Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

I worshiped to this song from 7eventh Time Down as I ran this morning. Words of wisdom for today for sure.


How did we get here?
Where did we go wrong?
Yelling at each other
Every time we talk
How come together
We feel so alone?

Picture perfect
Is where we started off
The frame is broken
Somehow our dreams got lost
But it ain’t over
God can restore it all

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

I don’t need to be right
Love is stronger than the fight
We can start all over
And let go of our pride
It’s not too late
For us to change
If we decide

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

We gotta learn to live in grace
Look past each other’s mistakes
Whoa oh
We gotta learn to walk with each other
Together we can weather the storm

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

You decide – and pray that the Spirit rains down! (Is 32:14-20)

A Thought for Father’s Day

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2016 in Gender Issues, Marriage

Psa 128:1  Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!

Psa 128:2  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Psa 128:3  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

Psa 128:4  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.

Psa 128:5  The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!

Psa 128:6  May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!

The image does not mean simply that the wife will produce lots of children, though children are a blessing. In the Bible the vine with its grapes and the wine that is produced from them is often a symbol of the refreshment and enjoyment to be gained from an abundant harvest at the end of a long, dry summer. Psalm 104:15 states that wine makes a man’s heart glad. That is the picture of the wife that Psalm 128 portrays. However hard the day’s work is to a laboring man, to come home to a good wife is like coming home to a bountiful harvest at the end of a long summer. He finds satisfaction in his wife!

He then describes children “like olive plants around your table.” Olive trees take a long time to mature and become profitable. When cultivated patiently, and the key here is patiently, they become valuable and continue to produce a profitable crop for many years. When one’s children are rightly nurtured over time, they will become productive as well and experience the blessing of God. This does not mean that no properly reared child will ever rebel against their upbringing. The children of godly parents have and often do rebel. But as a rule godly training produces godly lives by the grace of God. An apple does not fall far from the tree.

Symbols and Signs

Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Music


Beautiful Eulogy’s ‘Instruments of Mercy’ is one of my favorite listens over the past couple of years. The following is a verse from their song ‘Symbols and Signs.’

Yep, are you the kind
That’s completely consumed
By symbols and signs?
If you are that’s fine
But don’t you find it interesting
How most of the time
Your self-interpreting seems to coincide
With what’s deep inside
Your heart’s desires
Seems rather convenient, doesn’t it?
I’m not saying that God can’t do it
Not saying that God won’t do it
That might very well be the case!
I’m simply making an observation of how much weight you place on it
What seems to be at stake and how much of your faith is actually banking on it
And how much of your mysticism is mixed with your religious philosophic system
Sometimes what we believe to be true from our supernatural pursuits is actually a fluke
A series of events that’s used to distract you from the truth
But, I’ll give you a sign that’s obvious
One of the most supernatural acts is that God through his Word has actually revealed everything pertaining to life in Godliness
There’s this idea that an individual
Is somehow more spiritual
If he sees these signs and symbols
And takes what’s normally invisible
And makes it simple
But I say the mark of a mature man
Is the one who reads God’s Word and understands
And allows that to govern his decisions and his prospective plans

True! And FYI – if you’re a runner you’ll like to play this album as you run and meditate 🎧

The Cost of Sacrifice

Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 in Pastoral, Theology, Worship

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)

Sacrifice costs us something. Worship itself is an offering of sacrifice and praise to our great God. David refused to offer anything that did not “cost me something.” Otherwise, his offering would not have been accepted by God. And that didn’t work out so well for Cain (Gen. 4) or for Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-2). God is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24; Heb 12:29).This is both positive and negative, both blessing and warning. God consumed (accepted, “had regard for”) Abel’s firstborn flock sacrifice (Gen. 4:4) but rejected Cain’s (Gen. 4:5). He consumed Aaron’s properly prepared sacrifice (Lev. 9) but rejected Nadab’s and Abihu’s and rather than consuming their sacrifice, he consumed them! How dreadful it is to approach him haphazardly or flippantly!

By definition sacrifice costs us something. It cost the greatest and final sacrifice, Jesus Christ, his life as the only acceptable sacrifice worthy to reconcile man to God. He is the Lamb without spot or blemish (1 Pet. 1:19) who will present his Bride to himself without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27). His sacrifice cost him, and with that price he purchased a people for himself (Ps. 74:2). His price was the Cross.

So to is ours – not his Cross, but ours. Jesus  said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk. 9:23). We must sacrifice daily, remembering that our sacrifice is the sacrifice of obedience, the giving our lives in surrender to him who desires obedience rather than sacrifice. It costs us our life – but it will be worth it when we are accepted as the Church with spot or wrinkle!

Book Review: Portraits of Faith

Posted: Friday, May 6, 2016 in Book review, Pastoral

41yetpt-xjl-_ac_us160_Portraits of Faith by Joel Beeke is a series of expositions given at a pastors conference in Aberystwyth, Wales UK. It is an encouragement and exhortation in the different aspects of faith given through the narratives of biblical characters as follows:

  • Adam & Eve – simple or childlike faith (Genesis 3:20-21 and 4:1)
  • The Shunammite woman – submissive faith (2 Kings 4)
  • The Canaanite woman – growing or maturing faith (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • Caleb – persevering faith (Numbers 13:25-14:24)

Pastor Geoff Thomas offers the following in introducing the book:

Now that these addresses are in print, their usefuness is greatly increased. Ministers like myself will be glad to have such a pastoral tool. Christians young and old will be encouraged and strengthened by reading these delightful pages. And those with questions concerning the nature of saving faith will find helpful guidance in this book.

As a pastor, I heartily agree! If you have ever had the privilege of hearing Beeke preach, then you know how rich his expositions are, how easily they flow and draw you in – and keep you riveted. Each of these little vignettes will be a good resource for pastoral ministry and for personal maturity in the faith. If you have ever failed in your faith, if you have ever suffered in your faith, if you have ever felt rejected in your faith, if you have ever felt in the minority in your faith – read this book! You will be blessed.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

41etkwzmopl-_ac_us160_Sam Allberry is associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Maidenhead, UK – an Anglican. So why does that matter? It doesn’t – but it could. It could if one approached the church of Jesus Christ from a strictly denominational perspective as if their own were the only true church. It could if one wrote for his own denomination  with no concern for others. Allberry does neither. His book Why bother with church? while brief answers the question biblically and biblically. Yes, that was intentional because contrary to much that has been written in recent years, God has much to say about His church and His people. Frankly, there is no way to interpret passages concerning the necessity of the church for us, and the necessity of us for the church, in a manner that allows anyone to conveniently stay away. No excuse or reason to refuse to be involved is allowed in Scripture – in fact, it is sin to do so and grieves both the God of the church and the church of God.

Allberry has given us a short, readable, and necessary book on church membership. He begins by defining the church (chapter 1) and follows by answering the question of the book’s title (chapter 2). Flowing from this he shows that he understands that there exists today many places that call themselves a church that really aren’t a church as defined by Scripture. So in chapter 3 he answers another question, “What makes a good church?” and couples that with biblical church leadership, structure and discipline in chapter 4. He then deals with the individual and their need to be one who serves the church rather than just looking to be served, or to use his language, attending church as a Christian or a consumer. He closes by giving biblical counsel as to what makes a good church member.

Allberry also anticipates some of the questions that even faithful church members have concerning the church. These are shaded in gray at the end of each chapter and will prove useful for leadership and congregation alike.

Why bother with church? is an enjoyable and practical read. We will begin distributing it to those who attend our prospective members class as a way to set forth our expectation of them as members, and what should be their expectation as members of our leadership – biblically and therefore reasonably. I think you will find a use for it with your members as well.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

514bnkyb3ll-_aa160_Biblical Counseling and the Church will prove to be a helpful resource in churches of any size and/or any demographic; country church, suburban church, or urban church. Simply put, if your church has people this book will be an asset for you and your ministry. Yes-you. “But I am not a pastor,” you might reply. “But I am not trained in biblical counseling.” “I am not called to be a counselor.” Read the book!

The purpose of the book is given at the end of the Introduction: “It is out conviction that God calls all of us to be biblical counselors. He calls every believer to know how to relate His Word to one another’s lives so that every believer in the congregation grows more like Christ. It is our prayer that Biblical Counseling and the Church will spark a one-another revolution in your life and in your church.” [18] Each author (and there are many gifted contributors) focuses on this goal as drawn from Ephesians 4:11-16. In fact, you will see that every believer counseling is discipleship and spiritual growth comes when all believers are involved with one another.

The vision is cast in six parts. Part One is More Than Counseling: A Vision for the Entire Church. This section serves as the foundation for what follows by showing how pulpit ministry and pastoral care is for the purpose of building up spiritual counselors who “counsel” as they live their lives in Christ.

Part Two is Biblical Counseling and Small Group Ministry. This section provides ideas and methods to help in promoting and promulgating the every believer involvement in counseling in whatever setting you have for small groups. I found some very helpful ideas in this section, and some that would need some adaptation for our church, and others that we might not consider, at least for now.

Part Three is Biblical Counseling and Conflict Resolution. Here the contributors hone in on why we need biblical counseling in the first place – conflict! These two chapters are worth the price of the book, especially if your church does not have an action plan for biblical church discipline and conflict resolution.

Part Four, Equipping Biblical Counselors, provides a strategy for implementing and practicing every believer biblical counseling. Chapters are provided for every size church and demographic to help.

Part Five, Biblical Counseling and Outreach, shows how every member counsel when lived out reaches the lost at home and abroad. The final section provides a historical prospective on biblical counseling.

Biblical Counseling and the Church is a complete manual on envisioning, planning, implementing, and sustaining a healthy biblical counseling ministry in your church. I highly recommend it for the glory of Christ and His Church.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.