The Sovereignty of God Part 1 – Don’t Waste Your Chastisement

As we have been working our way through the prophet Isaiah at our church, we have just completed a series of expositional messages on Isaiah 9 and 10. In these chapters, the prophet makes it clear that the people of Judah were terrified by the threat of the Assyrians. They were shaking like trees and Isaiah speaks directly to their situation. These chapters highlight the sovereignty of God and its implications for a people who fear. The first message in this series is titled “Don’t Waste Your Chastisement.”

One of the great lapses in understanding the sovereignty of God exists when you think that what is happening to you has nothing to do with God’s sanctifying ministry in your life. You think that natural causes are operating when in fact, God is speaking to you through them. For, example, when adversity strikes, there is often no reflection as to why various problems have surfaced in your life. Instead of learning lessons from the past, we simply press on to greater heights. This is exactly what the people of Judah were doing. Isaiah confronts Judah for this unthinking approach regarding their calamities. They had misused their discipline. Out of their pride and arrogance of heart that they were simply moving on quickly from their discipline without careful reflection. In effect, they were ignoring their discipline.  It is like saying, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade.” Move on. Don’t quit. Don’t stop. Don’t evaluate. Don’t repent. Not paying attention to their chastisements was simply a result of pride and arrogance. He says in effect, “don’t waste your chastisement.”

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Dealing With Disagreements Among Christians

Alexander Strauch wrote a very helpful book, If You Bite and Devour One Another,” explaining the dangers that exist in Christian community when love is challenged by controversy and other matters. We are all challenged to love especially when there are disagreements. Passions soar. Accusations fly. Misunderstandings multiply.  Misrepresentations abound. But, God assumes we will have these struggles, so he provides specific commands for us. Strauch’s book is full of these admonitions. All of them promote love.  In the same spirit, John Piper has written on this subject in one of his recent books. Justin Taylor posted this wonderful excerpt on his blog, on A Way to Pray in a Time of Controversy

Here it is,

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Southwest Family Vision Conference in Phoenix, AZ

Today we’re down in Phoenix Arizona with Jason Young and Kevin Swanson at the Southwest Family Vision Conference. During his opening message at the conference, on establishing a multi-generational vision, Mr. Brown said this:

“You’re not just training your children, you’re training your children to teach their children. You are teaching teachers. What are we teaching? The gospel!. We need to have the right understanding of what a multi-generational family vision is. It’s not about creating an nice family for yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about establishing a kind of family life which casts a vision of the future to the next generation that is defined by preaching the true gospel. We’re praying that God, by His Word and as an act of the Holy Spirit would raise up a generation that would proclaim the gospel of His salvation, His strength and His works to their posterity.”

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A Common Tragedy in Family Life – The Gospel is Not Heard

I continue to be convinced that the revival of biblical family life is one of the most pressing needs of our era for the spread of the gospel. Why? God has designed the family to be the first place the gospel is preached and heard in a human being’s life. If the family is in spiritual disarray, then the communication of the gospel is compromised. In fact, the gospel may NEVER be heard until adulthood. This is such a tragedy – a living soul is deprived of the most wonderful and beneficial thing in human experience – the gospel. Every period of history has its crises and the breakdown of the family is one of the greatest crises that ever comes upon a people. It is almost impossible for people living in our era to recover biblical family life. The culture is structured against the most important things of family life.

That is why, this weekend I will be traveling for a conference in the Phoenix area – The Southwest Family Vision Conference. I will be meeting with a group of elders and deacons on Thursday night, then delivering five messages on Friday and Saturday, and preaching at Heritage Baptist Church on Sunday.

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John MacArthur on Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

This question, “Should fallen pastors be restored?” raises one of the important and yet debatable matters that must be considered when a leader is involved in egregious sin. One of the voices speaking on this question is John MacArthur. He registers his concern for the frequency of a quick “restoration” of leaders and “Restoration teams — equipped with manuals to instruct the church on how to reinstate their fallen pastor.” In contrast, he maintains that there are sins which permanently disqualify, and that there are sins against the body that cause irreparable damage to a man’s station as leader.

Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

John MacArthur

Over the years as I’ve watched church leaders bring a reproach on the church of Jesus Christ. What’s shocking to me is how frequently Christian leaders sin grossly, then step back into leadership almost as soon as the publicity dies away. (more…)

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Ever Cheerful at Age 91

My dad recently turned 91 years old. On his birthday, my son David and I, sons-in-law Taylor Tsantles and Peter Bradrick, and three of my grandsons took him out for lunch – FOUR GENERATIONS present.

It was a joy. My Dad is always cheerful, inquisitive, learning, reading, and questioning … all while being very funny, often coming up with remarkable one-liners.

He asked us science questions during the lunch like, “Is there more fresh water in the rivers and lakes or in the clouds?” After giving us the answer, he gave each of us some counsel on what we should do with the rest of our lives. He spoke about purity and setting our minds on only pure things. He concluded with another one-liner: “You need to get the Drano and pour it into the ‘Brain-O.’” I thank the God of heaven and earth and all that there is that He gave me a happy father.

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Five Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy People

Infographic courtesy of AmExOPENForum via Visually.

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It’s a New Year – But Let’s Not Move On So Fast

One of my favorite parts of the year are the days surrounding New Year’s Day. It is a time of evaluation, celebration and contrition as I look back on the previous year. One reason I love this season is that the changing of the years is a reminder from heaven that God brings some things to a close and opens up new doors. I have always taken the changing of the year as an act of kindness from the Lord. It is also a time of planning and excitement as I consider the new year.

As we look back and evaluate, 2013, and our entry into a new year, Isaiah 9:9-10 is particularly relevant. Providentially, as a result of our expository studies in Isaiah in our church, I will be preaching on this text on Sunday. One of the critical points that Isaiah makes relates to how we look on the trials and tribulations that have come upon us. In this text, Isaiah calls Judah to be careful not to move on too fast after a trial.

Unfortunately, in Isaiah’s day, the people of Judah experienced trials and tribulations, but they did not take time to listen to the Lord. He struck them in order to turn their hearts toward Him, but instead of crying out to God in repentance and for wisdom, they just moved on in arrogance. They were a prideful self sufficient people,  “Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.” Instead of meditation on the ways God might have chastized them, they are simply moving on to bigger and better things.  Let us not make that terrible mistake as we enter into the new year.

As we look back on the problems and trials of 2013, we often move on too fast and forget to ask, “what do these trials mean?  What does the Lord want me to learn from them?  What lessons are there to learn?”  Did God chasten me, and if so, how should I respond?”  Have I sufficiently understood how the Lord was correcting me? This is simply another way of saying what Socrates already said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

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2013 Year in Review

Click the image above to check out our 2013 flip book.

 

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Celebrating My Parents 66th Year of Marriage

I am so grateful for love on this, my parents 66th year of marriage.


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Should We Celebrate Christmas?

Each year, I receive letters asking my thoughts about the celebration of Christmas. So last year, I posted over a dozen articles on the subject of Christmas expressing a number of different perspectives from respectable men. Here they are below.  My view is that it would be very unwise to refrain from evaluating this holiday from a strictly biblical perspective. Further, it is helpful to get perspective. One beneficial way to do this is to consult the historical record to consider what others in previous generations have thought about Christmas. These articles are written by men who have tried to think biblically about Christmas. No one will agree with all of them. My counsel is that we all carefully scrutinize all cultural practices in the light of Scripture, listen to godly counsel, and be faithful to obey the Lord as He convicts us. It is important to preserve love, and continue the dialog.

What about Christmas? Ponder through the Twelve Days of Christmas series and test each of them by the Word of God.

Day 1: Sermon by Charles Spurgeon

Day 2: Jonathan Edwards on Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s

Day 3: XMAS by A.W. Pink

Day 4: John Piper

Day 5: George Whitefield

Day 6: Brian Schwertly

Day 7: John MacArthur on the Christmas Tree

Day 8: A Scottish Covenanter – George Gillespie – on Christmas

Day 9: Two Sermons Commenting on Christmas Observance from Charles Spurgeon

Day 10: The Puritans on Christmas

Day 11: Did We Celebrate Christmas in Early American History?

Day 12.1: More Quotes from the 17th to the 19th Centuries

Day 12.2: What Roman Catholics Say About Christmas

Day 12.3: Christmas and the Use of Time

Day 12.4: R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer

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Expository Preaching as Prostration Before God

Here, Craig Houston shares what is the beginning of wisdom for those who preach the Word of God.

 

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Music in the Worship of God

There has been significant discussion recently regarding matters of music. In this video I focus on the use of music in the worship of God which is distinctly different than music in general.

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The Gospel: The Worst of Me Was Laid on Him and the Best of Him Was Laid on Me

Here is a wonderful explanation of the Gospel by Steven Lawson

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Give Me More Boring Men

The picture of a husband in Ephesians 5:22-33 is such a dramatic contrast to the he-man, chest-beating image that we often see today – even in Christian circles. The Bible exalts husbands who model humility and service toward their wives instead of parading themselves in the public spotlight. Godly husbands fulfill their responsibilities in both the public sphere and also in private, when no one else is looking.

Ann Voskamp has captured some of the really practical elements of this in her article,  ”The Real Truth About ‘Boring’ Men — and the Women Who Live With Them.” She defines and gives a glimpse of the “boring” man. We need more of them. I need more of this kind of “boring” myself.

Included below are some excerpts from the article that I especially liked: (more…)

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