Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review: "On Being a Leader for God" written by Warren W. Wiersbe

Review written by Matthew Kratz

In the preface, pastor and Bible teacher Warren W. Wiersbe articulates the purpose of this book is to be "a practical 'theology of leadership' based on the principles and illustrated taught in the Bible" (p.10). He makes clear distinctions throughout the book between "leaders" who deal with vision and direction from "managers" to deal with day to day implementation (p.15).

This book is filled with helpful bible verses, quotes, stories, and illustrations of what it means to be a godly and biblical leader for God’s glory. There are times when the theology is not as tight and precise as I would like (God "needed" Adam and Eve to tend the garden (p.18) yet it is generally helpful

This book is meant to be a sequel to the well-known and loved book On Being A Servant Of God by Wiersbe. In that book we have a powerful exhortation to serve God’s people and maintain a servant’s heart in ministry. In this book we have a broader look at the responsibilities, character and Biblical description of a Christian leader. Wiersbe deals biblically with topics that are relevant to Christian leadership, including:

*God's authority
*seizing opportunities
*biblical images of leadership
*measuring management
*being a leader versus a boss
*change management
*organizational leadership

The chapters are short (4-7 pages), making the book easy to read, though the lack of chapter headings or titles is very frustrating. For my own reference, I summarised the topics of each chapter and made my own table of contents.  Only after completing the book did some of the progressions from topic to topic become a little clearer. Although, the progression in each chapter seems not to flow at times and the logical link was sometimes hard to follow, for connections were not always made.

I appreciated the focus on a leaders humility and faithfulness, over a "leadership principle" approach. Indeed, there a no quick actions to long term effective leadership. Self-checks on Biblical principles (p. 30) were helpful.

Although a seasoned pastor/writer/speaker/board member, Wiersbe shows particular insight in dealing with those of various generations (p. 111). There are often times I wished he would have taken a topic/passage and drawn out the meaning and implications instead of just dealing with it in passing.

The work would be an excellent introduction to leadership since it is an overview of Biblical principles. It is suitable for an introductory college (or high school) course on leadership, or for a Christian in any leadership situation.

$13.99 US
5.5 x 8.5
Number of pages:
Carton Quantity:
Publication Date:
Jun. 11

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Book Review: "The U Turn Church" by Kevin G.Harney & BobBouwer.

Review written by Matthew Kratz

The book is described as the story of "two pastors who turned their churches around show leaders how they can help usher in a new season of health, faithfulness, growth, and vision in their churches. The U-Turn Church walks readers through the roadblocks of tradition, lack of vision or leadership, structural problems, and concerns about denominational distinctives to forge a new way forward into a hope-filled future. Through the stories of two churches that have experienced healthy transformation, readers will see that there is not just one right way to reverse decline. They will receive practical help and wisdom born of experience as they begin their own U-Turn journey".

From their own introduction, many common elements are included in the U-turn process  where the authors share some of their own personal stories and strategies for increasing and deepening prayer in their churches. Kevin Harney described the big idea of U-Turn is that "any church can move in new and life-giving directions if they are willing to take bold and humble steps toward the heart of God.  God is ready to do a new thing if we are willing to follow Him! My prayer is that leadership teams of local churches will read this book, be inspired, and take the practical ideas and contextualize them for their unique church setting.  This is not a one-size-fits all approach, but a collection of ideas that can be adopted and adapted". Although, there were practical applications, many of the applications would suit those of larger churches best.

Harney seemed to have the right focus when he said: "Health leads to growth (though not always numerical).  Growth leads to health…much of the time (but not always). Every leader should strive for both of these.  I believe the first and most important focus in health.  When the church is healthy, growth (numerical, spiritual, and other kinds) comes organically.  In The U-Turn Church we address a number of ways to increase church health". "Making a U-Turn demands the presence of the Holy Spirit, lots of prayer, patience, and wisdom" (p. 13).

What I found troubling was an wholly insufficient definition of that health. The basis of that health as defined by scripture only seemed to be an afterthought. It's like the principles were chosen and passing "proof-texts" were alluded to on editing. The texts were only mentioned in passing and you had to go to the end notes at the back of the book to see the scripture reference. I believe if they were truly serious on their statement of health they would have directly quoted the scriptural basis and then explained how exactly this would look like.

Although the definition of health is not sufficiently spelled out, what it is not is well articulated. In listing several wrong motives for making a U-turn, such as self-preservation, increased income and larger attendance, the overall objective of doing this to the glory of God is spot on (p. 20-21). Most likely, this is from the author's Reformed Church of America background.

A recurring helpful aspect of the book are the exercises and reflections, and prayers at the end of each chapter. There really take the principles of the chapter to practical application. One impressive example of application is the "Tabernacle Prayer Model" that takes the elements of the Tabernacle as a thematic reference for extended prayer times. (p. 62). Through various chapter, one author or another will give their individual reflections on the topic.

The book is formatted in the beginning, middle and continuing aspects of this U-turn. I loved the section (chapter 7) on High Expectations. I would encourage the authors to right a book solely based on the material in this chapter. Too often we set our sights too low in our service to Christ, and this chapter was most refreshing. Yet, like how the rest of the book is structured, I had to go to the end notes and pencil in the scriptural referents to help provide the solid foundation for the explanation of this High Expectation.

Once curious recurring feature are the roadblock and myth counter sections. It is if the authors were often counting a criticism, even before making their own points. Unfortunately, their methodology for this counter is purely pragmatic instead of explicitly starting with scripture. Nevertheless, their warning on why people often fail (p.100) should give pause to those who would act before thinking. Chapter 8 deals with this very topic of expecting opposition (Tough Skins and Soft hearts) and

The formatting of chapter nine on Taking Holy Risks seems backwards. The examples are given before the principles. Although the principles are sound, they lack an explicit scriptural reference that would have given them more force. The general references to "faith" do not seem to fit the context.

Chapter 11 on "the Wow Factor" is mistitled. It should really focus on excellence and be linked with chapter seven on High Expectations. Why this chapter occurred after Chapter 10 on "Looking Out" dealing with outreach, is puzzling. Although the reminded that every church ministry should begin to pray and plan for outreach (p.154) is a helpful remind, the aspect to "tune in to the presence of the spiritually disconnect" (p.155) is the most theologically disturbing that worship should someone be structured to accommodate "seekers".  "No one understands, no one seeks for God" (Rom. 3:11)

I wish the authors would have expanded section three on "The Never-Ending Journey of a U-Turn Church". The chapter on Myths (Chapter 12) and "You-Turns" (Chapter 13) seem better suited to start the book, not end it. I fished the book both confused and disappointed. It was like eating a fast-food meal. It had some tasty elements, but it was fast burning calories that only promised satisfaction.

Table Of Contents

Introduction: Welcome to the Journey 9
Section 1 The Beginning of the U-Turn
Chapter 1 Holy Zeal 17
Chapter 2 Urgency 27
Chapter 3 Crystal-Clear Vision 40
Chapter 4 The Power of Prayer 55

Section 2 The Middle of the U-Turn
Chapter 5 Biblical Truths vs. Personal Preferences 73
Chapter 6 Unleashing Leaders 90
Chapter 7 High Expectations 108
Chapter 8 Tough Skin and Soft Hearts 123
Chapter 9 Taking Holy Risks 135
Chapter 10 Looking Out 150
Chapter 11 The "Wow" Factor 164

Section 3 The Never-Ending Journey of a U-Turn Church
Chapter 12 U-Turn Myths 179
Chapter 13 You-Turns: From You-Turn to U-Turn 191

Notes 201


  • Pub. Date: June 2011
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Format: Hardcover , 208pp
  • ISBN-13: 9780801013713
  • ISBN: 0801013712
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sermon Outline: The Parable of Ten Virgins": Matthew 25:1-13.

1) The Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1–5) • Matthew 22:1-13 2) The Bridegroom (Matthew 25:6-12) • Matthew 7:22-23 • Luke 13:25-28 3) The Warning (Matthew 25:13) • Luke 21:34-36

John Newton - If he is a Liar, a Talebearer, a Railer, a Flatterer or a Jester

\John Newton - (1725-1807), Evangelical divine and hymn writer Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman. Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his "great deliverance." He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, "Lord, have mercy upon us." Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him. For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. "Thro' many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; 'tis grace has bro't me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." He continued in the slave trade for a time after his conversion; however, he saw to it that the slaves under his care were treated humanely. In 1750 he married Mary Catlett, with whom he had been in love for many years. By 1755, after a serious illness, he had given up seafaring forever. During his days as a sailor he had begun to educate himself, teaching himself Latin, among other subjects. From 1755 to 1760 Newton was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, where he came to know George Whitefield, deacon in the Church of England, evangelistic preacher, and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. Newton became Whitefield's enthusiastic disciple. During this period Newton also met and came to admire John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Newton's self-education continued, and he learned Greek and Hebrew. He decided to become a minister and applied to the Archbishop of York for ordination. The Archbishop refused his request, but Newton persisted in his goal, and he was subsequently ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln and accepted the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. Newton's church became so crowded during services that it had to be enlarged. He preached not only in Olney but in other parts of the country. In 1767 the poet William Cowper settled at Olney, and he and Newton became friends. Cowper helped Newton with his religious services and on his tours to other places. They held not only a regular weekly church service but also began a series of weekly prayer meetings, for which their goal was to write a new hymn for each one. They collaborated on several editions of Olney Hymns, which achieved lasting popularity. The first edition, published in 1779, contained 68 pieces by Cowper and 280 by Newton. Among Newton's contributions which are still loved and sung today are "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" and "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken," as well as "Amazing Grace." Composed probably between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, "Amazing Grace" was possibly one of the hymns written for a weekly service. The origin of the melody is unknown. Most hymnals attribute it to an early American folk melody. The Bill Moyers special on "Amazing Grace" speculated that it may have originated as the tune of a song the slaves sang. Newton was not only a prolific hymn writer but also kept extensive journals and wrote many letters. Historians accredit his journals and letters for much of what is known today about the eighteenth century slave trade. In Cardiphonia, or the Utterance of the Heart, a series of devotional letters, he aligned himself with the Evangelical revival, reflecting the sentiments of his friend John Wesley and Methodism. In 1780 Newton left Olney to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Mary Woolchurch, in London. There he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William Wilberforce, who would one day become a leader in the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Newton continued to preach until the last year of life, although he was blind by that time. He died in London December 21, 1807. Infidel and libertine turned minister in the Church of England, he was secure in his faith that amazing grace would lead him home. John Newton - If he is a Liar, a Talebearer, a Railer, a Flatterer or a Jester

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Always Ready (1 Peter 3) John MacArthur

Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (Colossians 3:15) Christians must be ready to make a defense of the faith. The Greek term for defense (apologia) is the word from which the English terms apology and apologetics derive. It often means a formal defense in a judicial courtroom (cf. Acts 25:16; 2 Tim. 4:16), but Paul also used the word informally to denote his ability to answer those who questioned him (Phil. 1:16). Always indicates believers' need for constant preparedness and readiness to respond, whether in a formal courtroom or informally, to everyone who asks them to give an account for why they live and believe the way they do. Account is simply logos, "word," or "message," and it calls saints to be able at the time someone asks (present tense) to give the right words in response to questions about the gospel. The gospel is identified as the hope that is in believers. Hope is synonymous with the Christian faith because the motive for believers' embracing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is their anticipation of escaping hell and entering eternal glory (cf. Acts 26:6; Eph. 1:18; 4:4; Col. 1:23; Heb. 10:23). Thus hope becomes the focal point of any rational explanation believers should be able to provide regarding their salvation...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 2 (John MacArthur)

Now again I want to have you open your Bible, if you will, to a text that is a starting point for our discussion of worship. We're talking about acceptable true spiritual worship, what worship really is. I remember when I first came to Grace Church and did something that was a little bit rare in those days, that is I preached for an hour, Sunday morning and Sunday night, sometimes even longer than that. There are some sermons on record that went an hour and thirty minutes and maybe a couple an hour and 45 minutes. And I remember a person saying to me, and the question came up a number of times, but I remember a particular conversation where someone said to me, "With such long sermons with so much time taking up and preaching, how much can your church really worship?" Well the answer to that is to pose a question to the questioner, "With so little time given to preaching, how is it possible for your church to worship?" Because worship is not a matter of time, it's a matter of content. Adding another verse to the song, or another five verses or repeating the verses again and again, or adding more songs does not necessarily increase worship. More music does not necessarily enrich worship. Worship is enriched by what the worshiper knows. Worship is a mental experience. It is not an emotional experience, emotion follows. But we worship when we praise the Lord, that's one way, corporately. And our praise is informed with revelation. Truth informs and therefore increases worship...

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 1 (John MacArthur)

It seems to me that this may be the right time to address the subject of worship. I want to say at the outset that I am grateful to the Lord for His direction in helping us here at Grace Church to remain a worshiping church when the evangelical church around us is going in the opposite direction. There are two things that kill worship. One is man-centeredness and the other is pragmatism. Both of those have come to dominate what is called evangelicalism. Our church has not fallen victim to those, to either of them. We have no interest into buying into pragmatism, that is the idea that we will do whatever works, whatever produces the effect that we want, nor have we bought into the idea that the church needs to restructure itself to please men. But we are an island, I think, in a fast moving sea around us that is boiling over with pragmatism and man-centeredness. As a result, the evangelical movement today has largely abandoned true worship. Oh there seems to be more and more, quote/unquote worship music, sort of the last gasps of someone who is unable to worship while worship quote/unquote music increases, worship in reality decreases. It seems to me that the evangelical church is actually abandoned worship, true worship. Or maybe we could say it another way, the evangelical church has decided to worship the culture, that's pragmatism. Or to worship the unbeliever, that's man-centeredness. Or maybe to worship their clever leader, the church is now interested in finding out what the non-worshiper wants, the one who has no relationship to God whatsoever. And the church is ready to redefine itself in the direction of the non-worshiper. In fact, churches measure their success on how many non-worshipers they can get in their building on Sunday. They count them very carefully. And they write books on how to get more non-worshipers into your worship service. The more the better. So that the non-worshiper becomes sovereign in defining what the church does. This is hardly what Scripture calls us to. The Word of God calls us to God-centered, spiritual worship. The illusion is that this man-centered, pragmatic, non-worshiping assembly of people called a church has the power to change people's lives, that a non-worshiping, pragmatic gathering of people designed to appeal to a non-worshiper has power to bring that non-worshiper into becoming a worshiper. It's highly unlikely, however, since a non-worshiper attending a non-worshiping church would have no idea what worship was. In reality, the greatest evangelistic power resides in the true worshiping church...a true gathering of God's people genuinely worshiping Him has the greatest collective power in the world to make the gospel believable and effective. Another component that plays into this is, I guess what you could call, the privatization of spirituality. I was reading an article in the paper today about one of the presidential candidates and the article was not surprising. It said that this particular candidate has faith but his faith is a private matter. That defines the spirituality of our time, a spirituality which is personal, a faith which is private. My faith, says this person as do many today, is my own. I worship God in my own way but my faith is very important to me, but it's very private. If you, by the way, have a private, personal faith of your own, you'll take it to hell. We do not come together as people who have a personal private faith, we come together as people who have made a public confession of our faith which is not content less, but which is placed directly in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the gospel that is related to Him...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sermon Outline:"The Parable of the Great Banquet": Luke 14:16-24.

1) The Incident (Luke 14:16-17) • Revelation 19:9 • Galatians 4:4 2) The Invited (Luke 14:18-20) • Matthew 10:37 3) The Invitation (Luke 14:21-24) • Isaiah 55:1 • Romans 15:7-16

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is Fasting a Command? (Matthew 6:16) John MacArthur

And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (Matthew 6:16) During Old Testament times many faithful believers fasted-Moses, Samson, Samuel, Hannah, David, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, and many others. And the New Testament tells us of the fasting of Anna, John the Baptist and his disciples, Jesus, Paul, and numerous others. We know that many of the early church Fathers fasted, and that Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Whitefield, and many other outstanding Christian leaders have fasted. But the only fast commanded in Scripture is the one connected with the Day of Atonement. On that day all the people were to "humble [their] souls" (Lev. 16:29; cf. 23:27), a Hebrew expression that included forsaking food as an act of self-denial. That was a national fast, involving every man, woman, and child in Israel. But it occurred only one time a year, and then only as an integral part of the Day of Atonement...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fruitless Branches (John 15:2, 6) John MacArthur

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; ... If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. (John 15:2, 6) The reference here is not, as some imagine, to true Christians losing their salvation, nor are these fruitless but genuine Christians (an impossibility). That these branches bear no fruit marks them as unbelieving, false disciples since, as noted previously, all true Christians bear fruit. Further, Jesus promised that He will not cast out any true disciples: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37). The phrase in Me in this case cannot have the Pauline connotation of believers' union with Christ; it merely describes those who outwardly attach themselves to Him (cf. Matt. 13:20--22; Rom. 9:6--8; 11:16--24; 1 John 2:19). Such people will always be present with the true church. The New Testament describes them as tares among the wheat (Matt. 13:25--30); bad fish that are thrown away (Matt. 13:48); goats condemned to eternal punishment (Matt. 25:33, 41); those left standing outside when the head of the house shuts the door (Luke 13:25--27)...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proofs of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

The One Minute Apologist gives us proofs for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in this new episode. Recommended book "Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? A Debate between William Lane Craig & Gerd Ludemann" by Paul Copan:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jesus is the Gospel | History of the Modern "Gospel" (Session 7 - Final)

Jesus is the Gospel - So far, this series has looked at what the Gospel is not, giving glimpses along the way of what the gospel is. In our final session, we simply look to Jesus to discover the good news.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Exalting Jesus with Generosity

This clip is taken from the sermon "Jesus Christ Is Lord, King, and Savior," preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle, Washington, on June 26th, 2011. It is the 80th sermon in our sermon series on the Gospel of Luke. To watch the full sermon, visit

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sermon Outline: "The Parable of the Land Owner": Matthew 21:33-46.

1) The Work (Matthew 21:33) • Isaiah 5:1-7 2) The Wickedness (21:34–39) • Mark 12:2-5 3) The Wrath (Matthew 21:40–41) 4)The Witness (Matthew 21:42) • Acts 4:10-12 5) The Withdrawal (Matthew 21:43–46). • John 15:5 • 1 Peter 2:9 • Daniel 2:32-35

Friday, July 15, 2011

Any Evidence for Resurrection of People in Matthew 27? With Norman Geisler

Dr. Norman Geisler returns to answer the question "Is there any evidence for the resurrection of the people in Matthew Chapter 27?" Recommended book "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics" by Norman Geisler

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exposing the Ten Pillars of Gambling (John MacArthur)

Gambling is a blight on our nation, a cancer that eats away at the souls of millions. In spite of the fact that it increases crime rates, degrades morals, and destroys families, gambling has thrived. Why? The answer is both simple and profound. Gambling is built on sin. If you clear away the glamour, the twinkling lights, and the jackpot sound effects, you'll find ten pillars of sin that support the whole enterprise. In this final post on the subject of gambling, John MacArthur will identify those pillars with precision, cutting through the clutter to bring biblical clarity to the issue. Just click play...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?

Dr. Norman Geisler returns again and gives his knowledge to the question "Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?" Recommended Book "Conviction Without Compromise" by Norman Geisler & Ron Rhodes:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jesus Says and Shows He Is God

This clip is taken from the sermon "Jesus Christ Is Lord, King, and Savior," preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle, Washington, on June 26th, 2011. It is the 80th sermon in our sermon series on the Gospel of Luke. To watch the full sermon, visit

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spiritual Freedom (John 8) John MacArthur

"and the truth will make you free." (John 8:32b) The reality of believing in Jesus, obeying His Word, and knowing the truth brings spiritual freedom. Such freedom is multifaceted, and includes freedom from the bondage of falsehood, Satan (John 17:15; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:18), condemnation (Rom. 8:1), judgment (John 3:18; 5:24), spiritual ignorance (8:12), spiritual death (8:51), and, most significantly in this context (v. 34), sin (Rom. 6:18, 22). It was to liberate lost sinners that Jesus came into the world (Luke 19:10). In the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth, the Lord applied the following words from Isaiah to His ministry: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18). Those who are set free in Christ must heed Paul's admonition to the Galatians: "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1)...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sermon Outline: "The Parable of Costly Discipleship" Luke 14:28-33.

1) Construction Discipleship (Luke 14:28-30) • Luke 9:57-62 2) Conflict Discipleship (Luke 14:31-32) • Proverbs 24:3-6 • Ephesians 6:10-17 3) Chattel Discipleship (Luke 14:33) • Luke 9:23-26 • Luke 14:26-27

Friday, July 08, 2011

Gambling vs. Risk Taking (John MacArthur)

You've probably heard this argument before from advocates of gambling: "If gambling is sin, then so is investing in the stock market, buying a house, and even starting your own company. They all involve the same element—risk taking." That argument may appear convincing on the surface, but can it survive closer scrutiny? Today we'll let John MacArthur answer that question...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Trials and Sufferings of the Godly - Thomas Watson

The Trials and Sufferings of the Godly Thomas Watson playlist: Psalm 73:12-14 New International Version (NIV) 12 This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth. 13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. 14 All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. Thomas Watson - (ca. 1620-1686), English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author Watson was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen year pastorate at St. Stephen's, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love's plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on June 30, 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen's Walbrook. Watson obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686. The Trials and Sufferings of the Godly - Thomas Watson

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sometimes Sin Is Not Doing Anything At All

This clip is taken from the sermon "Investing for Jesus," preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle, Washington on June 19th, 2011. It is the 79th sermon in our sermon series on the Gospel of Luke. To watch the full sermon, visit

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Hope for Homosexuals (1 Corinthians 6) John MacArthur

... Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9--11)

And such were some of you. The Corinthian church, as churches today, had ex--fornicators, ex--adulterers, ex--thieves, and so on. Though many Christians have never been guilty of the particular sins just discussed, every Christian was sinful before he was saved. Every Christian is an ex--sinner. Christ came for the purpose of saving sinners (Matt. 9:13). That is the great truth of Christianity: no person has sinned too deeply or too long to be saved. "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom. 5:20). But some had ceased to be like that for a while, and were reverting to their old behavior.

Paul uses but (alla, the strongest Greek adversative particle) three times to indicate the contrast of the Christian life with the worldly life he has just been describing. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified. It made no difference what they were before they were saved. God can save a sinner from any sin and all sin. But it makes a great deal of difference what a believer is like after salvation. He is to live a life that corresponds to his cleansing, his sanctification, and his justification. His Christian life is to be pure, holy, and righteous. The new life produces and requires a new kind of living.

Washed speaks of new life, of regeneration. Jesus "saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Regeneration is God's work of re--creation. "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:17). "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:10). When a person is washed by Christ he is born again (John 3:3--8).

Sanctified speaks of new behavior. To be sanctified is to be made holy inwardly and to be able, in the Spirit's power, to live a righteous life outwardly. Before a person is saved he has no holy nature and no capacity for holy living. But in Christ we are given a new nature and can live out the new kind of life. Sin's total domination is broken and is replaced by a life of holiness. By their fleshly sinfulness the Corinthians were interrupting that divine work.

Justified speaks of new standing before God. In Christ we are clothed in His righteousness and God now sees in us His Son's righteousness instead of our sin. Christ's righteousness is credited to our account (Rom. 4:22--25). We are declared and made in the new nature righteous, holy, innocent, and guiltless because God is "the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26).

The Corinthian believers had experienced transformation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. God's name represents His will, His power, and His work. Because of Jesus' willing submission to the Father's will, His death on the cross in our behalf, and His resurrection from the dead, He has provided our washing, our sanctification, and our justification...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Is Same-sex "Marriage" about Equality?

Is Same-sex Marriage about equality? Does fairness dictate same-sex marriage?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sermon Outline: "The Parable of the Net" Matthew 13:47-50.

1) The Picture of Judgment (Matthew 13:47–48)
• Matthew 4:18-22

2) The Principle of Judgment (Matthew 13:49)

• Revelation 20:11-15

• Matthew 24:38-41

3) The Peril of Judgment (Matthew 13:50)

• Hebrews 10:28-29