Friday, May 29, 2009

God Speaks

Series: "God is..."
Message: God Speaks
Speaker: Pastor Jake Magee
Date: 5/24/09

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Faith that Works - James 2:14-26

New Life Community Church
Weekend Message - James 2:14-26.
Series: Radiate. Speaker: Jake Magee


Who taught me to like tobacco and alcohol?

'You are always dragging me down,' said I to my Body. 'Dragging you down! replied my Body. 'Well I like that! Who taught me to like tobacco and alcohol? You, of course, with your idiotic adolescent idea of being "grown-up". My palate loathed both at first: but you would have your way. Who put an end to all those angry and revengeful thoughts last night? Me, of course, by insisting on going to sleep. Who does his best to keep you from talking too much and eating too much by giving you dry throats and headaches and indigestion? Eh?' 'And what about sex?' said I. 'Yes, what about it' retorted the Body. 'If you and your wretched imagination would leave me alone I'd give you no trouble. That's Soul all over; you give me orders and then blame me for carrying them out.' - C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock.

Friday, May 22, 2009

God Speaks - Preview of Sunday Evening

God Is - The Nature of God

God Is... The Nature of God - HERE

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


by Larry Osborne

It’s fashionable to decry the current state of Christianity in America.

But frankly, I don’t buy it.

Some of the most popular conference speakers on the circuit today excel at drive-by-guiltings. They paint a picture of a church that lacks guts, cowers from dying to self, and lives out a self-satisfied, what’s-in-it-for-me Christianity.

In most cases, I like these speakers. They are good guys. I respect them. But I just don’t agree on this issue.

I’ve noticed that their audience is usually a room full of charge-the-hill-type young leaders who eat it up and then return home to look with disdain upon other churches, pastors, leaders, and often their own congregation (oblivious to how much they have in common with the self-congratulatory zealot in Luke 11: 9-14).


Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll agree that we have lots of carnality and self-centered living in our churches today. But come on, that’s nothing new. It’s been like that from the beginning. It’s simply not accurate to paint a heroic picture of the early church without also pointing out its many failures. In reality, the early church was pretty messed up, about as messed up as the American Church.

Have we forgotten . . .

Those who willingly sold what they had to share with those in need thought Jesus was returning any day. So when the Pentecost pilgrims who stayed rather than return home ran out of money (no one carried a debit card) the Jerusalem Christians sold possessions, fields, and homes to meet their need. I’m sure I would too if I thought Jesus was returning in the next couple of weeks.

They ended up broke. So much so that the Gentile churches took up a special collection for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. Between persecutions and previously selling much of what they had, the Jerusalem church ended up in poverty. Perhaps Acts 2:41-47 is descriptive rather than prescriptive. After all, I know of no one who suggests we should be meeting daily, in Jerusalem, in the temple courts.

The early church ignored Jesus’ command to take the gospel to the world. They flat out disobeyed. They stayed in Jerusalem. Eventually God had to send a great persecution to drive them out of their holy huddle and jump start the expansion of the kingdom. That’s the only reason they left according to Acts 8:1

The early church was unwilling to share the gospel with Gentiles. And once they did, they didn’t want to allow them full status as Christians. Only after a contentious debate at the Jerusalem council did things change. And even after that, the battle raged on. That’s one of the major reasons we have the books of Galatians and Hebrews in our Bibles.

The Apostle Paul’s church plants were so messed up (both doctrinally and morally) he later had to write a bunch of letters to get them back on track. The Corinthians were visiting temple prostitutes, ignoring sin in the name of grace, hoarding the good stuff at church pot-lucks. And they seem to have forgotten that the resurrection really mattered. Timothy had to be reminded not to appoint the town drunk as an elder. The Galatians’ and Colossians’ flirted with heresy. And that’s just the beginning of a long list of sins and goofy thinking that had to be corrected.

The early church leaders were as feisty and flakey as today’s leaders. Paul and Barnabas had a messy split over how to handle a young intern named John Mark. Peter fell into hypocrisy and pretended to be a legalist until called out by Paul. And didn’t everyone skip out on Paul during his time of greatest need?

Jesus also had some rather unflattering things to say to the New Testament churches. Most of the churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3 hardly set an example I’d want my church to follow.

So when we call for a return to the New Testament church, do we really know what we’re asking for? In many cases, I think not.


And in light of that, here’s why I’m so pumped about the future of the American church.

Jesus said he would build his church and the gates of hell could not hold it back. So I’ll bank on his promise despite some occasional setbacks.

As seen above, things might not be as bleak as they appear. Yes, we’re messed up, but so was the early church; and God used them to turn the world upside down.

God has already hand-picked a new breed of leaders and shepherds to care for his flock and beautify his bride. In my travels around the country, I run into them all the time. I wish everyone could see what I see and spend time with them as I do. They are the real deal. Many are already leading huge churches at a young age. Thousands more are heeding the call to become church planters. A plethora of church planting networks and organizations have spontaneously formed to recruit, train, and deploy these folks into ministry. It’s not only encouraging, it’s humbling.

Does that mean they will win our nation back?

I don’t know. That’s out of their control. They can only be faithful and prepare the horse for battle. God will determine the outcome.

I said I was pumped about the future of the American church – not America.

So what do you think?

What I mean by Preaching - John Piper

What I Mean by Preaching
May 12, 2009 | By: John Piper
Category: Commentary
The following is from the intro to last weekend's sermon.

Some of you may have little or no experience with what I mean by preaching. I think it will help you listen to my messages if I say a word about it.

What I mean by preaching is expository exultation.

Preaching Is Expository

Expository means that preaching aims to exposit, or explain and apply, the meaning of the Bible. The reason for this is that the Bible is God’s word, inspired, infallible, profitable—all 66 books of it.

The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Every sermon should explain the Bible and then apply it to people's lives.

The preacher should do that in a way that enables you to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will end up resting on a man and not on God's word.

The aim of this exposition is to help you eat and digest biblical truth that will

make your spiritual bones more like steel,
double the capacity of your spiritual lungs,
make the eyes of your heart dazzled with the brightness of the glory of God,
and awaken the capacity of your soul for kinds of spiritual enjoyment you didn’t even know existed.
Preaching Is Exultation

Preaching is also exultation. This means that the preacher does not just explain what’s in the Bible, and the people do not simply try understand what he explains. Rather, the preacher and the people exult over what is in the Bible as it is being explained and applied.

Preaching does not come after worship in the order of the service. Preaching is worship. The preacher worships—exults—over the word, trying his best to draw you into a worshipful response by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My job is not simply to see truth and show it to you. (The devil could do that for his own devious reasons.) My job is to see the glory of the truth and to savor it and exult over it as I explain it to you and apply it for you. That’s one of the differences between a sermon and a lecture.

Preaching Isn't Church, but It Serves the Church

Preaching is not the totality of the church. And if all you have is preaching, you don’t have the church. A church is a body of people who minister to each other.

One of the purposes of preaching is to equip us for that and inspire us to love each other better.

But God has created the church so that she flourishes through preaching. That’s why Paul gave young pastor Timothy one of the most serious, exalted charges in all the Bible in 2 Timothy 4:1-2:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word.

What to Expect from My Preaching and Why

If you're used to a twenty-minute, immediately practical, relaxed talk, you won't find that from what I've just described.

I preach twice that long;
I do not aim to be immediately practical but eternally helpful;
and I am not relaxed.
I standing vigilantly on the precipice of eternity speaking to people who this week could go over the edge whether they are ready to or not. I will be called to account for what I said there.

That's what I mean by preaching.

Monday, May 11, 2009

If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was Published in Christianity Today

from Sacred Sandwich.


Dear Christianity Today:
In response to Paul D. Apostle’s article about the Galatian church in your January issue, I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone of this hit piece. Why the negativity? Has he been to the Galatian church recently? I happen to know some of the people at that church, and they are the most loving, caring people I’ve ever met.
Phyllis Snodgrass; Ann Arbor, MI
Dear Editor:
How arrogant of Mr. Apostle to think he has the right to judge these people and label them accursed. Isn’t that God’s job? Regardless of this circumcision issue, these Galatians believe in Jesus just as much as he does, and it is very Pharisaical to condemn them just because they differ on such a secondary issue. Personally, I don’t want a sharp instrument anywhere near my zipper, but that doesn’t give me the right to judge how someone else follows Christ. Can’t we just focus on our common commitment to Christ and furthering His kingdom, instead of tearing down fellow believers over petty doctrinal matters?
Ed Bilgeway; Tonganoxie, KS
Dear CT:
I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle in the past, and frankly I’m surprised you felt that his recurrent criticisms of the Church deserved to be printed in your magazine. Mr. Apostle for many years now has had a penchant for thinking he has a right to “mark” certain Christian teachers who don’t agree with his biblical position. Certainly I commend him for desiring to stay faithful to God’s word, but I think he errs in being so dogmatic about his views to the point where he feels free to openly attack his brethren. His attitude makes it difficult to fully unify the Church, and gives credence to the opposition’s view that Christians are judgmental, arrogant people who never show God’s love.
Ken Groener; San Diego, CA
To the Editors:
Paul Apostle says that he hopes the Galatian teachers will cut off their own privates? What kind of Christian attitude is that? Shame on him!
Martha Bobbitt; Boulder, CO
Dear Christianity Today:
The fact that Paul Apostle brags about his public run-in with Peter Cephas, a well-respected leader and brother in Christ, exposes Mr. Apostle for the divisive figure that he has become in the Church today. His diatribe against the Galatian church is just more of the same misguided focus on an antiquated reliance on doctrine instead of love and tolerance. Just look how his hypercritical attitude has cast aspersions on homosexual believers and women elders! The real problem within the Church today is not the lack of doctrinal devotion, as Apostle seems to believe, but in our inability to be transformed by our individual journeys in the Spirit. Evidently, Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee, and is unable to let go and experience the genuine love for Christ that is coming from the Galatians who strive to worship God in their own special way.
William Zenby; Richmond, VA
Kind Editors:
I happen to be a member of First Christian Church of Galatia, and I take issue with Mr. Apostle’s article. How can he criticize a ministry that has been so blessed by God? Our church has baptized many new members and has made huge in-roads in the Jewish community with our pragmatic view on circumcision. Such a “seeker-sensitive” approach has given the Jews the respect they deserve for being God’s chosen people for thousands of years. In addition, every Gentile in our midst has felt honored to engage in the many edifying rituals of the Hebrew heritage, including circumcision, without losing their passion for Jesus. My advice to Mr. Apostle is to stick to spreading the gospel message of Christ’s unconditional love, and quit criticizing what God is clearly blessing in other churches.
Miriam “Betty” Ben-Hur; Galatia, Turkey
EDITOR’S NOTE: Christianity Today apologizes for our rash decision in publishing Paul Apostle’s exposé of the Galatian church. Had we known the extent in which our readership and advertisers would withdraw their financial support, we never would have printed such unpopular biblical truth. We regret any damage we may have caused in propagating the doctrines of Christ.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You might be a Reformed male if...

No one has ever heard of the beer you are currently drinking.

You've named or plan to name your first son John, Jonathan, Charles, Knox, Owen, Calvin, Martin, Luther, Martin Luther, or Jean.

You have a beard (or wish you did).

You smoke a pipe.

You consult the PCA church directory when planning domestic vacations.

You dream of being accidentally left behind after hours in the Curry library (which, if you don't happen to be in the know, currently houses around 7,000 books from Charles Spurgeon's personal library).

You have a dream Bible.

You've considered Wittenberg, Germany as a great honeymoon destination.

You know what PCA, OPC, CREC, EPC, RPCNA, and APC stand for.

You refer to non-Christians as "unregenerates."

John Piper really is your homeboy.

You don't shop at Christian bookstores.

You've used the line, "Baby, your name must be Grace because you are irresistible" on women.

It's "Reformation Day" not "Halloween."

You've taped a copy of the 95 theses to the door of the nearest Catholic or seeker sensitive church on Reformation Day.

You can finish the names of each of these men:

B. B.
R. L.
J. C.
C. H.

You end each email with "Soli Deo Gloria."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Great Offense - Sinning Against Mercy

"And so Capernaum, that was lifted up to heaven, was threatened to be thrown down to hell. No souls fall so low into hell, if they fall, as those souls that by a hand of mercy are lifted up nearest to heaven. You slight souls that are so apt to abuse mercy, consider this, that in the gospel days, the plagues that God inflicts upon the despisers and abusers of mercy are usually spiritual plagues; as blindness of mid, hardness of heart, benumbedness of conscience, which are ten thousand times worse than the worst of outward plagues that can befall you..."

"Oh! therefore, whenever Satan shall present God to the soul as one made up all of mercy, that he may draw thee to do wickedly, say unto him, that sins against mercy will bring upon the soul the greatest misery; and therefore whatever becomes of thee, thou wilt not sin against mercy."

Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, Banner of Truth Trust, 53.