Archives for March 2016

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Living in the Death of Christ

Tonight I had the joy of preaching on a life lived in the death of Christ from Romans 6. You can listen here. Where there is a superabundance of sin in Adam and his sons, there is a greater superabundance of grace in Jesus Christ. So stop laboring and start believing, trusting, thanking and living. The gospel of Jesus Christ is received not achieved to bring about change...

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Justice and Mercy

How can God be just and at the same time merciful? How can God show mercy to wicked sinners and remain just and holy? A just judge would be declared unjust and unfit for his role if he allowed the guilty to go free. We would expect the judge to be just by judging the guilty, and the guilty we would expect to pay the penalty for their guilt. Our expectations are legal. Our ...

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Thinking on Christ

The Psalmist encourages those who belong to the family of God to "Delight yourself in the Lord" and follows with a promise, "and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4). The secular mind and imagination, like her predecessors, is stirred by desire and passion for things that make meaning. He delights in what makes life worthwhile and his desires chase the...

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Jesus Christ, True God and True Man

The Belgic Confession states the truth concerning the "Two Natures of Christ" in Article 19: We believe that by being thus conceived the person of the Son has been inseparably united and joined together with human nature, in such a way that there are not two Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in a single person, with each nature retaining its own distinc...

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'Gone Fishin'

Yesterday was a day to remember. I went fishing. Not man fishing but fish fishing. I worked the morning and then at lunch I walked out of the office saying, "I'm going fishing and will be out of touch until later tonight." Yes, I took my phone, but I didn't answer it. We put the boat in around 3 pm, we drifted out into this beautiful 35 acre pond, I tied on a plastic worm ...

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God's Covenant with Man

Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant with Man 4: This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.[150] 5: This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the G...

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In today's everyday doctrines we consider the "humiliation of Christ". In the classic text on humility the apostle Paul exhorts those in the church who are struggling to get along to humble themselves saying, "count others more significant than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3). This imperative is then followed by an indicative of where church folks get this "humility". He sa...

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Learning to Pray

Prayer is learned. It is what the justified do at the entrance into God's kingdom as we seek him for his mercy in Christ (Lk.18:13-14), and it is how we continue to live in the way of his kingdom until he comes again to find faith on the earth (Lk.18:1-8). Throughout life lived in Christ prayer is learned. By observing a prescription for prayer given by Jesus in the gospel...

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Celebrate Recovery

"Celebrate Recovery" is the name of a 'Christian' program that seeks to help those who struggle with the sin of addiction. In 1561 the Belgic Confession was made available to the church of the Netherlands, and this confession of faith served the church to know and celebrate the true God who came to them in their sin. In Article 17 of the Belgic Confession we are given eve...

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Help! I Need a Priest Who Will Not Abuse Me

"Help I need a priest. Not one who abuses me for their own pleasure and security, but one who gives his life for me and lives for my secure intimate freedom in the God who made me." The world is filled with sinful priests who cannot satisfy this human cry. We are constantly reminded of it. Whether we see it in the Academy Award winning film,Spotlight, or in recent headlin...

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Man in Relationship or Covenant

Man lives and dies in relationship. I can sit on my back deck and stare up at the stars and pretend that I am not in relationship to the One who made the stars one by one, named them and put them in place. Although his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature are clearly perceived in the the things he has made and sustains (Romans 1:18), I can suppr...

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Learning to Pray - The Lord's Prayer

Learning to pray is a lifelong endeavor. While prayer is a duty of the Christian life played out in communication between creature and the Creator, it is a duty that turns to delight when the person in Christ is once for all glorified. But until that time it is a duty not to be neglected by the children of the living God. Therefore, every child of God should be found in hi...

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"Kindness is Magic"

"Kindness is magic", Derek said while reflecting on the value of Joan's life. Joan was an elderly lady living in the nursing home where Derek shows kindness. Joan passed away in her bed while Derek was away on a Wednesday playing the lottery. Every other Wednesday Joan went with him and chanced her small coins on a scratch card. This Wednesday she stayed back, and when De...

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The Christ, Prophet

The Larger Catechism of the Westminster Standards teaches us of Christ or Mediator who is our Prophet. Q. 42. Why was our Mediator called Christ?A. Our Mediator was called Christ, because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost above measure, and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his church...

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Parenting Original Sinners

As a parent I recognize there is nothing original about my children's sin. When I see their sin I see my own. It seems as though they are not doing anything original themselves but merely imitating me. However, with the writers of the Belgic Confession (see below) I reject the error of those who say that sin is "nothing else than a matter of imitation." I am a sinful paren...

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Children of the Covenant Who Die in Infancy

One of the darkest moments in parenting is enduring the death of a child in infancy. Motherhood and fatherhood pass quickly out of sight as an infant child is snatched from their arms and returned to the dust. The hopes and dreams of a long family life together are dashed, and what that child would have become in the world is never realized. For many the questions that loo...

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Stand By Your Man

Nancy Reagan died this past weekend and she is remembered as the wife of Ronald Reagan. Not that she didn't do many great things in her lifetime, but as one journalist wrote this week, 'Her aim in her marriage was to make Ronnie great.' A great lady is remembered because she sought to make her husband great. Sounds liberating. On another front Jay Nordlinger, who writes f...

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Techno Sermons

I'm a regular partaker of techno sermons from techno preachers who regularly become my techno pastors. There is great value to my soul and my practice as a preacher and pastor in listening to sermons on the web, but there are also some considerable dangers, and more so for parishioners (that's an old fashioned word for church members) than pastors. Dr. Sinclair Ferguson s...

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Parenting Happy Children

"For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now." (Rom.8:22)"Groaning" in this life is not unrealistic. There is much about the reality of living in this world to groan about, and if we are not groaning we are not living honestly. Therefore raising children in a negative world is a reality. There is a constant barraging ...

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Everyday Doctrines - Man Created and Fallen

It is an election year and our expectations are great. But are they greater than the men and women we are trusting in to uphold our expectations? We believe God is just (Rom.3:25-26) and that he has created a world and filled it with image bearers who should pursue justice (Gen.9:6). But is this world filled with men and women who are just and who pursue justice? The Belgi...

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Everyday Doctrines - Man's Sin and Misery

Some people seem so happy and contented in their life of sin. Their pleasure is not to live pleasing to God with a love to their neighbor out of gratitude for his grace. They live to please their own selfish desires and this life seems to them and others as their pleasure. However, this life of man in his sin is an expressed life of misery. The writers of the Westminster ...

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Parenting Through Your Children's Disappointments

Sometimes there are disappointments. Not disappointments of your own, but those you feel for your children. Disappointments like...a friendship lost in a popularity contest, a loss in the column where they were so hopeful for a win, a girl who 'just wants to be friends', a boy who likes a girl who pays him more attention, a sudden illness, a separation from a pet they've l...

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Everyday Doctrines - God, Heavenly Father

Today's everyday doctrine fills our minds and hearts with the overwhelming goodness of having God as our Heavenly Father. The Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day Question 26 asks and answers regarding the the first statement in the Apostles' Creed in this manner, Question: WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE WHEN YOU SAY, "I BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH"?A...

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Everyday Doctrines - Man in Sin

Here is a portion ofWestminster Confession of FaithCHAPTER 6, Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof 1. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. 2. By t...

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Everyday Doctrines - Election

Today's everyday doctrine comes from the Canons of Dordt. The Christian Reformed Church, gives this brief introduction to the Canons of Dordt, "The Canons of Dordt come from an international synod of Reformed people held in Dordrecht, Netherlands... The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Netherlands is popularly known as th...

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