Monday, June 29, 2009

week two in colossians

Yesterday evening the youth and I discussed the second half of Colossians 1.

The Preeminence of Christ
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Paul’s Ministry to the Church
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.(ESV)
And some questions to think about:

1. Why is it important to understand that Christ is "the image of the invisible God"? How does this relate to the second commandment (Exodus 20:3-6) and Romans 1:21-25?

2. What is the meaning of "for him" in v. 16? How does this relate to salvation in Ephesians 1:11-14?

3. What does it mean for Christ to be preeminent in all things? For him to hold all things together? As head of the church? Firstborn of the dead?

4. What is the gospel of reconciliation here? (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:11-24)

5. How does the phrase "if you continue" relate to John 6:35-40? Does it mean you can fail at continuing?

6. What does it mean to "fill up what is lacking"? Was Christ not sufficient in all things?

7. What is the great mystery and glory that is revealed?

8. How does this change how your view God?

9. How does this change how your view yourself?

10. What does this lead us to do?


Sunday, June 28, 2009

church today

It was a busy day. I preached today on Luke 8:40-56 and we had a youth fundraising lunch.

Thankfully I left the planning of that up to several ladies in our church and it went flawlessly. I called on Saturday night to check on things and they had it all set up and ready to go for today. Fantastic. I'm so glad the body of Christ has room for idiots like me who can't plan a dinner at home, let alone a dinner for a church.

And, I'll end the day with the Senior High tonight...going through the rest of Colossians 1. Good stuff.

Here's a link to the sermon and a quick outline if you're interested:

Jesus miracles teach us things about Him and what He came to do. The two miracles in Luke 8 show us that:

1. You must be cleansed of your sin
2. You must be raised from the dead
3. These two are intertwined and cannot be seperated

For those who don't know Christ as Lord and Savior the text is there for you to hear the Gospel and believe.

For those who've experienced the grace of salvation it is there to lead us to fearful worship.


Friday, June 26, 2009

christian hedonism via furniture world?

Working at the family furniture store, I get to read a lot of furniture magazines. Some of them are quite enjoyable (if you like reading about mattress marketing techniques and the latest in fabric lawsuits.)

One magazine that consistently puts out good information is Furniture World. Their latest issue has a column written by The Traffic Guys: Brett Kitchen and Ethan Kap. I've seen their ads for years in the magazines we get...but I think this is my first time reading an article they've written.

I was struck in the opening paragraphs by the hedonsitic nature that they cling to in order to make effective advertisements. Read this and tell me if it sounds familiar:

Indeed, as you think about why you buy anything, take any action, or move in a specific direction, you will probably find that it's for one reason and one reason only...your own self-interest.

... For most people, if they stop on the side of the road and help a stranger who's car is out of gas, that's not self interest right?

Well, why do we (with the exception of saints and bodhisattvas) do such a thing in the first place? Of course we stop because we want to help, but deep down it's because helping that person is going to make us feel better, it's going to do something for us emotionally. Plus, not stopping is going to make us feel guilty.

So deep down, whether it's to make us feel good or avoid feeling of guilt, we are doing those things that will ultimately serve us.
These guys are serious about using this drive to get people in the doors of stores...and another fellow is serious about this drive in the world of Christendom.

John Piper has coined the phrase "Christian Hedonism" to help us understand that it is not bad to want to be joyful in something, but the only thing that can make us truly joyful and happy is Jesus Christ.

In his own words, "We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure—-pleasure in him."

Now, whether or not the Traffic Guys are Christians...I have no idea. But I do know that their idea of what drives people is well-known and can be used to make God look glorious.

Take pleasure in Christ and Him alone and become a Christian Hedonist today.


links of the week

Sorry I missed last week, I was so stoked about the wedding I went to that I forgot. My apologies.

Free stuff: It must be the week for kids stuff: Challies is giving away homeschooling curriculum, Tony Kummer is having a giveaway of Children Desiring God curriculum and stickies, Z is giving away Bruce Ware's new systematic theology for kids.

Also up for grabs is an autographed copy of How to Argue Like Jesus.(HT: Crossway) and a fiction book by Randy Alcorn.

You can also still sign up for a chance to win Bibleworks from or Jared's new book.

Thought provoking things:

John Piper on TV and movies.

Kevin DeYoung and
James MacDonald on why they love the Bible.

Pyro post on prayer.

An article on sharing the Gospel.

After all those heavy articles, here are some things to cool off your brain:

My sister posts some pictures that prove my nephew, Josiah, is awesome.

And, the scariest thing you'll read all week.

Now for some youtube:

The Princess Bride proves Calvinism (HT: Andy)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

my latest with wildlife

It seems that those crazy critters that roam around Rochester have made it their goal to hit me these last few weeks. And so, true to form, on my way back from Chicago one of the big guys decided to take a shot at my trusty Ford.

I got to spend last Friday night and Saturday hanging out in Chicago for my good friends' wedding. (Congrats Nate and Emily!) Well, due to peer pressure (and because I like to hang out) I stayed in Chicago until about midnight. That means that I would be getting home to Rochester at about 4am Indiana time...I lost an hour coming home.

I stopped off near Valpo to catch a quick 20 minute nap because I was really struggling to stay awake. Then, I decided to grab a snack a little while later because it helps me stay awake.

At this point I've been up for about 18 hours, which we all know is like driving drunk. Or maybe only I know that because I research sleep to sell beds. Maybe.

I'm really struggling about 10 miles from home but I'm so close that I decide to push through. At about the 4 mile mark I pass a deer and say a quick "Please, don't let me hit a deer" prayer. Apparantly, God really wanted the opposite.

I remember passing Olson Road and then I remember waking up (about 100 yards down the highway) to a thud and the hoof of a huge (and I do mean huge) deer smacking my windshield.

Ordinarily people snap to alertness and start to freak-out when these things happen. Not me. I woke up, thought "I just hit a deer going 55mph" and then I drove home. I didn't even hit the brakes.

The next morning I found that my trusty Ford had suffered only a busted grill. Thank God that it wasn't worse. Here's a pick of the damage and a video of the Turdy Point Buck that I hit.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

colossians 1

Over the summer I'm taking both the senior high and the junior high through the book of Colossians. Today we went over the first 14 verses.

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer
3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

9And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
My friend, Sarah Costa, recently posted some thoughts on Facebook on the importance of theology in discipleship. And here, Paul, makes the same case.

His prayer for the Christians in Colossae (and for all believers) is that they would be filled with all knowledge and wisdom so that you may be "fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work." He is clear that right teaching affects behavior. He is also clear that the right teaching is the gospel: "redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Our prayer for believers should be grounded in this. Praying that we would all continue to increase in knowledge of the God who saves so that we could live a life that glorifies him. Amen.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the unbelievably awesome rbf

It's Round Barn Festival time. And, thanks to my friend, Kira, I get to post some of the most awesome (and I do mean awesome) photos from the parade. Don't scroll too fast, you're gonna wanna savor these babies. (Notice the hillbilly speak.)

Without puttin' it off any longer:

We start with the most important (though not the greatest) part of the parade...the tractors. First the Deeres and then the Farmalls.

You can't have a good RBF parade without a creepy clown (who is a wrestler):

"Wanna be in the parade?" says the Grand Marshall.
"You betcher hound dog I do" you respond.
"Welp, ya gotta have a reason" he tells you.
"Reason...welp, we got ourselves a camo truck and an ATV, that reason 'nough?"
He says "Welcome to the RBF parade."

And now, the countdown to the best float in the history of mankind.

Please, take your time. I promise the number 1 is absolutely worth the wait. I guarantee you've (in the words of John Piper) "never, never, never, never,..never, never, never.....never, never, never, never, never" seen anything like it before. But don't skip down. These others aren't too shabby either.

Number 3, the guy who wanted to sell his truck (seriously, that was his his reason):

Ever seen a man on a toilet?
Ever seen a man on a toilet in a parade?
Ever seen a man on a toilet on a float that says "When your vehicle takes a dump call Wilson's"? (By the way, Wilson's is where I get all my auto-body work done.)

And, the number one, absolute, without a doubt best float that has ever graced the world. From the girl scout float (no other words needed):

There is no way that you can beat a bear hanging by a noose in a tent on a girl scout float. No way.


Friday, June 12, 2009

short story

go here and read it. i promise it's worth it.


HT:kevin mccarthy

links a'plenty

Free stuff: is giving away Bibleworks software, free album from Re:Sound at Noisetrade (which has free music all the time), a free copy of Your Jesus Is Too Safe by Jared Wilson, Discpleland children's curriculum giveaway, Crossway is giving away a new Bible, and your chance to win with Challies. (If you can't find the original language grammars...let me know and I'll tell you.)

Something to pray for: Myanmar famine.

The Gospel

And...some crazy Youtube videos I found last night:

Don't forget, you can always subscribe to my shared items here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

odd doings at fbc

Tonight, while I was sitting at the church studying (read: googling and watching dueling banjos on youtube) I heard a little squeak.

I got up and walked down the hallway, thinking that a friend was trying to sneak in and scare me (which happens on a fairly regular basis.) Seeing and hearing nothing, I went back to work.

So I'm sitting, as God ordained, reading and thinking and out of nowhere this HUGE! and I mean MONSTROUS! bat COMES FLYING AT ME AND HITS ME IN THE HEAD!!!

IN THE HEAD!! Not near my head, not next to my head, not around my head. INTO my head.

So, of course, I freak out a bit. The bat is bigger than most dogs and probably has 400 different kinds of rabies and bat flu. So, I do what any logical person would do. I run into the sanctuary and the bat follows me in.

After doing some sweet acrobatic maneuvers (that I learned from my gymnastics classes) I tumbled back into the office and slammed the door behind me, hoping that the bat had latched onto one of the giant rafters in the sanctuary.

Except, I forgot that I'd left the piano open and the light on. Not good. So, I took my Russian hat and flipped the piano shut and the light off.

Problem solved, until tomorrow...when the secretary gets here and a bat hits her in the head.

And, because I don't think you get how big this bat was...I'll draw you a picture:


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

puritan picks

I've been a subscriber to Netflix for a couple of months now. My most recent movie: Robin was awesome. Classic comedy with such lines as "Spiders, snakes and a lizard head. If I tattle-tale I'll die till I'm dead."

Back to the news at hand.

A few weeks ago I saw a little bit of newsfeed on facebook called Puritan Picks. I read the description and quickly became a fan.

Well, as of yesterday, Puritan Picks is up and running and I'm pretty excited. I think I might just cancel Netflix and get a little more meat in my diet of movies.

Give it a look:


Monday, June 8, 2009

upcoming sermon

My pastor and I are working through the book of Luke and preaching on all the folks that Jesus meets along the way. My first in the series will be Luke 8:40-56Luke 8:40-56

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus' feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!" But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler's house came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more." But Jesus on hearing this answered him, "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well." And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, "Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, "Child, arise." And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened. (ESV)
I know about the tassel (see Numbers 15:37-40) but I would welcome any thoughts on the two miracles. Specifically, I'd like to better understand the 'messianic secret' of Jesus saying to tell no one of the miracles he performed and anything regarding the raising of the dead girl.

I'll be reading Calvin's notes and Spurgeon's (if he has some) tomorrow.


Matt Henning

Matt and I met in college and started hanging out sometime at the beginning of our senior year. He went to IUPUI and I went to Butler but we both went to the same Campus Crusade meetings.

For most of that year we spent many late nights reading and writing commentary and theology. We also came up with some horrible ideas that, thankfully by the grace of God, never saw the light of day.

Matt was also the brainchild behind our infamous band Sealed.

Matt's a guy who is passionate about evangelism and discipleship and here are his answers to the questions:

What is the name of and location of your mission?

Indiana Cru: State of Indiana

Why did you decide to get into the ministry?

I believe college is right before students get married, start families, and begin a life in the church. Who they marry, how they raise a family, and what church they submit too-- is quite possibly the 3 most important decisions of their life.

What kinds of things do you do in your work to spread the gospel?

I run ministry at Butler University, Notre Dame, and IPFW. This year I will also be taking Valparaiso University. I disciple men, lead bible studies, organize outreaches, and hold weekly meetings at each campus. In a nutshell, I don't stop working and living life with college students.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

Pastor John Piper

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Only God knows, but hopefully pouring myself out like a drink offering somewhere...

I encourage you to check Matt out at his website (where you can pick up his book, read his blog and see some of the papers we wrote in college and financially back him in his ministry.)

Pray for Matt in Indy.


Friday, June 5, 2009

bunch of stuff for the week

Here are some of the top things out of my reader for the week. (If you'd like to see all of the 30 or so items I share in a week, go here.)

Free stuff: ESV Bible giveaway, Monergism Books giveaway (1599 Geneva Bible, ESV Study Bible, ESV Literary Study Bible),songs sampler from the soon to be launched Re:Sound, get into national parks for free, and Challies will probably have a post up later today for his giveaway.

Everything that D.A. "the Don" Carson has written.

A crazy story about a missionary.

Go watch Up

and be content.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

chance to win

The Monergism Bookstore (part of is having a sweet giveaway. Go here for your chance to win.

1st place: 1599 Geneva Bible Anniversary Edition
2nd place: ESV Study Bible
3rd place: ESV Literary Study Bible

Enter away.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Alex & Sarah Costa

I've known Alex since college, although we recently have gotten to know each other better. I had the privelege of attending his wedding last summer to Sarah. On top of the fact that it was a joyful Christian union, the music was top-notch.

I'll let him tell you some more about what he and Sarah are doing for the Gospel.

What is the name of and location of your mission?
I'm currently in transition. For the past three years, I worked with Campus Crusade for Christ at Ohio State. But now, my wife and I are moving to Long Beach, California to work with CCC's Latino ministry, Destino.

Why did you decide to get into the ministry?
I became a believer some time during my freshman year of college. Within three months of accepting Christ, I knew that I was called to full-time ministry. Since then, that feeling never wavered. My reasons for continuing in the ministry are similar to my reasons for wanting to originally get into it. I want to devote the best hours of my days to seeing the Gospel transform the lives of people. Some time around my sophomore year in college, my heart for world missions started growing. Surely anybody could be in ministry while doing a full-time job in the marketplace, but God is leading my wife and me overseas in the long-term. We want to see people who never heard of Jesus come in to a loving relationship with Him.

What kinds of things do you do in your work to spread the gospel?

I preach the Word. The power of the Gospel is a heart-level belief, and as it says in 10:17, faith comes from hearing. Because of this, I try to give as many people as possible an opportunity to hear. Also, I meet with guys in a discipleship relationship, and we share the Gospel together.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?
I'll break it down to four categories. 1) Obviously, Jesus. 2) Dead person - Spurgeon. Particularly his seven volume commentary on the Psalms "The Treasury of David." I haven't read every Psalm, but he goes so in depth, and his theology is rich. 3) Living person that I haven't met - This may be controversial, but I'm going to have to go with Paul Washer. God used him to remove me from having a mindset of decisionism to having a mindset of regeneration. In other words, I no longer look for people to pray a prayer to receive Christ so that I can count them in my tally of people who I have converted. I look for the signs of true conversion. I look for regeneration. God used Paul Washer to teach me that. 4) Living person that I know personally - My wife Sarah. That may sound cliche, but I seriously wish that you could compare my life before our wedding and after. My walk with God took off after we got married. Just her presence makes me more faithful in almost everything I do, including my study of the Word.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Sarah and I want to go overseas to the unreached. I'm going to start seminary in the Fall, while I'm in Long Beach, and hopefully graduate in six years. God could throw a wrench in there, but I believe that we'll leave the USA shortly after six years. We're praying that God would send us to India. Children are a blessing from the Lord, and I want to be blessed richly in that area. So hopefully in 10 years, my wife and I will be in India with our huge family reaching the lost and seeing Jesus move mountains in people's hearts.

I hope you'll join me in praying for the Costa's as they move out west over the summer. Also, if you're interested, they would love to have your financial support too. They have a site called Two Bones that is dedicated to their ministry and Alex blogs over at Spurgeon Dreamer.

Up next week is the man, the myth, the legend: Matt Henning.