Bible reading in 2017

Christmas means there’s only a week left to plan your Bible reading strategy for the New Year! Whether you need to try something new (a chronological plan, for example) or adjust your reading goals to be either more challenging or more doable, here is a list of plans I’ve found to be helpful. There are various formats including mobile and print (my favorite–you can keep a folded up copy in your Bible and physically check off your progress). If none of those options appeals to you…

Tim Challies gives a broader list to choose from. So look around, pray, choose and keep those bookmarks moving!

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

How Firm a Foundation

Is America a Christian nation? Was America a Christian nation?

I know the answer to the first question. I have my doubts about answering the second.

But check this out.

“The use of the Bible being so universal, and its importance so great, to direct the Committee on Commerce to import, at the expense of Congress, twenty thousand English Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the States of the Union.” The report was adopted and the importation was ordered.”

Helpful readings on sexual identity and confusion

Kevin DeYoung’s thought experiment illustrates the harm we do by indulging self-perceptions that are out of sync with biological reality.

Speaking of self-perceptions, here John Piper gets at the heart of the sexual confusion of our day while answering a simple question about using the bathroom.

For this principle to hold, liberty is the right to define one’s own existence, God must be excluded from the picture, because what it means to be God is that God defines for us the nature of our existence.

 

Andy Webb writes about the pastor’s responsibility to preach and teach about sexual sins and perversions from the pulpit. We must not shy away from the subject because their are children in the pews. Rather, because there are children present, we must begin teaching them and warning them about the sins our world will tempt them with. He studied the preaching of prior generations on the 7th commandment and found certain periods of history were more faithful than ours in preaching against adultery from the pulpit. Here’s a bit from the end of his article:

Additionally while this is not a theological benefit, children who have been taught about sexual sin and it’s cause from an early age have fewer delusions about the motives of men’s hearts. To date, on the occasions pedophiles have tried to get close to my own children, they’ve immediately suspected their motives and acted accordingly. They’ve known for a long time that there are perverted men and women who are sexually attracted to children, and we believe it’s made them appropriately wary and careful. In a time when men are now being admitted to women’s locker rooms, toilets and changing rooms, that kind of caution is becoming more and more necessary for children of all ages.

 

Teaching on this subject is also necessary that if we are ever going to overcome the tendency to treat sexual sin as normal in the church. Sexual immorality no longer shocks our society, but it should shock Christians, we should be shocked by these sins as much as the ancient Israelites should have been shocked by the abominations of the surrounding Canaanite people.

 

On the charge of discrimination

This article at the Gospel Coalition is a helpful summary of why religious freedom legislation like that signed by our governor are not tantamount to discrimination against African Americans in the Jim Crow era. Here is my quick summary. Please click through and read the article for a better and clearer understanding (it’s a quick read, I promise).

  1. Jim Crow laws were laws. In other words segregation was a legal requirement that violated people’s consciences. That is not the case in the current LGBTQwerty crisis. No one is required to refuse LGBT customers.
  2. The LGBTQ view is widely celebrated in our culture today. In fact, some of the businesses where owners are sued for not participating in homosexual marriages have knowingly and happily employed LGBTQwerty people and served them in many ways that do not violate the owners’ consciences. In other words Christian business owners have obeyed their consciences by befriending, hiring and serving LGBT customers AND refusing to participate in their weddings. So it’s not a segregation issue.
  3. For every business that will not perform a service for a homosexual couple, there are hundreds of competitors who will (see #1).

 

 

The Only Voting Guide You’ll Ever Need

At least the voter should know what it says.

The ballot may not be clear.  Our convictions should be.

Yes, there are other good voting guides out there that I could recommend. AFA has one here. With our primary coming up in a week, we ought to make sure we know who we’re voting for and why.

But with that in mind, I think this article by pastor Kevin DeYoung is particularly helpful. You can use it not just for the current election season but for every future election both local and national from now until the end of your voting eligibility. It also serves as a helpful prayer guide for whoever ends up winning those elections.

We must vote in faith. We trust no candidate to be our Savior. That office has been filled. But faithfulness to our Savior and Lord means our vote will reflects our faith. Do we vote like the world votes? Or do we really believe the Scriptures, that “blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD?” Does God only glorify Himself in my own personal and private life or does He also operate on a national, even global, scale? If He is Lord of all, isn’t He also Lord of elections?

The Lord surely is not neutral about political philosophies, policies, positions or pundits. Please read Pastor DeYoung’s article and vote by faith.

Matthew’s Gospel

Matthew Advent

The world is a dark place as nations and false religions violently contend for supremacy. But the Lord has already sent His chosen King. And Earth’s last King is still on His throne. Who is He? Where is His kingdom? Are you in His kingdom? If not, so what? If not, why not? If not, how can you get there?

Please join us on Sunday mornings this winter to hear the good news as told to us by Matthew.

New Sermon Series: Titus

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Beginning September 20, we will study Paul’s letter to Titus.

Paul wrote this epistle to a young pastor in a difficult location–the island of Crete. With an unorganized church filled with rebellion and surrounded by vice, where could Titus even begin to put things in order? And what help can we find for our church as we face a rapidly degenerating culture and a church still haunted by sin’s persistent threats?

Dates for fall activities…

It just looks like a Wednesday night, doesn’t it?

Coming up in September:

  • September 6–Promotion day for Sunday School classes
  • September 9–Wednesday Night Fellowship resumes with pitch-in at 6:30 and Bible studies from 7-8.
  • September 13–Men’s prayer breakfast at 7:30 in FLC.