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I discovered the Podcast app on my phone and for me it was like finding the Fountain of Youth. I work outside landscaping for much of the summer months and as a result I spend many hours doing mindless tasks. Mowing, multching, and raking are a few of my favorite things… NOT!  But I have found a mindless job can go by much quicker when your mind isn’t mindless. Just because you are giving your body a workout doesn’t mean your mind can’t get one either. Podcasts are my cognitive and spiritual workout throughout the day. (Time flies when you are having a spiritual workout… is that how it goes?)

My latest listen has been on a past message from Josh Harris at T4G 2010. He spoke on the topics found in his book Dug Down Deep.  I have read the book and I thoroughly enjoy his premise and purpose for writing it. But to hear the message of the book in his own words through the method of a powerful sermon was something else entirely. I enjoyed this and I hope you will too.

His main thrust is to take seriously your responsibility to teach others how to properly build their lives on good Christ-centered doctrine so when the winds and waves come their house will stand. He also takes a deeper look at the story of the Two Builders. It is much more than just a simple dichotomy between saved=rock and unsaved=sand.

Click link to listen to the podcast:

Dug Down Deep: Helping Others Build Their Lives on Christ-Centered Doctrine

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I am preaching this morning and unfortunately I will not have time to share this story. This story illustrates the theme of my message “Adorning the Appearing” perfectly. Read this now to get a sneak peek to the purpose of today’s message.

 

Though the gospel I learn not only of the saving works of God on my behalf, but I also learn that one of God’s key purposes in doing these works is to put me to work myself.

The Bible tells me that when Christ redeemed me, He did so in order that I might now be “zealous for good works.”(Titus 2:14) When God “works” in me day by day, He does so in order to produce in me the desire and the power to “work for His good pleasure.”(Philippians 2:12) Indeed, though I am saved by grace and not by works, I am God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that I would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Being naturally lazy, I do not normally thrill at the prospect of work; but the more I embrace the saving work of God on my behalf, the more I find myself embracing the works for which God saved me. And as I am “working hard” at doing these works for the good of others, I experience the truth of Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:34) I also find myself saying with Christ, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:32-34) Indeed, gospel-motivated works do for the soul what food does for the body. They bring refreshment, enjoyment, blessing, and strengthening to the doer of the deeds, even more so than to the receiver. Hence, the fact that God has prepared such works for me to do becomes a part of what makes the gospel such great news to me.

Preaching the gospel to myself each day not only reminds me of the love of God for me, but it also reminds me of the love of God for the works that He has saved me to perform. When I see the Cross, I see the premium that God places on the works that He has prepared for me. How valuable all of these works must be if Christ would die so that I might now perform them! And how precious are those for whom these works are done if Christ would die that they might be served!

– Milton Vincent A Gospel Primer

link to article: What Worship Style Attracts the Millennials?

“And you will hear Millennials speak less and less about worship style. Their focus is on theologically rich music, authenticity, and quality that reflects adequate preparation in time and prayer. But they will walk away from congregations that are still fighting about style of music, hymnals or screen projections, or choirs or praise teams. Those are not essential issues to Millennials, and they don’t desire to waste their time hearing Christians fight about such matters.”

What Worship Style Attracts the Millennials?

Faith or Works?

jordantmoody —  February 25, 2014 — Leave a comment

J.C.Ryle

Moreover, the Scriptures nowhere teach us that faith sanctifies us in the same sense and in the same manner that faith justifies us! Justifying faith is a grace that “worketh not,” but simply trusts, rests, and leans on Christ (Rom. 4:5). Sanctifying faith is a grace of which the very life is action: it “worketh by love,” and, like a mainspring, moves the whole inward man (Gal. 5:6). (Holiness, xviii).

Here are some of my thoughts as I pondered this quote by J.C. Ryle.

  1. Justification is by faith alone. 
  2. Sanctification is made possible through faith and evidences itself through action. 
  3. One ought to question original justification if  there is no outward workings of your sanctification. Saving faith moves your entire body, livelihood, and lifestyle to worship and adorn the gospel to the betterment of Christ’s name. We do not do these things to be saved but because we are saved. The old man is passed away behold and the new has come. Being new requires a turning from something and changing into something else.(alternative lifestyle) Without any change we are viewed as dead for no outward metamorphosis has evidenced itself and therefore no visible witness can be shared to others. 
  4. Sanctification should not be considered legalistic but rather the natural out working’s of your changed desires over time.  

 

Faith Without Works Is Dead (James 2:14-26)

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Back to School Basics

I cannot get over this phrase from Acts 17:6

6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,

7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

What kind of effects are you having on the world around you?

I think our culture tries to affect the world in ways that are ultimately ineffective. We try to solve people’s problems through means that sound good and make us look good but don’t solve the problem. We don’t turn anything upside down but rather we spin it around a little.

Take for instance: Michelle Obama’s new upcoming rap album “Songs for a Healthier America.” Yes, the first lady will be producing a rap album to clean kids brains from all the McDonald’s rap albums and catchy slogans by instilling values based on broccoli and carrots. Wait? Fast Food restaurants and chip companies don’t produce rap albums? Hmmmm… Maybe they should spend time counter acting the rap culture. Objectify women and do what you want to do because who cares it’s your life: mo money, mo hoe’s, mo cars, mo guns and mo UNHEALTHY BIG MAC BURGERS! Ok… No self-respecting rapper would ever think about promoting something that’s dangerous for American teenagers.

See the problem? You can try all you want without God and without his plan but to no effect.

A. Rap. Album. For. A. Healthier America. With. Your. Tax. Money.

Ok enough jokes… The problem is… without God, we are nothing.

We try to affect the world in a way that foolishly comes up short.

The only way we can affectively turn the world upside down is through the power of the Holy Spirit. The apostles were given boldness to preach the gospel even to the point of death. But that same power/boldness/grace that the apostles had and helped spread the early church like a wild fire is the same power inside of each one of us. So when you want to CHANGE THE WORLD or when you want to ACTUALLY TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN. Don’t just TRY TO BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE

but rather seek the power you want to see! 

Seek the Holy Spirit through prayer and guidance in the Word of God to find the power to change the world for the glory of God.

Float by Faith

jordantmoody —  August 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

These are some of the things I have been struggling with. I have been trying to find God’s will for my life and yet at the same time struggling to find it for myself. I think sometimes if I would just let go and let God I would be better off.

From the Inside Out

Years ago in my hometown, when the community pool was built, Dad often took my brother and me swimming.  I marveled at the way my father could slice the water with a smooth dive, roll over on his back, and float.  Without even moving his arms and legs, he could remain on top of the water.  Amazing!

When I tried it, I sank–immediately.

“Daddy!  Show me how to float!” I cried.

First, he helped me to lie flat-out on top of the water.  His hand gently supported the middle of my back.  And then Dad said the strangest thing.

“Now, relax.”

What?!  Every fiber of my being was tense.  I just knew that if I relaxed, my nose would instantly fill up with heavily chlorinated water.

But I trusted Dad.  He wouldn’t trick me into a catastrophe.  So I tried to relax.

Easier said than done.  Try as I…

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Lebanese man gets 300 lashes, 6 years for helping woman convert to Christianity

There is your headline. Amazing, isn’t it? The fact that a country like Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries can treat humans like dogs because they believe in a different religion and god than they do. American’s yell, intolerant!! But I wonder is this really the same type of intolerance our own country displays towards religion? This shameful act of punishment is intolerant and happens because the very core of Islamic culture breeds hatred and violence for others. The Koran teaches it and no matter how you interpret your version of Islam you cannot get away from the fact that the Koran teaches violent intolerance.

“There is zero tolerance for any non-Muslim religions in Saudi Arabia.”

–Nina Shea, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom

But let’s not forget what our own country is like. This is America where freedom, liberty, and equality still exist in some form, right? Is our own country growing closer to this level of intolerance and hatred. I think so. I fear for our country and our skewed morality.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

–Isaiah 5:20

Just because one religion (example: Christianity)  won’t freely accept all types of lifestyles does not make it intolerant but truth. Truth holds true to the standard for which all else is called false. For how can one act in such a way without any convictions towards the left or the right? Would I whip someone 300 times for choosing the homosexual lifestyle or aborting babies?? No! Should anyone do such a thing to anyone who does not live after the same lifestyle as their own? No! But it does not mean one must accept opposing lifestyles as good and right for themselves. Condoning and condemning are the natural recourse of believing in anything worth believing. TOLERANCE DOES NOT MEAN ACCEPTANCE.

Check out this article that gives a similar viewpoint to this idea.

Tolerance Does NOT Mean Acceptance

But when it comes down to it, Christian’s are to love all types of sinners because we are sinners ourselves. We do not pretend to act holier than thou but rather reach out in love in order to share the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. After-all, Jesus was the one who ate with Publicans (lying, cheating, thieves) and Sinners. (prostitutes, drunkards, obvious outright unrighteous) – Luke 15:1-2

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”

or

Why do we get bombings and people trying to kill one another?

or

Why is everyone angry all the time?

We have been waging a war since the beginning of time between good and evil. However, God wins. Externally, it may look like Satan is winning because we see tragedy, death, hatred, and wars. Suffering evidences itself because sin is still prevalent. I am a saved victorious Christian and a son of God but that does not make me immune to my sinful “DNA” and my desire to do wrong. Through Christ I have conquered sin however until he returns I am in a struggle between good and evil. An unsaved individual regardless of position and location is unable to please God and therefore must only please himself. This is done through a variety of means and one of the ways we please self is to seek revenge, destroy, and hurt other people in a twisted effort to elevate ourself and/or our cause. God gives hope that shames our pride and gives us new life capable of communing the Creator. We must not minimize the hope given to us by Christ but we must magnify His work on the cross.

So why is everyone angry all the time and why is everyone trying to kill each other? Well, one reason is they have not believed in Christ’s attack on hostility, for Christ killed all hostility and has replaced all strife with peace.

Ephesians 2:12-17

Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Eph 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Here are some notes that I took and used to preach a short message from. (I hope you can follow my train of thought as I walk through the passage and take several words and break them down.)

Kill the Hostility
  • Separated 
    • positional separation we aren’t on God’s team, we are the enemy
    • Aliens– foreigners, unknown, strangers, not citizens of God’s country
  • No Hope
    • without God we have no hope for any kind of future
    • in the world and of the world without God’s plan of redemption
  • In Christ Jesus
    • picture of proximity
      • far and near
      • Jews and Gentiles are made one church in Christ
    • to be brought near means to have access to God
    • He died not only for Jews but for all his sheep even those who were far off
  • He is Peace
    • Peace vs. Hostility
    • Hostility, bombing, killing, murdering, racism, abusing… is torn down and replaced with peace through the love of the Savior Jesus Christ
    • the wall of hostility could be an example of the inscription that alienated Gentiles from entering the inner courts of the sacred Jewish temple. A gentile would be killed if he crossed that wall and entered the place where only the privileged Jews could.
    • In the same way we as SINNERS get to talk to a God who is HOLY. Because Jesus covered up that inscription for us and he is now on our team inviting us to join him at the banquet table to eat and commune with the Trinity.
  • Abolishing the Law
    • the Mosaic law and commandments are now nullified and the result is a NEW MAN, a new human race (new Adam), who is now capable of pleasing God because of the blood of Christ covering our wickedness.
    • ONE MAN made peace for all men
    • vs. 16- one man in one body through the cross – the gospel
  • Killing the Hostility
    • the hostility between the two warring parties was made peaceful through a negotiation –  a hostage had to be sacrificed
    • Christ’s reconciliation has killed the hostility that stood like a wall between us and peace with God.
J.I. Packer – Knowing God – Selective clips from Chapter 20

To many Christians, guidance is a chronic problem. Why? Not because they doubt that divine guidance is a fact, but because they are sure it is. 

They know that God can guide, and has promised to guide, every Christian believer. Books, and friends, and public speakers, tell them how guidance has worked in the lives of others. Their fear, therefore, is not that no guidance should be available for them, but that they may miss the guidance which God provides through some fault of their own. 

This is me. When it comes down to finding God’s will for my life, to often I am looking for a shooting start to point the way. I know God can communicate but I am anxious that it won’t be obvious and I will miss the direction.

Belief that divine guidance is real rests upon two foundational-facts: 

  1. The reality of God’s plan for us
  2. The ability of God to communicate with us.

Has God a plan for individuals? Indeed He has. He has formed an ‘eternal purpose,’ a plan for the fullness of time, in accordance with which he ‘accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will’ (Ephesians 3:11, 1:10, 11). 

Moreover, Scripture contains explicit promises of divine guidance whereby we may know God’s plan for our action.

‘I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you,’ says God to David (Psalm 32:8)

Earnest Christians seeking guidance often go wrong about it. Why is this?

Their basic mistake is to think of guidance as essentially inward prompting by the Holy Spirit, apart from the written Word. 

This class of problems concerned with what we may call ‘vocational choices’–choices, that is, between competing options, all of which in themselves appear lawful and good. Examples are: should I contemplate marriage, or not? should I marry this person, or not? should we aim at having another child? should I join this church, or that one? should I serve God in the land of my upbringing, or abroad? which of the professions open to me should I follow?

This is me again. I hate having choices. Some people I know love making decisions about everything in order to customize every part of their life. Some want to jailbreak their phone so they can choose so many other options and I personally say I like it the way it is. When it comes to finding God’s will for my life their often seem to many choices and so many turns and in order to avoid having to make a U-Turn I better make the right turn. I like the way J.I. Packer puts this next phrase for life.

The idea of a life in which the inward voice of the Spirit decides and directs everything sounds most attractive, for it seems to exalt the Spirit’s ministry and to promise the closest intimacy with God; but in practice this quest for super-spirituality leads only to frantic bewilderment or lunacy. Hannah Whitall Smith writes of the woman who each morning, having consecrated the day to the Lord as soon as she woke: would then ask Him whether she was to get up or not,’ and would not stir till the voice told her to dress. As she put on each article she asked the Lord whether she was to put it on, and very often the Lord would tell her to put on the right shoes and leave off the other; sometimes she was to put on both stockings and no shoes; and sometimes both shoes and no stockings; it was the same with all the articles of dress…

 

The biggest mistake of all is the failure to grasp that the fundamental mode whereby our rational Creator guides His rational creatures is by rational understanding and application of His written Word. 

The true way to honour the Holy Spirit as our guide is to honour the Holy Scriptures through which he guides us. The fundamental guidance which God gives to shape our lives– the instilling, that is, of the basic convictions, attitudes, ideals, and value-judgments, in terms of which we are to live–is not a matter of inward promptings apart from the Word but of the pressure on our consciences of the portrayal of God’s character and will in the Word, which the Spirit enlightens us to understand and apply to ourselves.

The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them. ‘He guideth me in the paths of righteousness’ — but not anywhere else.