Archive for the month “August, 2016”

Quotes Worth Pondering – Tim Keller

QuotesWorthPonderingSadly, we tend to come to the church as consumers intent to plunder the benefits only.

Articles Worth Pondering – 5 Life Lessons From An Olympic Gold Medalist

Articles Worth POf all the people you’ve ever seen preach in a Speedo, David Boudia must be the most eloquent. A world-class diver who, after Rio, now has 4 Olympic medals to his name, he often stands with reporters after competitions and does all he can to deflect attention away from himself and toward Jesus. He usually does this by telling how his identity is not wrapped up in being an Olympian or a medalist but in being in Christ Jesus. Just before the 2016 Olympics he released his biography Greater Than Gold. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and wanted to share the 5 big life lessons he communicates.

To read the rest of this article from Tim Challies click here: 5 Life Lessons From An Olympic Gold Medalist

Pondering the Word – John 6

PonderingtheWordWhen I was in college I heard someone say something that changed the trajectory of my life: “There are only 2 things in this world that are eternal – people and God’s Word – therefore, we should invest our lives in these 2 things.” It was this statement that propelled me to switch from pursuing biomedical engineering, which was my major, to pursuing full time ministry.

Jesus said something similar in John 6:27, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life…” But note the context in which He says this. Jesus has very recently fed 5000+ people on the side of a mountain near the Sea of Galilee. He has very recently healed a bunch of sick people in a public way. The crowds are clamoring to be around Jesus not just to see what He will do next but they are asking themselves, “I wonder what Jesus can do for me?”

In 6:25-71, Jesus makes it clear that this is the wrong motivation for following Him. He begins to say some things that sound that the talk of a crazy man… “Eat my flesh, drink my blood.” He is very intentional in what He is doing. It is not His goal to get a huge crowd of people to follow Him. If He wanted to do this He would say things that made people feel good about themselves and try to gather as big a crowd as possible. Instead He deliberately tries to get those people who are following for the wrong reasons to stop following after Him.

Those who are true disciples of Jesus follow Him not because of what He can do for them but because of who He is! Note the conversation that Jesus and Peter have at the end of chapter 6…

66 From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Peter and his buddies were following Jesus because of who He was. This was not always the case for them, but they had come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah of God and not just someone who could do things for them and make them feel good about themselves. They were learning what it means to count the cost of following Jesus – because life was getting ready to get harder for them, not easier.

A few weeks ago when I preached I made the statement that, “If following Jesus does not cost you something you may not be a disciple.” I’m still learning what it means to count the cost. And I hope that you are too.

 

 

 

Quotes Worth Pondering – Chuck Colson

QuotesWorthPondering“It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God chooses to do through us. God doesn’t want our success; He wants us. He doesn’t demand our achievements; He demands our obedience. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of paradox, where through the ugly defeat of a cross, a holy God is utterly glorified. Victory comes through defeat; healing through brokenness; finding self through losing self.”

Articles Worth Pondering: Is Spending Money on Entertainment and Leisure OK with God?

Articles Worth P

(It’s always worth wrestling with things that we take for granted. Check out this article by Randy Alcorn…)

Several years ago I had the privilege of doing a Q&A with Wayne Grudem. (I highly recommend his books Systematic Theology and Bible Doctrine.) In this video, Wayne and I respond to the question, “Is it wrong for Christians to spend money on entertainment and leisure?”

 

As we shared in the video, Scripture says that God provides us with material things “for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17, NLT). When I speak on the subject of money and giving, I try to always emphasize that phrase from Scripture and express how thankful I am for it, because it allows me to enjoy God’s creation without guilt. I’m grateful to have recreational items, including a bicycle and a tennis racket. Nanci and I spend reasonable amounts of money on vacations that aren’t “necessary” but serve to renew us. She and I sometimes go out to dinner, enriching our relationship. These things aren’t essential, yet they contribute to physical health and mental and emotional refreshment.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below…

Is Spending Money on Entertainment and Leisure OK with God?

Pondering the Word – John 3-4

PonderingtheWord

Here are my modern day versions of the stories of Nicodemus (Nick) in John 3 and the Samaritan woman (Sam) in John 4. Perhaps you will recognize people that you know in these descriptions. Then go back and read John 3 and 4 again to see how Jesus engaged these very different people with the gospel.

Nick had grown up in the church. He was one of those guys whose parents had him there whenever the doors were open. He loved going to church. He loved the people he saw at church. He loved the traditions of the church. They helped him to feel grounded. But even though Nick considered himself to be very religious, there was still a hunger in his heart that had never been satisfied. He would later in his life describe it as an emptiness – an emptiness that could not be filled by going to church, or by being a good person, or even by being recognized as a leader in the congregation. The bottom line was that Nick knew a lot about Christ but had never really met Christ. He was a very spiritual man but he was spiritually dead. When he finally recognized that being religious wasn’t the same as being a Christian he became a fierce seeker after truth.

His quest ended (or began, depending on how you look at it) one night when his desperation became so great, when the hunger pains in his soul grew so intense, that he risked his entire reputation – both professional and church – by initiating a relationship with Jesus.

And it turned his life upside down.

Life had always been tough for Sam. Sam was a nickname her dad had given when she was a little girl – largely because he was disappointed that she wasn’t a little boy. Consequently, he never got close to her. And while Sam craved the attention  of her dad, it was always withheld from her. As early as a young teenager she began filling this void in her life in ways that she knew was wrong. She was a very pretty girl and found that there were always young men who were willing to show her not only attention but also physical affection. She made a lot of bad choices concerning men as a young woman and developed the kind of reputation that no girl wants to have. Among the men she was known as “Wam bam thank you Sam”, Among the women she was just known as a “ho.” Though she gave her body away hoping to find the love she so desperately wanted, she never felt loved. She just felt used. By the time she was 25 she felt tired and worn out and worthless.

And then one day , on a day that started out like every other day, she met a man. A man who was not interested in her body but was interested in her soul. His name was Jesus.

And it turned her life upside down.

 

Quotes Worth Pondering – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Articles Worth Pondering – “God Made Me For China” – Eric Liddell: Beyond Olympic Glory

Articles Worth POlympic glory abounds in Rio as the 31st modern Olympiad is well underway. This time, the event is living up to its hype, especially for Americans, who are likely drawn to the pomp and ceremony as much as the athletic competition.

The medal ceremonies represent both climax and catharsis, with athletes awarded the coveted gold, silver, and bronze medals placed around their necks.

It was not always so.

Click HERE to read the rest of this article

A Prayer for Keller

Keller Shay Reyner
Born: July 29, 2016 (6 weeks early)
Parents: Scott and Mary Reyner

“… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Father,

Screen shot 2016-08-13 at 11.28.43 AMI am very grateful for the gift of this little boy to our family. I am very grateful for the way You sovereignly orchestrated his birth and protected him in the womb and provided for his safe and early arrival. I am very grateful for the mom and dad that You have given him and for their desire to raise him to be a man after Your own heart.

And so I pray that his heart will be captured by Your amazing grace and audacious love even now as he is barely two weeks old. And I pray that as his mom and dad sing over him and read your Word to him in these early days of his life that he will know Your presence and experience Your abiding peace and enjoy the pleasure that You take in him.

Would You use me to be the kind of Pop Pop that reflects Christ to him always. Use his grandmothers to demonstrate the love of Christ to him as they shower him with tenderness and love. Use his aunts and uncles and cousins to help him to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And use Scott and Mary to parent him in a way that he never doubts just how loved he is and to know the power of redeeming love.

May he grow to be a man of hope in a world that will be full of heartache and hopelessness. May he grow to be a man of courage among a people that often seek the safety of their own selfishness. May he grow to be a man that hungers to know Your Word and to live it out in a way that exalts Your great name. And may Your joy give him the strength that he needs to fight sin and overcome the evil one in an age that is becoming more and more anti-God.

Father, thank you for Keller. You are a gracious God and he is a gracious gift and may his life demonstrate throughout his days the awesomeness of Your saving, sanctifying, and sufficient grace. Amen.

Pondering the Word – Matthew 5-7

PonderingtheWord

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the great sections of the New Testament. It records what Jesus has to say about a lot of different things. Some things that Jesus said I really like. Others things , not so much. For instance…

 

Things I’m Glad Jesus Said

  • 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
  • 5:6 – Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
  • 5:13/14 – You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.
  • 6:6 – When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
  • 7:7 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find.

Things I Wish Jesus Had Not Said

  • 5:11 – Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you.
  • 5:29 – If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.
  • 5:39 – If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
  • 5:44 – Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
  • 6:15 – If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive you.
  • 6:19 – Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.
  • 7:14 – But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

You will note that I like the things Jesus said that have to do with me being blessed and getting rewarded. And I don’t like things He said that put limits on my selfishness. Like most people, I like to think that it is all about me, what God can do for me, what others can do for me. But that’s not the point of the sermon. And that’s not the point of Jesus.

Because in fact, it is all about Him! And the sooner I understand this and take to heart the message of this message the better off I will be. Which is really what I want anyway.

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