Monday Musings & Miscellany…on Tuesday

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Me, Jim Flaherty, Josh Murdock, Mike Melchior

This photo represents three of the things that I cherish the most; fellowship with Christian brothers, golf, and restaurants that are considered “dives.” This picture represents a great day last Saturday. We played in The Calvary Open, a great little golf tournament up north with a group of guys who have been putting the tournament on for close to 20 years. They always come down to our tournament and usually take home the trophy, so we have wanted to support theirs over the years in the same manner, except take home their trophy. The restaurant is Don’s Restaurant in Marysville. If you are in the area and looking for a good dive, it is worth the stop.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“My calling in the world is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all people through Jesus Christ.” John Piper

You will find this quote in the article below, “Six Questions To Ask Before You Binge On Netflix.” I long, with all my heart to be the man who has the passion that Piper talks about. I want to feel that way 24/7 and want it manifested in every area of my life. I fight the flesh which wars against this desire, but know that my victory is in Christ and as I keep my eyes and heart focused on him, I will succeed.

VERSE FOR THE WEEK

John 12:25 (ESV) — Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

I have noticed that my weekly Musings seem to take on particular themes. This week seems to be “what we do with our time.” I have been teaching through the Gospel of John and this past week finished Chapter 12 in a message entitled “The Glorification of Jesus.” This verse has always struck my heart. I have to be honest that there are parts of this life that I shouldn’t love so much. Understanding what Jesus meant when he said we are to “hate this life” helps us to love the life we live all the more.

SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU BINGE ON NETFLIX

“I think most Christians are so in the grip of the spirit of the age and in the grip of popular culture and popular entertainments that the kind of radical reorientation I’m talking about is almost unthinkable for them. For me to pitch into that mindset, a few little warnings from Bible verses that disapprove of certain things seems to me almost useless.”

This is one of those articles that you wish you hadn’t read, but glad you did. Piper answers questions about what kind of entertainment is alright for Christians. I especially appreciated how he addressed the question we have all asked, “What is wrong with it?”

IF I HATE WASTING TIME, WHY DO I DO IT?

“Be sure you plan the time, place, and context in which you will read God’s Word and pray every day. Be sure you prioritize worshipping with the local church and never allow anything to supplant it. And then, once you have put first things first, plan how and when you will do your most meaningful work throughout the week.”

Time is absolutely one of the most precious commodities (a useful and valuable thing, such as water or time) we have in this life. If you are around me for any length of time you will hear me refer to Ephesians 5:16-17, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time (emphasis mine), because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I have read numerous articles and books on the subject of time management and productivity. In fact one of the best, if not the best is “Do More Better” by Tim Challies, the author of this article.

Take some time to thoughtfully read this article…it is outstanding and quite thorough ton how precious time is and how to use it well. Having just returned from five days in Mexico, packed to the hilt with hours and hours of ministry, it is a reminder to always be aware of how we must prioritize our time. Challies’s last few sentences sum it up best, You came into this world with nothing and will leave this world with nothing. All that you have between the beginning and the end is a gift of God’s grace, and that includes the little dash on your tombstone. That simple line will represent the time given to you. It was given in trust with the expectation that you would take hold of it and put it to the best and highest use.”

INSTAPAPER

Instapaper syncs the articles and videos you save so that they’re waiting for you on all your devices – iPhoneiPadAndroid, or Kindle. You can read anything you save, anywhere and anytime you want, even offline!

I confess that I am a bit of an “appaholic,” I simply love apps. My family mocks the number of apps I have on my phone always prompting me to eliminate some (maybe they’re just jealous). In fact, I recently checked my phone app downloads and admit I was a bit surprised as counted 580 which I have downloaded over the years. I am not sure how to process that number and what that means other than I might have a bit of a problem.

Having said that, my hope is that my love of apps might benefit others and if you are a reader of various articles, etc. and have trouble keeping track of them or when to read them, check out Instapaper. It is a great and useful app which I use almost daily.

Monday Musings & Miscellany…on Thursday

img_3470.jpgThis week’s Musings is coming out on Thursday evening as I am in Mexico doing some ministry at the House of Blessing orphanage our church planted. I took this picture on Thursday evening on a return walk from a neighborhood store.

I have been coming to Bachiniva, Mexico in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico for 21 years this month. My niece Leti and great nephew Nievitos hadn’t even been born yet. In fact, Nievitos’s father, Jose Nieves, was only six years old on that first trip in August 1996. God has done some incredible things in the last 21 years. Come join us some time!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I was not supported [when my wife died] by lively sensible consolations, but by being enabled to realize to my mind some great and leading truths of the word of God. I saw, what indeed I knew before, but never till then so strongly and so clearly perceived, that as a sinner, I had no right, and as a believer, I could have no reason, to complain. I considered her as a loan, which he who lent her to me had a right to resume whenever he pleased; and that as I had deserved to forfeit her every day from the first, it became me rather to be thankful that she was spared to me so long, than to resign her with reluctance when called forFurther, that his sovereignty was connected with infinite wisdom and goodness; and that consequently, if it were possible for me to alter any part of his plan, I could only spoil it,—that such a short-sighted creature as 1, so blind to the possible consequences of my own wishes, was not only unworthy, but unable, to choose well for myself; and that it was therefore my great mercy and privilege that the Lord condescended to choose for me.” John Newton, Jewels from John Newton, August 19th

This quote came from a reflection on the death of Newton’s wife. He understood and lived out the sovereignty of God like no one I have ever heard of. His hope and assurance of eternity with Christ was real and ever present on his mind.

I have been learning a lot of late about the sovereignty of God. I have always believed it but never really understood it like I do now. It is one of the most profound and comforting truths about God a person could ever embrace. John Newton was not only aware of it but lived in the reality of it.

I shared this quote during my message this past Sunday. Every time I read it I am reminded of how I want to live my life, trusting that in every situation, in every situation, God is in control and knows what he is doing.

VERSE FOR THE WEEK

Romans 14:7–8 (ESV) — For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

As I read this verse recently I was sweetly reminded of to whom I belong. In life and in death, Christians belong to the Lord. How thankful I am for that truth, for in it I am encouraged that God’s possession of me is forever.

EVER HEARD OF LARRY NELSON?

“I think that is what’s good about the game, whether you’re coming back out of a war zone or an office, no matter how many people are out there, it’s still just you, the golf club, and the golf ball, trying to get it where you want it to go.”

I came across a great article in Southwest Airlines Magazine on my flight to El Paso. I remember when Nelson came on the professional golf scene. I was impressed, a bit awestruck really, at the caliber of golfer he was considering he took the game up when he was 21 years old. Not only was the article a trip down memory lane, but a reminder of a few of the many reasons I love the game so much.

NOTE: The link will take you to and electronic version of the magazine. If your scroll to page 60-61/148 you will find the article. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

WHEN WORSHIP LYRICS MISS THE MARK

“My sense is that, until a congregation is devastated by the outrage and the horror of our sin as demeaning and belittling to the glory of God, accompanied by a majestic vision of God’s glory and justice and holiness and wrath—until those two realities are taught and felt deep down, the reality of grace and mercy will not be rightly known and cherished by a congregation.”

I love this quote and would not necessarily expect to read it in an article on worship lyrics. However, in reading this piece it makes total sense. Having been a worship leader for over 30 years I really enjoyed this article. I have watched what would be called the “evolution” of worship over the years and in recent years began to come to the conclusion that the evolution has not been good for the gospel. I appreciate the grace in which Piper handles the subject in a time when we have slowly slipped into what I would regard as an overemphasis on the feeling worship evokes rather than the soundness of the lyrics to minister to our souls. Would love to hear what you think.

THE DAMSEL AND THE VILLAIN

“And we fell in love with lesser things. And we bought them each a diamond ring. And we betrayed our Maker, Our Husband, our King.”

Jimmy Needham is a singer/songwriter and regular contributor to Desiring God. He serves on staff at Stonegate Church in Midlothian, Texas. He and his wife have two daughters and a son. Learn more at jimmyneedham.com.

 

Monday Musings & Miscellany

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Jenny and I had the blessing of having dinner and yogurt with some very dear friends of ours who will soon be moving. Three things come to mind as I look at this picture: 1) how much I love them and will miss them, 2) how much fun I had sugaring up their children and the delight on their faces when I encouraged them to load up their yogurts with candy, and 3) Black Bear Yogurt seriously needs some artwork on their walls.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We invite all Christians to join us in an effort to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ so that we truly speak and live for him in a way that clearly communicates to our age.” The Gospel Coalition

One of the great passions of my life is the church. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of it, multiple times, and this has gone on for years. I supposes that a part of that can be attributed to the fact that I am a pastor of a church, at least for the past 20 plus years, but my passion for the church began 40 years ago when I became a Christian.

As a result, few things will get me riled up more than when I see the church misrepresented to unbelievers, to non-Christians. I can’t stand it when people mock that which is most important to me. The church is very near to the top of that list.

Though I have been familiar with The Gospel Coalition for a number of years, I just recently came across this quote in an introduction to their mission. Instantly my heart resonated with the words, “renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ.” The gospel is ancient, thousands of years old and the very heartbeat of what church is supposed to be. Tragically, the contemporary church seems to have forgotten that. This quote reminds me of why I am so passionate about being the church rather than doing church.

VERSE FOR THE WEEK

1 Peter 5:8–9 (ESV) — Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Whenever I read this verse I think about watching the lions at the zoo. They fascinate me (from my side of the bars). They walk back and forth with a prowling look on their faces, ever so close to the cage. What are they thinking? My speculation is that they are just hoping, wishing, salivating at the thought that someone might get close enough to their cage that for once they might get a decent lunch.

More than ever Christians need to be watchful of the devil’s schemes and bold to warn others about him.

HOW TO SURVIVE A MORAL REVOLUTION

“The first thing we have to recognize is that Christ established a church. He didn’t establish Christianity; he established a church. And the church is by biblical definition the great counter-culture—it should always be the great counter-culture.”

There is no question that our nation is in a cultural crisis like never seen before. Christians face pressure to give in to the culture, often times trapped into thinking that by being more like the culture we can win the culture. Nothing could be further from the truth. Watch this brief 9 minute interview of Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as he talks about the moral revolution of the last few decades and calls on Christians to pursue faithfulness and be a counter-culture Christian.

$1,000,000 HOLE IN ONE

What are the chances of a million dollar hole in one? About 1 in 45,000.

A few years ago a friend of mine sent me this random video of a guy in Utah who made a hole in one and earned one million dollars for doing so. The crazy thing about it is that my friend randomly sent it to me having no idea that the winner was actually a friend of my son who also lives in Utah. It’s a small world! I thought this would add a little levity to this week’s Musing.

IS THIS THE END OF GENDER?

If we are not careful, like the abortion issue, we will be lulled to sleep thinking that this issue doesn’t affect us. And before you know it it will have permeated every area of our lives, especially our children.

I stumbled upon this workshop, “Is This The End of Gender?” recently while looking for something to listen to while I was working out. It is one of the most informative things I have heard on this ever growing diabolical issue. Here is a description of the workshop from The Gospel Coalition website, which was held at the 2017 National Conference, “No Other Gospel.”

The world is changing rapidly around us. Many believe gender not only exists on a broad spectrum but can be chosen and changed at will. Others believe the binary nature of gender remains, but that they have been born in the wrong body. This workshop aims to help us grapple with what’s going on, how we got here, what the Bible teaches about gender, and how we can speak with both clarity and also compassion to the challenges created by the transgender revolution.