to retire between 8–9 p.m. when possible and rise at 4 a.m. This has effected a wonderful revolution for my schedule. The early hours of the day are a time free from distractions and interruptions, a marvelous time for study, writing, and prayer….

Sixth, use drive-time for learning. Driving a car is another mechanical function that allows the mind to be alert to more than what is happening on the roadway. The benefits of audio tape can be put to great use during these times. I can listen to lectures and instructional tapes while driving, thereby redeeming the time.

Finally, in most cases a schedule is more liberating than restricting. Working with a schedule helps enormously to organize our use of time. The schedule should be a friend, not an enemy. I find it freeing in that the schedule can include time for leisure, recreation, and avocation. It helps us find the rhythm for a God-glorifying productive life.

(HT: CJ)

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Should We Have a “Senior Pastor?”

Thabiti begins to answer that question here.

Stay tuned for more links to his insightful posting on this!

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