Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's not that I'm lazy. I just don't care. It's a problem of motivation.

This may come as a surprise to some, but nobody is more passionate about the glory of God than God is.

Everything God does is done for His glory.

Ergo … Everything we do must be done to the glory of God.

An actor may ask the director, "What's my motivation in this scene?"

In the drama of life, our motivation in everything we do should be for the glory of God.
(1 Cor 10:31; Matt 5:16; 1 Pet 4:10-11; Ps 115:1)


Monday, July 26, 2010

A vacation from my problems ... you bet I will.

Dave Ramsey addresses short-term missions trips while still in debt. Of great value is the distinction he makes between two kinds of mission trips. (HT Oilcan)

No "Christian Vacations" While You Get Out Of Debt

Billy asks if you can still go on mission trips while you’re on Baby Step 2. Dave says there are two types of mission trips: Christian vacations and true mission trips.

QUESTION: Billy asks if you can still go on mission trips while you’re on Baby Step 2. Dave says there are two types of mission trips: Christian vacations and true mission trips.

ANSWER: Well, Billy, there are two kinds of missions trips. There are missions trips that are Christian vacations. And everybody wants to go on a mission trip, and it’s a little Christian vacation, and we feel like we did something good, so we don’t feel too guilty for going on vacation. But it’s vacation. And it’s vacation with a Bible. I know that because I’ve watched my brothers and sisters in Christ do that for years. And no, you’re not going on that kind of a mission trip when you’re in debt. Get yourself straightened up, kiddo.

The second kind of mission trip is you have a strong enough walk with God that you are 1000% sure He’s telling you that this is something you’re supposed to do. Dude, I’m not getting in the way of that. Go do it. But this doesn’t need to be some little cute thing on the beaches, and we’re going to go down and minister to the crabs. No. Sorry.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yeah, you're a legend in your own mind.

["The Doctor" always seems to have such great theological insight, especially into the condition of humanity. I think you'll agree. (Emphasis mine throughout)]
How well the devil knows our human weakness! There is no method, therefore, that he more frequently uses . . . than just to play on this problem of self as it is present in every one of us. The ways in which he does so are almost endless. He works on self in order to encourage pride. He tries to make us proud of our gifts, our brains, our understanding, our knowledge . . .

Another form which this evil can take stems from the fact that various desires always tend to arise from self—the desire for importance, the desire for position . . . All this leads above everything else to a sprit of self-satisfaction . . .Furthermore this condition leads to selfishness and self-centredness. Self is always interested in itself. Everything revolves round this particular entity; and it becomes the centre of a constellation. That in turn leads to jealousy and envy . . .

To the extent that we are governed by self we are sensitive, and as such we can be easily hurt, easily depressed, and discouraged. Self is always watching for insults and slights. It is always hypersensitive. It is delicate, it is sensitized to everything; the slightest speck troubles it and alarms it. Self is totalitarian; it demands everything, and it is irritated and hurt if it does not get everything. As a consequence it becomes a most fruitful cause of quarrels and divisions and unhappiness . . .

If you have a great brain, it is no credit to you, you were born with it. If you have a wonderful singing voice, you have not produced it, it was given you. What are you boasting about? All that you have is not the result of your action and activity; it is something with which God has endowed you . .

Paul always kept the grace of God in view; it kept him humble; it kept his spirit sweet; it kept him from the horrible sin of self and of pride and self-importance. Christians have nothing to boast of. We are what we are entirely as the result of the grace of God.

~ David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10 to 13

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

You'll get the answer to that question, Mr. Bender, next Saturday.

Previously, we addressed God's glory, His pursuit thereof, and our obligation in that regard.

“God seeks what we should seek – his glory, in and through men – and it is for the securing of this end, ultimately, that he is jealous.”
~ J. I. Packer, Knowing God

In the comments, RonH asked the following post-worthy questions:
What is "glory"? And what does it mean to "glorify"?

The Hebrew word for glory (כָבֹוד - kavod) comes from the same root as “heaviness” or “weight.” The Greek word for glory (δόξα - docksa) denotes brightness, radiance, brilliance, or splendor.

I'd take a stab at defining and/or describing "glory" as God's splendor or majesty or brilliance (cf. Shekinah glory in OT) or perhaps even significance, though I'm open to better suggested definitions.

Simply, to glorify God is to make God look good. But ...

How does glorifying a person differ from glorifying God? In other words, how does making God look good differ from making a person look good?

To glorify God is to show His beauty, not make Him beautiful. For a person we would add to or cover up in order to make a person appear better than he or she really is. But, for God we cannot add to His splendor and it's impossible to make Him look better than He is.
  • "To glorify God simply means to bring His innate glory to light, to expose it, manifest it, reveal it, demonstrate it, make it known. It is to put God on display and show Him off for who He is." ~ Richard Strauss, The Joy of Knowing God
  • "What does it mean to glorify God? It does not mean to make Him more glorious. It means to acknowledge His glory, and to value it above all things, and to make it known." ~ John Piper, Desiring God

To glorify God is to reveal God and God is glorified in us when He is seen is us. Similarly, God is pleased with us when He sees Himself in us, for nothing apart from Himself can be intrinsically praiseworthy or of value.

To that end, I recommend Paul's insight:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Gal 5:22-23, ESV)

The Spirit working in us reveals what God is like in the form of godliness. In the process, our shining light leads to God being praised (Matt 5:16) as we glorify God in all we do (1 Cor 10:31).
Our Mission at Providence Church:
  • Glorify God by making disciples who love God and others.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

You call this a happy family?! Why do we have to have all these kids?!

Different churches have different thoughts on children in the worship service. For some, the kids up through and including high school are never in the main worship service. For others, at birth the kids are there from opening to closing prayer. You will likely also be able to find everything in between.

[Personally, I think whatever a church's approach is, it better not be motivated by any idea of children being "unwelcome" or inconvenient distractions. Even though they are not always easy, children are a blessing, the more the merrier. But, of course, they will, at times act like children. We train them, but we shouldn't be surprised when they don't act like adults.]

Regardless of what your thoughts* are on when it will be, at some point the kids will need to be assimilated into "big church." I found the following, which I think has some helpful tips on having your children with you in church (adapted from Ruth Hale's booklet, "Calm Or Chaos").

I'd welcome your suggestions as well.

1. 0-2 yrs sit near back. 2+ yrs sit near the front of the auditorium, next to aisle.

2. Expect your child to sit quietly.

3. Do not pass children from pew to pew during worship service.

4. Be certain that your child uses the washroom and gets a drink before worship begins.

5. Talk to the child about being quiet before services begin.

6. Use sign language. A parent’s correction is often more disturbing than the child’s behavior.

7. Attend every service, gospel meetings, ladies classes & use as opportunities to train your child.

8. It may be helpful to give a child a soft toy (i.e. cloth rubber or plastic toy) to occupy him.

9. Learn to overlook small annoyances.

10. Make trips out unpleasant enough that they will be few and far between.

11. Do not leave your child in the care of other children.

12. Avoid allowing the child to become excited immediately before worship.

13. Be an example. Don’t "visit" with those sitting near you during worship.

14. Do not allow your child to play on the floor of the auditorium.

15. Criticism will come whether or not you discipline your child. Do what has to be done.

16. Don’t make excuses for your child or yourself.
*At Providence Church, we offer the option of a more kid-friendly version of the sermon for kids 3-2nd grade, but the kids only miss the sermon. In other words they were there until the sermon and they come back when the sermon is finished. However, children's church is optional, not mandatory.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

... when we left Midland we had a mess of theories about how to raise children. We still have a mess of children, but no theories.

Parenting can be a humbling endeavor and it's not for cowards, though a rewarding privilege.

I've been encouraged by what I hope is a trend whereby families are having more children, especially families in the church. Children are indeed a blessing and a gift from God. (Ps 127:3), and the apprehension of that truth may play a part.

However, this is a good quote to remind us that we don't have big families (i.e., more children) merely for the sake of having big families.
"Marriage is for making children into disciples of Jesus. Here the focus shifts. This purpose of marriage is not merely to add more bodies to the planet. The point is to increase the number of followers of Jesus on the planet… God’s purpose in making marriage the place to have children was never merely to fill the earth with people, but to fill the earth with worshipers of the true God… When the focus of marriage becomes 'Make children disciples of Jesus,' the meaning of marriage in relation to children is not mainly 'Make them,' but 'Make them disciples.' And the latter can happen even where the former doesn’t."
~John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

You may be the lovely dust through which God works His purpose!

In Sunday school at Providence Church, I taught on Soli Deo Gloria, "to God Alone Be the Glory."

I submit the following for your consideration, including a list of Scriptures we were not able to examine due to time constraints.

“What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism, 1646

“I would propose a similar question here-namely, ‘What is the chief end or purpose of God?’ Why did God create the world and mankind? I answer: God’s chief end is to be known in all his glory.” (John D. Hannah, To God be the Glory, 16)

  • Ex 14:4 "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord."
  • Ex 14:17 "I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen."
  • Ex 15:11 "Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?"
  • Ex 33:18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
  • 1 Chron 16:10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
  • 1 Chron 16:24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
  • 1 Chron 16:29 ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
  • 1 Chron 29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
  • Ps 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
  • Ps 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty- he is the King of glory.
  • Ps 57:5, 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
  • Ps 72:19 Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
  • Ps 86:9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
  • Ps 105:3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
  • Ps 115:1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
  • Is 6:3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
  • Ps 79:9 Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake.
  • Ps 106:47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
  • Is 43:25 "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."
  • Is 43:7 "everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
  • Deut 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
  • Is 42:8 "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols."
  • Is 48:9-11 For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.
  • Matt 25:31-32 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
  • John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • John 15:8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
  • John 17:4-5 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
  • Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
  • Rom 8:17-18 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co¬heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
  • Rom 9:23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory
  • 1 Cor 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
  • Eph 1:11-12 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
  • Phil 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
  • Col 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
  • 2 Thess 2:14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Tim 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
  • Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
  • 2 Pet 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
  • Rev 4:11 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
  • Rev 5:12 In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
  • Rev 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
  • 1 Tim 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
  • Rom 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
  • 1 Cor 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

This may sound like gibberish to you, but I think I'm in a tragedy.

Tony Dorsett ... Emmitt Smith ... Mike Modano?!

Mike Modano holds most NHL records for a US born hockey player and nearly all of those for the only team he's known, the Dallas Stars. After his 22nd season many thought he might have played his last game and might retire, though many fans hoped he would play at least one more season.

However, the Dallas Stars have decided that if he does play again, it won't be for the Dallas Stars. Mike Modano may follow in the footsteps of other Dallas greats (e.g., Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith) who finished their stellar careers with other teams.

None of that should have happened, not with Tony, Emmitt, and certainly not the face of the franchise, Mike Modano.

Reportedly, Mike Modano has stated that he still wants to play somewhere, assuming it's a good fit and the right situation. So, he was "upset and disappointed" to learn the news.

I could not be more upset with the management of the Stars and this tragedy. After all Modano's done, I bring him back to play goalie if that's what he wants.

To make matters worse, he's being pursued by the hated Red Wings.

At least Dorsett didn't go to the Redskins. At least Emmitt didn't don Eagles green.

It may be "3 strikes, you're out" for this Stars fan. I took it pretty hard when they let Brett Hull go ... to the Red Wings. I was even more distraught when they let my favorite player, Derrian Hatcher go ... to the Red Wings.

If #9 is wearing Wings Red, the Stars will be dead to me.

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Lady, I got buddies who died face down in the muck so that you and I could enjoy this family restaurant!

"Sad will be the day when the American people forget their traditions and their history, and no longer remember that the country they love, the institutions they cherish, and the freedom they hope to preserve, were born from the throes of armed resistance to tyranny, and nursed in the rugged arms of fearless men." ~Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration of Independence

And they are also protected by the courageous. This Independence Day, I salute the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which is composed of military men & women who received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in combat.

For your listening pleasure, I commend to you the song "Purple Heart Medal," sung by my Texas A&M military advisor, Paul "Red" Dvorak. It was inspired by PFC Frank Smith, K.I.A. at age 20 in Vietnam.

Click to listen to a preview:

[Proceeds from the sale of this Red's CD will go to the Veterans Affairs Volunteer Services (VAVS) Youth Scholarship Fund, established to support youth who volunteer in VA hospitals.]

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Friday, July 02, 2010

And now you must go into the forest and cut down the largest tree with ... a herring!

Previously, I dealt with the question of whether or not "faith is a gift" and what that means, and doesn't mean.

Along those lines, the Bible insists human beings do what they cannot in their natural state, which is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the necessary condition for justification, but just because we ought doesn't mean we can.

James Montgomery Boice explains a common misconception:
"Sometimes evangelicals express their ideas in the following fashion. They say that God first gave the law to see if anyone could keep it. But since no one did or can, God now comes to us with a slimmed-down or much-facilitated gospel, as if he were saying: ‘I know you can’t keep my law. So let me ask instead for something you can do. Just believe in Jesus. If you believe in Jesus, I’ll save you.’ If that is the way God operates, faith becomes a work—something you or I do on the basis of which we are saved—and there is ground for boasting." (Romans, 409)
In other words, the ability to believe is a gift enabled by the regenerating Holy Spirit.

See also:

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