Saturday, January 31, 2009

It Is Almost As If God Loves Us More Than His Son

Here is a quote from Sinclair Ferguson on God's love for us in Christ:

"When we think of Christ dying on the cross we are shown the lengths to which God’s love goes in order to win us back to himself. We would almost think that God loved us more than he loves his Son! We cannot measure such love by any other standard. He is saying to us: I love you this much. The cross is the heart of the gospel. It makes the gospel good news: Christ died for us. He has stood in our place before God’s judgment seat. He has borne our sins. God has done something on the cross we could never do for ourselves. But God does something to us as well as for us through the cross. He persuades us that he loves us."

God's love for us is measured by no lesser standard than the immeasurable worth of His all-glorious, wholly-perfect, eternally-beloved Son given up to unspeakable judgment for sinners - like me! It is almost as if God loved us more than he loves his Son! That is unimaginable love - for such as me!

God richly, richly bless you in the knowledge of His great love for you!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Updike (1932-2009)

Justin Taylor had a great post on John Updike yesterday:

Acclaimed American writer John Updike died this morning at the age of 76.

I do not know his spiritual state (he was born Lutheran and later became Episcopalian), but I rejoice in the truth that he saw. For example, here is his “Seven Stanzas at Easter”:
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Crazy Sovereign Grace Music and Book Sale

Bob Kauflin posted about a great book and music sale at the Sovereign Grace Resoure Site - these are amazing deals!

From February 1–28, at the Sovereign Grace store, you’ll find these prices:

  • Sovereign Grace books (23 of them, including Worship Matters, Worldliness, and Living the Cross Centered Life): $7 each
  • all CDs produced by Sovereign Grace Music (including Together for the Gospel Live, Psalms, Come Weary Saints, and Valley of Vision): $6 each
  • all books in our Pursuit of Godliness series (Why Small Groups, This Great Salvation, and others): $4 each

But wait…there’s more!

During February, we’re offering our normal free shipping in the continental US (library rate). But on all international orders we’re offering a discount of 50% on USPS First Class International shipping.

Why do we do this? Because we want to do whatever we can to make it easier for people to benefit from what we produce. We want to serve churches and individuals by providing biblically informed, gospel-centered resources at a low cost. We’d like to give it all away, but for now, that’s not financially feasible…

So we offer the February sale. Enjoy.

And tell your friends.

Mather on Reason & Inner Light vs. Revelation

"There are mysteries in religion which we know not now, but we may know hereafter. Those men are strangers to Christianity who as so vain as to write, Christianity not Mysterious...Tis true, there is nothing in the Christian religion that is against reason... God who makes all truths will make no rules of reason that shall give any contradiction to them. Nevertheless, there are truths that go beyond reason; truths that soar above reason; truths which the faculties of our feeble reason cannot see into, especially as our fall form God has enfeebled and impaired our faculties." 1
"Reason is idolized, when men will set reason above revelation..when the light within becomes unto us a Christ and a God; when the natural conscience is advanced unto all the offices of our only Savior. A creature and one too that is darkened and wounded by sin, must not be deified." 2

1. Cotton Mather, Utilia (Boston, 1716), 260-261 from Richard Lovelace, The American Pietism of Cotton Mather: Origins of American Evangelicalism, Eerdmans, 1979, 52-53.

Cotton Mather, Iconoclastes, (Boston, 1717), 18-19 from Richard Lovelace, The American Pietism of Cotton Mather: Origins of American Evangelicalism, Eerdmans, 1979, 53.

Cotton Mather on Faith and Holiness

"The faith which does receive the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, will purify the heart." - Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather, The Everlasting Gospel, (Boston, 1700), 22-23 from Richard Lovelace, The American Pietism of Cotton Mather: Origins of American Evangelicalism, Eerdmans, 1979, 50

Friday, January 23, 2009

Human Rights Issue

Please consider signing the petition against the Freedom of Choice Act - a step in the wrong direction when it comes to human rights. See the previous post for more info.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cotton Mather

I have been reading Richard Lovelace's book on Cotton Mather. It has been fantastic. For all of Cotton Mather's failings, frailties and folly he is still a great man of biblical truth, piety, wisdom and compassion. I would be glad to have such a man as my pastor! I'll be weaving in some quotes in the blog. One for now...
"Among all the subjects, with which you feed the people of God, I beseech you, let not the true Bread of Life be forgotten; but exhibit as much as you can of a Glorious Christ unto them: Yea; let the motto upon your whole ministry be, CHRIST IS ALL. ... I make no doubt of it, that the almost epidemical extinction of true Christianity, or what is little short of it, in the nations that profess it, is very much owing to the inexcusable impiety of overlooking a glorious Christ, so much in the empty harangues, which often pass for sermons." - Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather, Manaductio, 93-94 from Richard Lovelace, The American Pietism of Cotton Mather: Origins of American Evangelicalism, Eerdmans, 1979, 46-47

More Puritan Quotes

Some more great quotes from Joel Beeke's chapters in "Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry".

"Evangelism must rather be conceived as a long-term enterprise of patient teaching and instruction, in which God's servants seek simply to be faithful in delivering the gospel message and applying it to human lives, and leave it to God's Spirit to draw men to faith through this message in his own way and at his own speed." - JI Packer

"Like the Puritans, live in terms of the settled judgement that the joy of heaven will make amends of any losses and crosses, strains and pains that we must endure on earth if we are going to follow Christ faithfully. Regard preparedness to die as the first step in learning to live. " - Joel Beeke

"Puritan preaching revolved around 'Christ, and him crucified' - for this is the hub of the Bible. The preachers' commission is to declare the whole counsel of God; but the cross is the center of that counsel, and the Puritans knew that the traveler through the Bible landscape misses the way as soon as he loses sight of the hill called Calvary." - JI Packer

"Heaven would be hell to me without Christ." - Thomas Goodwin

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Praying for Your Pastor

I am so grateful for the prayers of my precious church family - I could not and would not successfully pastor without your faithful heartfelt prayers!

Here is some guidance from Ligon Duncan on ways to pray for your pastor[s]. Thank you so much for the undeserved privilege of being prayed for by you!


Praying for Your Pastor

by lduncan

Because I have a congregation that loves me more than I deserve, I am often asked by them: "how can I pray for you?" I've tried to put some thought into how I answer that question. So, maybe these ideas will help you pray for your pastor, or tell others how they can pray for you.

Pray -

1. That [your pastor] would know and love the living God, would have a saving interest in Christ, being purchased by His blood, and thus would be bound to the Lord by the indissoluble bond of the Holy Spirit.

2. That [your pastor] would know, embrace and ever more deeply understand the Gospel and be shaped by it in life and ministry.

3. That [your pastor] would be useful servant of the Lord, that he would know and love God's word, God's people, and God's kingdom; that he would be used to build it up and so that it prevails even against Hell's gates.

4. That [your pastor] would study, practice and teach the Word of the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

5. That [your pastor] would love to pray, because he loves to commune with his God, and that he would be a man of prayer, characteristically.

6. That [your pastor] would be ever dependent upon and filled with the Spirit; and that he would possess true Spiritual wisdom.

7. That [your pastor] would be holy unto the Lord. That his tongue and heart would be wholly God's.

8. That [your pastor] would be kept from pride, and especially spiritual pride. That the Lord himself would be gracious to slay pride in him, and that your pastor would endeavor to always be putting pride to death, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

9. That God would give [your pastor] guidance as to where to focus his efforts in ministry.

10. That He would protect [your pastor] from himself, from the enemy of his soul, and from all earthly enemies.

11. That no decision which [your pastor] ever makes or desire that [your pastor] ever pursues would restrict his ability to pour his whole soul into the Gospel ministry.

12.That many would be converted and many built up under [your pastor]'s ministry, to God's glory alone.

13. That the Lord would bless [your pastor]'s wife, [. . . ], with holiness and happiness, Gospel assurance and Gospel rest.

14. That God would make [your pastor] a decent husband and father.

15. That [your pastor] would be a good friend to his wife, and love her self-sacrificially,

16. That [your pastor] would be a good daddy to his children. That they would love God, their parents and the church.

17. That [your pastor] would be a testimony in the home so that his wife might be able to respect him when he is in the pulpit, and so that [your pastor] will be able to feed her soul, along with the rest of the congregation.


HT: Justin Taylor

One Year in 40 Seconds

A cool way to capture a year!

"Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me"

HT: Josh Harris

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A New Church Home!?

King of Grace Church - An Opportunity for a New Church Home

We have an exciting, unique and somewhat unexpected opportunity to advance the mission of our church through the purchase of a church home at 24 Chadwick St., Bradford, MA. This building is a beautiful traditional church building right off S. Main St. with easy access to the highway and all of Haverhill.

It is well taken care of and ready for occupancy with a large sanctuary for worship and church events, muliple class rooms and offices and a large kitchen area.

Here are some of the ways we believe God would use this building for his work in and through King of Grace Church:
    In terms of our Walk with Christ:
  • A good-to-go environment conducive to worship.
  • An excellent Sunday school facility.
  • A place for prayer.
  • A place for growth groups & training seminars.
  • A place for Side-by-Side youth fellowship.
  • A place for men's and women's fellowship.
  • A library/coffee house for fellowship, training and outreach.
  • An office for pastoral counseling and discipleship.
    In terms of our Witness of Christ's Love & Truth:
  • Presence in the community.
  • An inviting location for new-comers.
  • A hospitable worship environment.
  • Freedom from setup/teardown to interact and minister.
  • A place for Alpha.
  • A place for VBS.
  • A place for mercy ministries.
  • A place for community service/outreach events.

This facility will mean an additional travel time for our New Hampshire members of 7 miles. It will be 13 miles closer for our Gordon-Conwell Seminarians and 15 miles closer for Haverhill residents!

We are trusting God to raise $500,000 dollars for the purchase of this facility. We will need $25,000 down to begin using the building and then will lease for $2500 a month over the next two years while we raise the money to purchase the building.

Check out our web page for more info!

Puritan Quotes

Was December that busy that I didn't blog??

I am reading, Dear Timothy, Letters on Pastoral Ministry a great book for pastors young and old.

Here are some quotes I highlighted from Joel Beeke's chapter on the Puritans:

"Affliction is the diamond dust that heaven polishes jewels with." - Robert Leighton

"He that rides to be crowned need not think much of a rainy day." - John Trapp

"God's people are like bells, the harder they are hit, the better they sound" - John Bunyan

"Forget not, that the whole of your work is ministerial; not legislative - that you are not a lord in the church but a servant." - Abraham Booth