Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Kingdom of God - It Matters


As I transition from my first sermon series (Matthew 1-4: "The Return of the King") at Cornerstone Church to the next one on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), I decided to spend one Sunday looking at a Begining to End, Genesis to Revelation survey with regard to the Kingdom of God.

Here's the link: "The King and His Kingdom: A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of God."

As well as the 2 messages before that I haven't posted yet:

Matthew 4:12-25 "A Kingdom Invasion"
Matthew 3:13-4:11: "A Coronation, a Commission, and a Contest"


In addition, here are some helpful articles I used in preparation for the "King and His Kingdom" sermon (I do not necessarily believe everything they espouse, but they are well-written and helpful in forming my own conclusions):

F.F. Bruce (4 pages): http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/kingdom_bruce.pdf

G.R. Beasley-Murray (6 pages): http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/bq/32_beasley-murray.pdf

The Kingdom of God in the OT (Martin Selman): http://98.131.162.170//tynbul/library/TynBull_1989B_40_01_Selman_KingdomOfGodInOT.pdf

David Naugle gives a good short summary: http://www.colsoncenter.org/the-center/columns/indepth/15062-jesus-christ-and-the-kingdom-of-god

Sam Storms has a 2-part discussion on the kingdom: http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/the-kingdom-of-god-already-but-not-yet-part-i/ and http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/the-kingdom-of-god-already-but-not-yet-part-ii/

 And finally, I had the privilege to lead a baptism service this past Sunday. 2 young men told the world that they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of their sins and Lord of their life. Hallelujah! (one picture provided from the service).

Friday, August 20, 2010

A joke I got today via email from my brother:

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, "This is the dumbest kid in the world.

Watch while I prove it to you."

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, "Which do you want, son?

The boy takes the quarters and leaves.

"What did I tell you?" said the barber. "That kid never learns!"

Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store.

"Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?"

The boy licked his cone and replied, "Because the day I take the dollar the game's over!"

When earth has no balm for my healing -- A Tribute to Kathleen Olson

This past week, Cornerstone Church lost a beloved sister in Christ, Kathleen Olson. Kathleen was only 46 years old; she leaves behind a husband and three adorable children (grades 3rd, 5th, and 7th). On August 28, 2009 she was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer. She had a tough fight, but in the end the disease won out. You can read more on this page provided by the Murdoch Funeral Home.

Back in Spring 2010, Kathleen sang at a family funeral in a quintet the song "Under His Wings." In the youtube video below, you can listen to the performance. In verse 3, Kathleen takes a solo where she sings of the solace God still offers to those He loves, even "when earth has no balm for my healing." It reminds me of the great promises found in Romans 8:28-39 for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation:

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
   "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.



Here are the song lyrics (note verse 3) and video:

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Refrain

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Refrain

Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.

Refrain


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Where does Daddy work?

(To set this up, our church is in the process of putting together an office for Matt.  In the meantime, he has been studying wherever there's an empty table and a little bit of peace and quiet.)  Today, Grandma Peggy was talking with 3-year-old Samuel about where people go to work.  She told him, "Auntie Carmen and Aunt Sarah work at the hospital.  Uncle Mark works at the grocery store."  Then he asked, "My Daddy work?"  She said, "Yes, your daddy works.  Where does he work?"  Without missing a beat, Samuel answered, "The coffee shop."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rodney Stark - Great Article

Baylor sociologist and professor of religion, Rodney Stark, was recently interviewed on why Evangelical Churches thrive and Liberal/Mainline churches suffer and ultimately close their doors.

The article is available here: Click to View
 
Stark writes:
There are congregations within these [liberal/mainline] denominations that are growing very impressively, very quickly, very strongly. Guess what? They have evangelical clergy. 
Ten years ago I did a little study that I'm repeating now. There are various evangelical associations, like the Willow Creek Association. People all over the country belong to these associations. They're non-denominational ministerial associations of evangelical orientation. If you look at their membership lists, you will find that there are Congregationalists and Episcopalians and Methodists and so on. So I took out the names of the so-called "mainline" clergy who belonged to these ministerial associations; these were ministers who belonged to "mainline" denominations but had studied at evangelical seminaries and were generally evangelical in their convictions. When I traced them back to their congregations, guess what? In these rapidly declining denominations, the rapidly growing congregations belong to these guys.

 Thus, the answer is simple: Evangelical churches grow because they preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12); that's what being "evangelical" means, being about the Good News (euangelium) or Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is the Gospel? People have fallen out of relationship with God, their Creator (Eph. 2:1-3). People were created to be in right relationship with their Creator, but because of our sin (immorality, pride, selfishness, etc.) we have offended God's holiness (even our "righteous" acts are filthy in God's eyes; Isa. 64:6). God cannot stand for His holiness to be offended and thus all sinners (you and me) stand condemned by God and worthy of punishment (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). Jesus came to save sinners by dying on the cross of Calvary (Romans 5:8), bearing the due penalty for the sinfulness of humanity (2 Corinthians 5:21), and rising 3 days as the conqueror over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Now every person who trusts Jesus for their salvation from their sin can be reconciled to God, their Creator (John 3:16). So too, entering in to a new life with Christ allows us to enter on a glorious journey with God (2 Cor. 5:17). It starts in this life and never ends for all eternity (Phil. 1:21). We enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3). We serve in the kingdom and participate in the kingdom work now and forever!


Stark continues:

What if you went to a baseball game, and nobody brought a ball? The players just stir around for two hours. I don't think you'd go back, would you? Likewise, when you go to church, but the minister doesn't bother to hold church because he wants to talk about Medicare or something, why go back? Well, people don't.

A liberal political platform is insufficient for the suffering of human souls. A church that takes God, sin, or Jesus Christ out of their sermons, mission, and purpose will come to nothing. We need Christ; we need the Gospel; we need to be reconciled to God; hence, we need Gospel-preaching, evangelical churches and pastors. If you don't come with the ball (the Gospel), you won't have a church in due time.

Here's a good reminder:

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Installation and Matthew 3:1-12

Today I was officially installed as the pastor at Cornerstone Church. This is a ceremony where the Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of America sends a representative to formally recognize God's leading of me to Cornerstone Church and Cornerstone's call to me to be their pastor. It was a good day. A big thanks to all who made it a special event, and a thank you to lots of family who came and were a part of the service as well.

I continued the sermon series in Matthew by taking the first 12 verses of chapter 3. It just so happened to be the description of John the Baptist's ministry. It was a hard message, but a good reminder of our need for Christ and the filling of the Spirit (Matthew 3:11-12), made possible only because of Christ's sacrificial death for our sins (cf. Romans 3:21-26) and triumphant resurrection (Romans 6:5-14), that promises life to all who believe (John 3:16).

To download go here:
http://cornerstone-marion.org/sermons/10-0801_~Return_of_the_King_Series__Matt_3--1-12_(Matt_Proctor).mp3