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