Saturday, December 22, 2007

His Name Means Savior

Another quote via my friend, Jeff....

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

The name Jesus means "Savior." ...It is given to our Lord because "He saves His people from their sins."...He saves them from the guilt of sin, by washing them in His own atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin, by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves them from the presence of sin, when He takes them out of this world to rest with Him. He will save them from all the consequences of sin, when He shall give them a glorious body at the last day.

Taken from the book Expository Thoughts on the Gospels by J.C. Ryle 1856

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mortification of Sin

Another quote from a Puritan father via my friend Jeff Haavisto:

"The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business, all their days, to mortify the indwelling power of sin. (Romans 8:13)"

Taken from the book The Mortification of Sin by John Owen 1656

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Advent Bible Readings

There are a number of places you can find bible readings for the advent season. After searching around for a list that was concise and meaningful I found the following at I think it is very good and I hope it serves you as you prepare your heart to celebrate the birth of the King!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thoughts from the Puritan Fathers

Once again, sorry for my lapse in blogging. As you may imagine it is a lower priority for me among the many facets of life as a husband, dad and pastor.

Anyhow, I thought I would start to feature some of the many quotes my friend Jeff Haavisto regularly sends me from his readings. Here are five posts from John Flavel. Enjoy!

The remembrance of former providences will minister to your souls continual matter of praise and thanksgiving, which is the very employment of the angels in heaven, and the sweetest part of our lives on earth.

There are five things belonging to the praise of God, and all of them have relation to His providences exercised in us:

1) A careful observation of the mercies we receive from Him (Isa. 41:17-20). This is fundamental to all praise. God cannot be glorified for the mercies we never noted.

2) A faithful remembrance of the favours received. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalms 103:2). Hence the Lord brands the ingratitude of His people, "They soon forgot His works" (Psalms 106:13).

3) A due appreciation and valuation of every providence that does us good (1 Sam. 12:24). That providence that fed them in the wilderness with manna was a most remarkable providence to them; but since they did not value it at its worth, God had not that praise for it which He expected (Num. 11:6).

4) The stirring up of all the faculties and powers of the soul in the acknowledgement of these mercies to us. Thus David: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name” (Psalms 103:1). Soul-praise is the very soul of praise: this is the very fat and marrow of that thank-offering.

5) A suitable recompense for the mercies received. This David was careful about (Psalms 116:1). And the Lord taxes good Hezekiah for the neglect of it (2 Cor. 32:24-25). This consists in a full and hearty resignation to Him of all that we have received by providence from Him, and in our willingness actually to part with all for Him when He shall require it.

Taken from the book The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel 1678

Thanks Jeff!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

John Newton's Calvinism

I was meditating on James 3:13-18 today. It speaks of recognizing Godly wisdom versus worldly wisdom with a particular application to teachers (see context ie James 3:1.) Check it out:

"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. "

James 3:13-18 (ESV)

As I thought of the qualities of Godly wisdom versus worldly wisdom in this passage I thought of John Newton, the 18th Century pastor, theologian and hymn writer who displayed the meekness and purity of Godly wisdom James talks especially in how he held his "Calvinism"1.

Check out this quote:
“I believe a too hasty assent to Calvinistic principles, before a person is duly acquainted with the plague of his own heart, is one principal cause of that lightness of profession which so lamentably abounds in this day, a chief reason why many professors are rash, heady, high-minded, contentious about words, and sadly remiss as to the means of Divine appointment [they deny means of grace]. For this reason, I suppose, though I never preach a sermon in which the tincture of Calvinism man not be easily discerned by a judicious hearer, yet I very seldom insist expressly upon those points, unless they fairly and necessarily lie in my way.” 2

I want to hold and live out truth with the same humility, sober self-examination and gracious God-centered intent! Oh God, help me to avoid arrogance masquerading as doctrinal discernment and measure my orthodoxy by gentle and gracious Christlikeness according to James 3:13-18.

1. Calvinism, simply put, is the conviction, derived from the bible, that God is the ultimate source and final reason for our salvation in Christ.
2. John Newton as quoted by Josiah Bull in BUT NOW I SEE, Josiah Bull, Banner of Truth Trust, 1868 & 1998, p. 212-213.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Grieving the Holy Spirit and GameCube

I was reviewing my notes from Communion with God and came across this quote:
“We can also grieve the Holy Spirit in his work as Comforter. As Comforter, the Spirit seals us, anoints us, establishes us and gives us peace and joy. We grieve the Holy Spirit, firstly by placing our comforts and joys in other things and not being filled with joy in the Holy Spirit.” John Owen1

I was challenged to consider how I recreate and relax and whether some of my pursuits may grieve the Spirit, not because they are high-handed sin, but because I pursue them apart from fellowship with the Spirit. The extra time on GameCube last night didn't seem to be fellowship with God but trying to get to the next level in the game. Oh God, help me to always walk close to you in all things - even GameCube!

May you know joyful fellowship with the Holy Spirit in all your pursuits today!

God Bless,

1. John Owen, Communion with God, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991, p. 114

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Team??

I have been a Patriot’s fan my whole life. I even had a shirt as a kid with “Boston Patriots” on it. I played linebacker and guard in high school cheering for my heroes, 3 time Pro-Bowler Steve Nelson and Hall-of-Famer John Hannah.

I have celebrated all the recent success along with so many other Pats fans - three Superbowls, a team famous for teamwork more than individual stardom, the amazing comeback of Tedy Bruschi and one of the best coached teams ever.

I think it is entirely appropriate for us to enjoy sports and celebrate God's common grace on display through athletics. As part of this reality, I believe we love to cheer for teams not merely because they are athletically gifted but because they represent something greater than just raw talent. We love to cheer for teams because they represent God-given virtue. We love teams that represent honest hard work, selflessness, teamwork, tenacity, innovation and success. Take away these virtues and there is less to cheer about. I have particularly enjoyed the Patriots because until recently they seemed to embody the best of these qualities in professional sports.

The recent “Videogate” scandal along with Rodney Harrison’s suspension for HGH use puts a serious damper on my enthusiasm for the team. Owner Bob Kraft has stated, “We have spent 14 years developing and building a franchise that people could embrace and support. The loyalty of our fans has been the most rewarding aspect of owning the team. I am deeply disappointed that the embarrassing events of this past week may cause some people to see our team in a different light.” This has certainly been true for me.

Let’s hope that the organization will recommit themselves to something even more important than winning games. Let’s hope they recommit themselves to being a team that through integrity and virtue wins our loyalty, respect and enthusiasm once again.

Photo courtesy

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Flaw of the Excluded Middle

    I have been recently reading a book given to me by a friend on evangelism. In it the author points to an article by the late missiologist Paul Hiebert entitled “The Flaw of the Excluded Middle”. The article is about how people live life at three levels.

    The bottom level involves those aspects of life directly encountered with the senses. At this level we plant and harvest crops, build homes, take out the garbage, fix broken stuff and other seemingly simple things.

    The top level deals with those things which are beyond what the mere senses can grasp, the things that are transcendant such as the meaning of life, destiny, true beauty and the infinite nature of God.

    The middle level is that between the bottom and the top where we deal with more immediate yet still profound questions to do with the past, the present and the near future. Things like accidents, tragedies, serendipitous discoveries and unexpected turns of events occupy the middle and it is here that much of life is interpreted and experienced.

    Many people experience their Christianity in the top level but not in the middle or bottom level. Heibert himself found this to be a challenge in his work in missions in India. He found that professing believers would often turn to shamans and luck charms when it came to dealing with life in "the excluded middle." I have found it a challenge at times in my own life to experience God in "the excluded middle." "Can I really trust God to provide for my children's college education?" "Will I be able to perform well in my vocation over the long haul?" "Will I have to endure this arthritic knee and locking shoulder for the rest of my life?" "Why do I feel depressed in the morning so often and how can I change?" Do you identify? I don't think I'm alone.

    Yet, the testimony of scripture is that God is present in the bottom, the top and the middle and calls us to invite him to bring the experience of salvation and the truth of the gospel into every level of life. His word is replete with this invitation both implicitly and explicitly.

Psalm 139 says,
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.”

And Mt. 28:20 - “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age!” .

And the cry of the Seraphim in Isaiah 6:3 -
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

(note - the whole earth, not just the transcendent!)

    So much of the exhortations in scripture that flow from the context of the grace of God have all three tiers in mind. Take a look at Ephesians and watch how Paul masterfully blends the transcendent with the seemingly mundane and everything in between. The celebration of the glorious grace of God, his eternal decree in election and the revealing of his great mystery in Christ flows into the call to practically love and enjoy our church, our families, our spouse, our employees in every aspect of life. All of life is to be worship and the experience of God.

    I have found two things to be very helpful in this – remembering the gospel & prayer. In every situation and challenge I am learning to ask “What does the gospel say about this?” "Do I need to apply the forgiveness purchased by Christ's atonement?" "Is their a promise inherent in the gospel that I must cling to?" "Is their a truth about God and myself from the gospel which I must understand?" There are a number of these sort of “gospel questions” we can ask. I recommend Mike Bullmore’s article and teaching entitled, “Applying the Gospel to All of Life” to get a more complete picture of this.

    And the other thing is prayer – learning to take all things – whether issues at the bottom, middle or top of life and bringing them before our ever near God in prayer, crying out to him and depending on him, seeking his presence. As I have been able to do these two practices, with the help of the Holy Spirit and those around me, I have been able to avoid living life without God in the normally, “excluded middle.”

Hope this helps!

God Bless,

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Summer Has Ended (more or less)

Hey everyone,

Haven't posted in a while - sorry. But, you can catch some of our Sunday messages at . I am very excited about our current series in James. Thank God for this wonderful book!

I hope to post some more soon. For now, here are some pictures of our summer - we had a very full summer. But, we are looking forward to starting our year and enjoying early fall here!

God Bless!

We had a wonderful summer of ministry including a great VBS in early July!

And a youth outreach team visit in early June! (also two youth conferences in Aug!!)

Enjoyed lots of times with friends - here with the Rosses in the mountains, Mid July 07

Caleb went to Worldview Academy July 07
some crazy cliff jumping near Mt. Washington, NH - mid July 07

The biggest pickerel I've ever caught! mid July 07

Celebrating Mary's birthday at Canoby Lake Park, late Jul 07

And a new member of the family, Lilly the kitten - late Jul 07

As always, lots of time at the beach 20 minutes away - mid Aug 07

Hanging out in Plymouth with our long-time friends, the Gordons. Aug 07

Tubing on the Merrimack with the Benvenutis - late Aug 07

The end of a wonderful afternoon on the Merrimack with the Benvenutis late Aug 07

And now for September with all its blessings!

Friday, August 03, 2007

What is Walking?

(This is the 3rd part in a series on King of Grace's mission statement:

       Wholeheartedly loving God and one another
        by Worshiping, Witnessing and Walking in
        the good news of Jesus Christ for all of life.)

Walking is an image the bible uses to portray am ongoing action of relating to someone or something. In Genesis 5 & 6 the patriarchs are described as "walking with God." Later, in the New Testament, we are exhorted to "walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16, Romans 8:4 ESV), and "as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him," (Colossians 2:6 et al.) Furthermore, the bible teaches us that our walk is not an individualized walk, but a walk with Jesus Christ together with the people of God. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7 ESV)

So for us, walking is a convenient word that portrays the call of God to walk with him as a corporate people - as his church. Our walking with God together involves connecting with the church family & building relationally around the good news of Christ, growing together in Christ likeness, caring for one another according to our different needs and with our various gifts, and serving together in our church and in our community and beyond.

Please come and visit us and check out what we mean by walking with God together.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What is Witnessing?

(This is the 2nd part in a series on King of Grace's mission statement.)

Our mission is as a church to be:

Wholeheartedly loving God and one another
by Worshiping, Witnessing and Walking in
the good news of Jesus Christ for all of life.

I want to talk a little about "witnessing". Witnessing is the simple act of "telling it as it is", that is, telling it as you have seen it and experienced it. As Christians we are to simply and humble witness to the joyful reality of Jesus Christ as our all sufficient Savior from sin and all its repercussions as well as our all worthy Lord over all our lives and all of creation.

We believe that witnessing to Jesus Christ in our lives is a natural overflow to our experience. We all witness to something. Usually that something is what is most important to us. A proud father witnesses to his son's achievments. A enthusiastic fan witnesses to the exploits of her sports heroes. Similarly, for the Christian, we testify to the blessings of the good news of Jesus Christ.

This involves demonstrating to others the lifestyle of following Christ as well as explaining & declaring the truth behind it. Demonstration and declaration are two key elements to being effective witnesses to anything. We are instructed this way in scripture: Romans 1:16 (ESV) says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." and in Matthew 5:16 (ESV) Jesus says, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." And Jesus also says in John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

And so, at King of Grace Church we seek to witness to the reality of Jesus Christ in how we live, how we love and what we say. We seek to do this in every arena of life in which we live that we might shine his light and see many others come to know, enjoy and worship the King and Savior who will one day soon come back to complete his reign over all of creation.

In pursuing this call to witness we affirm the following points:

  • We affirm that a right approach to witnessing springs from a gospel-motivated grace-empowered joy-filled engagement with the our families, our friends, our community and our culture.

  • We pursue a multi-faceted, relationally based, church-wide ministry of outreach.

  • We pursue a church-wide culture of mission with the equippers equipping, the ministers ministering.

  • We believe in a deep and broad community and cultural engagement.

  • We pursue a love for and involvement with our communities, not isolation from nor abandonment of the culture.

  • We exist to be a church-planting church.

That is what we mean by witnessing. We invite you to come and witness with us to the wonderful news and experience of Jesus Christ, Savior and Lord.

God Bless, Paul

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


(This is the 1st part in a series on King of Grace's mission statement.)

Our mission is as a church to be:

Wholeheartedly loving God and one another
by Worshiping, Witnessing and Walking in
the good news of Jesus Christ for all of life.

Let's talk about worship. Worship is a contraction from the old english word worth-ship. That is, worship is assigning worth to someone or something. Worship is something we all do in one way or another. We all, as beings created in the image of God, assign worth to everything. Ultimately, the question is, "What is most worthy?" and therefore "what do we desire most?"

We believe that above all other things and all creatures the Creator is supremely worthy and satisfying. Romans 11:36 (ESV) says, "For from him and through him and to him are all things." and in John 17:24 (ESV) Jesus says, "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me.." David prays, "Your steadfast love is better than life!" Psalm 63:3 (ESV) and Jesus says in John 17:3 (ESV) "And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

God's glory is manifest throughout all creation in the mind-blowing diversity of life, in the majesty of mountains, thunderstorms, the ocean and space. His goodness is seen in the stability of creation and his care for the vastness of humanity in health, life and daily bread. God's glory is most profoundly displayed in his excellent Son, Jesus Christ and his perfect life, substitutionary death and universe shaking resurrection from the dead.

The greatest tragedy of fallen man is that we have exchanged that which is most precious and worthy for lesser things as Romans 1 describes.
"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Romans 1:21-25, ESV)

The good news is that Jesus Christ has come to rescue us from the insanity of living for lesser things to live for God in all things. Our redemption in Jesus Christ includes a restoration to true worship of God in all that we do. 1 Peter 2 says:
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."(1 Peter 2:9-10, ESV)

So, at King of Grace Church we pursue worship in all of life. We worship corporately on Sundays in singing, sharing and the preaching of God's word, and we seek to worship throughout the week in all that we do. Worship is a way of life and not just a single act. The Westminster Shorter Chatechism puts it this way: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

That is what we mean by worship - glorifying and enjoying God in all of life. He is most worthy and most enjoyable. We invite you to come and worthship with us at King of Grace.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blogging Isn’t Christian Community

Hey everybody, my apologies to any who check out the blog regularly. It has been over a month since my last post. That leads into what I want to write about today. That is..

Blogging Isn’t Christian Community.

While Blogs have good purposes one is not Christian community. Take a look at Ephesians 4:1-16, study 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, meditate on Romans 12:3-13 and consider that the biblical picture of the people of God speaks of personal, regular, familiar and inextricably interrelated gospel-centered fellowship in the context of a local gathering of believers.

We are in danger in our fragmented, broken but techno-saavy culture of seeking technologically empowered alternatives to true community. Since we find it difficult to build regular, personal, informed relationships because of suburban sprawl, 10-hour workdays and just plain ignorance we run to things that seem to supply what is lacking but are missing key elements of true community. So we blog, we chat, we watch reality TV and we temporarily feel connected .... but not really.

Have you ever felt like that? I have and I confess that I have sought the cheap alternative to true biblical relationship through the internet. Nothing replaces the biblical alternative!

May I suggest that if we are doing this we take a break from the blog world and take the time instead to build relationships with other believers in our local church. Call someone up, invite them to coffee, invite them to pray with you, go for a walk together, write a note of encouragement, have them over for dinner, play charades together, study and apply the word together, help someone do home maintenance, babysit for a couple. Join a small group and attend it faithfully, even when it seems inconvenient. True biblical fellowship will often be inconvenient but it is worth it!

If you are not a member of a local church find one that submits to the scriptures and keeps the gospel and all its glorious implications front and center. Change jobs and move to another part of the country if you have to in order to find this but make this a priority.

Let's stop anesthetizing ourselves to our need for true Christian community with virtual community.

May God bless you as you pursue the promise of Hebrews 10:

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some [like sometimes in the blog/chat world], but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Hebrews 10:24-25 [ESV]

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Grieving, Praying & Remembering

The tragedy of the VT massacre hits home for every American. We are each left with a hollow feeling in our gut and a torrent of confusion in our mind. Add to this the media deluge and the plethora of talking heads all trying to analyze, understand and learn from this tragedy. And then throw it all into the frenetic activism of a society that thinks it can somehow create a perfect world where troubled youths don’t become psychopaths and every kid is safe from evil and you end up with this tempest of national angst.

What are we to do amidst all this?

Here are a three suggestions:

1. Grieve, weep and mourn with those who mourn, without trying to bring trite or Pollyanna answers to people deeply affected by this tragedy. (See John Piper’s apropos comments from 911 here. )

2. Pray for the families affected and the VT community. (See Tim Challies listing of prayer requests from pastors on site here, see a list of the victims here and pray for their families and friends.)

3. Remember
a. Remember that the world we live in is fallen, peopled by fallen human beings who are capable, at times, of great evil and not inherently worthy of a life free from tragedy and death. (See John Piper’s thoughts here.)
b. Remember that God came as a man amidst all this evil to rescue us from ourselves and our society and Satan – the three sources of evil. (See Al Mohler’s thoughts here.)
c. Remember that God is in control and short of the return of his Son, he does not guarantee us safety but ultimate salvation. (Listen to an excellent message from CJ Mahaney on this here.)

May God bless you and use you as you grieve, pray and remember truth.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter Thoughts and An Invitation

I have been celebrating Easter since I was a little kid. Most of my early memories are of spring mornings, baskets full of candy and clip-on bow ties, eating ham at Grandma’s and ambrosia fruit salad for breakfast. I also remember Easter morning worship in church and how the church would have the tabernacle (the ornate box that contained the communion bread) open on Sunday morning signifying that our Savior had risen from the dead.

It was always a special morning but it wasn’t until I was 17 years old that I really understood the magnitude of the meaning, for me and for all humanity. As a matter of fact, now at 42 I am still yearning to better comprehend this most profound event of all cosmic history! It is well stated in "The Gospel Song" -

"Holy God, in love, became
Perfect man to bear my blame
On the cross he took my sin
By his death I live again"

"..Jesus our Lord,
who was delivered up for our trespasses
and raised for our justification."
Rom. 4:24b-25 (ESV)

A message so simple that a child can understand but so profound that not even the most gifted theologian can fully grasp its significance!

May you enjoy all the blessings of Easter but most of all, may you stand in awe of Jesus Christ, Risen Savior and Lord, and your forgiveness and new life in Him today!

He Is Risen!

Happy Easter &
Please celebrate with us this Sunday if you can!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ah, Warmah Weathah

One thing about New England - we have great summers and we appreciate them. Walking with my wife Peg today was glorious in 60 degree weather. Though we love the snow it is great to be looking forward to summer - check out some of our summer pics!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thy Kingdom Come!

This past Sunday I spoke on prayer from the Lord’s prayer, Mt. 6:9-13. (You can check out the message here.) Our Savior instructs us to pray,

“Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”

I was struck by the audacity of this request! Certainly it pertains to the return of the King at the end of this age and his consummation of all that he has been commissioned to accomplish. But, it also relates to this current age where the kingdom has already come and is growing, though not yet complete.

Have you ever thought about how much our view of the kingdom affects your Christian life? If you think the kingdom is not here until the end or the church is merely surviving until Jesus comes back than you will tend to be defensive in your posture and perhaps even to seclude yourselves from greater society, hoping you can preserve some remnant of Christian goodness in a world gone mad. You will tend to think more about the glory days of old rather than what God would do in our generation. You might find yourselves pining for the glory days of the Great Awakening instead of expecting a glorious Great Awakening for your own days.

I think scripture paints a very different picture of the church age and the kingdom’s expansion in this age. Check out Daniel 2:44, Mk. 1:15, Mk. 4:30-34, Luke 11:20, 13:18-21, 17:20-21 among many others. The kingdom has come and is to be ever-expanding. Yes, this will be amidst suffering and persecution but, in the midst of this he will build his church and his church will overwhelm the gates of hell and not be subject to them. The gospel will go to every nation as Jesus promised and it will bear fruit everywhere it goes as in the book of Acts!

If we believe the kingdom has come and is to be ever growing. And if we believe the gospel is to go to all nations drawing many into the kingdom before the end. Then we will posture ourselves aggressively and in faith in our outreach and evangelism. Perhaps our God would be pleased to duplicate here what has gone on in Korea over the past generation. In one generation Christianity in South Korea went from 1 million believers to 45 million believers – that is 1/3 the population - doubling in number every decade from 1960 to 2000[1]!

Isn’t that fantastic! Can not our God do the same here in New England? Scripture teaches us to pray for this.

Thy Kingdom Come O Lord! Whatever it takes O God! Thy Kingdom Come in New England in our generation, through our lives and through your beloved church to your great reknown for this is none like You! Thy Kingdom Come!

[1] Andrew E. Kim , History of Christianity in Korea: From Its Troubled Beginning to Its Contemporary Success,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Blessing is in the Doing!

Wow -the book of James is great!

I just spent some time in James preparing a message entitled, "The Blessing is in the Doing!" It seems James central concern is for authentic faith versus hollow faith. As I meditated on this wonderful book it seemed the entire book could be understood in terms of the hearer-only versus the doer of the word. Here are 15 differences I found in James.

15 Differences Between the Doer and the Hearer Only
from the book of James.
1. The doer measures maturity by his doing, not his knowing, the hearer-only measures maturity by his knowing. (James 1:22-25, 3:13-18)
2. The doer understands salvation is not merely instantaneous but also a lifelong process, the hearer-only thinks he’s done when he first believes. (James 1:21,25, 2:14-26)
3. The doer is hungry for holiness, the hearer-only sees it as of little importance. (James 1-5)
4. The doer deals in specifics, the hearer-only in vague applications. (James 1-5 i.e. speech, generosity/wealth, humility)
5. The doer is reliant on grace and very glad for it, the hearer-only knows grace but doesn’t know the fullness of its blessing because he hasn’t truly struggled for holiness. (James 1:18, 21)
6. The doer confesses sin, the hearer-only only hides it or is unaware of it. (James 3:14, 5:16)
7. The doer relies on others for his growth in Christ, the hearer-only doesn’t seek this sort of depth in relationships. (James 5:16,19-20)
8. The doer pursues fruit in speech, the hearer-only doesn’t see his need to grow in godly speech. (James 1:26, 3:1-12)
9. The doer pursues fruit in deep relationships, the hearer-only avoids relationships or keeps them shallow. (James 1-5)
10. The doer avoids pride and pursues humility, the hearer-only is blind to his pride. (James 3:13-18)
11. The doer doesn’t boast about tomorrow but recognizes his desperate and daily need for God, the hearer-only can be boastful and self-sufficient and lives for his plans. (James 4:13-17)
12. The doer is prayerful, the hearer-only doesn’t think he needs to be. (James 5:13-18)
13. The doer is sober about becoming a teacher the hearer-only is eager to tell others what he knows. (James 3:1 ff))
14. The doer understands that the test is in trials, the hearer-only fails in trials. (James 1:2-5)
15. The doer’s hope is in the future, the hearer-only seeks comfort now. (James 1:12, 21, 2:5, 5:7-11)

Don't be overwhelmed but consider 1 small step toward becoming a better doer - that is where the blessing is! And remember - doing only can be done because Jesus has already done it all - and our righteousness is already complete in Him!

God Bless!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Rock

I just read this morning a portion of "Preaching Christ in All of Scripture." Wow! Around page 29 Edmund Clowney has a excellent section on Christ as the Rock that was struck in Exodus 17. Take some time today to read 1 Cor. 10:1-5 and then Exodus 17:1-7 and consider these items. 1) The people accused Moses and therefore God of murdering them in the desert. 2) God tells Moses to assemble the elders for judgement 3) Moses is to bring his staff of judgement. 4) God himself will stand on the Rock. 5) Moses passes judgement on the Rock and strikes it with his staff of judgement. 6) God takes the penalty and punishment as the Rock 7) The struck Rock provides water for the people to drink.

What an incredible God we serve – we have accused him, we have maligned him and spurned him yet in Christ he bears the punishment of our sin that we might drink of the eternal waters!

Glory to God!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'm Bored.

Have you ever made the comment "I'm bored" or heard it from your child? Well, it might be a sign of a fundamental misunderstanding of recreation and the benefit of lack of amusement.

Check out this excellent commentary on boredom and media by Justin Taylor. This applies not only to the postmodern but to anybody influenced by modern thought on amusement and recreation.

Check out Short Attention Span Theatre or .

A few questions to go with this:
1) How are we addressing the comment, I'm bored'?
2) How are we training our children (and ourselves) to use spare time to grow versus merely amuse themselves?
3) What recreational habits do we need to change for our own lives?
4) What do biblical rest and recreation look like?



Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An Idiot's Guide to Correction

Thought Eric Simmons blog on biblical correction would be helpful - it sure helps me approach this biblical practice wisely.

Check it out: An Idiot's Guide to Correction

Friday, March 02, 2007

Preach the Word!

We are in a series as a church entitled, "Walking with God Along Pathways of Grace" or, "Pathways of Grace" for short. We have been talking about the importance, blessing and function of the word of God in the life of a believer and the church.

This past Sunday I preached from 2 Tim 3 & 4 on the importance of the preached word. You can check out the message on our web site here.

Three quotes describe the vital relationship between a healthy congregation and the preacher of the word – check these out from Calvin and then about Spurgeon:

"Now the fact is that it [the church] cannot be built up, that is to say, it cannot be brought to soundness, or continue in a good state, except by means of the preaching of the Word. So then, if we earnestly desire that God should be honored and served, and that our Lord should have his royal seat among us peaceably, to reign in the midst of us, if we are his people and are under his protection, if we covet to be built up in him and to be joined to him, and to be steadfast in him to the end; to be short, if we desire our salvation, we must learn to be humble learners in receiving the doctrine of the gospel and in hearkening to the pastors that are sent to us."[1]

"A group of American clergy traveled to England in the nineteenth century to hear the great Charles Spurgeon preach and to tour his church’s facilities. After showing them through the massive sanctuary and remarkable buildings, Spurgeon asked whether they would like to see the "boiler room." The visitors politely declined, but the pastor insisted. He then led them to the church’s basement, where they found a hundred people on their faces in prayer. 'This,' Spurgeon said with a smile, 'is my boiler room.' "[2]

"When people asked the secret of his success, Spurgeon replied, 'My people pray for me.' " [3]

May God bless his under-shepherds as they preach his word to God’s people and may God’s people pray for the preachers that together we be built up for His glory and our good and the salvation of the lost around us!

God Bless, Paul

[1] John Calvin, (Sermons on Ephesians, Banner of Truth, 1973, p.374).
[2] Dr. Jim Denison, Pastor, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, “Studies in 2 Corinthians: Taking Ministry Personally” at
[3] Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Greatest Victorian Preacher, By William P. Farley

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Encouragement from Romans 8

I hope you all are doing well as you find your joy and strength in the Lord and the amazing truth that the God of the universe has personally paid for our sins, forgiven us, counted us righteous in the Son and called us into eternal fellowship with him. When we grasp these gospel truths everything else falls into place!

I have been studying Romans 8 with our kids. It has been sweet to share these truths with them - and we haven't got past verse 13 yet!

There are some amazing promises from God in this wonderful chapter. Chapter 7 describes our sad predicament under sin, a seeming unconquerable foe for the believer. But chapter 8 promises us the God-given means to overcome the penalty, power and presence of sin. Let these verses encourage you:

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8: 1 -4, ESV)

[Our sin was already condemned - therefore there is no condemnation left!]

"Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit" (Romans 8:8-9 a , ESV)

[We can actually please God by the power of the Spirit!!]

"But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness . If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." (Romans 8:10-11, ESV)

[The life we receive from the Spirit starts at conversion and completes its work in the final day of new sinless bodies - yahoo!]

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"" (Romans 8:15, ESV)

[We experience our adoption by the Spirit - God is our "dad" now - wow!]

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." (Romans 8:29, ESV)

[Our destiny in God's great love is to make us like his Son! - amazing grace & love!]

" What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32, ESV)

[Why worry? We are guaranteed "all things", that is, all that is truly necessary!]

Take some time this week to prayerfully meditate on these verses. May God the Holy Spirit speak to your soul through these promises and fill you with faith, hope, love & joy and holiness!