Thursday, April 26, 2012

Acts 17

In studying Acts 17, I found this paragraph interesting from RC Sproul in his commentary:

"I do not argue with atheists. I simply say, "You know very well that God exists. Your problem isn't that you don't know that God exists; your problem is that you can't stand Him." The sin of man is not atheism; it is religion, which is how we distort God's revelation of himself. We shape a deity in our own image and make houses for Him with our own hands, and serve and worship the creature rather than the Creator; exchanging the glory of God for a life (Rom. 1:25). Paul the told the Romans that God so manifests himself that every human being knows God, and knowing we refuse to worship Him as God, neither are we grateful, and we turn ourselves to idols (Rom. 1:21). That is what religion is---the substitution of a false god for the true God. Even Christianity can become a religion when we substitute the God of scripture for a god of our making."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On the Holy Spirit

I began reading the book "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan this weekend on the Holy Spirit. The following are some quotes I have found particularly helpful in the book so far.

"The entertainment model of church was largely adopted in the 1980s and '90s, and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit"

"There is a big gap between what we read in scripture about the Holy Spirit and how most believers and churches operate today. In many modern churches, you would be stunned by the apparent absence of the Spirit in any manifest way. And this, I believe, is the crux of the problem."

"However, I also believe that the Spirit is more obviously active in places where people are desperate for him, humbled before him, and not distracted by their pursuit of wealth or comforts (like we are)."

"The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation. We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God."

Here is a quote from AW Tozer that Chan uses in the book:

"We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone....we have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On the Blogs for April 11, 2012

Leading Presidential Candidates (interesting article regardless of where you stand politically)

Understanding the Gospel (good stuff)

Leadership (hmmmm.......)

Private Sin (is there really such a thing?)

OT influence over the interpretation of the NT (interesting perspectives)

Preaching/teaching with Interaction (interesting)

The church is not the Institution. The institution is not the church. (interesting)

New Sermon Series @ FBCTville

Over the next 10 weeks during our Sunday morning gathering beginning April 22, we are going to begin a new series on "Stewardship". Most of the time, when people hear that work the only (or at least the first) thing they think about is money. Well, the concept of stewardship includes money, but it goes far beyond that. 

In my estimation, all of life is a stewardship. There are two passages of scriptures that I believe bear out this truth in general.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price." These two verses unequivocally declare that we do not belong to ourselves; we belong to someone else. That someone else is Jesus, even down to the very bodies that house our souls. 

Romans 12:1-2 says, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable spiritual worship." The presentation of our "bodies" is a presentation of our whole selves.

Both of these texts can really be summarized in the brief statement, "Jesus is Lord." At the end of that statement, there are no commas, no exception clauses. Faithful stewardship is reflection of that truth having gripped our hearts, not in a guilt sort of way, but in a response of gratitude and worship way.

In this series on "Stewardship" we are going to explore the biblical prescription for faithful stewardship in answering this question: How can we live in such a way that bears out the reality that "Jesus is Lord" in our day to day lives?

The reality of God's grace in the gospel is absolutely essential to recognizing "life" as a stewardship opportunity to reflect the beauty of the gospel and the treasure of Christ.

Lord willing, we are going to explore the following areas of life: time, suffering, manhood, womanhood, money, possessions, emotions, the mind, and the body.

Let's pray together for each other as we examine the scriptures.

In the Grip of His Grace,
Michael Hall, pastor/teacher

Monday, April 9, 2012

Time, part 3 - Husband

One of the arenas of life that my role as disciple obviously intersects is my role as a husband to my awesome wife.

God has given me a grand stewardship opportunity as a husband. My responsibility to love, serve, protect, and lead my wife is paramount to the cultivating of a good, healthy, and godly marriage. The relationship that my wife and I share must take priority over every other human relationship in the world. Yep, even over our children. God gave Adam and Eve to each other before he gave them children. Unfortunately we have made children into idols in so many ways in our culture. Don't take that the wrong way ----- I love my kids ----- all three of them!

Investing in the life of my wife is absolutely essential to the health of our marriage---investing in things that she likes.

1 Peter 3:7

Certainly, because of Adam's dufus move in the garden by not protecting his wife from the serpent, marriages are hard work and sin is always involved. There must be a lot of grace, compassion, and forgiveness demonstrated and extended in our marriages. Guys, we must take the lead in investing and loving and serving our wives. If that means giving up our hobbies (which really can amount to adultery if you really think through it), then so be it. If that means watching a chic flic instead of a Jason Stathem "kill everybody in your path" one, then so be it.

Investing goes beyond just those things. It includes investing in the spiritual life of your wife------probably the most difficult thing in the world to do. Don't know why, but it is. Praying with your wife, reading scripture with your wife.......why? I have no idea. It's difficult for me. Time to make a change.

How is our stewardship, men, of investing in the lives of our wives? How is the gospel being demonstrated in our marriages? Man, I need to pray something serious for all this. I have a lot of work to do by God's grace and His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On the Blogs for April 5, 2012

Recognizing Truth

Jesus' Last Words (good meditation article)

Christianity - Something else entirely (good)

So Much for "your best life now" (good word)

Harmonizing the Resurrection accounts (thought this was good)

Are Pastor Search Committees a Sign of Great Commission failure? (very interesting article; read the whole thing)

The Secret to Christian Community

The Growing Consistency of the Pro-choice Position (interesting)

The Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Event

The Cup

"This cup contains the full vehemence and fierceness of God's holy wrath poured out against all sin, and we discover in Scripture that it's intended for all of sinful humanity to drink. It's your cup...and mine.

In the crucible of human weakness he's brought face to face with the abhorrent reality of bearing our iniquity and becoming the object of God's full and furious wrath.

In this, our Savior's darkest you recognize his love for you?" - CJ Mahaney

John 3:16

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Institutionalism and Church

Just read these statements:

"The Gospels themselves place no small emphasis on Jesus' opposition to the life-stealing structures the Pharisees established for maintaining Israel's spiritual life. One of the church's perennial temptations has been to allow the institutional elements of its corporate life to be treated as primary; to allow its rules and hierarchies to become more important than the people and their relationships; to let the traditions of men trump the commands of God."

In my estimation, this is where many churches are today. We have, in many ways and to varying degrees, given into the temptation spoken of here.

Jesus Died For Us

"You see, Jesus died for sin--but not for his own sin. He had no sin. He was in every sense made sin for us. He became all our rebellion, all of our lying, all of our cheating, all of our adultery, all of our filth, all of our ugliness. He became all that on the cross."
- Alistair Begg