Friday, December 31, 2010

What's Your Plan in 2011?

Plans fail for lack of counsel . . . worse yet, we don't even make plans.

What's your plan in 2011 to saturate your soul with God's unchanging Word? I plan to start tomorrow this new plan that has you read the Scriptures in a somewhat chronological system:

Click HERE to get a few more suggestions.

There are 3 things that last forever: God, the Word of God, and People. It is wise to invest first and foremost in these three things.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Silent and Silencing Servant - Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Like a lamb to the slaughter, like a silent sheep before its shearers, Jesus went and died on Calvary for the sins of the world. The Silent Servant's act is so marvelous that it makes kings shut their mouths in a paralyzing silence (Isaiah 52:15). I hope my most recent sermon helps you stand in awe of the Servant of the LORD who came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

Download my sermon here: "The Silent and Silencing Servant" - Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the 4th sermon in our series "Singing for the Servant," on the Servant Songs of Isaiah.

In addition, I want to encourage you to listen to John Piper's sermons on Isaiah 52-53. I read through all of his sermons this week in order to prepare my own sermon. Some of his ideas made it into my final sermon too. Go to this site to find all of John Piper's sermons in the book of Isaiah:   I quote Piper in at least one place, but on another occasion I reworded (but failed to give him credit for) this particularly thought-provoking line in one of his sermons on Isaiah 53: "When you read the story of your salvation in detail 700 years before it happened, you have not only revelation, but validation.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So much for spreading Christmas cheer...

Last night our church went caroling in an assisted living/nursing home type facility. As we were preparing to leave, Caleb somehow managed to get his rump off his chair and his forehead onto the edge of a marble fireplace.  Needless to say, we headed (no pun intended) to the doctor.  They sent us to the ER and we made a night of it.  Four hours later, we brought him home with 2 dissolving stitches and 7 outer stitches. He was a trooper the whole evening and we're so proud of him!  He is definitely our brave boy.  Here he is this evening as we changed from one Diego band-aid to another. :)  Next to the actual stitching up process, the most painful part has been Sam's reaction to all this.  He is so sympathetic that he cries when Caleb cries (when we pull off the band-aid) and actually begged us not to change the band-aid tonight because it would hurt Caleb.  So sad and sweet at the same time!  We're very grateful for our two beautiful boys.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

45 minutes yikes! - Isaiah 50:1-11 "The Tragedy of Unbelief"

Today we had a great worship service. I am thankful we didn't have to cancel. Today I preached the 3rd sermon in our sermon series, "Singing for the Servant." In these sermons, we are looking at the famous Servant Songs of Isaiah, prophetic songs that look ahead to the arrival of Messiah Jesus. I don't know if it was because of feeling anointed by the Holy Spirit, but I preached almost 45 minutes. That's a new record.

Here are some links if you'd like to download the sermons:

Today's Sermon: "The Tragedy of Unbelief" - Isaiah 50:1-11

Last Weeks' Sermon: "The Servant Christ" - Isaiah 49:1-13

2 Week's back, a sermon preached by Jeff King - "Servant Song #1" - Isaiah 42

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Good thoughts on the mission of the church

Kevin DeYoung answering, So what is the mission of the church?

The mission of the church is to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship and obey Jesus Christ now and in eternity to the glory of God the Father.

In other words, the mission of the church is not equal to everything God is doing in the world, nor is it everything we do in obedience to Christ. The mission of the church is the Great Commission. As Andreas K√∂stenberger says, “The church ought to be focused in the understanding of its mission. Its activities should be constrained by what helps others to come to believe that the Messiah, the Son of God, is Jesus.”*


Monday, December 06, 2010

For Richer, for Poorer - American Wealth or American Poverty

Business Week recently Published an article, "Are Americans as Poor as They Feel." The article goes on to show that the relative cost of consumer goods has really not significantly outpaced the increase in household income (sadly, however, many households are forced to have 2 wage earners). Many consumer goods cost significantly less with regard to inflation and rising prices than they did in 1980. The two big factors that have increased are education (due to fewer public dollars and greater demand) and health care (caring for people living decades longer). In the end, we have a few less real dollars, but it's not as big of a discrepancy as many feel. Venessa Wong writes,

The consumer price index—which includes food and beverage, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education, communication, and other goods and services—grew nearly 160.4 percent, to 214.537, from 1980 to 2009, according to BLS data. In the same period, median household income in nominal dollars increased 181 percent, to $49,777, U.S. Census Bureau data show, or 8 percent in real dollars. BLS data indicate that while high-income earners saw the biggest increase in that period, average income rose for middle-income earners too.

The article is written without bias, but does mention a major cause of people feeling economic strain is the American drive for bigger houses, more cars, and more forms of entertainment (vacations, the internet, cable TV, etc.).

It makes me think of Jesus warning us that it's possible to gain the whole world and still lose our souls. Maybe if we spent less money and time trying to satisfy all of our pleasures here on earth, we wouldn't feel as poor and despondent as the surveys purport. And just maybe if we believed what St. Augustine taught us over 1000 years ago, we would find a measure of peace that cannot be bought with a bigger paycheck:"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Just a few quick pics because we've been woefully neglectful of the blog...

For the three of you out there (love you, dear grandparents!!) who check our blog for occasional pictures of our little bundles of joy, our apologies!  We have been neglecting our blogging duties while we've been transitioning to our new job and new home.  So here is a peace offering of recent pictures.  The first three are what I like to call our "breakfast series."  Then watch out, Beethoven, here come the Proctor kids.  And finally, Sam and Daddy getting ready to shovel snow and sled in the front yard with our first real Iowa snow this winter.