29 March 2010

Please Pray for Your Pastor

I just want to share something that's been on my heart......I was reading the post John Piper put out about taking a break from the pastorate....And I thought to myself the passage of Scripture that Paul said to the church of Philippi and us too! "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus," Phil 2:4-5
Here is a man who preaches the word with such enthusiasm
Here is a man who is an amazing pastor/teacher
Here is a man who I admire and look up to with great respect
Here is a man who loves the Lord with all his heart, mind and soul
Here is a man who has been faithful to the word of God for so many years
Here is a man who knows (sees) when something is wrong personally!
Here is a man who humbled himself for the people he loves (Noel, and his church family)

Though his statement came as a shock to me! It grieves me [my selfishness of course] to see such a lovely man, a spiritual mentor, a fellow pastor, come to the point where he knows something is wrong in his own life! Ultimately! We know it's for the best...[not for me or you] but for John and his family.  You can read his statement for yourself by going to: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2010/4555

As a pastor it humbled my heart to see a man share his concerns about what going on with his life. Especially in a society that looks upon pastors as "superhuman" sometimes. But that just isn't true. Pastor's are human!.....people.........We are nobody special. John shared this concern with the people who look up to him as a spirtual elder in the body of Christ, because it's so easy for a pastor [anyone for that matters] to have a pridefully and swelled head sometimes!.....It's humbling for me to see a man (a sinner saved by grace) taking the responsibility and the courage to say I need a break for the next 8 months (away from my pastoral duties), so that he can get things back spiritually and personally. This must have been very hard for John to do, since he has been the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota for over 30 years. Why? Because your church family is very special to you! They are a part of your life each and every week, they are your family! We as pastor's know that this takes great courage and humility to say their is something wrong! We know the responsibility and pressures the church always puts on their pastor's [elders] and rightfully so! Since we have been called by God to lead, direct, and care for His church, His people for His Kingdom.

Please pray for John and other pastors like him, who need to rest and to concentrate on what's most important! Their spiritual walk and their beloved wives and families. And also! Please pray for all of use men [pastors, elders] who stand on behalf of GOD every Sunday morning exponding His word, praying for His people, helping those in the community, and on top of all that! Keeping a stable marriage and home that loves the Lord Jesus Christ. This is for my fellow Pastor's........Please remember this: If something like this can effect a godly man like John Piper. You better think twice! Because it could happen to any one of us, at any time! Please Christian's [body of Christ] The church, pray for your pastors! Because we need your prayers! So that we can do what the Hebrew writer says "Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things." Heb 13:18 To God be the glory for He is sovereign and His providence in our lives, is always for our benefit...... God bless!

22 March 2010

To Please His Heavenly Father

Jesus did not wrestle his angry Father to the floor of heaven and take the whip out of his hand. He did not force him to be merciful to humanity. His death was not the begrudging consent of God to be lenient to sinners. No, what Jesus did when he suffered and died was the Father’s idea. It was a breathtaking strategy,
conceived even before creation, as God saw and planned the history of the world. That is why the Bible speaks of God’s “purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Timothy 1:9). Already in the Jewish Scriptures the plan was unfolding. The prophet Isaiah foretold the sufferings of the Messiah, who was to take the place of sinners. He said that the Christ would be “smitten by God” in our place. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our Christ Suffered and Died . . . iniquities. . . . All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6) But what is most astonishing about this substitution of Christ for sinners is that it was God’s idea. Christ did not intrude on God’s plan to punish sinners. God planned for him to be there. One Old Testament prophet says, “It was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10). This explains the paradox of the New Testament. On the one hand, the suffering of Christ is an outpouring of God’s wrath because of sin. But on the other hand, Christ’s suffering is a beautiful act of submission and obedience to the will of the Father. So Christ cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). And yet the Bible says that the suffering of Christ was a fragrance to God. “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). Oh, that we might worship the terrible wonder of the love of
God! It is not sentimental. It is not simple. For our sake God did the impossible: He poured out his wrath on his own Son—the one whose submission made him infinitely unworthy to receive it. Yet the Son’s very willingness to receive it was precious in God’s sight. The wrath-bearer was infinitely loved. By John Piper (50 Reasons Why He Came to Die)

19 March 2010

To Absorb the Wrath of God

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written,“Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” G a l a t i a n s 3 : 1 3. God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. R o m a n s 3 : 2 5 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.1 J o h n 4 : 1 0. If God were not just, there would be no demand for his Son to suffer and die. And if God were not loving, there would be no willingness for his Son to suffer and die. But God is both just and loving. Therefore his love is willing to meet the demands of his justice. God’s law demanded, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). But we have all loved other things more. This is what sin is—dishonoring God by preferring other things over him, and acting on those preferences. Therefore, the Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We glorify what we enjoy most. And it isn’t God. Therefore sin is not small, because it is not against a small Sovereign. The seriousness of an insult rises with the dignity of the one insulted. The Creator of the universe is infinitely worthy of respect and admiration and loyalty. Therefore, failure to love him is not trivial—it is treason. It defames God and destroys human happiness. Since God is just, he does not sweep these crimes under the rug of the universe. He feels a holy wrath against them. They deserve to be punished, and he has made this clear: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). There is a holy curse hanging over all sin. Not to punish would be unjust. The demeaning of God would be endorsed. A lie would reign at the core of reality. Therefore, God says, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Galatians 3:10; Deuteronomy 27:26). But the love of God does not rest with the curse that hangs over all sinful humanity. He is not content to show wrath, no matter how holy it is. Therefore God sends his own Son to absorb his wrath and bear the curse for all who trust him. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).
This is the meaning of the word “propitiation” in the text quoted above (Romans 3:25). It refers to the removal of God’s wrath by providing a substitute. The substitute is provided by God himself. The substitute, Jesus Christ, does not just cancel the wrath; he absorbs it and diverts it from us to himself. God’s wrath
is just, and it was spent, not withdrawn. Let us not trifle with God or trivialize his love. We will never stand in awe of being loved by God until we reckon with the seriousness of our sin and the justice of his wrath against us. But when, by grace, we waken to our unworthiness, then we may look at the suffering and death of Christ and say, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the [wrath-absorbing] propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).By John Piper"50 Reasons Why Christ  Suffered and Died"

10 March 2010

I Cannot Pray

I cannot say OUR if my religion has no room for others and their needs.

I cannot say FATHER if I do not demonstrate this relationship
in my daily life.

I cannot say WHO ART IN HEAVEN if all my interests and
pursuits are in earthly things.

I cannot say HALLOWED BE THY NAME if I, who am called
by his name am not holy.

I cannot say THY KINGDOM COME if I am unwilling to give up
my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God.

I cannot say THY WILL BE DONE if I am unwilling or resentful
of having it in my life.

I cannot say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN unless I am truly
ready to give myself to his service here and now.

I cannot say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD without expending
honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellowmen.

I cannot say FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE
THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US if I continue to
harbor a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION if I deliberately choose to remain in a sitution where I am likely to be tempted.

I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL if I am not prepared to fight
in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer.

I cannot say THINE IS THE KINGDOM if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.

I cannot say THINE IS THE POWER if I fear what my
neighbors and friends may say or do.

I cannot say THINE IS THE GLORY if I am seeking my own glory first.

I cannot say FOREVER if I am too anxious about each day's affairs.

I cannot say AMEN unless I honestly say, "Cost what it may, this is my prayer."

By Anonymous Writer