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Graduation Banquet

Kudos’ to whom kudos’ are due. We held another graduation banquet last night honoring five of our graduates from Timberlake High school (Tyler, Jessica, Kyle, Jamie, and Tamara). Kelly Thiel is to be commended for a wonderful job on the Parmesan chicken, salad, green beans, and rolls – makes you hungry doesn’t it. The young people (under classmates) were the servers. A very good looking and fine group of teenagers. They did a fantastic job with serving. Thank you all so much. Chris Rogne, our former music leader was invited to bring his worship band from Real Life, Spokane Valley. They led us in worship – more than just outstanding, it was God glorifying! Chris was also the evening speaker. He spoke some on attitude, and then spoke on being completely sold out to God; giving God your whole life. It was a powerful message for today’s graduates. I also believe that my wife, Debbie, and Carla, as well as the entire youth leadership team needs to be thanked. Each one of you performed well, and the Lord Himself is very pleased with what you accomplished. Keep loving on those kids. I recently read, "God will hide from you much of the fruit he causes in your ministry. You will see enough to be assured of his blessing, but not so much as to think you could live without it." (Dr. Harold John Ockenga). Attached in the photo gallery are some pictures from the night. Enjoy them.



Preaching Insights

Still reading: The Supremacy of God in Preaching. Great book! Highly recommend it. Below you will find some of the great comments included in the book:
Preaching from a trinitarian point of view:
  • The Goal of Preaching: the Glory of God
  • The Ground of Preaching: the Cross of Christ
  • The Gift of Preaching: the Power of the Holy Spirit
Scottish preacher James Stewart said the aims of all genuine preaching are: 1. to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, 2. to feed the mind with the truth of God, 3. to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, 4. to open the heart to the love of God, 5. to devote the will to the purpose of God. 
How fantastic is that? That in itself is preachable material. 
Cotton Mather, who ministered in New England 300 years ago, said, "The great design and intention of the office of a Christian preacher [is] to restore the throne and dominion of God in the souls of men."
Take a moments and read Romans 10:14-15, and then read Isaiah 52:7 – they clearly show us what needs to be on our preaching today. This answers the question as to what the preacher needs to be speaking on today. 
Mather also is quoted as saying, "The great design … of the Christian preacher [is] to restore the thone and dominion of God in the souls of men."
Let us continually cry out: Our God Reigns!
In 2 Cor. 4:5, we read, "For what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord." 
In that verse above we have the essence of Paul’s preaching. 
Piper says, "The goal of preaching is the glory of God reflected in the glad submission of the human heart. And the supremacy of God in preaching is secured by this fact: The one who satisfies gets the glory; the one who gives the pleasure is the treasure."


Repaint, Repaint, Repaint

I’m telling you this funny in light of the pictures I’ve posted of painting our son’s home this past weekend. 

The story is told of a church that needed to paint its building. The pastor called around and got a good sized work crew together. They chose a color to paint the building and then they all started to paint. However, soon it was discovered that there was more building than paint. Someone suggested that they mix the paint with thinner, and that is what they did. By late in the afternoon they were all finished painting the building. It look wonderful, that is, until a quick storm moved in. It started to sprinkle, and then came a massive downpour. The paint on the church began to run off the walls and onto the ground. After the storm passed the people gathered around the pastor and asked, "What are we going to do?" To which the pastor replied, "Repaint, repaint, repaint and thin no more."



Resolutions for Life

   When I use the word resolution I am not speaking of the once a year resolution that many of us make on New Year’s Day. I am speaking of something which has greater influence and great impact on all around us. I am speaking of a major life-change, a transformational way to live ones life. I once read about a guy that wanted to get up in the morning and read his Bible but he couldn’t couldn’t get himself out of his nice warm bed, and so he and a few other guys built a contraption that actually would wind up his blankets right off his body when the alarm clock rang, Now, that is what I call a resolution to better living. 
  
   Today I was reading again about Jonathan Edwards, the great preacher of the 1700’s. While he was preparing for ministry he began to write down resolutions for the way in which he wanted to conduct his daily life. Now I mind you, he wrote out some 70 of them, and not all at the same time. I would like to share with you a few of them here in this blog. Are you ready for something that has the power to alter your life? Here are three of Jonathan Edwards resolutions written over a span of one year (1722-1723). Are you ready to receive some great advice?

   # 1 Resolved, that I
will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory and to my own good,
profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any
consideration of the time, whether now or never so many myriads of ages
hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the
good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever
difficulties I meet with, how ever so many and how ever so great.
  
   # 5 Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
 
   # 28 Resolved, to study the Scripture so steadily, constantly, and frequently that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of them. 

   You and I may not be as eloquent in writing out resolutions, but it is something we might give a try. Here is one that I came up with today:

   # 1 See people through the eyes of God and not through my own sinful eyes. 

   Resolutions are truly something to think about. If you enjoyed this you might get yourself a copy of: Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions. See the information on the sidebar about books. 

 



Is Salvation Secure?

Can you be saved one day and lost the next? This is a question that I just spent time handling on the phone with a senior that is about to graduate from High school. You see, I recently preached in Hebrews 6:4-6, and I taught that these verses are more about security than insecurity. These are not easy verses to deal with, and have been a battleground through the ages. I am only one pastor in the sea of great scholars. However, I believe that we must allow Scripture to interpret Scripture – context is very important. The entire context of Hebrews 1-5 has been addressed to believers, and so is Hebrews 6-4-6. In this chapter there were some believers who were no progressing, not moving on in their walk with the Lord. They were dull of hearing, and lazy was the name of their bones. These believers probably were told that they were not saved because of the lack of progress in their lives. This is where Hebrews 6:4-6 come into play. "It is impossible" which I believe is a key to properly understanding this section of Scripture. How many times is a person born physically? One time! How many times is a person "born-again"? (John 3:3).  We are born once physically, and we are to be born-again one time. There is no such thing as being born-again over and over again. This is what the author of Hebrews is writing about. If we were able to be lost one moment we would have to again crucify Christ, and put Him in open shame. Salvation happens once, and so did Christ’s death. His death, burial, and resurrection are not repeatable events. By faith I receive Jesus Christ as my savior one time, and once for all! The Christian can only progress when they come to the realization that our salvation is all of God. Security in Jesus Christ alone. 


Are your ready for the Storm?

I just finished listening to a sermon preached by Troy Moody at the SLBC this past Sunday 5/23/10. Troy was our guest speaker while I was away in Seattle helping our oldest son and his wife paint their new home. Troy did a fantastic job connecting with our body. His message was very practical, and challenging. It connected with the times in which we are living. Are you and I ready for the storm? It’s coming as Troy said. Presently we are facing some winds, but the hurricane is close. We are seeing lots of things happening on a global scale – oil leak in the Gulf, fighting in Thailand,  failing economy among the European nations, 39 tornado hit the mid-west a week go, jobs are still very scarce in the US. A very bleak picture facing us today. Are we ready? Where is our hope? It must not be on the things around us. Edward Mote got it right when he wrote, "My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name." Our hope is in the person of Jesus Christ alone. Nothing else will suffice – nothing! Yes, Troy was right, we need to be ready. You can hear his message at slbc2u.org (subscribe to podcast). 


12 Practical Pointers for Positive Father Power

I am involved with a study entitled: Tender Warrior, and one of the assignments was to write out a brief plan for carrying out "practical pointers for positive father power." What a great little assignment. I took it to heart and came up with the following plan. Gentlemen, I own it, but you are welcome to borrow it. It’s my plan, but tweak it as you see fit for your own situation in life. One of the suggestions is to write out one or two specifics for each of these main points. I would love to see what you develop. Shoot me of a response. Go ahead and be a man!

  1. Be a man of prayer (Jer. 33:3).
  2. Talk much about our great God (Psa. 95:3).
  3.  Never do something you wouldn’t want your children to
    do.
  4.  Attend Church faithfully (Heb. 10:24-25).
  5. Be a giver – enjoy giving freely (I Cor. 8-9).
  6. Love your wife affectionately and openly before your
    children (Eph. 5:22-33).
  7. Serve actively with purpose (Mark 10:45).
  8. Never put off what needs to be done now.
  9. Be someone’s Paul – mentor younger people (II Tim.
    2:2).
  10. Trust God with
    the impossible (Luke 1:37).
  11. Buy up the
    opportunities to hug your children (Deut. 6:4-9).
  12. Treat people
    the way you want them to treat you (Matt. 7:12).



Books

Will the Ipad and other book readers replace paper bound books? I sure not. However, more and more newspapers and magazines are going totally web based. I think I will miss seeing the paper editions of major newspapers, and major magazines that have been around, well, ever since I can remember. Is this a sign of my age? Have I reached a point in my life where I look over all the technological changes in the past 50 years, and say, Where have the good old days gone? I personally like holding, flipping the pages, and marking in the margins of my books (I know this is very disgusting for you avid book collectors. My books are worth nothing to a collector, but they are worth hundreds, and thousands of dollars to me. Every book I read, I walk away with something important tucked into the memory banks of my hard drive (my own creative genius). Yes, I am a pastor with hundreds of book that line the shelves of my office, and I appreciate the beauty and the quality of each one. Some of them are large and they don’t fit into my backpack very well, but they make a great desktop book, and one that I can open as a personal reference book. I just can’t get enough of good books. I also have some books that are very worn and pages are actually falling out from them. I know you who like the advances of the Kindle, Sony E-reader, or the Nook – pages won’t fall out. However, you do have a battery issue! Got you there, didn’t I? I like placing good reads in the bathroom for those short moments of quiet where I can read a few pages between the "call of duty". I aslo like books at my bed stand that I can reach over and pick up, and read before I fall asleep at night. Yes, there is nothing like a good book to hold in ones hand. I’ll probably some day have a book reader, or at least use an e-reader device (perhaps a new all-purpose smartphone, or some type of implant device into the eye – there is an idea. We can call it "Eye-reader"!). Yes, I love books, and I love toting around pounds of books each day between my home, and my office, and will continue to do so probably until the good Lord calls me home. I need to print a bumper sticker that reads – Old Fashioned Book Reader on Board. Hey, excuse me, I see a book I want to read. 


Nothing but Leaves

In my Bible reading out of Matthew 21, I came across the following words, "He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves," What an indictment upon the nation of Israel. Better yet, what about the Church of the Living God! Where is the fruit today? Where are the workers today in the vineyard? The work never stops – souls need to hear the great gospel message – missionaries need to be sent across the globe – grass needs to be cut around the church building – nursery workers need to watch small infants – disciples must be made. Yes, when Jesus Christ comes a Second time will He find faith on the earth? When He looks into our lives will He find fruit? 


So What?

I read those words today. They were in a book about preaching. The author said, ‘Write those words above your sermon outline, and you probably won’t preach." Wow! Do the words that I have to say on Sunday really mean anything to anyone, or do they go in one ear and out the other? Do the words that come from most pulpits across America fall to the ground, float above the hearer, or do they actually impact those in the pew? So What? That is a good starting place for all preachers. The apostle Paul said it well, and his words echo in my ears, even now, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel…" (Romans 1:16). I also take a passage from 1 Peter 4:10,11 and they become the hallmark when I step up to the pulpit each Sunday. We read, "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." Now, those word make the "So What" a lot more meaningful.