Friday, April 20, 2012

Prayer, Part 2

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the Propitiation for our sin.

Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things, but with the precious blood of Christ.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.

He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Needing More Passion and Truth

Paul begins Romans 9 with a very emotional statement of passion for his people, the Jews. Paul says that he has great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart for his people. He says that he wishes he could give up his salvation so that they could be saved (Rom 9.2-3). He says a little later on that his heart's desire and his prayer is that they would be saved (Rom 10.1). What a passion for souls!

Interestingly, Paul's passion for people is guided by a recognition that not everybody is going to be saved. In the middle of these two verses, Paul tells us that God hardens some people towards salvation, while also softening some people in order to receive Jesus. God has mercy on whomever He wills and He hardens whomever He wills (Rom 9.18).

At first, these two paragraphs seem in contradiction to one another. It seems that Paul should either really passionate to see people saved or quietly confident that whoever will get saved will get saved. But, he's not. He is both passionate and trusting in God's truth.

I need to grow in both passion and truth. I need to be more passionate for people, more desirous to see people saved, and more eager to share the gospel with a dying world. I also need to be more confident that God will soften people's hearts, that salvation rests with Him, and that He is glorified even in the gospel being rejected.

If I get out of balance, passionate with too little truth, I'll end up acting as if salvation is something that I can do for someone. I'll try to do the work of the Holy Spirit myself. I'll think that just one more verse, or one more conversation, or one more new book will save that lost person. I'll think that salvation is the ultimate end of all things, not God's glory.

If I get out of balance, truth with too little passion, I'll rarely witness or pray. I'll rarely witness, because I'll think "well, they'll get saved anyway." I'll rarely pray, because God already knows and He'll save whomever He wills. I will become an ineffective Christian.

The key is keeping both passion and truth in balance, while also growing in them both.

More passion. More truth. To God be the glory.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Hallowed be Your name.

Forgive me for taking You lightly,
for dishonoring Your name,
for robbing You of glory.

Forgive me for giving into sin so easily,
for fighting sin so carelessly,
for enjoying sin so freely.

Forgive my selfish, sensual, stubborn heart.

Forgive me for living for my name, and not Yours,
for living for my glory, and not Yours,
for living for my kingdom, and not Yours.

Forgive me for living as if sin is so harmless,
for living as if Your grace is too cheap,
for living as if Your Spirit is altogether weak.

Forgive me for underestimating my wicked heart,
and overestimating my strength to overcome it.

Forgive my quick nature to defend myself,
while boldly declaring guilt in others.

Forgive me for my petty excuses,
my surface-level justifications,
my speed in turning a blind eye to my sin.

Forgive me for tolerating transgressions,
excusing evil,
wallowing in wickedness.

My heart overflows with sin,
corrupting my

Create in my a clean heart, O God.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Together 4 the Gospel Reflections

I am grateful to RBC for allowing me to go to the conference Together 4 the Gospel last week in Louisville. The trip was a huge blessing in many ways, not the least of which was the connection I had with the five other men in attendance. We love Jesus more and love one another more as a result of the trip. Anyways, here are four highlights from T4G 2012:

1. Evidences of Grace

Spencer has wisdom from God and his humility in leadership allows for God to do great things though him and our whole body. Darien has the ability to lead in the church well and make theologically informed decisions that practically benefit the church. Wayne loves Jesus and the people of Jesus and helps the people of Jesus become more like Jesus. Drew understands what true worship is and always looks for ways for God to get more glory out of his music leadership. Tim is always looking to grow as he serves above and beyond what the normal non-staff member would.

2. David Platt

The message from David Platt, as the others will share, was the best sermon of the conference and is really a must-listen for everyone who was not at the conference. Platt called the church to greater trust in the sovereignty of God, which will inevitably result in a desire to reach the unreached with the gospel of Jesus.

3. Church Membership

Mark Dever taught on the danger of false converts in the church body. His message was great, but an indirect theme from this message (and several others) was membership. RBC has taken steps to better the process of membership, but more ought to be taken. Not only should we take steps to push those who are not members into membership, we need to hold those who are members to a high level of holiness and service.

4. Simplicity in Worship

I am grateful that our church has so many people who have musical abilities and talents. Our Easter service was a demonstration of this and a great service of praise to Jesus. At T4G, all music time consisted of: one musician on stage, one piano, and 8,000 people singing. And it was fantastic. God can certainly be worshipped in big productions, but maybe even better in less. With less ‘extras’ the focus was on the content of the songs and the worship of Jesus. I’m not trying to say RBC should always sing a capella, but I was struck by how less instruments, less people, and less production resulted in greater focus on Jesus and on content in singing. And my heart was moved deeply in these times by the Spirit.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lord's Day 9: Heidelberg Catechism

What do you believe when you say, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth"?

A24: That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by His eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ His Son. I trust Him so much that I do not doubt He will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and He will turn to my good whatever adversity He sends me in this sad world. He is able to do this because He is almighty God; He desires to do this because He is a faithful Father.