Allow Me to Re-Introduce The Christ
August 28, 2009, 4:01 pm
Filed under: church, culture, gospel


Together For The Gospel
August 13, 2009, 1:40 am
Filed under: church, events, gospel, ministry

This weekend, August 15-16, ICC is having our annual retreat. The theme this year is Together For The Gospel as we desire to become a community founded on the Gospel and working for the Gospel. Our guest speaker will be Pastor Nathan Carter from Immanuel Baptist Church in the city.

Here’s a brief promo video :



An Exercise in Kingdom-mindedness
August 13, 2009, 1:34 am
Filed under: church, events, gospel, ministry, worship

For the past two years, I’ve been part of a prayer group consisting of pastors from four different churches in the Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates area. We gather monthly to pray for one another’s ministries as well as to intercede on behalf of our community. It has been a great experience of partnership in the Gospel that we are hoping would spread to our whole congregations as well. This past July 12th, we brought all of our congregations together for a combined Sunday service and picnic. It was a great time of worship as we focused on the Kingdom of God. The picnic was also a lot of fun as people had an opportunity to interact over food and sports. As pastors, we are praying that we could continue to encourage one another and partner in greater ways to serve our cities in Jesus’ name.

Here is a video we showed as part of the worship service :



The Gospel Coalition Conference
April 24, 2009, 2:34 pm
Filed under: church, events, gospel, leadership

speakers

This past week I was able to attend the Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago. The theme was Entrusted With The Gospel : Living The Vision of 2 Timothy. It was a time of great encouragement as the main speakers spoke straight through the book of 2 Timothy. I know I’m going to be chewing on these messages for a while, so I won’t blog about what I gleaned from it just yet. However, if you’d like access to some of the main messages, you can find them here :

Main Sessions :
Tim Keller on The Grand Demythologizer : The Gospel and Idolatry
John Piper on Feed the Flame of God’s Gift : Unashamed Courage in the Gospel
Phil Ryken on The Pattern of Sound Words
Mark Driscoll on Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
K. Edward Copeland on Pitfalls and Parodies of Gospel-Centered Ministry
Bryan Chapell on Preach The Word
Ajith Fernando on Gospel Faithfulness in the New Christendom
Crawford Loritts, Tim Keller, John Piper, Ligon Duncan – Panel Discussion
Ligon Duncan on Finishing Well
DA Carson on Faithfulness and Flexibility in Gospel Proclamation

Workshops :
C.J. Mahaney on The Pastor’s Charge
Joshua Harris on Ministering In a Church-Hopping Society
Crawford Loritts on Staying Faithful, Staying Relevant



Calvin and Hobbes on the Deceitfulness of Sin
April 15, 2009, 5:04 pm
Filed under: gospel

ch940114

Isn’t it so easy to see all the wrong that is outside of us, but not inside of us? To see the speck in our brother’s eye, and ignore the plank in our own?

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure…” Jeremiah 17:9

Sneaky sin.  Again.  

Praise God that through the Gospel we get new hearts as well as the freedom and security in Christ to own up to our sins through repentance without being devastated, and be transformed.



A Non-Biblical Story About Jesus
March 25, 2009, 3:55 pm
Filed under: gospel, ministry


prodigal-god-large
One part of Tim Keller’s Prodigal God that I found amusing as well as convicting was a non-biblical (as opposed to UN-biblical) story about Jesus and Peter that he shares :

Elisabeth Elliot recounts an apocryphal story (not in the Bible!) about Jesus that conveys the difference between a results-oriented selfishness and a faithfulness born out of love.

One day Jesus said to his disciplines : “I’d like you to carry a stone for Me.”  He didn’t give any explanation.  So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find.  After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulation for weight and size!  So he put it in his pocket.  Jesus then said : “Follow Me.”  He led them on a journey.  About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down.  he waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread.  He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.”  In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over.  When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up.  He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for Me.”  This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!”  So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger.  But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.”  Jesus then said : “Follow Me.”  He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up.  Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river.  He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.”  They did.  Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk.  Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded.  Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do?  Who were you carrying the stone for?” (pp.50-51)

The story reminds me that I must always ask myself with regards to my obedience, “For whom, REALLY, am I doing this?”  To live out the Gospel is far more difficult than simply living in a morally upright way.  Just think of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 13.  He writes that we have the capacity to give all we have to the poor and surrender our bodies to the flames…in such a way that lacks love.  In the Gospel, God is concerned not merely with the outward or the results, but with the heart.

For me, I have always had to examine my heart when it comes to preaching.  “For whom, REALLY, do I preach?”  Because there have been times during my preparation when I have found myself wanting to say things that are “impressive”.  There have been times when I have found myself worried and anxious about what people will think of me more than concerned about what people will think of God and His word.  And because of the desire to impress and because of the worry and anxiety, I prepare more.  To the naked eye, it might look like devotion.  But God has seen my heart in those times.

Sneaky sin.

All the more I am convinced that even the most righteous of my acts “are like filthy rags”.  And only when I am actively remembering, believing, applying, and experiencing the Gospel of God’s grace and love for me to my heart…being convinced of and conscious of His unshakable and incomparable acceptance of me in Christ despite my sin and in the face of any situation…will I be set free from the fear of man and the need to impress people, and I will be free to now use my energy to love.

God help me not to forget the Gospel.  God help me not to “assume” the Gospel.  Help me to remember it and apply it and treasure it and live in it daily.



Sneaky Sin
March 24, 2009, 4:26 pm
Filed under: gospel

085-001_largejpgI was challenged today by these thoughts today :

“Sin lives in a costume; that’s why it’s so hard to recognize.  The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that makes it so bad.  In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil.  Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party.  Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth.  Lust can masquerade as a love for beauty.  Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer.  Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership.  Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart.  The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom.  Evil simply doesn’t present itself as evil, which is part of its draw.”

– Paul Tripp, Whiter Than Snow : Meditations on Sin and Mercy

In view of this, I am reminded all the more why we absolutely need God’s grace to deal with our sin–not just to forgive us and cleanse us from it, but even to detect it, acknowledge it, and repent of it.  And so true repentance is not just a means to grace, but actually a sign of it already working in our deceitful hearts.

God, give me grace!