Prepare for Corporate Worship

Tomorrow is corporate worship. Are you prepared? Is your family prepared?

local churchAre you ready to gather with the church to engage in corporate worship? The corporate gathering is not a spectator sport or movie. Corporate worship is a continuation of your daily worship. It will require an engaged mind, a willing voice to sing, a desire to meet those around you and serve them, a Bible, note pad for notes, and your attention. Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Are you prepared to humble yourself to exalt God with other worshippers in the church? Are you ready to edify those around you and be attentive in worship to be conformed into His image?

Have you prayed for tomorrow’s corporate gathering? Pray for your pastor throughout the week as he studies and prepares for tomorrow’s message. Pray the Word would edify believers and bring unbelievers to reconciliation with the Father in heaven. Pray your motives would be focused on exalting Him. Pray for the singing and those leading the music. Be prepared to focus on content and not worry if the leadership does it another way then you prefer.

Are you usually early, get there just before it starts, or late? If you’re not early, what hinders you from being on time? How can you resolve this problem? Do you stay up too late Saturday night? Can you go to bed earlier? Can you set out your clothes? Make something easy for breakfast? Husbands, what can you do to better serve your family so you are on time?

Have you talked to your children about why you gather corporately? Do they know you gather to exalt Christ and serve others?

Finally, when dressing for church consider God’s requirement for attire, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourself with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other . . . beyond all these things clothe yourself with love, which isn the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:12-14).

Personal Update on Writing

Recently I began writing for Parkingspace23.com in addition to here. Last week I took time off from the social media to visit friends in Cali — meaning 3 people missed me :) Come on, I don’t take myself too seriously and neither should you unless I’m speaking about coffee or the Gospel.

I pray this blog continues to encourage you to think biblically and worship the Lord. He is the greatest treasure a believer possesses and to know Him and follow Him is the greatest privilege we have! What a glorious Savior we have who died so I can be reconciled!

But just in case you are interested in some of my latest musings there are three posts at Parkingspace23.

First, I finally said something about Mark Driscoll. Check it out here.16095063-mmmain

Second, I want to be great and Jesus wants us all to be great. Check it out here.

Third, a believer is actually a lifetime student.

Fourth, I’d encourage you to add Parkingspace23 to your regular reading schedule. You will find the guys encouraging, biblical, they love Christ and care about doctrinal fidelity!

Finally, I’d like to encourage you to habitually read Peter Goeman. Even though Peter is a Minnesota Twins fan, he has great insights and will benefit you too.

Coming up next week I’ll continue my series on being blessed. I have some thoughts on cuss words & speech, and the most dangerous thing in the world too. Thanks for your faithful reading. As always, please feel free to challenge me and push me to love Christ more! Ephesians 3:17-19!!

Sunday blog

I am not sure why people read blogs on a Sunday. Especially blogs dedicated to the glory of God by studying His Word. But before we keep scanning the blogosphere please make sure you can answer yes to these questions.

1. Did I attend corporate worship today?

2. Was corporate worship lead by a pastor who opened the Bible and preached it’s content? Could I physically see the man?

3. Did I engage those in my church with a desire to serve and love them?

Go be with God’s people on the day set aside for corporate gatherings. That is God’s will and where He wants you (Heb 10:24-25).

(no, I’m not talking to you if you had to work all day today and missed)

Jean Calvin Responds to the Skeptic

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The Lord says all men are culpable and worthy of wrath because, “That which is known about God is evident within them” (Rom 1:19). Jean Calvin summarizes, “The knowledge of God being manifested to all makes the reprobate without excuse [to believe].”

Calvin then states the skeptics rebuttal to this point.

“[Therefore some maintain], that religion was devised by the cunning and craft of a few individuals, as a meansJohnCalvinFromJohn of keeping the body of the people in due subjection, while there was nothing which those very individuals, while teaching others to worship God, less believed than the existence of a God.”

People still use this argument. “There is nothing new under the Sun.” — Solomon

Calvin’s response, “I readily acknowledge, that designing men have introduced a vast number of fictions into religion, with the view of inspiring the populace with reverence or striking them with terror, and thereby rendering them more obsequious; but they never could have succeeded in this, had the minds of men not been previously imbued with that uniform belief in God, from which, as from its seed, the religious propensity springs.[1]

What do you think of Calvin’s response? How do you answer this question?

[1] Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Henry Beveridge, Book 1, Chapter 3, argument 2.

Three Observations from Psalm 119

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Recently Cornerstone Las Vegas read through Psalm 119 in our Sunday gathering. While preparing for Sunday morning a few verses really encouraged me regarding the significance and importance of the Word.

bibleFirst, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:1-2). True blessing comes not by what I have — cars, homes, luxury, cancer free, obedient children — but through blameless living according to His Word. The redeemed person is blessed because she is forgiven. When her life exemplifies God’s Word, then her ways are blameless too. We can rest assured seeking Him through His Word with all your heart, mind, body, and soul will produce true blessing.

Second, “Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You” (38). Everything I do, I want to honor the Lord. I want my thoughts, words, and actions to honor Him. In other words, I need to fear the Lord. When honoring the Lord is priority, then my actions will reflect that commitment. How does one grow in a fear of the Lord? “Establish Your word to Your servant.” When the Word of God roots in the heart with conviction then reverence is produced. Knowing this encourages me to open His Word and study to know Him better.

Third, “I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed man-hands-holding-old-bible-olivier-le-queinecYour precepts.” (100). How many times do we hear, “Experience produces wisdom” or “Older men are wiser because they are older”? Here God says wisdom does not necessarily correlate with age. Instead, wisdom correlates with an understanding of God’s word lived out! A 70 year old man who learns, follows, and continues to study will be wiser than a 30 year old man with the same characteristics. But the same 30 year old can be wise than the 70 year old who solely thinks, “My experience makes me wise.” Let us not fall into the trap of thinking, age alone equals wisdom.

Studying the Word of God makes believers blessed, reverent of Him, and wise. All three I want in my life.

Is the Christian Free from Law?

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Here is what seems to be a common conversation.images

“The believer still lives under a moral law after salvation.”

“But the believer is free from law.”

“Right, but if there is no law, then we would be free to sin. A believer could commit adultery, lie, cheat, and steal and just say ‘grace’. Therefore there must be law.”

But this reasoning fails. Here is why.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?

May it never be!
Continue reading

Sufficient OT Sacrifices and Other Musings

Were OT sacrifices sufficient for forgiveness? Sufficient how? Not in any ultimate sense. The OT sacrifices were most definitely nothing more than a picture of what was to come (see below for context). The reason I say this is because it is not defensible for God to forgive sin on the basis of animal sacrifices per se. God would be unjust to do so. In fact, that should be a massive tension for you when you read the OT. How, pray tell, is God justified in forgiving an adulterer and murderer like David on the basis of nothing more than some lamb getting its throat cut? He is not. David deserved death and hell; instead, all he had to do was butcher an animal and somehow he just blissfully says, “As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face; when I awake you will reveal yourself to me” (Ps 17:15, NET) Who cares if that was written before his greater sins: who does this guy think he is, and what kind of God would grant such felicity to such a man as one who committed, or would commit (would not God know what’s coming?) such outrages?. Something more is demanded if God is God: because if the God of the Bible is not just, he is not God. Continue reading

Were OT sacrifices sufficient for forgiveness?

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This is not a simple question. What is the question asking? Is it asking, were OT sacrifices needed for salvation? Or are we asking did a saint, before Christ, need to offer sacrifices to be forgiven?

Salvation has always been by faith alone in God. God says, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness'” (Romans 4:3). Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, David, Solomon, and Paul all were saved because they placed their faith in God. “All these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised” (Heb. 11:39). Salvation has and will always be by grace alone through faith alone. Continue reading

How I am blessed: Chosen in Him

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How are you? “I’m blessed.” This common answer is used in conversations. But what does it communicate? In part one this topic proposed a very concrete answer to the question found in Ephesians 1:3-14. The Father has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3). What benefit has the Lord provided believers? The Lord gives believers very concrete benefits described in detail. We are chosen, redeemed, and an inheritance (Eph 1:4, 7, and 11).

The first spiritual blessing God bestows is He chose believers. In the American, freedom of speech, constitutional rights, capitalistic world this seem counter intuitive and wrong. But there it is, in the text, clearly stated. “He chose us in Him.” God picks believers. Not only does God chose believers, but He intentionally choose us according to His plan “before the foundation of the world” (4). “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth” (Genesis 1:1). But before water, space, sky, animals, or Adam and Eve were formed, He chose His believers. This means, we who believe, were always a part of His plan and purpose. God does not look down in this world and randomly pick His chosen ones based on contemporary needs. He has already chosen them before they were born. Continue reading

I’m blessed with what?

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We have all probably had this conversation:

“How are you?”

“Blessed.”

But what does ‘blessed’ communicate? How am I to interpret this? I assume my friend’s answer communicates he honors the Lord and recognizes His grace. But sometimes in context, the person’s answer communicates material wealth, relationship status, and lack of trial. “I have my dream job, spouse, children, and home — I’m blessed.” Continue reading