Thursday, August 15, 2019

Cultivating Joyful Observation

What tends to rob your joy?

My wife and I have four kids, and I tend to struggle with impatience.  Being stuck in traffic (I know Reno, NV does not have traffic compared to most other cities) when the kids are making a chorus of wining / crying / complaining tends to rob my joy!  Other joy-robbers include various sinful escapes or simply focusing on frustrations, annoyances, and worries. 

Is there a biblical way to renew my joy?

Monday, March 11, 2019

How are Christians to Relate to a Secular State?

How are Christians Commanded to Relate to a Secular and Corrupt State?

Any Christian who seeks to keep up with current events has likely pondered recently, “how should I respond to the secular age in which I live?”  Legislation to offer women greater choices regarding their pregnancies seems to be legalizing infanticide.  Movements to promote fair and just treatment of all persons regardless of race or gender now seem often to promote a sexual lifestyle incongruous with the Bible.  How should Christians respond?  Should we leave it to politicians?  Should we take up signs and protest?  Does the Bible have anything to say generally about how to live as heaven citizens in our earthly citizenship? 
In answer to the last question – yes!  What follows is a brief sampling of Scriptures that speak to the subject – how are Christians commanded to relate to the secular state or to a corrupt generation?  These verses are not meant to be exhaustive in their treatment, but helpful and relevant.  Overall, the Bible says Christians must be subject to governing authorities and not speak corruptly in a corrupt generation, while seeking to be faithful witnesses for Jesus, including the task of exposing false doctrines that oppose the Gospel.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

What is a Christian Leader?

"What then is Apollos?  What is Paul?  Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth," (1 Cor 3:5-7).

Who is your favorite Christian author or preacher?  Spurgeon?  Piper?  Chandler?  Bunyan?  Lewis?  MacArthur?  Mohler?  Graham?  Reading good Christian books and listening to good Christian preaching is a rich blessing aided by technology that makes so much accessible via a website or an app.  Is there any danger here?  Only that we begin to import fanaticism into Christianity.  If we could ask Lewis or Bunyan or Spurgeon about whether they would want to be adored by their many fans, guaranteed they would say, "Don't worship me.  I am nothing.  Look to Christ.  He is your Savior.  I am only a man."  As we enjoy good Christian teaching and preaching in an age of accessible information let us do so with a few key truths:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Holiness of God Book Review

This was the first book I have read by R. C. Sproul. In The Holiness of God, Sproul expertly navigates and illustrates God’s holiness through Scripture and helpful, accessible teaching. In the first four chapters, Sproul explores God’s holiness from Creation, Isaiah 6, the life of Christ, and the response of human beings to God’s holiness, especially in the New Testament. Then, Sproul explores Martin Luther’s life and his encounter with the Holy God. After Luther, Sproul dedicates an entire chapter (6) to the difficult passages in the Old Testament about God’s brutality, pointing to His holiness as a necessary explanation. Then, Sproul surveys God’s holiness in the lives of Jacob, Job, Habakkuk, and Saul of Tarsus. Sproul concludes his book with a call to Christians to pursue holiness, and then looking for evidences of the Holy God generally in nature, and in specific places and times. In all, this book powerfully succeeds in calling Christians back to a healthy fear of the Holy God, and a renewed treasuring of Christ for His sufficient sacrifice.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Death by Love Book Review

Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears have produced an immensely helpful and deeply theological book in Death by Love: Letters from the Cross.  The book is formatted as a series of counseling scenarios in which Pastor Mark is hearing someone’s story and situation.  Then, Mark writes them a letter, pointing them from their situation to Jesus, emphasizing a different aspect of the benefits of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Finally, at the end of each chapter there is a question and answer section, similar to other books Driscoll and Breshears have teamed up on like Vintage Jesus.  While working through numerous life situations such as abuse, addiction, legalism, bitterness, and betrayal, Mark pastorally helps the people he is counseling see Jesus as their substitute, their victory, their redemption, their sacrifice, their propitiation, their expiation, their atonement, their ransom, their example, their reconciliation, and the perfect revelation of God.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Why Did Jesus Die?

Consider one man's opinion of Jesus - "I could accept Jesus as a martyr, as an embodiment of sacrifice and a Divine Teacher but not as the most perfect man ever born.  I was not ready to accept that Jesus by his death and his blood redeemed the sins of the world."  These words belonged to Mahatma Gandhi who repeated praised Jesus as an exemplary teacher, but remained unwilling to believe his death paid the penalty for our sins.  Sadly, many today understand the cross as only a beautiful example of selflessness or as only a great victory.  While Jesus certainly is our example (Hebrews 12:3) and His death won victory over death (1 Corinthians 15), the heart of the cross must be that Christ died in our place for our sin as an atoning sacrifice.

The Bible's summary statements of the cross's significance and meaning can be fairly represented with the phrase "penal substitutionary atonement."  Let's explore what these words mean.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Baptist Faith & Message Catechism

A New Baptist Catechism

Based on the Baptist Faith and Message[1]

Instructions:  A catechism is a simple summary of what we believe using questions and answers.  They have been used throughout church history for instructing Christians.  This catechism is based on the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.  It is recommended that both the answer and the corresponding Scripture be learned and memorized.  May God bless you as you use this to grow in your knowledge and love of Jesus.  May God also bless you as you help others to do the same.  For an easy to print version please click HERE.