Archive for November, 2010

Faith in Terms of Union with Christ

Posted: November 30, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, The Christian Life

good blog post from Desiring God here’s just a bit:


So the good news of what it means to be “in Christ” must be combined with the good news of how one can be “in Christ.” Spirit-granted faith is the means that brings us into the glorious reality of union with Jesus. Faith is not the end and it is not our hope. Faith is the embracing, not the thing that is itself embraced.

Calvin says it this way in Institutes III.XI.7,

We compare faith to a kind of vessel; for unless we come empty and with the mouth of our soul open to seek Christ’s grace, we are not capable of receiving Christ. From this it is to be inferred that, in teaching that before his righteousness is received Christ is received in faith, we do not take the power of justifying away from Christ.


read the whole thing here

The whole sermon is very long , but worth the read.

read it all here.


What are you afraid of, that you dare not venture your soul upon Christ? Are you afraid that he cannot save you, that he isnot strong enough to conquer the enemies of your soul? Buthow can you desire one stronger than “the almighty God”? as Christ is called, Isaiah 9:6. Is there need of greater than infinitestrength? Are you afraid that he will not be willing to stoop solow as to take any gracious notice of you? But then, look on him, as he stood in the ring of soldiers, exposing his blessedface to be buffeted and spit upon by them! Behold him boundwith his back uncovered to those that smote him! And behold him hanging on the cross! Do you think that he that had condescension enough to stoop to these things, and that for his crucifiers, will be unwilling to accept of you, if you come to him? Or, are you afraid that if he does accept you, that God the Father will not accept of him for you? But consider, will God reject his own Son, in whom his infinite delight is, and has been,from all eternity, and who is so united to him, that if he should reject him he would reject himself?


To know that from eternity my Maker, foreseeing my sin, foreloved me and resolved to save me, though it would be at the cost of Calvary; to know that the divine Son was appointed from eternity to be my Savior, and that in love he became man for me and died for me and now lives to intercede for me and will one day come in person to take me home; to know that the Lord ‘who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Gal 2:20) and who ‘came and preached peace’ to me through his messengers (Eph. 2:17) has by his Spirit raised me from spiritual death to life-giving union and communion with himself, and has promised to hold me fast and never let me go – this is knowledge that brings overwhelming gratitude and joy.      – Dr. J.I. Packer

Everybody has a King. Who’s yours?

Posted: November 23, 2010 by limabean03 in Uncategorized
preached by Rob Sturdy on Nov 22, 2010

Below is a helpful little post about leading family devotions. I particularly enjoyed Justin’s suggestions for different children’s Bibles. Note that Justin is talking about what’s best for him, make sure as you step into the discipline of family devotions that you don’t get locked into something that doesn’t work for you or your family. Keep flexible. Nevertheless, you have to start somewhere. You’ll never know what works and what doesn’t until you’ve put your hand to the plow.

At 7:15PM we all start winding down and I tell the kids: “15 more minutes of ____, and then it’s 7:30PM.” My kids know exactly what I mean. At 7:30PM it’s Bible time. We all gather in the living room (if we’re not there already); we get the Bible; and the kids pile on my lap. For the longest time we read the ESV Illustrated Family Bible. This Bible uses the actual ESV text but the stories are selective and the images are great and colorful. Recently, we began using The Early Readers Bible only because Jonas received it as a Christmas gift. This is a great Bible too, but it’s not the actual ESV text, which I prefer. It’s a Bible written for young readers. Our 5 year old can blast through this easily, and sometimes I’ll let him read during our devotional time, though rarely. At this stage I think it’s important for me to lead this time and shepherd them as I read aloud. The great thing about The Early Readers Bible is the questions after each section. Very helpful. Dads, it’s important for you to call the family together. Don’t force mom to keep looking at her watch, to always be waiting for you, to nag you to get started. Call the family together. Get the Bible. Know where/what you’re reading. Lead your family. Wives, this may be new or unfamiliar for many dads. Go easy on him. Encourage him. Honor his leadership. Don’t undermine. Don’t criticize. Model respect and love for your children to see. And remember, the kids are watching.

7. Questions & Answers

After we read a section of Scripture I ask questions. I ask questions about the story, about the characters, about the doctrines or themes within the story, about applying the text to the real life of 5- and 3-year-olds. In addition to asking questions about the text itself, our children also memorize the Small Children’s Catechism by Chris Schlect. I cannot overstate the importance of catechism in the home. Someone has said, “Preaching without catechism is like building a house without pouring a foundation.” So true. Other helpful resources are The Big Book of Questions and Answers (Sinclair Ferguson), My 1st Book of Questions and Answers (Carine Mackenzie), and Big Truths for Young Hearts(Bruce Ware).

8. Family Prayer

Then we all pray. We take prayer requests (this is important because the kids need to see dad asking mom how he can pray for her). And each of us pray. Sometimes I ask the kids to pray for certain things. Sometimes I ask the older to pray for the younger. Sometimes they want to say the Lord’s Prayer (which means you need to help them memorize it when they’re two or three). Sometime it’s random. Moms and dads, you need to guard this time so that the children don’t grow to despise it. This needs to be an encouraging, graceful, loving, fun, sometimes silly, patient, and fruitful time. Be honest with one another. Teach your kids how to care, how to be sensitive to others’ needs, how to articulate what they’re feeling. Make disciples.

you’re going to want to check out the whole thing here

In the month of December a tsunami of human bodies will flood the local malls, outlets, and toy stores. Even (if not especially!) Christians will be swept away by the human tidal wave that characterizes the Christmas rush. But what if there’s more to Dec 25th than the latest e-reader or smart phone? What if there are greater things to anticipate than what’s under the tree? What if there was a gift out there so satisfying you would never need anything ever again? Come find out what we mean. Our new series, “The Gift” starts Sunday Nov 28th at Trinity Church.

The Gift Part I (Gen 1.1-27) Preached by Rob Sturdy on Nov 28th

The Gift Part II (Gen 1.31-2.17) Preached by Iain Boyd on Dec 5th




(HT: DesiringGodblog)

( Re-post)You are not under law but under grace

Posted: November 22, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christian Theology, Christianity

You are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:14

If I am not under grace but under law, then the terrifying question in my life moment by moment is, Am I sinning?  Answer: Yes.

If I am not under law but under grace, then the heartwarming question in my life moment by moment is, Am I forgiven?  Answer: Yes.

Grace makes all the difference moment by moment.

Under law, under grace is a post from: Ray Ortlund

Ugh…Feeling “homesick”

Posted: November 21, 2010 by limabean03 in Uncategorized

I’ve had a few homes and every once in a while I miss bits of each of them.  I miss Charleston, even though I spent four years locked up in the Citadel.  I even, on occasion miss 3326 Lima Co., 3rd Battalion.  Rarely do I miss Atlanta, G.A., even though that is where I was born.  Most frequently I miss the shores of the Mobile Bay, on the Gulf Coast of Alabama.  Tonight however, I must admit a pretty serious homesickness for a place Stephanie and I called home for three years.  That place is Oxford, U.K.  I’m pretty desperate to be there right now and this picture doesn’t help one bit.

Loving Your Neighbour, Knowing Yourself

Posted: November 20, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Discipleship, The Christian Life

from a Lecture series by Stephen Noll.

“Love your neighbour as yourself” requires us to know ourselves, for how can you love someone you do not know? The philosopher Socrates described the whole purpose of life in these words: “Know thyself.” For Socrates, self-knowledge involved a life-long quest for wisdom, or philosophy. Jesus too calls his disciples to a life-long journey, but it is different because it begins with a revelation that our identity is bound up in God; our identity is bound up with Jesus. Maybe this is why the first great commandment must precede the second. We can only know ourselves when we know ourselves in God. St. Paul puts it this way: “I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

So what is it that we know about ourselves when we know ourselves in God, in Jesus Christ. The first thing we know is that we are sinners, that our self-love is “naturally” curved in on itself. Hence, it is not enough to love oneself in the modern therapeutic sense. It may be true that it is difficult for people with low self-esteem to sort out dying to self from mere self-hatred. Nevertheless, it is only when we die to self that we can truly live (cf. Mark 8:36). The robust attitude of the publican in Jesus’ parable is our model: “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner” (Luke 18:10-14). When we know and confess ourselves to be sinners, we can also accept God’s judgment that we are sons of God. We are justified by His Son and we have become heirs. Hence, to know oneself is to know oneself approved and righteous in His eyes. Jesus said of the publican: “he went down to his house righteous.” Nothing had changed in his outward status. He was still a despised publican in the eyes of society. But in God’s eyes, he was a saint.

read the rest of the lecture here

From the resurgence.  Read the whole thing here.

Teach your kids about Jesus and their need for his grace.

Generosity stems from Jesus. We may be excellent money managers, able to instruct our children in the way of financial planning, but if neither our children nor we understand the gospel, then all the financial knowledge in the world amounts to nothing.

Invite your kids into the conversation.

Too often we parents go about our day, doing chores, paying bills, running errands, and forgetting to invite our kids to participate and learn about things like responsibility, work ethic, joy, and decision-making. Children can handle more than we give them credit for, and the sooner you begin developing them financially, the sooner they’ll learn.

Teach your kids to divide their money (from birthdays, holidays, and allowance) into three categories: give, save, and spend.

I’ll never forget when my son opened a fifth birthday card from his grandparents. There was some money in it, and he blurted out, “Yes, now I can pay my bills!” He didn’t have many bills as a five-year-old, but I loved the fact that he was beginning to think through stewardship.

Don’t stifle innovation; allow failure.

I know it’s a lot of work to set up the lemonade stand, but what a great opportunity to teach your kids about work, business principles, and managing finances. As your kids get ideas, take the time to encourage them and invest in them so that these mini-ventures can be used as teaching opportunities—whether or not they’re financially profitable.

From the resurgence.  Read the whole thing here.

A New ACNA Diocese in the Carolinas?

Posted: November 17, 2010 by limabean03 in Anglican Communion

I was interested to hear the update from Steve yesterday who was returning from this meeting which was held in Charlotte, N.C.   I was glad to see he put a brief notice up on his blog and I’m hoping we’ll hear more from him on this important development.  The ACNA is comprised of those Dioceses and churches that have left the Episcopal Church.  And while that is what they have been known for in the past, it seems that in the future they will be characterized as an organization that plant new churches and dioceses across North America.  Where is the future of Anglicanism headed?  The Lord knows and time will tell.  Steve’s update is directly below:

Just home from a very good day in Charlotte with about 18 leaders from congregations in both North and South Carolina – many of us only known to one another by reputation.  It was refreshing to meet face to face and to be around leaders committed to biblical truth, the faith once delivered to the saints and passionate about mission.  Our conversations centered around our sense of the Lord’s leading in our personal and parish life, our hopes for Anglicanism in North America and prayer as we sought the Lord’s leading for what’s next.

And, what’s next?

There was complete agreement that we should both meet again and expand our next gathering (TBA) to include a wider representation of our parish leadership.  Also, it was desirable that we include a representative from the ACNA to begin a process of exploration of the formalities (canons, structures and other things necessary to the development of a common life) related to the formation of a new diocese.

Go on over to Steve’s blog and read the whole thing

Many judge the quality of their spiritual life by three things.  First, people judge their spiritual life by how they feel.  Do you feel spiritual?  Do you feel the presence of God?  Second, people judge their spiritual life by the quality of their life.  Am I becoming a better person?  Am I happier?  More content?  And finally, people will judge their spiritual life by the vibrancy of their faith.  Do I believe strongly  enough?  These are helpful questions to ask and I would encourage you to ask them frequently.  But there is more to the spiritual life than these things.  To ask these questions is not a journey to understand God but a journey to understand yourself.  How do I feel?  What do I believe?  Am I becoming a better person?  You’ll quickly notice the answers to these questions have very little to do with God.  You’ll also quickly notice that if you ask these questions frequently enough, you’ll learn that there are days when you don’t feel spiritual.  You’ll recognize that there are days when you’re not a good person at all.  You’ll even have days when you wonder if there is a God at all!  What is the solution then?  We need something that is (a) outside of ourselves and (b) unchanging.  Enter Christ . Rather than asking how strong is my belief we ask “how strong is Christ’s faith?”  Rather than asking “am I a good person?” we ask “is Christ a good person?” And you’ll notice that unlike your answer to these questions, Christ’s answer doesn’t change.  In short, if we base our spiritual life on Christ rather than ourselves we’ll have something quite special, that being confidence and assurance in our relationship with God.  It is put well by Charles Spurgeon who writes:


“There is one thing which we all of us too much becloud in our preaching, though I believe we do it very unintentionally- namely, the great truth that it is not prayer, it is not faith, it is not our doings, it is not our feelings upon which we must rest, but upon Christ and on Christ alone.  We are apt to think that we are not in a right state, that we do not fell enough, instead of remembering that our business is only with Christ.  O soul, of thou couldst fix thy soul on Jesus, and neglect every thing else- if thou couldst but despise good works, and aught else, so far as they relate to salvation, and look wholly, simply on Christ, I feel that Satan would soon give up throwing thee down, he would find that it would not answer his purpose, for thou wouldst fall on Christ, and like the giant who fell upon his mother, the earth, thou wouldst rise up each time stronger than before.”

Spurgeon, “The Comer’s Conflict with Satan” Spurgeon’s Sermons Vol II pg 309

As announced at the Parish Dinner, we are pleased to welcome Bruce and Karen Geary to Trinity Church.  Bruce and Karen will be joining us in the new year.  With the vestry’s endorsement I have hired Bruce as the Pastor for Member Care at Trinity Church.  He comes to us with a wealth of wisdom and experience and is eager to serve God and his people in Myrtle Beach.  I have posted below a letter from Bruce to our church family.  I would invite your prayers for a smooth transition for the Gearys.  We will be forming a team to help welcome them properly in the new year.

Greetings to Rob, the Vestry, staff and people of Trinity Church,

We are sorry we can’t be here with you this evening. Karen and I are looking forward to coming to be with you as soon as we can. Please pray for a quick and reasonable sale of our house as well as in the meantime to be able to find a condo we can rent month to month.

God has led us on a very interesting journey. We are looking forward to telling you about how God has been with us in the ups and downs of life and ministry and likewise hearing from you. When I retired from the Episcopal Church, I felt that God wasn’t through with me yet. Never in my plans was to start a fresh ministry in Myrtle Beach with a young staff and parish of energetic Christians who want to reach their community with the Gospel. This is a good thing. Trinity is an exciting place to be serving the Lord. It is an honor to be invited to join you in this. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in mind for all of us as the body of Christ seeks God’s will.

Remember God loves you, and Karen and I love you. We are looking forward to getting to know you.
Blessings to all,
Bruce Geary

I want to Learn to Pray

Posted: November 16, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life

below is an excerpt from the Anglican Digest:

Shortly after I arrived at the Cathedral, a man walked in one day and asked to see a priest. He told me a tragic story of loss and disappointment. He had made one bad decision after another.

He had lost his family he had lost his job; he had come close to losing his sanity. He wanted to find God again. He wanted to learn how to pray. “Will you teach me how to pray?” he asked. “I would be honored,”I replied.

I began to tell him about the different kinds of prayer: petition, adoration, confession, oblation, and intercession. I told him about the daily Office: Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline. I told him about centering prayer, meditation, and other ways of praying without words.

The more I talked, the more overwhelmed he looked. The energy drained from his eyes. His face actually fell. “Oh,” he said. “I was thinking more about… well…may be in the Morning to say ‘thank you ’and then again at night to say ‘I’m sorry’.”

It turns out that he was closer to Jesus than I was!

The Rev. George M. Maxwell Jr. ,

The Cathedral of St.Philip,