Monday, July 26, 2010

Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility (and a sermon)

Part 3 of the "Return of the King Series" (Matthew 1-4) was entitled, "God's Reign and the Human Response." You can download this message here: http://cornerstone-marion.org/sermons/10-0725_~Return_of_the_King_Series__Matt_2--1-23_(Matt_Proctor).mp3

For those wanting more information, here are some good online articles:

This is a great book review of JI Packer's book entitled Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Ivp Classics) (if you have not read this book, read it, but the review is well done too): http://andynaselli.com/summary-and-outline-of-j-i-packers-evangelism-and-the-sovereignty-of-god

The Sovereignty of God by John Murray


Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility by Kenneth Boa

Also, a classic book by DA Carson: Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

I also think the Evangelical Free Church of America's Statement of Faith (points 1 and 10) help show how these two truths (divine sovereignty and human responsibility) interplay:

1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

 10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

From: http://www.efca.org/about-efca/statement-faith

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More miscellaneous pics from the last 2 months...

Here we have the boys playing in the backyard with Grandpa Steve.  Caleb is showing off his new talent of walking (assisted), which has just developed in the last 2 weeks.  Watch out, world!  There's also a pic of Samuel playing with Uncle James.  We were stuck inside on a rainy day so we busted out the fake snow.  Samuel was really into burying his little dinosaurs and people in it. :)  Then there are the three Proctor grandkids together - Samuel, Caleb and their cute little cousin, Sayers.  This is a classic big brother shot since you can see that he has just dumped a cup full of water on Caleb's head.  And last but not least, a shot of Samuel with his little friends Kenna and Railey Nine the week we left Colorado, taken by my friend Julie who was visiting us from Kansas City.

Vacation in the mountains

These were taken about 2 months ago on our trip to Fairplay - our vacation to celebrate the end of seminary!  It was a very restful, much-needed break from the crazy pace of life we had sustained for 3 years.  We are so grateful to a friend for the use of her cabin, and to God for providing the time and resources to do this! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My One Month Anniversary, a Prayer Request, and a Recommendation

First a praise, then a prayer request, and then a recommendation:

PRAISE: Today, I celebrate one month as the pastor of Cornerstone Church (www.cornerstone-marion.org) (CC). It's been a special month since my first day on June 21. I have met wonderful people and am seeing exciting ministry days ahead.

PRAYER REQUEST: I'm also excited to spend the next 30 hours or so with the elders of CC. These servant-leaders meet in about 4 hours for a 30 hours prayer and panning retreat. We will talk about what it means to be an elder; what it means to equip saints for the Great Commission; what it means to follow the Head (Jesus Christ) of the church;, and then how to leverage the time, talent and treasure of those in the church family to fulfill our role in the Great Commission. It's a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1).

RECOMMENDATION: I came across a useful resource in the last few days that we will look at during the retreat. It is a 40ish page booklet on Biblical Eldership. You can download a copy here: http://www.johnbunyan.org/PDFs/beld.pdf
I recommend this booklet for all Christians to know how to pray for their leaders, but I especially commend the booklet to those wanting to serve and those currently serving in church leadership. The insights of this booklet come from a longer and valuable resource by Alexander Strauch entitled, Biblical Eldership.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Matthew 1:18-25 Sermon & a Bonus Paper

I preached a sermon on Matthew 1:18-25 today entitled, "So Marvelous a Birth, So Marvelous a Salvation." This is the second sermon in my series "The Return of the King (Chapters 1-4)" in the book of Matthew.

You can download the message here: http://cornerstone-marion.org/sermons/10-0718_~Return_of_the_King_Series__Matt_1--18-25_(Matt_Proctor).mp3


BONUS: As mentioned in the sermon, I did not want to take the time to discuss how I believe the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 (made in 733 B.C.) had its fulfillment in Jesus Christ over 700 years later. But I wrote  up a short 2-page explanation on this amazing promise. Download the pdf by clicking this: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1531820/Immanuel_Prophecy.pdf

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First Sermon as the Cornerstone Church Pastor: Matthew 1:1-17 - "A World-Shaking Idenity"

I began preaching the Gospel of Matthew today at Cornerstone Church in Marion, IA.

I will be preaching chapters 1-4 of Matthew leading up to Labor Day. This first series in the Gospel is called, "The Return of the King." Today's sermon was from chapter 1 verses 1-17, entitled "A World-Shaking Identity."

Click here to download/listen: http://cornerstone-marion.org/sermons/10-0711_~A_World-Shaking_Identity__Matt_1--17_(Matt_Proctor).mp3

Friday, July 09, 2010

Unction in Preaching

What of unction? It is the indefinable in preaching which makes it preaching. It is that which distinguishes and separates preaching from all mere human addresses. It is the divine in preaching. It makes the preaching sharp to those who need sharpness. It distills as the dew to those who need to he refreshed. It is well described as:
"a two-edged sword
Of heavenly temper keen,

And double were the wounds it made
Wherever it glanced between.
'Twas death to silt; 'twas life
To all who mourned for sin.
It kindled and it silenced strife,
Made war and peace within."
This unction comes to the preacher not in the study but in the closet. It is heaven's distillation in answer to prayer. It is the sweetest exhalation of the Holy Spirit. It impregnates, suffuses, softens, percolates, cuts, and soothes. It carries the Word like dynamite, like salt, like sugar; makes the Word a soother, an arranger, a revealer, a searcher; makes the hearer a culprit or a saint, makes him weep like a child and live like a giant; opens his heart and his purse as gently, yet as strongly as the spring opens the leaves. This unction is not the gift of genius. It is not found in the halls of learning. No eloquence can woo it. No industry can win it. No prelatical hands can confer it. It is the gift of God -- the signet set to his own messengers. It is heaven's knighthood given to the chosen true and brave ones who have sought this anointed honor through many an hour of tearful, wrestling prayer.
Earnestness is good and impressive: genius is gifted and great. Thought kindles and inspires, but it takes a diviner endowment, a more powerful energy than earnestness or genius or thought to break the chains of sin, to win estranged and depraved hearts to God, to repair the breaches and restore the Church to her old ways of purity and power. Nothing but this holy unction can do this.
 
 So writes the great preacher and man of prayer E.M. Bounds. Read Bounds' entire article: "Unction, the Mark of True Gospel Preaching" 

I pray that the God who does the miraculous would give me such unction as I serve Christ's Church.