Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Preacher, tell it like it is!

As we waited for some shakes at Sonic this afternoon, I heard a Southern gospel song you’ve probably heard already.  I love the sentiment in these words!

PREACHER, TELL ME LIKE IT IS

Preacher, I’d say its been a while since you heard this request,
But my spirit is tired, and I need rest.
I want to hear from heaven,  a clear word from God,
A sermon of conviction straight from the heart. I’ve been hearin’ other preachers say I don’t have to change,
The most eloquent of speakers tell me I’m okay,
But it hasn’t eased my conscience, and I know it’s not the truth,
So when you stand before us, can I count on you?

Oh preacher, you say you want to be my friend,
Don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is.
And preacher, tell me I can overcome,
But it’s only by the blood of the Lamb .
Don’t tell me like I wish it was,
Preacher, tell me like it is.

So open up the Word, and let the Spirit lead
Preach until I’ve heard God speak to me
Don’t worry ’bout my feelings; don’t worry ’bout my shame
Just preach the cross of Jesus and that I’m to blame.

Oh preacher, you say you want to be my friend,
Don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is.
And preacher, tell me I can overcome,
But it’s only by the blood of the Lamb .
Don’t tell me like I wish it was,
Preacher, tell me like it is.

Life is quickly passing; the world is fading fast,
And the foolishness of preaching is the only hope we have.

So preacher, you say you want to be my friend,
Don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is.
And preacher, tell me I can overcome,
But it’s only by the blood of the Lamb .
Don’t tell me like I wish it was,
Preacher, tell me like it is.

Indeed, preacher, please “tell me like it is”!  Preach the Word to me.  Don’t try to tickle my itching ears.  Don’t attempt to entertain me.  Live the truth and teach it to me.  I don’t need a joke at the beginning of every sermon.  I don’t need to feel better about myself when your sermon is complete.  What I desperately require is for you to wrestle with the text long before you step into the pulpit so that I might hear you preach “the whole counsel of God” with passion and compassion.  We all need this!  Our nation needs more men who bleed Bibline.*

Here’s a link to another blog with a video of the song:

http://christiansongoftheday.blogspot.com/2014/01/preacher-tell-me-like-it-is.html

*Charles Spurgeon once remarked about John Bunyan, “Why, this man is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere; his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God.”

 

Monday’s Mission

1_Cor_15_58_jpg_w560h269

Our application to the resurrection of Christ is simple.  Paul’s words above provide the direction we require for how to live on the Monday following Easter Sunday.  God is at work. As He communicates to us what work He desires for us to do, we should give ourselves completely to it.

And He has communicated that work!

God wants us to obey His commands, glorying His name and practically blessing others. Consider these words from Adam Clarke:

“The work of the Lord is obedience to his holy word; every believer in Christ is a workman of God. He that works not, to bring glory to God and good to man, is not acknowledged as a servant of Christ; and if he be not a servant, he is not a son; and if not a son, then not an heir. And he must not only work, but abound in that work; ever exceeding his former self; and this, not for a time, but always; beginning, continuing, and ending every act of life to God’s glory and the good of his fellows” (e-Sword).

Barnes’ comments on this verse echo the same themes:

“Always engaged in doing the will of God; in promoting his glory, and advancing his kingdom. The phrase means not only to be engaged in this, but to be engaged diligently, laboriously; excelling in this. The “work of the Lord” here means that which the Lord requires; all the appropriate duties of Christians. Paul exhorts them to practice every Christian virtue, and to do all that they could do to further the gospel among people” (e-Sword).

“Obedience to His holy word” (Clarke)…”all the appropriate duties of Christians” (Barnes).

“beginning, continuing, and ending every act of life to God’s glory” (Clarke)…”Always engaged in doing the will of God; in promoting His glory (Barnes).

“…and the good of his fellows” (Clarke)…”to further the gospel among people” (Barnes).

Obedience to the glory of God and the benefit of others–there’s our Monday mission!  In light of the fact of the resurrection of Christ and my future resurrection in Christ (the context of 1 Corinthians 15), I am to give myself fully to obeying my risen LORD–striving to glorify God and bless those I find within the sphere of my influence.

I’m ready for that mission!

What about you?

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort (1 Cor. 15:58; The Message).

 

 

 

 

Bono’s Testimony of Faith

Names-of-Jesus-2Kudos to Bono for his recent courageous and public testimony of faith!  Note the words in the link: “unexpected response.”  I hope we would all have the same unexpected response!

If you haven’t seen the clip from the interview, here’s the link.  If you want to get to the specific confession about Christ, start at the 36:23 mark.

http://www.charismanews.com/culture/43324-watch-bono-s-unexpected-response-to-who-is-jesus-question

 

 

 

The Song of Sensible Sinners

Are you a “sensible sinner”?  At times, that accurately describes me.  Sadly, it isn’t true of me more.

Just prior to Cadence’s birth, I found myself drawn to one of the Psalms.  In particular, Psalm 89:1-18 captivated my attention.  I guess I needed a healthy dose of a very practical doctrine–the faithfulness of God.  The result of a proper meditation upon this truth is godly sensibility.  In other words, the contemplation of the character of God leads the people of God to a rational response.  And that rational response is song.

Consider the words of Psalm 89:1-18:

I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. 2 For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.” 3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 4 I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.” [d]Selah. 5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord? Who among the [e]sons of the mighty is like the Lord, 7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty [f]Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. 9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 10 You Yourself crushed [g]Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with [h]Your mighty arm. 11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and [i]all it contains, You have founded them. 12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 13 You have [j]a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and [k]truth go before You. 15 How blessed are the people who know the [l]joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. 16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. 17 For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor [m]our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, [n]And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

John Gill is one of my favorite theologians.  He has a good grasp on both glory and grace. Take a moment to read his comments on verse fifteen:

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound,…. Of the love, grace, and mercy of God displayed in Christ, of peace and pardon by his blood, of justification by his righteousness, of atonement by his sacrifice, and of complete salvation by his obedience, sufferings, and death; this is the sound of the Gospel, and a joyful one it is to sensible sinners; and is so called in allusion either to a shout made upon a victory gained, and such a sound is the Gospel; it declares victory by Christ over sin, Satan, the world, and death, and every enemy; and that he has made his people more than conquerors over them; or to the jubilee trumpet, which proclaimed liberty and a restoration of inheritances, (Lev. 25:9) and so the Gospel proclaims liberty to the captives, freedom from the dominion of sin, and condemnation by it, from the tyranny of Satan, and the bondage of the law; and gives an account of the inheritance the saints have in Christ, and through his death, to which they are regenerated, and for which they are made meet by the Spirit of God, and of which he is the seal and earnest: or to the silver trumpets, for the use of the congregation of Israel, and blown at their solemn feasts, and other times, and were all of a piece, (Num. 10:1), the trumpet of the Gospel gives a certain sound, an even one, a very musical one; there is no jar nor discord in it; is a soul charming alluring sound, and very loud; it has reached, and will reach again, to the ends of the earth, (Rom. 10:18), it is a blessing to hear it, but it is a greater to “know” it, not merely notionally, but spiritually and experimentally; so as not only to approve of it, and be delighted with it, but so as to distinguish it from all other sounds; and by faith to receive it, and appropriate the things it publishes to a man’s own soul; and such must be “blessed”, or happy persons, for the reasons following in this verse, and in (Ps. 89:16),
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance: enjoy the gracious presence of God, have the manifestation of himself, the discoveries of his love, communion with him through Christ, and the comforts of the Holy Spirit, and these continued; so that they shall walk in the sunshine of these things, though not always; for sometimes they walk in darkness, and see no light; but it is an unspeakable mercy and blessing to walk herein at any time, for ever so short a season, see Psalm 4:6.

Source:  http://biblehub.com/psalms/89-15.htm

Sensible sinners are sinners who have come to their senses; individuals who have chosen to meditate upon the person and works of God and the to respond appropriately. The evidence of their success is their singing to and about God.

Have you been singing today?  Have I?  We should be!

Happy Birthday, Cady!

{ca43ea49-cfdc-4cb8-a0a1-417131de6b13}_3BW

Our baby girl is one week old today!

Born: March 31, 2014
Weight:  7 lbs.
Length:  20.5 in.
Hair Color:  Blonde

Name:  Cadence Peace

Significance:  Cadence is named after “our missionaries” – Ray and Char Hauser.  It would be our great joy if our beautiful, little daughter walked to the same cadence–the rhythm of faith and fruit.  Our hope and prayer is that she both know and show the Lord Jesus Christ.  Ray and Char were instrumental during my rocky days as a young Christian in northern Japan.  I needed teaching and I needed examples.  The Hausers provided both.  They instructed me in how to grow as a Christian and illustrated what loving and living Christ looks like.  Ray recently passed away from cancer.  Char is continuing to minister to the military community in Hawaii.  Due to Ray’s illness, they were the first to know of our name selection.

Her middle name is Peace.  First, we had peace from God that we did not need to prevent a fifth pregnancy.  Although we were a bit surprised to find out Jodi was pregnant after a five-year hiatus, we were not disappointed!  In fact, we were excited!  We could not wait to hold  another baby and watch how her personality developed.  Secondly, we had peace that this fifth baby would also be our final one.  Had we started earlier and were younger than we are, we’d seriously consider having more of our own children.  However, next year I turn fifty, and this pregnancy and delivery was a challenging one for Jodi.  Our decision is clear:  If we want to add another arrow to  this crowded quiver, it will be through adoption.  And–as crazy as it sounds–that’s not completely out-of-the-question.

Update:  It has been an eventful week; a tiring week.  Cady was born on Monday night.  Once again, my amazing wife was able to deliver without an epidural, and God caused her body to do what He manufactured it to do moments before a C-section would have been required.  It was crazy!  We’ve enjoyed having another baby among us. The other kids love holding Cadence.  Since it does indeed “take village” to raise a child, we’ll work together to help our little one navigate the waters of life in our home.

Prayer Request:  Do you see the photo above?  That’s my hand.  I am holding Cady.  She wasn’t too heavy, but the responsibility is.  Being an engaged parent isn’t an easy task.  Please pray for us.  Pray that we will do what is necessary to raise our precious daughter “in the fear and admonition of the Lord.”  Pray we don’t mess it up too much!  Thanks!