Blog Listings

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Psalm 63:4 – David Lifting His Hands in Worship

Psalm 63:3-4 – Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. David states in this psalm that part of his personal practice of worship was lifting up his hands in the name…

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Reality Check

Reality Check – Have you noticed lately … The world we live in is becomingly increasingly antagonistic toward Christianity. (Maybe the actions of Westboro Baptist, the people pictured on the right, have something to do with it.) People speak badly about the church, Christians, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and God. Hostility is growing briskly. Outright…

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Discerning God’s Will For Your Life …

Discerning God’s Will For Your Life … As Christians, we are always wondering, “what is God’s plan for our lives?” We ask other people in our lives what they may think is God’s plan. Sometimes we make plans and then say, “I think this is what God desires for us to do, what are your thoughts?” We ask…

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How would your wife answer these questions!?

Ok, gentlemen! We have been discussing how to love, serve, lead and understand our wives in our marriage class during ABF. I have passed out lists of questions to ask our wives before, but here is a shorter list I ran across this week that I thought would be helpful. It was a follow up…

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Encouragement not to Drift Aimlessly

Here is another gentle encouragment from a favorite writer of mine (Mark Altrogge). The wind picks up and we begin drifting. We’re not concerned – the boat has an outboard motor. After a while we notice we’re moving toward the intake area beneath the looming stacks of a nuclear power plant, and see the warning…

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Charles Spurgeon on Finding the “Perfect Church”

I ran across this quote today by Charles Spurgeon. He once said about finding the perfect church: “If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all; and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have…

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The Million Dollar Question!

The Million Dollar Question Recently, Pastor Tim Frisch, of Calvary Baptist Church in Claremont, and I took to the streets to share about the Good News of Jesus Christ. We were armed with million dollar bills and a simple survey question, “in your opinion, who is Jesus Christ?” Our approach was simple. We would wave…

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Homosexuality: How to Respond, and what if you DO!

I wanted to repost an article about the topic of homosexuality (originally posted in 2009) because it is such a culturally sensitive and timely issue. So much so, that it is a matter I believe we need to be thinking carefully about in order to prepare ourselves for the potential scorn, ridicule and persecution that…

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Fishermen without fish

Pastor Tim Frisch, of Calvary Baptist in Claremont, showed me this modern day parable that can be found in numerous books and internet locations. Unfortunately, I don’t know the original writer of the parable or else I would mention it here. I found this article interesting in light of the launching of our “fishermen’s club”…

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Great Questions about Demon Possession

I got a couple of great follow-up questions from some folks after the sermon about Jesus delivering the demonized man in Matthew 8:28-34. Here’s my best attempt at giving an answer. The first question was asked by more than one person. It basically went like this: “Where did the demons go after the pigs died?…

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People, Not Pixels

People, not Pixels Social Media, Technology, and the Christian We are in a technological revolution. Even the print media is recognizing the shift from paper to pixels. For example, the founder of Facebook has been named, “Time Person of the Year.” How is the Christian to respond? How will this revolution shape our lives in…

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Sunday Call to Worship – Why the Change?

Some of you have noticed that the elders have been doing the “call to worship” on Sunday mornings, and have asked us ‘why the change?’ We thought we should let you know what our plan is (a couple of you thought so too–thanks for the nudge). The “call to worship” is really intended to be…

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12 Days of Christmas Witnessing Ideas

12 Days of Christmas Witnessing Ideas Christmas is an ideal time of the year to strike up a Christ-centered conversation with the people around us. Here are 12 ideas of how we can do this with our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and loved ones. First day: Invite your neighbor(s) and their children to a gingerbread cookie…

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The Self-Authenticating Word

The following scenario was posed at the end of one of our Adult Bible Fellowships (not in this many words): Suppose we are out sharing the Gospel and we tell someone that the Bible is the Word of God. We share with them that the very words of Scripture are actually God’s very words. It…

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Answering Your Questions about Miraculous Healings

I got a great “Sermon Question” sheet in the box on the back table after the message about miraculous healings. Because we are not having our regular monthly “Question and Answer” night in December, I thought I would get the answer to you all this way. First question: “You said that Jesus’ healings were ‘instantaneous.’…

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Social Networking and Media – A Helpful Analysis

I appreciate the value of social media and networking. They can be a useful tool for communication and a helpful means of keeping up with old friends in a way that doesn’t demand a lot of time or money. We post family pictures and communicate with old friends through Michelle’s facebook account, and for the…

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The Gospel, the Culture, and You

Don’t you hear a lot about “making the gospel relevant,” or “speaking to our culture” when we proclaim the gospel. I for one think we hear TOO MUCH talk about that. I know we need to communicate in ways that are undertandable, but the gospel is powerful no matter what cultural context we proclaim it…

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Eternal Security for the Self-Condemned

We have been hearing a good bit of preaching from the end of the Sermon on the Mount about “hearing and obeying” as a natural and essential fruit of our salvation, and a significant part of our confidence and assurance of eternal life. While I don’t want the “punch” of Jesus’ admonition to be softened,…

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Do you Enjoy a Truly Blessed Life

Have you ever felt like the Christian life is just “blah, blah, blah?” Here is an encouraging excerpt from Jay E. Adams about how to experience and enjoy a truly blessed life. Perhaps you haven’t been experiencing the kind or degree of blessing that you once did, or desire to. I think he points us…

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Teaching Children to Choose Friends Wisely

The following is an article I wrote for a counseling course, and that was later published in the Journal of Modern Ministry. I mentioned it in the parenting class on Sunday, and promised I would make it available to them. If you are raising children, I hope you are helped by it. Pass it on…

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The Church is the People – How is our Customer Service?

I found this to be an interesting, challenging and timely encouragement. This author mentions the concept of customer service, and relates it to our responsibility to be loving, gracious and helpful to others as part of having a warm, welcoming greeting to folks at church. Given our big outreach this weekend (as well as our…

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Psalm 107, continued – Give Thanks for God’s Lovingkindness

thankfulnessIn our last post we began to outline the wonderful ways God illustrates His redemption of sinners in Psalm 107. This is a great psalm, designed to inspire thanks and praise to God “for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men” (v. 8, 15, 21, 31). Remember that we stated the purpose and goal of the psalmist like this:

We must thoroughly consider the everlasting lovingkindness of the Lord, and give thanks.

In order to help us do just that, through illustration and instruction, the psalmist gives FIVE REASONS the redeemed must give thanks for God’s lovingkindness.

Last time we saw the first two. In this post we will look at the next three. Hopefully when we’re done our hearts will be filled with thanksgiving, having been reminded by the psalmist all the wonderful things God has done for us because of His lovingkindness.

Click here to read the entire post.

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Psalm 107 – Give Thanks to God for His Lovingkindness

We are exhorted by the Psalmist to give thanks to God, and that those who are redeemed should be singing a refrain of thanksgiving to God (Psalm 107).

Psalm 107:1-3 – Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary, And gathered from the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.

painting easelIf we are going to be faithful children of God, and live the redeemed life, then we must be characterized by thankfulness and praise to God for what he has done for us by redeeming us from sin and death and hell. It is because of God’s mercy and lovingkindness that our hearts are turned away from self, and toward Him. Psalm 107 reminds us of that fact by painting beautiful word pictures of this so great salvation that is ours, and then encouraging us to give thanks in response.

Read the entire post to see how and why we are encouraged to do so in Psalm 107.

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Biblical Occasions for Fasting

A few weeks back, in our study of Matthew’s gospel, we discussed the topic of fasting. With a little help from John Piper (A Hunger for God), Donald Whitney (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life) and a couple of others, I have tried to outline the biblical occasions for fasting. Here is the fruit of…

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An upate on Crossway happenings from Craig and Tiffany

Here is an update of all that God is doing at Crossway! Much has transpired lately that we havent been able to tell you about. These are some exciting times! First our building has been transformed with some new paint, junk removal, the addition of a fellowship/seating area, new sound system (see the picture to…

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Did God Judge Haiti?

I have seen some disturbing claims by some Christians claiming to have some kind of direct understanding of the mind and heart of God regarding Haiti. Needless to say, it is presumptuous at best and grossly arrogant at worst, to claim to know the mind of God on an issue He has not spoken to directly. He has not, and will not, be granting any direct revelation about Haiti or the tragedy that has happened there.

At the same time, there is much that can be said about God’s character and ways with the the sons of men, and even nations in general. Albert Mohler comments on the situation in his usually insightful way on his blog. Here is an excerpt from the entire article, which I encourage you to read as a warning against the kind of sinful presumption some Christians are displaying in their comments about the situation there.

Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the earthquake as a sign of God’s direct and observable judgment.

Click on the title above or right here to read the rest of the excerpt from Mohler.

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Crossway Update

God is doing some amazing things for us! We have met in our new building for 5 weeks now. It is great to have our own place, but it sure has been a lot of work to get things ready. First, here is a picture of our worship service from this past Sunday. I asked…

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The Rage of Jesus’ Accusers

Just here to pointout an insightful comment by John MacArthur on how stiflingly frustrated Jesus was able to make the scribes and Pharisees. In their usual fashion, they were following Jesus around in Luke 6, looking for a good reason to accuse him of doing something wrong on the Sabbath. Here is how Luke records the events in Luke 6:6-11.

Luke 6:6-11 – On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” After looking around at them all, He said to him, “Stretch out your hand!” And he did so; and his hand was restored. But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

John MacArthur comments in his study bible:

Filled with rage. A curious response in the face of so glorious a miracle. Such irrational hatred was their response to having been publicly humiliated — something they hated worse than anything (cf. Matt. 23:6, 7). They were unable to answer His reasoning (vv. 9, 10). And furthermore, by healing the man only with a command, He had performed no actual “work” that they could charge Him with. Desperately seeking a reason to accuse Him (v. 7), they could find none. Their response was blind fury.

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Do you have peace about that decision?

I have taught on this subject a couple of times, and it seems that whenever I do, there are misunderstandings and misconceptions about what I really think. I’ve even heard people say, “but you said…,” or, “that’s because you believe…,” when I really don’t say or believe those things. If nothing else, it tells me…

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Understanding and Responding to Homosexuality!

Is there a “gay gene”? Is our “sexual orientation” determined by biology? Most people today would probably say “yes” to those questions. But is it supported by reliable scientific research? And regardless of the answers to those questions, what should our attitude and response be toward the homosexual community? We live in a part of…

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Christianity, Local Church, Parachurch, or Kingdom Work? A Helpful Perspective.

Can we think of Christianity, or the work of God’s Kingdom, without thinking of it in terms of the local church. Today many Christians are just as content to serve and advance the cause of a parachurch ministry than serve or contribute in their local church (in some cases, more so). We have written and spoken much on matters regarding the local church. We are not alone in our commitment to the local church and its biblically defined priority in the work of God’s kingdom.

In a post on The Gospel Coalition website titled, “My Church or the Kingdom?” Ray Ortlund makes this insightful comment.

“My passion isn’t to build up my church. My passion is for God’s Kingdom.”

Ever heard someone say that? I have. It sounds large-hearted, but it’s wrong. It can even be destructive.

Suppose I said, “My passion isn’t to build up my marriage. My passion is for Marriage. I want the institution of Marriage to be revered again. I’ll work for that. I’ll pray for that. I’ll sacrifice for that. But don’t expect me to hunker down in the humble daily realities of building a great marriage with my wife Jani. I’m aiming at something grander.”

If I said that, would you think, “Wow, Ray is so committed”? Or would you wonder if I had lost my mind?

If you care about the Kingdom, be the kind of person who can be counted on in your own church. Join your church, pray for your church, tithe to your church, participate in your church every Sunday with wholehearted passion.

We build great churches the same way we build great marriages—real commitment that makes a positive difference every day.

Thank you Ray Ortlund for this poignant and insightful reminder and practical admonition to be about the work of the kingdom by being committed to local church ministry.

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John Piper, helping us develop passion for the truth, and for the lost

Here is an excerpt from a sermon by John Piper entitled, “Why Expositional Preaching is Particularly Glorifying to God.” I saw the quote in another location initially, but found the source in case anyone was interested in llistening or reading the entire message. It was preached at the 2006 Together for the Gospel conference. Some…

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The Holy Spirit and Old Testament Believers

I often get questions about this topic of whether the activity and presence of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament age was the same or different than in our age. Some have worded it, “How has God’s activity among us really changed since Pentecost?” There are a number of ways to ask the same thing.

Here is a short article that answers that very difficult question in a way that is faithful to reconcile biblical passages that seem to indicate major differences, even though we know the Spirit was working in OT saints. I believe a thorough study of other passages would confirm this author’s conclusions. In the past I have described the transition in the Spirit’s activity at Pentecost as “different in degree, but of the same kind.” Here is how this author states his conclusion.

Both the OT and NT present the Holy Spirit as the only regenerating agent in the plan of redemption, the sole agent of sanctification—working in the hearts of OT and NT believers, convicting them of sin and producing genuine God worshippers—and as the only agent of empowerment, enabling the saints of both testaments to live holy lives which are acceptable to God. He continues to fulfill this role in us today as He had done from the beginning of time. The extent of His work in believers has increased, but He was always in believers and among believers.

Click on the link above to read the whole article. I think it will help you if you desire to have a clearer understanding of this issue.

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Obama’s speech to the nations’s schools…a helpful perspective.

The Barack Obama speech to the nations school children has been a topic of much debate in the last week or two. Somehow I missed the whole thing until just a few days ago. Not surprisingly for anyone who knows me, I have significant disagreeements with numerous policies, proposals and ethical stands that the president…

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Imprecatory Psalms – An Example of How to Understand them (Psalm 137)

Most honest readers of psalm 137 must admit that there are disturbingly graphic and frightening statements made. Most pointedly, there is a divinely inspired word regarding violent men, committing violent and lethal acts against little children, with an expectation that God will bless them anyway. Wow!

How are we to understand such things?

We studied psalm 137 together some months ago. It is called an imprecatory psalm because of the curse and judgment that is pronounced by the psalmist against others. Because there are many passages of Scripture that include such statements, I thought it might be helpful to review in summary fashion how we understood that psalm. This provides a pattern for understanding similar passages in Scripture.

Click here to read my attempt to understand a difficult passage, or you can click here to listen to the message as I preached it our church.

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How are We Acceptable to God – B. B. Warfield

A wonderful quote I found on the opening page of a book I recently acquired: “Counsel from the Cross,” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, and Dennis E. Johnson. There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be…

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Chick Flicks are Dangerous? Food for Thought!

I ran across this interesting article by Beth Spraul (read it here), regarding the nature and potential dangers of “chick flicks.” Anyone who knows me well knows that I enjoy a good one, even sitting tirelessly with a satisfied grin on my face while watching the five-hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice numerous times.…

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Giving Sacrificially – The Widow’s Coins

We have been considering the topic of stewardship and money in our ABF, in particiluar regarding how our generosity with time and money ought to impact our relationships. Here is a great quote from C. S. Lewis regarding sacrificial giving, which is very convicting. He made these comments in reference to the widow’s sacrificial gift…

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John MacArthur, Defining Discernment

This was the latest post on a very good website of brief articles on important topics. I wanted to reproduce it here in part because in a few months we are going to do a study on the topic of discernment in our ABF class. We will be using a book titled The Discipline of…

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You Belong to Christ, a Transformed Soul

For your encouragement: I am His by purchase and I am His by conquest; I am His by donation and I am His by election; I am His by covenant and I am His by marriage; I am wholly His; I am peculiarly His; I am universally His; I am eternally His. Once I was…

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John Piper, on breaking free from the “entertainment addiction”

Here is a helpful response to a question regarding being too enamored and drawn to personal entertainment all the time (the original article is located here). Very few people never struggle with maintaining their personal spiritual disciplines, and yet being drawn to satisfy our desire for fun and pleasure. John Piper gives a balanced and…

An Update on Crossway Church

It has been 6 weeks now since we announced that we would be planting a church in Keene, NH. We have been praying, and God has been graciously and generously answering our prayers. God’s blessingsWe praise God for… The quick sale of our home. I was tempted to worry that we would have to drive…

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Bible Study Tools – Good Questions to Ask!

I got this list of questions to ask as you are reading and studying your Bible, and thought it was a helpful list to pass along. If we took the time to carefully ask these questions, meditate on the text, and consider the implications, it would go a long way toward growing in our knowledge…

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God’s Institution of Marriage (and society itself) further threatened in New Hampshire

Following is the text of a document forwarded to us regarding the critical decisions before the New Hampshire state legislature (House Bill 436). Having already lost this battle in Vermont, home to many of our members, we wanted to inform the congregation of the issues, and of what they might do to help stave off…

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CCC is planting CrossWay Church in Keene!

Below is the text of an exciting announcement that we made at church this past Sunday (April 5, 2009). Some weeks ago we had announced that due to a tight financial situation we were reducing staff, and that Pastor Craig would be looking for a new church home. It was a sad day, but we…

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Do you love the church (members)? All of them?

I get some ministry newsletters to keep myself encouraged and refreshed, and feel compelled to share some comments from a recent article I read by Jonathan Leeman. He is in charge of the web content on the 9marks website, a treasure trove of helpful information regarding ministry and the local church.

In this article, Leeman reminds us to love the people of the church, with all their warts, and wrinkles, and misunderstandings, and weaknesses, and idioscyncrasies.

Click here, or on the title, to read the whole article.

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Preaching to those who suffer

I was encouaraged by this quote. In the book Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching, Pastor John Piper writes, It is true that we must be bold in the pulpit and afraid of no man but courageous as we contend for the truth. But it is just as true that our boldness must…

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A Christian Contradiction

“A greater absurdity cannot be thought of than a morose, hardhearted, covetous, proud, malicious Christian.” –Jonathan Edwards Edwards, as usual, hits a nail on the head. Those who have been indwelt and filled with the Spirit are to exude love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. May God help,…and may God FILL…

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Righteous anger? Don’t be so sure!

I mentioned in my message on Sunday that the emotion of anger is not sinful (see Psalm 4:4; Eph. 4:26). It is simply a strong feeling or emotion of displeasure brought about by a real or perceived unfulfilled desire (see James 4 for a description). While it isn’t always sinful, our flesh very often turns…

Spurgeon on persistant prayer

I got this little excerpt from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon from a good friend, and wanted to pass it along. It was from his sermon about the persistent widow in Luke 18:1 and following, where it says Jesus was teaching that “men ought always to pray, and not lose heart.” I hope it encourages…