Wednesday, August 30, 2006

C.S. Lewis On External Religion

"A cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither." Mere Christianity, 95.

(HT: Ray Van Neste)

11 Days

The Grace Church Interest Meetings are just 11 days away. Thank you for your prayers.

A Motive of Jesus To Return To The Father's Side Was...

Shared glory with the Father.

A Motive Of Jesus To Die On The Cross Was...


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Do, Love, Walk

Micah 6:6-8:
With what shall I come to the LORD
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Gospel Jesus Preached

What did Jesus actually say when he "preached the gospel?"

Luke 20:1
And it came about on one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him.
The gospel, according to I Corinthians 15:3, is the good news that God has reconciled sinners to Himself through the Scripture-fulfilling death of His Son, His burial, and His resurrection on the third day according to the Scriptures.

While in the temple (account of Luke 20) what do you imagine Jesus said when He "preached the gospel" (Euaggelizomenou can also be translated "good news")? Did He tell them He would die for their sin, be buried, rise the third day?


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pastors Pray & Plan

Spending a year soaking in God while participating in the Church Planter's Residency Program at Bethlehem was a blessing I intend to thank Him for until my dying day. One special blessing was being invited to join the BBC pastoral staff on their quarterly "Pray & Plan" weekend getaways. The pastors would go away together and spend time seeking the Lord, planning part of the year, and trying not to become the next pastor rushed to the hospital during the second day's traditional sporting event (During the trips I attended we played softball, kickball, and floor hockey. No one was hurt...too badly). One pastor broke an arm on the Pray & Plan that preceded my arrival.

Being part of a new church plant in downtown Memphis is also a blessing I intend to thank God for until my dying day. Though we've not even begun the Interest Meetings of Grace Church, our pastors, along with spouses and children, returned last evening from our very first GC Pastors Pray & Plan. I am truly blessed to walk beside men who treasure Jesus Christ above all else! Thank you for continuing to pray for us to glorify God by treasuring Jesus Christ and spreading His eternal joy. No one was hurt either - unless you count Bryan's feelings for getting slung off tube into Pickwick lake.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Favorite Worship Songs?

Hymns or choruses, fine or folk, gospel or high-church. Let us know the songs that most capture your passion for Jesus. Why this song(s)?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quotable Godward Influencer - Thomas Vincent

Thomas Vincent was born in May, 1634. Both his father and brother were prominent ministers. He graduated from Christ's Church, Oxford, and appears to have entered into the ministry very early. It was said of him that he had memorized the entire New Testament as well as the Psalms. (He died when he was 44 years old!) - Jacket Cover, The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ.
One of the best 24-hour time periods of my life was spent on a church bus on the way to CO to go snowboarding. It was March 2004. I would read a little, then stare out the window and think and pray about wanting to love Jesus like Thomas Vincent loved (loves) Him. Then I would read some more and continue the pattern. Few books have left the sort of imprint on me as Vincent's, The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ.

A Few Excerpts:
The life of Christianity consists very much in our love to Christ. Without love to Christ, we are as much without spiritual life as a carcass when the soul is fled from it is without natural life. Faith without love to Christ is a dead faith, and a Christian without love to Christ is a dead Christian, dead in sins and trespasses. Without love to Christ we may have the name of Christians, but we are wholly withhout the nature. Vincent, 1.
[Now] to show why true Christians love Christ, whom they have never seen.
Reason 1. True Christians love Christ because of the need which they have of Him. Men love their necessary food, without which their bodies would starve with hunger; men love theiry necessary raiment and habitations, without which, in winter seasons, their bodies would starve with cold. Men love their necessary friends, upon whom (under God) they have their dependence, and from whom they have all their subsistence. But nothing in the world, no friend in the world, is as needful to the body as the Lord Jesus Christ is unto the soul. And, as the excellencies of the soul are far beyond the excellencies of the body, so the necessities of the soul are far beyond the necessities of the body; which necessities can be answered by non but Jesus Christ, and, therefore, true Christians love Him. Vincent, 14-15.
I come now to give directions how you may attain much of this love to Christ where you have it but in a low degree and weak measure. Would you attain much love to Christ? Direction 1. Be much in contemplation of Christ. Get often into the mount of divine contemplation, and there look upwards unto heaven and think with yourselves, "Yonder, yonder, above the shining sun, is the more glorious Sun of righteousness. There, at the righht hand of the throne of God, seated and, though He is so high above me, both in place and dignity, yet He thinks upon me, and pleads for me, and many a gift has He sent and, by His Spirit, conveyed unto me; and I can ask nothing of the Father in His name but, if it is really for my good, I have it by His means." O dear Jesus, how lovely are Thou in Thyself! The darling of heaven! The delight of the Father! The admiration of angels! O what brightness of glory, what shining luster are Thou arrayed with! Thou art clothed with most excellent majesty and honor! Thou art girded with infinite might and power! The beauty of Thy face is most wonderful! The smiles of Thy countenance are most sweet and delightful! And does this lovely fair one, this fairest of ten thousand, this most excellent and altogether lovely person bear a particular love to me? To such a vile worm as me? To such a dead dog as me? To such an undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving sinner as me? O what marvelous kindness in this! What infinite riches of free grace! Vincent, 88-89.

Back from Vacation

Our family returned last evening from a short vacation in Branson, MO. We're pretty sure there is at least a 40-year gap between us and the next youngest people we saw at our hotel. Needless to say, it was a very laid back trip. Great times, wonderful memories!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Lord Reigns

Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and joy are in His place.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him;
Worship the LORD in holy array.
Tremble before Him, all the earth;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
And let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD;
For He is coming to judge the earth.
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Then say, "Save us, O God of our salvation,
And gather us and deliver us from the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
And glory in Your praise."
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting
Then all the people said, "Amen," and praised the LORD.
- I Chronicles 16:24-31
Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity."
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
Before the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness.
- Psalm 96:10-13

Pure and Undefiled Religion

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Proverbs in the Closet

I had the challenge of removing a wall from a closet in our home today, in order to make room for our freezer. Before working, I read a text of Proverbs that festered in me all day, and spurred me to pray for my crime-ridden city.
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; and they are robbed of sleep unelss they make someone stumble. - Proverbs 4:14-16

Like a drug fiend, a wicked man can't sleep without his daily fix of evil! Sleep is stolen from the wicked unless they cause another to stumble! Can you imagine it? A guy or girl, around the corner from my house (and yours), is calculating the steps of wickedness he will inflict on someone else. Until the evil is perpetrated, he will not sleep. He can't. But does he realize his ways are "only evil always." Probably not. At least not beyond a convoluted rationale that eases his conscience in light of what he's about to do. "You see," he mutters, "I've been forced into this situation." "I'm a victim." "If you had it as bad has me, you'd do the same thing" is what he purports to ohers. "The kids have to eat." "The bills have to be paid." "The gang leader has to be appeased." "The heroine fit has to be satiated." "I've got to keep up appearances." "The guys at the office will understand." "Those folks will get along just fine without _______, but I won't." "This is OK."

Whew. At least you weren't his victim last night. Or were you? Perhaps it's worse than you think! Maybe you were the culprit? Any path, other the narrow, is wicked. You walk it, and you're wicked. "But I'd never do anything like that" is only a smoke screen. A false sense of security. Yes you will. You are a sinner. The inclinations of your heart are hellish and against God and others - unless...

What's our only hope for not letting our wicked heart (Jeremiah 17:9) lead us down the broad road of destruction? Only heeding the admonition at the beginning of the verse!
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; and they are robbed of sleep unelss they make someone stumble. - Proverbs 4:14-16
Walking the path of evil begins with one step. Don't go there! Cling to Jesus! Don't trust past experiences. Trust Him now. His atoning death on the cross, His resurrection, His reigning and ruling over the universe (even the wicked who lose sleep) is real! Trust Him. Hold to Him. Walk with Him. Rest in Jesus (That's the best sleep) now, and you'll rest forevermore. Until then, snatch others from the path of destruction!

The former closet is coming along nicely.

Christ The Desire Of All Nations

A great sermon by John Flavel.

Secondly, Christ is called the desire of all nations, plainly because of the sufficiency that is in him to supply the needs of the whole world. As the sun in the heavens suffices all nations for light and influence, so does the Sun of righteousness suffice for the redemption, justification, sanctification and salvation of the people of God all over the world; Isa 45:22, "Look to me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Plexiglas Preaching

A word from John MacArthur on preaching: (Read it all here)

Some time ago I hosted a discussion at the Expositors’ Institute, an annual small-group colloquium on preaching held at our church. In preparation for that seminar, I took a yellow legal pad and a pen and began listing the negative effects of the superficial brand of preaching that is so rife in modern evangelicalism.

I initially thought I might be able to identify about ten, but in the end I had jotted down a list of sixty-one devastating consequences. I’ve distilled them to fifteen by combining and eliminating all but the most crucial ones. I offer them as a warning against superficial, marginally-biblical preaching—both to those who stand behind the pulpit and to those who sit in the pew.

Here are his 15 effects of superficial preaching:

  1. It usurps the authority of God over the soul.
  2. It removes the lordship of Christ from His church.
  3. It hinders the work of the Holy Spirit.
  4. It demonstrates appalling pride and a lack of submission.
  5. It severs the preacher personally from the regular sanctifying grace of Scripture.
  6. It clouds the true depth and transcendence of our message and therefore cripples both corporate and personal worship.
  7. It prevents the preacher from fully developing the mind of Christ.
  8. It depreciates by example the spiritual duty and priority of personal Bible study.
  9. It prevents the preacher from being the voice of God on every issue of his time.
  10. It breeds a congregation that is as weak and indifferent to the glory of God as their pastor is.
  11. It robs people of their only true source of help.
  12. It encourages people to become indifferent to the Word of God and divine authority.
  13. It lies to people about what they really need.
  14. It strips the pulpit of power.
  15. It puts the responsibility on the preacher to change people with his cleverness.

(HT: Benji Marconi)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Grace Church Interest Meetings

Are you planning to join us for the Interest Meetings for Grace Church? If so, please rsvp to help us in our planning purposes. All children are welcome. Childcare will be provided for children four years and younger. Anyone five and older is invited to join the discussion.

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Thy name give glory because of Thy lovingkindness, because of Thy truth. Why should the nations say, "Where, now, is their God?" But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases" (Psalm 115:1-3).


Each Sunday evening, September 10 - October 29

5:00 - 7:00 PM


477 N. 5th
Memphis, TN 38105


The Interest Meetings are an eight week series of meetings designed to unfold the vision and values of Grace Church. Attendance at the Interest Meetings will not commit you to Grace Church, but should give you an informed way to pray about linking your life with the vision the Lord has birthed in our hearts.

All children five and older are invited to join the discussion. Please let us know if your child will be in the 4-yrs and under childcare. A reply email with children's names and ages will be sufficient. We want to make sure we have adequate staffing for your children. If you have further questions about the Interest Meetings feel free to contact us.
  1. September 10 - Why Plant Grace Church?
  2. September 17 - Essentials of a Healthy Church
  3. September 24 - Grace Church Core Beliefs
  4. October 1 - The Centrality of Christ
  5. October 8 - Vision & Mission of Grace Church
  6. October 15 - Membership Matters
  7. October 22 - Open Discussion & Prayer
  8. October 29 - The Church & God's Glory

Looking forward to seeing you on the 10th!


Why has this biblical concept been so ignored in today's evangelicalism? Are you discipling anyone or being discipled by anyone?

Do You Mark In Your Bible?

6,000 times?

$200 is exorbitant for this resource...but I'm saving up.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


My friend Mark Heinrich over at Purgatorio has a knack for coming across this kind of mess.

Then again, is it all that uncommon? Usually the costumes are absent while the frivolity is present. These churches just happened to take it to the next level.

Prayer Update: George Davis & Josephine Duncan

George Davis - Nathan's Grandfather

"Happy Are Those Who Mourn For They Shall Be Comforted."

These are the seemingly paradoxical words of our Master as they are found in Matthew 5:4. But O, are they true!

Many are happily mourning with the Sawyer family as they are responding to the death of George Davis. Davis was a husband, father, grandfather, and a lover of Jesus. His nearness to Jesus is more real than your present nearness to your monitor! The viewing and worship service arrangements are to be held at the Bartlett location of The Memphis Funeral Home. Viewing is today from 5-7p. The service is Thursday at noon. Thank you for praying with the Sawyers.

Nathan's Brother-in-law left the following comment on Nathan's first post about Davis, but I thought it was too perceptive to leave in such an obscure place:

"For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for His
children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled,
beyond the reach of change and decay!" 1 Peter 1:4

What does it really matter where we spend
the few years of our pilgrimage here below?

Life is short, vain, and transitory; and if I live
in comfort and wealth, or in comparative poverty,
it will matter little when I lie in my coffin!

This life is soon passing away, and an eternal state
fast coming on! It will greatly matter whether . . .
our religion was natural or spiritual,
our faith human or divine,
our hope a heavenly gift or a spider's web!

But our blind, foolish hearts are so concerned about
things which are but the dust of the balance, and so
little anxious about our all in all.

There is no greater inheritance than to be a son or
daughter of the Lord Almighty. To have a saving
interest in . . .
the electing love of the Father,
the redeeming blood of the Son,
and the sanctifying operations of the Holy Spirit,
is worth a million of worlds! Without such, we must
be eternally miserable; and with it eternally happy.

JC Philpot

Josephine Duncan - Jordan's Grandmother

"And (GOD) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation."

The Lord has shown His pleasure to sustain my grandmother's life. After her massive stroke, she is currently in stable condition being closely watchecd in the ICU. The doctors are optimistic that she will soon transition to a normal room where she will begin rehab therapy. Thank you for praying for her.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

At Home with the Lord

Approximately 11pm last night my grandfather went home to be with the Lord. With the grace of God, he has battled terminal brain cancer for exactly one year. As difficult a year this has been for my family, it has been a joy to see my grandparents faith in God, not waver, but strengthened.

Remarkable still were the first words I heard from my grandmother as we arrived at their house last night; 'The Lord is merciful'. A few days prior to this just before family prayer, with my Papaw a few feet away bed-ridden, she said 'The Lord has been so kind and gracious to us'. I'm encouraged by these words, because it wasn't Christian jargon, but evidence of the nearness of God helping her to rest in Him.

God has been so faithful to show Himself in every way He describes Himself in His Word!

1 Thes. 4:13-14 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

Praise be to our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ who graciously and gloriously worked in the life of George Davis!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pray for Nannie

My Grandmother had a severe stroke around 1:15a yesterday. We're awaiting results of several tests prior to knowing how to move forward with treatment. Thank you for praying for her.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A State Of The Heart Facility

Bridges owns a state of the art facility. The arcitecture is modern, the ammenities appealing, and the location is excellent. No expense was spared with construction. It houses a restaurant, a rock-climbing wall, and numerous classrooms and youth offices, as well as a 140 car parking ramp on top of the facility - making it accessible to those who would be deterred by outrageous downtown parking fees.

We praise the Lord that Bridges will also be home to Grace Church! Largely due to Bridges generosity, and partially due to a meager rental fee, we will be able to use the facility each Sunday to worship our risen Christ! Two other rooms are included for nursery and children's purposes. No guys, the rock-climbing wall is not included.

We've looked at several facilities and used the following criteria for evaluating them:
  1. Meetability - Is the space large enough for GC to grow?
  2. Affordability - Can a new work afford the lease?
  3. Accessibility - Are directions easy from downtown, East Memphis, and AR (All directions from which Interest Meetings attendees will travel)?
  4. Flexibility - Is there an option for GC transition to AM services when appropriate?
Bridges more than surpasses each criteria. We thank the Lord for His provision, and for Bridges. We pray that we will be a blessing to them as they are being to us. "Coincidentially" the vision of Grace Church and the vision of Bridges share a high degree of compatibility. We are looking forward to partnering with them in impacting this young culture of Memphis with lasting change.

Bridges has a state of the art facility. May the Lord soon make it a state of the heart venue too!

Grace Church Update - August 2006

August 10, 2006

Grace Church
A Community in Christ - Memphis, TN

Dear Friends and Family,

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting GOD, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired, His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:28-31).

The 16th century German Reformer, Martin Luther, penned, “Did we in our own strength confide, our winning would be losing.” That's gospel truth. It's church planting truth as well. Man will not build Grace Church. Only Jesus Christ builds true churches (Matthew 16:16-18)! Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1). God can! God can! God can! His church-establishing power is inexhaustible. As Isaiah 40:28 declares, “The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired, His understanding is inscrutable.” He is the One who gives His children the strength to glorify Him (Isaiah 40:28-31; I Peter 4:11). The promises of Scripture are precious indeed.

One month from today! September 10, 2006 is slated as the first Interest Meeting for Grace Church. The Lord continues to give confirmation of His pleasure to establish Grace Church as a new testimony to His great name in the Mid-South. As the start date approaches, we are growing increasingly eager to unfold the vision the Lord has given us for this new God-centered, Christ-exalting, and Bible-saturated church. After individuals participate in the Interest Meetings, we trust the Lord to incline the hearts of the right ones to whole-heartedly embrace the vision and join us as a part of the Launch Team.

The Lord has provided a wonderful venue for Grace Church to meet together. We will worship Jesus Christ at Bridges - a new state of the art facility in downtown Memphis. We praise the Lord for the generosity of the Bridges staff in allowing us to use their facility, and pray we will be a blessing to them as well. To be able to meet in a brand new facility is a tremendous blessing. To be able to share with them a compatible vision for the future of the city is greater!

Obviously, God is up to something much bigger than us. Almost daily the Lord has been connecting us with believers in Memphis who have a heart to see God do something great in this city. “Encouragement” is not an adequate way to express the way we feel about the God-ward leaders the Lord has brought into our lives. We pray that the Lord will use us to partner with these who share theological and visionary kinship in bringing the biblical gospel to a culture that is over saturated with the anti-Christian gospel of easy-believism. Please pray for us to be used by our great King to glorify His name by treasuring His Son and spreading His eternal joy!

In Christ, John 3:30
Jordan Thomas

* If you would like to add a friend to our monthly update list please send us their name along with an email or physical mailing address.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Pastors Day Away

One thing that the Bethlehem pastors instilled in me was the indespensible benefit of requiring every pastor on staff to take one entire day each month to seek the Lord. They call it "Pastors Day Away." Tomorrow is my first Pastor's Day Away since we've been in Memphis. Please pray for the Lord to draw near to me as I seek to draw near to Him.

Being Single...For the Glory of God

Loneliness may sometimes seem insurmountable for those who are single. I praise the Lord for the vision of God that Carolyn McCulley shared with a single lady who was on the verge of rebellion.

(HT: Tim Challies)

Sermon & Sermonettes

Here's a link to Justin Taylor's blog which links to John Piper's first sermon back at Bethlehem since his five-month hiatus. This is the sermon I mentioned to you a couple of days ago. Do not miss the interaction that Justin's post generated in the comments section below his original post!

Looking Unto Jesus

  1. Great book by Isaac Ambrose. (click link/scroll down to Looking Unto Jesus by Ambrose)
  2. Great quote from the great book by Isaac Ambrose.
  3. Greater verse that the great book by Ambrose is built upon.
  4. Cool site.
  5. Another cool site.

Godward Influencers - William Blaikie & Robert Law

Good books help us realize we are not nearly as intimately acquainted with the God we thought we were so intimately acquainted with - while loading us with God-pleasing zeal to know and love Him more.

Glimpses of the Inner Life of our Lord & The Emotions of Jesus, was one such book for me.

I'm quoting it several times tonight in my third of seven sermons on John 17 at Christ Community Church in New Albany. I thought some of you might want to benefit from the Christ-exalting work of these saints too.

I read this book on lunch break during my second year of seminary while sitting in Fazoli's as I drank sweet tea. I glad I remember more from Blaikie and Law than I do from some of the "world changing" exegetical papers I wrote.

The Earth...

...and all it contains - including you - belongs to the LORD.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Miracle Child

We were privileged to have Gashaway and Kalkidan in our home on Monday for a brief visit. We praise the Lord for her sucessful life-saving surgery, and for prompting the hearts of those who made it possible.

(HT: Anthony Mathenia)

Ephesians 1:1-14

I'm still mesmerized by this text. Take time to drink from this deep well as you have opportunity.
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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

4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love

5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

8which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight

9He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him

10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him

11also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

12to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jonathan Edwards Essay On The Trinity

Worth reading.

Pray for the World

Israel and Lebanon. Ethiopia. Philippines. North Korea. US & Baghdad. Laborers for the harvest.

Loving The City - Part III

City or no city, there's only one way to love anyone to the utmost. Give them GOD! This is how God loves His own, and it is how we are to love those in our circle of influence. Is this not the teaching of Christ?
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 7:12
We call it, "The Golden Rule." But what is the rule? In outline fashion, it would be something like this:
  1. How do you want people to treat you?
  2. You want them to give them what's best for you. (Though our view of "best" is often skewed).
  3. What's best for you?
  4. God is best for you (Whether you know it or not, it's true!)
  5. Therefore, deep within, you want people to give you God.
  6. To treat others the way you would want to be treated, you must give them God because He's what's best for you and for them.
There's really nothing innovative about it. It's an old old pattern set forth by God Himself. Notice the end of our verse:
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 7:12
What is, "The Law and the Prophets?"
  1. The Law and the Prophets are the Bible!
  2. What is the Bible?
  3. The Bible is God giving us Himself!
  4. The Bible is a book about God, and about God's inexplicable love for those who have sinned against Him. It's about God giving us Christ (Himself) to rescue us from His wrath! The Bible is about the Father and the Son giving us the Holy Spirit (Himself) to fill us with the power to please Him without obscuring His glory!
See the connection? The paraphrase could be: "Just like you want the best, you are to give others what is best for them BECAUSE this is what God did - He gave us Himself!"

Give people God! Give them God in Christ! Give them God in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit! May Grace Church treat our city the way we want to be treated!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

He's Back & Thankful

Pastor John Piper has returned to MN after his five-month sabbatical in England. He's written a summary of his time away. I'm looking forward to listening to his first sermon (Later this week, can be found here) to the people of Bethlehem after being gone so long. Especially if the Lord is pleased for the last three months of his leave to demonstrate a similar degree of unusual assistance from on high as the first two.

A Year In The Sphere

Solus Christus has been in the blogosphere for one year. Looking back, I'm encouraged by the many ways the Lord has been at work in our lives during the last 12 months.

Our archives serve as a journal of sorts containing some of the stimulants toward our life goal, viz.; To glorify God by treasuring Jesus Christ and spreading His eternal joy. If SC remains in operation for another 12 months, we look forward to August of '07 when we will look back on the beginning of a new covenant community in downtown Memphis called Grace Church!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Basic Training

Thanks for praying. The week was very helpful. Especially the last two days. The more I learn, the more I wonder... Will we ever feel ready for this? Thank you for praying. We learned a lot and connected with other good brothers who are being used by the Almighty to start new works across the State.

Tough Texts - #3

II Peter 2:1 - But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

False Story

Thanks to my Bro-in-law who emailed...
God's glory is evident in Mars regardless of whether we see it with the naked eye or not. But, I don't believe this story is true.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Boot Camp

Tracy and I, along with the Sawyers, will be gone this week to a Church Planter's Boot Camp in Jackson, TN. Pray for us --- and bring it with some comments on Solus Christus while we're away!

Quotable Godward Influencer - Samuel Rutherford

Whether God come to his children with a rod or a crown, if he come himself with it, it is well.

Samuel Rutherford (emphasis added)
Letters of Samuel Rutherford
Puritan Paperbacks Series
Banner of Truth Trust

(HT: Kurt Strassner)

Lift Up Your Eyes

Isaiah 40:26 - Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing.

Thanks Mom for this email.

The Red Planet is about to be spectacular!

This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification

Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.
Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m. That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at
the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.


Prayer, Revival & Missions

"If you want the kingdom speeded, go out and speed it yourselves. Only obedience rationalizes prayer. Only missions can redeem your intercessions from insincerity." - William Carey

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