Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: God's Battle Plan for the Mind by David W. Saxton

Most Pastors in churches today, encourage there congregations in spiritual disciplines. The most you will hear in a sermon are prayer, memorizing a verse or two, and even journaling. One discipline that seems to be neglected is meditation. Biblical meditation is a lost art in the modern church.

Some have this idea that meditation is some new age thing where you try to empty your mind, which Biblical meditation is the exact opposite. Back in the days of the Puritans, they strongly encourage their congregations in the discipline of Biblical meditation. David W. Saxton takes a look at what Biblical meditation is as the Puritans taught in his book, God's Battle Plan for the Mind.The book begins with the purpose of rediscovering the joy of Biblical meditation. When Christians talks about meditating on the Bible, we mean fill your minds with God's Word unlike some mysticism that says empty your mind.

Saxton also give the definition of meditation from the Puritans such as Thomas Watson and John Ball. Saxton goes to explain what are the reasons and benefits for Biblical meditation. There is one chapter that I found a little odd at first, which is meditating on certain subjects. Saxton talks such things to meditate on the glories of heaven and overcoming sin. All of these things keep pointing us to the Bible which is where gives us a glimpse of heaven and the power to overcome sin.

Some of you might think this is a book that might be over your heads, however, this is book is not for super educated. It is simple and easy to read for those who want a better understanding. There are not many resources on Biblical meditation. I am now thankful there is one where it points to the Bible and teachings from the past that will help Christians understand the appropriate way to meditate on the Bible.

Thanks Reformation Heritage Books for letting me review this book.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Music Monday: Come and Make Us Free by Coral Ridge Music

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Purity in a Digital Age

Tim Challies delivers a much needed sermon in our day and time. This video is from session of the 2015 Ligonier National Conference.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: Spurgeon's Sorrows by Zack Eswine

Depression is an issue that is not addressed in the church. Some Christians think they should not be depressed because of the joy they have in Jesus. That way of thinking has even caused some to think that you are depressed is because you have sinned. So they promote some charismatic appeal to pray away the spirit of depression.

Many in the church look at their leaders and have no clue if any of them go through some form of depression. It could be said about leaders in the past such as Charles Spurgeon which is the case that Zack Eswine writes about in his latest book, Spurgeon Sorrows. One of the things that is addressed in the book is you are not in sin because you are depressed. In fact, one thing the book stresses is that Christ saves us and not the absence of depression. Depression can be the result of some sins but not all sins just as the Bible says, "there is sin that does not lead to death" (1 John 5:17).

Eswine examines Spurgeon's own battle with depression which should be a comfort to us. If a "spiritual giant" such as Spurgeon has battled depression, then for those going through it, you are in good company. What I love about this book is that is written with grace and comfort. Those struggling with depression should not feel they have leprosy which many churches unfortunately have done as with other struggles Christians go through.

This book is a must for pastors and church leaders to read to equip them in helping someone overcome depression. I also recommend it to anyone going through depression knowing there is grace and hope through Jesus.

Thanks Christian Focus for letting me review this book.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Update on Church Plant-February 19, 2015

It has been a while since I have given an update on the church plant and there has been a lot that has happened. First, I want to thank everyone who has prayed for us during this time as we plan and seek the Lord in what He has for us.

This past Sunday, we began our Sunday Bible study at All Saints Anglican Church. We are studying the doctrine of Scripture. We were originally going to do the Order of Salvation from Romans 8:29-30, but we felt we needed to do more of intro to the Christian faith. This study will take about six weeks (Lord Willing) then we will go into about a 12 week study into the doctrines of God, man, and the church. We are hoping within the next few months to no longer call this a Bible study gathering, but a church gathering.

During our Bible study, we have incorporated worship, prayer, and Bible reading so when we launch the church, everyone will know what to except. We are working on more efforts to get the word out especially to the community surrounding All Saints. We are also currently working on a website. One of the reasons is studies have shown that young adults will mostly likely attend a church with a website. Nothing is up at this but we are now on Twitter, which you can follow us @wfprodigalstx.

I am currently working on a blog to update everyone on our ministry. Hopefully we will have it up as soon as possible. This may be a temporary blog until our website it up. Please continue to pray for us as we gather to grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus. We are praying the gospel will flourish in this great city of ours.

Finally, one thing we are incorporating into our study is a song of the month. We have picked this modern version of Rock of Ages. Here is a lyric video to the song which is sung by Sandra McCracken.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Review: Romans 8-16 For You by Tim Keller

Romans has been one of the most studied books in all the Bible. Many Pastors call Romans the most important book of the Bible because it explains the gospel. Many have come to Christ because of their personal reading of Romans. Pastors and scholars have written commentaries on Romans which include Tim Keller. While his latest book, Romans 8-16 For You may not be considered a commentary, it should be added as one of the many great books on Romans. Keller wrote, "(T)his resource is not intended to be an exhaustive, or final, word on this letter...it does not go into the depth that a commentary would, nor does it interact in detail with historical and recent scholarship. It is an expository guide, opening up the Scriptures and suggesting how they apply to us today" (pg.9).

This book is a continuation of Romans 1-7 For You which begins where Keller left off. He goes into talking about the fact that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ as Romans 8 teaches. Keller says that in the heart of Romans 8, we have the secret of profound change.

The second half of Romans deals with controversial topics such as God's sovereignty which has been misunderstood by many Christians. Keller writes in a way that those new to the faith can understand. He goes to address using our gifts in the church, holy living, and giving glory to God in all things. There are many other topics Keller addresses in this book which are also covered in the book of Romans.

Each chapter, as with Keller's previous commentaries, are divided into two parts with questions at the end, which is great for study. Many Bible teachers will benefit from this book as those who are studying the Bible for themselves. I am grateful for Keller in writing this book as well as all of his books.

Thanks Good Book Company for letting me review this book.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Music Monday: Redeemer 2014 by Redeemer Presbyterian Church

This is the latest album from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Around the Web-February 13, 2015

How Marvel Will Save Us From More Terrible Spider-man Movies

Teen in Texas gets fired because of a Tweet before her first day

Chicago's Little League championship team stripped of title

Truth-Telling and the News Media by Lee Webb

A Free Resource for Lent

Inspiration from John Owen to Diligently Preach the Gospel by Matthew Barrett

3 Keys to Having Peace Today by Dave Jenkins

This video shows the cinematic evolution of Batman on the big screen. It shows the two serials in the 1940's and even the nipple Batsuit from "Batman & Robin."

We know this will never happen, but this was made by some big fans of Star Wars and Star Trek. Imagine a Star Wars vs. Star Trek movie and this is what you get

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jesus Was Our Sin Bearer

Suffering is a part of the Christian’s calling (2 Tim. 3:12) because it was first part of Christ’s (John 15:18–20). Christians are united with Christ in His sufferings as well as His resurrection (2 Cor. 1:5; 4:10; Phil. 3:10, 11), and the example of Christ provides a pattern by which Christians are to understand their own lives.

Christ is more than an example; He is the sin-bearer. As the perfect sacrifice (1:19; 2:24), Christ suffered the curse of sin, accepting the punishment our sins deserved and providing forgiveness and freedom.

Study notes on 1 Peter 2:21 & 24 from The Reformation Study Bible

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jesus Bore Our Sins So We Don't Have To

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Peter 2:19-25).

Why is it a “gracious thing” to suffer unjustly (vv. 19–20)? ? Because, when we refuse to react to suffering in sinful ways, it makes us like Jesus and testifies to our confidence in him. Peter helpfully reminds us that God will not ask of us anything his Son was not willing to undergo himself. By his redemptive suffering, we know that any injustice we suffer in this world is merely temporary. Our vindication is sure, promised by our God, to whom vengeance belongs.

We also must keep God’s gracious purposes in mind when we suffer so that we do not despair over our suffering as if it were God’s punishment. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24) so that we do not have to. The punishment for our sin was taken by Christ in his crucifixion. It is profound consolation in our suffering to know that it is not a sign of God’s wrath on us. As Paul reminds us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). As we suffer the wrath of those who revile us for our faith, our hearts can remain calm, for God has satisfied his own wrath in his own Son’s death.

Gospel Transformation Bible

Monday, February 9, 2015

Video on the Updated Reformation Study Bible

We call this book The Reformation Study Bible, but what we want is a Bible Study Reformation - R.C. Sproul

Bible Memorization Tips

Do you struggle with memorizing the Bible? If you answer is yes, then join the club. We all in one way or another struggle with scripture memorization. For me, there are days I am doing well and others I fall flat on my face. I have a few Bible apps on my phone but still have issues with recalling verses I have committed to memory.

A couple of years ago, I decided to memorize the book of Philippians. At first, I was starting off really well then it got harder. Kept mixing up verses and leaving out some words. To make a long story short, I had an epic fail.

So like everyone else, I need some help. Thankfully David Mathis recently gave 5 tips on memorizing the Bible:

1. Diversify your picks.

2. Take it with you during the day.

3. Seek to understand, feel, and apply.

4. Turn your text into prayer.

5. Memorize in light of the gospel.

You can read the entire post here.

Recommend Reading:

The Discipline of Scripture Memorization

Why Memorize Scripture by John Piper

Saturday, February 7, 2015

To Deny Jesus' Deity or Humanity Is To Deny Salvation

To deny that Jesus was either fully God or fully man is to deny the salvation that Jesus the God-man has purchased. The incarnation is crucial to the good news of forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. The reality is this: only man should pay the price for the sins of mankind, but only God could pay the price for the sins of mankind.

Jared C Wilson, The Wonder Working God

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Does James 2:24 Deny Justification By Faith Alone?

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24).

Some Christians know that verse over and over again because it has been preached for hundreds of years. Some would say this is the proof that Salvation must be earned while other dismiss it because it is not Jesus or Paul who wrote those words. So does this verse mean we are saved by works? R.C. Sproul writes:

This question is not critical only today, but it was in the eye of the storm we call the Protestant Reformation that swept through and divided the Christian church in the sixteenth century. Martin Luther declared his position: Justification is by faith alone, our works add nothing to our justification whatsoever, and we have no merit to offer God that in any way enhances our justification. This created the worst schism in the history of Christendom.

In refusing to accept Luther’s view, the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated him, then responded to the outbreak of the Protestant movement with a major church council, the Council of Trent, which was part of the so-called Counter-Reformation and took place in the middle of the sixteenth century. The sixth session of Trent, at which the canons and decrees on justification and faith were spelled out, specifically appealed to James 2:24 to rebuke the Protestants who said that they were justified by faith alone: “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” How could James say it any more clearly? It would seem that that text would blow Luther out of the water forever.

Of course, Martin Luther was very much aware that this verse was in the book of James. Luther was reading Romans, where Paul makes it very clear that it’s not through the works of the law that any man is justified and that we are justified by faith and only through faith. What do we have here? Some scholars say we have an irreconcilable conflict between Paul and James, that James was written after Paul, and James tried to correct Paul. Others say that Paul wrote Romans after James and he was trying to correct James.

I’m convinced that we don’t really have a conflict here. What James is saying is this: If a person says he has faith, but he gives no outward evidence of that faith through righteous works, his faith will not justify him. Martin Luther, John Calvin, or John Knox would absolutely agree with James. We are not saved by a profession of faith or by a claim to faith. That faith has to be genuine before the merit of Christ will be imputed to anybody. You can’t just say you have faith. True faith will absolutely and necessarily yield the fruits of obedience and the works of righteousness. Luther was saying that those works don’t add to that person’s justification at the judgment seat of God. But they do justify his claim to faith before the eyes of man. James is saying, not that a man is justified before God by his works, but that his claim to faith is shown to be genuine as he demonstrates the evidence of that claim of faith through his works.

Here are a couple of sermons I recommend:

Mike McKinley: Justified by Works

Tullian Tchividjian: James: The Gospel of Works, Part 5