Good afternoon brothers and sisters,
As you will remember, back in early January I had surgery to repair a major tear in my rotator cuff. Progress has been agonizingly slow. My range of motion is nearly back to what was before I fell and badly injured my shoulder. So now strengthening the shoulder muscles around the rotator cuff is the order of the day. I’m anxious do more and more but my PT (physical therapist) keeps reining me in, slowing we down. I want to get back to Rock Steady but neither my PT nor the surgeon who repaired my shoulder think I’m ready for that yet. They want to see slow, steady progress and that is happening. But, then patience has never been my strong suit.
I tell you this because as I was reflecting on their approach to my regaining the needed strength to return to Rock Steady, it dawned on me that this is an apt metaphor for our spiritual growth as Christians. We want to rush ahead to the next step in our spiritual growth (whatever that step might be) instead of patiently waiting and learning what needs to be learned in this stage of our growing sanctification. We prefer mountaintop experiences rather than the slow methodical growth that is the product of laboring in the valleys of life. I’ve been to the Rocky Mountains at least 2 dozen times and while standing atop a 14,000 foot peak is exhilarating, there’s very little life in those higher elevations; all the lush growth is down the valleys. That is where our faith is tested and it is by means of that testing that we are strengthened for greater obedience to our Lord.
I know I’m mixing my metaphors here, but I trust the point is made. Spiritual growth, our growth in grace is slow but it is inexorable if we will but devote ourselves to the process. Would I prefer to be using a 25 pound dumbbell for my bent over shoulder rowing exercise rather than the measly 8 pounder I’m currently using? Certainly!! But I will get there if I stay the course, if I follow the path my PT has laid out for me. But it’s going to take time. And so it is with the path our Lord has laid out for us. Our progress on that path is sovereignly ordained. But that does not mean that we have no part to play. Paul says it this way in Colossians 1:29–To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
If we will daily trust our Lord to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3), if we run with perseverance and endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1) then, as our path, as our course nears its destination, we can say with Paul I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I’ve kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
This Lord’s Day I’m going to begin a three-part series looking at the three actions described in our vision statement that serve to reflect the glory of God. The first way in which we may reflect His glory is in our passion for Christ. Our primary text will be Philippians 3:7-14. I will get the Order of Worship out to you in the next day or so.
Things are moving ahead at a good pace for calling Pastor Tim as our next pastor. We have the date, place and time set for his interview and examination by the Presbytery of Ohio. It will be at Grace OPC in Columbus, Ohio. It will be on June 28 with a start time of 6:30 PM. Tim has already contacted the presbytery of which he is presently a member–the Presbytery of the Southwest. They have set a tentative date of either July 12 or 13 for their special meeting where they will officially release pastor Tim to the oversight of the Presbytery of Ohio. We are all learning some new dance steps here.
Please remember that Feet ‘n Eat is coming up in a couple of weeks.
· June 15– Young Adults Fellowship Group
· June 16–Adults Fellowship Group (westsiders)
· June 17–Adults Fellowship Group (townies)
· June 23–Neighborhood Fellowship
· June 25–Mike and Lili McCabe (missionaries to China)
· June 30–Feet ‘n Eat– Turkey Run State Park
It is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.— Charles Spurgeon
Satan cannot deny but that great wonders have been wrought by prayer. As the spirit of prayer goes up, so his kingdom goes down. —William Gurnall
To desire revival… and at the same time to neglect (personal) prayer and devotion is to wish one way and walk another. —A.W. Tozer
A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian… and most of all, his family ought to know. —D.L. Moody
We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties. —Oswald Chambers
Forgiveness does not restore credibility, and character must be seen as something that can be lost far easier than gained, much less restored. —Albert Mohler
Confession ≠ Repentance
It’s beautiful when Christians humbly confess their sin to one another and cling to the gospel yet again (James 4:7–10).
Maybe we were repulsed by our sin after a gospel-centered sermon, a Christ-anchored Bible study, or a meaningful time of prayer. Perhaps we’ve been confronted with our iniquity after a friend’s rebuke (Proverbs. 27:5), a spouse’s edifying correction (Ephesians 4:15, 25), or a time of self-examination during the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:28). In these moments, the Holy Spirit gives a heart-wrenching conviction of sin that’s either newly uncovered or old and rusty. Emotional brokenness and convincing contrition quickly follow, and we’re suddenly in glorious agreement with God about our sin. READ MORE…
Old Books, New Books, and Trends That Fade Away: Lessons Learned From a Book Sale
800,000. That’s how many books were for sale at the recent used book sale I went to. I make a point every year to attend the sale of the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma City. All paperbacks were 50 cents and hardbacks were only a dollar! You can’t find better bargains than these. People roll in suitcases, storage tubs, boxes, wagons, and I even saw one guy with a giant trash can. With all these books for sale, there are bound to be some treasures, right? READ MORE…
When Sin Looks Delicious
Do you ever have those days where you just want to sin? Sin looks delicious while righteousness looks distasteful. Sin looks satisfying and holiness looks frustrating. You wake up in the morning with a desire to do what you know you should not desire to do. Your heart echoes with what God said to Cain: “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you.” And your desire is for it.
What do you do on a day like that? READ MORE…
You Can Hate Abortion and Love Women: What’s Under the Debate over Life
Seeking adventure, you post the following syllogism to your social-media page and hang on for the ride:
Premise 1: It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings. Premise 2: Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being. Conclusion: Abortion is morally wrong.
Right away a friend is typing. Six minutes later, you have a string of comments, not all of them nice. “Why do you hate women?” “What are you doing for kids after they’re born?” “Do you have a uterus? If not, shut up!” You expected controversy, but marvel how a simple syllogism provoked such outrage. It feels like something else is going on here. Indeed it is. READ MORE…
How a True Calvinist Fights
As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with a natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. . . . I would have you more than a conqueror and to triumph not only over your adversary but over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations. READ MORE…
Seven Encouraging Reasons to Pray
It may be in a hospital or at some other moment of crisis, but at some time most people feel that they want to pray. That is true of thousands and millions of people who would never darken the door of a church.
Here is something that the church has to offer. Christian people have something that at some point, most people in our community and in our country will feel that they need—to pray. Christians know how to pray, or at least we should.
But do we know why we pray? Here are seven reasons we pray which are meant to encourage you in your pursuit of Jesus Christ. READ MORE…
Is God equally active in causing the salvation of the elect and the damnation of the reprobate?
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
“In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight.” J. Gresham Machen
“When Christ calls a man – he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer