Monday, February 26, 2007

Christ is...

1. God

2. Son of God

3. Messiah

4. Root of Jesse

5. Wonderful Counselor

6. Mighty God

7. Eternal Father

8. Prince of Peace

9. Ruler of Israel whose goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity

10. Propitiation for sin

11. Triune love with the father and Holy Spirit

12. Hope for the nations

13. Saviour of the world

14. Hope for you

15. Eternal king of kings

16. Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world

17. Cornerstone for the church

18. Mankind’s treasure

19. One whom the Father takes pleasure in

20. Who is formed in the Christian

21. Radiance of God’s glory

22. Has the name which is above every name

23. Light of the knowledge of God

24. Head of the body

25. Head of the church

26. Firstborn from the dead

27. Preeminent

28. Redeemer of His people

29. Bread of life

30. Living water

31. I AM

32. Light of the world

33. Door of the sheep

34. Lover of His sheep

35. Concerned for His sheep

36. Good shepherd

37. Lays down His life for His sheep

38. Resurrection and life

39. Way, truth, and life

40. True vine

41. Humble king

42. True servant

43. Wisdom and power of God

44. The very righteousness for His children

45. One who blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Himself

46. One whom the 4 living creatures say “"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come."

47. One whom the 24 elders say "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."

48. One whom is worthy to open the book and break it’s seals

49. One whom the 24 elders say Rev. 5:9-14"Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. [10] "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."

50. One whom many angels and living creatures, and elders saying with a loud voice,"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."

51. One whom every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."

*These were the descriptions given in Sunday's sermon from 1 Cor. 3:1-15. I thought about including verse references for each, but I will leave that to your pursuit of Christ. 'Ascribe glory and strength to Him...ascribe to Him the glory due His Name...worship HIM in all of his holiness' (Ps. 29:1-3)

*Christ is enough!

*Please post other descriptions and verses about Christ not included here....they are innumerable!!

No other foundation...than Jesus Christ!

Paul admonished the church at Corinth in 1 Cor. 3 not attempt to lay any foundation other than that which has already been laid, namely Jesus Christ. The following list is the foundation of Christ that Paul had poured into the Corinthians prior to telling them again (1 Cor. 3) to be deeply rooted in Christ, and in Him alone!

Acts 18
(Background to Paul's 1st visit to Corinth)
(v5) devoted himself to the Word and to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah
(v9) in the face of opposition he kept preaching Christ because the Lord said ‘Acts 18:9-10 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; [10] for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city."

Foundation of Jesus Christ in...

Gospel of Grace
1:4 grace was given to you by God inC

The cross

1:18 Word of the cross is foolishness to those perishing, but to those being saved it is the power of God
1:23 we preach Christ crucified: to Jews a stumbling block (didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah), to Gentiles foolishness (depended on wisdom)
2:2 determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified

The Glory of Christ
1:24 Christ is the power and wisdom of God

Expository exaltation in Christ: proclaiming Him
2:1 I came to you proclaiming God
2:4 my words were in demonstration of the spirit and power of God
2:7 we speak God’s wisdom
2:13 we speak what the Spirit teaches Christ-centeredness
2:2 determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified

Persevering Love of Christ
1:8 Christ will confirm you to the end

God’s Sovereignty and Glory in the work of Christ in relation to salvation
1:27-28 God has chosen the foolish things to shame the wise; weak to shame the strong; the base things of the world
1:29 that no man may boast before the Lord
1:30 by God’s doing you are in Christ Jesus: who became to us wisdom; righteousness; sanctification; redemption
1:31 that he who boasts, boasts in God

Role of the Holy Spirit
2:10-11 The Spirit searches and knows all things, even the depths of God
2:12 we received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God

God’s faithfulness
1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship

Dependence upon Christ
2:5 so that your faith would rest not in man (3:4-8) but in God
2:14 natural man doesn’t understand the things of God, because they are spiritually darkened (3:7 God causes the growth)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Corporate Worship FYI

Because it may be a while before we're able to get around to preaching several sermons on worship, we join our mama church in embracing these guiding principles.


To Nathan's sermon today!

Christ, the only foundation!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

GC Announcements Feb. 25th-Mar. 3rd

1) Grace Lunch Fellowship immediately after am service this Sunday (25th)

2) FIRST WEEK emphasis:

  • (a) share the Gospel with someone
  • (b) Invite someone to GC
  • (c) build a bridge into someone's life in the hope of being able to share the Gospel with them

3) Grace Groups Sunday’s and Wednesday’s

  • Sun: West Memphis/Marion/Mid-town @ 5p
  • Wed: Millington/Cordova @6:30p

4) Pray for Nigeria team (Jordan, Chris, Paul,Pat, Kelly,& Nathan)

5) Membership Introduction Forms for next Covenant Affirmation Sunday due April 1st

6) Next Foundations of Grace (formerly called Interest Mtgs) will be March 23-34 (Time and location TBD) Foundations is a prerequisite to Covenant Affirmation.

7) Next Covenant Affirmation Sunday will be May 20th

8) Contribution envelopes located at the back table

9) Please turn in Nursery application to Bryan asap!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Grace interaction

No, this is not a typo but hopefully a helpful medium for GG discussion since all of us can't be in every group. I, and hopefully others could be encouraged by discussions of God that may have taken place within your group.

Helpful suggestions
1. Post what you learned about God in your group (no inside group jokes, but comments that might help others strive for a right view of God)
2. Keep it concise but don't feel as though you are confined to a single comment.
3. Helpful scriptures that were mentioned or not mentioned.
4. Meditations on Isaiah 40-66 as it relates to God's self-descriptions.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Grace Groups

We just finished our first GG tonight and here were some of the suggestions given for the upcoming week to help us strive to have a high view of God.

Questions to consider:

1. How important or necessary is a high view of God?

2. How might my view of God be vastly different than what God says about Himself in His Word?

3. Am I guilty of domesticating God so that He looks more and more like me?

Guidance in Seeking the Lord this week

  1. Ask Him to radically change your view of Him that it would be more biblical and pleasing to Him resulting in worship that both glorifies Him and gives you greatest joy.
  2. Read Isaiah 40-66 this week writing and meditating on some of God’s self-descriptions.

Memory Work

Isaiah 45:5-8 "I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; [6] That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun. That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, [7] The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.[8] "Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I, the Lord, have created it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

GC Announcements Feb. 18th - 24th

1. Grace Groups begin tonight and Wednesday (If you don't have an Intro handout ask your GG leader)

Sundays: West Memphis/Marion/Mid-town groups will meet @ 5p

Wednesdays: Millington/Cordova groups will meet@ 6:30p

2. Grace Fellowship next week immediately after the am service

3. Pray for the Nigeria team (Jordan, Chris, Paul,Pat Nave, Kelly and Nathan) that leave in April

4. Membership Intro forms for or next Covenant Affirmation Sunday are due April 1st

5. Next Covenant Affirmation Sunday will be May 20th

6. Please turn in nursery application to Bryan asap!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Worship preparation for Sun. Feb. 18th

1. Immerse yourself in John 10:1-30
2. Read this passage with your family, friends, to yourself, roommates, etc.
3. Pray for your pastor as He seeks the Lord in preparation to preach
4. Pray for your own soul and that of your family and all those attending GC that God would help us to glory in Christ.
5. Arrive @ 9am ready to corporately and prayerfully seek the Lord.
6. Read through each of these descriptions of Christ as found in John 10 thanking God for Christ.

1. Christ is the door for His sheep (v7, 9)

2. Christ has come to give life to His sheep (v10)

3. Christ is the good shepherd (v11, 14)

4. Christ lays down His life for His sheep (v 11, 15)

5. Christ knows His sheep and is concerned for His sheep (v12-14)

6. Christ has other sheep that are not of this fold (v16)

7. Christ has authority to lay down His life and to take it up again (v17-18)

8. What Christ does, He does in His Father’s Name (v25)

9. Christ’s sheep hear His voice (v26-27)

10. Christ knows His sheep (v27)

11. Christ’s sheep follow Him (v27)

12. Christ gives His sheep eternal life (v28)

13. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit keep His sheep (v28-29)

14. Christ and the Father are One (v30)

We look forward with eagerness to enjoying Christ corporately with you!

Bryan, Jordan, and Nathan

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thinking About Covenant Affirmation Sunday

Membership. Church membership. Regenerate church membership. Each sentence carries a massively different meaning. In God's estimation, what are the prerequisites for church membership?

There are two types of people the New Testament does not know. First, a non-Christian who is a member of a local church. Second, a Christian who is disconnected from the covenant relationships of a local church. Is today's church following the same pattern as did the New Testament church?

As I reflect on the fact that this Sunday will be the first Covenant Affirmation Sunday for Grace Church, I am struck by the awareness of several truths.

This Sunday is costly. "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (emphasis mine). And, as Nathan will expositorily exult in this Sunday, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (emphasis mine).

When Christ undertook to purchase His bride, He did so at the greatest possible cost to Himself. "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (emphasis mine) "And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,' and he was called the friend of God" (emphasis mine).

Oh that God would make Grace Church a people who "always carry about in the body the dying of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh."

Under shepherds are fallible but the Chief Shepherd is not. Under shepherds are saved sinners at best, and falsely professing saved sinners at worse. In either case they are fallible. They will make mistakes. They will wrongly discern situations, and yes, even the condition of souls. It is unconscionable that any minister would admit into the church's membership a person who's conversion is suspect. But we all know that it happens. Why? Sometimes it is because they have what the bible calls a "heart trained for greed." More often than not, I fear, it is because they are altogether indifferent to the condition of the souls of their people. "Do you believe Jesus died on the cross?" "Uhh huh." "Do you believe He rose from the dead?" "Uhh huh." "Did you ask Him into your heart?" "Uhh huh." "Congratulations, brother! You're saved." However popular this tactic may be, pleasing to the Lord it is not.

For those of you who are being recommended for membership in Grace this weekend, I hope you have felt loved as your pastors took time to read and hear from each of you individually about your conversion and your growth in grace. We are thankful for His work in your life, and pray that your involvement in Grace will only serve as a catalyst toward your personal holiness and Christlike humility.

Sometimes, a pastor, even when working as a careful soul-physician, will triage a person's spiritual condition, diagnose apparent Christian conversion, and prescribe church membership as the next step of God-honoring obedience...and be dead wrong. The carelessness of the physician is not the cause for the tumor. Even when great pains are taken to smell as it were the Balm of Gilead rising from a person's soul in love to Christ, his senses can, and sometimes will, deceive him. Under shepherds are fallible.

But there is One Shepherd, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Who sees all, knows all, and will reckon to each the appropriate praise. Yes, God will praise man; at least some men. "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts, and then each man's praise will come to him from God" (emphasis mine). God is no respecter of persons. He will not inappropriately praise any man. Is Christ the ground for all your hopes? Though a man, even perhaps a godly one, may perceive your soul's condition wrongly, God will not. Hope in Christ.

There's the admonition for us all. For those joining Grace this Sunday, please, please, please do not find any of your affirmation in the fact that you are being affirmed as a member of the church. But may your church membership give you even greater cause to hope only in Jesus Christ for the fulfillment of all of God's promises to you, even eternal life! For those not joining, hope in Christ! For those of other congregations, hope in Christ. For those who have stumbled upon this blog, hope in Christ!

Consider one another more important than yourself. This was the Apostle Paul's word to the Philippians. But it wasn't rooted in will-power, or a call to be a do-gooder. It was, and is, a clarion call to look to Christ. "Who is He in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall? 'Tis the Lord! O wondrous story! 'Tis the Lord, the King of glory! At His feet we humbly fall; crown Him, crown Him Lord of all! Who is He that from His throne rules through all the worlds alone? 'Tis the Lord, the King of glory! At His feet we humbly fall; crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!"

God came. The greatest Missionary of all-time, Who traveled the greatest distance, and dwelt among the lowest of dregs is Christ Jesus -- the Lord of Glory! The Second Person of the Trinity tabernacled among us! "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession" (emphasis mine). "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Who although He existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men." If our eyes are appropriately fixed on Christ, we will appropriately consider others as more important than ourselves [notice it is not a command to consider others "better" as we are all equally depraved]!

May God shower grace upon Grace so that we see ourselves as a temporary Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) for sinners. By God's wise design there will inevitably be tares among the wheat. Maybe God will be gracious and protect us from tares covenanting as members at Grace until our 1000th Covenant Affirmation Sunday? Maybe He has ordained that it be our first? The certainty remains that every member of Grace is at best a saved sinner. "Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands -- remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Remember! Remember that you too were once separate from Christ. Remember that you were a stranger to the covenants of promise. Remember that you were once having no hope. Remember that you were once without God in the world.

The more we remember from whence God snatched us, the more we will be appropriately sensitized to "save others by snatching them out of the fire." Grace, let us gather for worship, and let us scatter for evangelism! Go out and "compel" them. "As though God were entreating through us, we beg you on behalf of God, be reconciled to Christ!" (emphasis mine).

As I think about Covenant Affirmation Sunday, I'm thinking (and praying) about a church that is given the necessary grace to respond to the greatness of God by living with all of our might to glorify Him by treasuring His Son and spreading His eternal joy. May God make it true of Grace!

So what is Covenant Affirmation Sunday? Good question.

Covenant Affirmation Sunday is a way to approach church membership biblically. Because we are covenanting together as "one body in Christ," the motto is, "Join at your own risk." Holding up a biblical standard...all biblical standards...holding up Christ, the biblical standard, and affirming together His covenant love for us as His body and bride, and our covenant love for Him and one another. Pharisees, we do not want to be, holy, we do! Our prayer is, "God make us as holy as saved sinners can be." Why pray for less? Why expect less? God does not.

So, Covenant Affirmation Sunday is an opportunity for each prospective member to corporately affirm his or her covenant love to Christ and His body.

Please pray for Grace!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

GC Announcements Feb. 11th - 17th

  1. Covenant Affirmation Sunday will take place Feb. 18th
  2. Grace Groups will begin the week of Feb. 18th (Each individual should read Intro's to Salvation in Full Color and The Knowledge of the Holy prior to first meeting)
  3. Grace Fellowship Feb. 25th immediately after am service
  4. Pray for Nigeria team (Jordan, Chris, Paul, Pat, Kelly, and Nathan)
  5. Membership Intro forms for next Covenant Affirmation Sunday are due April 1st
  6. Next Covenant Affirmation Sunday will be May 20th
  7. Contribution envelopes located at the back table
  8. Please turn in nursery application to Bryan

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Scriptures on the pattern of Christ from the gospel of John

Here are the scriptures on the pattern of Christ from John's gospel that were read Sunday morning. Enjoy Christ!!


John 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.


John 5:19-24 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. [20] "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. [21] "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. [22] "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, [23] so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. [24] "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

John 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

John 5:31-32 "If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. [32] "There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.

John 5:36-38 "But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.[37] "And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. [38] "You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

John 5:39-47 "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; [40] and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. [41] "I do not receive glory from men; [42] but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. [43] "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. [44] "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? [45] "Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. [46] "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. [47] "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"


John 6:26-29 Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. [27] "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." [28] Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" [29] Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

John 6:37-40 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. [38] "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. [39] "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. [40] "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

John 6:55-58 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. [56] "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. [57] "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. [58] "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."

John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.


John 7:14-18 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. [15] The Jews then were astonished, saying, "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?" [16] So Jesus answered them and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. [17] "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. [18] "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

John 7:28-29 Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. [29] "I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me."

John 7:32-34 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. [33] Therefore Jesus said, "For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. [34] "You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come."


John 8:16-19 "But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. [17] "Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. [18] "I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me." [19] So they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also."

John 8:25-26 So they were saying to Him, "Who are You?" Jesus said to them, "What have I been saying to you from the beginning? [26] "I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world."

John 8:28-29 So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. [29] "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."

John 8:38 "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father."

John 8:42-47 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. [43] "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. [44] "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. [45] "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. [46] "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? [47] "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."

John 8:49-50 Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. [50] "But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.

John 8:54-58 Jesus answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God'; [55] and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. [56] "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." [57] So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" [58] Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."


John 9:3-9 Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. [4] "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. [5] "While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world." [6] When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, [7] and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. [8] Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, "Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?" [9] Others were saying, "This is he," still others were saying, "No, but he is like him." He kept saying, "I am the one."


John 10:18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."

John 10:29-30 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. [30] "I and the Father are one."

John 10:37-38 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; [38] but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."


John 11:4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."

John 11:41-42 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. [42] "I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me."


John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

John 12:44-46 And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. [45] "He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. [46] "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

John 12:49-50 "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. [50] "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."


John 13:20"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."

John 13:31-32 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; [32] if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.


John 14:10"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

John 14:13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.

John 14:31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.


John 15:10"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.


John 16:28 "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father."

John 16:32"Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.


John 17:1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,

John 17:4-5 "I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. [5] "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

John 17:17-18"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. [18] "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

John 17:22-26 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; [23] I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. [24] "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.[25] "O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; [26] and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."


John 20:21So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Emotionalism, frivolity, and greed are three ways to describe...

what is ravaging too many [African American] pulpits. So says one black preacher about other black preachers.
I'd have to conclude that emotionalism, frivolity, and greed are still ravaging too many pulpits.
The writer concludes:
Apart from the recovery of expositional, doctrinally-rich and sound, evangelistic preaching, reform and revival are impossible in the predominantly African-American church--in any church.
Read the entire post here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Something I wrote a few years ago for a Men's Challenge Group website.


The most important thing about a man is what enters his mind when he thinks about God.
- A.W. Tozer

. . . and the most important thing to God . . . is God.

The God-Centeredness of God

God dazzles God! The God of the Bible is entirely enchanted with Himself. Conversely, it would be Self-deprecating sin if God did not follow this pattern (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 48:9-11).

Throughout the corridors of eternity God enjoys the radiance of His Glory (Hebrews 1:3). Man's greatest attempts to know God have been but drops of insight into the ocean of His vastness (Job 38; Isaiah 40, 55:8-9). God however is flawlessly aware of the panorama of His perfections, and more, He unceasingly basks in the pool of His magnificence!

Sinners too, once redeemed, are unleashed to revel in the Being of God (John 8:32-36). Upon conversion, Christ awakens affections for God that will not be satiated unless God is as central to the believer as He is to Himself (Isaiah 46:9-10). Thus, the God-centeredness of God becomes the blueprint for the believer's greatest joy. The Christian finds his thirst is both quenched and enlarged as he drinks from the "river of God's delights" (Psalm 36:8).

If the centrality of God in His own affections seems strange, or wrong, you are not alone, but you are in the minority. Yes, the majority of believer's in Christ have already rejoiced with God over His infatuation with Himself. Perhaps you may say this is not true of the majority of Christians you know, but remember those individuals are just a blip on the radar of the totality of the regenerate.

Look at the prisoners of Christ in both Testaments of Holy writ and inquire carefully about their descriptions of God's uppermost goal, and I trust you will see His Self-Centeredness continually rising to the surface.

"But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases"; "Whatever the Lord pleases, He does"
Psalm 115:3; 135:6

"For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another."
Isaiah 48:11

"I shall magnify Myself"; "I glorify Myself"; "I shall be jealous for My holy name."
Ezekiel 38:23; 39:13, 25

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."
Romans 11:33

"and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:11

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
I Timothy 1:17

"Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed and were created."
Revelation 4:11

Party Time

Tonight was the first ever Grace Party for Grace Church.

The parties are designed to celebrate God and His work. My only regret about tonight's party is that we did not record Angie Smith's powerful testimony of her God-given love to Christ, her radical embrace of God's sovereign gift to her of suffering, and the delightful tone with which she spoke of family devotions with Bryan and the kids. Thank you Angie. Thank you God. What a joy!

The first cycle of Grace Groups, which are the small group ministry of Grace Church, were also unveiled at the party tonight. I look forward with eager anticipation to enjoying the benefit of walking together for the next 12 weeks through an introduction to a Biblical view of God, self, sin, and salvation in these groups.

"...As the Father has sent Me, so send I you." - The Risen Lord Christ

Saturday, February 10, 2007

11th Hour Illumination

Talk about getting the help you need at the last minute! I have been perplexed all week with John 20:22-23. I was not anticipating having to stand in the pulpit tomorrow morning and saying, I have no clue what these verses mean, then moving along with the other portion of the sermon text. To the glory of God, I feel that His Spirit has graciously shone a glimmer of His illumining light upon my understanding. If you're not able to be at GC tomorrow morning, you can find out where I've landed once the audio is up on our site (2 more weeks, or so).

I would like to take this moment to say a special thank you to all of those who have so faithfully prayed for God to open His Word to me. I trust today's help was an answer to your intercession. Thank you.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Worship Preparation

  1. Meditate (talk with God) about John 20:19-23
  2. Pray and prepare for worship as if you were certain this would be your last Sunday for corporate worship on this side of heaven
  3. Sing with humble confidence (make up a tune if you don't know this one!)
The Church's One Foundation
Samuel J. Stone / Samuel S. Wesley

The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord
She is His new creation by water and the word
From heav'n He came and sought her
To be His holy bride
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

Elect from ev'ry nation yet one o'er all the earth
Her charter of salvation one Lord one faith one birth
One holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food
And to one hope she presses with ev'ry grace endued.

Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won
O happy ones and holy, Lord give us grace that we
Like them the meek and lowly
On high may dwell with Thee.

'Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war
She waits the consummation of peace forevermore
Till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed
By schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed
Yet saints their watch are keeping
Their cry goes up how long
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.
© Public Domain All rights Reserved.

Give Them Their Leave

I beseech you in the Lord Jesus, beware, beware of unsound work, in the matter of your salvation: ye may not, ye cannot, ye do not want Christ. Then after this day convene all your lovers before your soul; and give them their leave, and strike hands with Christ, that thereafter there may be no happiness to you but Christ; no hunting for anything but Christ; no bed at night (when darkness cometh) but Christ: Christ, Christ, who but Christ? I know this much of Christ, He is not ill to be found, not lordly of His love; woe had been my part of it for evermore, if Christ had made a dainty of Himself to me; but God be thanked, I gave nothing for Christ; and now I protest, before men and angels, Christ cannot be exchanged; Christ cannot be sold, Christ cannot be weighed.

Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ, 89

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Miles driven this week with four children FIVE AND UNDER!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Loved by our Thrice Holy God

Along with about 1,200 pastors from around the world, I was loved by God this week at the Desiring God Conference for Pastors. Each session is well worth a listen. Especially Sproul's second session on the Holiness of Christ. Please pray that these messages would bear God-pleasing fruit in my soul.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

GC Article

This is an article that recently ran in Memphis' SBC Association (MSBA) newsletter:


“Glorify, treasure,, grow, go.” That’s the two-pronged vision and mission of Grace Church. They strive to “Glorify God by treasuring Jesus Christ and spreading His eternal joy; and to guide people to faith in Jesus Christ, grow in biblical maturity and go to our neighbors and nations with the gospel.”

Grace Church first began meeting together in September, 2006, after three years of praying, seeking God’s direction and planning. Planting pastors Jordan Thomas, Nathan Sawyer and Bryan Smith all grew up in the Memphis Metro area and felt called to plant a church here. They began meeting and praying together with a handful of others in September, 2003. The Lord continued to pull their hearts toward downtown Memphis. Then the Lord provided an opportunity for Jordan to go to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN for a year as their first Treasuring Christ Together (TCT) Church Planting Resident. After returning from Minnesota, Jordan knew God wanted them to plant a church in the downtown area.

First Baptist Church, West Memphis, AR is the primary local partnering church for Grace. Both Jordan and Bryan grew up at FBC, West Memphis, and Jordan served on staff there for three years as Student Pastor. Other churches from the area and from around the country have also provided financial support, prayer support and encouragement for this new ministry.

Grace Church meets at the Bridges facility at 477 N. 5th in downtown Memphis. Bridges is a new state-of-the-art facility just five blocks east of the Pyramid. The church hopes to one day have their own space but wants to remain close to the river.

Even though the church held its first meeting a little over four months ago, members held their first Sunday service on January 7 of this year. They are already averaging around 100* in attendance on Sundays. They offer GraceKids during the worship service and prayer meeting for children four years old and younger. Older children are encouraged to attend the worship services with their families to learn and participate in worship. Small group, in-home Bible studies called Grace Groups will also soon begin meeting weekly on various nights of the week.

The pastors are excited about opportunities for outreach in their neighborhood. Few churches can say that God brings a few thousand people to their back door almost every Friday and Saturday night. They have a desire to reach out to those people who live, work and leisure in the Downtown area. With the annual Memphis in May Festival and many other Downtown events, they expect to have plenty of mission opportunities to share Jesus with their neighbors in a practical way.

Although Grace Church is a fairly new ministry, they have a huge vision that has been bathed in prayer and are seeking the face of the Lord as to the direction He would have them go. Please pray for Grace Church and their planting pastors. If you would like to know more about Grace Church, their ministries or how you can get involved with them, visit their website at

“We long to be a church that loves Christ and gladly embraces anything
that comes with loving Jesus because He is our greatest Treasure."
* Grace is actually averaging around 65 adults in worship and around 20 children in nursery.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rutherford on Christ's Cross

His cross is the sweetest burden that ever I bare: it is such a burden as wings are to a bird, or sails to a ship, to carry me forward to my harbour.
Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ, 85

Beyond The Ultimate

It is encouraging to see men of great influence who appear to have Christ in them. I was particularly encouraged by Tony's video given at a breakfast after his son's death.

On a related note, I agree with Lloyd-Jones who warned against "defending the position."

In a series on revival, Lloyd-Jones said, "We are prone to defend the position." Meaning, when a person is in a position of influence and claims to be a Christian we are prone to assume that person is the model Christian simply because he might occasionally drop Jesus' name in conversation (Such as the God-belittling artists of our day who give the Lord lip credence after winning an award for their God-less music).

To state the obvious, simply because an NFL player might occasionally bend to his knee and point to heaven after scoring a touchdown, or an NBA star dons a WWJD bracelet, or a MLB player attaches a cross to his necklace does not necessarily indicate the presence of Christ in his life. The rapper is who must "first and foremost give thanks to my Lord Jesus Christ" after winning an award for promoting Godlessness with his music is no Christian at all.

As for Tony and Lovie, I look forward to standing somewhere near them during the 200,000,000,000th chorus of Revelation 4:8, 11 in the heavenly sea of the redeemed. May Christ, for eternity, continue to be their greatest Treasure!

(HT: Matthew Bailey)

A. Begg Will Appreciate Your Prayers

You can read his brief note.

You can also read how two other saints responded to the same issue.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Update From India

The following update is from a Mid-South pastor who is currently on a mission endeavor in India. Please pray for Brent and his team. Rejoice with them!

Hello everyone. i'll be more lengthy at a different time but right now i wanted to give you a few spec...

we are safe. God has given us much traveling mercy. this is the most i have ever traveled on a mission trip. david and i have a cold and our throats are raw (germs, preaching 9 times each, exhausted)...please pray.

pastor raju is a godly man, no doubt. God is using him in a great way to draw the hindu people out of bondage.

you will not believe all the pictures when you see them. this has been very surreal. the culture, the respect they have shown us, how tirelessly they have listened to the word of God. there is a tremendous hunger for the truth.

one thing we had to make clear to them is that it isn't Jesus AND but Jesus ONLY. This is huge over here. they don't mind adding Jesus to a myriad of other "gods". We have labored to show them that this is not saving faith...this is not true repentance.

also baptism is a big indicator of authentic faith. in other words, if they are willing to be baptized, they are very likely the real deal...because to publicly profess Christ and to renounce all the other "gods" by public baptism, well this means that persecution is sure to come.

we had 77 people say that they were willing to renounce all gods but Jesus Christ! But only 46 were willing to be baptized at this time. but still, these 46 were precious and you could see the light of Christ in their eyes. The pastors are following up with these and the other 31 people who are afraid of the persecution.

Pastor Raju asked if David and I would assist him in the baptisms. What an honor. All 3 of us laid hands on these new believers and immersed them. we have great pictures of this!

So many more stories to tell the 24 pastors in this area who assist Pastor Raju. men of whom the world is not worthy. of the 25, 5 rise to the top of even these choice men of the great God. Spurgeon, David, VJ, Augustine, and George Mason. These men touched our lives in ways we'll never forget.

May God forgive us for being so lazy about our seeking the face of Christ. May God patiently and mercifully draw us into a more disciplined prayer life, memorizing/meditating on the word of God, and being a bold witness for the sake of souls and the glory of Christ, our King!

Amy, Eli, Sydney, and Peanut(s): I love you all and miss you greatly. Lord willing, I'll see you guys Friday night. But please don't stop praying...we have about 9,500 miles between us and you.