Archive for January, 2012

Gems on dealing with worry

Terry Enns shares these quotes that help us deal with worry and anxiety:

“It is true that Jesus forbids his people to worry.  But to be free fromworry and to be free from trouble are not the same thing.…it is reasonable to trust in our heavenly Father’s love, even in times of grievous trouble, because we have been privileged to see it revealed in Christ and his cross.” [John Stott.]

“One of the most difficult things to do is to live one day at a time.  People keep ruining all their todays by mixing spoiled yesterdays or unripe tomorrows into their stew.  Some people live with yesterday’s slights, grudges, and guilt.  Something bad happened to them, and they can’t forget it.  Other people live with tomorrow’s threats, evil, and sorrow.  Something fearful might happen to them, and they can’t ignore it.…If we don’t live a day at a time, Jesus argued, we spoil all of life.  God divided life into bite-sized chunks called days, and trying to chew more than one at a time can choke us.” [Haddon Robinson.]

“Worry occurs when we assume responsibility for things that are outside our control.…It has been my observation that worriers are basically dissatisfied people.  Something is never quite right.  When one thing is fixed, something else is out of whack.  Contentment with the way things are, even knowing that God could change them if He wished, is a mind-set that is foreign to the worrier.” [Charles Swindoll.]

“To worry is to deny — in practical ways — God’s power, wisdom, and love for you in your situation.  To worry is to forget the full implications of your identity as one of God’s chosen, adopted, and deeply loved children.” [Robert Jones, “Getting to the Heart of Your Worry.” (PDF download)]

“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith; and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” [George Müller.]

“…the strength to live tomorrow will be given tomorrow, not today. And it will be given. Our task today is not to have the strength needed for tomorrow’s burdens. Our task today is to live by the mercies given for today, and to believe that there will be new mercies for tomorrow. Today’s mercies do not include strength for tomorrow; they include faith that tomorrow’s unseen mercies will be sufficient for tomorrow.” [John Piper.]

“To become preoccupied with material things in such a way that they engross our attention, absorb our energy and burden us with anxiety is incompatible with both Christian faith and common sense.  It is distrustful of our heavenly Father, and it is frankly stupid.  This is what pagans do; but it is an utterly unsuitable and unworthy ambition for Christians.  So just as Jesus has already called us in the Sermon to a greater righteousness, a broader love and a deeper piety, he now calls us to a higher ambition.” [John Stott.]

Read Full Post »

For all you who missed Voddie speaking at a Men’s Conference in Chicago this weekend because of the Elephant Room 2  uproar, I have good news.  He will speaking at this year’s Shepherd’s Conference.  One of the youth pastors at Grace Community Church, host church of Shepherds, tells us why we should be excited to hear Voddie speak! 

Read Full Post »

Denny Burk writes:

John Piper preached a sermon yesterday on giving that I hope everyone will listen to. It is the only time I have ever heard him talk with specificity about how he spends his own money. He acknowledges the risk of sharing his own story but rightly concludes it is worth the risk to share.

Piper says that he gives away all of the copyrights to the books that he writes to the Desiring God Foundation. So he gets none of the royalties from his books. Why does he do this? Because he knows he would be a millionaire if he didn’t, and he doesn’t trust his own heart with those kinds of riches. For Piper, the issue is not how much money you make but how much you keep. He is apparently keeping very little.

This is one of the reasons why Piper is a hero to me. I know that Piper is just a regular guy; he’s human and sinful like the rest of us. Still, he’s a regular guy who fights with all his might to pursue his joy in God. May God help me to do the same.

You can watch or listen to the message here. 

Read Full Post »

Watch, Pray, Work!

As I finished up a series on Mark 13 this past Sunday night, I pointed out to God’s people how Christ ended his discourse regarding the end times with some lessons and exhortations.  Mark ends his account with Jesus telling the story of a man who goes off to a far country leaving his servants with authority and duties to perform.  He expected those servants to be doing what he told them to be doing when he returned and not be found lethargic or lax.

Although I think the interpretation of the text is that Jesus is exhorting future Tribulation saints on how to respond during the most horrific time of persecution the world will ever see, there is certainly application even to the believers in this time who are waiting for the rapture as well.

J. C. Ryle in his Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1985], 293-295. {Mark 13:32-37}, writes:

What are the practical duties of all true believers in the prospect of the second coming of Jesus Christ? Our Lord mentions three things, to which His people should attend. He tells them plainly that He is coming again one day, in power and great glory. He tells them at the same time, that the precise hour and date of that coming are not known. What then are His people to do? In what position of mind are they to live? They are to watch. They are to pray. They are to work.

We are to WATCH. We are to live always on our guard. We are to keep our souls in a wakeful, lively state, prepared at any time to meet our Master. We are to beware of anything like spiritual lethargy, dulness, deadness, and torpor. The company, the employment of time, the society which induces us to forget Christ and His second advent, should be marked, noted, and avoided. “Let us not sleep as do others,” says the apostle, “but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thess 5:6)

We are to PRAY. We are to keep up habits of regular communion and communion with God. We are to allow no coldness to come in between us and our Father in heaven, but to speak with Him daily; that so we may be ready at any moment to see Him face to face. Moreover, we are to make special prayer about the Lord’s coming, that we may be “found in peace, without spot and blameless,” and that our hearts may at no time be “overcharged” with the cares of this life, and so the day come upon us unawares. (2 Peter 3:14; Luke 21:34)

We are to WORK. We are to realize that we are all servants of a great Master, who has given to every man his work, and expects that work to be done. We are to labor to glorify God, each in our particular sphere and relation. There is always something for every one to do. We are to strive each of us to shine as a light–to be the salt of our own times–to be faithful witnesses for our Master, and to honor Him by conscientiousness and consistency in our daily lives. Our great desire must be to be found not idle and sleeping, but working and doing.

Read Full Post »

Well, I have just preached through Mark 13 which contains the Olivet Discourse, a prophecy by Jesus of the end times.

Last evening I wanted to give our congregation some help when they read prophetic sections of Scripture (and there is a great deal of it).

I shared this article in part with them from Stephen Nichols over at the Crossway blog:

Many of you have your Bible and your reading plan all set for 2012. However, there are undoubtedly some passages or even books that more difficult to understand than others. InWelcome to the Story, Stephen Nichols gives us some pointers on understanding the prophetic texts:

You should keep the big picture of hope in view. It’s easy for us to get lost in the details. We are tempted to run down rabbit trails of trying to decipher minutiae and looking for some secret insight into the details. Is Ezekiel’s “wheel within a wheel” some sort of UFO? Are the locusts in Revelation Huey helicopters of the US Air Force?

Remember the big-picture reason why God reveals the future to us. He wants us to know what will happen so that we can have a real and abiding hope. God wants us to know what will happen so that we will trust in him that despite appearances, he controls the future and we need to trust and rest in him. He wants us to know what will happen so that we will work until he comes.

As you journey through these prophetic passages of Scripture, you can easily lose your way. These questions serve as guideposts to help you navigate these texts. Begin with trying to capture the big picture of restoration, and then work from that solid ground to sorting through and understanding the details.

Questions for reading prophetic passages of Scripture:

  • What does this passage teach about the grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration?
  • What does this passage specifically teach about the coming restoration of all things?
  • What have I learned from this passage about the future that I can put into practice now?
  • What do I need to change in my life based on what I have learned about the future?
  • How does this passage offer a different perspective on life, as compared to the perspective offered by our surrounding culture?

Learn more about Welcome to the Story by Stephen Nichols.

Read Full Post »

It’s coming this Sunday!  Nope, it’s not my birthday! It’s not my anniversary!   It’s not a wedding or something else happening in our kids lives!

Dr. Michael Horton reminds us and football fans everywhere that the BIG day is almost here!  What day? It’s not what you are probably thinking!

Read and think about this here.

Read Full Post »

My esteem and respect for Voddie Baucham has always been high!  It just shot up even more over the weekend as Voddie has taken a tough but correct stand in regard to recent events surrounding the Elephant Room controversy over the invitation of T. D. Jakes to that forum.

Voddie explains clearly and accurately what has happened over the last few months and why this past weekend he didn’t speak at an event at the last minute.  He begins his article by noting!

This past week a firestorm erupted over the recent “Elephant Room 2.”  The controversy centers around the decision to invite Bishop T.D. Jakes to participate in the event.  The central questions in the debate are 1) whether or not Bishop Jakes holds to the historic, orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, 2) whether it was appropriate to invite (and feature) him without first having clarified his position on this cardinal doctrine, and 3) whether he cleared up the matter.

I was scheduled to speak at Harvest Bible Chapel on the weekend following ER2 which raised significant questions about my stance on the matter.  While I do not consider it my responsibility to comment on every controversy, I do recognize my duty to clarify matters with which I am involved directly, and/or those that impact the congregation I am called to shepherd.  Hence, my explanation now.

I’d encourage my readers to read Voddie’s post carefully and to click on the links he has within the post.  This is a man for whom we should pray.  I also pray many others will stand with him in this crucial time.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »