Thursday, December 30, 2010

24 Books Complete!

At the beginning of last year I made the commitment to read a book a month. By God's grace I was able to find the time to complete 2 books a month. (I finished #24 for the year this morning). I've listed the books I completed below and would encourage you to pick up any one of them this year to read. I was encouraged greatly by all of them. Let me know if you would like a specific review on a title. (Note: Special Awards given)

1. Forgotten God by Francis Chan
2. Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond edited by Darrell Bock
3. Heaven Misplaced by Douglas Wilson
4. The Smell of Sin and the Fresh Air of Grace by Don Everts
5. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
6. You Can Change by Tim Chester
7. Death by Love by Mark Driscoll
8. Refuel by Doug Fields
9. Church Planting is for Wimps by Mike McKinley (I Never Thought I Would Need Book, but I definitely do now)
10. Standing Strong by John MacArthur
11. Saved Without a Doubt by John MacArthur
12. Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen (Most Difficult to Read Book)
13. What Does God Want of Us Anyway? By Mark Dever
14. By Whose Authority? by Mark Dever
15. Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris
16. Love that Rescues: God’s Fatherly Love in the Practice of Church Discipline by Eric J. Bargerhuff
17. Radical by David Platt (Most Convicting Book)
18. Finally Alive by John Piper (Best All-Around Book)
19. Jesus: The Only Way to God by John Piper
20. Humility: The Journey Toward Greatness by Andrew Murray
21. Humilty: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
22. The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose (Must Read by Any LU Student Book)
23. Lord Foulgrin’s Letters by Randy Alcorn (Most Surprised by Its Goodness Book - I cried reading it)
24. Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley

Friday, December 3, 2010

Keep Praying for Matt Chandler

Here is an encouraging update from Matt Chandler. Can you believe it has been a year?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Blogs Added

Hey guys just wanted to encourage you that a few more blogs have been added to the "recommended list" for you to follow. Make sure you check out "Church Planting for the Rest of Us" and "Amy Davis." Girls, Amy just finished a series entitled "An Excellent Wife is the Crown of Her Husband." It looks good, check it out!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ephesians 2: From Death to Life

Dead without the knowledge of it…

the destructive nature of sin leaves us so mangled and scarred,

corrupting us to the very core of our being

that we readily accept an existence of bondage that we ignorantly call “life”.

We walk in chains but not in service to men

but instead to our own desires and cravings, whose fulfillment,

while sought desperately, always seems just out of reach.

Tragically we glory in our pitiful state

that has been dealt to us by our own choosing.

Like neglected children, our cries of want and need go unheard

by a world that promises so much.

Yet blindly we continue to follow it,

choosing to ignore that which awaits us after its passing.

Completely unresponsive to the things of God and unable to be what

we were created for, we have become death walking.

We exist as walking corpses, fruit of our own rebellion

and driven to gratify our selfish appetites.

And yet it is precisely in this helpless, lifeless state that our Creator

extends to us the means to live.

What we foolishly walked away from together long ago

and have unknowingly been in need of ever since

now has been purchased on our behalf.

Blood not of our own now raises to life that which was dead.

Freedom from sin and death, which we vainly sought in our

own futile efforts has now been secured through God’s love and mercy.

Restored to our proper place in Christ, we no longer must stumble about,

lost and confused, thirsting for reason and purpose.

For our eyes have been opened, awakening us to both what we used to be

and what we are meant to become.

And it is here, in light of God’s grace, that we begin to truly understand

what it means to live.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Remember the Gospel

A good reminder from Matt Chandler. Read it here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Is God unjust?

Many people would like to claim that God cannot possibly send those who have never heard of Christ to hell. To do so would be injustice. But "there is no injustice in God. The injustice lies in Christians who possess the gospel and refuse to give their lives to making it known among those who haven't heard." - David Platt

Monday, August 2, 2010

Remember Eschatology

It has already been almost 6 months since our study of the Second Coming at Winter Retreat back in February. Again, if we aren't careful we can easily forget some of the important things that God has taught us in the past. Here is a great post concerning the importance of eschatology in the life of a Christian. Let us continue to anxiously wait the return of our Savior together!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Remember Discernment

If we aren't careful we can easily forget some of the great things that God has taught us in the past through His Word. I know for me, our study on discernment was very life changing as we examined the Biblical mandate to be discerning about what we place into our minds. That study took place over a year ago. Here is a great article to help remind you about the importance of filtering everything that we watch.

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Getting Closer...

Romans 13:11 offers a great deal of encouragement to those of us who are born-again. "Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed." (ESV) It would do us all good to remember the enthusiasm and joy we felt when we first responded to the glorious truth of the Gospel. What thoughts were we having as we heard of Christ's sacrifice? What conviction did we feel as we saw our own sin? What reasoning did we undergo as we weighed the cost of renouncing all to follow Christ? What awe did we experience over being snatched from the flames of hell? Let us remember during times of doubt and discouragement as we persevere in the faith that our salvation is closer today than when we first accepted it. Whatever circumstances, thoughts and convictions led us to accept the good news on that day, allow that to continue today, remembering that what we gave up this world for then, is even closer to being realized in all its fullness today.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What a Deal!

This is a great deal if you are a college student! Free shipping on books from Amazon. If you are a college student you should definitely take advantage of this.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

God's Will: Follow Up to Disciple Now

Here is a great article from the guys at David Platt's church. This goes right along with everything we discussed at Disciple Now. Enjoy and I am sure the book recommendation is worth the money.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Good Fight

Here is a great article by Matt Chandler from last fall. It talks a lot about what we are discussing on Wednesday nights right now concerning making war against sin.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Reason to like Apple

I don't know much about Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) but I appreciate his thoughts and comments here about pornography. May we all continue to fight sin together!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Books I've Read in far

I made the commitment back at the beginning of the year to read at least one book per month this year. I've listed the ones I've read so far with a recommendation for each.

Books I've Read:

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

This book is a great follow up to Crazy Love. In fact, I have started suggesting that people read this book before reading Crazy Love. This book is not meant to be a huge discourse on the Holy Spirit. Instead, Chan challenges the believer to examine the tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit by the church which has led to a personal ignorance for many believers concerning the indwelling person of God within them. Chan does not seek to teach a thorough theology on issues such as gifts of the Spirit or baptism in the Spirit, etc. Instead, he leaves the reader wanting to do more personal study on the Spirit themselves. I'm very grateful for Chan's efforts to call churches and her members back to a lifestyle that involves daily relying on the Spirit's power. If we truly have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, then our lives have to look way different from someone who doesn't.

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond by Darrell Bock

This book is a great introduction to the varying views of the millennial reign mentioned in Revelation 20. Coming into this book I confess I had very little knowledge or understanding about the 1,000 year reign of Christ. Having completed the book, I have now been given a detailed description of the most popular opinions among theologians today. The book is actually written by three different authors who give their Biblically based understanding of what and when Revelation 20 is describing. Each author also writes a brief response to the other two authors' viewpoints, providing a great experience for the reader. Not only do you get a firsthand understanding of each millennial viewpoint, you also get very thorough critique of the each viewpoint as well. This book will provide a great introduction to anyone looking to better understand the millennial reign.

Heaven Misplaced by Douglas Wilson
This book is a presentation of the "postmillennial" position on eschatology and the 1,000 year reign of Christ. While I do not hold to this position, Doug writes in such a way that you want to believe what he is saying. Doug focuses on the mission of the church being to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. His hope is that the church will succeed in her efforts and the world will mostly be "christianized" before the second coming of Christ. While I long to see none perish and all come to repentance, I have a hard time reconciling some of his statements and beliefs with the passages of Scripture dealing with the Second Coming. Having said that, I think this book is very beneficial in that it presents a very readable and understandable work on the postmillennial theological system. Plus I have a great respect for Doug ministry's and the humility the Holy Spirit has worked inside of him.

The Smell of Sin by Don Everts
This book is actually a very random purchase made by me and my sister probably over 10 years ago. I don't know of anyone else who has ever read this book or owns it or has ever even heard of it. My sister and I simply liked the title and we bought it. Having now read it I can say that it does offer some benefit to the Christian who is looking to better understand sin and the fight we have against it every day. I was encouraged throughout the book to raise my own understanding of the seriousness of sin to a more Biblical level. Too often I compare my sins to the sins of others and judge my actions to be less than serious based on how they compare to the "real sinners of this world." But God is continuing to make me aware of my own wretchedness and I'm thankful for this random book that I own and the appeal it gave to me to recognize my sin and fight to kill it on a daily basis.

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
This is a fantastic short read on the saving power of the Gospel. I am personally thankful for an author who recognizes the great need the church has to understand the good news message she has been called to take to the ends of the earth. Way too often I encounter self proclaimed Christians who struggle at best to explain exactly what the Gospel is. If we claim to be saved by the good news of the Gospel message it is pertinent that we have a working understanding of the message that we claim has the power to change us for eternity. This is a short read, making it easy for almost anyone to take in. I would highly recommend anyone who is uncertain of what the Gospel is. If you cannot confidently say that you know the good news, this book is for you.

Booklets I've Read:
Fight Clubs by Jonathan Dodson
Serves as a good reminder for the importance of accountability groups within the church. Fighting sin cannot be done alone, nor did God ever intend for us to try. The only way we can kill sin in our life is to do it together. This book made available by Mark Driscoll's website offers a helpful approach for how to seek this type of relationship out.

Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle
A solid booklet on the need for men within the church to step up and take spiritual responsibility for their lives. I highly recommend the advice laid out in this book to all men but also to women too. I think it paints an accurate picture for the type of expectations women should place on the men in their lives.

Found: God's Will by John MacArthur
A great booklet on how to know God's will for your life. I love the approach that MacArthur lays out but I love even more how the approach is shown to be so Biblically based. It is an incredibly short read but has the potential to change your life forever. We can actually know God's will for our life. I'm thankful that John MacArthur has helped me realize that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Prodigal

Here is a link to the video we watched last night at Main Event. Feel free to watch it over and over and allow the beauty of God's grace and forgiveness to overwhelm you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Listen Well

My former pastor in Virginia gives a good reminder about how to get ready for the teaching of God's Word. I will do my part this week to prepare responsibly to teach. I would encourage you to do your part to prepare responsibly to listen and learn. You can read his suggestions here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Must I see Evil to talk about it?

Thoughts from a pastor on the recent movie "Nightmare on Elm Street." I must say that I highly disagree with him. For the most part I believe that a follower of Christ should avoid the horror genre. Let's not fall into the trap that we must know and experience evil in order to have God glorifying conversations with lost people. I don't need to know what lost people are involved in to lead them away from sin. Let's be innocent to evil and experts in righteousness instead. (Rom. 16:19)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Refine Me Over and Over

I heard the rumor but tried to ignore it. Jennifer Knapp's song "Refine Me" from her album Kansas has long been one of my favorite songs. It reflects the ongoing struggle we have with sin and the need we have for the Lord to change us. Jennifer left the Christian music industry back in 2003 and went to live in Australia. Upon her return this year she announced her decision to live in a lesbian relationship for the past 8 years. She is continuing to pursue this sinful relationship as she begins a new musical journey, separate from the Christian world. I find myself both saddened and angered by these developments. Saddened because of the choices she is making and the lifestyle of rebellion she is living. Angry because of the deceitfulness of sin, the failed joy that it promises and the hurt and brokenness it causes. Sin is to be hated and we are to long for the Second Coming to indeed come soon so that sin and death can be dealt with for good. In the meantime let us all head the lyrics of Knapp's song "Refine Me" and the teaching of Hebrews 3:12-14. Let us rely on the Holy Spirit to refine us every day from our own evil desires and let us "take care" to exhort each other regularly (daily) so that none of us become hardened to the deceitfulness of sin.

Lord...Come with your fire, burn my desires
Refine me
Lord...My will has deceived me, please come and free me
Refine me

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'll walk with Chan on this one...

Man if I could spend one day with anyone in this world (besides my wife :) I would spend it with Francis Chan. Not because he knows more than anybody else. But because I think he really wants to get to Christ. I'd love to walk side by side with him on that journey. Listen to him discuss the radical life we are called to here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Make Disciples For Right Reasons

A good reminder from the people at Brook Hills about making disciples from the right motivation. You can read their thoughts here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Emerging No More?

I can only hope that we are seeing the end of this movement as John Piper claims

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Hear to Talk About the Past

Mark McGwire, known by most for his colossal home runs, was made even more famous by his infamous words "I'm not hear to talk about the past" when he appeared before Congress in 2005 to discuss the steroid issue of baseball. While it was not until recently that he came clean and confessed his history of cheating, his lack of disclosure in 2005 left little to be wondered. I was reminded of those words in a way different context today. In Bible class this week we have been watching "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." I thought it would be a good visual for the theological concept of "propitiation" that we have been discussing recently. C.S. Lewis does a masterful job of showing the satisfaction and appeasement of the wrath that one person (Edmund) deserved through the sacrifice of another (the great Aslan). There was a great line though that Aslan mentions before these events transpire that brought me such encouragement and hope for the future judgment that awaits us one day. In the movie there has definitely been frustration, worry and anger experienced by the other three siblings due to the decisions that Edmund has made. Once he is reunited with the "good guys" there is a scene with Edmund and Aslan having a pretty important discussion. One is led to believe that repentance, forgiveness and restoration is taking place through the encounter. It's the words after this discussion that really lifted me today. Aslan returns with Edmund to present him back to his siblings and makes an emphatic statement. He says, "What's done is done. There is no need to speak with Edmund of what has past." What a wonderful reminder of God's view of our sin after salvation. We have been washed, we have been sanctified, we have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (I Cor. 6:11) Our sins have been dealt with and forgiven, the wrath and ransom price required for our souls has been satisfied and paid in full! There is no need to speak with me about the past! My past has been emphatically dealt with at the cross. It also serves as a reminder that when someone else's sin has been dealt with at the cross it is not our job to then assume the position of judge. I'm sure Edmund's siblings may have jumped at the chance to remind him of how wrong he had been. And while Edmund's treachery had affected them, his betrayal was ultimately towards Aslan. If Aslan had forgiven and restored, it went without discussion that Edmund's siblings should do the same. Let us all be encouraged that there is no reason to speak about the past. What's done is done. Thank God "it is finished"!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Good Read

An article on premarital sex and future spouse

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Great Article on Babysitting and the Gospel

I know several of our youth get the opportunity to babysit on a regular basis. In fact, thanks to several and their willingness to give up their time on Thursday nights, I am able to attend my small group. I ran across this article and was encouraged how God wants us to use all kinds of opportunities to expand the Gospel and His Kingdom, even through something like babysitting.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This commercial makes me laugh and Joshua Harris's comments about it are good.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Full-Time Follower

I've been so humbled and challenged as our youth group has been keeping up with the developments of Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church out in Texas. For those of you who don't know, Matt was diagnosed with brain cancer back at Thanksgiving when he collapsed from a seizure. It has been unbelievable to see how God is using this trial to grow him and his church. I was especially challenged today as I was watching his latest video update when I once again heard him talking about his personal study time. It kinda hit me for the first time that this guy hasn't stopped his pursuit of God in this. I mean I knew he was praying a lot and doing a lot in all this but I mean he hasn't stopped reading the Bible. And I got to thinking how quick I will abandon Scripture when my circumstances aren't optimal, when they aren't the best. If I'm tired or busy or sick, many times my personal study will suffer. This guy is still going about his spiritual business despite the fact that unless God intervenes, he is dying. I feel like I would certainly be able to justify "slacking" a bit in my walk, by taking a break from intense Bible study while I deal with radiation and chemotherapy. Not this guy. He's full time when it comes to following Christ. My prayer is that I will move closer and closer to that for myself.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Members Needed

I usually don't care much for the writings of Rick Warren but I was pleased to read this blog and find that he seems to value church membership as much as I do. I'm not sure what all he said in this discussion so I would proceed with caution, but the comments listed at least are the type of challenging words the church needs to hear, at least at my church.

I had a thought yesterday that if we all expected our church to be what the NT church was for its members, we would probably all be sorely disappointed. The only way we can be a church that the NT describes, one that loves each other, holds each other accountable, and prays for each others' perseverance in the faith, it takes radical commitment to church membership by everyone involved. Have you committed to a local body in this way?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Holy Spirit Makes all the Difference

This guy definitely has the Holy Spirit living inside him...Matt Chandler Update

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Who's coming with me?

This idea came from teachings on spiritual warfare by David Platt.

In the late 1940's the U.S. Navy commissioned the S.S. United States it was the world's most technological and state of the troop carrier ever built. This carrier cost around 80 million dollars (which is ridiculous, in the 1940's), it could carry 15000 troops, it could travel anywhere in the world in just 10 days........But, it never carried troops, it never saw battle, and it was never used for what it was truly intended for. Instead this carrier became a luxury liner for the wealthy. And as a luxury liner it could only carry 2000 passengers, it had 2 full movie theatres, 4 dining salons, 3 full bars, 9 elevators and was the first boat that came fully equipped with aircondition in every room.

As you can imagine there would be a drastic difference in the faces of the soldiers heading to war, as opposed to the wealthy patrons comfortably enjoying the ride until they get to their destination. If this boat is heading to war, then all the money going towards the boat will be thrown into defenses and weapons, compared to the money that ensures comfort and enjoyment for the passengers. The pace of the boat heading to war is much faster as it has an urgent mission to fulfill, compared to the pace that does not want to make the ride uncomfortable for the passengers.

As the church, I am convinced that we have forgotten that there is an eternal battle with real lives and souls that are hanging in the balance. And we have replaced this mindset with a comfortable enjoyable trip that includes attending church a couple times of week and trying not to do some sin this culture has labeled as "real" bad.

That being said, I want my life to be in constant pursuit of Holiness, that is sold out for the Gospel, and engaged in a real eternal spiritual battle that understands the truth of God's wrath and how it effects the people around me.

If you want to check out more about this teaching you can download the videos at

Monday, January 4, 2010

Enjoy Passion (even though we couldn't go)

So we couldn't make it to Passion 2010 cause we just didn't have the money but you can watch the sessions right now for a limited amount of time. Set aside some time if you can...

Renewing Yourself Spiritually in 2010

Although we are already into the new year, I wanted to encourage you to consider some new disciplines for the new year as a means of spiritual renewal. I hesitate to call them resolutions because too often that word has become synonymous with failure, because so many fail to stick to their resolutions. So call them what you like, but here are some suggestions for how to use some of your personal time in 2010 for God's glory.

1. Read through the Bible in a year: There are some great resources available here that offer a variety of reading plans to consider for this year. In addition this page offers some great ways to keep up with your reading plan. And if those don't satisfy you, this page offers even more interesting resources for making the goal of reading the entire Bible this year possible.

2. Read 12 books this year: This may sound crazy but it is very doable. It's only one book a month and would be a great way to fill your mind with things that are consistent in Phil. 4:8. Plus there are books like What is a Healthy Church Member?, How Good is Good Enough?, Not Even a Hint and Seeing and Savoring Christ that are pretty short and very easy to read in a month's time.

3. Focus on Real Heroes: Remember our discussion in Philippians 2? We are called to honor men and women who give their lives for the Gospel. Use this year as a time to focus on men and women who have shaped and are currently shaping this world with the Gospel. Read a biography about them, pray for them and strive to be like these spiritual heroes. As Christians we should know more about David Brainerd, Dietrich Bonehoffer, and Amy Carmichael then we do about Tiger Woods, the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift or the Georgia Bulldogs.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Spiritual Warfare

We had a wonderful evening at the Secret Church Lock-In on Wednesday. Again, if you would like to go back and watch the videos on Spiritual Warfare again check out I also want to encourage you to listen to Brody's (from Snowbird) sermon on Spiritual Warfare and Victory in Christ. It is a nice follow up to everything we just learned.