Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Divine Mercies"

"Thou Eternal God,
Thine is surpassing greatness, unspeakable
goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean's 'lip'
as number thy favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank thee for personal mercies,
a measure of health, preservation of body,
comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food
and clothing,
continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my county, church, Bible, faith.

"But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
the days that add to my guilt,
the scenes that witness my offending tongue;
All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without,
condemn me-
the sun which sees my misdeeds,
the darkness which is light to thee,
The cruel accuser who justly charges me,
the good angels who have been provoked to leave me,
thy countenance which scans my secret sins,
thy righteous law, thy holy Word,
my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life,
my neighbours, myself-
all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
'Father, I have sinned';

"Yet still I live, and fly repenting to thy outstretched arms;
thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
thou wilt not condemn me, for he died in my stead,
thou wilt not mark my mountains of sin, for he levelled all,
and his beauty covers my deformities.
Oh my God,I bid farewell to sin by clinging to his cross,
hiding in his wounds, and sheltering in his side."

- a Puritan prayer take from The Valley of Vision


Friday, July 30, 2010

Live for the Line

Back in 2002 the theme for Sovereign Grace's Youth Camp was the phrase, "Live for the Line". The idea behind this phrase was this: imagine this life on earth as a dot and then imagine eternity as a line. Which would you live for? Obviously, we would want to live for the line, but how often do we view our lives in this world in perspective with eternal life?

Scripture makes it clear to us that since Christ has saved us, we no longer belong to this world, but rather are sojourners waiting for the appearing of our Savior (1 Peter 2:9-11, Titus 2:11-13). In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul urges them to die to this world because it will prepare them for "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Cor. 4:17). This message goes against everything our culture tells us we should want. We want happiness and we want it now. We want benefits we can see. However, these pleasures will not last. This is why Paul urges that "we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

In C. S. Lewis' book, The Last Battle, he describes life in Aslan's world-an allegory for heaven-in this way: "And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

Jonathan Edwards describes eternity in this manner: “We can never by soaring and ascending come to the height of [the love of God]; we can never by descending come to the depth of it; or by measuring, know the length and breadth of it. . . Let the thoughts and desires extend themselves as they will, here is space enough for them, in which they may expand for ever. How blessed therefore are they that do see God, who are come to this exhaustless fountain! . . . After they have had the pleasure of beholding the face of God millions of ages, it will not grow a dull story; the relish of this delight will be as exquisite as ever. . .” (Works of Jonathan Edwards, Edinburgh, 1974, vol. 2, p. 909)

How different would our lives be if we viewed our lives this way? Our lives on earth are just a small part of the glorious future we have in Christ. We have been put here for a short time with the mission of glorifying Christ's name in all the earth. Then, when God has completed his work here, he will call us home where we will spend eternity beholding the glory of Christ unfold exponentially in front of us.

When we put eternity in perspective, suddenly the things we live for in this world do not seem as significant. The trials and hardships we will face do not seem so bad. The wait for Christ’s return does not seem so long. Let us not live for this dot that is our life in this world. Let's live for the line.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

Hey guys,
Check out C. B. Eder's message from last Sunday about finding joy in God. It's great stuff!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

NEXT messages here!

Here is the link to all the messages from NEXT this year. Download them. Listen to them. Apply God's truth from them.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Plodding Visionaries

For those of who weren't able to make it to NEXT this year, you missed an awesome time and you should definitely download ALL the messages from the website ( when they finally put them up.

In the mean time, there was one message that I think is particularly applicable to us as college students. During the Sunday night session, Kevin DeYoung did a message on the importance of the church based on what we find in Scripture. In the Bible, the church is called a building with Christ as the cornerstone, a body with Christ as the head, and the bride of Christ. All of these images show us that the church is important to God and therefore it should be important to us. Since Christ loved the church so much that he laid down His life for the church, we also should have a passion for the church.

One of Kevin's main takeaway points was that the church needed fewer revolutionaries and more plodding visionaries. Plodding visionaries are people who "do not despise the days of small things", but faithfully and humbly commit themselves to serve and build the church. I think that as college students, we can often have the wrong idea about the purpose of the church. We can view it as a spiritual vending machine where we go to get something we want, whether it be sound teaching, passionate worship, or good coffee. We can also hop around from church to church, comparing them to see which one will give us what we want.

While wanting to receive good things from the church is not a sin, this type of mindset of being floaters and receivers is a wrong and even unbiblical mindset. Jesus told His disciples when they were preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, "You received without paying; give without pay"(Matthew 10:8). Yes, the church has wonderful things to offer but we are not called to stay on the receiving end, we are called to be a part of the church. We are called to serve.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that young people can't serve in the church. In fact, we see the exact opposite. Stephen was called to be a pastor, even though he was young. Paul commanded him not to be looked down upon for his youth, but rather to set an example for the believers through his life (1 Timothy 4:12). Our age should not hinder us from serving faithfully in the church. And the ways we serve don't need to be huge. At the end of his message, Kevin told everyone to go sign up for children's ministry in their church. There are a lot of small, even unseen jobs in the church that need humble and willing servants to take the initiative and step up to the role.

So if you are floating around trying to find what church gives you the best stuff, stop. Commit yourself to a Christ-centered, Bible-preaching church, whether it be Sovereign Grace, another church in Indiana, your church back home, or a church wherever God calls you. Just commit yourself to a church, get involved, and begin giving instead of only receiving. Talk to your pastor about where service is needed in the church and ask him, or other godly people you are around, what they think your spiritual gifts are and how you can use them in the church.

Also, remember why we serve. When we serve, we are playing a part in building up God's kingdom in preparation for His return when He comes for His Bride, made spotless by His blood. We serve and build the church not for our glory, but for His glory and His glory alone.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


So I don't know about you guys, but I've been dealing with a lot of thorns in the flesh this summer. No I don't just mean metaphorically...I mean real sharp thorns that stick in your skin and scratch you up so bad that people think you got attacked by a rabid squirrel.

Let me explain. I've got a job working for the Biology department this summer and my job description is "running around in the woods chasing birds". I'm pretty sure these particular birds scheme ahead of time to lead me through all the blackberry patches and thorn bushes in the county. I've heard that thorns are designed to protect the plants on which they are growing. I'm pretty sure that's not true. These things don't just protect the plant. They latch onto you and dig into your flesh. They cut you and stab you and a few particularly nasty types look like they could impale you. Heaven forbid that you get one in your shoe. Yeah, I'm pretty sure thorns are pure evil.

Actually, looking at scripture, this isn't too far from the truth. After Adam and Eve sinned, God said that the ground was cursed because of what Adam had done and that it would bring forth thorns and thistles. This is just one of the many examples of bad things brought into the world by the curse of our sin: pain, sorrow, death. All these things exist because man sinned. When we see-or possibly walk through-a thorny thicket, it should remind us of the seriousness of sin. When we experience sorrow or pain, we should realize that these terrible things are the fruit of our own sin and disobedience.

But there is good news. When Christ came to die for our sins, Scripture says that he became a curse for us. Isaiah describes him as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

What was the crown that the Roman soldiers made for Jesus made of?


To the soldiers, it was just a cruel, torturous form of mockery but it also represented something greater. Jesus was taking on himself the curse of our sins. He took our curse upon himself so that, one day, we could live with him without the curse of sin. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more death. No more thorns.

When we see evidence of the curse, it should remind us of our sin, but it should also remind us of the Savior who became a curse for us.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Have an Active the Word!

So summer vacation is finally here! After the craziness of papers and finals, it's great having tons of free time to goof off and relax. It's also a major temptation to fall into laziness.

Let's get this straight. Rest is a good thing. God gave us the ability to rest. He himself rested for a day after creating the universe in a week. So it's not a sin for you to sit around doing nothing but reading a good book or watching TV or even sleeping till 2 in the afternoon. Laziness is a sin, and it happens when we make rest our idol.

An idol is anything that we make a priority before loving God an obeying his commandments. It's not wrong to relax but it is wrong when we neglect to read our bible or serve others simply because we don't feel like it. Just take a look through the book of Proverbs and you'll see the bad fruit that laziness produces.

This past semester, I believe the Holy Spirit has caused incredible growth in all of us in Resolved. God has done great things. However, there is a danger that, as a result of laziness and not being surrounded by Christian friends 24/7, we might slip back into old habits of sin and backtrack from the progress God has worked in us. The Christian life is not meant to be a passive life. We are called to be active.

Romans 13:11-14 says, "11 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. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." How do we fight our fleshly desire for laziness? We put on Jesus Christ. We walk in the light as He is in the light. We read and meditate on His Word. We serve others, even when we don't feel like serving.

Remember that we cannot live an active life in our own strength. The Holy Spirit will work in us, but that does not give us the excuse to sit back and wait for him to work. Philippians 2:12-13 says, "12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Pursue God with all your heart and He will cause you to grow. Go have an active summer!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

God and Finals Crunch

Well it's finally here: Finals Week (aka slow and painful death). I'm sure I'm not the only one who's feeling kinda overwhelmed. I think that at times like this, we can be tempted to sin in two different ways.

1. We can try to do all our work in our own strength. we put our trust in our brilliant intellect and our incredible ability to go a week without sleep.

2. Probably the more popular option, we decide to throw up our hands and give up. We've got more work than is humanly possible to finish in one week so what's the point of trying?

Instead of falling into one of these groups, our response, as Christians in the midst of trials...I mean finals, is to turn to God. Here's a shocker: we can't get all our work done on our own. In fact, we can't do anything apart from God. We are dependent creatures and we need God to give us the strength and motivation to do what he has called us to do. At this point in your life, God has called you to be a student. Therefore, he is not going to abandon you during finals week and leave you to slug it through on your own.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says "6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." Our first job is to humble ourselves. We do this by acknowledging our complete dependence on God. Secondly, we cast our cares on him. We realize that God has led us to this place and he will help us through it in HIS strength because he cares for us.

How do we know he cares about us? He sent his only Son to die for us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Hey all,
Here are some messages about biblical manhood and womanhood to follow up that great Q&A session Joe and Stephen did last night. These messages are from the break out sessions at NEXT last year where the guys and girls were split up.

The guys' message is by Kevin DeYoung and it encourages guys to man up, get off their rears, and take initiative.

I'll be honest, I haven't actually listened to the girls' breakout session by Carolyn McCulley, but the girls I talked to at the conference said it was good so I'll take their word for it.

Also, we talked about this some last night but one other thing I think we should all strive to do in our guy/girl relationships is to encourage one another. We've been reading in Ephesians how we are all united in the body of Christ. God did not create us to be solitary creatures but he made us to be dependent on himself and on others. Therefore, we should all strive to encourage one another in fulfilling our roles as Christian men and women.

Guys, encourage the girls when you see them displaying biblical womanhood. Commend a girl, in all love and purity, when she shows sweet, godly femininity, modesty, and passion for God.

Girls, encourage the guys when you see them leading in biblical manhood. Commend a guy when he takes initiative or makes an effort to serve others.

Remember that we can't fulfill our roles on our own. We need the Spirit to empower us and we need each other to spur one another on in love and good works.