Kingdom Catalysts

As a younger man, I was privileged to do a pastoral internship under Dr. Roy Blackwood in Indianapolis. One of the many lessons he taught me and demonstrated with his life that summer was that we should always be what he called “catalysts for the kingdom of God.”

Roy was trained in chemistry, and understood a catalyst was “a substance that causes, or at least accelerates, a chemical reaction between two other substances without being affected itself.” For a household example of a catalyst, if you have those white, lime spots on your glassware from your dishwater, you can soak them in some vinegar to get rid of the spots. But it takes quite some time for the spots to disappear. However, add to the vinegar some rubbing alcohol, which serves as a catalyst, and the vinegar works much more quickly to do the job.

Similarly, Roy understood that often our gifts are not the best ones to employ for a need at hand because we lack the “proper chemistry.” Instead, many times the best thing one can do for the kingdom of God is to introduce two people or even two ministries to one another that could benefit mutually and then “get out of the […]


Ten Truths For Thomas

I’ve just about finished writing an article on ‘Preparing to Preach Isaiah’, and having deposited 4k of weariness onto the treadmill, I’m in a position to type a few brief thoughts on the folly of unbelief and the overwhelming reasons Isaiah provides for faith in Israel’s God.

My targets in this article are Doubting David’s and Skeptical Sarah’s – which in the end basically means all of us at one time or another. in life’s varied faith-shaking circumstances.

Isaiah shows us what unbelief leads to – idolatry, rebellion, moral decay, judgment and exile as he explains in chapter 1 (and at various other points in the book).
Isaiah shows us what is in store for believing people from all nations who stream to Zion in chapter 2.1-6.
Isaiah shows why God really hates unbelief and idolatry because He is Holy, Holy, Holy and has given us a holy calling, so if you are tempted to doubt fall down on your face before God in chapter 6.1-8.
Isaiah makes the most stupendous predictions (in spite of what some continue to insist) of the most remarkable events such as the Virgin Birth of the Saviour in chapter 7.14, the everlasting Government of the Messianic Son of David in chapter 9.6-8, […]


A Little Gem in Job

One of the beautiful but subtle gems of Scripture is found in the book of Job.

Job was a rich man of antiquity before the Lord allowed great calamity to overtake him.

At the outset of the story Job had seven sons and three daughters (1:2). He also had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys (1:3). Every last one of the animals was stolen or killed, and a wind storm struck the house where all of his children were dining and they all died. What great loss and grief!

After his ensuing suffering, satanic attacks, and intense dialogue with his friends and his Lord, God restored his wealth. And then some.

In his later years, he received 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys (42:12). He also had seven sons and three daughters (42:13).

It doesn’t take a math whiz to see that the number of animals Job received in his restoration is double the former number. Yet, if God is so good, why did Job not father another fourteen sons and six daughters?

Why not? Well, that’s the gem that is hidden in plain sight. Job did receive twice as many children as he had previously. […]


3GT: Trinity Talk

Other than a brief moment of chuckling at some pictures of Kyle in his younger years, we spent our time talking about the current scuffle over the Trinity.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/3gt-18.mp3

Download

Oh, yeah, and some pictures 🙂


Calvin on Christian Sobriety

One of the devotional habits I have practiced over the past few summers is to read slowly, section-by-section, through A Guide to Christian Living. A gift from a friend, this small book is taken from Book 3 of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. The teachings are laid out clearly in short sections. I find these meditations orient heart and life, for Calvin helps the believer see how union with Christ leads to the proper practice of our Christian duties.

I share now a short section on sobriety with you I recently read and, in the battle with my own flesh, keep striving to practice. Calvin is commenting on Titus 2:11-14, where we are told that Christ’s salvation teaches us to cast away “all ungodliness and worldly desires, and thus to live sober, righteous, and holy lives in this world” as we await Christ’s final coming. Note that by speaking of sobriety Calvin does not just mean abstaining from drunkenness, though certainly that would be included. Rather, he means the moderate use of any of God’s gifts to us.

Sobriety designates chastity and moderation, and a pure and disciplined use of God’s gifts, together with patience in a time of poverty…Nothing, […]


Browse Worthy: Prayer Helps

Noticed some prayer encouragements these past days being offered from a variety of sources. Here are a few links that may help you to pray with more strength, focus, and quantity.

Weep, Love, and Pray: A Christian Response to Dallas, Castille, and Sterling | David Murray

Though the news cycle can drive these tragedies to the back of our minds too quickly, praying in the manner set before us here helps keep them before us and the Lord in a godly way.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer | Melissa Edgington

Some great tips for mothers who have little uninterrupted time for prayer through the course of their days.

Five Things I Pray I Will Not Do as a Senior Adult in the Church | Thom Ranier

As the hair grays and the bones ache more, one can tend to become more cynical as well. Here are some good prayers to keep this from happening.

R.C. Sproul on the Other Comforter | Nathan Bingham

A short, comforting excerpt from a talk by Dr. Sproul that reminds us we always have strength and power available, which helps us when we pray.

Pray Continually | Titus Martin

One of my pastors preached this encouraging message from the familiar text of I Thessalonians 5:17.

Do Not Be Anxious About Anything […]


When We Say, “I Forgive You”

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

What do we mean we say, “I forgive you”? More importantly, do we mean what the Bible means?

When we really dig into Scripture’s teaching on forgiveness, we find that it stretches and challenges us, forcing us into the uncomfortable territory of being more like Jesus. Without further ado, taking our cues from God’s Word and God’s forgiveness, here’s what we should mean when we say “I forgive you”:


Help! My Congregation Struggles With My Preaching

In a previous post I wrote about the real spiritual crisis some people have with regard to their pastor’s preaching. Wanting to be fed, convicted, helped, and encouraged, there are those who week-by-week struggle to benefit from the preaching they receive. Sympathetically, that’s a difficult place to be spiritually. Whether I was successful or not I attempted to redirect people to acknowledge that many of the problems don’t begin at the pulpit but in the pew. In doing so, I said very little with regard to how a pastor should respond. But it is often the case that not all the problems are sitting in the pews. Some of them are standing in the pulpit. That too can be a real dilemma. After all, preaching is the center of a pastor’s ministry and something he should pour himself heart and soul into. When congregants struggle with that preaching it’s not easy to face their concerns–yet it is absolutely necessary.

Allow me, by way of preface, to say two things so you know the direction from which I am coming. First, in my short experience as a preacher–I stood in a pulpit for the first time a little over ten years ago–I’ve […]


Audio Picks

This week’s episode of This American Life features an interesting look into the backroom, candidate vetting process of the Republican party.  Its about wealthy donors and the game of money.
I’ve never heard of Black Hebrew Israelites before.  They’re frighteningly heretical.  James White recently stumbled upon them and has been devoting a bit of attention to the movement.  If you want to see the face of full-throttled eisegesis, listen to this debate on The Dividing Line.  It is scary how blind one can be in their handling of the Scriptures.
In his message God’s Peculiar Glory, John Piper begins by saying, “For the last two years, I have focused in a greater way than ever before in my life on the question of how we know that the Christian Scriptures are completely true, and then, in view of that, how we should read them.”  The rest of the message is his answer to the issue.  That should hook you.

 

 


The Immaturity of Addiction

A person who has practiced addictive behaviors for a good portion of his life once told me an insight he had been given. Though it came from a secular source, this observation rings true. He was told that one of the side effects of addiction to drugs and alcohol is immaturity. In fact, the counselor told the class my friend was attending that at the age you began to use intoxicating substances to get drunk or high in an ongoing way is the basic maturity level you currently have. For instance, if someone began to use drugs heavily at age sixteen and was now twenty-four, such areas as his mental, relational, and work maturity levels would roughly still be that of a teenager. You simply stop maturing very much when you do drugs.

This rule of thumb makes sense under closer observation. When someone begins to abuse substances repeatedly, they are often exchanging responsibility for pleasure. Many addicts enter this lifestyle to escape hard circumstances, trials, or truths about themselves they do not want to face. Consequently, the lessons they would have learned in meeting these situations, dealing with them constructively, and growing in maturity through them are lost opportunities. If you ever wonder […]