Monday, December 24, 2007

The 'Dark Side' of the Moon

Last night, my wife and I got out warm coats and our telescope to have a look at Mt. Clementine (a 3 mile high mountain just past the moon's south pole). Due to the position of the full moon, the summit of the mountain can be seen for 4 days this month.

I was awestruck by the beauty of God's creation. I was looking at a mountain that is usually hidden from the view of everyone of planet Earth. It was exciting.

It is amazing what you see when you take the time to look.....

Merry Christmas to All!

I just wanted to wish all my family and friends a blessed Christmas! Thanks again for stopping by!

A Bible Reading Challenge - update

I have really enjoyed the Bible reading challenge so far. It has not been easy to find time each day to keep up my reading schedule, but making the Word a priority each day is paying off in unexpected ways.

Though I was afraid I wouldn't be getting much out of my reading, I find instead that I have many things to pray about, meditate on, and apply each day. It has been incredible! Reading in large sections has enabled me to appreciate more the 'big picture' of God's redemptive plan. It is really different that my study of isolated passages.

I was also fearful of being legalistic about the reading, but this is not about my salvation (that's already taken care of) and it is not about being super-spiritual and superior to those who aren't reading as much as I am. This experience is about me immersing myself in the Word of God every day. It has been rewarding.

Keep praying for me as I seek to complete the reading by January 31, 2008!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Bible Reading Challenge -accepted

Over at the "Said at Southern" blog, many people are taking a challenge to read through the Word of God by January 31, 2008. I have decided to take the challenge myself.

While I try to read through the Bible once every year, I have never tried to read through it in one month. My concern is that I will read just to get the pages checked off instead of allowing God to use His Word to feed my soul. My hope and prayer is that by diving into God's Word (and possibly reading through the Bible more than once in 2008) that God will nourish my soul in new ways. Pray for me as I undertake this reading challenge.

If you would like to take the challenge yourself, you can read about it at There are even some helps available there, including a Bible reading chart to help you keep track of your reading each day.

I believe that there are more Bibles in more homes in the United States than ever. I also believe that there are fewer people reading the Bible in the United States than ever. I pray that the latter trend will change.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thoughts from Charles Spurgeon

"Brethren, never neglect your spiritual meals, or you will lack stamina and your spirits will sink. Live on the substantial doctrines of grace, and you will outlive and out-work those who delight in the pastry and syllabubs of 'modern thought'." - Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students

The Thermopylae of Christendom, part 2

I realize that my last post was pretty long, but another thought occurred to me yesterday while thinking about the Spurgeon quote. The Spartans were also able to make their stand - and fight to the last man - because they believed they were doing what they were made to do. It was their calling in life - not simply their job.

Preachers should share this same sense of calling. Being a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a career choice; it is a vocation - a calling. Consider the words of the apostle Paul:

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles...(Gal 1:15-16a NASB)

Paul believed that God had set him apart for ministry before he was even born!

Consider the calling of Jeremiah: Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." (Jer 1:4-5 NASB)

God calls us. If God has not called us, we should not presume to take the office of pastor on ourselves. It is risky. "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment." (Jam 3:1 NASB)

Let us search our hearts and make certain of our calling. Let us remain where God plants us and move only at His command (rather than hold this office while sending out resumes to the next 'bigger and better' position). We are doing what God created us to do!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Thermopylae of Christendom

I am not an historian, but I enjoy reading history. The story of the battle of Thermopylae has always captivated my imagination, so when Spurgeon referred to it in one of his lectures my attention was arrested. Spurgeon says, "Often have I said to my brethren that the pulpit is the Thermopylae of Christendom: there the fight will be lost or won." I have been thinking about this statement ever since and thinking about what Spurgeon might have meant.

The Spartans at Thermopylae were able to hold their ground because they trusted their weapons, their knowledge of warfare, and their fellow soldiers. If we as preachers of the Gospel of Christ are to stand our ground, we must do the same.

The Spartans soldiers trusted their weapons. As preachers, we have only one weapon at our disposal: the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). This is a weapon we can always trust "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12 NASB)" What better weapon could we ask for?

However, it seems that many preachers no longer trust their weapon. They substitute the world's marketing techniques, anecdotal stories, humor, and personal experience for God's Word in their preaching ministry. Some preachers never get around to the Bible, or read one passage then preach a message that has nothing to do with the verses read. For some a desire to be 'relevant' results in their being merely entertaining. The people in the congregation may enjoy the show, but their souls are not fed.

In some churches, they are busily hammering their swords into a shape that better suits them. The Word of God is twisted to fit whatever the opinions of the culture are. This is a dangerous practice; it results in many believing they are saved, when in fact they have no relationship with Christ at all.

The Spartans also trusted their knowledge of warfare. They had been trained to fight in a particular style. One soldier who did not do his job would bring about a catastrophe! In their formation, no one soldier could afford to try doing it his own way. We preachers must preach the gospel. The full counsel of God is all that will do. If we try to preach ourselves - our opinions, our new ideas, our experience - rather than the Gospel of Christ, we should expect disastrous results.

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' "(Mat 7:21-23 NASB)

Those to whom Christ is speaking are doing a lot of good things: prophesying, casting out demons, performing miracles in His name. However, they are not doing the will of the Father. God has ordained the foolishness of preaching as the means of saving souls; He has not ordained others. We must be about doing His will - not trying to baptize our own wills. We must trust His plan for warfare.

We must also, like the Spartans, be able to trust our fellow soldiers to fight the good fight. We must encourage each other, rebuke each other when needed, and stand beside one another.

Like the Spartans, we face overwhelming odds. We must always remember that unlike the battle at Thermopylae (which was lost), our victory has already been won by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We battle for His glory - not our own.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:10-17 NASB)

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my first attempt at blogging!

In Christ's name and for His glory,