Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Secure Daughters, Confident Sons by Glenn T. Stanton

I have two boys and one girl. Spending time with them is one of my greatest joys of this life. So when I had the opportunity to obtain and review this book, Secure Daughters Confident Sons by Glenn T. Stanton, I was thrilled. And honestly, when I first started reading the book, I was greatly encouraged. I really enjoyed his take on what it takes to make a good man and a good woman. He says that it is our job as parents to take a little boy or girl and help them become men & women. I appreciated his take on gender differences, because so many people in the world have negated the inherent differences are found in being male or female.

I really did take to heart many of his appeals to parents in this process of taking a young boy/girl and see them become man/woman. For instance, in talking about boys, he says "Be sure not to praise him only for what matters to you, but look for and appreciate what matters to him, even if it's far afield from your interests" (64). I take that to heart. There are some things my boys are interested in that I have no desire, but I want to encourage them to be them and not me.

But here's the deal. The further I read in this book, the less I appreciated it. There is really only one reason why. The further into the book you get the less Stanton connects his points to the Scriptures. I did not count them, but I would be willing to bet there were more references to movies and current culture than there is to the Holy Bible given from and infinitely knowledgeable God. It is more about the psychology of the male and female than the God-given instruction to them.

Let me illustrate it by one example. In chapter 4, "What a Girl Needs Most", Stanton takes time to write that a girl needs to be taught modesty. Amen! I agree. Yet his illustrations in this section are National Geographic, a book he has read, & the movie Jerry Maguire. When given a chance to teach about the importance of modesty, there is no mention of First Timothy 2 or First Peter 3. What an opportunity missed to allow God to speak on this subject and not just modern culture. And this is just one illustration among many.

Take it for what it is, a psychological approach to masculinity and femininity. But please don't think that your parenting is going to be changed by reading this book.

I received a copy of the book: Secure Daughters Confident Sons by Glenn T. Stanton from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Morning After: A Life of Attraction

Followers of Jesus are to live in such a way that unbelievers are attracted to Jesus! That was my main point yesterday as I taught on Matthew 5:13-16, the very famous section about salt & light. One danger with teaching this passage is that familiarity often breeds complacency. It is easy when someone preaches on a passage that is familiar to tune out because we already know what they are going to say. Or at least we think we do.

Another danger concerning the main point of the message is that our experience tells us that Christians often do not attract unbelievers to Jesus. Maybe the problem, though, is that many who claim the name of Jesus have never truly embraced Jesus and been changed by the gospel. Maybe in our Christianity, we are just not as radical as we think we are. Maybe we are not as kind, merciful, forgiving, bold as we think we are. There are many in the church that claim to be Christians, but in reality, the only thing that is different between them and the non-believer is that they attend church on Sunday mornings instead of golfing or sleeping in. And that gives Christianity and Jesus a bad name.

But when someone comes to embrace the REAL gospel, it changes their life. It changes them so radically that they begin to influence other people for the sake of Jesus. And that is what Jesus is saying. He is saying that if you are part of the Kingdom, you ARE salt and light. Not that you should act like salt and light, but you ARE these things.

SALT - His point concerning salt was not necessarily to distinguish the different characteristics of salt. His point is found in the second part of vs. 13 that if salt loses its saltiness it becomes good for nothing. This should be a powerful indictment upon us that if the Christian loses their distinctiveness in the culture they are no longer effective to accomplish what their purpose is to accomplish. They might as well be garbage thrown out onto the street.

LIGHT - Ultimately we know that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12). As His followers, we light up the world when we are connected to Him. He is the sun which shines, we are the moon which reflects. His point in saying that we are the light of the world is that we should be shining for Him. Ultimately, vs. 16 hits the main point by saying that we should let our light shine "in such a way" that those in the world would see our good works and glorify our Father.

Let your light shine before men! Let your light shine before men! Your light is going to shine differently than my light. Same light, but the way it expresses itself as it shines out of our life will be differently. So, find out how God has made you and let it shine! And may your light shining impact the unbelieving world in which you live for the glory of Jesus Christ!

You can listen to the message by going to our church website: www.cornerstoneneo.com (Please be patient. We are in transition of changing the host of our site. Hopefully that will be done early this week. The messages will not be available until that change happens. So stay tuned).

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days: Week 8 (March 25, 2011)

Reading This Past Week: Proverbs 7--Isaiah 52

Thoughts From The Reading: This was a tough week of trying to catch up for me, but I am almost there. When I was sick last week, I got behind about four days worth of reading. Do the math, that is not easy to make up. But I am within one day of being caught up.

What struck me this week in the reading was the justice of God. With all the news in the previous weeks about God's love always winning (my first and only reference to Rob Bell's book), I was struck once again by the clarity of God being not only a loving God, but also a wrathful God. These are two aspects of His character, which go hand in hand. Isaiah speaks of judgment on all sorts of nations. He speaks of the end of the times when the Lord will lay waste to the entire world. This is not the language of love always winning. Well, actually it is, but not in the sense that most people think. God's love wins in His judgment of those that refuse to listen and obey Him. As you read through these prophets, think about which team you are on and what life will be like for those that oppose the Lord.

Reading Next Week: We have basically two more weeks in the Old Testament and then we get to the parts that are more familiar to most people. Enjoy this time. Make sure you take the time to read through these prophets. I my experience of doing this before, these next two weeks will be the most difficult. Some have fallen behind. Some are getting weary. Some of the material is so foreign and difficult to understand. But press on!

March 26
Isaiah 53-66
March 27
Jeremiah 1-10
March 28
Jeremiah 11-23
March 29
Jeremiah 24-33
March 30
Jeremiah 34-47
March 31
Jeremiah 48—Lamentations 1
April 1
Lamentations 2—Ezekiel 12 (blog post day)
April 2
Ezekiel 13-23
April 3
Ezekiel 24-35
April 4
Ezekiel 36-48
April 5
Daniel 1-8
April 6
Daniel 9—Hosea 13
April 7
Hosea 14—Amos 9
April 8
Obadiah 1—Nahum 3 (blog post day)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Commentaries On The Sermon on the Mount

I have started a series on Sunday mornings at Cornerstone that I am calling Kingdom Living, Here & Now. It is a series based on the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7. As I preach through books or sections of the Scriptures, I always collect many commentaries that I use to help me. I thought I would make a list of the books that I am using to help me in my study. I have a few others on order, but here are some of my favorites so far:

I love this book! I have used it often. Lloyd-Jones is so exhaustive, if feels like he deals with all aspects of this portion of Scripture. It is a series of his sermons that he preached on this subject.

This is part of a New Testament series by Hendriksen & Kistemaker. I would highly recommend the entire series. Interestingly enough, I also love reading John MacArthur's New Testament commentary on Matthew. It does seem as I read this that MacArthur certainly gained a lot of information from Hendriksen. Enough said.

This is a new one that I just received and have enjoyed so far. I have particularly enjoyed Leon Morris' other commentaries and I have grown to love all the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series, so it seemed like this would be a good fit. It has not disappointed yet.

This commentary by Doriani is also new to me. He has a very easy writing style and has some great insights and applications that have made me stop and think.









There are several more that I am using. Here is a list of the rest of the commentaries that have helped me and I continue to learn from:

  • An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount by Arthur W. Pink
  • The Gospel of Matthew by James Montgomery Boice
  • The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Matthew by D. A. Carson
  • Matthew: A Mentor Commentary by Knox Chamblin
  • The Gospel of Matthew (NICNT) by R.T. France

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days: Week 7 (March 18, 2011)

Reading This Past Week: Psalm 25–Proverbs 6

Thoughts From The Reading: I have been very sick this week. Being sick and reading the Bible in 90 days is not a good combination. Therefore, I have gotten behind significantly. I guess the catch-up day fell on a good week, for that will be one less day I will get behind. I will catch up by next week, but for now, it is overwhelming.

What about you? How are you doing? I asked last week to think through which Psalm would have been your favorite? Have an answer to that question?

This is the reading for the next couple of weeks. Enjoy. If you are behind like me, try to catch up.

Glory to Jesus


March 19
Proverbs 7-20
March 20
Proverbs 21—Ecclesiastes 2
March 21
Ecclesiastes 3—Song of Solomon 8
March 22
Isaiah 1-13
March 23
Isaiah 14-28
March 24
Isaiah 29-41
March 25
Isaiah 42-52 (blog post day)
March 26
Isaiah 53-66
March 27
Jeremiah 1-10
March 28
Jeremiah 11-23
March 29
Jeremiah 24-33
March 30
Jeremiah 34-47
March 31
Jeremiah 48—Lamentations 1
April 1
Lamentations 2—Ezekiel 12 (blog post day)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pastoral Ministry is Teamwork

Since I arrived here at CBC, I have been telling people that church is a team. I need them and they need me. In reality, pastoral ministry is as much a team as any sport. I have been called to a specific task and so has the Christian. All Christians are called to tasks in relation to the pastors.

In the office, we have been reading a book over the past month called A Portrait of Paul: Identifying a True Minister of Christ by Rob Ventura & Jeremy Walker (I am sure a book review will be coming in the next couple of weeks). The reading that we did for today really stuck with me. I wanted to share a couple quotes for both the Christian and the Pastor in regards to their responsibility. Enjoy & remember your relationship with your pastor is that of a teammate.

For The Christian:

"You cannot coast to heaven, and you will not reach glory by standing still. You must change, you must advance, and you will be greatly aided in doing so if you accept that your pastors are God's servants to assist you toward Christian maturity, and not officious bystanders poking their noses into your business." (123)

If you have a faithful minister, there may be times when your face blanches, when your teeth clench, when your cheeks redden, when your stomach churns, when your heart falls, when your excuses rise, and when your defenses go up. There may be times when you are tempted to go home and rail against your pastor for his barefaced cheek and blinding audacity. You may be tempted to hurl fire at the elders after the latest pastoral visit. Pause, then, and consider: What is the truth of the matter? Are these men really throwing their weight around and abusing their authority? Or could it be that they are seeking to discharge the weighty responsibility of seeing you safely to glory?" (123)

Yes, pastors are sinful men. They will at times err in the manner or matter of their speaking, but listen to them opening their hearts in the words that they speak. Pray God to help His servants--who are your servants for Jesus' sake--to keep this great purpose, this state of Christian maturity, always fixed in their minds. Ask God that they might labor with the awesome occasion of Christ's return in their hearts. Pray that they will be given wisdom and humility never to employ their gospel tools for anything but their high and holy task. Plead with God that they will never abuse their position or authority but will only labor to make you fit for glory. Pray for the identification and mortification of every sinful or shallow motive that would distort their purpose or distract from their goal." (124)

For The Pastor:

"Neglecting or attacking the sheep is just as bad as ignoring or encouraging the wolves." (125)

"Brother, that is the day in which you will see those whom you have pastored giving an account of their life and work to Jesus. It is the day on which you must do the same. Their account will reflect on your work as well. You and I must stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and there we will answer for what we have been not only as men but also as ministers . . . Do not lose sight of the preciousness of souls and your commission to proclaim Jesus to them." (126)

"One thing we can hope for: if our people know that we are eager to see Christ formed in them and have them truly blessed, then they will put up with our many other shortcomings in living and serving. WE are far from being perfect men. However, if we are diligent men, if we are serious men, if we are men who are bent on nothing but the good of our people, men who set a good example of diligent service for Christ, then they might love us and be all the more ready to heed what we tell them and follow what God calls them to do in His Word." (149). 

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Morning After: A Life of Happiness

Yesterday morning, I started a series through the Sermon on the Mount. I am calling the series Kingdom Living, Here & Now. I am calling it this because what Jesus talks about what life will be like in the Kingdom. Some people believe that when Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven, He is dealing with just a future event. I believe that Jesus will rule some day physically on this earth. But I also believe that He is ruling today in the hearts of His followers. I would take an already, not yet position on the Kingdom. It is here and now, we can see and experience some benefits of the Kingdom, but it is not what it will be some day in the future.

I love the fact that Jesus begins this great sermon with this word blessed, which means happiness. All people seek for happiness. The problem with our life is not that we pursue happiness, but that most of the time, we seek happiness in the wrong places (I would highly recommend Desiring God by John Piper). What Jesus offers is a deep-rooted joy that is not based upon our circumstances.

He begins the sermon by saying that our happiness is ultimately found in our poverty. He says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (vs. 3). The word that Jesus uses for poor is that of the beggar. He says that if you want to be part of the kingdom, you had better become a beggar. Why a beggar? Because as you sit at the entrance to the kingdom, you know that you have no hope of entrance based upon your money, your family, or your deeds done in righteousness. You have no hope of being part of His kingdom. So you become a beggar for His grace and His mercy.

How do I know if I am poor in spirit? To close the sermon, I asked seven questions to diagnose our hearts. Read them. Ask them of yourself. And if your convicted, repent and follow Jesus.

  1. Am I Willing To Come To Jesus On His Terms?
  2. How Do I View My Accomplishments?
  3. Do I Complain About My Situation In Life?
  4. Am I Content With My Present Spiritual Condition?
  5. Do I Pray?
  6. Do I Seek Jesus Out Of Necessity Or Convenience?
  7. Do I Treasure Jesus?
NOTE: We have been having problems with our church website. We hope that all the previous sermons will be up and available by the end of this week. Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Strengths Finder 2.0, part 4

Okay, this is the last installment where I am sharing the results of taking Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. I have shared that my first three strengths are (1) Belief; (2) Learner; and (3) Achiever. Now to the last two:

Strength #4: Competition

This is the basic description of the person who has the Competition Strength:
"People who are especially talented in the Competition theme measures their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests."
Being competitive can be good and bad. Of course, it can be good because it can drive you to work hard at something. Because I hate to lose games or other things, I give myself to that task with everything I have to give. But on the other hand, being competitive can be bad as well. Listen to the description that is described of the person with the Competitive Strength.
"Driven by your talents, you feel in control of your final scores, outcomes, and overall performance when you first outline a detailed action plan. Timelines and deadlines probably are very important to you. Your attention to the little things tells people you are quite serious about being 'number one.' Chances are good that you act like a rival when you are pitted against others and only one person can be declared the very best at something. Your deep-seated desire to finish in first place probably drives many of your choices and explains much of your behavior. It's very likely that you feel rather dissatisfied with your life when you are deprived of opportunities to engage in a variety of rivalries, games, or contests."
I see so many character flaws in this statement. I really never desire to be that person who wants to crush every other person. While I try to separate games from life, I know at times this comes out in my life. I pray that God would allow me to use the positive aspects of this strength and not the negative.

Strength #5: Analytical

This is the basic description of the person who has the Analytical Strength.
"People who are especially talented in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation."
This really did not surprise me as I am a very black and white person. There are reasons and causes and rights and wrongs. Here is what they go on to say about me as this type of person.
"It's very likely that you may be regarded by certain people as realistic or unsentimental. Perhaps there are times when you want to do a better job of expressing your own feelings or allowing others to voice some of theirs. When necessary, you might be the person who brings the conversation back to practical or factual matters.
Well, that's me. Like I said in the beginning, I am not much into personality tests. But I think this one did a fairly good job of representing who I am as a person. Now, I pray that I use these strengths to the glory of Jesus in all things!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days: Week 6 (March 11, 2011)

Reading This Past Week: 2 Chronicles 24--Psalm 24

Thoughts from the Reading: There were really some great portions of Scripture that we read this week. I really hope you enjoyed learning more and more about the nation of Israel, their entrance into captivity, and their eventual return and building of walls & temple in Jerusalem. We then had the story of Esther & Job. One thing that stuck out to me as I was reading the book of Job is how Job initially responded to his trials and how he eventually responded to them. At first, we are told that that he did not sin or blame God (1:22). After more things happen, we are told that he did not sin with his lips (2:10). Then of course he spirals down into depression and blames God for everything.

I was really think about how to deal with trials and situations of life. In no way is my situation similar to Job's, but having our house not sell has been difficult for our family. We want to get settled. We want to get established. We used that house for ministry and the Lord and trust Him to sell it. And when it doesn't sell, at first I have been good with it. I know God has a plan. But as time passes, I tend to say the right things, but my heart is questioning why God would let it not sell. In the end, I listen to the questions God asks Job (38-42) and I know that He has a plan. It is according to His purpose and if it is nothing more than to take me to a deeper level of trust in Him, I am okay with that. At least I am saying I am, but it is a constant battle. Know what I mean?

Next Week's Reading: This next week is really just spent in the book of Psalm. I hope you enjoy this next week. And guess what? This next week, we come to the one and only day off. For some, that means catching up. For others maybe that means taking some time to read some other material. Still for others, may I suggest you get ahead. There will be some reading coming up that is not the easiest (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel). Enjoy this next week. 

One more thing. Since this next week is mostly all from the book of Psalms. I would love to see your comments next Friday on which Psalms made the greatest impact on you and why. Until then, have a great week!

March 12
Psalm 25-45
March 13
Psalm 46-69
March 14
Psalm 70-89
March 15
Psalm 90-108
March 16
Psalm 109-134
March 17
Psalm 135—Proberbs 6
March 18
Catch Up Day! (blog post day)
March 19
Proverbs 7-20
March 20
Proverbs 21—Ecclesiastes 2
March 21
Ecclesiastes 3—Song of Solomon 8
March 22
Isaiah 1-13
March 23
Isaiah 14-28
March 24
Isaiah 29-41
March 25
Isaiah 42-52 (blog post day)