Friday, November 27, 2015

Around the Web-November 27, 2015

25 Best Christmas Movies Ever, Ranked

Be sure to check out Ligoner's Black Friday sale

Three Reasons We Miss the Message of the Bible by Dave Jenkins

Justice Without Facts Is No Justice at All by Phillip Holmes

What Comes After Thanksgiving? by Marshall Segal

What Does it Mean to Find Your Identity in Christ? by Gavin Ortlund

One of the greatest quarterbacks who ever played football had his number retired last night during the Chicago Bears/Green Bay Packers game. Even though I am not a huge Packer fan, I am respect Brett Favre. He was the toughest QB in the game.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of one of my favorite Superheroes, Green Lantern. This video is a look as the variations of Green Lantern throughout the years.

In case you have not seen it or want to watch it again, here is the first trailer to Captain America: Civil War, which comes out on May 6, 2016.

Christmas Gifts for the Reader

Christmas season is officially here which means listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, and decorating the house. It is also time to shop for Christmas presents whether it for a family member, friend, or church leader. Thankfully, Westminster Bookstore has made a list of books that may help you in getting books for the people in your life.

Gifts for pastors and theologians which includes From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, John Frame's Systematic Theology, and Tim Keller's book on preaching.

Gifts for children and teens including The Jesus Storybook Bible, which is the best children's Bible on the market today.

Gifts for women. Kevin DeYoung's Crazy Busy would be ideal for the busy (no pun intended) mom.

Gifts for men also includes Tim Keller's book on prayer, John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, and Godly Man's Picture by Thomas Watson

If you are looking for a Bible for someone to give for Christmas, ESV Bibles are 50% off.

Hopefully, these lists will be a help for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Are You Thankful For Your Salvation?

We can be thankful for a lot of things. The jobs we have, the church we attend, our families, our friends, and even the food we are about to eat. There is one thing Christians need to be consistently thankful for is their salvation.

Think about it. God saved a sinner who deserves His wrath yet has received mercy through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Jesus did not deserve to die on the cross in our place for our sins yet He willingly took the chastisement that brought us peace with God.

Our salvation was freely paid for by Jesus Christ. Our response should be thankfulness. A few years ago, my wife and I were having lunch as we were celebrating our anniversary. Our pastor came in, about 20 minutes later, and greeted us. After a few friendly greetings, we told him we were celebrating our anniversary then the waiter brought the check. Without hesitation, our pastor picked up our check and said lunch was on him. We were not in need nor were we implying anything, he felt like giving us a gift.

That gift from our pastor, was something we did not deserve. He could have said, "Happy Anniversary," and that would have been enough. Instead, in an act of kindness, paid for our lunch. Our Savior did something we did not deserve because He knew all of our works and accomplishments would not be enough. As we continue to live on this earth let us remember what Paul wrote to the Colossian church:

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7).

As we abide in Christ, we are to grow in our fellowship with Him while be filled with thanksgiving knowing this fellowship is not possible without the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Is Not Thanking God A Sin?

We have discussed how the Bible is full of commands to give thanks to the Lord for all that He has done. Now the question comes to mind: is not thanking God a sin? If we remember from a previous post that there over 60 commands in the Bible to give thanks to God. So we can say that not thanking God is a sin.

In Romans chapter 1, the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:18-21).

A study note from ESV Study Bible on Romans 1:21 says:

The root sin is the failure to value God above all things, so that he is not honored and praised as he should be. Human beings are foolish, not in the sense that they are intellectually deficient but in their rejection of God’s lordship over their lives. They knew God not in a saving sense, but they knew of his existence and his attributes.

Albert Mohler wrote:

Clearly, honoring God as God leads us naturally into thankfulness. To honor Him as God is to honor His limitless love, His benevolence and care, His provision and uncountable gifts. To fail in thankfulness is to fail to honor God — and this is the biblical description of fallen and sinful humanity. We are a thankless lot.

Sinners saved by the grace and mercy of God know a thankfulness that exceeds any merely human thankfulness. How do we express thankfulness for the provision the Father has made for us in Christ, the riches that are made ours in Him, and the unspeakable gift of the surpassing grace of God? As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” [2 Corinthians 9:15]...It is humbling to see that Paul so explicitly links a lack of thankfulness to sin, foolishness, and idolatry. A lack of proper thankfulness to God is a clear sign of a basic godlessness. Millions of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with little consciousness of this truth. Their impulse to express gratitude is a sign of their spiritual need that can be met only in Christ.

Thanksgiving is not reserved for one day out the year where we eat turkey and watch football. Christians should always be giving thanks to God for His blessings on us. To not do so, would a slap in His face because everything in this world belongs to Him.

Book Review: Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

When I started attending church as a teenager, one thing that was constantly taught was finding God's will. I even took Henry Blackaby's course Experiencing God which, to be honest, never got much out of it especially after taking the it again a few years ago. One of my classes at East Texas Baptist University, required us to read Blaine Smith's book, Knowing God's Will.

When it comes to God's will in decision making, we look to outside sources that could be taken as mystic at times. We treat finding the will of God as a taking an aptitude test to find out what skills He has given us so we can see what the will of God is.

Kevin DeYoung has written a wonderful book that shows us the will of God is not something we have to look for in the most obscure places. The book is called Just Do Something. Nothing too mystical, just straight to the point. When making decisions, we should never try to look for signs in the sky or interpreting dreams. We should always test the things we do based on what God has revealed in the Bible.

While some may struggle with finding out what they want to do with their lives, we know the will of God through the pages of Scripture. The Bible is full of practical insight into what God wants from His children. However, the Bible does not tell us what job we should take, what college to attend, or who to marry. I do believe all things are in conjunction with the sovereign will of God, but God does not show us everything. If God shows us everything, where would faith be.

DeYoung writes that following the will of God can be harder, denying self and loving your enemies, then taking a new job and moving to another city. The will of God for Christians is spelled out in Scripture. Everything we do must be backed up by the Bible. If you are offered a job that promises good money yet they have a reputation of unlawful business practices, it is best not to take that job. The same thing with the person you want to marry. God tells us not to unequally yoked, so marrying a non-Christian is not a good idea.

This is book is straightforward and practical. I would give this to any college student struggling with what they want to do in their life. I would give this to teenagers who are about two or three years away from graduating.

Thanks Moody Publishers for letting me review this book.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christians Are To Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is not just a day we celebrate to remember what we are thankful for with our friends and family. Thanksgiving for Christians is the expression of gratitude in our hearts to God the Father for what He has given us. There are 62 verses in the ESV of the Bible that have the phrase "give thanks" in them. Here are just a few of them:

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! (1 Chronicles 16:8)

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds (Psalm 9:1)

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever (Psalm 86:12)

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you (Psalm 118:28)

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:4)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

I think you get the picture that the Bible wants us to give thanks to God. There are many things that God has done in our lives that we should always express our gratitude. From the simple things, having air to breathe, to the most important, having a job to provide for your family.

Our God is a good God and He has given us more blessings than we can ever imagine. God has also withheld some things from us not because He is mean, but as a means to depend on Him.

When you are gathered with your friends and family this Thanksgiving, take the opportunity what you are truly thankful for. Don't have to go into great detail, but point back to what the Lord has done. This may open the door for you to share the gospel with someone who does not know Christ.

Music Monday: My Favorite Christmas Albums

Its about to be Christmas time which means it will be time of Christmas music in the car, office, or Spotify page. There are many Christmas albums out there and some of you maybe looking for some new ones. Here is a list of my favorite Christmas albums that you may want to consider to add to your collection or give it to someone as a gift.

A Child is Born by Sojourn Music

Prepare Him Room by Sovereign Grace Music

A Day of Glory by Austin Stone Music

Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin

Advent Songs by Sojourn Music

Joy-An Irish Christmas by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Unto Us by Aaron Shust

Christmas by Michael W Smith

One Christmas Eve by Wayne Watson

The Christmas Project by John Schlitt

The Music of Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman

Friday, November 20, 2015

Around The Web-November 20, 2015

Five Ways to Encourage Your Pastor (Without Exalting Him) by Gavin Ortlund

Should We Pray For ISIS to Be Defeated or Converted? by Russell Moore

Immigration Policy Must be Based on More than an Appeal to Compassion by Kevin DeYoung

Why Can’t Christians Just Join the Revolution? by Albert Mohler

A Song for the Weak and Broken by Kevin Twit

We Don't Need A Decoder Ring To "Get" The Bible by Aaron Armstrong

Mike Bullmore on why men should memorize the Bible together

I saw this the other night where Stephen Colbert invites Bill Maher to come back to church

Okay, I admit it. I am getting excited about the new Star Wars movie as much as the next geek. Here is the latest TV spot of the movie.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Psalms with Thanksgiving

We are about to celebrate Thanksgiving in our culture where we take time remember what we are thankful for. It is also a time where we can enjoy time with family and friends while gathered around the dinner table for a big feast. For some, it is also a time to enjoy watching football whether it is the NFL or college.

While we set a day aside to give thanks, the Bible says, to give thanks always (1 Thessalonians 5:18). If you take a look in the Psalms there are a few verse that express we should be giving thanks to God or have a heart of thanksgiving unto the Lord.

Psalm 50:14

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,

Psalm 50:23

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalm 69:30

I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:2

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Psalm 107:22

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Psalm 116:17

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.

Psalm 147:7

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Seek The Welfare of The City

In Jeremiah 29, the Lord speaking through the Prophet gives them instructions as they are living in Babylon in exile as judgment for their rebellion against God. He tells them to build houses to live in them (vs. 5) as well plant gardens. He tells the men to, "Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease" (Jeremiah 29:6). In verse 7, the Lord told His people to "seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."

In all the Israelites have endured, God is telling them not to rebel, but to seek the good of the city. Pray for it and live in it. How does this apply to the 21st century Christian?

In his first epistle, the Apostle Peter addresses his readers as "elect exiles" (1 Peter 1:1). Peter is not referring to a literal exile as were the Israelites in the Old Testament. Philippians 3:20 says we are citizens of heaven as we long for the appearing of our Savior. Believers in Christ are exiled here on earth because we do not belong here. We are not misplaced Christians, we are people have been redeemed and called to live apart from the worldly system that is against God.

While this world, including the cities we live in, will never be our home, we need to do the same thing the Lord commanded the Israelites while in exile and that is to seek the welfare of the city. How does a Christian seek the welfare of the city? Here are some practical ways that we can seek our city's welfare.

1. Pray

As the Lord told the Israelites to pray for the city, we should do the same. What should we pray for? Pray for its leaders. Pray for the law enforcement and fire fighters. I know for me, when I see an ambulance, I pray that will heal whoever is injured or whatever the reason for that person is dealing with. Most of all, pray for the gospel to rush in the city like a mighty roaring stream.

2. Rejoice

In our city, we have over 100,000 people. Businesses come and go. When a new business seeks you city to expand, rejoice because that means jobs are available. In our city, we have had a severe drought that almost took out our water supply. People have prayed for rain and this past May, the Lord opened the floodgates and our lakes became full. More rain has come since and our lakes are over 90% capacity. Our church rejoiced along with the entire city.

3. Get involved.

This can come in many forms. Coaching a soccer team, being a member of a club, serving as member of a board of directors for a business, or even running for public office. Of course, this does vary from city to city no matter the size. Christians have always been accused of hiding in their holy huddles with no involvement in the community. That is not seeking the welfare of the city.

For churches, this would be getting out and about in different city events. Yes, you have to be discerning because not all city events should have a church's stamp and approval. Serving hot chocolate at a Christmas parade, if it is cold enough, is one great idea for this time of year. In our city we have what is called, P.I.E., which stands for Partners In Education. Many churches in our city are, what is called, PIE Partners (I know it sounds redundant). What they do is help out with school events or tutoring kids after school.

4. Love your neighbors.

Jesus told us the second greatest commandment is love you neighbor as yourself. Yes, even those who maybe at times unlovable or annoying like the one who has a workshop in the backyard. We need to love those around us in our neighborhood even when they don't anything to do with you not because you are a Christian, but they want their privacy. Loving your neighbors meets being involved in your community. If you see a neighbor in need, do you have the means to help? Seek ways to get to know your neighbors. Have a prayer walk for in your neighborhood.

God told the Israelites to seek the welfare of the city while they are in exile. Since we, as Christians, are elect exiles, we too must seek the welfare of our cities. We won't live in them forever because our eternal home is waiting for us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Unshaken by Crawford W. Loritts Jr.

In this day and age, it is easy to lose faith. We see hostility towards Christians in America, the terror attacks in France, and even struggles in our own lives. The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4 says,

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart...We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you...So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:1; 8-12; 16-18).

With all the troubles in his ministry, Paul says to his readers, we will not lose heart.

It is not doubt that Christians in the 21st century need some encouragement and I am not talking about teachings to make them feel good. I am talking about encouragement that will point us back to God who is never changing and never failing. Crawford W. Loritts, Jr. has written a book for those who need encouragement, which is all of us, called, Unshaken.

Loritts writes that God is not intimidated by anything we face whether it is the loss of a loved one, financial trouble, or an illness. Whatever comes our way God is not shocked by it and He can handle it. He also reminds us that our salvation is a done deal. With some many uncertainties in this world, one thing we can be sure of is that nothing can separate us from the love of God as Romans 8:39 teaches us.

We can rest knowing that Christ has our future in His hands no matter what the world may throw at us. Not only are we to have faith in this God who cannot be shaken, but we must demonstrate that faith to the world as we go on mission. Finally, in a world of uncertainty, we have faith in an all-powerful Christ who gives us the strength to march on.

If you need a simple book of encouragement, this is one for you. If you know someone who could use some encouragement or even assurance that God is for them, this is a good book to read with them along with the Bible.

Thanks Crossway for letting me review this book.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Praying the Bible Seminar with Donald Whitney

Redeemer Church in Tomball, Tx., recently invited Donald Whitney to do a seminar based on his latest book, Praying the Bible. This seminar is about two hours and in audio only.

Click on the link to listen:

Seminar: Praying The Bible.

Music Monday: 2 Songs for Communion

Our church just recently celebrated communion as we remember the death of the Lord Jesus in our place for our sins. This post is dedicated to two songs as a response to God as we took the bread and the wine.

The first song is from Stuart Townend, which is a song we sung, called the Communion Hymn. The next song, which is a lyric video, is from Matt Redman called Remembrance (Communion Song).

Friday, November 13, 2015

What Are You in Awe of?


Humans are hardwired for awe.

Our hearts are always captured by something—that’s how God made us. But sin threatens to distract us from the glory of our Creator. All too often, we stand in awe of everything but God.

In this video, Paul David Tripp explains what awe is and why it matters for every facet of our lives.

Be sure to check out Paul Tripp's latest book, Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do

Around the Web-November 13, 2015

Collin Hansen talks with D.A. Carson about an old questions, does God love the sinner but hate the sin?

We Need a Hero by Chris Gensheer

Dave Jenkins talks with Jason Helopoulos about his book, The New Pastor's Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry

The guys over at Gotham Central discuss Comics, Gender, Race, and the Practical Application of Godwin's Law

Starbucks' Plain Red Cups Spark Controversy

3 Lessons on Holiness from John Owen by Sean Nolan

Elevation Church – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Christian comedian, Mark Lowry was at the most recent Dove Awards, which is the Grammy's for Christian music, to give a nice "theological" talk.