Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tough Questions Series

This morning at church I announced our upcoming sermon series after we finish the book of Ruth. I have placed a box in our entrance, with blank 5x7 cards, and have asked the entire congregation to write down any question that they may have and place it in the box. We are calling the series: "Tough Questions: The Believers Guide To The Christian Life".

Everyone has questions, but very few ever find answers. I am not pretending to have all the answers, but what I am trying to do is to create an atmosphere that people feel comfortable asking the tough questions of life. I am highly encouraging everyone to be involved, and I pray that anyone who has questions will feel safe to write it down and put it in the box.

After four weeks of taking questions, I am going to pick 12, and as a church we are going on a 12 week journey into God's Word to seek answers to these questions. I would like to invite any of you who read this blog to drop questions that you may have in the comments section that I may use as well. I am very excited about this series and pray that each person in our church finds answers to the questions that they have.

Sunday Reflections

It was a great day at Idlewild today. It was great to see many of our members back in the swing of things, after dealing with this sickness that has been floating around. I have really been enjoying this series on Ruth. The title of the series is "The Providence of God In the Lives of His People." Today we covered probably the most peculiar passage of the book, Chapter 3. We looked at "The Providence of God In Our Plans." We saw how Naomi tried to rush God's plan to redeem Ruth, by devising a plan that was quite risky for Ruth.

The author of Ruth is quite meticulous in his form. It is almost as if he wants you to ask questions of the text, like "what was the motivation?" or "was Ruth seeking to seduce Boaz?" Obviously due to the fact that Boaz was a "worthy man" and Ruth was a "worthy woman", we realize that this act, however risky and questionable it may be, is innocent and not sexual in nature. What we learn from this passage is God is both sovereign and good, and he does have plans for each of his children. However, his plans work out according to his timing, and most of the time that is not acceptable to us, because we like Naomi, want God to show up according to our will and our timing. What we learn is that we must wait patiently and trust in the faithfulness and timing of our soveriegn and good God.

Tonight we focused our attention on Luke 10:38-42. This is the story of when Jesus visits with Mary and Martha, and while Martha is busy working hard, Mary is sitting at Jesus feet. Martha tries to get Jesus to reprimand her sister, but Jesus instead teaches Martha a little about how being follower of him works. He told her that she was focused and worried about many things, good things, but Mary had focused her attention on the one thing that was most important, Him.

I think we can all learn a lot from this story. Most of our Christian lives, especially with in the church, is wrapped up in being active in service, good things, but I fear that while we are busy we tend to miss out on the most important thing, Jesus. Jesus was in the living room of Martha's house, and yet she was so busy trying to please him, that she missed him. Sound familiar?

Overall, it was a great weekend. I am stoked about our Easter plans. We are doing our church's first Good Friday service which I am so excited about. Then on Sunday we have a wonderful service planned and I just pray that God will be glorified with all that takes place.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I have noticed over the past few months that one of my greatest, if not the greatest struggles is with the sin of pride. I find myself spending much time in thought and speech, focused on the wrongs and sins of others, and why they should think and be like me. Even as I type this, it is so difficult for me not to hit the backspace and not post on this topic. However, I truly believe that we need to pursue humility in all we do, because the opposite of of humility is pride. I read a book a year ago that was very effective in kicking my rear end, and now I thought I should revisit and share with you guys. The book is entitled, Humility: True Greatness, authored by C.J. Mahaney. The following are passages of Scripture and quotes found in the book. I hope that you gain some insight through these, as did I.

"This is the one to whom I will look; he who is humble and contrite in Spirit." -Isaiah 66:2

"The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it's where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life." -C.J. Mahaney

"At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend." -John Stott

"The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate." -Proverbs 8:13

Why does God hate pride?

"Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence." -C.J. Mahaney

"Pride is more than the first of the seven deadly sins; it is itself the essence of all sin." -John Stott

"Pride takes innumerable forms but has only one end: Self-Glorification!" -C.J. Mahaney

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." -James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5

"We cannot free ourselves from pride and selfish ambition; a divine rescue is absolutely necessary."
-C.J. Mahaney

I am so thankful for the rescue that is provided in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now we are in desperate need of His grace daily, because we cannot daily rescue ourselves from the sin of pride. God help us to fear you and express this in all humility.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ben Finch Photography

I would like to encourage all of you who happen to read my blog, to check out my good friend Ben Finch's photography website. Ben is a godly man, and a wonderful photographer. He also has a graphic design company, the visible group, which you can find out more info here.

You should really check out his published book of photos from Israel, as well as his book on leadership entitled, A Remarkable Practice. If you are in leadership of any kind, you would benefit greatly from this book.

I just wanted to give him a shout out here on the blog on this great St. Patrick's Day of 2009.

Can't Afford To Be An Avid Reader...

If you are looking for ways to be an avid reader, but you can't afford to go and purchase the books worth reading, Trevin Wax has posted some great ideas here.

I especially liked his second point:

2. Read your favorite books again.

That’s right. Take the books you already have and give them a second go. Not all of them, of course. But the good ones… the ones you remember well.

Reading the same book twice is never the same experience. I remember reading a book when it first came out and liking it a lot. Then, I remember reading it again a couple of years later and being horrified at the lack of discernment I’d had the first time.

Some books that you love the first time will leave you dry the second time. Other books that seemed too deep or uninviting the first time may be just what you need the second time. So be a good steward of the books you already have. Read them again!

I have found this to be so true in my life. Hope this is helpful, and please be encouraged to make time to read good books. It is so worth it.

(via Kingdom People)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Reflections

This morning at church taught on the difference between a life lived according to religion and one that is lived according to the gospel. I used the following series of comparisons originally written by Mark Driscoll:

-Religion says, if I obey, God will love me.
Gospel says, because God loves me, I can obey.
-Religion has good and bad people.
Gospel has repentant and unrepentant people.
-Religion values the birth family.
Gospel values the new birth.
-Religion depends on what I do.
Gospel depends on what Jesus has done.
-Religion has the goal to get from God.
Gospel has the goal to get God.
-Religion sees hardships as punishment for sin.
Gospel sees hardships as sanctified afflictions.
-Religion is about me.
Gospel is about Jesus.
-Religion believes appearing as a good person is the key.
Gospel believes being honest is key.
-Religion has uncertainty about standing before God.
Gospel has certainty based upon Jesus’ work.
-Religion sees Jesus as the means to an end.
Gospel sees Jesus as the end.

The service went extremely well. I really felt that God was making his presence known to people this morning, and I truly believe that there was a movement of repentance of the sin of self and religion amongst our congregants and our pastor (me). I am amazed by the mercy and grace that our Heavenly Father shows us. I desire to remain desperate for the Spirit of God, and to realize that Jesus is the greatest treasure of my life.

I would like to leave you with a quote by Tim Keller on the gospel:

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
-Tim Keller

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's My B-day & Guess What?

Today I am celebrating my 28th year on planet earth. I am so grateful for the life experiences that God has allowed me to experience thus far, and I look forward to the ones he has in store for me in the future.

Speaking of life experiences and I found out that our baby is definitely going to be a BOY! We had our 20 week ultrasound, and there was no question for anyone looking at the screen what the baby was. It made say under my breathe, and to a few of my buddies via text message, "That's my boy!!"

In all seriousness, I thank God for the gift of life. There is nothing like looking at that screen and seeing that little 11 oz baby kicking and turning. I am so excited and so grateful. I pray that God will prepare me to be a good and most importantly, godly father to my son.

It's Been A While....

Hey all, sorry that I haven't posted in a while. Life has been going 100 miles an hour and I just had to stop a few things to focus on what is most pressing. I hope to be back to a regular blogging routine within the next week, after Allyssa and I take a much needed break from every day life. We are heading back to the great land of Disney on Sunday and will be there until Friday. A couple in our church, who happen to love Disney more than my wife, was so gracious to give us a trip back before our baby comes this summer.

I am sorry to those who were reading my blog on a regular basis. God has really been teaching me a lot over the past three months, and I have a lot to share in the near future. Please standby for more on that. In the mean time continue to pray for us, we are seeking God's guidance and providence in a couple of areas right now, and need some prayer from others. Thanks for your patience during this time of transition.