Thursday, February 24, 2011

Church 2.0 - The Missional Church

What do you think of this video?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, GQ!!

Dear Great Queen Annie,
Samuel and Caleb wanted to wish you a VERY happy birthday, in their own special way.  Lots of love from the Proctors!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I ran out of time; the Last 2 Verses of Matthew 16

Here are the cut and paste thoughts that were in my manuscript on Matthew 16:27-28. We ran out of time, but for the few people who wanted the info, here it is. I've also included the original conclusion:

Verse 27 tells us that the Son of Man will come one day and judge us for our deeds. Not what we believed but how our life reflected our beliefs. Paul says the same thing in 2 Cor 5:10 NIV 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
James makes a similar remark in chapter 2: 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-- and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

John MacArthur does a nice job explaining this when he write, “[this] isn't a works salvation, but we will be rewarded and we will be judged on the basis of what we do because what we do will reveal what we are."

Verse 28 – At that Jesus confirms that His glory will be manifested soon. Scholars argue that this could mean the Transfiguration to occur just a few days from now, Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the early and miraculous growth of the church, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. I tend to think this refers to either the Transfiguration or the resurrection/ascension (maybe both). Regardless of which view is taken, Jesus is affirming that though suffering is the lot for the Son of Man and His Church, be not afraid, glory is coming, and a the disciples would get a taste of that glory prior to death.

Discipleship to Jesus Christ means death to the good life, and yet death means true life and ultimate triumph.

Conclusion: Jesus gave up an unimaginably good life when he left the presence of God and the glories of Heaven. He left that state of glory to come to earth to die alone on a cross, bearing the sins of the whole world. He took the death we deserved, to procure for us the life we did not deserve. Now, the only way to experience this Cross-given life is to die to our own good life. We die to what is only a reflection of the good life and turn to the Giver of Life, Himself, Jesus Christ. We deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. He is building His Church. He is drawing men and women to Himself. He is offering profound grace. Will we cling to His gifts and exchange the glory of God for created things (Rom. 1)? Or will we cry out and make the Creator and Redeemer the Lord our life?

Discipleship to Jesus Christ means death to the good life, and yet death means true life and ultimate triumph.

Final Note: I gave an illustration on Sunday on a dead guy not being able to buy a latte that came from a sermon, "But God," I had recently listened to by Bobby Raulerson, 3rd year student at Denver Seminary. He gave a sermon from Ephesians 2 in the Denver Seminary chapel that i had listened to a few weeks back and the illustration must have made an impression.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Matthew 16:1-12 - Dangerous Teachers

Grab Your Bible and Open Up to Matthew 16:1-12. Then, think through these short paragraphs that attempt to explain these first 12 verses of Matthew 16. Come to Cornerstone Church this Sunday as we tackle Matthew 16:13-28:

1)    Dangerous Teachers Drop Seeds of Doubt (16:1-4):  
a.    Two groups that hate each other will often bond to kill a common enemy. How else could the Fascists and Communists momentarily unite in WWII if it were not their common desire to claim portions of Poland? Similarly, the loathing between the Pharisees and Sadducees subsided just long enough to question, confront and ultimate crucify Jesus of Nazareth in order to cause His followers to doubt (16:1).
b.    Jesus’ ministry and message had attacked both groups. Jesus argued the Temple was redundant and unnecessary in light of the great Temple (Jesus Himself) arriving (see Matthew 12:6). This attacked the power and clout of the governing Sadducees. Likewise, Jesus’ refusal to accept the teachings of the much-more orthodox Pharisees created another rift. The Pharisees believed strict adherence to the Law was the only means to receive God’s mercy to heal their land and remove their enemies. Jesus, however, said mercy was to come to the unrighteous, not the righteous (or more pointedly, those who thought they were righteous, Matthew 9:13).
c.    Thus, in order to limit Jesus’ support and undercut his disciple-making ministry, they demanded more signs, hoping to raise doubts among those who were beginning to accept Jesus’ teachings. Jesus refused to pander to their silly tactics, and reiterated the “sign” that mattered was his future death and resurrection (much like Jonah’s 3 day death-to-life like stint in the fish’s belly). Thus, Jesus’ final word was that any person with the eyes of faith could plainly see God’s Kingdom was on the move (16:2-4).
2)    Dangerous Teachers Know that Small Influences can have Large Effects (5-12):
a.    Clearly, the disciples were struggling to leave behind the teachings of the Pharisees (15:12) and other religious leaders. Hence, Jesus repeatedly warned the disciples to not be poisoned by the teachings of the modern day religious.
b.    Like yeast, someone who believes one small piece of bad teaching can quickly be consumed with a lot of hot air. Instead of imbibing the teachings of the Pharisees, we should put our trust in the one who can miraculously bring bread from heaven (12:8-12).
3)    Application:
a.    Beware of those who try and bring a wedge between you and Jesus. Satan will use any means necessary to make you doubt Christ’s love and His sacrifice for us on the cross of Calvary and His subsequent victory of sin, death, and hell. Sometimes it’s other teachers. Sometimes it’s family. Sometimes it’s our own sinful temptations. Trust Christ; he alone is the Bread of Life.
b.    Jesus’ Words offer life; no human tradition can replace God’s Word. Neither Oprah or Dr. Phil nor Rush Limbaugh have the words of life. Even a small portion of false teaching has the potential to bring about great harm. Be Bible-saturated people. Read books that help you love the Scriptures. Beware of movies, TV shows, professors, and other literature that call into question the accuracy of God’s Word in all that it teaches. (Check out the latter half of Psalm 19 for a good reminder of the blessings that flow from God's Word.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First ever Proctor family snowman!!

This weekend Samuel and Daddy made their first ever snowman!!  It started out pretty tall, as you can see in comparison to the little guy.  However, our IA mid-winter heat wave has done a number on him since. First his head fell off, which the whole family (except Sam) found hilarious.  After some begging, Daddy replaced the head.  But today's sunshine shrunk the poor snow creature to less than half his original height. And his head fell off again.  As Caleb said when he saw the beheaded guy after naptime, "Uh-oh!" :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Matthew 14:13-34, 15:29-39 - "Real Faith, Two Feasts, and a Walk"

  In the feeding of the 5,000 (Mt. 14:13-21) and the feeding of the 4,000 (Mt. 15:29-39) we have important similarities and dissimilarities. Similarities: Both point forward to the lavish Messianic Banquet (Isa. 25:6; Rev. 19:9), as well as, point back to the miraculous provisions for God's people in the desert (Ex. 16). Both stories reveal that Jesus is the powerful Creator. If energy = mass times the speed of light squared, light and life himself (energy!, John 1:1-3) can surely make anything he'd like. Likewise, both stories show Jesus' for the daily needs of His follower (cf. Mt. 6:33). Dissimilarities: The 12 baskets from the feeding of the 5,000 of mostly Jewish listeners seem to be a symbolic representation for the 12 tribes of Israel. The 7 baskets from the feeding of the 4,000 of mostly Gentile listeners seem to be symbolic for God's love for all people, Gentiles included (7 is the number that symbolizes completeness). Craig Blomberg notes, "Even the Greek words for 'basket' in the two passages differ (kophinos and spuris), corresponding, respectively, to characteristic Jewish and Hellenistic bags or sacks." Hence, Matthew, once again, is showing that the Messiah has come for both Jew and Gentile (culminating on the Cross of Calvary, 1 John 2:2).
   Between these 2 stories, we read about Jesus walking on the water and causing the waters to be still (Mt. 14:22-36). This appears to be an allusion back to Genesis 1, when the chaotic waters are subject to God's Word. Fittingly, Jesus identifies himself as "I AM" to His disciples (14:27). He is YHWH, incarnate (Ex. 3:14; Isa. 43:10; 51:2). As such, it was appropriate for the disciples to worship Him (Mt. 14:33). We know, however, that the full revelation of the Son of God was still in the future. Yes, the Son of God was God in the flesh. And yes, matter of all kinds (bread, fish, water) were subject to His bidding. But the glory of the Son is found in His willingness to lay down His life for rebellious sinners (John 6:38). We worship God not only as Creator, but as our Redeemer. Only through the lens of the Cross can we properly worship Christ and live for Him. Only through the Cross can we have the same kind of compassion for hungry crowds. Only through the Cross can we have faith in Christ no matter how deadly the storms of life become. Only through the Cross, did doubting Peter become faithful Peter (14:28-31; Acts 4:18-20). So, let us believe and not doubt today for the glory of our suffering Savior.

Matthew 14:1-12 - The Litmus Test for Obedience

   Unlike his bold father Herod the Great (Matthew 2), Herod Antipas comes across as a very weak man, but as Plumptre has noted, "Like most weak men, Herod feared to be thought weak." On one dark night, Herod's Antipas' step-daughter (probably a mere 12 years old), danced before him as a birthday gift. Though unmentioned, drunkenness and lust certainly fueled the rash vow Herod makes to his step-daughter, that she could request anything in his kingdom. The diabolical mother Herodias has her daughter request John the Baptist's head on a platter. John the Baptist had regularly rebuked the immoral union between Herod and his brother's wife, and now the evil woman could have her revenge.
   Verses 1-12 reveal to us much about the human condition.Verse 5 tells us that Herod had not done the dirty deed himself up to this point because "he was afraid of the people." He knew that the crowds loved John, and he couldn't stand to think of losing popularity. Note the contrast in John: John was willing to lose face before Herod in order to stand up for God's holiness. But on the night in question, Herod's fear of the people was overwhelmed by a greater fear: losing face before the powers that be (v. 9). Hence, Herod goes on to murder the innocent preacher in order to maintain his depraved sense of superiority. This sin hung around Herod's neck as a chain of guilt the remainder of his days (Mt. 14:1-2).

Application for today: What are the most powerful forces pulling on your heart? Fear of man or fear of God? Having popularity before people or integrity before God? On a Roman Cross, the crowds called out to Jesus, "You saved others, now save yourself." But rather than live for the popularity of people, Jesus submitted to the will of God. Jesus' willingness to die for sinful people is our freedom. He died the death we should have died (Rom. 3:21-26). Not only does Jesus offer us freedom from sin, death and hell, but through Christ we can live for God and live lives of integrity for God (Gal. 2:20). The Holy Spirit desires to change our hearts to find life through obedience.
Now, what we ultimately value will be the litmus test to how we conduct our lives. If we value the praise of men, we will live for the praise of men. If we long to hear the words of God, "Well done, good and faithful servant," we will withstand the temptations to sin. We may die martyrs deaths like John the Baptist. We may not have the popularity of a rock star. But we will have the delight and pleasure of God.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snow day

Here are a few of the most recent family pics we have...Sam serving up fries in a saucepan, Caleb eating (what's new?), the boys playing together, and the big snow!  Sam and Daddy are pictured out with shovel and broom clearing off the first inch before the big storm hit.  Then today all four of us were out shoveling (and eating, ahem, Caleb) snow that was about a foot deep.  The last pic is Sam standing on a snow drift so big it makes him as tall has his daddy.  We're so grateful that they were such good sports about being outside twice today with us, and also for our neighbors who did the last third of the driveway so we could take the boys inside. :)

The Lord is Our Righteousness: Poem by Robert Murry McCheyne

Jehovah Tsidkenu
"The Lord Our Righteousness"

The watchword of the Reformers—
I once was a stranger to grace and to God,

I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;

Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,

Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.
I oft read with pleasure, to soothe or engage,

Isaiah's wild measure and John's simple page;

But e'en when they pictured the blood-sprinkled tree

Jehovah Tsidkenu seemed nothing to me.
Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,

I wept when the waters went over His soul;

Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree

Jehovah Tsidkenu—'twas nothing to me.
When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,

Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;

No refuge, no safety in self could I see—

Jehovah Tsidkenu my Savior must be.
My terrors all vanished before the sweet name;

My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came

To drink at the fountain, life-giving and free—

Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.
Jehovah Tsidkenu! my treasure and boast,

Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne'er can be lost;

In thee I shall conquer by flood and by field—

My cable, my anchor, my breastplate and shield!
Even treading the valley, the shadow of death,

This "watchword" shall rally my faltering breath;

For while from life's fever my God sets me free,

Jehovah Tsidkenu my death-song shall be.

I picked this up from John Piper's biographical sermon on Robert Murray McCheyne, preached yesterday at the 2011 Desiring God Pastor's Conference. Read the whole sermon here: