Happy New Year!

It has been a while since my last post, but hey with Christmas and now New Years...well, let's just say that I'm probably not the only one. Anyway, happy new year; may the Lord be glorified in your lives this coming year! But, before I sign off, I want to encourage anyone who might read this blog to read more in the new year - not more of me, although that would be an encouragement to me - but more good books. I have one to suggest that I read in a day over Christmas - "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. For real...this should be required reading for the church! I will try to do a review next year...lol...for now I will just say that is the best book I have read in a while!! READ IT!!

"Crazy" Love in the Truth.

What Would Jesus Twitter?

Scott Thomas over at Acts 29 posted a list of Twitter "status updates" with a biblical twist. I don't twitter, but apparently alot of people do. I just thought it was a great little post; it made me laugh, and that's a good thing. So I figured I would post it here as well. So here goes:

Adam is lonely, really lonely, naming animals...starting with A - Aardvark
Adam is having surgery today - taking out a rib
Adam is the husband of the most beautiful woman in the world. Okay, she's the only one, but she isn't wearing any clothes
Eve is looking at pretty apples and talking to a snake. He's a sly little creature.
Adam is leaving the garden and shopping for "the perfect leaf" with Eve
Cain is hating his brother
Isaac is walking up the mountain with Dad to sacrifice
Abraham has a knife in hand but sees a ram caught in the bushes. Man that was close!
Noah is building a huge boat - really huge boat and the neighbors are complaining and laughing
Noah is really hating elephant dung and those two chimps are trying my patience
Joseph is in a hole and lost his favorite coat. This isn't funny anymore? Brothers?
Moses is walking through the Red Sea...no, really.
Samson is growing his hair out again
Ruth is sleeping at the foot of Boaz. He doesn't know I'm here.
Balaam is listening to his donkey talking to him
David is really glad the pretty girl moved in next door. Staying home from work today.
David is sick about his sin-confessed all, wrote a song
Solomon is writing Songs that all the boys want to read
Enoch is outta here
Job is sick of his friend's advise
Daniel is petting the lions
Nehemiah is building a big wall...be done in about 7 weeks.
John the Baptist is eating locusts and wild honey and looking for the One whose shoes I am not worthy to tie
Peter is walking on water-oops, not anymore
Zacchaeus is in a tree looking for Jesus
Judas is counting money
Jesus is sweating drops of blood in the Garden
Peter is hating that the rooster crows
Jesus is forgiving those who put Him on this cross
God is turning His back on His Son with the sin of the world upon him
Jesus is thirsty
Mary is wailing in agony
God is satisfied
Jesus is back!
Thomas is doubting it ever happened
Jesus is praying and sitting at the right hand of His Father
Holy Spirit is regenerating sinners
Jesus is redeeming the lost
God is glorified and is seeking worshippers

Well hopefully you got a laugh and a little Gospel Truth in there as well! Well done Scott!

Love in the Truth

A Gift For My Son!

Too Good To Pass Up!

That's Christmas!

That's Christmas! from andy pearce on Vimeo.

Love in the Truth

Planned Parenthood - What's Wrong with this Picture?

Indiana Planned Parenthood Covers Up Sexual Abuse of 13-year Old - video powered by Metacafe

Thanks to Z for posting this. Apparently this is the first part of a series of videos to expose the "not-so-hidden" agenda of Planned Parenthood.

Love in the Truth

Does Rick Warren Even Know the Gospel?

Just when you think that this guy can't screw it up again...he does. What is the purpose of Christmas Rick? Jesus wants to be my greatest benefit? He wants to show me what He's like? Honestly, my six-year-old can explain the gospel better than this guy. Anyway, decide for yourself. Watch and listen and then search the bible to see what's truth.

The Socialist, the Separatist, and the Lame Duck

It's times like these that I wish that I could draw caricatures! Can't you just picture the "lame duck" Dion - in a santa suit - with two little demons (Layton and Duceppe) flying over each shoulder filling his empty mind with their "wish list"? Surely there is someone out there with enough talent to draw such a picture and send it to me. I need to see it in the hopes that I could have a chuckle at this time. Wait, I know! Put them all in a sleigh being pulled by Bob "nice job you did in Ontario" Rae and Michael "the white Obama" Ignatieff leading them off to their utopia known as fantasy land while at the same time throwing money over the side like it was rain falling from heaven. Now that would be a funny picture.

But wait, I think that is what is actually happening here. Oops, my bad, I guess after all, it is just pathetic.

Love in the Truth.

The Gospel - Again!

For real - That was the goods, right there! Engage the culture with the TRUTH!!!

Love in the Truth.

The State of the Church

An interesting clip on the state of the church. It seems everyone agrees that there is problem, but how many of us are actually trying to change?

Get yourself a copy of Christless Christianity

Thanks to Fusion for pointing this out at Let My People Read.

Love in the Truth.

Voddie's "Fatal" Flaw

There you have it! I encourage to read the rest of Voddie's blog post on the matter, it is well worth the time. And, as Voddie says, "still holding to the Fives!"

Love in the Truth.

Cameron's First Game!

So this past Monday night Cameron, my son, attended his first Leafs game at "the hanger". Unfortunately, they lost - something that I've become accustomed to seeing! That said, it was still an exciting game to watch; they really should have won. The Bruins were for the most part outplayed and if not for a few goalposts, a crossbar, and a goaltender - Tim Thomas - who was at his best, the outcome would have been different.

Cameron loved it! "This is waaayyy better than the baseball game!" he told me at one point. Earlier in the year we had gone to our first Jays game together - he fell asleep!!!

For me it was a win-win. I am a proud member of Leaf's Nation so any chance to see my beloved Leafs play is awesome. But, this time was that much sweeter because I got to share it with my son. If you're a dad, you know what I mean (I should get in touch with Mastercard because that night would've made a great "priceless" commercial!). It was another reason to thank my God for the gift of my son. I mean I would not of traded that night with my son for anything. And yet, God gave up so much more than a Leafs game; He gave me His Son - priceless!

Love in the Truth

Phil Wickham - Singalong - For FREE

Ok, so how often does a recording artist give you an entire album (I'm showing my age!!), CD for nothing? How about never...or hardly ever, but no more thanks to Phil Wickham! Now if you're asking, "who's Phil Wickham?" Let's just say that here is your chance to find out!! Here's Phil telling all about it:

What have you got to lose...IT'S FREE!!!!

Love in the Truth

Dan Phillips Goes Off...and I think I just may agree.

Since the election south of the border is over and the outcome is a victory for Obama, alot of my shall we say "committed" dispy friends have already pulled out their "Larkin" charts and labelled Obama as the Anti-Christ. And to see the world's reaction to this election, one can almost see it. I'm not there by any means, but like Mr. Phillips, Obama and his "yes we can" clan don't give me the warm fuzzies.

Dan Phillips - one of the PYROS - posted his "thoughts" on the election yesterday. I'm thinking that the more I read what Dan has to say the more I would like to sit down over a coffee with him and chat. I like Dan; he has a knack of saying publicly what most only say privately. This is not a blanket endorsement of everything Dan Phillips but as I said - I like him.

Anyway, here's a little taste of Dan's thoughts:

I would encourage you to read the rest, but as Dan himself warns: "{It} is going to be brutal"

Love in the Truth.

Free and Calvin

I know what you're thinking when you read the title: "those two words shouldn't go together!" Anyway, you can "choose" (ok - enough of the little theological insiders) this months free book from Christian Audio - "Calvin - Of Prayer and the Christian Life" by John Calvin.

"Let the first rule of right prayer then be, to have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God." So begins John Calvin and his treatise on prayer. These seminal writings are from his Magnus Opus The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Prayer as Calvin describes it is not giddy, and he goes on to give Scriptural definitions of proper thought, engagement, and attitude.

Love in the Truth!


Follow the link to a short but funny post over at Purgatorio. For that matter, check out this blog on a regular basis! It is fast becoming my first stop every day - pure genius!

Love in the Truth.

Believe in Jesus Christ

Love in the Truth.

The Gospel - Keeping It Central

My brother Terry Stauffer has a great post on the gospel, and considering the trial that he and his family are walking through, it is a blessing to see the faithfulness of God and His servant. Continue to pray for the Stauffer family, and continue to praise their God - for He is good! Here is a sample of Terry's post:

You can check out the rest at Terry's blog: New Lumps

Love in the Truth.

Radical Womanhood

Albert Mohler - Taking the Measure of Joel Osteen

I love the Truth. I hope that is one of the things that I will remembered by. And because I love the truth, I have what can only be described as hatred for what is false - especially when it is selling itself as truth. Enter one - Joel Osteen. Now, I could very easily go on a rant about "smiley" Joel, but I came across this little "tidbit" by Al Mohler on SermonAudio. It is actually entitled "Taking the Measure of Joel Osteen". Mohler asks the question:
"Would anyone listening to Joel Osteen's messages possibly come to a knowledge of his or her need as a sinner for a Saviour? And come to know how that one can become forgiven by God? And redeemed through coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it possible? Is there even a shred of gospel content that would lead people this way?"
Al Mohler answers these questions in a typically brilliant Mohler fashion. At one point in answering a callers question Mohler states of Osteen: "He is taking an agnostic position, and anyone that does that is by definition a false teacher."
I would encourage everyone to listen to this message - for that matter pretty much anything by Al Mohler is worth listening to or reading. Also, I would encourage everyone to pray for Joel Osteen.
Love in the Truth.

You Need To Watch This

From Protest to Praise - Psalm 73 (Part 5)

People – The Testimony of Faith (vs 27-28)

Asaph comes full circle to God’s goodness. Not only is God good, but it is good for me to be near God. He is the Sovereign Lord who orders my steps, wherever He leads, I will follow. As Piper says, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” When others see this fact lived out – especially in suffering – that is a powerful testimony. In the darkest of times, the child of God knows a joy, a comfort, and peace that the natural man cannot know. Beloved, we have a great and glorious Saviour who, when we come to Him in worship turns our protest into praise. When genuine faith is tested it always triumphs. When faith triumphs it testifies to the world, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

I think we have all heard about the tragic death of Emily Joy Stauffer by now. If you haven’t – Emily was the 14-year-old daughter of Pastor Terry Stauffer and his wife Juanita, from a fellowship church in Edson, Alberta. On, Saturday, September 27, she was attacked and murdered while taking a walk in the afternoon. I don’t really know Terry at all except through his blog and a couple of emails. He posted this on Wednesday last week:

God is carrying us. He is using our family, church family and friends. God is also carrying us by His promises which were precious last week and tested and precious this week. So many people say to us, "I don't know what to say...." We understand that, but calls, notes and visits are eloquent all the same. We don't know how to begin to thank everyone for their expressions of love and support. Thank you, anyway. I have been keeping some notes in a journal, but I won't be blogging much here until next week, at least. Some of you may see strength when you see us and hear from us, but please know that we are very human. We run through the full range of emotions, but God is our refuge and strength. If you see any strength in us, understand that the glory is God's alone. He, most of all, is carrying us.

What story are you telling the world in the midst of trials – protest or praise?

Love in the Truth.

From Protest to Praise - Psalm 73 (Part 4)

Praise – The Triumph of Faith (vs 16-28)

The Worship Perspective of the Unrighteous (vs 16-20)
In verse 16 we see a dramatic change of heart and mind. Asaph moves from protest to praise. What changed his outlook? The answer, I believe, can be summed up in one word—worship: “When I tried to understand all this it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their final destiny” (vs. 16‑17). In the first 14 verses, God is hardly mentioned except on the mouths of the wicked. But, God now becomes the central theme of the Psalm. Rather than saying “they and them”, “you” (God) is the focus. When we fix our eyes on Him who is “altogether lovely” in worship, we too move from protest to praise.

John MacArthur says that worship is “the ultimate priority”, and he is right. Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” – that’s worship! We are completely content in God alone. Not in homes, and cars, and clothes, and stocks, and money, and things, but in HIM!!

Asaph had concluded that the wicked prospered and the righteous suffered, but this was a decision too hastily made. His conclusion had been reached on the basis of observations which were superficial. The fate of the wicked was viewed from a temporal perspective, not an eternal one. Asaph’s reasoning was based on human thinking, not on faith. While the wicked do prosper, their ulti­mate destiny is now viewed through the eyes of faith in accordance with the promises of God given in the Scriptures. The destiny of the wicked, rather than their immediate prosperity, should serve as a cure for the envy we sometimes have in our heart toward the lost. While one might be tempted to envy the present ease of life in which they lived, who would possibly desire to share in their future? Worship causes us to view life from an eternal perspective rather than merely an earthly one. In a moment – a flash – life can be over. The lost indeed are walking a slippery slope and their prosperity can turn to peril. In one heartbeat they are “destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!”

The Worship Perspective of the Self-righteous (vs 21-22)
There was a time when Asaph thought he was deserving of better from God. That is the theme of the first half of this Psalm. Underlying Asaph’s protest in verses 1‑14 was a faulty assumption—that while the wealthy were wicked, he was righteous. Only a man who thought himself righteous could reason: “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; In vain have I washed my hands in innocence” (v. 13).

I wonder how often we think that we deserve better. God is just not being fair! And yet the irony is that if God were to treat us fairly, “how suddenly {would we be} destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” Before he went to God in worship, Asaph viewed himself as distinct from others whom he saw as more wicked than himself. We too make this mistake. It is second nature for sinful man to compare himself with another sinful man and think, “I’m not as bad as that guy”. But when we’re forced to view ourselves in comparison with God, not wicked men, we are broken – no better than a “brute beast.”

The Secret Blessing – Faith Triumphs in Affliction (vs 23-26)
Asaph’s struggle was grounded in the “fact” that affliction is inapplicable to the “righteous”. That is the way that our bent minds tend to think isn’t it? “If the consequence of sin is judgment and suffering, then how could adversity possibly have a beneficial effect in the life of the saint?” The success of sinners and the suffering of saints was a problem too great for the mind of the psalmist to grasp, and far too often for us as well; but when he worshipped God, Asaph came to understand the blessing adversity had been in his life. On the other hand he was able to see that affluence had been detrimental to the wicked.

When we draw close to God in worship, we are awoken to the fact that our suffering has in fact has drawn God close to us and we see that He is faithful. And, we with Asaph are able to say with confidence “Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” Suffering in some way, shape, or form will be our portion in life—our “flesh and {our} heart may fail” — nevertheless, God will be sufficient for our every need (v. 26), and He will be our portion in eternity. Worship should remind us of yet another important truth. God has never promised to keep His people from suffering, but He has promised to be with His people in suffering.

From Protest to Praise - Psalm 73 (Part 3)

The Sinners “Success” (Vs 4-12)
Verses 4 and 5 describe the prosperity, the “shalom,” of the wicked mentioned in verse 3. His definition of “shalom” here is one that is almost entirely materialistic. While the wicked are not exempt from death, even that appears to be relatively free from struggle and pain. In general, the wealthy wicked seem to live above the trials of life, which are nevertheless the plight of the righteous (v. 5). In short, the wicked are experiencing the kind of “shalom” which Asaph believed should be experienced only by the righteous.

The psalmist is not condemning prosperity, but rather protesting God’s choice of who should prosper. The Old Testament frequently promised prosperity to the pious (cf. Deut. 28:1‑14). It also warned of divine judgment (cursing) when God’s law was ignored (cf. Deut. 28:15‑68). On the basis of these promises, the psalmist expected that he should have been one of those described in verses 4 and 5, rather than the wicked. Here is where we often fail as Asaph did. First, in response to our own suffering, we cry, “Why me, Lord?” Second, in response to the prosperity of the wicked, we complained, “Why them?” So often we like Asaph have nothing against owning a Rolls Royce; it’s just that we want to be the one in the driver’s seat rather than his ungodly neighbour.

If that wasn’t bad enough, verses 6-9 add to Asaph’s distress because of the blatant pride and arrogance of the wicked. Then, as now, the mentality was, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” or “he who dies with the most toys wins.” One could really begin to think that maybe I can have my “best life now”. The pride of the wicked was not merely reflected in their attitudes and actions toward men. The wicked became so bold that they openly mock God and elevate themselves to god‑like levels (v. 9; cf. Isa. 14:13‑14).

Verse 12 summarizes the complaint of Asaph concerning the wicked: they were carefree and they continued to prosper, even in their wickedness. In short, they enticed others to follow them and their evil example, and yet their lives were seemingly blessed with financial prosperity and physical well‑being, a fact, which seemed contradictory to the covenant God had made with Israel.

The Secret Sin – Faith Dies in Affluence (vs 13-15)
Verses 13 and 14 give the conclusion toward which the evidence led. If God is not blessing the righteous and cursing the wicked, the very thing promised in the Old Testament Law (Deut. 27–28), then what was the good of being righteous? Righteousness seemingly was not rewarded but punished. Faith certainly appeared to be vain. It looked contradictory to both God’s word and common sense.

I wonder how many of us have ever had the same thought; our own unspoken charge against God – our own little secret sin. We say a hearty AMEN to verse 1, but if we honest, we spend far too much time in the closet of verses 13 and 14. It is exactly the presupposition of Satan:

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 1:9‑11).

When we spend too much time in that place, the consequences can be deadly. Not only to ourselves, but others as well (vs 15). Our actions have a profound impact on others. This reminds me of last Sunday night. Pastor Jim did a masterful job of showing that his complaining about the car in front of him – that had “more than enough time to make that turn but didn’t” – causing him to wait for what seemed like an eternity at “another” red light – forcing him to say like Calvin: “I see no reason for this!” – was in fact a serious heart issue to God. We have all been there...haven’t we? Sure we have, if not, you may very well be a pathological liar...get help NOW!! Seriously though, I cannot think of one person who hasn’t experienced what would have to be defined as “justifiable road rage”.

I mean, I know he is right in saying that it’s wrong but honestly...That is honestly what I was thinking – “I know he is right in saying that it’s wrong but honestly...” And right at that point, and I mean exactly then, Meaghan taps me on the shoulder and says, “Daddy, you’ve done that before.” She had that look; the one that says, “I’ve been listening to what’s been said, and I know it’s wrong to do what’s been said, but you’ve done what’s been said, so is it really wrong?” I know – I hate that look too!!! The excuses died immediately. Not only was it wrong, but it had been noticed (many times, I might add) by my children. Could I have been teaching them that some sins are not that bad? That is exactly what I was doing. Just when my self righteousness was rearing its ugly head, I was rebuked by a 6 year old!

From Protest to Praise - Psalm 73 (Part 2)

Protest – The Testing of Faith (Ps 73:1-15)

Faith Affirmed (vs1)
The faith of the saints has always been rooted in the firm conviction of God’s existence and the assurance that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). In one sense, verse 1 is the conclusion of the matter. Asaph believed that God existed, that He was good, and that He was sovereign. In another sense, however, this verse was the basis of the psalmist’s problem. If God exists, and He is good so as to reward the righteous, and He is all?powerful, totally in control of His creation, then why is it that in God’s world the wicked seem to be doing better than the righteous? How can God be good to the pure in heart if observation convinces us that sinners succeed and saints suffer?

Two Problems (vs 2-3)
The first problem (vs 2 and 3a) is his personal spiritual turmoil. Asaph’s confession is crucial because it is intended to qualify his description of the wicked which follows. Everything the psalmist saw, and over which he agonized, was tainted by his own sinful attitude of envy. Asaph was consumed with greed, not grief. Asaph was not distressed so much by the sin of the successful as he was by the success of the sinful. We can easily deceive ourselves by becoming distraught over the wrong things. This is why we are instructed, “Do not fret because of evil men. Or be envious of those who do wrong” (Ps. 37:1).

The second problem which troubled Asaph was the “prosperity” of the wicked (v. 3b). It is important to understand the word “prosperity” used here. It is the Hebrew word “shalom”. The root meaning of shalom was “completion” or “fulfillment.” It implied wholeness and harmony, and to the Israelite, shalom summarized in one word the benefits or blessings that were promised in God’s covenant with Israel. As seen from the perspective of the Old Testament saint, we can understand why Asaph would have been perplexed by the prosperity of the wicked. From his point of view the covenant blessings of God were being poured out on the wicked. As he saw it, sinners were being blessed and saints cursed. It was as though God had turned His covenant upside-down.

Will continue with this next week...

Love in the Truth

From Protest To Praise - Psalm 73 - Part 1

I had the opportunity to preach from Psalm 73 recently, and I figured that I would share my thoughts here. Here is the outline that I used:
From Protest To Praise – Psalm 73

Intro: The Fundamental Question

1. Protest – The Testing of Faith (vs 1-15)

A. Faith Affirmed (vs1)
B. Two Problems (vs2-3)
C. The Sinners “Success” (vs 4-12)
D. The Secret Sin – Faith Dies in Affluence (vs 13-15)

2. Praise – The Triumph of Faith (vs 16-26)

A. The Worship Perspective of the Unrighteous (vs 16-20)
B. The Worship Perspective of the Self-Righteous (vs 21-22)
C. The Secret Blessing – Faith Triumphs in Affliction (vs 23-26)

3. People – The Testimony of Faith (vs 27-28)

A. Full Circle
B. “Carried” – What Story Are You Telling?

So, here are my thoughts:
Intro: The Fundamental Question
The fundamental question underlying Psalm 73 is, “How can a good God allow the righteous to suffer?” This question has puzzled saints and pleased skeptics over the centuries. This psalm and the question with which it deals is extremely important to us, both for the purpose of apologetics (defending our faith) and in order to preserve our faith in the midst of life’s trials. Many Christians today seem to think that faith in God comes with a guarantee of freedom from adversity. In fact, too many of our evangelistic appeals are tainted with the false promise (implied or stated) that coming to faith in Christ will deliver men from their trials in life. When young Christians come to the realization that this is not so, their faith is sometimes severely shaken.

The question, “How can a good God allow the righteous to suffer?” reveals at least fallacies in our thinking. The first is the assumption that suffering is always evil and therefore irreconcilable with God’s goodness. The second is a failure to understand righteousness, so far as it relates to the saint, the true child of God. In answer to the problem of pain, this psalm forces us to take another look at our definition of good, lest we accuse God of being the author of evil by allowing us to suffer.

“We may indicate the distinctive nature of the solution offered in this psalm by noting that it penetrates deeper than does any other that has ever been attempted on the Old Testament level. It mounts to the very presence of God, holds close to Him, and then views the situation from that vantage point.” H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House [reprint], 1969), p. 523.

Next time we'll get into the text!

Love in the Truth

Truth for the Family

I am looking forward to attending the "God's Design For Family Life" - Conference - hosted by Jarvis Street Baptist Church and Toronto Baptist Seminary this weekend. Featuring Jerry Marcelino, author of Recovering The Lost Tools of Family Worship, Daniel Akin, President and Professor of Preaching & Theology of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina, Michael A.G. Haykin, adjunct professor of TBS, and Kirk Wellum, interim principal of TBS. The teaching, no doubt, will be excellent (although, I have to say that I'm a little disappointed that it appears Phil Johnson will not be speaking now).

However, the time together with Jennifer - just the two of us - for the weekend is really what I'm looking forward too. I truly am blessed beyond measure in having her as my wife. Grandma and Grandpa are in town to look after the kids - woohoo! So, not only will we get to sit under some great teaching, but we'll have a weekend getaway as well!! God is good!

"Daddy, You've Done That Before"

Last night at church we were "blessed" to hear a message on complaining. Don't get me wrong, it truly was a blessing, but it was also convicting. Our brother unpacked the principle that our complaints - even about the smallest of things - are an offense to our sovereign Lord who has ordered all our steps. It was one of those sermons we don't like to hear. I mean we can't even shrug it off by thinking "boy, so-and-so should really be hearing this" like we so often do. We are all profoundly guilty of complaining at some time. Our only real defense is that we seem to think we can justify it most times. But, last night, the Lord moved in a way that simply broke me of any and all excuses I could ever come up with. How, you ask? Well, let's just say that my brother did a masterful job of showing that his complaining about the car in front of him - that had "more than enough time to make that turn but didn't" - causing him to wait for what seemed like an eternity at "another" red light - forcing him to say like Calvin: "I see no reason for this!" - was in fact a serious heart issue to God.

Enter Excuses:
We have all been there...haven't we? Sure we have, if not, you may very well be a pathological liar...get help NOW!! Seriously though, I cannot think of one person who hasn't experienced what would have to be defined as "justifiable road rage". I mean, I know he is right in saying that it's wrong but honestly...

Enter Conviction:
That is honestly what I was thinking - "I know he is right in saying that it's wrong but honestly..." And right at that point, and I mean exactly then, my 6 year old daughter Meaghan taps me on the shoulder and says, "Daddy, you've done that before." She had that look; the one that says, "I've been listening to what's been said, and I know it's wrong to do what's been said, but you've done what's been said, so is it really wrong?" I know - I hate that look too!!! The excuses died immediately. Not only was it wrong, but it had been noticed (many times, I might add) by my children. Could I have been teaching them that some sins are not that bad? That is exactly what I was doing. Just when my self righteousness was rearing its ugly head, I was rebuked by a 6 year old!

I love my God! I love the fact that I can see evidence of His amazing grace in my children. I love the fact that He can use my sin to teach me - even through my daughter. I love the fact that He is teaching me to teach my children to Love Him more than they love me. I am overwhelmingly content to be "the [second] best Daddy in the whole world"!

Love in the Truth

Toronto Pastors Fellowship

Yesterday I attended what was the first, and Lord willing not the last, meeting of the Toronto Pastors Fellowship. Pastor Paul Martin presented a paper entitled "Pastor: Mentor the Young Men!" It should be available for download shortly in both PDF and audio formats.

Before I give my thoughts on the paper, it would be appropriate to give a big "shout out" to Julian Freeman for all his hard work in getting this off the ground. There were many others as well from Grace Fellowship Church who have lent their talents to these meetings. To all of whom I say, well done!

Now for the paper:
Really all I can say is that you should read it if you get the chance! It was a great mix of solid biblical truth as well as transparent personal experience delivered in humility. I say humility because our brother Paul received a rather "sharp" rebuke from Dr Michael A.G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Seminary, in regards to a note about Martyn Lloyd-Jones not being a mentor to other men. (The term "sharp" is used in jest. If you know Dr. Haykin, you know he is both humble and gracious, not to mention brilliant when it comes to Church History!) Anyway, all that to say it was quite humorous to see our brother Paul have a "note to self" moment!

If you are able to attend the Toronto Pastors Fellowship, I would highly recommend it. It is truly a blessing to be with "pastors delighting in God to the glory of God together."

Ongoing Truth

This is one of my biggest faults - I have a tendancy to expect perfection from believers who are still babes in Christ. Forgive me Lord, pray for me.

What is the Gospel? - John Piper

Thinking About Christmas...again!

Why talk about Christmas now? Well, I have been going the gospel according to Matthew during my devotions and have been reflecting on the birth of Jesus. I shared this on facebook and with my youth group over a year ago so I figured I would post it here as well.

Colossians 1:13-20 tells us:
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 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."

That portion of scripture tells us that Jesus is God, our Creator. John MacArthur writes about this in one of his books. Can you even begin to try to wrap your mind around the fact that the baby lying in a manger was God – the Creator of the universe? Think of what that actually means. The expanse of creation is staggering! To travel across our galaxy would take approximately 100,000 years, and you would come across about 100 billion stars. On top of that there are billions more galaxies out there! The size of the universe is incomprehensible! The baby in Bethlehem made all of it!

Why did God send this gift to mankind? On the first Christmas, most of earth was oblivious as to what was happening, but heaven wasn’t. Angels broke forth in praise and worship at the birth of Christ. This child meant deliverance for humanity. “He will save His people from their sins” (Mat. 1:21). Jesus knew that in order to accomplish that, He would have to die. The important issue to remember at Christmas is not so much that Jesus came, but why He came. There was no salvation in His birth, His sinless life, or His flawless example to man. Even His teaching, the greatest truth ever revealed, could not save you or me. Our sins demanded a price; that price was the blood of Christ shed in death on the cross, and He knew it.

“Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told. Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling cloths, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die.”

I don’t tell you this to kill you Christmas spirit. In fact, it is the exact opposite, for Jesus’ death, horrific as it was, was not a tragedy. It was the greatest victory over evil, and the greatest outpouring of grace and love, this world will ever see. Christ chose to die for us based solely on His sovereign goodwill. His lovingkindness toward us is absolutely undeserved. The next time you see a nativity scene, look beyond the tender child to see what the Jesus Himself knew even before He came – that He was born to die.

If you are saved, “He died for you. He bore your sin. He purchased your salvation. He guaranteed your sanctification. He destroyed your enemy. And He became a sympathetic High Priest.” Even now, He is seated in heaven ready to make intercession for you. This is God’s gift to you!

If you are unsaved, repent (turn from your sin) and put your faith in Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Joh 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Emergent "Truth"

Timeless Truth

I was reading over at "Pyros" an article entitled "How a Toned-Down Gospel Undermines Holiness". It was written originally by John Newton of "Amazing Grace" fame and yet it is so relevent to today...funny how that always seems to be the case...there really is "nothing new under the sun." That said, here's a little sample:

"The Gospel is a wise and gracious dispensation, equally suited to the necessities of man and to the perfections of God. It proclaims relief to the miserable, and excludes none but those who exclude themselves. It convinces a sinner that he is unworthy of the smallest mercy, at the same time that it gives him a confidence to expect the greatest. It cuts off all pretence of glorying in the flesh, but it enables a guilty sinner to glory in God. To them that have no might, it increases strength; it gives eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame; subdues the enmity of the heart, shows the nature of sin, the spirituality and sanction of the law with the fullest evidence; and, by exhibiting Jesus as made of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to all who believe, it makes obedience practicable, easy, and delightful."

You can read the rest of it here; the last paragraph is especially delightful.

Love in the Truth

Where Did My Baby Go?!?!?!

Well, it's official. My youngest is growing up way too fast. In the past two days, she has lost her first tooth, and she can officially ride a two-wheeler. In just three short months, Meaghan will turn 7, but in her mind - she's a "big girl" now! And it's true! Parents know all too well that "they grow up way too fast." As I write this, she is riding her bike just outside my office window - It never ceases to amaze me how much I love my children. Jen and I thank God everyday for each one...maybe we should look into another? Just a thought...on a day when it seems that my Baby is gone.

Love in the Truth.

Square Peg in a Round Hole?

Unusual title I know, but I also know that everyone has felt that way at least once...right? Man, if not, I really am a square peg! Anyway, being a youth pastor and a father, I feel that way sometimes. As a father, my calling is to play the lead role in the discipline, discipleship, and evangelism of my children. And I do that with joy and fear, knowing that one day I will stand the Lord and give an account of my inheritance. Here's the thing though...why as a youth pastor do I have to do that for everyone else's kids as well? The short answer is...I don't, I am only a support and a reinforcement of what SHOULD be happening in the home - That has ALWAYS been my philosophy of ministry. The trouble with sinful, fallen, and depraved human beings however - myself included - is we always try to pass the buck so-to-speak. Nothing new of course..."the woman YOU gave me" made me do it..."the serpent deceived me"...right from the beginning it happened. The buck in this case - discipline, discipleship, and evangelism of church kids - is often passed to the youth pastor. Don't get me wrong; we have a role to play, but it is not the lead.

That said, I came across a nice little quote on another churches website. It says this: "We have a strong youth ministry...It's called Fathers."
Now, I believe that with all my heart, and I try with all that I am to implement that philosophy in my ministry. BUT...why do I get the feeling sometimes that if I really tried to force the issue, I would have a line up of angry parents wanting to kill me, and at the end would be a church board that would dig up my dead body just so they could fire me? Just a thought.

Love in the Truth

Happy Anniversary - August 31 - 12 Years!

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

I wrote this for my wife because I am thankful that He made her just for me.

Just in case you have forgotten
Every breath I take is yours
Never has my heart forgotten
Nothing else can make it soar
In my soul, your loves consumes me
Filling me when I am weak
Every step you’ve led me gently
Remaining always pure and meek

Life has now become worth living
You have made me who I am
No one else has been more giving
Now I realize His plan

I will love you now forever

Longing always for your touch
Only you will be my treasure
Virtue bathed in endless trust
Every year has made it clear

You can make my spirit soar
Only now through joyful tears
Understand that I am yours

Truth Notes!

I came across this amazing little series of posts at Josh Harris' blog entitled "Preaching Notes". I found it to be both a blessing and a great help. Thus far, there are preaching notes from Tim Keller; Ray Ortlund Jr.; C.J. Mahaney; Mike Bullmore; and Mark Dever. I don't know about you, but I will be keeping a close watch to see if any others are added. Josh Harris writes of the series; "I think you'll enjoy the diversity of styles. Some men do full manuscripts; others write out much less. Most type, one writes his sermons by hand. The goal is to show pastors the different ways that preachers work and hopefully encourage them in the preaching task."

The "Gospel"

Is God enough for you?
Do you love Him for who He is or for what He gives?
Jesus did not die in order that you could have "your best life now".

Humble Orthodoxy

I had this posted on an old blog that has mysteriously disappeared - I am still confused about that one! But starting over is not a bad thing sometimes - especially in this case.

I have been doing alot of study recently on humility, mainly because I see in myself so much pride it is frightening. There is this insatiable desire to be right, to sound profound, to change lives, to be noticed, to receive glory that burns within me. Even in writing this note, I feel it. It feels so good; I don't want it to, but it does. I hate it - if I'm completely honest, I don't. But, I honestly want to hate it. "Help me Lord; Humble me Lord, please."

Enter, God's Word: James 1:21,22 - Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevelent and HUMBLY accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

That's what I desire more than anything, and God in His grace is bringing me to that place. The process has been painstakingly slow at times, but I will press on to know Him. It is the Christian's hope to look upon the face of Christ. For me, I have both longed for that moment and at the same time been overwhelmed with fear of that moment. My life before Christ deserved the fullness of His wrath; my life in Christ deserves the same. To give an account for either terrifies me to no end. Yet, God bids me "come". "Help me Lord, help me."

Enter, God's Word: Romans 8:1-3a - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do, God did..."Romans 9:16 - It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

He chose me in His mercy! He saved me in His mercy! He loved me, and loves me even now in His mercy! I couldn't have done this for myself. And so, I come as I am... broken and weak...dependant on His mercy and grace...trusting only in Christ...humbly longing for the day that I will look upon the fullness of His glory and not have to look away!

Love in the Truth!

Jesus Saves!

My favourite band, doing my favourite song, with a special appearance by one of my favourite preachers! For those of you that don't know - that's; Shane and Shane - Embracing Accusation - John Piper.