6-String Salvo, October 31, 2014

bigstock-Guitar-950679The secular world calls today Halloween and the Christian world calls it Reformation Day.  Today’s salvo has a little mixture of both…

1. For the Christians who participate in Halloween, here are the 9 Christian Halloween costumes from Aaron Earls.

2. Jon Bloom says that Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve,  is a great time to shine the light of Christ and the gospel.

3. Robert Rothwell answers the question “What is Reformation Day all about?”

4. Some might be surprised at Nathan Busenitz’s response, but you shouldn’t be, to the question “What caused the Reformation?”

And in other interesting tidbits…

5. LifeWay Research has found that Americans believe in heaven, hell, and a little bit of heresy.

6. Ryan Shelton says that corporate worship is better than your quiet time.

And here’s John Fogerty with CCR’s Bad Moon Rising

A Reformation Meditation

Last night we had our annual Reformation Service.  Below is my meditation…

Imagine you were without God and without hope in this world.  Imagine you were a sinner living your life as if there is no God but still had a conscience that convicted you of your sin.

Worse, imagine you were a religious person incredible faithful to your religious practices, believing that in those practices forgiveness for sin was found and that your conscience could be eased…but it never happened.  You never felt loved, never felt at peace, never felt hope, never felt forgiven.  Even as a religiously righteous person, your practices didn’t ease your guilt but only increased it.

The Reformation isn’t about the Roman Catholic Church, it’s not about a German monk, it’s not about Calvinism, and it’s not about throwing off the yoke of political tyranny.  The Reformation at its heart is about the gospel.

The Reformation teaches us that Holy Scripture alone tells us the will of God for our lives and how we are to be saved, not the church or its traditions.

The Reformation teaches us that we are saved by grace alone and that works are the fruit of our salvation, not the root.

The Reformation teaches us that we are saved by faith alone as we look to the object of our faith, the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Reformation teaches us that our salvation is found in Christ alone for only the Son of God could save us from the wrath of God we fully deserved.

The Reformation teaches us that all these are for the glory of God alone for only He is worthy to be worshiped and praised.  No church, no tradition, no man should ever be worshiped.

What does this mean for the sinner whose conscience still convicts him or the religious person who still feels guilt?  The Reformation points us to the truth that Paul preached, that the entire Bible preaches…

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (HCSB) 12  I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry—13  one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. 14  And the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15  This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. 16  But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst ⌊of them⌋, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

And so the Reformation teaches us what the Scriptures teach us: that Christ has lived a righteous so that we can have His righteousness, He has died satisfying the wrath of God in full so that we who are sinners would not have to, and He is risen from the dead as the first fruits of many brothers and sisters.  And that if we will repent of our sins and trust in the finished work of Christ, we will be saved.  And all this to the honor and glory of God.

The Reformation is about God, about sinners, about the gospel, and about hope.  Which is why the Reformation is both important and not over.  For we live in a city full of sinners who need the hope that can only come from turning from their sins and placing their faith in Jesus Christ alone.  They need to hear the gospel.

What is Intimacy Anyway?

Intimacy.  The word conjures up many thoughts about what it means.  For some, intimacy means sex.  For others it means closeness in proximity, a small gathering.

For years I’ve done both premarital and marital counseling.  And I always talk about intimacy, but not the intimacy of sex or the intimacy of closeness or a small gathering.

When I talk about intimacy with couples, here’s what I mean.  Intimacy means vulnerability.  It means I have a willingness to drop my guard with another with the belief that the other will not only still receive me, but will protect what I share and treat it with gentleness.  Intimacy means when I become vulnerable, what I share won’t be used against me later as a club.  Intimacy means fear has been removed and replaced by trust.

Some people assume intimacy and are hurt.  Others move to intimacy too quickly and are hurt.  Intimacy is meant to grow as a friendship grows, as a marriage grows.  That’s why couples who have been married for many years have a more meaningful marriage now than they did in their honeymoon days.  They have such a deep, unshakeable trust in one another that vulnerability with one another is without fear.  They keep no secrets.  They protect one another, value one another, and encourage one another.  In a sense, they are “naked” before one another and feel no shame.

Intimacy is the joyful product of a life-time marriage commitment until death alone parts a couple.

And people long for intimacy.  But many won’t live out the commitment that produces it.  Intimacy is forged in the fires of trials lived through together.  Intimacy is strengthened through confession and forgiveness.  Intimacy grows through a life-time of laughter and tears, rejoicing and sorrow, sickness and health.

Strong marriages are built on the foundation of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.  Intimate marriages are built through vulnerability and trust which produces a life-time of joy and trust.

What if You Marry the Wrong Person?

One of the reasons why many people hold off marriage, or are quick to divorce, is that they feel they haven’t found the right person or that they’ve married the wrong person.  This fear is brought on by the “soulmate” myth, that there’s one person out there in the cosmic universe for whom I was created and that person for me.  And since there are billions of options,  a person could work himself into a frenzy of fear as to whom he should marry.  And once married, it doesn’t get any better.  If me and the spouse don’t get along, it must be because I missed my soulmate.

I like what John Piper says in this tweet…

Biblical commitment in marriage helps us to see that I’m to love the one I’m with.  Biblical commitment before marriage helps me to see that my future spouse will be the one I commit to until death alone parts us.

For the single adult, especially the Christian single adult, find someone who loves Jesus more than you, someone who will commit to you, and pursue them with all your might to the glory of God making sure you’ll never love them more than you love Jesus and that you’ll be committed to them until death alone parts you.  No single adult is wrong for taking marriage seriously.  A single adult is wrong when fear of marrying the wrong person leads him/her into seeking the mythical soulmate.

And for the person who’s already married and wondering if they married the wrong person, you may have married for the wrong reasons and/or you may have married a person with whom you’re unequally yoked.  But assuming there is no biblical reason for separation or divorce, you didn’t marry the wrong person.  Set your love upon them, a committed love that models Christ’s love for the church.  Marriage is difficult because two sinners come together as husband and wife.  Don’t make it more difficult my looking past your spouse for a non-existent soulmate.


A Half-Full Sermon…Some Notes

You can listen to the sermon here.

Yesterday was a really wonderful day for which I give our Lord the glory.  Our church needs revitalizing, and so I shared 3 things I’m asking our church to do…

1. Pray.  Believing God wants to do more than we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21), we must be a church that’s a praying church.

2. Participate.  I encouraged our folks to be more regular in attendance because of the encouragement of Hebrews 10:24-25, to be on time for both the worship gathering and for LIFE Groups showing a spirit of expectancy and anticipation, to join the choir, to start new small groups, and more.  Seeing our church revitalized has to be all of us working together for His glory and for the lost of our city.

3. Proclaim.  We must understand that our county is unreached and is a mission field.  We can’t continue on with business as usual.  People will die and spend an eternity in hell if they don’t repent of their sins and trust in the finished work of Jesus.  Every member must take on the responsibility for the lost of our city.  The Lord has given our culture wonderful ways to get the news out, including social media.  But nothing takes the place of personal involvement in the lives of our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family.

For 3BC member, one way we’re asking them to proclaim is by telling us how God is working in their lives by emailing their stories to mystory@3bconline.com.  We’ll share these stories through social media and in our weekly gathering.

I’m grateful to the Lord for the response to yesterday’s sermon and believe God will empower us by His Spirit to make a difference in the lostness of our city.

A Half-Full Sermon

Today’s sermon interrupts our series in 2 Corinthians.  The sermon today is from Ephesians 3:20-21…

Ephesians 3:20-21 (HCSB) 20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday Stuff

*With the new slate of DC movies coming up, lots of people have lots of opinions.  Here’s one opinion on how to make the new Green Lantern movie work.

*In other DC movie news, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is being targeted for the August 5, 2016 movie Suicide Squad.

*In one more DC movie news, the Wonder Woman movie scheduled for 2017 may be looking for a female director.

*But in the best news of all this week, here’s a teaser trailer for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron scheduled for May 1, 2015…


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