"Remember that it is not hasty reading, but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian." (Thomas Brooks)
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Holiness: Seeking the Savior's Likeness
Bethel Grace Baptist Church - Holiness Seeking the Savior's Likeness.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Pilgrim's Progress Chapter 1 Discussion Questions
Discussion Questions for Chapter 1
1. What is the book Christian has in his hand?
2. What is the burden that Christian is carrying, and have you ever felt this burden? If so, what did it feel like?
3. Christian reads the book and prays, but still has the burden on his back. How is this possible?
4. Pliable has no burden on his back yet still follows Christian. Why would someone do this, and have you ever run across people like this? What kind of “churches” appeal to people like this?
5. What do you think the “Slough of Despond” represents?
6. Mr. Worldly Wiseman does not like the fact that Christian was reading the Bible. To what place and to whom does he direct Christian?
What false view of salvation does this represent?*
7. Read Heb. 10:38 – How does this verse fit with Christian trying to remove his burden with morality and the law.
8. Do you ever find yourself trying to find relief for the conviction of sin in trying to be moral rather than laying it all on Christ? What do you do in those times?
9. Worldly Wiseman is a false teacher, and Evangelist gives Christian three reasons to abhor him. What are they and do they still apply to false teachers today?
10. When Christian is grieved by his sin of listening to Worldly Wiseman, Evangelist tells him is sin is very great. How is this different than what you may hear in many churches today?
*Question # 6 was taken from Maureen Bradley’s book The Pilgrim’s Progress Study Guide.
Labels: Pilgrim's Progress
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Lessons on the Sermon on the Mount
I am currently teaching through the Sermon on the Mount. The lessons are being uploaded weekly at the Bethel Grace Baptist Church website. I am using Martyn Lloyd Jones' book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, if you would like to follow along. The class will run through April 2013.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Psalms: Pursuing the Heart of God
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Worship and a Troubled Conscience
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Dark Knight Theater Shooting: A Christian Reflection
The thought of going into a theater with a loved one and having to leave them there as part of the crime scene, because they were killed by a gunman who opened fire on the crowd is almost too much to imagine. Yet this is what happened to several people last night. Events like the shooting in the Denver area at the opening of The Dark Knight Rises make you want to go home and sit with your family and friends, because you never know how long you will have them. They are also a terrifying reminder of how quickly sin can take those we love away from us.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Death: A Gaping Hole in the Old Testament Priesthood
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he [Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. - Hebrews 7:23-24
There is a depth to these verses that is often missed. The basic truth is clear, in the Old Testament, though there was only one high priest at a time, there had to be many of them because they were prevented from continuing in the office by death, but think about this a little deeper.
The priesthood under the old covenant was a wonderful picture or shadow of the reality that Christ would fulfill. Some people, including the original readers of the book of Hebrews were tempted to go back to the old system for several reasons, but one of the benefits was that it was tangible. You could see the sacrificed animal, you could smell the incense burning, and hear the priest make intercession for you. This was undoubtedly a comfort, but in this picture of our true salvation in Christ there was a gaping hole. The priests kept dying.
The role of the priest was to mediate between God and man, and they would illustrate atonement from sin, but the wages of sin is death and even the priests continued to die. If you are in desperate need of salvation and you understand that death is part of what you need to be saved from, how much hope could you receive from priests who continue to die? You could only gain hope if you understood that it typified something greater that God was going to provide.
Every one of us, unless Christ returns, is going to face death. Some of us may already be feeling its effects. We are unable to do many of the things we used to do, and the older we get the more illnesses and health issues we have to deal with. When death becomes more of a reality for us, to whom are we going to turn and place our hope? To priest who still die? Your own goodness or heath regimens? Since none of these have defeated the enemy of death, there must be something greater in which we can place our trust.
V. 24 But he [Jesus] holds His priesthood permanently. He will never stop being our high priest because he continues forever. He has defeated death, even after tasting it on our behalf! So when your body starts to break down, when your work hours begin to outlast your physical strength, when you begin to see the doctors more frequently for things like dialysis or chemo, you will know you have the correct High Priest if he has defeated death and continues forever. No other priest will ever truly be able to mediate between God and man and make atonement for sin and its wages. Never shrink back from Christ, and never lean on any substitutes, for Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
For those who have faith, we have peace with God. He bore our wrath and His righteousness is accounted as ours so we can be co-heirs with Him, and since He lives forever, exalted with the Father, His work as our mediator is an ever present reality in the true tabernacle. In Christ, because of His priestly work, all of God’s actions toward you are grace, and none of it wrath. Even His chastening hand is moved by love.
Draw near to Christ today, approach the throne of grace with confidence, and if you are feeling the effects of a body tainted by sin, let it drive you to your Savior’s side, for all those who are in Christ will live with him forever. Though we are sown in weakness we will be raised in power, and though we are sown perishable we will be raise imperishable.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Hebrews: Persevering in the Faith MP3's
To those who may be interested, I am currently teaching a class through the book of Hebrews called "Persevering in the Faith". All of the lessons are available to download or listen to at the Bethel Grace Baptist Church website.
Hebrews: Persevering in the Faith
Friday, April 13, 2012
The Benefits of Attending a Christian Law School
What are the benefits of attending a Christian Law School? Having worked for a Christian law school for more than 10 years, I have found that many believers are familiar with features of Christian education. They understand that the professors are Christians and that the subject matter is examined in light of the truth of Scripture. But what many do not seem to understand is how that actually benefits a student. I have sat across the table from countless Christians who see the Christian aspect of the school as nice but not important, as good intentioned but not really necessary. What causes this this kind of malaise? It is often a result of not thinking much about how God’s truth affects our thinking outside of our belief in Jesus, and how it impacts our lives.
With that in mind, it seems important to lay out the benefits of attending a Christian law school. Granted, a Christian law school may not be for everyone, but Christians who are considering law school should be aware of these, even if in the end they decide to attend elsewhere.
We live in a culture today where the public square has established its thinking based on secular and even atheistic presuppositions. This culture is so ubiquitous that even Christians begin to see it as the norm. Often, it is not until they take a public stand on a Christian issue that they find out just how foreign Christian truth is to this culture. When attending a secular school, a student will be swimming in a culture that is no different than the culture at large. The existence of truth will be questioned, moral standards will be relativized, and of course discussion about God will have no place in the discussion of law. In the end, they will claim that they teach this way because they approach law from a neutral and unbiased point of view. But is a school that says truth and morality are relative, and that all things should be taught from a secular point of view, because even if he does exist, God is not significant enough to bring into the discussion really neutral and unbiased?
At a Christian school that takes the Word of God seriously, you will study all the secular theories of jurisprudence that you would study at any law school, but you will also be provided with the Christian answers to the philosophical questions surrounding law. You will be shown how many of the post-modern, pragmatic, and positivist views of law all tend to crumble under their own weight. You will be in an environment where dialogue on the philosophical and theological underpinnings of the American legal system will be encouraged, not stifled. All of this will be necessary when you are an attorney if you attempt to take a stand for truth in this culture. You will not be able to get this type of training at a secular school.
Christian law schools also often have a higher focus on ethics and character. Most law schools, even secular schools, are required to teach professional responsibility and ethics, but these types of courses can often boil down to lowest common denominator requirements. The question often asked is, what do I need to do to remain in good standing with the bar, when the question should be, how do I model the character of Christ as an attorney. Modern culture abounds with the notion that your function (employment) is more significant than your character. You can be morally bankrupt in your personal life as long as you are good at what you do. This should never be the mindset of the Christian lawyer. We are to be people of character first, and attorneys second. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if you cannot be a person of character while being an attorney, choose to be a person of character without being an attorney.
In law school you will be placed under high amounts of pressure that will transform you into the legal professional you long to be. This is no different at Christian or secular schools. You will be transformed, but each school has a different end in mind as to what a legal professional should be. Will your new found abilities be modeled after a Christ-like pattern or a worldly one? While you are under this transformative pressure, you will not want to be at a place where you are asked to leave your faith at the door.
Also, Romans 1 teaches that when we exchange the Truth of God for a lie we become vain and futile in our thinking. This is no less true in law school. Most naturalistic and secular understandings of law find themselves standing on a foundation that is crumbling underneath them. They will fight for human rights but believe that humans have no inherent rights because rights are merely social constructs. They will argue that truth and morality are relative and that law should be pragmatic. Yet if truth is relative there can be no real truth about what pragmatically works, or what we should be working for. In the end, if we accept the secular presuppositions we will also find ourselves building on the sand rather than the rock that is God’s word.
Finally, like all law schools, Christian law schools will offer you practical training and internships in most areas of law, but they will also offer you opportunities in areas that you may not be able to find elsewhere. For example, the school where I work, students can intern and work on Constitutional Law and religious freedom cases while in school, an opportunity not available at many schools. There is also a strong focus on international human rights with possible internships helping the persecuted church around the world. These opportunities can often open up doors for employment for students that would not be available at a secular school.So here are a summary of the benefits mentioned above.
1. You will better understand how to articulate Christian truths in the public arena.
2. You will be shown how most secular theories crumble under their own weight, which will be needed when taking a stand for the truth.
3. If done correctly, you will emerge with a stronger Christian character and a closer walk with God.
4. At a Christian law school you will be transformed into a professional who knows how to integrate your faith into your practice, and bring the light of Christ to this darkened world.
5. You will have a legal education that is not built upon shifting sands but built upon rock of God’s timeless truth
6. You will be able to get practical experience in areas not available at most schools, such as internships focused on religious freedom, and international human rights work focused on the persecuted church.
Though it is possible to emerge from a secular law school and still be a Godly attorney, it will only come by fighting against much of what is presupposed by the school, and by supplementing your studies with what will willingly be left out and possibly even ridiculed. As Christians we understand that there are times to be in the world fighting against its philosophies, but there are also times of training, like a soldier preparing for battle, where we should take time to grow in order to be more effective when it comes time to fulfill our calling.