"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