I have been woefully absent from blogging for a long time. In the midst of life adjustments I forgot about blogging, but I think I’m back. And I have also moved.

Come check out the new digs here: www.EveryManComplete.com

I was reading Stephen Altrogge’s blog a week or so ago and came across a great post and thought I would pass it along. Read it here.

For my whole life I have had “excellent” vision and I’ve never needed glasses. Although in my early teen years I really wanted to wear glasses and even bought a pair of glasses with fake lenses, because I thought I was cool. I wasn’t.
As we transition into full-time deputation we are leaving our excellent health insurance and with that comes much needed doctor’s appointments. And so I was at the eye doctor. I would have never gone if it wasn’t for my wife’s gentle prodding’s that I really needed to set an appointment, “just in case”. They concluded that my left eye has deteriorated some but my right is just fine and my prescription was very mild.

My point in saying all of this is that I thought I had perfect vision. In fact, I prided myself on my perfect vision. I thought that I had some control on whether I had good vision or not. I felt somewhat invincible with my eyes. I laugh as I type this, but God showed me that I am not as invincible as I think I am. I think of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18. The two men went to the temple to pray and the Pharisee standing by himself prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” The Pharisee thought he was perfect; thought he was superior. But the tax collector standing far off, beat his chest and prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Jesus then says, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”(Luke 18:9-14) I need to rely on God. I am in need of the gospel, not just to save me, but to sanctify my faulty view of life and to bring holiness.

“All missionary ministry should be intricately connected to the planting of local churches. Church planting is not one of the things that missionaries do–it is the thing.”
God’s plan for social transformation is the gospel. Man is God’s method & God chooses men and women from local churches to go out and plant more local churches.

Quote is from David Doran’s book “For the Sake of His Name”, pg 128

I just began meeting with one of my Pastor’s on a weekly basis for accountability and encouragement. We decided to read a book to discuss – The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges. I thought I would share a few quotes that stuck out to me from the Introduction and 1st chapter.

“All of us, regardless of how long we have known Christ, need to bathe ourselves in the gospel every day.”

“… we have a truncated view of the gospel, tending to see it only as a door we walk through to become a Christian.”

He further says that we fail to see the gospel as the basis of our day-to-day acceptance with Him. That the gospel is good news that directly addresses the ultimate bad news of our lives. “…one sign of spiritual growth is an increased awareness of our sinfulness.”

The gospel is more than just fire insurance into heaven, it is our life and breath. Looking forward to diving into this book!

“You cannot find a man anywhere, however uncivilised or wild, who is without some idea of religion. This is because we have all been created to know the majesty of our Creator and, in knowing it, to think more highly of it than anything else. We are to honour it with all awe, love and reverence.

Unbelievers seek only to wipe out all memory of this sense of God which is planted in their hearts. Leaving them aside, we who claim to have a personal religion must call to mind that this present life will not last and will soon be over. We should spend it thinking about immortalitity.”

Now, eternal and immortal life can be found nowhere except in God. It follows, then, that the main care and concern of our life should be to seek God. We should long for him with all affection of our hearts, and not find rest and peace anywhere except in him alone.” (Chapter One, pg 1-2)

John Calvin – Truth for All Time

This past Sunday I had the privilege to preach and my text was Hebrews 12:1-3, one of my favorites. As I tried to unpack this passage and explain what this text meant to the original audience and how it can apply to us, one phrase stuck out. “laying aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us,”. An encumbrance is simply a bulk, weight or mass of some kind. It isn’t necessarily bad. But as the author says, we need to lay it aside. So, I started asking myself what are the encumbrances that I need to lay aside so that I can run the race of faith better? Television, internet, books, relationships…. what is slowing me down? This is not an easy question and sometimes not a pleasant one to answer.

The author then continues to press his point by saying we need also to remove the sin that entangles us. This entanglement is harasses or attacks us. It trips us up. Like running the race with our shoes untied. So what could this sin be that seems to be constant in our lives? Jerry Bridges in his book Respectable Sins, details some of the sins that we passively overlook in our lives. It could be discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, lack of self control, impatience & irritability, anger, judgementalism, envy, tongue or worldliness. One thing that is common with all sin – IT ISN’T PASSIVE.

Sin is active.

C.J. Mahaney wrote an article a little more than a month ago concerning the issue with Tiger Woods and the deception of sin:

“Deception is part of sin’s DNA. Sin lies to us. It seeks to convince us that sin brings only pleasure, that it carries no consequences, and that no one will discover it. Sin works hard to make us forget that character, conduct, and consequences are interconnected. And when we neglect this relationship—when we think our sins will not be discovered—we ultimately mock God.”

Some of us have been lulled into thinking that if we can suppress sin long enough it will just away; we have fooled ourselves by saying sin is not really a big deal. And in reality we have mocked God. Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” What sin(s) in our lives do we need to confess to God? We have the promise in scripture that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Thank God for his long-suffering for us His children!

Relationships

Today I finished Paul Tripp & Tim Lane’s book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making and was pleasantly surprised. I have heard great things from Paul Tripps books and ministry, but didn’t know very much of Tim Lane. (On a side note, I am excited to meet both men at Biblical Counseling Training at Faith Biblical Counseling the first week in February.)

Right from the start the authors make it clear that they are no experts in relationships, but are still frail humans dependent on God’s grace to do what they do for God. Their aim for the book is that it “…will help you look through the shattered glass of our sin to see the glory of a Redeemer who is ever-present, always at work to rescue and change us.” (p.2)

The book is broken down into fifteen chapters highlighting major tenants of almost all of our relationships. Every chapter begins with a one or a few vignettes that help the reader envision the purpose of the chapter in their own relationships. Throughout each chapter they do a great job with presenting the material through the lens of scripture.

I think the overarching theme throughout the book is that relationships here are on earth are for God’s Glory and our benefit. “…your relationships have not been designed by God as vehicles for human happiness, but as instruments of redemption.” (p.110)

I highly recommend this book, whether you work in a church ministry or in a secular job.

Today could be the day that you leave this earth. You might not finish this blog post. Francis Chan writes, “On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day, we don’t consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor.” (p.39, Crazy Love)

Photo by cerasaragirl

James writes, “Come no, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13-14)

Do we live our lives as if we are invincible? Do we say with each day, “I’m in control, I’ll do what I want today”  Frederick Buechner wrote, “Intellectually we all know what we will die, but we do not really know it in the sense that the knowledge becomes a part of us. We do not really know it in the sense of living as though it were true. On the contrary, we tend to live as though our lives would go on forever.”1

Live today to the fullest, for God’s glory not for your own.

1. Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark (New York: HarperOne, 1985), 72.

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I’m a book reviewer

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers