Saturday, December 29, 2012

As long as you are trying to save yourself, any religion or name will do; but once you recognize your need for a Savior, only one name will do. That name is Jesus.
-P. D. Bramsen, from his book "One God One Message."

The devil is extremely fond of religion.  It is for that reason that there are more than 10,000 religions in the world today.
-P. D. Bramsen, from his book "One God One Message."

While ten thousand religions around the world cry out, "Nothing in finished.  Do this!  Do that! Try harder!"  Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
-P. D. Bramsen, from his book "One God One Message."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

When Love Came Down

When Love came down to earth
And made His home with men,
The hopeless found a hope,
The sinner found a friend.
Not to the powerful
But to the poor He came,
And humble, hungry hearts
Were satisfied again.

What joy, what peace has come to us!
What hope, what help, what love!

When every unclean thought,
And every sinful deed
Was scourged upon His back
And hammered through His feet.
The Innocent is cursed,
The guilty are released;
The punishment of God
On God has brought me peace.

What joy, what peace has come to us!
What hope, what help, what love!

Come lay your heavy load
Down at the Master's feet;
Your shame will be removed,
Your joy will be complete.
Come crucify your pride,
And enter as a child;
For those who bow down low
He'll lift up to His side.

What joy, what peace has come to us!
What hope, what help, what love!


Stuart Townend Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas everyone!


For to us a child is born, for to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 7, 2012

Joseph's Lullaby

by:  Maryanne Quinlivan

Go to sleep my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Or does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You'll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, Sleep tight

Monday, December 3, 2012

Almost done...

Well, the semester is almost over!  Next week we have finals, and then I'm bound for home!  By God's grace, I'm passing all my classes, and again by His grace, if He causes me to do well on my finals, I'll get the academic scholarship.

The class I'm the most grateful for the fact that I'm passing is Greek.  This class has been a major source of stress for me throughout the semester.  There was a point toward the beginning of the semester where I just threw up my hands and said, "God, if you want me to be a Pastor, this class is required at Northland for the major.  I believe Northland is where you want me, so if this is what you want for my life, you can help me pass it.  I'm giving it over to you, because I can't do this one my own."  Obviously He gave the grace...

There have also been many lessons learned this year.  God gave me the opportunity to be a room leader this year, which has been a stretching thing for me, but I'm again grateful for the grace He's given.  Also, God has continually impressed on me to be content where I am in Him...I don't need a girl in my life to make me feel complete...He's all I need.  He's also been purging my life of things that I've been holding on to for a long time...I'm so thankful for the joy that comes from a right relationship with my Lord.

Please pray for my Mom!  She's going to be having surgery within a week and a half to remove kidney stones!  It's been a rough road for her leading up to this...but God has made Himself evident so much in all of it!  Looking forward to going home and taking care of her...

I trust all is well with my followers!  Go on in grace, keeping your eyes fixed on Him!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Definition of God

God is an invisible, personal, and living Spirit, distinguished from all other spirits by several kinds of attributes: metaphysically God is self-existent, eternal, and unchanging; intellectually God is omniscient, faithful, and wise; ethically God is just, merciful, and loving; emotionally God detests evil, is longsuffering, and is compassionate; existentially God is free, authentic, and omnipotent; relationally God is transcendent in being, immanent universally in providential activity, and immanent with His people in redemptive activity.
-Gordon Lewis

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Missions Trip this Summer

God has given me the tremendous opportunity to take a missions trip to North West Africa this summer. I can’t say what country it is, because in this country they are not as friendly to the gospel as the United States is (yes, it’s a Muslim country). The scope of our ministry will include going into the universities of this country and interacting with English speaking students in order to share the gospel with them, and I’ve been told that a great number of college age students can speak English.
This semester at Northland, God has really been working on my heart about missions. He revealed to me that my heart was very hard toward the need for the gospel in so many parts of the world. After some prayerful consideration, I talked to the GO (Global Opportunities) office here at Northland because I thought that God might be directing me to change my major to missions. After talking to Ken Keith, one of the GO office workers (and team leader for the trip I’m planning on going on), he suggested that I go on a missions trip this summer to see if God reveals his will after experiencing missions first hand. After more prayerful consideration, I decided I would go.
Here are some of the reasons why I would like to go on this trip, besides the reason I have already mentioned:
  • I would like the opportunity to be able to assist these missionaries in their work, while also trying to serve them in any way I can while I am there.
  • I would like the opportunity to share the gospel with those who have never heard about Jesus, the savior of the world.
  • I would like the opportunity to be stretched in my spiritual walk with God by giving me a new and trying experience to go through. I’m so tired of my own tendency toward apathy, and I really believe that this mission’s trip could help open my eyes to the need for the gospel around the world.
I understand that during this time of uncertainty and financial struggle in our country, that donating to a cause such as this can be difficult. I need to raise $3,200 for this trip. Any money that I receive that is more than this will be given to my other teammates who have not raised all their funds yet. If you can donate, then you have two options for how you can.

Option #1, is that you can donate online by going to this website and following the instructions: https://secure.qgiv.com/hobnob/account/18248.

Option #2, is that you can mail a check to the address listed below. If you choose this option, make checks payable to “Northland” or “Northland International University” and write “Jason Hunsicker” in the memo line.

Please Mail Checks to:
Northland International University
Center for Global Opportunities
W10085 Pike Plains Rd.
Dunbar, WI 54119

If you cannot donate, I completely understand. Whether you can or can’t, I can always use a bunch of prayers! My trip will be taking place from May 14 – June 15, 2013, so you could be praying for me during that time, and even before I go.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gospel Meditations from Galatians Pt. 4

...just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Galatians 3:6-9

Imagine you are a first century Christian.  You are living in uncertainty, worshipping a god who doesn't seem to hear or answer any of your prayers.  You tear your clothing, you beat on your chest, but nothing seems to work.  One day a man by the name of Paul tells you about a God who is real and even walked on the earth.  You had heard rumors of Him, but you didn't realize His significance.  Here was a God who came down to earth and died for you!  You receive the message with joy, gladly accepting and believing in Jesus.  You immediately become a part of the church in your city that has been established by Paul.  Paul stays in your town for a while and continues to add more believers to the church.  Your zeal for Christ also compels you to want to reach others for Christ as well.  You talk to your neighbors and everyone you know.

Eventually Paul leaves to establish churches in other towns in your region.  You miss Paul, but you greatly enjoy the teachings of the leaders in your church.  After a few months, a group of Jewish people, claiming to be believers in Jesus come into your church.  The leaders of your church gladly allow them to begin teaching.  When they begin teaching, they read from Genesis 17:9-14, and Exodus 4:20-26.  They begin compelling you and the rest of the church to be circumcised.  Immediately alarm bells begin going off in your head.  If this were so important, how come Paul had not told you about it? One of the leaders of your church stands up and asks the very question that is on your mind.  These Jewish "Christians" respond by saying questioning Paul's authority to share the gospel with them.  "He isn't even one of the 12 disciples of Christ!" Paul was the one who lead you to the Saving One...how could he have left out this truth?  These men, however, seem to have authority.  You are confused, and beginning to question everything you have been taught...

A few weeks later you're in church, and one of the leaders of your church stands up and begins to read a letter.  It's a letter from Paul...as he begins to read the letter, you learn very quickly that Paul is very upset...he says things like "You foolish Galatians!"  He rebukes your church in many ways, but he also gives words of comfort and peace...you are thankful to hear that the gospel you first heard was true and right.

This is the setting that the letter of Galatians was written in. These people who had come to the churches were compromising the gospel by saying that there were works associated with the gospel, namely circumcision. When Paul hears about this, he's furious! We see in the book of Acts though, that Timothy is circumcised so as not to offend the Jews (Acts 13:3). Why then is Paul upset about this? What's the difference? The difference is that this is the gospel that is in question! This is everything that the true Christian faith was and is based on! He could never compromise this! He had to nip this in the bud, so he reacts by sending the churches of Galatia the letter that is known as the “Epistle to the Galatians.”

As many of you know, I’ve been doing posts on this epistle all semester, as we at Northland have been working our way through it. The passage that is quoted at the top of this post was the passage that we were in this week.

I remember I have a friend who’s a new Christian back home, and he asked me once. He said, “How come Jacob did so many bad things, and yet the Bible says he was blessed?” I remember giving him the right answer that can be found in this passage, but I did not realize that I could take him to this passage to show him why it said he was blessed.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah…David…Joseph were blessed because from their seed would come Jesus, the savior of the world, the one who would reconcile God to man. He would pay the price for our sin, and tear down the wall of separation created by our sin, bringing those who believe in Him back into the fellowship that He intended from the beginning for us to have with Him.

One great part of this passage as well, is the beginning…”Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” I remember that growing up in church, I always had the idea that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament operated very differently. The God of the old testament was a God who showed no grace, and that there was no righteousness imputed by faith in the Old Testament. This passage shows us that the God of the Old and New Testament are the same God. It was always His intention to count our faith as righteousness. They were justified by faith in the Old Testament just as those in the New Testament and today are justified by faith. The means by which this reconciliation happens is different today though. The Old Testament believers had faith in God, and the fact that one day He would send the savior. The looked forward to it, but they never saw it. They believed in what was to come, but we believe in Him who has come, Jesus Christ.

So awesome to see the progression in the Bible…from the beginning, as early as Genesis 3, there’s the prediction of the coming savior. The whole Old Testament is like one building story…the tension builds throughout the Old Testament, and in the New Testament it reaches it’s climax at the coming of Christ. Then the resolution is the salvation He provided through His death and resurrection.

Abraham was a pagan who believed in a coming Messiah, we are pagans who trust in a Messiah who has come and is coming again.

I Have A Shelter

VERSE 1
I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows


VERSE 2
I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation


VERSE 3
I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven


© 2008 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Integrity’s Praise! Music/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grace Alone

Every promise we can make
Every prayer and step of faith
Every difference we can make
Is only by His grace.
Every mountain we will climb
Every ray of hope we shine
Every blessing left behind
Is only by His grace

Chorus:
Grace alone Which God supplies
Strength unknown He will provide
Christ in us, our cornerstone
We will go forth in grace alone.

Every soul we long to reach
Every heart we hope to teach
Everywhere we share His peace
Is only by His grace.
Every loving word we say
Every tear we wipe away
Every sorrow turned to praise
Is only by His grace.

©1998 Maranatha! Music.
Words and Music by Scott Wesley Brown, Jeff Nelson

Saturday, November 10, 2012

180 Movie

A friend from church gave me a video a few weeks ago.  She briefly told me some things about it, but I frankly got really busy with school work and completely forgot about it.  Tonight she sent me a message on Facebook asking me about it, and I realized that I seriously needed to watch it.  So I did...and wow...

There's some graphic content, mainly having to do with images...disturbing ones, but they're real and people need to see them.  Also, there's some language...but it's all "bleeped" out.  More than anything though...unbelievers need to see it.  Follow the link here to watch it online.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

There Is a Higher Throne

by:  Keith and Kristyn Getty

There is a higher throne than all this world has known,
Where faithful ones from ev'ry tongue will one day come.
Before the Son we'll stand, made faultless through the Lamb;
Believing hearts find promised grace; Salvation comes.

Hear Heaven's voices sing;
Their thunderous anthem rings
Through emerald courts and sapphire skies;
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom pow'r
Strength thanks and honor are
To God, our King, who reigns on high
Forevermore.

And there we'll find our home, our life before the trone.
We'll honor Him in perfect song, where we belong.
He'll wipe each-tear stained eye as thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King; we'll reign with Him.

Hear Heaven's voices sing;
Their thunderous anthem rings
Through emerald courts and sapphire skies;
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom pow'r
Strength thanks and honor are
To God, our King, who reigns on high
Forevermore.

I'm going to be an uncle again!

Saturday night I got a message from my sister on Facebook.  She was telling me that she was pregnant...before I got too excited I had to ask her if her friend Rae had hacked her Facebook.  Her friend is always posting random things on her facebook, so, I wouldn't have been surprised if this was her messaging me.  She responded by saying, "No, it's me, Bub!! :D"  That's what she calls me, so I knew for sure it was her!

I wanted really badly to post about it right then, but I couldn't because she wanted to make sure her in-laws knew about it before it went on facebook, or anywhere else on the internet...

So...congrats to my sister Sara, and her husband Sam on the baby they will be having!  I look forward to meeting the little guy/girl when it arrives!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gospel Meditations for Voters

Check out this post by Christ Anderson, Pastor of Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, OH.  Click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Second Invitation...: Why Christians should vote for a Mormon on 11-6-12...

I like to avoid politics on my blog, but this is something that every Christians should read before they vote, or before they say they won't vote:

Second Invitation...: Why Christians should vote for a Mormon on 11-6-12...: Some Compelling Reasons to vote for Mitt Romney on November 6, 2012 “The Kingdom is not riding on whatever happens on election...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Martin Luther Quotes

I simply taught, preached, wrote God's Word: otherwise I did nothing. The Word of God did it all.

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.

I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.

If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

You Made Us Your Own

We were ruined in our sin
We were guilty and undone
When Your love reached down with sovereign hands
And beckoned us to come

You sought out the wanderers
Made the prodigals come home
With a lavish feast You welcomed us
For You made us Your own


Chorus
You have loved us like You love Your Son
We are heirs with Christ, bought by His blood
Oh how great the love that we’ve been shown
We’re Your children now, You made us Your own

We are strangers to the world
But no strangers to Your throne
We draw near You now with confidence
For all our fears are gone

And when Christ our King returns
We’ll meet saints we’ve never known
And forever we will be amazed
That You made us Your own

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Keeping an Open Hand

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:5-7

Today in chapel, Dr. Brown, missionary to South Africa preached.  The sermon was very encouraging, and I decided to share it with you, my legit followers...

Jesus held on to two things...His relationship to the Father...and His commitment to do the Father's will...

We too should cling to these things as well, and nothing else!  We can hold the things we have in our hand, but we must not grip them.  What things to we cling to?  Our friends, our children (if we have them), our money, our comfort, our leisure, our dreams/plans, our health, our home, our reputation, our ministry, etc.

Although these things I have listed are precious we must be willing to give them up if God's wants us to...

Tests of an open hand:

How do we respond when what we're holding or gripping might be taken away?
The rich young ruler is an example of a man who had a closed hand (Matthew 19:16-22).
Abraham's hand was open to the point where he was willing to offer his son as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-14).

 How do we respond when those things ARE taken?
Many Christians often say, "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will."  I forget the exact words that this speaker said, but it was something to the affect of, "what a bunch of bologna!"
Being in the center of God's will could even lead to a martyr's death!  Being in His will could lead us into a country with great poverty, and hard trails...would I be willing to go?
This reminds me of the quote from Chronicles of Narnia...Lucy is asking Mr. Tumnus about Aslan and she says, "Is he safe?"  Mr. Tumnus responds, "No...but he is good."
I'm currently reading a book called "Tortured for Christ" by Richard Wurmbrand.
In the book he's tortured by communists in Romania...and he never gave up his faith.  God gave him the strength, and even the joy to continue working for the gospel in that environment.
God may call us to live a similar life as this...are we willing?

What happens when something is pried from your closed fist?
When something is pried from it...we have a closed fist...
When your hand is open...and something is taken out of our hands...our hands are in the position of worship...
Job...he held onto the things of this world lightly...and when he loses everything...he responds by grieving, and then worshipping...

Summation:
Hold lightly to the things of this world...cling only to the Father, just like Jesus did...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gospel Meditations from Galatians Pt. 3

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Galatians 2:1-14

Well, another week in Galatians here at Northland...this week it was Mr. Belford who preached the message.  I first would like to talk briefly about the point Mr. Belford made in his message, and then I would like to mainly focus on our discussion we had in impact groups today.

In this passage there are primarily two stories that are told.  Both involving a situation where this group of Jews tries to say that new Gentile believers must be circumcised.  It is said that, "to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you."  The gospel was in question in both stories, and true to his convictions, Paul does not yield.  The gospel must never be compromised!  It is everything to the Christian!

This is one way in which I truly admire Franklin Graham.  His father, Billy Graham, has compromised the gospel, but Franklin has not.  He has on multiple occasions, even on public TV, stood firm with the gospel as it is presented to us in the Bible.  We too should do this!

Now I want to transition into what we discussed in our Impact Groups.  We mainly focused on the 2nd story.  The first question we were asked by our leader was, what exactly did Peter do?

It says that he "drew back and separated himself..."  Our leader brought out a good point...does he say anything?  He might have, but the Bible doesn't say he did.  His actions spoke though.

Picture this...Paul and Barnabas return from their first missionary journey.  They're in Antioch, at their sending church, and they're giving their report about their journey, and the churches they established.  Peter (Cephas) comes to Antioch, probably to rejoice with them over the success of Paul and Barnabas' journey.  They're having a "banquet" where the people of the church, both Jews and Gentiles, are eating and having a great time of fellowship.  They're enjoying the unity that the gospel and salvation in Christ has provided for them.  Up till Jesus came...Jews and Gentiles did not associate with one another.  A Jew was considered unclean if they had fellowship with a Gentile.  Through the gospel, however, and the message Jesus delivered to Peter (Acts 10:9-33), God had revealed that the Jews should no longer consider the Gentiles unclean, but that they should take the gospel to the Gentiles.

Peter, the very one who this message was delivered to..."drew back and separated himself," because he feared the circumcision party.  This was a group of Jews that tried to tell Gentiles that they must be circumcised in order to be a true Christian.

We've already addressed how we should react when we see people doing things such as this...the gospel must be defended!  We see this in Paul's reaction.  But how about us, in today's churches...do we do something similar to what Peter did?

I know I do...and I see it far too often in churches I've been in...

We live this separated Christian lifestyle...unwilling to open ourselves up to the world, and reach out to the lost.  We're content to do our "church" thing every Sunday, and never even blink at the homeless man on the street...or the drug addict we see at the convenience store...or the woman at the grocery store who's in the depths of dispair because she's struggling with the guilt of aborting her unborn child.

Frankly...we don't care...we don't want to get "messy" by becoming involved in reaching out to them.  We draw back and separate ourselves out of fear...

We may not compromise the gospel with our words...but we compromise it with our actions.  We're saying, "you have to clean yourselves up before I'll talk to you, or invite you to church."

I'm pretty sure Peter did not intend to compromise the gospel...but that's what his actions did...

I know growing up, every time I heard a sermon preached on this passage, it focused on Peter...on the fact that he did it...and the conclusion was made that we should never do what Peter did...but we think that we've never done that.  The truth is...we're just like Peter too many times...be careful about pointing fingers...because when you do...there are three pointing back at you...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gospel Meditations from Galatians Pt. 2

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.
Galatians 1:11-24 (ESV)

As I did a post about a few weeks ago, we are currently going through a study in the book of Galatians at Northland.  This week we were in the above passage.  The sermon was preached by Dr. Sam Horn, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and previous administrator at Northland.  I'm going share with you all what he preached...it was a great blessing.

What does Paul say about the gospel?

It's authority derives from it's source:
  • It was not received from men (1:11).
  • It came God (1:12).
The power behind a pure gospels is seen in it's affect:
  • The gospel turned Paul from a devout and zealous Jew, a hater and destroyer of Christers, to a Christ proclaimer (1:13 & 14).  He probably considered himself to be on level with Elijah, destroying the prophets of Baal.  To him these people [Christians] were preaching falsely, and turning people away from the truth...they had to be stopped.
  • The very thing he once persecuted he now followed.  His focus switches to God..."But when he [God]..." (1:15).  The power of God in the lives of people...what great things it can do!
  • He did not need to consult with anyone, for God had spoken to him directly (1:16).
The proclamation of the gospel must be at the center of our lives!

What do I do with all this?
  • We must value the gospel above all else!
  • Display the gospel to all nations!
  • We must protect the purity of the gospel at all cost!
    • Paul was willing even to defend it against his friend (2:11-14).
    • There will be times where we will have to do this as well.
Let us be overwhelmed by the power of the gospel to change lives!  Never get over this...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shout to the North

Men of faith rise up and sing
Of the great and glorious King
You are strong when you feel weak
In your brokeness complete

Shout to the North and the South
Sing to the East and the West
Jesus is saviour to all
Lord of heaven and earth

Rise up women of the truth
Stand and sing to broken hearts
Who can know the healing power
Of our awesome King of love

We've been through fire we've been
through rain
We've been refined by the power of his name
We've fallen deeper in love with you
You've burned the truth on our lips

Rise up church with broken wings
Fill this place with songs again
Of our God who reigns on high
By His grace again we'll fly


Written by Martin Smith ©1995 Curious? Music UK

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Answers for a "New Atheist"...

Yesterday we had Dr. Bennet who works with Frontline Missions preach in chapel here at Northland.  He used to be on staff at Northland, both as an administrator and as a professor.  He still comes to Northland a few times a year to teach 1-2 week block classes.  Every time he preaches it is so awesome...his preaching is so deep but practical...and it's always something I really need to hear...

I would like to share what he preached on today.  Like I said, it was something I desperately needed to hear...I've been struggling in my mind lately with different doubts about God and His goodness.  I believe in being real on this blog...and that involves admitting my own struggles...I was struggling particularly in the area of how a loving gracious God could allow such bad things in this world to happen...

This summer at camp helped a lot, as the whole summer was about Faith, and the temptation we have to give it up because of trials...but I was still struggling with some aspects of it all in my mind...

Basically his whole premise was addressing ideas of "New Atheists" and how we, as Christians, can combat these arguments...I would like to share what he talked about...

The Objection of the New Atheists
New Atheists main argument against the existence of God is the fact that so many bad things seem to happen in this world with what seems to be little or no intervention by God.  In particular some New Atheists have cited the acts of Nazis against Jews and other groups they exterminated.  In Richard L. Rubenstein's book After Auschwitz, he says, "A God who tolerates the suffering of even one innocent child is either infinitely cruel or hopelessly indifferent" (p. 87).  Many have also cited the Old Testament command that God gave to the Children of Israel to destroy the Canaanites when they entered the Promised Land.  Why would God command His people to do this?

Well, I will address what would seem to be God's silence on the Holocaust later, but first I would like to address the argument about the Canaanites.  Dr. Bennet told a story about the kinds of things that the Canaanites did in their worship of their god Molech.  He described how they worshipped him and made sacrifices to him...and this story is quite horrible...if you do not wish to read it, skip to the next paragraph...I wouldn't blame you, but if you think you can stomach it, read on.  They made a metal idol of their god with moveable arms...beneath the idol there was a furnace that would heat the idol up to the point where it glowed.  They would then offer their children as sacrifices to Molech (often these were babies) by placing the child in the arms of Molech...the Child would begin screaming in agony, but his screams could not be heard over the wailing of the worshippers who were often cutting themselves to gain favor with Molech.  The statues arms would then be lifted so that the child would drop into the furnace.  This is where the references in the Bible are made to "passing through fire."

When we consider acts like this, that were so heinous...how can we consider the command that God made for the Children of Israel to destroy them to be an unjust action?!

The Problem of Consistency
If God does not exist...the question becomes, whose standards to we use for right and wrong?  There is in us an inherent knowledge of what is right and wrong, if God did not put that there, who did?  If there was no moral law engrained in us, wouldn't there be anarchy ruling the world?

Also...if God does not exist...how do we explain our moral outrage at the events of the Holocaust?  If we had no moral compass to base our beliefs off of, we wouldn't care about the extermination of millions of people.  If there is no God, and there is no moral compass in us, how can we be outraged at murder, but not think twice at a lion killing an antelope?

Questions for the New Atheist
How much justice do we want?  Those that make the argument that, if God were real, He would have intervened to stop the Nazis...how much justice do they want?  We are sinful human beings who rebelled against the very God who created us.  We do not even deserve to live, and yet God allows us to.  This is mercy.  This is not something that Dr. Bennet argued, but I think it to be a very convincing one...who's to say that God didn't intend for us to be the enactors of justice against the Nazis.  Too many countries heard rumors of what was happening in the Third Reich...but we didn't want to believe it.  We thought it was too horrible to be true...and yet it was.  Eventually we were the enactors of justice, but we came so late that approximately 11 million people had already died.

Justice will come for the evil, either now, or later.  Too often we want to see justice served right away.  We want to see the bad guy go down before he ever has a chance to hurt anyone.  The truth is, if the bad guy does not receive justice here, he will surely receive it in the hereafter.  God is all powerful, and He decides when justice is served.

Is God not powerful enough to turn our trials into a blessing?  Trials come, and they will continue to come.  I know, in my life, I don't learn much without them.  God has taught me some amazing thing through trials He's brought into my life.  God is powerful...He knows what He's doing!  Romans 9:20 says, But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”  

If God is vicious and uncaring, why did He go to the cross?  One of the most well known verses in the bible is John 3:16.  That very verse says that God so loved us, that He sent his son to die for us.  Would an uncaring, unloving God, do such a thing?  No...it would be absurd.  Even before Jesus went to the cross, we constantly witness times where His love was displayed in His actions towards those interacted with during His earthly ministry.  In Luke 19, verses 41-44 Jesus weeps over the destruction He knows will come to Jerusalem.  Also in John 11 we find the shortest verse in the Bible...Jesus wept.  He weeps in this verse, not over the death of Lazarus, because He's about to raise him from the dead, He weeps because he is greatly moved by the mourning He sees the people participating in.  This is a God of love.  A God who is patient with people who do not deserve it.

I hope and pray that this was an encouragement to believers, and that God might use it to touch the heart of those who have yet to believe...

Friday, October 5, 2012

East to West

by:  Casting Crowns

Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
One scarred hand to the other
From one scarred hand to the other

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gospel Mediations from Galatians

This semester at Northland we started what are called "Impact Groups."  It's a group of guys from rooms that are next to each other in the dorms.  We meet every Wednesday with two faculty members and a GA (Graduate Assistant).  It's like a small group/accountability group kind of thing.  For the whole year we're going through Galatians, and this week we were in Galatians 1:6-10:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.  For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

This passage led us to discuss just exactly what the gospel is.  There were some things we discussed that I really wanted to share on here...

First of all, the question our leader asked us, was why did Jesus go to the grave?  Why did he have to be buried?  He died, and that was necessary for our salvation, but what's the significance of being buried for us?
The reason why is that it emphasizes his death.  He was buried in a sealed tomb for three days.  This proves that He truly died, and that He didn't just faint.  This death was a necessary part of the substitution...He was taking our place...tasting death so that we wouldn't have to...what a glorious and amazing thing!

The 2nd thing I want to share, is our leader asked us why it was necessary for him to appear to people? Why didn't He just rise again and go right up into heaven?
Just like his burial proved his death...so appearing to people proved His life.  This was a continuation of the substitution...he had to rise in order to conquer the grave for us.  God came down and raised Him...this proved He was who He said He was.

Final thoughts...getting the gospel right is the most important thing for us as Christians...it is everything to us.  It is what saved us, and it is what sustains us...it is what motivates us...

It is so simple that a child can believe it, but we can and should spend our entire lives meditating on it and growing in our understanding of it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Behold Our God

Verse 1
Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice


Chorus
Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King—nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him


Verse 2
Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?


Verse 3
Who has felt the nails upon His hands?
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man
God eternal, humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior, risen now to reign

Tag
You will reign forever
Let Your glory fill the earth


Credits:
Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, and Stephen Altrogge
© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Alcohol

I just read a great blog post by Pastor Chris Anderson.  He's the pastor at Tr-County Bible Church in Madison, OH, and Author of the "Gospel Meditations for Men/Women/Missions" devotional books.  His post was on Alcohol...I wanted to share it, because I think his message needs to be heard...especially amongst many questions about whether Christians should or shouldn't drink that I've heard quite often lately...especially among disgruntled former "Fundamentalists" who were taught many things were wrong, with often no explanation as to why...click here to access it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Should Christians seek victory?

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8

This week we had "Focus Week" here at Northland.  Dr. Timothy Jordan, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church (my previous church when my family lived in PA) in Lansdale PA was the speaker.  The whole "focus" of the conference was clearing up old misconceptions about passages of scripture.  The above passage was one of the passages he took us too during the sessions.

As can be seen at the beginning of this passage, Paul talks about being "poured out as a drink offering" and the fact that the "time of [his] departure [had] come."  This is an allusion to his execution which would take place soon.

The misconception he addressed in regards to this passage was the fact that it is usually preached to us that Paul lived a victorious Christian life, and so too should we!  Paul "won" the Christian race, and we should strive for the same victory!  This leads us into hopelessness, because, first of all, we don't know what victory looks like, and if we can contrive what it looks like, we know that we can never attain it...or at least we don't believe we can.

The first thing that Dr. Jordan pointed out was the fact that the word "win" is not even mentioned in this passage.  Paul does not say he won, it says he "fought a good fight."  This reminds me of Paul's "thorn in the flesh."  Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove it from him...but it wasn't.  Paul struggled with sin, he fought a good fight against it.  God never tells us to seek victory...in fact, the best we have is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  Even when Paul says, "I have finished the race"...this says nothing about winning.

Dr. Jordan even suggested that to seek victory is to seek ones own glory.  We want to look good, because we have "conquered" sin...but we can't.  This is not to say that we do not fight...because this passage impels us to fight...but we must acknowledge that we will fail, and fail often...we still must fight sin, by God's grace.

This passage also impels us to keep the faith.  This Christian race is hard, and there will be times we want to give up.  Especially in times of intense struggle with sin, and trails...but we must constantly be reminding ourselves of the goodness of God, and the fact that He's so much better than our struggle and sin.

When we view this passage in light of these truths...that "crown of righteousness" seems much more attainable, doesn't it?

There's one more thing I want to share that Dr. Jordan said, that was very encouraging to me in regards to this passage.  He said, that our idea of when we see God, is that He's going to say something like this, "well, you didn't do a very good job, but I guess since you're saved, I have to let you in."  I admit that this is the way I have thought about things being when I get to heaven.  That is not how it will be at all...for any believer...much like the Prodigal son's Father eagerly awaited the return of His son, so too is our heavenly Father eagerly awaiting our return to Him.  Also...just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son embraced his son with joy when he arrived...so too will our heavenly Father joyfully receive us when we meet Him face to face...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Missions?

As many of you saw with my post about God softening my heart toward missions.  The question for me now becomes, "what do I do with this?"  Is God preparing me to be a "missionally" focused pastor?  Or is He trying to tell me He wants me to go into missions work?  I haven't figured out the answer to this question yet...I've been praying about it quite a bit though...

I've found myself doing a lot of research lately on Christian persecution in foreign countries...especially in North Korea...which has the greatest levels of Christian persecution in the world.  When Christians are discovered they are put in internment camps where they conduct forced, hard manual labor without hardly any safety equipment.  Often times enduring torture and being put to death.

My heart goes out to these people and so many other persecuted Christians through out the world...the thought even of those who are hurting and have never heard the gospel of Jesus' loving death on the cross for the world...

I'm trying to continue to be open to the Lord's direction in this area...Lord...lead me where you will...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tears of the Saints

This morning I went on Twitter and did my usual scanning of what those I follow had posted.  One of the people I follow is Northland's student body girl president.  She's always posting very encouraging things that I'm often reposting.  I noticed this morning that she posted about the fact that we were going to have a mission focused student body chapel today, and that she was very excited about it.  I wasn't surprised...Northland has a huge emphasis on missions...but I must admit, to my shame, that I wasn't very excited about it.  I am far too comfortable in my easy life of a college student...I don't like feeling guilty about not witnessing...I don't like feeling like I need to give money to missions...it's uncomfortable...

What a fool I am...God used todays chapel to break my heart...not completely...because I know I will slip back into my complacency and apathy...at times...but I'm thankful that God worked in my heart today...

I'm far too apathetic when it comes to missions...I often ask myself...would I be willing to go even into North Korea...a country that is probably the most hostile to Christianity...would I be willing to go into that country to preach the gospel?  I don't really want to answer the question...but it's compelling...would I give all for Him?

Before I get too cliche by talking about missions, and give you all the statistics...I'll just share the video they shared in chapel...click here to access it...and the lyrics to the song that's playing on it I've posted below...

Tears of the Saints
by:  Leeland

There are many prodigal sons
On our city streets they run
Searching for shelter
There are homes broken down
People's hopes have fallen to the ground
From failures

This is an emergency!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We're crying for them come back home
We're crying for them come back home
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

There are schools full of hatred
Even churches have forsaken
Love and mercy
May we see this generation
In it's state of desperation
For Your glory

This is an emergency!

Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!
Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!

And all Your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Northland Campus Cause 2012

Some of my followers may remember that last year I did a post about the fact that at Northland we were raising money to renovate our dining hall. Well, those renovations were successfully completed this year. If you want to see the Facebook album with the pictures from that, you can see it by clicking here. You do not have to have a Facebook account to view the pics.

This year we are raising funds to build a new recreation hall. This building serves as a place for students to wind down, partake in fellowship, and to do homework. During the summer it also serves as a place for campers to hang out and have a good time.  It is still in good shape at this time, but it is about 50 years old, so it is in need of some updating.

Please, don't feel pressured to donate.  I know I can't stand it when I feel pressured to donate to a cause I don't want to donate to.  So please, don't feel pressured.  If you, however, feel led to donate and have the financial ability to do so, you can access the page to donate by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Search Me, Know Me

by Kathryn Scott and Mildred Rainey

Search me know me
Try me and see
Every worthless affection hidden in me
All I'm asking for is that You'd cleanse me Lord

Create in me a heart that's clean
Conquer the power of secret shame
Come wash away the guilty stain of all my sin

Clothe me in robes of righteousness
Cover my nakedness with grace
All of my life before You now I humbly bring

Monday, September 3, 2012

Humbled...

When I first got to Northland to fill my room leader position, I found out I had a guy in my room who can be a bit "crazy" at times.  He will openly admit this quite often.  We had a lot of interactions with one another last year, specifically when working with one another on security.

I was excited to have him in my room, because he IS such a fun guy to be around, but at the same time I had some concerns.  God, however, just revealed to me that He has a specific purpose for putting me in this room with these roommates.

As a part of my responsibilities, I'm supposed to ask my roommates how they are doing in their bible reading.  It's a good way to help with accountability.  I'm often humbled by the fact that my roommates are doing better than me...

The roommate that I have alluded to, humbled me greatly in his response to my question.  He was completely open and honest with me about how he was doing.  I admit, at the beginning of our conversation I was taken aback by his struggles, and I was immediately judging him in my mind.

Only after hearing him expound on his struggles did I realize that he's struggling with these things because God's teaching him some tough lessons because he's willing and ready to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  God is working on him, and has brought him to a point that far surpasses my level of openness and spiritual walk with God.

So right now, I'm just humbled...I'm humbled before God because He revealed to me my own judgmental arrogance...and I'm humbled and motivated to seek the intimate relationship with God that my roommate has...I'm humbled especially because my idea of a room leader, is a spiritual leader as well...how am I in a position over this guy?  To tell you the truth, I know why I am, and that's only because I happen to be older, and possibly a little more self controlled than this guy...and while such an attribute may get me in a position of leadership...it does not help me so much in my spiritual walk...I can be completely self controlled...and yet have a heart that's so far from God...

I just wanted to share this with my followers...we will often in our lives interact with people who we judge...we exalt ourselves above them because we think we're better...but..."Be careful if you think you stand.  You just might be sinking..."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Sophomore year is about to begin...

Well, classes start tomorrow!  Please be praying for me, as I'm taking both Intro to Literature and Greek 1!  It's going to be a busy semester, but I know God's grace can sustain me!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I'll Never Forsake You

O soul, are you weary from wave upon wave
Of grief and affliction whom no man can save?
Has sickness surrounded, or unending night?
Uncertainty stolen your joy and your might?

O doubting, o fearful– remember His care,
The helpless and hopeless need never despair
For from your afflictions His glory shall spring–
The deeper your sorrow, the louder you’ll sing!
Remember your Father– His promise, His love:


Chorus:
“I’ll never forsake you, this pain will not break you,
For I will remake you for unending joy;
My promise is faithful though now it is painful;
No power can trample my covenant love.”

Remember your Savior– His grief and His pain,
The lonely affliction, unmerited shame.
Though you had betrayed Him, He died in your place;
The joy set before Him He offers by grace.
Remember your Father– His promise, His love:

Content


Our contentment was never meant to be founded on our external circumstances, our contentment was always meant to be founded on our internal relationship with Jesus Christ.
-David Platt

Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.  I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.  Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.  But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.  This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
I want you to be free from anxieties.  The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.  But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.  I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.  But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.  So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

I Corinthians 7:25-38 (ESV)

The thought of being content in my singleness has been on my mind a lot lately.  I'm always hearing Christian married couples saying that God brought along the right person when they were content to be single and just rest in God's love.  The danger with being told this, is that then I try to acquire this contentedness so that then God will bring along the "right girl."  This is of course the wrong focus...

Before I left camp to come home I asked one of my roommates if he had any suggestions for a preacher whose sermons I could listen to.  He immediately suggested David Platt.  I thought, of course!  I read his book "Radical" and it was excellent!  So, when I got home I began listening to his sermons when I go for a run every other day.  This past week I listened to sermon by him, entitled "The Gospel and Singleness."  You may notice that my post below this provides the link for this sermon and a transcript. If my readers are anything like I am though, you probably didn't read it or listen to it, because it was so long.  So, I'd like to summarize some of the ideas he presented.

When I first read the title of the sermon, I was interested, but at the same time a little confused.  I thought, "How does the gospel relate to singleness?"  Well, after listening to the sermon, I realized the gospel directly affects the way singles are viewed.

In the Old Testament singleness/barrenness were considered a curse.  Think about Rachel, Sara, Hannah...all of them desperately wanted children because their barrenness was looked on as a negative thing.  Widows were encouraged to remarry as soon as possible.

The coming of Jesus changed everything, though.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

Matthew 19:3-12 (ESV)

In this passage and 1 Cor. 7 we see this picture of singleness (or being a eunuch) being a good thing, because it is less distracting.

...what they’re saying when they talk about singleness being good, when we understand in the backdrop of the Old Testament, we realize that it is only good because Christ has made it good. Because of the coming of the Christ, because of the Gospel, He has completely turned upside down the whole picture. Entrance into the Kingdom of God is a spiritual entrance. It’s a spiritual birth, not physical birth. As a result, both marriage and singleness are very, very good things.
-David Platt

Another thing he talked about that really hit home with me is a view that has arisen from the content of I Cor. 7:7...here's what it says:

I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. (ESV)

He argues that we often view this gift like we would any other Spiritual Gift.  For example, those who have the spiritual gift of singleness will be single forever, and they have the capacity to be content with being single.  This causes us to think that those who don't have the gift of singleness, but they are currently single will be given spiritual frustration because they are not using their gift of marriage.  David Platt argues that if you are single, you have the gift of singleness...if you are married, you have the gift of marriage.  Glorify God with your life regardless of where you are...

…the issue is not whether we’re married or single…the issue is whether we’re trusting in what God has for us right now…are we content where we are? Contentment is a deep trust in the sovereignty of God.
-David Platt

We as Christians should be content where we are, regardless of wether we're married or single.  Rest in the sovereignty of God...He knows what He's doing...He has not forgotten us...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Gospel and Singleness


I recommend both singles and married people listen to sermon this sermon by David Platt, called, "The Gospel and Singleness."  There's even a transcript below the video where you read it instead of watch it...

Don't worry...he doesn't exalt singleness over marriage, or marriage over singleness...he just preaches a really encouraging sermon about being content in God's sovereign will wherever God has us at the moment...but there's so much more to it than that...check it out!  Click here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Wonder of the Cross

by Vicky Beeching

O precious sight, my Savior stands,
Dying for me with outstretched hands.
O precious sight, I love to gaze,
Remembering salvation’s day,
Remembering salvation’s day.
Though my eyes linger on this scene,
May passing time and years not steal
The power with which it impacts me,
The freshness of its mystery,
The freshness of its mystery.

May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.
May I see it like the first time
Standing as a sinner lost,
Undone by mercy and left speechless,
Watching wide eyed at the cost.
May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.

Behold the God-man crucified,
The perfect sinless sacrifice.
As blood ran down those nails and wood,
History was split in two, yes,
History was split in two.
Behold the empty wooden tree,
His body gone, alive and free.
We sing with everlasting joy,
For sin and death have been destroyed, yes,
Sin and death have been destroyed.

May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.
May I see it like the first time
Standing as a sinner lost,
Undone by mercy and left speechless,
Watching wide eyed at the cost.
May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.

May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.
May I see it like the first time
Standing as a sinner lost,
Undone by mercy and left speechless,
Watching wide eyed at the cost.
May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nearing the end...

Well, we have one more week of camp.  I'll be driving back home next Saturday afternoon.  I can't wait to sleep in my own bed, and get some good rest.

Last Monday was my birthday...I'm officially 25 years old...wow...just seeing that written on this page looks really old.  Reaching this milestone has caused me to be very reflective...how have I used the last 25 years?  Did I live it in a way that was honoring to my savior?  Did I witness like I should have?  Did I make disciples, as the Great Commission calls me to do?  The truth is I'm ashamed to say that I have not...since I came to camp is the greatest amount of discipleship that I have been involved in in my whole life.

What has this realization motivated me to say?  "Not another wasted year..."  Most of my grandparents did not live past 75...so, if I follow the family tradition, I'm a third of the way through my life on this earth.  I will be held accountable for the life I lived...the life God gave me to live...

This is the main thing God has taught me this summer...I want to live a grace enabled, God pursuing, people pursuing, discipleship centered life...a gospel centered life...

Below I have posted random pics from the summer that are on facebook...


Good 'ol game of "tube tug"


Last performance of Pioneer Village "funny time"


Living in the teepee, doing "DEPAC" devotions with my campers


Pioneer Village staff picture, during staff training


Last week of Pioneer Village camp staff picture


I was the Redskin team leader, and this is my co-team leader...Katie Sanders...she became a very good friend this summer

Saturday, July 21, 2012

God's work, not mine...

I would like to share something that God taught me this past week, here at camp.  I had one camper this last week who came back during an invitation to get saved.  First of all I wanted to make sure he realized he was a sinner.  So, first I asked him if he was a sinner, and he said yes, but as I proceeded to ask him about specific sins that he had committed and he proceeded to tell me that he had "not really" committed any of those sins.

From the way he was answering my questions, he was, in essence saying he was without sin.  I proceeded to tell him that he was saying that God was a liar because God's word says that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23 & 1 John 1:10).  It was very clear that he was very distracted and did not want to admit his error.  So, all I could think to do was to continue to go through the gospel with him, and just pray with him, but not encourage him to pray the "sinners prayer," because he obviously wasn't ready, and didn't understand that he was a sinner.

After I was done talking to him, I just felt very discouraged.  I began questioning in my head, "God, are you here?  This kid needs Jesus...can't you make him see!?"  I struggled with it most of the evening, but I just kept praying about it, and God just made me realize, that He has a sovereign plan that will be accomplished.  I am just a tool...I might not be the one that leads him to Christ, but He can still use me in this boys life.  He's the one who does the work in hearts...no one truly comes to Christ, and understands the gospel without the work of God in hearts...

He is good, and He knows exactly what needs to be done...even when I don't understand it...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Camp Update

Well, we just finished our 2nd week of family camp after two weeks of teen and junior camps.  God has been teaching me so much since I got up here to camp.

I love the way Northland does camp.  They have two weeks of staff training before the campers arrive, and the staff training isn't just teaching us how to be good counselors...they basically counsel the counselors before the campers even arrive.  Staff training was an awesome two weeks of just purging idols.  God continues to reveal to me areas of my life where I rely on earthly things (which pass away), and He's helping me to look to Him for strength, and endurance in my Christian race.

The "Catch Phrase" for the summer is, "Jesus is better."  He's better than anything I/we put before Him.  He's better than man's approval, He's better than my own self exaltation, He's better than everything...

I've had two weeks of working with campers, directly, as a junior counselor.  My first week was very stressful, because I was still learning how to do all the things I needed to do as counselor in a week, but the 2nd week was trying to my patience, but God saw me through both weeks, and I'm so thankful for the times that His grace was evident.

I've also had a few difficult situations at home.  One of the ladies in my church lost her baby who was only alive for approximately two months, and also an old friend from when I was in middle school died in a car accident.  God has been teaching me through these things, that even though I might not understand what's going on, He is sovereign, and He has a perfect plan that is being accomplished through all this.  "His way is perfect..."

One last thing that God has been working on my heart about lately that I wanted to share is the fact that I need to be content with being single right now.  I'm getting closer to the point where I would be content to be single for the rest of my life, if that be God's will.  People always say that a pastor should have a wife, but the bible doesn't demand that they have a wife.  The bible says they are to be the husband of one wife, but that just means they shouldn't have more than one.  I believe that if it were God's will for me to be single, that He could provide a woman in the church for me to send woman who are struggling to.  Would I like to be married, and have kids...certainly...but if it's not God's will, I don't want it.

Well, that's all for now.  Please be praying in the upcoming weeks, as we'll have more campers to work with.

I trust all my followers are having a great summer!  Keep seeking God, for He is better!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sovereign One

by Zach Jones

When I’m all alone and afraid
I will trust in You
For You watch over my ways
When things in my life don’t make sense
I will trust in You
For You are good, You are good

Sovereign One
You work all things to Your plan
Sovereign One
You hold all things in Your hands

When I don’t get to have my own way
I will trust in You
For You know what is best
When tears begin to roll down my face
I will trust in You
For You are good, You are good

Perfect in power, You control all things
Perfect in wisdom, You know everything
Perfect in goodness
Jesus, You’re so good to me
So good to me

© 2004 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Father's Love

by: Amy Susan Foster, Mike Harland and Niles Borop

The world’s wealth and riches can be bought and sold.
But I possess a treasure far greater than gold;
‘Twas a gift passed down to me from heaven above,
‘Twas the gift of my Father’s love.

And my Father’s love is strong and true,
Always believing, always seeing me through.
So no matter what happens in His grand design,
I’ll be fine with my Father’s love.

Safe and secure now in His love alone,
I find here my place of worth as one of His own.
And I don’t need ev’rything this world wants to give,
‘Cause I live with my Father’s love.

And my Father’s love is strong and true,
Always believing, always seeing me through.
So no matter what happens in His grand design,
I’ll be fine with my Father’s love.

So, no matter what happens in His grand design,
I’ll be fine with my Father’s love,
with my Father’s love.
I have my Father’s love.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Perfect Wisdom of our God

The perfect wisdom of our God
Revealed in all the universe
All things created by His hand
And held together at His command
He knows the mysteries of the seas
The secrets of the stars are His
He guides the planets on their way
And turns the earth through another day


The matchless wisdom of His ways
That mark the path of righteousness
His word a lamp unto my feet
His Spirit teaching and guiding me
And O the mystery of the cross
That God should suffer for the lost
So that the fool might shame the wise
And all the glory might go to Christ


O grant me wisdom from above
To pray for peace and cling to love
And teach me humbly to receive
The sun and rain of Your sovereignty
Each strand of sorrow has a place
Within this tapestry of grace
So through the trials I choose to say
Your perfect will in Your perfect way

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty
Copyright © 2011 Thankyou Music & Getty Music

Monday, June 4, 2012

Camp

Well, camp staff training at Northland Camp is in full swing...I really shouldn't even be on here writing this because I have so much to do...write my cabin cheer...work on memorizing my lines for "funny time"...etc...but alas I'm on here...I wanted to update my followers on what's going on in my life...

My cabin is called "the Mohicans," and my name for the summer is Hawkeye...if you've ever seen the movie "the Last of the Mohicans"...you know why...

I also found out today that I'm on the Redskins team, and I'll actually be the team leader!  So, I'm pretty excited, but also nervous about the responsibilities it will bring...but God's grace will see me through...

I would also just like to say that you probably won't see many posts from me this summer...my schedule is going to be so packed...but I'll try to get on and update you all when I have the chance...

God has seriously been working on my heart (through staff training) about a lot of things that I would really like to share, but I really don't have the time to share it, especially since there's so much!  So, I'll just end it with that...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

by: Casting Crowns

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided


Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours


Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did


Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours


You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Freshman year done...

So...my final grades for all my classes are in, and I have passed my Freshman year of college!  I'm officially a Sophomore!  Oh man...it feels good.  I can take no credit for getting to the place where I am right now...it is only by God's grace...

Tonight we have rehearsal for our concert, tomorrow morning is "White Glove", tomorrow evening is the spring concert, and Saturday morning I begin the trek for home!

I'll be home till May 30th and then it's on the road back to Northland for camp.  I'm really looking forward to what God will do in my life this summer.  I say "will" because I know God can teach me a lesson in everything I do, and I want to humbly to submit to whatever He would have for me.

I know one main thing God has been convicting me about lately, is my fear of man.  I'm so afraid of not meeting mans approval, and so afraid of rejection that this cripples me far too often.  This is especially evident in the area of witnessing.  The Great Commission commands us as Christians to go and make disciples.  "Lord, help me to have courage.  Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You.  Help me to put You first, and that I would do your will in my every action."

I trust that everyone else has great things planned for this summer, but most importantly, I hope you are all surrendered to what God would have for you this summer!  Everything we (as Christians) do is an act of worship, and can be done with a humble servant attitude...whether we're working for a garbage company, or pastoring a church.  They can all be "great" things, when they are done with pleasing God as the focus.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day by Day

by: Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell Berg

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Ev'ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose Name is Counselor and Pow'r;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As your days, your strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in ev'ry tribulation
So to trust Your promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Your holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Laborers Together

So, this summer I will be working at Northland Camp.  I will be working as a Junior Counselor, which is of course with the little kids.  As a camp staff member, I'm supposed to raise $500 to support the ministry at Northland.  I've already donated the $500 required, but I know there is still a great need for support, so if you could follow this link and donate whatever you feel led to donate, I would appreciate it!

If you can't give any money, that's completely fine, but if you could pray for me this summer, I would appreciate that as well!  It's going to be a long, but fun, summer and I look forward to the opportunities I'll have to disciple a bunch of little kids!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do I really love my Lord?

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him,“Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.  Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”  (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
John 21:15-19

Dr. Olson preached from this passage of scripture in Chapel this morning.  He posed the question, "Do you really love God?"  I mean...do you REALLY love God?!  We as Christians would say that we do...but would our actions show it?  Will the evidence of this love be clear in our lives?

Our reaction to this dilema, as Christians, leads us to conform outwardly.  We think..."If I start doing things for God, and getting busy at church, or I'll go a missions trip, then I'm loving God."  Outward conformity to our ideas of what a Christian is supposed to do, is worthless.

I know I've talked about this before, but It is so easy to forget it in my sad worthless Child of God existence (almost said "My Walk with the Lord", but I realized that makes it sound like it's my effort that makes me walk with God...left to myself, I would not have sought after God).

A truly, deep, humble, broken Christian life is marked not by outward conformity, but by a seeking after God.  Seeking to know and understand Him more and more.  It also means asking God to give us the love that He loves us with.  To be honest, though...we can never achieve this on this earth.  It is truly impossible to love God, and others as much as He loves us...but He can teach us how to get close...but we must never get to the point where we feel we've "arrived"...for it is at that moment that we are so puffed up in our own pride, that we truly have not "arrived"...

When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.
-C. S. Lewis

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bird Nerd Central!

Since I've come to Northland I've been trying to figure out what this noisy bird is that I often hear off in the distance on campus. At first I caught short glimpses of it off in the distance, and it looked really big. Finally I saw it before I left for spring break, and it looked like some kind of crane. It definitely wasn't a Great Blue Heron because it flies with it's neck extended. Well, I kept meaning to look it up, but I kept forgetting...so yesterday on the way to church, I saw one, and once again I thought, "I need to look it up, to see if I can find out what it is!" So, this morning I did...it's a...drum roll please?! It's a...Sandhill Crane!


Wisconsin and Michigan are in it's summer breeding range. Their range does not extend into Ohio and Pennsylvania, which explains why I don't remember ever seeing them before. 



I'm such a bird nerd...




Here's some info on it for my fellow bird nerds.  Click here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Student Conversation with Professor

I found the following conversation on facebook a little while ago.  The post claimed the student in this coversation was Alber Einstein, but I did some internet searching, because I didn't want to post something that made a false claim.  Every relaiable website a viewed said it probably wasn't him.  But there's no solid evidence that he didn't either...it's a very interesting and thought provoking conversation regardless.  Read on!

Professor: You are a Christian, aren’t you, son?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you believe in GOD?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

Professor: Is GOD good?

Student: Sure.

Professor: Is GOD all powerful?

Student: Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent.)

Professor: You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, young fella. Is GOD good?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Is Satan good?

Student: No.

Professor: Where does Satan come from?

Student: From … GOD …

Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student: Yes.

Professor: So who created evil?

(Student did not answer.)

Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who created them?

(Student had no answer.)

Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

Student: No , sir.

Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?

Student: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student: Yes.

Professor: According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student: No, sir. There isn’t.

(The lecture theater became very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

Student: You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class was in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?

(The class broke out into laughter. )

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir … Exactly! The link between man and GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.