Month: February 2011

Incredible Week of Chapel at Southwestern Seminary

Thursday during chapel Paige Patterson brought excellent message on the commandment against taking God’s name in vain. He brought out some points that I had not considered especially concerning the origin of certain phrases like “gosh,” “golly,” and “gee.”  You can read about those in this article. Another that he mentioned was the origin of the phrase “by George.”  I had not considered all of these phrases before as taking the name of the Lord in vain, but as Patterson explained these came into English as other names for God or Jesus. We often use these substitutes with the same intent in our heart as though we were taking God’s name in vain. I fear that some of these phrases have crept into my common vernacular. So I will make a concerted effort to allow all of my speech to glorify God. I would recommend that you listen to his sermon. It certainly challenged me. You can find it and our other sermons here.

On Wednesday, Josh Smith preached on the Great Commission. I would encourage everyone to listen to his message as well. He talked about the difference between our motive, our mission, and our vision. The glory of God is our motive and the Great Commission is our mission while our vision may be specific to our individual situation. He brought a powerful word encouraging us to stay focused on the Gospel and through the spread of the Gospel glorify God. Smith had much to say of interest which I don’t have time to recap so you’ll just have to listen for yourself.

On Tuesday, Richard Ross spoke about the importance of seeing a full Christology which means that Jesus is more than our homeboy and won’t fit in our pocket. He reminded us of the truth that God is the risen king who has been given all authority and sits at the right hand of the Father. His message resonated with much that I stress in my Systematic Theology classes each year.

I consider it an incredible blessing to have the opportunity to hear great messages each week. I would encourage you to take advantage of them too. So what’s coming up next week you ask? Just Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, and Jimmy Draper…I can’t wait to see what God does next!

Band of Brothers Week 4

Proverbs 7: The Battle with Lust

The Road to Hell is Paved with Desperate Housewives

Introduction:

  • To those who have committed sexual sins, my purpose is not to bring a sledgehammer of condemnation. Our Lord offers grace that is sufficient for any and all sins. What I want to do here is offer an ounce of prevention to keep you or others from bearing the scars of sinful folly.

1. Prevention: (Prov 7:1-5)

Thoughts from the Text:

  • In order to keep God’s words, you must know them. Read and study, but also obey.
  • The visual image is given to “treasure up” God’s commandments. We must memorize Scripture.
  • The apply of the eye 7:2 is the pupil or dark part of the eye where you see the reflection of what you are staring at; same word is used for the “dark of the night” in 7:9.
  • We should set up reminders of God’s law in our lives…not tefillin or phylacteries but reminders

Application to your life:

  • What do you “treasure up?” baseball cards; guns; money; time with family
  • What is the “apple of your eye?” Where the eyes go the body follows so what are you looking at?
  • The eye is one of the weak point so what are doing to protect it? Even a speck can be dangerous.
  • What are the reminders of God’s law that you have established in your life?

2. The illustration: (Prov 7:6-23)

Thoughts from the Text:

  • “Young men” (lit. “sons”) is one who “lacked sense” identical to Proverbs 6:32 “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.
  • The young man is at the wrong place (near her corner) at the wrong time (near twilight).
  • This woman’s dress indicates the craftiness of her heart. She goes all over town and lies in wait.
  • Like woman folly she is noisy (7:11; 9:13) Her feet never stay at home. They rush to evil (6:18).
  • Three enticements follow: the delicacy of meat (7:14); pleasure of love (7:16-17); and security (7:19-20). She also uses smooth words, and seductive dress. The trap has been fully set.
  • A man in the heat of passion never thinks of the consequences so resist from the beginning.

Application to your life:

  • Do you hang out in the wrong places or entertain temptation at the wrong time?
  • What is your weakness? Sight, food, pride, lust? What are doing to safeguard that weakness?
  • Her bedroom is no ballroom, but a battlefield where fallen bodies of soldiers rot in the stench of their own sin.
  • Illustration: Ever been on a duck hunt? Does this trap sound familiar? Don’t let sin deceive you like the decoys deceive the ducks.

3. The Warning: (Prov 7:24-27)

Thoughts from the Text:

  • The plural “sons” now comes in. Listen and be attentive. The wisdom of Solomon and the words of God our Father come to all of us.
  • Do not let your heart or your passions drive your actions by turning aside to sin.
  • This is the path to destruction. The promise of happiness is an empty promise.
  • Many men of valor in battle have been taken down by a wily woman.

Application to your life:

  • Do you notice sin arising in you? Do you immediately go to Scripture at that point?
  • Do advertisements appeal to you or do you recognize them for what they are?
  • Illustration: Barry Bonds homerun ball will always have an asterisks. Will your life have an asterisks?.

Principles to Remember

1.     Treasure the Word of God above all.

2.     Avoid being alone more than is healthy. When you struggle, do not be alone–find a brother.

3.     Avoid placing yourself in locations where temptation is stronger. Internet, bars, clubs,

4.     If you are married, never be alone with a person of the opposite sex other than your spouse–lunch, car ride, closed room, etc.

5.     Make sure someone, especially your spouse, has the passwords to your email, Facebook, and other online accounts. Remember God sees all.

6.     When courting, set your boundaries and do not cross them. If you can’t demonstrate will power to remain godly in courtship, then your spouse will rightly doubt that you have the will power to be faithful in marriage.

7.     Be careful who you carry on personal conversations with.

a.     Singles do not date a non-Christian. You may think you can change him or her, but you can’t change them…only God can.
b.     Do not date, court, or spend excessive amounts of time with a person that is not your spiritual equal.
c.     Do not carry on conversations with past girlfriends on Facebook or anywhere else that your spouse doesn’t know about it. In fact, I cut the Facebook chat off on my account. Have Facebook messages sent to your email that your wife has the password to.
d.     When you get married, you should not have close friends of the opposite sex. Break those relationships off. Your spouse should be your best friend.
e.     Don’t counsel someone of the opposite sex, talk about intimate matters or have a conversation with a person of the opposite sex about which your spouse does not know.

8.     Your dress says a lot about the condition of your heart. (for your daughters or granddaughters)

a.     Does your dress indicate you are bearing your brother’s burdens or being a stumbling block.
b.     If you pick clothing that draws attention to your body and away from your face, you are directing guys to the wrong enticement and one that fades with age so what will keep him around then?

9.     Remember one day you won’t be the youth in the street, but you will be the parent in the window.

a.     How you treat someone else’s daughter may be how yours is treated.
b.     Your kids will ask if this is how you did it. So act the way you want your son or daughter to act.

10.  Wear you wedding ring. This is the equivalent of binding God’s commands around your finger. If you can’t wear it at work, then put it in the car and put it on then.

11.  Protect the apple of your eye. When you see something tempting or inappropriate do you linger or do you quickly look away? Commercials, billboards, etc.

Band of Brothers Week 3

Psalm 127: The Battle of Building or

Labor that Last

Introduction:

The key to unlock the unity of this Psalm can be found in a Hebrew word play. The Hebrew words for “build” (banah), “house” (bayith), and “sons” (banim), form a literary device of similar words that are woven throughout this Psalm. Beginning with two references in verse 1 “build” and “house” follows with “sons” which is translated as children in verses 3-4. This word is a thread woven throughout the fabric of this Psalm demonstrating that unless the Lord builds the house, and unless the Lord builds the family, then all labor is in vain.

FUTILE LABOR

Psalm 127: 1-2 1Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Thoughts from the Text:

  • The word house here has enough ambiguity for us to apply this principle to the building in the family, in the church, or in society.
  • The writer presupposes that we will be busy working so laziness is not an option. The question is do we rely on God or our own power while building, protecting, or providing.
  • God should be our only hope for protection and not human might. We do not trust in horses or chariots, but in the strength of our Lord.
  • Solomon makes the connection to vanity. Perhaps this is his outline for the book of Ecclesiastes. “Vanity of Vanities, all is vanity,” says Solomon in Ecclesiastes. He continues, “The conclusion of the matter is ‘Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.’” Ecc 12:13-14

Application to Your Life:

  • Do you seek the Lord first or rely on your own might when building your house, your church, or your business?
  • By the way you spend your money, what would an outsider assume you are putting your trust in? Insurance policy, retirement fund, government, possessions
  • Are you working too hard and eating the “bread of anxious toil”?
  • What is it that has kept you awake at night? Do you not trust God enough to turn it over to Him?
  • Understanding that all is vanity, what lifestyle changes should you make to put increased emphasis on God.

FAITHFUL LEGACY

Psalm 127:3-5: 3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Thoughts from the Text:

  • Children are a blessing from the Lord so our attitudes toward children should reflect that in every area of our lives.
  • We must recognize the responsibility for good or danger that comes with directing a child’s path and sculpting a child for life. A warrior can use an arrow for evil or good. The analogy corresponds to how we train and equip our children.
  • God’s design is that one day your children will take care of you…perhaps to the exact same degree you have taken care of them. Have you abandoned them through nursery, daycare, or the school system? If so, will you reap what you have sown by being abandoned to the retirement center, or nursing home?

Application to Your Life:

  • Does your attitude reflect that children are a blessing from the Lord or that they are burden on your life?
  • How are you developing your children into an arrow for God’s purposes? Are you spending time with them? Guiding them spiritually? Are you shepherding them or forcing them to fulfill your lost dreams? What about your grandchildren?
  • Will your children be your defender or your accuser?
  • Is it possible that by aborting our children, we have aborted our future? Will this lead to the demise of the economy, social security, and possibly euthanasia?

How a shotgun can help you understand the doctrine of salvation

Band of Brothers Week 3 postponed again

Another round of snow and ice made it necessary to cancel services to last night at church. So yet again, we are postponed. Hopefully next week the weather will cooperate, and we will have services. I promise that I will post the next outline the Thursday after we meet.

Confession: Is there really an app for that?

You can now confess your sins on your iPhone. For just $1.99, you can buy an app which goes through the “motions of confession,” although you must still see a priest for absolution. I’m surprised that the app has been approved by a Catholic bishop, but perhaps I shouldn’t be. You can read more on the app here.

This saddens me for two reasons. First, if you want to create an app to help Catholics confess their sin and get close to God, then make it free. Don’t attempt to profit from religion. Unfortunately, this follows a long standing tradition going back before the 1,500s when Johann Tetzel said the oft quoted phrase, “When the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” He used it to sell indulgences to raise money for the church.

The practice has changed some, but not nearly enough. World travelers know that the Vatican gift shop sells the best cuff-links (my favorite souvenir) and other trinkets in all of Rome. For just a few dollars more, you can have them blessed by the Pope and delivered to your hotel room that night. These blessings travel worldwide as the Pope was out of the country when they offered this service to me. My point–religion should not try to make a profit.

By far the more important issue comes from the need for an app or a priest or a rabbi for confession. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Psalm 32:5 states, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

Even my six year old daughter’s catechism teaches her about the three offices of Christ–Prophet, Priest and King. In His role as Priest, He was the flawless atoning sacrifice offered for sins once for all, and He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession on our behalf. Sinners no longer need a priest or a rabbi or an iPhone because we can confess sins directly to God.

So if you want more than password protected privacy, try praying directly to God and confessing to Him. After all, He already knows what you did, and unlike another human, He can actually forgive you for those sins.

So remember when it comes to confession–there’s no app for that.

Do we give our best to God?

So today I was reading Malachi 1. I was particularly struck by this chapter and especially verse 8 which says:

8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts.

Think about the logic. No one would give a human governor the lame and expect favor in return. But how often do we save our very best for those we respect the most in this life, and then give God what’s left. In essence, by only giving God what time we have left or what money we can spare or the talents that don’t require too large an investment, we are doing the same thing as the priest of Malachi’s day.

And as a preacher of the Gospel, when we fail to adequately study God’s Word, when we focus on building our kingdom more than building God’s kingdom, when we neglect to help the poor while amassing personal wealth, or when we supplant the power of the Gospel with the innovation of human technology, are we not offering blind animals in sacrifice?

I desire to give God my best and not worry about what man thinks about it. After all, the God that created us and loved us enough to send His only Son to die in our place deserves the best we have. God gave the best for us. What are we going to give back to Him?

Winter Weather Puts the Skids on Inappropriate Behavior at Super Bowl

Last week our students gathered and prayed for the estimated 11,000 minors that would be brought in for sex trafficking during the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl in Arlington, TX.  I was thrilled to see our students gather and discuss what could be done and touched as those students prayed that God would intervene to protect these girls. Then yesterday a student sent me a message on Facebook asking if I thought that all of the snow and ice was God’s answer to our prayers. Now I certainly can’t claim to know the mind of God, and I am not foolish enough to think that every girl has been protected, but I do find it interesting that after a few weeks of prayer, an unprecedented ice and snow storm hits Dallas/Fort Worth at just the right time.

Think about it. The last thing you want to do with ice and snow is be out after dark on icy roads with on-ramps that make Evil Kenevil salivate. Not to mention that the Dallas-Fort Worth area has few snow plows, amateur bad weather drivers, and puts sand instead of salt on the roads. While I am sure the treacherous conditions have unfortunately resulted in a few wrecks and some were injured from falling ice off of Jerry’s big house, I am thankful that perhaps the winter weather put the skids on most of the inappropriate behavior that accompanies this event.

If you read the report from by Bill Simmons at ESPN, then perhaps Dallas/Fort Worth has set an example more for what didn’t happen than what did.

Band of Brothers Week 3

Due to the ice and snow in Fort Worth, we had to cancel week 3 of our men’s Bible study. I will be posting the week 3 lesson after next Wednesday.

Have you considered adoption or what God’s Word says about our adoption?

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