Wednesday, July 23, 2008

That You May Believe! Our Series in John

We just finished our series in the gospel of John entitled "That You May Believe: The Signs and Sayings of Christ". What a rich time of learning about our wonderful Savior and finding fresh faith and fresh life in His name!

John 20:31 sums up the purpose and , I trust, our experience of this series: "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31, ESV)

Here is a summary table of our series listing the 7 signs and 7 sayings we looked at along with key memory verses. Enjoy!



The Wedding Miracle

Sign 1, John 2

"and [he] said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him." (John 2:10-11, ESV)

The Sick Son

Sign 3, John 4

"When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death." (John 4:47, ESV)

The Sabbath Healing

Sign 4, John 5

"How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44, ESV)

The Five Thousand Fed

Sign 5, John 6

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:35, ESV)

The Blind Man

Sign 6, John 9

"Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”" (John 9:39, ESV)

Lazarus Raised

Sign 7, John 11

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”" (John 11:25-26, ESV)

Jesus’ Resurrection

Sign 2 & 8, John 2 & 20

"Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”" (John 20:27-29, ESV)

I Am Sayings


The Bread of Life

I Am 1, John 6

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:35, ESV)

The Light of the World

I Am 2, John 8

" Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”" (John 8:12, ESV)

The Good Shepherd & The Door

I Am 3 & 4, John 10

"So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep." (John 10:7, ESV)

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me," (John 10:11, 14, ESV)

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand." (John 10:27-29, ESV)

The Resurrection and the Life

I Am 5, John 11

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”" (John 11:25-26, ESV)

The Way, The Truth & The Life

I Am 6, John 14

" “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" (John 14:1-2, ESV)

"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, ESV)

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. " (John 14:9b, ESV)

The True Vine

I Am 7, John 15

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:1,5, ESV)

The I Am

I AM of I Am's #8, John 8

"Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”" (John 8:58, ESV)

Other key verses

The Word was God

" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1,14, ESV)

The New Birth

"Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”" (John 3:3, ESV)

The Ripe Harvest

"Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest." (John 4:35, ESV)

The Promised Spirit

" On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”" (John 7:37-38, ESV)

The Summary

" Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31, ESV)

A Wonderful VBS

We had an exhilirating and exhausting VBS week July 7-11. We are so so thankful for God's blessing on our "Friendship Trek" VBS!

It was a huge success with almost 60 children attending and learning that Jesus is our “Forever Friend”. The message of the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord and friend resonated throughout the entire week. The kids were very excited about what they were learning and doing and we believe the families were greatly blessed. A number of parents told me their hildren were so excited in telling their parents what they were learning each day.

We are thankful for the partnership of First Church of Christ, Bradford. We pray God's continued blessing on our friends as they know and walk with Christ, our "Forever Friend".

To our church family and all our friends at FCC Bradford and the greater Haverhill community, thank you so much for your hard work and prayers for our VBS. Thanks for your partnership in bringing this Christ-centered VBS to the children and their families! May everyone remember Jesus Christ, our true "forever friend"!

Let Us Never Forget

Here is a quote from my friend Jeff. He took this from JC Ryle and personalized it. Enjoy!

"Let me never forget this part of my Lord's character. Christ's loving-kindness to me never changes, and never fails. It is a deep well of which I will never find the bottom. It began from all eternity, before I was born. It chose, called, and quickened me when I was dead in my trespasses and sins. It drew me to God and changed my character, and put a new will in my mind, and a new song in my mouth. It has borne with me in all my waywardness and shortcomings. It will never allow me to be separated from God. It will flow ever forward, like a mighty river, through the endless ages of eternity. Christ's love and mercy was my plea when I first began my journey. Christ's love and mercy will be my only plea when I cross the dark river and enter home. Let me seek to know this love by inward experience, and prize it more. Let it constrain me more continually to live, not to myself, but to Him who died for me and rose again."

Adapted from "Expository Thoughts on the Gospels", Luke 5:17-26, by J.C. Ryle, 1856, Baker Book House, 2007, p. 144

Zion Bible College in Bradford!

We are pleased to welcome the new students moving into Bradford as part of the relocation of Zion Bible College from Barrington, Rhode Island to the historic campus of Bradford College.

Bradford College has a glorious heritage of Christian education dating back to the second great awakening. Ann Hasseltine Judson was educated here. It was next door where the first American Foreign Mission Board was started June 27, 1810. It is a great joy to see this heritage continued by Zion Bible College as they reoccupy the formerly vacant campus. May God greatly bless and prosper them in Christ-centered education and grant them an great and lasting heritage!

We hope we might have some opportunity to serve Zion students and faculty as they relocate to the Haverhill area.

God Bless!
Pastor Paul

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Book as Word Art

I found out about a cool program from Justin Taylor's blog. It's called Wordle. It shows the most prevalent words in any selected text in a collage.

Check out these examples:

The Gospel of John - ESV:

Romans - ESV:

This is one I did from Pilgrim's Progress:

The Psalms in Hebrew:

Great way to capture a book!

Marriage Book Reviews

As you probably can tell, I spent some time at the 9Marks site this morning. Lots of great articles, reviews and excellent biblical discernment. A number of folks have asked me about recommended books for marriage. My personal favorites are "When Sinner's Say 'I Do'" by Dave Harvey, "Sex, Romance and the Glory of God" by CJ Mahaney and "Love that Lasts" by Gary and Betsy Ricucci. I also think every husband needs a kick in the pants type book. "Reforming Marriage" by Douglas Wilson helped me that way.

Check out the comparison chart to learn the strengths and weaknesses of select marriage books.

Check out the full 9Marks article with reviews here.

30 Practical Ways For Pastors to Love Their Wives & Families

I got this from the 9Marks Website – great stuff for pastors and for any husband. I was very affected, freshly convicted and graciously inspired by this excellent list. Enjoy!

30 Practical Ways For Pastors to Love Their Wives & Families

Compiled by several pastors

The demands of pastoral ministry can be tough on the pastor’s wife and family. Not only do they tempt him to neglect his family, they can leave him void of good, creative, meaningful ideas on how to love and serve them.

Pastor, we cannot help you with the temptation to neglect them, other than exhort you to flee this temptation—Christ hasn’t neglected you, has he?! But perhaps we can help you with several practical ideas to help motivate you to love and serve your wife and children more effectively. Here they are:


1. Take the initiative and establish a plan for family worship. Then follow the plan! (Don Whitney encourages “brevity, regularity, and flexibility” in family worship.)

2. Come home at the exact time you say you will be home; and prepare your heart to serve your family, not be served.

3. Take responsibility for your children’s education and discipline—don’t leave it to your wife to figure out.

4. Share with your wife and kids some of the good things that are going on in the church, and then thank them for helping to make that possible.

5. Use every hour of your vacation time. And take a vacation that does not involve extended family; restrict it to just your wife and kids.

6. Take a two week vacation.

7. Diligently guard your days off.

8. There are times when it seems like you have to choose whether to be a good dad/husband or a good pastor. Good pastors choose to be good dad/husbands.


9. Get up early and have your quiet time, so that you can take the kids in the morning while your wife has her quiet time.

10. Give her flowers and a hand written card when she least expects it.

11. Regularly schedule a date night and take the initiative on logistics, i.e. organize the baby-sitter, make reservations, and have a plan.

12. Make sure you know her favorite restaurant, meal, flowers, ice cream flavor, and movie.

13. Schedule a weekly time where you watch the kids and your wife gets out to do whatever she wants—not errands. When you can, give her a whole day off from the kids.

14. Decide together with your wife how many evenings you will be gone and honor what has been agreed upon.

15. On Sundays, leave for church a few minutes early to stop and get your wife her favorite coffee drink.

16. Ask your wife over a romantic dinner areas she wants to see you improve.

17. Take your wife to an encouraging conference.

18. Plan regular out-of-town personal retreats for just you and her. Plan time on your retreat to write down all the evidences of grace you see in one another’s lives and then share them with one another. Later, spend time writing down your hopes for ways you want to grow as husband and father over the coming year (she doing the same for herself) and then share them with one another.

19. Respect and seek her opinion on things concerning the church.

20. Go for long walks.


21. Have deliberate one-on-one time weekly with each of your children, probably to include playing, reading scripture, or praying.

22. Date your daughters.

23. Leave the church at church so dad can be dad at home.

24. Take a child with you on visits or short term trips.

25. Ask your children questions that allow you to shepherd their hearts, such as these (these questions were posted by Justin Taylor, and were originally devised by Pastor Rich Gamache of Sovereign Grace Fellowship)

* In your own words, what is the gospel?

* Is there a specific sin you’re aware of that you need my help defeating?

* Are you more aware of my encouragement or my criticism?

* What’s daddy most passionate about?

* Do I act the same at church as I do when I’m at home?

* Are you aware of my love for you?

* Is there any way I’ve sinned against you that I’ve not repented of?

* Do you have any observations for me?

* How am I doing as a dad?

* How have Sunday’s sermons impacted you?

* Does my relationship with mom make you excited to be married?

* (On top of these things, with my older kids, I’m always inquiring about their relationship with their friends and making sure God and his gospel are the center of those relationship. And I look for every opportunity to praise their mother and increase their appreciation and love for her.)

26. Take an interest in what your children enjoy doing.

27. Read to them. Buy books they will enjoy. Take them to the library.

28. Sing with them.

29. Pray for them and with them.

30. Be careful not to put them in the spotlight at church (stop using them for every other sermon illustration!).

Contributors (all pastors): Bret Capranica (San Jacinto, CA), Brian Croft (Louisville, KY), Bob Johnson (Roseville, MI), Michael Lawrence (Washington, DC), Mike McKinley (Sterling, VA), Deepak Reju (Washington, DC), and Jeramie Rinne (Hingham, MA)

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