Thursday, July 30, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekly Recommendation: "Traveling Light"

As we continue to walk through Psalm 23, there is another must-read resource out there. Max Lucado has written countless books and is perhaps the most successful Christian writer right now. His book, "Traveling Light: Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear" is an excellent look at the Psalm 23. I have greatly benefited from the book. I have recently written a review on the book and if you wish to read it, click here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 400th Anniversary of Baptist

I have recently written a brief article regarding the 400th anniversary of the Baptist movement. Although it is impossible to say exactly when Baptist began, was it with the Anabaptists, the Congregationalists, the Seperatists, or with John Smyth and Thomas Hewlys?, it is signifiant to note that 400 years ago an important event happened in the history of Baptists. John Smyth and thomas Hewlys took the first step to what would be known as Baptists. To read the article, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday Nights - Romans 1-8

I am making availble my notes for Romans 1-8 from our Wednesday Night Bible Study. I hope they are helpful. To download, click here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 19, 2009: Hebrews 11:30ff - The Legacy of Suffering Joy

Audio is not available (so don't click on the title for the link) but my notes have been made available. To view them, click here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Here is the series of sermons and links from our look at the second Fruit of the Spirit: Joy.

June 15, 2009 - Matthew 5:1-5: Joy of Spiritual Humility
June 28, 2009 - Matthew 5:6: Starving? Why Wait?
July 12, 2009 - Matthew 5:7-9: The Joy of Holiness
July 19, 2009 - Matthew 5:10-12: The Joy of Persecution
(Sunday Night) - July 19, 2009: Hebrews 11:30ff - The Legacy of Suffering Joy

Recommended Books:
Weekly Recommendation: "Kingdom Living"
Weekly Recommendation: "Foxe's Book of Martyrs"

Bonhoeffer: The Meaning of Poor In Spirit and the Joy of Being Spiritual Bankrupt
Bonhoeffer on Matthew 5:7-9

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love

Here is the series of sermons and links from our look at the first Fruit of the Spirit: Love.

May 24, 2009 - What's Love Got To Do With It?
May 24, 2009 - All You Lack Is Love
What is Love? - Audio
June 7, 2009 - 1 Corinthians 13:8-13: Love Never Ends

Recommended Books:
Weekly Recommendation: "A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit"
Weekly Recommendation: "The God Who Loves"
Weekly Recommendation: "The Greatest of These is Love"

True Love From Veggie Tales

July 19, 2009: The Joy of Persecution


Weekly Recommendation - "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23"

This upcoming Sunday, which will also be Glen Dean Days, we will begin looking at the third Fruit of the Spirit: peace. For the next several weeks we will be looking at one of most popular and beloved passages of Scripture: Psalm 23. I can think of no better resource than Philip Keller's "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23." Chances are you will find this book in the classic section in most Christian bookstores. It is a classic and it is still valuable today.

The book is exactly what the title suggests: the author uses his experience as a shepherd to explain the meaning behind Psalm 23. The author's first hand experience provides the reader with some very important and key insight into this incredible text. I strongly encourage everyone to read it.

For More:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Facebook Group

I started a group on Facebook today called "Goshen Baptist Church." Creative, huh? I encourage everyone who has Facebook to join and for those who don't have Facebook, I encourage you to join both Facebook and the Goshen group. With so many students leaving for college this fall, I hope to use this to keep everyone informed and in touch. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will be able to add a youth class where the students meet and discuss various issues and topics and hopefully we can use the Facebook group to add to that discussion.

One more thing, the group is invite only. You can request to be a part of the group, but I have to either invite or approve. The reason for this is to make sure that only Goshen members participate which would make things run a lot smoother. I don't want a million people who have never heard of Glen Dean to join our group and not be able to interact and participate.

See you all in a few hours for Sunday worship!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weekly Recommendation: "Foxe's Book of Martyrs"

When I was a teenager, something that both frightened and encouraged me while always leaving me fascinated was stories of various martyrs throughout history. One of the first books I picked up recounting the many accounts of martyrs throughout the history of the church is John Foxe's "Foxe's Book of Martyrs." I have read this book a number of times and to this day find myself fascinated, encouraged, and frightened. I am always reminded of the truth that compared to these great men and women who were willing to suffering greatly for the gospel, I am an utter and complete wimp.

Oh, if only I had faith like these great men and women of God!

The stories in this book are rather grotesque as many have been rather creative in how to torture and murder God's elect. Christians were beheaded, crucified, burned, boiled, dragged, decapitated, branded, inpaled, eaten alive, raped, frozen, shot, and other horrific forms of execution.

But there is one thing that the reader must be aware of: Foxe is writing in a time, as a Protestant, when Catholics were the enemy. Much of Foxe's book covers the many wars, battles, fights, and executions between Protestant and Catholics during the centuries of Reformation. Foxe is very bias towards Protestants and says strong things about the Catholic Church. This bias clouds his judgments at times. Foxe frequently condemns the blood shed on account of Catholic barbarity and yet ignores the same ruthless acts of Protestants. Nonetheless, one is blown away by the boldness of Christians throughout the centuries regardless of the cost.

This book also serves as a good survey of Church History especially regarding the Reformation. Foxe gives special attention to men such as John Wycliff, William Tyndale, John Huss, Martin Luther, and the St. Bartholew Massacre. This is a fascinating read that will leaving you nausiated, and yet with a new sense of boldness.

The reason I am recommending this classic book (originally published in 1563) is because this Sunday we will be looking at Matthew 5:10-12 where Jesus says that Joy belongs to those who are willing to be persecuted for the sake of the gospel. Christians in America are clueless to what it means to be persecuted for their faith. The best we can do is to loose a friend, to be ignored, or to not get a promotion at work. Sadly, we think this is normal. A brief look of a book like this will bring us back to reality.

At the same time, I want us to think about why Christians aren't being persecuted so heavily in our culture. The culture is increasingly becoming post-Christian. Although there are increasing signs of persecution through taxes, hate crimes, etc., most Christians are oblivious to persecution. Why? I think it is because Christians have adopted a false gospel. The gospel is an offense. That is why so many of our brothers and sisters have been persecuted throughout the years. People only get angry when offended, and sadly, the cheap grace we preach today does not call men to repent leaving them either spiritually broken or offended.

I encourage everyone to read this book and be gripped by the hard truths of the gospel and go out boldly and live the faith Christ has called us to live.

For More:
You can read the entire book online by clicking here.
You can also download and listen to the entire book for free by clicking here.
See also the Voices of the Martyrs, USA ministry webpage which continues the legacy of John Foxe
DC Talk has also published two books in the tradition of Foxe called Jesus Freaks: Volume 1, Volume 2

Happy Are the Harrassed: John MacArthur Has a Record

I was reading the book The Beatitudes: The Only Way to Happiness, by John MacArthur as I was studying and preparing for next Sunday's sermon on Matthew 5:10-12 which is about being joyful though we are persecuted. In this book, MacArthur writes:
I know what it is to be arrested for preaching. I once preached to some black believers in a certain place in the South. I didn't get very far away from the preaching location before a police car caught up with m e, and I was taken to jail. They threatened to strip my clothes off and beat me with a whip if I continued to do what I was doing. That was in the United States of America! (197)

I have always heard that this had happened to Dr. MacArthur, but this is the first time I have heard (or read) directly from him. It says a lot about one's convictions whenever they are willing to subject themselves to the depravity of man, forfeit their comfort and safety for the sake of Christ.

As we look at Matthew 5:10-12, let us not naively think that persecution is something that only happens in the Middle East. Persecution is happening here as well, especially to those who don't water down the gospel.

For more:
Pyromaniacs: Pyromaniacs: John MacArthur arrested in Mississippi

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bonhoeffer on Matthew 5:7-9

This Sunday we will be looking at Matthew 5:7-9. As I studied this text, I was encouraged and enjoyed reading some of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to say on these verses. Here is a sampling:

Matthew 5:7 - "These men w/o possessions or power, these strangers on earth, these sinners, these followers of Jesus, have in their life with him renounced their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own needs and their own distress were not enough, they take upon themselves the distress and humiliation and sin of others . . . For the only honor and dignity they know is their Lord’s own mercy, to which alone they owe their very lives. He was not ashamed of his disciples, he became the brother of mankind and bore their shame unto the death of the cross. This is how Jesus, the crucified, was merciful. His followers owe their lives entirely to that mercy. It makes them forget their own honor and dignity, and seek the society of sinners . . . "Blessed are the merciful, for they have the Merciful for their Lord." (111-112)

Matthew 5:8 - "Who is pure in heart? Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus that he may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own evil - and by their own virtues too . . . If men renounce their own good, if in penitence they have renounced their own hearts, if they rely solely upon Jesus, then his words purifies their hearts. Purity of heart is here contrasted with all outward purity, even the purity of high intentions. The pure heart is pure alike of good and evil it belongs exclusively t Christ and looks only to him who goes on before." (112)

Matthew 5:9 - "The followers of Jesus have been called to peace. When he called them they found their peace, for he is their peace. But now they are told that they must not only have pace but make it . . . The peacemakers will carry the cross with their Lord, for it was on the cross that peace was made. Now that they are partners in Christ’s work of reconciliation, they are called the sons of God as he is the Son of God." (112-113)

To Bonhoeffer, in the end, these Beatitudes regarding Sanctification (the doctrine that describes the Christian life as growing in holiness) rooted in the cross. I think he's right. The cross is the center of everything; especially the Chrisitan life and its road to holiness.

For More:
Bonhoeffer: The Meaning of Poor In Spirit and the Joy of Being Spiritual Bankrupt
Weekly Recommendation: "The Cost of Discipleship"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shared Items Available

On the left column, you will find a number of news/blog headlines that I am sharing with everyone. This is a service provided by Google that allows me to share with everyone what I am reading and thinking about and find significant. Many of them are commented on. If there is an article that I find important or significant, I will share it and make it availble to whoever wants to read it. This allows me to constantly update the sight even whenever I don't have time to write a lot of stuff (especially with dial-up).

Anyways, I hope you all will use it. The links cover just about every topic imaginable: news, politics, theology, church, ministry, economics, ethics, culture, morality, sports (especially Louisville), and just about anything else.

You can also click here and pull up a webpage with every shared item on it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Weekly Recommendation: "Can God Bless America?"

I have not been able to do a recommendation for some time because my laptop has been sick and I have been limited to when I could get online. But since this is the 4th of July weekend I thought it best to recommend an important book that goes along the lines of what we saw in 2 Chronicles 7:14 on Sunday Morning and what we discussed from 1 Timothy 2:1ff.

John MacArthur is perhaps my favorite pastor/theologian/author living today. He has had an immense impact on my life. After 9/11 he wrote a little book called "Can God Bless America?: The Biblical Pathway to Blessing." In it, MacArthur asks the question, not can God bless America, but should God bless America. Using 2 Chronicles 7:14 as his main text, MacArthur walks the reader through the importance of our nation repenting, praying, and humbling ourselves before our Maker. How can we expect blessings from God when we ignore Him in our lives?

Although this book is short, it is an important book nonetheless. I have previously written a review for this book. I conclude with this:

Although the book is short, it is quit eye opening. MacArthur calls out our hypocrisy. Most Americans, to this day, want God's favor, we just don't want God. We want God to give with nothing in return. We think that we can demand of God rather than God demand of us. MacArthur calls us back to the truth: God is in command, God makes the demands. We are called to submit, repent, and receive the grace of God. And as long as our culture remains content with our sin, the more likely we will receive, not God's blessing, but His curse.

Such words are too strong for our culture. We are soaked in our national pride and have convinced ourselves that we are too special to receive God's curse. Yet, the Biblical record makes clear that a culture engulfed in sin like ours is not deserving of God's blessings but only His curse.

But there is hope. MacArthur shows his readers that we can repent, we can receive God's blessings. He offers various Biblical examples such as Nineveh in the book of Jonah to prove his point. If we repent, truly repent, like Nineveh, God will bless us. But if we continue to compromise and dive deeper and deeper into morality, God will judge us however He sees fit (see Rom. 1). Although such words are hard on the ears, they need to break our hearts. Let us, as a nation and culture, heed his words and repent. Let us as Christians offer the gospel, not the watered-down message we have been feeding everybody. The moment we Christians diluted our message was the minute we turned away from God. Lord forgive us for such sin.