September 25, 2007

John Piper Sermon Manuscripts in Libronix

This is a great add to the libronix tool set! Searchable, noteable, portable, and cross-referenceable. All of John Piper's past sermons at a pretty good deal for the material. His exegesis is great, he uses scripture to explain scripture, and his application is full of uncomfortable, gospel-centered, passionate living. I really like the looks of this.

For myself, I've tried in vain to find his study on certain topics and references using the online search capabilities. I ended up with a hundred unwanted results. This tool should hone in my searches really well.

Check it out at the Logos site.

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January 19, 2007


Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice’s den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler-be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again!

Charles Spurgeon

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November 28, 2006

B what U R


"Become what you already are in Christ." - Mike Harding

I heard Pastor Mike Harding in a challenge on his churches 75th anniversary mention that his greatest desire for his church is that they would become what they are in Christ. That is good stuff.

What a powerful thought! Become what you already are in Christ. Man, I thwart what I am supposed to be...a lot. Selfishness rears its head...the flesh is just a breath away. My pride burps a word of self-sufficiency. I even ignore God and His grace when I'm trying to be spiritual, or even worse, when I'm "worshipping." Ouch. And all this when I could be enjoying the blessings of a Christ-centered heart. A life that accurately reflects what Christ made me to be; a new creation, old things gone, all things new. That's what I am designed to be. And in that design by God's grace, its the best place in the world for me! I don't know if you are like me, but I really need to see that my life is simply a fight-like-heaven-(as John Piper says) war to be what Christ saved me to be--a progressively-sanctified faith-filled grace-dependent believer. But mostly, I'm just a prone-to-wanderer.

Now, if I could just have that war cry before my eyes more often. Spirit, teach me to see your blueprint for my life, and help me to value your reward above all else.

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November 13, 2006


Ever since I read Randy Alcorn's Lord Foulgrin's Letters(check it out if you can, it is awesome!) a few months ago, I've been more and more burdened to see the spiritual warfare that goes on around me. As I mulled it over in my life the last few months, I felt that this was great stuff to meet the needs of my teens. Well, we just started the series @WAR, and God has been showing me in more facets that I imagined just how sovereign He really is. There is none beside Him. He is over all, and by Him all things consist. In all things, He has the preeminence. Even in His enemies. God uses Satan for His glory at every turn. Wow.

I put some of my thoughts into a couple of devotionals for the teens. Here is one of them...

Do you ever wonder why Satan is around on this earth? Why he is able to torment and tempt? Why God allows him to devour and destroy? Why doesn’t God just do away with Him once and for all anyway? He doesn’t do it for one main reason, and it’s the same reason He does everything He does. He wants the greatest glory. For one thing, He wants to get the glory when a sinner is taken from the devil’s power. When “the sting of death [ends in] victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Satan is a disarmed foe when an unsaved person is converted. God wins. But, not only that, God wants to be glorified when we choose His will over Satan’s will in time of temptation. God’s purpose for every situation in your life is completely opposite to Satan’s purpose for your life--God’s always being good, and Satan’s always being evil. God wants your heart. Satan wants your heart to focus on anything but God. Therefore the battle in temptation is God’s glory or Satan’s. But, think of how bright God’s glory shines when we choose to renounce the promises of Satan and trust in the gospel’s power, taking pleasure in the greater glory of Christ over Satan. Your fight against sin is a fight to show off the glory of God. Take up arms. Struggle. Endure. Fight the good fight for God’s glory.
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November 07, 2006

Tally em up

Taken from Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chapell:

Said the angel to the man, “Here’s how this works. You need a hundred points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things that you have done, and I will give you a certain number of points for each of them. The more good there is in the work that you cite, the more points you will get for it. When you get to a hundred points, you get in.”

“Okay,” the man said, “I was married to the same woman for fifty years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.”

“That’s wonderful,” said Gabriel, “that’s worth three points.”

“Three points?” said the man incredulously. “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my money and service.”

“Terrific!” said Gabriel, “that’s certainly worth a point.”

“One Point!” said the man with his eyes beginning to show a bit of panic. “Well, how about this: I opened a shelter for the homeless in my city, and fed needy people by the hundreds during the holidays.”

“Fantastic, That’s good for two more points,” said the angel.

“TWO POINTS!!” cried the man in desperation. “At this rate the only way that I will get into heaven is by the grace of God.”

“Come on in,” said Gabriel.

Our human nature needs no help trying to man-ize the gospel, does it. We think that somehow the things we do and don't do earn us favor with God.

Standards - Point, me.

Haven't messed up like so-and-so - Nice. Point, please.

Getting up to read my Bible - oop. Another point, me.

Resisted temptation - sweet. I'm on a roll...

I'm guilty of looking at myself as having more points than others when God is saying, "You are nothing without me!" The grace of God is a wonderful thing. Oh, how I need to learn to glorify God for His wonderful grace, rather than sit back and look at myself and others comparing scores.

Josh Harris said about this quote: "Of course, if this story were more accurate, the 'point total' needed would be in the billions, we’d start with a negative score in the billions, and because of our guilt before God every good work would only take points off the board! That’s what our best works are worth! Thank God for his undeserved favor and mercy. Thank God for the blessed exchange of Christ’s righteousness for our sinfulness."

Our God is so good, isn't He?

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October 30, 2006


Lord, high and holy,
meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths
but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin
I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.

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September 25, 2006

You and the Gospel 5

The Discipline of Grace
by Jerry Bridges

Two Illustrations of Dependence & Discipline

To illustrate the concept of dependence and discipline, it is helpful to view them as separate wings on an airplane. One wing is dependence, the other is discipline. Which would you like to lose while you are in the air? Neither, of course! No plane can fly with one wing. In the same way, both discipline and dependence are completely necessary for living the Christian life. "We must exercise both discipline and dependence in the pursuit of holiness...God enables us to do the work, but he does not do the work for us." - Bridges

Another way of seeing this is by considering a farmer. There are things that a farmer must do in order to look for a harvest. But, in all there work, there are 2 things they cannot do. They must plow and plant and fertilize, and they must fertilize and till the ground and make sure the seeds are irrigated. But, he cannot control what the weather is going to do, or even if the plants will grow. He can exert all the energy in the world into his side of the farming, but without the life that makes things grow, his discipline is worthless. "God has ordained certain disciplines necessary to grow in holiness...[but,] we cannot make ourselves grow." - Bridges Only God can make us grow, and He grows us as we put into use the strength he has given us to do what he wants us to do.

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September 21, 2006

You and the Gospel 4

The Discipline of Grace
by Jerry Bridges

The Balance of Dependence and Discipline

A believer must understand the balance of dependence and discipline. Discipline is the work of sowing what you want to see grow. Dependence is the trusting and resting in the only provision for that sowing. A believer disciplines in the Christian life by making choices. Yet, even in all the work of making right choices, the believer must depend on God for the enabling, knowledge, endurance and resources. The believer does all the sowing, but in his sowing, he must depend on God to grow the spiritual fruit. These two cannot be separated. Yes, there must be sowing, right choices must be made, but if the believer stops there, all that he will grow is pride and self-sufficiency. At the same time, the believer will never grow if he simply sits back in "dependence"--"lets go and lets God" do the work. The work/discipline a believer does is seeking to make right choices. He depends on God by reading his Bible, and seeking God in prayer. Declaring dependence both in prayer and time spent in God's Word show in a tangible way dependence in the life of a believer. Right choices made based on a renewed mind, empowered by a Spirit-filled will and completed by the One finisher is the balance of dependent discipline.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it." - Psalm 127:1 Does the Lord builds the house or do the workers build the house? Yes. The balance of dependence and discipline is found by understanding that it is God who provides and enables and completes, but the workers must labor to build. The understanding is that the laborers cannot build apart from the Lord graciously enabling. In fact, they labor in vain otherwise.

Our Christian labor apart from dependence on Christ is harmful. We will only grow pride and self-sufficiency. Our "dependence" apart from discipline is worthless -- as nothing will get accomplished. Let us be believers that work with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength realizing that anything we do is an act of God's grace. It is He alone that saved us, enables us, keeps us, and makes our work right.

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September 19, 2006

You and the Gospel 3

1 Corinthians, Part 5: Proclaiming Christ-Crucified
by Josh Harris

Josh Harris wondrously preached this Gospel-centered living from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 at his church on the September 17th. Just listened to the podcast this! Good stuff!

Practical Cross-Centered Living

Click here to listen online. | Click here to download.

It is well worth the time!

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September 18, 2006

You and the Gospel 2

The Discipline of Grace
by Jerry Bridges

The Gospel for Real Life

The gospel is more than the good news of eternal life for unbelievers; it is the good news of who the believer is, what he came from, where his power lies, what he does, and what he can do. Because the world, the flesh and the devil scream lies at him, the believer must talk himself back to the truth of the gospel.

...He must remind himself that Jesus died to break the power of his sin, leaving him a battle plan and strategies.

...He must remind himself that Jesus died for his sin and sins, leaving him a sinner, humbly begging for mercy.

...He must remind himself that Jesus rose again, leaving him a dependant with all power to live.

...He must remember that Jesus died for him, leaving him a loved and motivated servant.

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September 15, 2006

You and the Gospel

The Discipline of Grace
by Jerry Bridges

. . . in one sentence.

The believer's view of himself must be that his worst is never bad enough to exempt him from grace, and his best is never good enough to graduate him from grace.

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March 01, 2006

Ahh Ambiguity.

Found this quote while looking at some area church websites...

"Here you can keep on changing your religious beliefs without having to change churches."



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February 15, 2006

Fan the Flame

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

2 Timothy 1:6

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February 13, 2006

Pettit Week Wrapup


Can you tell I snuck into this picture?We just finished up our church's Friend's Day and Special Meetings. What an amazing time. The Lord was so good last week. Coming into 2006, we did not have a Friend's Day speaker scheduled. Some scheduling mixups left us with nothing for the year. That is, until about 4 weeks ago. Pastor Craig had been praying for quite a few months for something special for this year, and while browsing the Pettit Team website just about 4 weeks ago, we noticed an opening in their schedule. We quickly called Brother Steve and found that they had a cancellation, and were planning to take the week off. We asked them if they would be interested in joining us for that week...preaching and providing music for our Friend's Day and through the rest of the week. They graciously agreed. It is absolutely amazing how God works things out. The Lord opened up a week for us, provided a speaker and gave us a wonderful day and week.

On our Friend's Day Sunday morning, we had over 35 friends with us in the service, including 5 city council members, the city manager, 2 police officers, the high school principal, and neighborhood watch representatives. All in all, it was the third largest attendance in our churches history. There was not an open seat in the auditorium!

The week was great. God really moved in our hearts. After the Friend's Day, Brother Steve directed the rest of his messages toward us, and the Spirit did some serious work. Sunday night's message on How to be a Zero was so powerful for us. The text was 1 Cor. 13, and Brother Steve openend up what it really meant to speak and work and minister without love. I have a lot to work on. He also spoke on the only way to be used of God, by being broken before Him. What is Sin, and how does it affect the believer (1 John 3). And Wednesday, he preached on the preservation and perservearance of the saints, Running the Race, from Hebrews 12:1-2. Just powerful.

The time I got to spend with the team was very valuable. Jeremy Frazor is a constant encouragement and iron-sharpening-iron friend to me. He makes me understand what the scripture means when it says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." He is a great friend.

Praise the Lord, for He alone does amazing wonders!

Click Here to read what Brother Steve said about the week.

Click Here to view pictures from the week.

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January 30, 2006


What a gracious, merciful God I serve. I read through Galatians the other morning in my devotions, and I was amazed to see the lengths that Christ's death and resurrection worked in my rotten condition. I have been saved from a horrible state--Death. Punishment. Destruction both eternally and physically and relationally. I've been saved out of all that, but I have been called into a higher life. I've been called from nasty into glory. Out of bondage into freedom! What a joy. I charted out just a few of those wonders.

Worship with me in the life Christ bought for us.

- Man. Flesh. Works. Externals. Bondage.
+ Christ. Spirit. Justified by Faith. Heart. Freedom.

Gal. 1:1 Gal. 5:16 Gal. 2:16 Gal. 6:15 Gal. 5:13, 5:1

- Me. Bite + Devour. Me Cursed. Alive Flesh. Slave to the flesh.
+ The Cross. Law of Love. Christ Cursed. Dieying Flesh. Slave to God, yet an heir.

Gal. 6:14 Gal. 5:15 Gal. 3:10-13 Gal. 5:24 Gal. 5:24

But, none of this is because of me or in me. It is only because of Christ. He saved me for this new way of life--to live in the new life he brought to earth.

But, oh how quick I am to live and glory and put my trust in the things he died to release me from! How quickly I run to the "easy" things of the externals and the outward. I really like fixing the outside up in my flesh. Its easy to put on a fascade. But, He really wants me to fix my motives, my internals, my heart.

Those externals pop up more than I like, and a ton more than God allows. But, I must look at them no more! My flesh is a dieing foe; it is a beast that has been dealt the death blow, yet still writhing in spitting pain and agony. It has no power over me. The nail is in the coffin. Now, thanks to the price of the cross, I can revel in the Spirit life. The life that bears amazing fruit.

God help me to turn my eyes off of my flesh, only to gaze on the cross.

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November 24, 2005

Happy thanksgiving - laugh & remember

Enjoy this hilarious holiday greeting from crosstraining.

But most of all, remember it is all from our Great God!

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

"For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?"
"Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?"

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

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November 03, 2005

Oh, to see the Dawn

darkday.jpgOh, to see the dawn,
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then,
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the power of the cross:
Christ became sin for us.
Took the blame, bore the wrath--
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain,
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought,
Every evil deed,
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

This, the power of the cross:
Son of God - slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Now the daylight flees,
Now the ground beneath,
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
'Finished!' the victory cry.

Oh, to see my name,
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death,
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

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October 12, 2005

Get Real...

Thanks to Adam Bailie for posting this on his blog. A much needed reproving. Read and heed.

Get Real

Can we please set aside the idea that the Sunday gathering is a place for sanctified hypocrisy?! I am so very tired of my heart desiring for those who see me at the Sunday meeting to think of me as without sin. I am full of evil, defiant sin. I am in a war between sin and holiness, and it is often discouraging. I am in a battle between trust in God and self reliance. I am worn down and wounded, and I thought I was gathering with the other warriors for a clear Word from our Leader, and an opportunity to give Him corporate worship. . . a needed reprieve. Instead, it often seems others come as if they haven’t even been fighting. They are acting as if the enemy isn’t active or attacking. Their fight with sin must be easier than mine, because I am the only one who is struggling. I am sure of one thing; I will try to come a little more put together next week. . . And so it goes, until I am a part of the masses masking the truth of their wounds and weariness.

It is the responsibility of the body to edify and prod one another to love and good works, being patient and forgiving (Heb. 10:24; Col. 3:12-17; Rom. 12:9ff). That gets strangely difficult, when we are sure that no one in our church actually sins. Only the most heinous and shocking of sins gets our attention and time. The church seems to have forgotten that Romans 7:13-25 is in our Scriptures. It has professed confidence in God’s progressive work of sanctification, but it has demanded (at least outwardly) a form of weekly completed sanctification. We call that “glorification” in theology, and it happens in heaven.

News Flash: We aren’t in heaven yet! Can we please stop playing like we are already there?!

When was the last time a member of the local body exposed sin for the sake of the unified help of the rest of the body? When was the last time you were desperate enough for holiness that you exposed your weakness and sin to others for the encouragement you needed? I am not talking about “I need to pray more” or “I don’t evangelize as I should.” I mean ugly, raw, oozing sin.

I am begging God to impress upon my heart and our people’s heart the need we have for the encouragement of the body in sanctification, as well as the responsibility we have to do the same for others. This means speaking to others of my lusts, evil desire, hatred for others, pride, legalism, greed, etc. This also means asking others about their sins and struggles, so that I can responsibly bring God’s Word to bear on their life.

Will you partner with me to lay aside your Sunday “get-up” and start living in reality? We are sinners saved by grace and being sanctified by grace.

We are sinners.
We are being saved by grace.
We are being sanctified by grace.

We must not forget any of those truths, if we are to be a useful tool for the growth of the body of Christ.

I am tired of the game, the total lack of reality.

The body needs you, and you need the body.

Get real.

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September 21, 2005

God's Multiplying Power

I must learn never to measure God’s resources by mine. Someone has said. “Little is much when God is in it.” One of Elisha’s friends, a widow, had only one jar of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7). Instead of telling her to conserve it, he ordered her to do exactly the opposite: pour it out. Instead of coming to the end of her supply, she continued to pour out a multiplying stream of oil until at last she ran out of containers. Then it stopped! How God enabled that oil to multiply is beyond me, but so is much that exists in the spiritual world. This much is true: how long would the small jar have lasted if left to itself. How long would the widow have lived, left to herself? How long would any of us last spiritually, left to ourselves? I think this is where I so often fail. I pit myself against the massive needs all around me, and without the multiplying grace of God, I end up broken.

God begins with my small jar, but He does not stop there. He adds His amazing multiplying power to my words, thoughts, prayers, and service until I can hardly recognize myself in them. As with the widow’s oil, someone has taken over and the cup has become a barrel. And is this not the story of scripture? Abraham’s “dead” body--and God; Moses’ shepherd crook—and God; David’s sling- and God; the boy’s small lunch—and God; the twelve disciples—and God. It is the “and God” that makes all the difference!

If there is any failure, it is in this: I do not give God a chance with what He gave me. But, I if I do, God becomes my great enhancer and multiplier. My anchor is God’s own promise: “The smallest one will become a clan, and the least one a mighty nation. I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time." (Isaiah 60:22.)

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. - Isaiah 54:2

Taken from Daily with my Lord, by W. Glyn Evans.

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August 23, 2005

know Him

The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle.
- Psalm 78:9

Monday mornings are not fun. I just need to start that off. They truly are the days where I have to do some serious fighting to clear out the cobwebs. Yesterday was no different. Most of yesterday was spent with what I call a Monday morning headache...a dull thing that is just there...all day. They are probably due to an adrenaline hangover from Sunday's Worship. My Sundays are wonderful. They are full of oppurtunities to rest and praise and worship and fellowship and preach and...they are times I just treasure. But, Mondays oh Mondays. I always know Monday is coming, I get up that morning in full awareness of the day I am about to embark upon, but somehow my day is a trudging through. I'm glad its over.

Inevitably, though at some time during the day, maybe I'm working on my sermon coming up, or I'm planning the worship service, and I remember why I am here. My goal comes before me. Suddenly, my focus is back. I am reminded that my God is with me. I'm reminded of the victories He has won for me. I'm back where I need to be.

Monday is a battleground for me. And the battle is easily won and easily lost. I win when I remember God. Plain and simple. I lose when I worry over my schedule and mindlessly complete my service and wonder what is wrong with me and waste my time and basically, forget God and disregard His commandments.

How do the Ephraimites come into play here? Look at that verse again. It is a pretty sad commentary. "The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle." The Ephraimites were in battle, ready to fight, armed, well-prepared and educated, and they faltered. They turned back. Later on in the passage it says that they, “…refused to walk according to [God’s] law. They forgot his works, and the wonders that he had shown them.” (Psalm 78:11) The Ephraimites had a legacy spiritually, it wasn't that they were absolute heathens. They were of the tribe of the second son of Jospeh. They had been provided for with houses and wells and land. They had been taught; they were prepared. They forgot.

Before we are too hard on the Ephraimites, lets look at our life. What is your battleground experience like? How often is that our problem? We fall, because we forget. We don’t know our God well enough to trust Him. We don’t see who He is.

Asaph lays out the solution to the problem of forgetting God. He lays it out in Psalm 78:3-7. We have to know our God, we have to hope in Him, and we have to remember Him.

…tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. - Psalm 78:4

How well do you know your God. How long could you just simply talk about Him? Could you fill up a page with His attributes? Can you accurately praise Him based on the truthes of His word? What do you know of His names? Do you see the works that He does for you as more opportunities to trust Him and learn about Him? You cannot truly trust God if you have no knowledge of Him. Read your Bible to see God.

that they should set their hope in God. - Psalm 78:7

Knowledge leads to hoping in Him. As you see who He is, you can put your hope, your confidence, literally your loins…the strength of your life, in Him. Take what you know of God and bank your life on it! Let it change who you are on the inside. Let the knowledge of God be your first and best thought.

that they should…not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. - Psalm 78:7

This truly follows the knowledge of God and the hope in God. You do what He says and you don’t forget Him. This allows you to live in joy under the laws of God. His commandments are not grievous, because you know Who He is!

I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use some serious time focusing on Who my God is. I am applying myself to seeking to see my God in His word, but I don’t know if that is my main problem. My problem really isn’t knowledge, per se. I mean really, I’ve heard a lot of preaching, I’ve been blessed with a great pastor and a loving Dad who taught me tons. My main problem isn’t knowledge…although I do need to seek God more. My problem is definitely following through. Hoping and remembering. When its time to take the knowledge that I have that God will always be with me and put that into action in evangelism. When temptation comes and I know I can stand on the power of the word, I forget…I turn back in the day of battle. When I need to sacrifice and give, knowing that God is the great provider, I don’t. When its time to live for Him, I fail.

God help us all to know Him, hope in Him, and remember Him.

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August 04, 2005


The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

good morning. very good morning.

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July 27, 2005

Jungle Adventure - VBS 2005

VBS 2005 - an opportunity to teach boys and girls the One Great Reality.

Vacation Bible School started up Monday and our church has officially been transformed into a jungle. . . complete with a boardwalk, pond, Jungle Jim, 15 foot palm trees, live animals, and a huge pygmy hut. Amazing. We have been having a blast getting set up and now running the program for the kids.

We struck a gold mine this year for new children. A woman in our church got saved about 2 or 3 months ago and has just jumped in to our ministry. She is the apartment manager for a large complex in town that just happens to be full of kids. We have had blitzes and parties over there for weeks getting the kids excited. Boys and girls from over there have been getting pumped about this week for a long time, and they have come out excited.

We approached canvassing differently this year. Normally we worked the standby method of door-to-door, but we have had little to no fruit from a lot of effort with that, so we tried some new ideas. We held Wal-mart blitzes and pre-registration parties in an apartment complex and in our neighborhood. We rolled out our big blow-up bounce house, our gorilla costume, free candy and ice cream, face paint and balloon animals. The response has been very good - lots of visitors and excitement in the community. The kids have come ready for a great time.

Every night as I have looked into the eyes of many boys and girls that have never been in our church before, I am struck with the truth that this is why I am here. This is it. I am here to introduce boys and girls to a God that is huge and a God that has very important commands and plans for thier lives. Boys and girls need to know that God is the One Great Reality. There is nothing like giving the gospel to kids. They listen, they get excited, they are with you on every word.

They believe.

Christ spent a large portion of His ministry on children . . .and so ought we. A look at a child teaches us a lot. Our faith is small. God gives grace to the humble and lowly. The big things and the small things are important. His love knows no partiality. He is supreme over all creation.

He took time to scoop them in His arms and bless them.
Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God...he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. - Mark 10:14-16

He resurrected a child.
Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Talitha cumi," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. - Mark 5:41-42

He healed a little girl's sickness with a word.
"O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly. - Matthew 15:28

He used a boy's bread and fish to perform an amazing miracle.
"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." - John 6:9-10

Children praised Him in the temple as He came.
The chief priests and the scribes saw...the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" - Matthew 21:15

He used children to teach us about our little faith.
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3-4

He said if you recieve children in His name, you recieve Him and His Father.
"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me." - Mark 9:37

Adapted from "Strong Enough to Care about the Weak," A Godward Life, Volume 1

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July 14, 2005

To be a Mighty Man

There are some people I just can't wait to speak to in heaven. David's Mighty Men are pretty high up on my list.

Jashobeam, a Hachmonite. . . wielded his spear against 300 whom he killed at one time. - I Chronicles 11:11
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man. . . He struck down two heroes of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. And he struck down an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits tall. The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver's beam, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. - I Chronicles 11:22-25
Abishai, the brother of Joab. . . he wielded his spear against 300 men and killed them. - I Chronicles 11:20


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June 30, 2005

In Loving Memory - Rebecca Winkler


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June 23, 2005

Cling to the Cross

Cling to the Cross
Abraham Piper

I cling fast to the cross that drowned
My sin in blood—in Christ’s blood.
(And I) cry aloud with a grateful sound,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Blood was in the tears that dripped when he was crowned.
You could feel him break when that hard whip unwound—
Shudder with screaming at each hammer pound.

Clinging fast to the cross that drowned
Our sin in blood—in Christ’s blood,
(Let us) cry aloud with a grateful sound,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

There’s a bloody cross set on a desert mound
And all sinners who come there to gather around
Find that salvation and hope still abound,

If you’re slipping down—Oh, here is solid ground.
And if you are in bondage—here you’ll be unbound.
If you are lost—here’s where you may be found—

Clinging fast to the cross that drowned
Our sin in blood—in Christ’s blood.
(Let us) cry aloud with a grateful sound,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


I found this site to be wonderfully refreshing this morning.

Check it out . . . CIsongs

Good stuff.

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June 16, 2005

How Big is Your God?

After reading my title, did you start thinking, “How big is your God....hmmm...Well, the Bible says He is infinite. His voice is as the sound of many waters…He is everywhere…if I ascend to heaven, He is there…if I go to hell, he is there...He’s huge.” Yes. He truly is. But, my question is not, “How big does the Bible say God is?” We can see that in Scripture. I did ask however, “How big is your God?” In other words, practically speaking, how big is your God. How much place do you give him? How supreme is He over your decisions and choices? How big is your God?

But today, you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’
I SAMUEL 10:19

In my trek through the Old Testament the last few weeks, God has been bringing one major thought back to my mind—don’t let a man ever take My Place. It’s always always always always all about Me. My influence is most important, never the influence of men. Fear Me and keep My commandments.

I came to I Samuel the other day, and I listened to Israel’s whines for a human king. They saw the other nations and were afraid. They were afraid…scared to death that God would not be enough to deliver them from Nahash, king of the Ammonites. Not only that, but they were probably afraid of what they looked like to other nations. When it all started, they said they wanted to “be like all the nations.” (I Samuel 8:20)

When you saw that Nahash, king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, “No, but a king shall reign over us,” when the Lord your God was your king.
I SAMUEL 12:12

Living man-centered. The silent killer. The quiet brakes to our Christian growth. It creeps in with seemingly innocent thoughts and wants, but in the end, it turns from innocent to idolatrous. The scary thing is that man-focused living is so easy to fall prey to. It is almost commonplace thinking for a lot of us; I mean really how often do we think, “It doesn’t matter what others think or can do to me, God is supreme.” Eeh. [buzzer] Wrong. More often than not we think things like, “I can’t go through with that, I’ll be laughed at…” “I can’t get close to people, they’ll see who I really am.” “I can’t be honest about my problems. They’ll humiliate me.” And by saying these things, we may as well blurt out, “God, man is more important than you right now…sorry.”

Let God’s words to the children of Israel speak to you, “today, you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us." (1 Sam. 10:19) The problem with the children of Israel was that they grew man-focused. They saw a man-solution to a problem God had fixed many times before (who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses.) They wanted a human king instead of the One King. They valued a man more than their God. People got big, and God got small.

The same is true for us though, isn’t it? We lose sight of the truth and jealousy and wisdom and love and grace and providence and mystery and power of God that has been proven time and time again in our lives and in the pages of scripture. We miss the Truth for the lie that is fear of man. How do we grow man-focused? It happens when we aren’t willing to do what we know we must, because of what someone might think. It happens when we would rather worry than pray. It happens when we get upset, because something doesn’t turn out the way we wanted. It happens when man is bigger than God in our minds.

Are you living man-focused or God-focused? How big is your God?

What is the solution? Fear God. Learn a healthy trembling fear of Who God is.

He is terrible. He is awesome. He is jealous. But, as you grow in your knowledge of the Holy, you begin to grasp His love…mercy…longsuffering…None of these negate the other characteristics, they simply enhance and complement them. He is God the terrible, awesome, jealous lover to whom all our worship belongs.

Now, what has just happened? An honest look at God sends man where he ought to be. It’s all about God. Fear of man ought never influence us away from God’s purpose. (Proverbs 29:25) His ways, His truth, His influence.

Fear Him.

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May 14, 2005

Unless the Lord Builds the House

For the past 4 months, Beth and I have been looking for a house. We have been getting a little discouraged, because the house market in our town is just strange. The market weighs heavily on two ends of the spectrum. A lot of this and a lot of this, but not much in between. So, needless to say, we were getting a little discouraged. We started looking pretty hard about a month ago, and looked at quite a few houses. We got extremely excited about one, but there was an offer that went in in on it that morning, so we had to move fast. We liked the house, and we were battling over what to do about it. Finally, we put in an offer, they countered way higher, and the house sold for more than it was listing for. Hah. Amazing. So, yes, the Oak Ridge House market is crazy for our price range.

Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

PSALM 127:1

After our last experience Beth and I were extremely broken over how much this was going to have to be God doing the work. We had looked at everything in our range, and it seemed like nothing was going to work. We prayed hard that when we went through the house God wanted for us, we would know. No battle. No stress. Just God putting a desire in our heart.

A new listing popped up Tuesday.

We looked through the house, and immediately I said, "This is the one." We prayed about it. We put in an offer. They countered. And we accepted. We bought a house. God gave us a house!

We love this house.

The Lord did awesome work. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised! He alone is responsible for the price, the floor plan, the condition, the yard, for everything! Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. Great God of Wonders! Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high? He owns the cattle on a thousand hills!

Why do I ever doubt Him?

Read on to see pictures of the house!

Click Here for the Whole Page

kitchen cabinets
kitchen cabinets
kitchen range counter
kitchen range counter
full bath cabinets
full bath cabinets
master bedroom
master bedroom
2nd bedroom
2nd bedroom
3rd bedroom
3rd bedroom
downstairs bathroom
downstairs bathroom
downstairs bath sink
downstairs bath sink
downstairs fireplace
downstairs fireplace
downstairs rec room
downstairs rec room
downstairs rec room 2
downstairs rec room 2
backyard deck
backyard deck
backyard deck2
backyard deck2
downstairs rec room 3
downstairs rec room
backyard left corner
backyard left corner
living room main level
living room main level
full bath shot
full bath shot
2nd bedroom
2nd bedroom
down hallway to main level
down hallway to main level
downstairs bath
downstairs bath
front from driveway
front from driveway
front from road
front from road
front door inside
front door inside
living room
living room
garage yeah
garage yeah
kitchen door to garage.JPG
kitchen door to garage
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May 01, 2005

Talk to Yourself

“You failed before; its just going to happen again…you don’t need to talk to that person, you have enough problems of your can’t be faithful to the Lord.”

Have you heard those thoughts bump around in your head recently?

Today, use every opportunity to talk to yourself. I know that sounds odd, but we must continually remind ourselves of what is truthful (Philippians 4:8.) The heart is deceitful above all things. Our minds can trick us into thinking the promises of God are ineffective but, the stability of our lives comes when we remind ourselves that God does what He says. God’s word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

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April 29, 2005

I Call You to Discomfort

Man, I am comfortable. I'm sitting at my desk in my heated office. My wife just called and informed me that soup is on the stove, even though I'm still a little full from lunch. My car runs quite well. I have a paycheck coming every two weeks. My health is great. I have enough outfits in my wardrobe to last me for quite a few days in between laundry loads.

What a Disneyland America is.

It is comfortable, isn't it? We are so "blessed." God has been working me over about this recently. I am so comfortable, yes. But, what risks am I taking for His kingdom? I am preaching a series on Matthew 5-7, and I am laying out the ways to be truly blessed. More and more I find, that we are most blessed when we are most uncomfortable on earth for Christ's name sake. Think about it, when I am uncomfortable with my sinful wicked condition (poor in spirit), I am blessed. When I am so uncomfortable I weep (mourn), I am blessed. When I am uncomfortable with my strength, living in God's infinite ability (meek), I am blessed. When I am uncomfortable with what I can get from the world, and I hunger and thirst after righteousness, I am blessed. The list goes on in the same pattern. It closes with, when I am in the most uncomfortable place for my faith, persecution, I am happy, blissful, blessed. Wow.

I need some education on what a comfortable Christian is. I need some serious learning on what God expects of my life. It's time to take up my cross. God has called us to a life of denying our comfort for His Name's sake. Of course, it is totally worth it. The pleasures of living in the presence of God are fullness of joy forevermore! The joys are the kingdom of heaven! The life that is uncomfortable here on earth longs for the hope of glory!

What discomfort are you allowing yourself to be vulnerable to for the gospel sake? Are you sharing your faith and opening yourself up to mockery and shame or even pain? Are you sacrificially giving to others not knowing what may happen to God's money? Are you opening your life in hospitality not knowing if the carpet will get stained and the dishes chipped? Is your life transparent enough for you to show that you struggle and depend on God, or is your fascad up and running, decieving others into a high view of you? God calls us to a life of risk for His sake. But the joy is that in that discomfort there is a great comfort. The hope of glory. Fellowship with our Savior.

So, God, I throw my emotions and pride and self-reliance onto the cross and take it up. For it is there that I see you. And in that I hope to say with Paul . . . I rejoice . . . for I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. (Colossians 1:24)

If you are interested in more along this line, I came across this Fresh Words by John Piper. He says it much better than I could...and in a different way.

Call for Christian Risk
John Piper
The Original Article

By removing eternal risk, Christ calls his people to continual temporal risk.

For the followers of Jesus the final risk is gone. "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). "Neither death nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 3:38-39). "Some of you they will put to death. . . . But not a hair of your head will perish" (Luke 21:16, 18). "Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).

When the threat of death becomes a door to paradise the final barrier to temporal risk is broken. When a Christian says from the heart, "To live is Christ and to die is gain," he is free to love no matter what. Some forms of radical Islam may entice martyr-murderers with similar dreams, but Christian hope is the power to love, not kill. Christian hope produces life-givers, not life-takers. The crucified Christ calls his people to live and die for their enemies, as he did. The only risks permitted by Christ are the perils of love. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you" (Luke 6:27-28).

With staggering promises of everlasting joy, Jesus unleashed a movement of radical, loving risk-takers. "You will be delivered up even by parents . . . and some of you they will put to death" (Luke 21:16). Only some. Which means it might be you and it might not. That's what risk means. It is not risky to shoot yourself in the head. The outcome is certain. It is risky to serve Christ in a war zone. You might get shot. You might not.

Christ calls us to take risks for kingdom purposes. Almost every message of American consumerism says the opposite: Maximize comfort and security - now, not in heaven. Christ does not join that chorus. To every timid saint, wavering on the edge of some dangerous gospel venture, he says, "Fear not, you can only be killed" (Luke 12:4). Yes, by all means maximize your joy! How? For the sake of love, risk being reviled and persecuted and lied about, "for your reward is great in heaven" (Matthew 5:11-12).

There is a great biblical legacy of loving risk-takers. Joab, facing the Syrians on one side and the Ammonites on the other, said to his brother Abishai, "Let us be courageous for our people . . . and may the LORD do what seems good to him" (2 Samuel 10:12). Esther broke the royal law to save her people and said, "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). Shadrach and his comrades refused to bow down to the king's idol and said, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us . . . But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods" (Daniel 3:16-18). And when the Holy Spirit told Paul that in every city imprisonment and afflictions await him, he said, "I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course" (Acts 20:24).

"Every Christian," said Stephen Neil about the early church, "knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life" (A History of Christian Missions, Penguin, 1964, p. 43). This was normal. To become a Christian was to risk your life. Tens of thousands did it. Why? Because to do it was to gain Christ, and not to was to lose your soul. "Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 16:25).

In America and around the world the price of being a real Christian is rising. Things are getting back to normal in "this present evil age." Increasingly 2 Timothy 3:12 will make sense: "All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Those who've made gospel-risk a voluntary life-style will be most ready when we have no choice. Therefore I urge you, in the words of the early church, "Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:13-14). When God removed all risk above / He loosed a thousand risks of love.

Pastor John
The Original Article
©Desiring God

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April 11, 2005

comfort check

I needed this today. To my shame, I have been growing comfortable. The joys of this world have been looking very desirable to me recently...a big house, nice clothes, comfortable relationships. Yet my Savior died that I would not be held in by the cares of this present world. He paid His life, that I might be as uncomfortable as He was.

Recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property . . .

. . . since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

Hebrews 10:32-34

The Cross.Quote fits perfectly with this.

May we all be strangers and pilgrims desiring a better country for our Great Savior.

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March 08, 2005

Draw from the Well

God never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I need a new filling from His Spirit, He is there. There is always the grace of God to open my heart, and there is always His love to bring me back from my failures. I was reminded of that anew as I studied Isaiah 10-13. What a joy it was to read the section in Isaiah 12:1-4.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: "Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
Isaiah 12:3-4

As I began to dig into this verse, I was enjoying my Savior's provision for me. A well that I can come to in joy. Though He was angry with me, His anger turned away, that He might comfort me. What a story of my salvation. Oh, but how much more wonderful it is to come to the wells of my salvation and draw life, sustenance and joy for my daily life. Jehovah Jireh:The Lord will provide!


I'm so thankful this isn't just a little chuckle or courtesy laugh. This is a deep abiding peace that is not swayed by circumstances or emotions. This is God moving me to say, "He is not poor nor much enticed who loses everything but Christ."


I must work, seek, even need the joy that is available from the well of salvation. My God's joy is availabe to draw, I must simply go to Him, step off my faltering self-sufficient pedestal, and draw what He has provided for me. If I seek Him, I will find him, if I seek Him with all that is in me.

Refreshing, purifying, perfect, sustaining and life-giving. It is not difficult to imagine my salvation as water. It first purified my wicked soul, next filled me for life, granted me refreshment, and continually washes my heart from stain. Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name!


My life in Christ is not a walk in the park. It is often a task. My flesh grates against my growth, and I often feel as if I am falling backward. The promise of a good well is that although it is so deep, there is wonderful return in hard-work.


Praise the Lord that my salvation is infinite. My God's loving power and wisdom has changed me from death to life, and I can gladly make known His deeds among the peoples, proclaiming that His name is exalted. It is the least I can do.

Why do I have this joy. Not because of anything I did. Not because of my greatness, sacrifice, or holy life. But, because Christ. Plain and simple. Christ.

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
"Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:1-2
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February 21, 2005

Once in a Lifetime.

God is in control.

Huge 'star-quake' rocks Milky Way

"Had this happened within 10 light-years of us, it would have severely damaged our atmosphere and would possibly have triggered a mass extinction."

Every situation in our lives is designed to give us a greater knowledge and understanding of our infinite God. This explosion did not rock my life last night, in fact, I didn't even know it happened until just a coupla minutes ago. Equally, your life probably wasn't changed by the massive 'star quake' the likes of which has not occured near us in 400 years. But, the amazing truth that we must grasp from seeing this groaning in the heavens is that God is in control. Our every breath is in His hands. Our life on earth is completely ordained and soverignly moved by His Wonderful Hand. By the word of His mouth, He spoke the worlds into existence, and He can, by that same word bring destruction. And He will by any word or any judgment still be completely good. Let that thought revolutionize you. I invite you to worship the Savior, Creator, Controller and Sustainer Jesus Christ with me in these verses.

Our God is in the heavens;he does all that he pleases.
Psalm 115:3
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 1:21
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:16-17
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
Hebrews 1:3

bringing others to the greatness of the cross...

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February 16, 2005

changing seasons. unchanging God.

Found this interesting

In pictures: How the world is changing.

Absolutely amazing.

I was reminded of my great God. Yahweh is not swayed by the thoughts or actions of men. He is eternal. His word shall stand. He reigns supreme over the events of this world. He is. He ever will be.

ISAIAH 40:6-8

All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

ROMANS 8:21-23

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

JAMES 4:14

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

1 PETER 1:23-25

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

"All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever."

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.


We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

Even yet the more, so speak and so live. Come Lord Jesus.

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February 10, 2005

The Colonel's "Wish"

The colonel who retires on a farm in the country would have liked to have become a general; but if I could examine his life, I would find some little thing that he neglected to do, that he did not want to do. I could prove to him that he did not want to become a general.


The apostle Paul spoke concerning his mission of evangelism saying that, I have to make “myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” He said, I “keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” In other words, I have to discipline my wants and keep my feelings from interrupting my service for God.

What do you want to do for Christ? What do you want to live for? What do you want to be for Christ? Do you want to be deep with your God? Do you want to magnify the greatness of the Savior in every area of your life? Do you want to live and give the gospel consistently? Our wants in this life cannot be mere passing thoughts. They must be all-encompassing pursuits. In order to be effective for my Christ, I must keep under my feelings, beating them into the subjection of the almighty. I must do what I don’t want to do, and say what is hard to say. I must go against what is easy so that I might gain what is Great. In order to influence my world as light for my Christ, I must be willing to say that I will do what I don’t feel like doing in order to accomplish what I must do for Christ.

But, I need to be reminded that working for the cross is so worth it. My Christ is surpassingly more excellent than any ease I can experience here on earth. The treasure I can find in Christ is infinitely more valuable than the piddly little things of my comfort and quick happiness. "But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."(Galatians 6:14) In other words, by which I die to the wants and the trappings of this distracting world. My ultimate goal in this life is to do want I don’t feel like, so that I can get more of Christ. That is basically what Paul says earlier on in the book.

When I think on these things, I find myself asking, why on earth do I sin? If I know that my Christ is surpassingly more enjoyable, satisfying, and valuable than the passing pleasure of corruption, why do I succumb to temptation? Why do I fall out of step with the Spirit? Because I forget. I forget. I forget. Oh God, help me not to forget. Help me not to forget all your benefits. "Bless the Lord Oh my soul, bless His holy name, and forget not all His benefits." I am beginning to believe that the reason I break fellowship with my God is that I lose sight of the value of living a pure life pleasing to my Creator. I miss the point that life is best lived when it's lived for Christ. So I say with the Psalmist…don’t let me "forget …all His benefits. He forgives all my sins. He crowns my head with mercy and love. He satisfies my mouth with good things. The Lord is so gracious to me. As a father pities His child, so the Lord has compassion on me. As far as the east is from the west, so great is His love for me. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, Bless His Holy Name and forget not all His benefits." - Psalm 103 (adapted for song)

Taking up my own. . . even when I don't "want" to.

Posted by jonkopp at 05:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 17, 2005

Sunday Worship

This Sunday morning's worship service was such a joy! Pastor Craig was preaching from Phillippians 3:15-21

"Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

We focused on the theme of Living with the End in Mind. If you have a moment, join with me as I remember what God did in my heart yesterday, to turn my mind back to what I have to live for. Eternity!


The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven simply to enjoy God is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.” – Jonathan Edwards

Therefore, everything on earth ought to make heaven all the better for us! Think of it, anything we enjoy or despair on earth ought only to turn our minds and thoughts to our Savior. Edwards continued, by saying, “Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.” Look forward this morning to our final joy. Our life in heaven, where our enjoyment will be complete.

When I can read my title clear

There will be no more sorrow there!

When I can read my title clear to mansions in the skies,
I bid farewell to every fear, and wipe my weeping eyes.
And wipe my weeping eyes, and wipe my weeping eyes
I bid farewell to every fear, and wipe my weeping eyes.

Men, sing for us. There will be no more battles in glory.

Should earth against my soul engage, and hellish darts be hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan’s rage, and face a frowning world.
And face a frowning world, and face a frowning world,
Then I can smile at Satan’s rage, and face a frowning world.

Ladies, remind us that there are no more sadness, sorrow, or stress.

Let cares, like a wild deluge come, and storms of sorrow fall!
May I but safely reach my home, my God, my heav’n, my All.
My God, my heaven, my All, my God, my heave’, my All,
May I but safely reach my home, my God, my heaven, my All.

There shall I bathe my weary soul in seas of heav’nly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll, across my peaceful breast.
Across my peaceful breast, across my peaceful breast,
And not a wave of trouble roll, across my peaceful breast.

On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand

Are you sending your possessions to Canaan's fair and happy land? To go to heaven simply to enjoy God is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here!

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie?

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

Oh, what a thought, I remind you, that there will be no sickness there. Our vile bodies will be changed to be like Him!

No chilling winds or poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

CHOIR NUMBER– Where's the Way?

We find ourselves searching. Lost in the night, lost in the darkness; conflict and war all around. But then, Jesus found us. Love surrounded us. There's no more wandering for us. No more wandering because we know our destiny. We have a goal. A purpose and a vision is in view. Live that way today. Where's the Way that makes me joyous? In Christ.

Just Over in the Gloryland

I've a home prepared where the Saints abide
Just over in the Gloryland
And I long to be by my Savior's Side
Just over in the Gloryland

Just over in the Gloryland
I'll join the happy angel band
Just over in the Gloryland
Just over in the Gloryland
There with the mighty host I'll stand
Just over in the Gloryland


Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Live for a look at the Savior in glory.

Posted by jonkopp at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)

January 14, 2005


95% of us have never written down our goals in life.
Of the 5% who have written them down, 95% have achieved their goals.

Yale Research found that 3% of the 1953 graduating class had written down goals for themselves. By 1975, the continued research found that the 3% who had written their goals, accomplished more than the 97% who had not put together.

"Sad is the day for any man when he becomes absolutely satisfied with the life he is living, the thoughts he is thinking, and the deeds he is doing."


I don't really like the term "New Year's Resolutions," it normally connotates someone who wants to lose weight, but doesn't really want to change the way they are living. I should call these rather goals that I feel very strongly about achieving. Therefore, because I want to strive to achieve more in my life for my Savior, because I want to go out of my comfort zone that I might depend on my God of all comfort, because I want to aim high enough so that God has to work through me in order to hit the mark, because I want to do all I can to make the Cross more known, and because I want God alone to get the glory in my life, I prayerfully commit these few small things to my all-sufficient God.

This is my first time doing this, and I pray that at the end of 2005, I can look back and see where, how and to the amazing extent that God is going to stretch me to be able to accomplish these things. I submit to His leading in and out of these ideals. I simply know that I need guidance as I aim to glorify my Savior. I feel deeply for these things. They are important to me, and I pray for my God to do exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think in these things.


I am resolved in 2005, to passionately commune with God every day in Bible saturation, gospel giving, faithful obedience and consistent prayer, striving for a deeper walk with my Father.

I am resolved in 2005, to better myself through improving the following areas: reading (30 books this year, 10 I want to read, 10 I need to read, and 10 I'm asked to read) writing (improve style and speed through this blog and other venues,) speaking (preaching and worship service,) academic pursuit (taking correspondence courses & class work toward a Masters Degree-Monday night Masters or other,) music (guitar improvement, vocal, choral, and piano,) discipline (physical exercise three times a week, organization of my time, skills, and work and eating habits-cutting junk and other energy killers out of my diet,) loving (my wife first-I have a separate set of resolutions for this, my teens and church second, and the lost,) giving (sacrificially as the Lord leads-more than what I already am,) and discipling (prayerfully, ten teen guys this year.)

I am resolved in 2005, to make new and cultivate old friendships with teenagers (my church, the Oak Ridge High School soccer team, and FCA), men in my church (Young Couples SS Class, Teen Parents, and Senior Tour), and unbelievers (contacts I have already made, and those the Lord will bring across my path) that I do not yet know.


I am resolved to love, lead, honor, cherish, build up, present pure, and support you in a way that glorifies God in the greatest way, being wholly faithful to you.

I am resolved to provide for and love our honorable pursuits of wasting time together, hanging out, playing games, dating, chatting, and sailing together for the rest of our lives.

I am resolved to spiritually create an example and environment that you can look to and thrive in--consitently prodding you onward in achieving all that you can for your Lord.

I am resolved to be your one woman man, loving you with a love of choice that is not founded on how I feel, but upon who you are, and what I promised you and my God.

Posted by jonkopp at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2005


I’d like to let my mind wander onto thoughts of Christ for a moment.

What a wondrous redemption is in Christ Jesus! Colossians 1 is exactly what I needed today. I planned to read through the book this morning. But when I read, “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” The Holy Spirit began to press me to dwell on Christ this morning.


If we want to know God, we must know God in the flesh. It’s that simple. Christ is our opportunity to fellowship with God. Yes, opportunity. I say opportunity, because we miss chances to view Christ. Our flesh-fed, self-focused, world-loving gaze hinders a full view of our God. Take a minute and think through even some of the small points of your relationship with God. These things are amazing and eternal and great and life-changing. Not because of anything we have done. Not because we approached God and let Him do these things, but because Christ did these things. We are simply partakers in this phenomenal act. Let that thought revolutionize you. We are wretchedly fallen. We were not even fit to enter His presence, but Christ “qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”—Col. 1:13-15. We have access to the Father through Christ; we were alienated because of our sin, but Christ “has now reconciled [you] in His body of flesh by His death.”—Col. 1:22. We enjoy all the blessings of unity, service, fellowship, graciousness and need-meeting in the church of God, both local and universal, because, “He is the head of the body, the church.”—Col. 1:18. We are made at peace with Him “by the blood of His cross.”—Col. 1:19. We have a glimpse of the All-Holy, because in Christ we see “the image of the invisible God…”—Col. 1:15. We are able, because of Christ, to view our difficulties only as ways to show off Christ’s work; we “rejoice in…sufferings for your sake.”—Col. 1:24. We enjoy the privilege of knowing Someone that others only looked forward to, because our Christ is, “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to His saints.”—Col. 1:26. We grow into maturity through knowledge of the Son, because “Him we proclaim…that we may present every man mature in Christ.”—Col 1:28. We are energized in Christian work, “for this I toil, striving with all energy which He mightily inspires in me.”—Col. 1:29. We are able to continue, always growing into Him, someday that we might be presented “mature in Christ.”—Col. 1:28



Complete in Thee, no work of mine,
may take dear Lord the place of thine
Thy Blood Hath pardon bought for me
and I am now complete in Thee

Yea justified, O blessed thought,
and sanctified salvation wrought
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me
and glorified I too shall be

Complete in Thee each want supplied
and no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, will be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.

Dear Savior when before Thy bar
All tribes and tongues assembled are,
Among Thy chosen I shall be,
At Thy right hand, complete in Thee.

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself and came in love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray:
I woke—the dungeon flamed with light!
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread:
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!


Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.

Christ is all and in all.

Posted by jonkopp at 10:38 AM | Comments (4)

December 30, 2004

A Spot, a Wrinkle and a Blemish

God’s purpose for every situation in my life is completely opposite to Satan’s purpose for my life. God’s always being good, and Satan’s always being evil.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10

Man, I learned that truth in a very funny way today.

That truth was very real to me this morning as I sat down in my easy chair to get into the Word this morning. I normally spend time with God after I am all ready to go for the day, and this morning was no exception. My pants and shirt were all ironed and tucked in. I had my shoes on, contacts in, and my hair was even gelled. I had just poured a cup of fresh Starbucks Christmas Blend. I turned to the book of Ephesians, and everything was completely normal. I was reflecting on truths that popped out at me. I thought of how Dr. Olinger called Ephesians 1 the Christmas passage for the believer, because every other verse is like another package to open on Christmas day. I read through the passages on the new man, the truths about how I ought to walk in the Christian life, and how God is able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask or think. The Word was tasting good. I read into chapter 5, the passage on husbands and wives, and I read Christ’s purpose for the church, to “present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle…that she might be...without blemish.” In mid-verse, I had taken a sip of coffee, and for some odd reason, I bumped the edge of the coffee cup sending hot coffee all over my freshly ironed pants and shirt. I’m not joking, as my eyes looked at the words spot, wrinkle and blemish, a spot wrinkle and blemish of coffee worked its way onto my pants. I have to smile about it now, because that’s just hilarious. Blemish on the page, Blemish on my pants...clean fresh ironed khakis. Hah.

Though I’m laughing now, that wasn’t my first reaction this morning. Instantly I was presented with an opportunity, God had a purpose in the occasion. But amazingly, so did Satan. God wanted my whole heart. He wanted to test me to see if my attitude was fickle to the point that I would lose an opportunity to commune with Him. Satan wanted my anger to destroy any fellowship I was having with my Father. Thankfully, after asking God to forgive my initial outburst…a seething sigh, the Holy Spirit brought this thought to mind. His purpose for my life is always good, and Satan’s purpose for my life is always bad. They are always opposite, and never coordinating. I praise my Father for that truth today.

Posted by jonkopp at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2004

Christmas Music

What is it about the voice of Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole? I'm pretty sure that without thier voices, my season would not be as homey. The CD thats playing right now opens up with this great big band version of Sleigh Ride. I turned it on this morning and was pleasently rushed into the world of silver garland, popcorn chains, and gaudy plastic stars donning Christmas trees. A part of me loves that cheesy nostalgic side of Christmas.

But, oh how quick I am to miss what it is all about. My choir is rehearsing tonight for our Christmas program, Emmanuel: Our God with Us. The songs I picked to fill the program remind me of how important the fact that Jesus Christ was our Emmanuel. I get soo secular. Oh how much I need to remember that I am dead to this world.

But...I think one wonderful side of all this is that, when I place the coming of Christ to earth at the top priority of my thoughts and motives, my excitement/responses/joys in the season are simply an overflow. If I am thankful for Christ coming to earth, I am full of joy for the time spent with family. If I turn my attention to the glorious virgin birth, my joy in giving gifts full. If my heart is full with the amazing gift I recieved because Christ came to earth, oh how complete my Christmas is. By walking by the Spirit this Christmas, I cannot gratify the desires of the flesh by seeking my own way this Christmas. (GALATIANS 5:17)

I need to be reminded of this. I need it, because I am so prone to wander. I am so prone to think of my Christmas experience, when really I'm missing it. Because my experience will only be full when I treasure the Christ for which I have the oppurtunity to celebrate this year.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (EPHESIANS 1:3)

Posted by jonkopp at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2004

Treasure it Up

“And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” – Luke 2:18-19

Christ was born and there was a hubbub in Bethlehem. Shepherds had seen angels declare the birth of a new baby Boy. Everyone that heard was wondering. But Mary, almost quietly, kept, or treasured, all these things in her heart. Why did Mary treasure these things? Remember with me, Mary was a virgin. The child she just delivered was all God’s working. Nine months earlier, Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel who foretold of Christ’s reign. What then did Mary quietly treasure when everyone else was wondering? Mary treasured the truth that Christ, her son that had just entered the world, was her Savior.

We are surrounded with hubbub this season. Stores blare every style of Christmas music, molded plastic Santas stand watch across the front of Wal-mart, and every other house on your street has Christmas lights hanging from the gutters. What is your response to all this commotion? Treasure the reason behind all the racket. The true reason. Christ, our savior…the ruler of all nations, was born.

Posted by jonkopp at 01:10 PM | Comments (1)

December 16, 2004


No, I did not title my blog after the name of a type of casual shoe popular in the late-eighties. I am also not planning on teaching any classes on cross-stitch to elderly ladies at the Civic Center.

The personal blog of Jonathan William Kopp is to be entitled CrossTraining.

I choose this, because that is where I am at in my life up to this point. I am in CrossTraining. God has been and will forever be working me over with the concept that all I have to boast in in this life is because of the cross. Every good and every bad thing I have, I have because of the cross, because Christ purchased it for me. Therefore, I name this blog CrossTraining…that I might be ever mindful of my quest of bringing others to the cross and taking up my own cross...daily for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The CrossTraining concept communicates my fledgling pursuit to place every area of my life into perspective under the importance of the cross. Because of the cross, I work and live. Because of the cross, I gather with others in worship. It is because of the cross that I am what I am. CrossTraining describes all that in a short statement. Cross Training to me is the business every believer is in. It is teaching others to magnify the supremacy of the cross in every area of their life. I believe that no one can think too much on the cross, because at the cross there is deep conviction, humble servitude, heavenly awe, salvation and desire to evangelize.

The theme verse for this blog is to be Galatians 6:14. “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

As I study the life of Paul, I am amazed. The man was staggeringly brilliant. He kept track of churches miles apart, he was a powerful leader, he knew suffering continually, and he was able to strive till the end. I look at His life, and I find something intriguing. One passion. One truth. One consistent pursuit. The Cross. Paul was consumed with the sacrifice of his beloved savior at Calvary. How else could he have lived his life with the fervor and undying energy? He said in Phillipians, “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Phillipians 1:7-8)

“Let us abide hard by the cross and search the mystery of His wounds” (C. H. SPURGEON) because, “the blood-stained cross is the blazing center of the glory of God.” (JOHN PIPER) “…It is the fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough to it for its sparks to fall on us.” (JOHN STOTT) And in all our searching, “The Spirit does not take [us] beyond the cross, but ever more deeply into it.” (J. KNOX CHAMBLIN)

Join me in CrossTraining.

Posted by jonkopp at 04:22 PM | Comments (10)