I have the great privilege this week of spending it in our nation’s capital with three of my favorite people; Ivan Ibbotson, senior past of The Chapel Salzburg, Austria, Hubert Krifter, one of Ivan’s elders, and my nephew Jose Nieves Vargas, who is the pastor of a new church plant in San Juanito, Chihuahua, Mexico.
We are here for a 9Marks Weekender Conference at Capital Hill Baptist Church. As you think about it, please pray for us as we seek the Lord and his heart for his church, purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Pray for good and rested minds and bodies as the schedule for the week will be very packed.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“The best advice I can send, or the best wish I can form for you, is, that you may have an abiding and experimental sense of those words of the apostle, which are just now upon my mind, ‘Looking UNTO Jesus.’ (Heb. 12:2) The duty, the privilege, the safety, the unspeakable happiness, of a believer, are all comprised in that one sentence.” John Newton, Jewels from John Newton, August 21st
When I was younger, my father would give me advice and like so many young people, I foolishly didn’t listen. The hardest part of giving advice to people you love and care for is when they ignore it, especially when you know how sound the advice is. I wholeheartedly concur that “Looking unto Jesus,” is the absolute best advice we could every give anyone. It is an expression of the Gospel in it’s simplest form. When we quit looking to ourselves and begin to look unto Jesus, everything simply makes sense.
VERSE FOR THE WEEK
1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV) — But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
How easy it can be to question why it is that God made you the way that he did. I find that I can do this far too often. Oh, I don’t outwardly shake my fist at God like a frustrated child who doesn’t get his way. But, I can subtly begin to think of the “what ifs” in my life, what if I could do this or that, what if I was smarter, more creative, and the list goes on.
We can take comfort from this verse. It is by God’s grace that we are who we are. And like the admonition from Romans 9:20 we must never presume to think beyond the piece of clay we are and suggest God should have formed something different, let alone demand it. Rather, we should take the time to be thankful, and reflect on what God has made us to be and then seek to live out lives for his glory and the good of others. For it is in this that we will find the greatest satisfaction.
“As a quadriplegic, I wake up in the morning and it’s hard. It is so hard having somebody else come into your bedroom [to brush your teeth and your hair]. It’s overwhelming at times. During those times, I say, ‘Lord God, I cannot do this, but I can do all things through you as you strengthen me.”
It has been fifty years since the diving accident that left Joni Eareckson Tada with quadriplegia. Fifty years of relying on others to meet her physical needs. Fifty years of pressing on in the midst of weakness, fatigue, and pain. Fifty years of trusting God to provide.
Tada exemplifies an enviable trust in the sovereignty of God who works all things for good, even when his working makes absolutely no sense to the human psyche. It is one thing to trust the Lord with the loss of a job, with a reasonable assurance that there is another one on the horizon, but how about 50 years of absolute dependency on others for practically everything we take for granted. An inspiring article to read.
If you don’t know much about gender-identity issues and don’t know what it’s like to struggle with them, learn to listen. If someone says, “You don’t understand,” rather than telling them they’re wrong, answer, “Very possibly not. Please tell me.”
Like it or not, agree with it or not, wish it would go away or not, the cultural shift towards a person being able to decide what gender they are going to be is here to stay and most likely not going to go away until the Lord returns. So, with that said, as Bible believing born again Christians, what should our response be?
It seems that we are always swinging from one side of the pendulum to the other often times with good intentions to extend the grace of God and the love of God to the sinner in the hopes of leading them to the gospel truth. Unfortunately, all too often, we tend to keep loving and loving and loving, and never see a change. Why is that? Because we never get to the truth.
This article is a great start in understanding how to gracefully love without compromise.
This secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life?
This is a hot topic because it threatens the very core of what every Christian should stand on, the biblical truth of God’s word and his plan to rescue mankind from certain eternal destruction as a result of a rejection of his truths and a desire to redefine it. I intentionally posted the previous article How Can Your Church Love Transgender People because of how important it is to accurately represent the love of Christ in the changing times in which we live. We must be led by the Holy Spirit as we seek to love unconditionally, without ever compromising the truth.
While I had not read the Nashville Statement prior to this writing, I know enough about it to say that it is stirring much debate, pro and con, even among professing Christians. As you carefully and prayerfully read it, you will understand why. It is important that we know God’s word well enough to be able to stand strong in the Christian faith.