December 31, 2008

Looking Back

As the New Year approaches, most of us look forward to what we want to happen in the coming year. But before we look ahead, let us look back on this past year and what God has done in the year 2008.

For me, I know that God has blessed me immensely in this past year. Here a few ways in which He did:

1. God provided a way for me to attend Together for the Gospel and listen to men of God preach and exhort brothers and sisters in Christ to be more faithful and keep the Gospel the center of their lives.

2. God allowed me to meet my dear friend Christopher Hukkeri, a native missionary to Belgaum, India, and I was able to learn from him. Christopher has endured much for the sake of the Gospel and has strove to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ every where he has gone (I will be posting more about this soon). Also, see his experience with T4G here (You will need to scroll down to see his story).

3. God led me to preach my first sermon, based off of John Piper's sermon, How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice.

4. God has taught me through many different media, not least being books which I have been blessed with in abundance.

5. God brought my girlfriend and I together and has been growing us together for His glory.

Praise God for all the great things He has done and all He is going to do. I look forward to another year of growing closer with Him.

December 27, 2008

Meekness is not Weakness

I received this in an e-mail from my good friend Brad recently and thought I would share it with you. It may be a little hard to follow, but as Brad says, please just read it slowly and I venture to say that you will be encouraged and challenged. He wrote

I was reading in Ps. 149:4:For the LORD taketh pleasure (8802) in his people: he will beautify (8762) the meek with salvation.

I was struck with the idea that Jehovah would beautify the meek with salvation.

So I journeyed to Vine's Expository Dictionary on line and typed in "meekness". Please ponder these notions of meekness slowly and meditatively. If you read them too fast you will miss the beauty of this quality:

2prautes praotes (Noun)

1.) Vine: "In its use in Scripture, in which it has a fuller, deeper significance than in nonscriptural Greek writings, it consists not in a person's "outward behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God.

Comment: Only God can grant this quality. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I pray for this to be wrought in us. Gritting my teeth and clenching my fists; resolving with my great spiritual will power will not bring this about. Only God the Holy Spirit grants this.

2.) Vine: "It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word tapeinophrosune [humility], and follows directly upon it, Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12. It is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him."

Comment: Meekness inwrought by God's grace does not argue with God about why they are in the circumstances they are in! Well that about convicts me!

3.) Vine: "This meekness, however, being first of all a meekness before God, is also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict, are permitted and employed by Him for the chastening and purifying of His elect" (Trench, Syn. xlii).

Comment: Meekness looks at all those guys who are insulting us as blessings from God to make us better! Well that about convicts me!

4.) Vine: "It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was 'meek' because he had the infinite resources of God at His command."

Comment: Pastor Curtis McClain quoted something similar to this years ago in the Grand Haven Assembly of God (on the corner of Beechtree and Robbins Road) on a Wednesday evening service: "Meekness is not weakness but power under perfect control." It stuck, but again I am convicted that I have regarded meekness as "wimpy". It is not! It is indeed the fruit of power and self-control. Please forgive me God.

5.) Vine: "Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; It is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.

Comment: Not occupied with self? Is Vine serious? That about convicts me! Most of my waking thoughts are about me!!!

6.) Vine: "[A Christian] in his service, and more especially in his dealings with the 'ignorant and erring,' he is to exhibit 'a spirit of meekness,' 1Co. 4:21; Ga. 6:1; even 'they that oppose themselves' are to be corrected in meekness, 2Ti. 2:25. James exhorts his 'beloved brethren' to 'receive with the meekness the implanted word,' 1:21. Peter enjoins 'meekness' in setting forth the grounds of the Christian hope, 3:15.

Comment: Where is this beauty called meekness in our lives?!?! If I do correct anyone (which is rare) it generally is not in the spirit of meekness.

May our lives become meek so as to be beautified with salvation. Only the meek are free! The rest are imprisoned in themselves.

December 24, 2008

My Christmas Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending Your Son as a little baby to grow up and live the perfect life I couldn't. Thank You for how wonderful You are, how loving, gracious and holy. Without Your Son I would be nothing, the whole world would be utterly meaningless. So thank You for giving life meaning to me.

My prayer this year is that others would know that meaning and experience the gift of Your Son in their lives this Christmas; that they would find the real meaning of Christmas in the life and death of Your Son for their sins. Please lead them to Your forgiveness.

Glory to You this Christmas season. Hallelujah for what You have done. All praise and honor to You. In Jesus' powerful name, Amen.

December 21, 2008

New Post Series on Fear

(This is the first in a series I will be doing on fear.)

If there is one thing that is crippling to the Christian life and hindering to our service of the Lord, it is fear. Fear manifests itself in different ways, from petty anxiety to life-threatening terror. My goal with this series is to examine fear theologically, experientially and practically. I hope these posts will be helpful with dealing with fear in the Christian life and putting it in its proper place.

Please look forward for these upcoming posts.

December 18, 2008

Freight Train in Her Head

The following post is not directly related to Christmas, but I hope you find it edyfing nonetheless. My brother in Christ and mentor, Brad, sent me this in an e-mail awhile ago. I was grateful to be enlightened by his wisdom, and I hope you will be too. He writes:

I chased a couple Greek words around while reading about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42

v. 40:"But Martha was distracted..."

The Greek here literally means to "be drawn around". It is a picture of being "driven about mentally" (Strong # 4049); also another meaning of the same word: "to be over occupied; too busy about a thing" (also Strong)

The verb is passive, which means that she was being driven around by her circumstances not by choice.

How many times a week do I feel as if I am being driven and tossed about by uncontrollable circumstances outside myself?! I am Martha incarnate most of the time! Passively driven by forces outside my control like that feather in the proverbial wind in the beginning and end of Forest Gump. This is the picture of Martha...distracted mentally.

The word distracted in English is from a Latin word (dis trahere) which literally means "to be pulled apart" How many times have I felt that I am coming undone by the noise and dint of busy, busy, busy. Like Martha, I was actually doing a good spiritual work; ministering to Jesus and his church...but I was undone, pulled apart, dismembered, distracted, and inordinately over occupied. Driven, busy, driven, busy and actually equating it with service to Jesus while my mind, spirit, heart and emotions were angry at my brothers! (Martha was angry at Mary, see at the end of v. 40)

Truly Martha "was distracted..."

v. 41: Jesus said to Martha, "You are worried and bothered..."

Worried here in the Greek means: "to be troubled with cares"; (Strongs #3309) from a verbal form which means "to be cut in pieces"; "to separate into parts" (strong's # 3307) Have you ever studied a worried man (or woman?); They are troubled and divided up into a thousand fragments; Like Humpty Dumpty when he fell. "All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty together again."

Bothered (thorubeo; Strong's #2350) means "to make a noise or uproar". How insightful was Jesus of Martha. Her head was in an "uproar"How noisy was her head? It must have been like that Bruce Springsteen’s song that describes the noise in his own mind as "a freight train running in the middle of my head."

Truly Martha was serving and doing what she was gifted to do, but she needed to quiet down. Tim Allen, in his show Home Improvement, would often say, "Back the train up!" Martha needed to learn to back the train up! Quit being driven by circumstances. Quiet down. Still the brain chatter while you are busy.

Mary was quiet. The Lord told Martha that her sister had found the "one thing necessary". (Wow!) and that it would NEVER be taken from her. Incidentally, why didn't Mary ever defend herself? Perhaps quiet people don't feel compelled to. Perhaps they know that God is their Defender. Even if she had, would a "type A" personality like Martha even try to understand anybody who was different than her? Busy people find very little time to attempt to understand anyone outside of their thought grid.

Feeling "pulled apart"? How about "troubled by cares?" Or maybe ceaseless and uncontrollable brain noise? Perhaps we can take a lesson from this story and find the "One thing necessary" that wise Mary found as she chose (an active verb) to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to His Word. Her head was quiet enough to hear.

Stop the noise and back the train up! First things first. God's voice is heard in quietness. Not in the earthquake; not in the noisy storm that rages in our heads; Not in the powerful winds that shake and toss us.

Martha and Mary are forever sisters. Serve like Martha on the outside, but let our heads be quiet like Mary on the inside.

More Free Music

December 16, 2008

Christmas Giveaway

Trevin Wax is giving away 10 free books and a free ESV study Bible. Subscribe to his blog to be entered to win.

December 15, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Growing up with a dad who was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, my family did not always celebrate Christmas and when we did we had few traditions that carried from one year to the next. One that we do keep now, however, is that my sisters and I open one gift on Christmas Eve while opening the rest the next morning.

John Piper wrote in a Taste and See article several years ago about his family's traditions. I recommend you check out the article and the Biblical basis behind his traditions.

So, my question is, what are your Christmas traditions?

December 14, 2008

Christmas without the Cross

We've all heard the saying, "Jesus is the reason for the season." And many people, including non-Christians, realize that Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of Christ's birth (hence the name Christmas). However, there is more truth in that statement than meets the eye.

Jesus is the reason for the season, but it's not just because He was born in a miraculous way. It's not just because His mother was a virgin, three kings travelled from the East to worship Him, or that angels announced His birth. Those are all crucial and extraordinary parts of the Christmas story, but they would mean nothing if not for Christ's work on the cross.

The Cross, not the crib was and should be the main focus in looking at the life of Jesus. He was, as a song by Christian artist Bebo Norman so eloquently puts it, born to die. That was His mission, His great purpose: to live a perfect life and die to take away our sins. Timothy puts it this way:

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. (1 Timothy 1:15; emphasis mine).

The Gospel of Mark clarifies exactly what is meant by "saving" in chapter 10:

"The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

Christ came to save sinners by giving His life. This is what gives meaning to Christmas. Christmas would be nothing without the cross.

As we celebrate the Christmas season and think upon the miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior, let us not forget His reason for coming. Let us all remember that Christ came to Earth as a baby so that He could save sinners like us through His atoning death. That is the Good News of the Gospel and of Christmas.

December 10, 2008

'Tis the Season for Free Music!

December 9, 2008

Free Grace?

Is grace really free? I mean, completely and totally free?

I most certainly and wholeheartedly affirm that grace is free for us, the recipients. It is freely given according to God's good will. But let us not think that this means grace is cheap. Grace was bought for a high price- the highest. Namely, the life of the Son of God.

We should never forget this important truth, but I think we often do. We act as if grace is cheap. We don't realize how much it took for us to be able to receive that grace. God sent His only Son, who was perfect, without any spot or blemish to suffer inhumane torture and punishment, die a criminal's death, and bear the wrath of God for our sins. There was, is and never will be anyone who deserved that kind of treatment less than Jesus Christ.

And yet, this was all for us. He took the suffering, the pain, the scorn, the wrath, and the death that each and everyone of us rightfully deserved so that we may be forgiven. He who was without sin became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is why grace is free for us who receive it.

May we honor the sacrifice that Christ made for us. He rose again and now offers this forgiveness to all who believe in Him. If you have not, please accept his gift that no one can earn or hope to buy in anyway. His gift that is free for us to receive.

And if you are already a Christian, please remember the sacrifice God made for you and never take grace lightly.

December 8, 2008

A Helpful View of Christmas.

Many Christians still debate over whether Christmas is a good thing or not, considering the commercialism of the holiday and things to that effect. Dr. R.C. Sproul gives a clear and well-reasoned voice to this issue in his post today. Here's a portion of it:

"Bah! Humbug!" These two words are instantly associated with Charles Dickens' immortal fictional anti-hero, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge was the prototype of the Grinch who stole Christmas, the paradigm of all men cynical.

We all recognize that Ebenezer Scrooge was a mean person - stingy, insensitive, selfish, and unkind. What we often miss in our understanding of his character is that he was preeminently profane. "Bah! Humbug!" was his Victorian use of profanity.

Not that any modern editor would feel the need to delete Scrooge's expletives. His language is not the standard currency of cursing. But it was profane in that Scrooge demeaned what was holy. He trampled on the sanctity of Christmas. He despised the sacred. He was cynical toward the sublime...(read the whole thing)

The Star of Bethlehem

With the Christmas season upon us, I would like to make a recommendation for a movie to watch this year. The Star of Bethlehem is a documentary on what the Star of Bethelehem actually was according to the Bible. It is intriguing and thought-provoking. A must-see for the Christmas season.

December 2, 2008


Few things help me more than quotes. They are generally short and easy to remember while still conveying a staggering or weighty truth. They can be life-changing or simply enterntaining. But either way, I love quotes on all sorts of things- faith, life, prayer, etc. Here are a few of my favorites:

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
-John Piper

"God helps those who humble themselves."
-C.J. Mahaney

"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility."
-James Thurber

"It's better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."
-Abraham Lincoln

“Beware in prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.”
-Andrew Murray

“It is not because things are good that we are to thank the Lord, but because He is good.”
-Hannah Whitall Smith

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is."
-Yogi Berra

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
-Sherlock Holmes

"I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them."
-Ian L. Fleming

"I think it's wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly."
-Steven Wright

Do you have any favorite quotes?

December 1, 2008


Today is AIDS Day- a day of sober rememberance of all those throughout the world suffering with this hideous disease. Please pray for the AIDS victims throughout the world.

To get a realistic look at AIDS, World Vision has posted these stories.

Let those of us in health remember those in sickness.

Whose Battle?

I attended church with my cousin this past Sunday at Valley View Church in Louisville. In Sunday school, we went over a passage in 2 Chronicles. Verse 20:15 really stuck out to me:

"Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's."

It was exactly what I needed to hear because, lately, fear has been a great enemy of mine. I have been fretting over what I cannot control- the future, other people, events in the world. And really it's all irrational because God's in control and He works all things together for my good (Romans 8:28). My hope is in Him, not in the world, or the stockmarket, or my lucky stars. And that's where I'm trying to rest from now on- knowing the battle is not mine, but the Lord's.

Are you struggling with any irrational fear? If so, I recommend you take the course of Philippians 4:6-7:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Let God take care of your worries. He is a big God and He can handle all your fears.

November 29, 2008

The Gospel in a Nutshell

If you read my blog here, you may often hear me refer to a thing called "the Gospel". For those of who that don't know, the word "gospel" simply means "good news" or "breaking news". It is truly the greatest news that anyone has ever heard. But what is this good news? And what does it have to do with you? That is what this page is about. My goal here is to explain the basics of the Gospel message in plain language. The Gospel goes much deeper than this and, as Christians, we will never move past it all our lives. Even so, here is the the Gospel in nutshell:

The place to start is with God. God is the Creator of all things; animals, plants, planets, supernovas, black holes, and even time itself. Without God there would be nothing. He was before everything and He rules over everything with His sovereign, or ruling, will. God is holy, meaning that He is set apart from His creation and above it. He is just, which means that God is the ultimate judge who will always do what is perfectly right. He is pure, and so He is without sin, in thought, intention, or action. He is the very definition of all that is right, true, good, and loving. All creation was made to give all glory and praise to this God, the one and only God. (Genesis 1-2; Psalm 145:17; Psalm 11:7; Isaiah 6:1-6; 45:18-21; Habakkuk 1:13, etc.)

Out of His own good pleasure, God created the world. He created every single plant, animal, rock, etc. But only one creature was created in His image: mankind. This means that God endowed certain characteristics in our very being that represent our Creator. We are like God in certain ways, but we are not God and will never be God. God created us to have perfect fellowship with Him, to live according to His holiness in the highest, purest forms of peace and joy. (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:5-9; 15-25)

However, all of mankind in Adam, the first man, broke God's law, and we continually break God's law to this day; lying, stealing, lusting, putting things before God in our lives, living pridefully, etc. We have rebelled against Him, we have sinned.  Because of this, death came into the world, as well as disease, frustration, strife, famine, hunger, pain, etc. Even worse than that, we are all born into a spiritual death. We are born into sin, and as such, under the rightful wrath of God. There is absolutely nothing that we can do in ourselves to remove this sin from us. We cannot spend enough money or time, do enough good deeds, speak enough good things or think enough good thoughts. Without some rescue outside of ourselves we are completely and utterly condemned. We have sinned against an INFINITELY holy God, and as such, we are destined to eternal, just punishment. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-7; Matthew 15:19; Romans 3:10, 23;  Ephesians 2:1, 5)

"Wait, I thought this was supposed to be good news",  you're thinking. This is where Jesus Christ comes in. Jesus, who was in eternity past with God the Father, who is God and yet distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit, at a time established before time, predicted by prophets throughout the ages, came into the world supernaturally as a human baby. Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life, fulfilling every bit of the law of God. He then was crucified, not for crimes He had committed, but instead took our sins upon Himself, and bore our just penalty, giving us His perfect, undeserved righteousness. As 1 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that, in Him, we might become the righteousness of God." (Matthew 1:21; John 1:1-3, 14, 29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 3:13-14)

Of course, the question now is, "How does one receive this perfect righteousness?" Once again, there is nothing you can do to earn this, there is no amount of money you can pay. Instead, God offers His forgiveness through Christ as a free gift, no strings attached. You must simply repent of your sin and receive this gift in faith. To repent is to confess to God that you are in fact a sinner and turn from your evil ways. To place your faith in Christ is to trust Him no matter what and to believe in who He is and what He has done for you. (Mark 1:15; Acts 26:10; Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Galatians 2:15)

If you have done this and placed your faith in Christ, one day you will be with Him in everlasting peace and joy. You will walk with Him and see God face to face. You will join with other believers in singing praises to His wonderful name. Eventually, the Earth will itself be redeemed and we (those who believe) will live together with God here. It will be beyond anything you could possibly imagine. (1 Corinthians 2:9 Revelation 7:9-12)

What to do next?
If this doesn't make any sense to you or you still aren't sure that you understand what I'm trying to say, I recommend a few resources:

1. First and most importantly, read the Bible. I would recommend either reading the book of John, or taking some of the verses I have referenced and reading them within the chapters that they are found.

2. Check out "The Great Invitation: Come! Drink! Eat! Live!, or any other sermon by John Piper.

3. Second, be sure to check out Greg Gilbert's book, What is the Gospel?

4. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have by emailing me at

If you have accepted Christ, your next step is to get plugged in to a local church where you can grow and be encouraged in your faith. For this, you can go to the IX Marks website and do a church search.

Also, be sure to email me at so that I can rejoice with you and pray for you.

Soli Deo Gloria

November 27, 2008

The Tragic Exchange

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade today got me to thinking about why people are so easily infatuated with famous people and consumed with their lives. Why do so many feel the need to know all they can about a particular celebrity or rock star? Why do we seep ourselves in the lives of the rich and famous?

The answer, I believe, is quite simple. We are made to worship and it is our inner craving to do so. And, whether or not we consciously decide it, we will worship something. We will either worship the God who satisfies our desire and is worthy of all our praise; or we will end up like those mentioned in Romans 1:21-25:

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him... they became fools and exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles... They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen."

Tragically, mankind has made a foolish exchange and given up He who is all-glorious, all-beautiful, and all-satisfying; and traded it for the tarnished, ugly image of ourselves or something within the creation instead of the Creator.

And though some won't admit it, we all worship something or someone. We all long to make much of someone, whether it's ourselves, or some superstar. But none of our longings will be fulfilled until we start making much of God and His work on the cross. Only then will we be satisfied.

So, this Thanksgiving, let's make much of God and give all thanks to Him.

Jesus: the God of Contrasts

God is a God of paradoxes. That means that sometimes it seems that He contradicts Himself, when in reality there is a greater truth being shown in these contradictions. Scottish pastor James Stewart put it this way:

"He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men. Yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable, that the children loved to play with him and the little ones nestled in his arms. His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding, was like the presence of sunshine. No one was half so kind or compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin.

A bruised reed he would not break. His whole life was love. Yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees, how they were expected to escape the damnation of hell.

He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism, he has all of us self-styled realists soundly beaten. He was the servant of all, washing the disciples' feet, yet masterfully he strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away in their mad rush from the fire they saw blazing in his eyes. He saved others, yet at the last, he himself did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels; the mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality."

November 25, 2008

10 Things I'm Thankful for

1. God's wondrously undeserved grace in my life

2. A family that loves the Lord

3. A beautiful and godly girlfriend

4.A Church that's more like family than anything else

5.Friends that are counter-cultural

6. The mentoring of older men and women in the faith

7. Faithful preaching of the Word from men such as John Piper and my pastor, Mike Horner


9.Music and art

10.The change of seasons (it keeps me from getting bored)

November 14, 2008

My first post

Ok, so I'm new to the whole blogging world, at least this end of it. That being said, I am more than a little intimidated by the "professional" blogs.

However, I am so grateful that God has blessed us with this useful medium and I hope that He will allow me to use this to encourage other Christians and proclaim His name within the blogosphere.

I intend share my thoughts and experiences of what God is doing in my life for His glory and His alone. My uttermost confidence and faith is in Him and Him alone. All praise be His alone.

What I'm saying and what I will say will sound foolish to those who have never heard, but I promise you, the foolishness that is in Christ is the very wisdom that we all long for and we all need. I pray that you find that foolishness and join with me to become a fool for Christ.



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB