Friday, January 7, 2011

Thoughts on the Metro/Singles Ski Retreat

"You should get married" was the title of Pastor Michael's lesson and a phrase he repeated roughly ten times throughout the evening. Going into the retreat I knew the topic of the lessons was going to be on singleness and marriage but thinking back I had no idea what in store for us other next few days. The first question Pastor Michael asked was if any of us new with a good deal of certainty that we were called to a life-long, radical singleness (the gift of celibacy 1 Corinthians 7). This was a pretty easy answer for me. Let's face it, I've been dreaming about the pretty white dress and saying "I do" for as long as I can remember. However, his next comment was something I have never thought of before and actually sent goosebumps up my arms. "Marriage is our created design." Wow! I was created created by God to get married! What an amazingly wonderful and fearful thought. Women were created to compliment men. I was created to COMPLETE another person! I know it sounds like I am totally belaboring the point but this is some pretty heavy stuff!! When I get married, that man, my husband, will be the completion of my design in all of creation! Ever since I was a child I knew my chief end is to glorify God but I had never fully pondered that by fulfilling my role n the marriage picture as the helpmate thereby symbolizing the church's submissive role in her union with Christ will indeed bring glory to the Author of this beautiful picture and the Groom of it's subsequent reality Himself! What a mighty, awesome, all-wise, all-wonderful God we serve!! I am unworthy of His amazing and favor! Going back to the lesson, Pastor Michael pointed out that in the creation account in Genesis 1-2 there is only one time when God says something is NOT good.
"Then the LORD God said 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'" Genesis 2:18
Marriage is good in God's eyes and should thus be fervently sought by believers! What an amazing week and I am so excited about continuing to unpack there Truths, with God's leading and guiding, in my own heart and life!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sweet and Bitter Providence

For the past week or so, I have been reading and studying the book of Ruth in a my personal devotional time. God has used this sweet book in His Word as a precious encouragement to me these past few days. John Piper recently came out with a book entitled "Sweet and Bitter Providence" which is focused on the providence of god seen in the life of Ruth. At this time, I am not able to purchase that book however a sweet and dear friend told me that Pastor Piper preached a sermon series on Ruth and his sermons are free on his website ( This morning, I listened to his first sermon in this sermon and I am so excited to listen to the others in the days to come. I was so encouraged by his exposition of this book and I would like to share his closing thoughts:

Four Summary Lessons
Let me conclude with four summary lessons.

1. God's Sovereign Rule
God the almighty reigns in all the affairs of men. He rules the nations (Daniel 2:21) and he rules families. His providence extends from the U.S. Congress to your kitchen. Let's be like the women of faith in the Old Testament. Whatever else they doubted, they never doubted that God was involved in every part of their lives and that none could stay his hand (Daniel 4:35). He gives rain and he takes rain. He gives life and he takes life. In him we live and move and have our being. Nothing—from a toothpick to the Taj Mahal—is rightly understood except in relation to God. He is the all-encompassing, all-pervading reality. Naomi was right and we should join her in this conviction. God the Almighty reigns in all the affairs of men.

2. God's Mysterious Providence
God's providence is sometimes very hard. God had dealt bitterly with Naomi—at least in the short run it could only feel like bitterness. Perhaps someone will say: it was all owing to the sin of going to Moab and marrying foreign wives. Maybe so. But not necessarily. Psalm 34:19 says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament promises that believers will escape affliction in this life. But suppose Naomi's calamity was owing to her disobedience. That makes the story doubly encouraging because it shows that God is willing and able even to turn his judgments into joys. If Ruth was brought into the family by sin, it is doubly astonishing that she is made the grandmother of David and ancestor of Jesus Christ. Don't ever think that the sin of your past means there is no hope for your future.

3. God's Good Purposes
That leads to the third lesson. Not only does God reign in all the affairs of men, and not only is his providence sometimes hard, but in all his works his purposes are for the good and happiness of his people. Who would have imagined that in the worst of all times—the period of the judges—God was quietly moving in the tragedies of a single family to prepare the way for the greatest king of Israel? But not only that, he was working to fill Naomi and Ruth and Boaz and their friends with great joy. If anything this summer has fallen in on you to make your future look hopeless, learn from Ruth that God is right now at work for you to give you a future and a hope. Trust him; wait patiently. The ominous clouds are big with mercy and will break with blessing on your head.

4. Freedom Like Ruth's
Finally, we learn that if you trust the sovereign goodness and mercy of God to pursue you all the days of your life, then you are free like Ruth. If God calls, you can leave family, you can leave your job, you can leave Minnesota, and you can make radical commitments and undertake new ventures. Or you can find the freedom and courage and strength to keep a commitment you already made. When you believe in the sovereignty of God and that he loves to work mightily for those who trust him, it gives a freedom and joy that can't be shaken by hard times. The book of Ruth gives us a glimpse into the hidden work of God during the worst of times. And so like all the other Scriptures, as Paul says (Romans 15:4, 13), Ruth was written that we might abound in hope.

I encourage all Christian women to read and study the book of Ruth but especially those who are going through trials and diffculties. I have a feeling that David may have had his great grandmother, Ruth, and his great great grandmother, Naomi, in mind when the Holy Spirit inspired him to write Psalm 34:19, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."

This sermon has helped me to better see and understand the hand of God at work in the lives of both Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi and in my life as well. To listen to this sermon, go to and click on resources then sermons then by scripture then Ruth. He has four sermons but I encourage you to start with the first one entitled "Ruth: Sweet and Bitter Providence". However, first and foremost, I encourage you to read the book of Ruth. I know you will be encouraged and your soul refreshed!

Monday, December 14, 2009

May we never forget...

This past week, I found a short book sitting on the living room table. My mom had put it out, along with some other Christmas books. The book is by John MacArthur entitled "God's Gift of Christmas". I am not sure who gave this book to us but I offer greatest thanks to whoever it was! This evening, I was reading the chapter entitled "The Fullness God" and came across this humbling and awe-inspiring fact about our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning with John 1:2-3:

He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

MacArthur writes:

"Christ is not only the heir of creation; He was also in the beginning the divine agent of creation, the Person of the Trinity through whom the world was made and for whom it was fashioned.

Think of what this means. The expanse of creation is staggering.

- A hollow ball the size of our sun would hold about one million planets the size of the earth.

- The brightest star in our sky, Sirius Canis Major, is twice as big as our sun.

- Arcturus is more than twenty-three times larger than our sun.

- Betelguese, one of the stars visible in the constellation Orion, is about three hundred times larger than our sun.

No wonder Job expressed his awe of God in this way: 'How should man be just with God?... Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south' (Job 9:2, 9 KJV)

A ray of light travels about 186,000 miles per second. It takes eight-and-a-half minutes for light from the sun to reach us. If you could travel at that rate from earth, you could reach...

- the moon in a second and a half
- Mars in four-and-a-half minutes
- Jupiter in thirty-five minutes
- Pluto in about five hours, twenty minutes
- Alpha Centauri, the closest star, in four years, four months
- Sirius in eight-and-a-half years
- Arcturus in thirty-seven years
- Betelgeuse in about 522 years.

If you could count the stars as you traveled across the Milky Way (a journey of about 100,000 years at light speed), you would find about one billion stars, and there are billions more galaxies out there. The size of the universe if incomprehensible.

The baby in Bethlehem made all of it. He created everything."

May we never forget who was born in that manger in Bethlehem. Even as an infant, Jesus Christ continued to "uphold all things by the word of His power" and now, after making "purification of sins" He sits "at the right hand of the Majesty on high"
(excerpts from Hebrews 1:3).

May we never forget what a truly mighty God we serve, at Christmas and all year long!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thursday Morning, July 30th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Adam Bailie

"Beware of the Bling"

Key Text: James 2:1-13

Big Idea: The lack of favortism is a mark of a true Christian.

**Favortism is the opposite of true Christian behavior.

vv. 2-3 picture of favortism in the church

- Favortism always focuses on the outside.

**Three reasons why favortism should be rooted out of our hearts, minds, and lives:

1. Favortism is anti-Gospel (vv. 5-6)

- God loves those who are desperate for Him
2 Corinthians 4:5-7
1 Corinthians 1:18-31

2. Favortism is anti-reason (vv. 6-7)

3. Favortism is anti-Christ (v. 8)

Mt. 22

- Christ commanded impartial love to all men.

- Favortism is a fruit of rebellion.

**How can you live apart from favortism in this status-obsessed world?
**What idols of my heart lead me to favortism?
- the idols of self-love and self-exaltation.

- Be leaders in making your youth group (and church) a favortism-free zone.

**Christians are to be blind to outward appearance.**

Wednesday Evening, July 29th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Kurt Gebhards

Key Text: John 15:12-17

*Five Rewards of friendship with Jesus Christ:

1. Access through the severity of His sacrifice

Romans 5:6-11--we are helpless, ungodly, sinners and enemies of God.

Hebrews 7:25
John 6:37
Isa. 57:15; 66:2
Jeremiah 29:12-13

- Jesus has the power and inclination to help and benefit sinners.

- We have a tempation to really, really want Christ but not need Christ.

- We need to respond by love Christ with a weeping affection.

2. Upgrade from slave to confidant.

- God has transcending greatness yet He offers us His friendship.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2--we are still slaves to serve Christ.

Matthew 28:20

3. Inclusion in the close council of God
Hebrews 10:19-22

- Jesus gives us access to the holy place, the throne room of God, through His blood.

4. Assured, affirmative responses to our prayers
John 14:13; 15:7; 16:23-24

5. Abiding fruit in our faithful effort

- We must be found able of Christ's appointment through His friendship.
1 Corinthians 3:6

- Planting and watering requires excursion.

**Each of us are as close to Christ as we choose to be.**

*Building my relationship with Christ involved reading the Word of God and communion with Christ in prayer:

1. Constant
- Reading: meditation
- Prayer: praying at all times 1 Thes. 5:17

2. Closet
- Reading: study plan; regularity
- Prayer: secret

3. Corporate
- Reading: fellowshipping with the saints of God through the preaching of His Word.
- Prayer: believers praying with one another

Psalm 115:12

Wednesday Morning, July 29th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Adam Bailie

Key Text: James 1: 12-15 (specifically vv. 14-15)
"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."

Review: Trials- when a believers faith is being tested by God.

Big Idea: the believers information about temptation has everything to do with how he feels about temptation.

Temptation- the offering of sin.

- God CANNOT be tempted with evil.

**Jesus was tempted to the fullest extent because He never gave into temptation. As sinners, we are never tempted to the fullest extent because always give into temptation because of our desire to sin.

The Production steps of sin (vv. 14-15):

1. Temptation begins with out desires
2. Unchecked desires produce sin
3. Unatoned sin will end in our death

- We are tempted when we want something.

- Satan does not tempt us to sin, he just presents us with the opportunity to fulfill our own desire.

- Your sinful activity is directly affected by your desires which are unchecked.

- The freedom we have in Christ is to check our desires and obey Christ.

**You battle with sin at the point of your desire.**

- Are you battling with temptation?
- Are you battling with the right perspective?
- Are you battling with the right weapons? (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Tuesday Evening, July 28th

The Journey 2009
Pastor Kurt Gebhards

Key Texts: John 3:9-16 and Numbers 21:4-9

1. See the insanity of sin (vs. 4-5)
Numbers 20

- God always provided for the people of Israel yet they still complained against God.

Ps. 78:16; 25-29

- God purposely gives us trials and times of need to draw us to Himself in utter dependence.

**Can you accurately assess where you are spiritually? no
- You cannot see your own deception in your heart.

2. Recognize the snake-bite of rebellion (vs. 6)

- Sin feels good until we feel its true affects.

- God sent the snakes to reclaim the attention of the Israelites on Him.

3. Gaze at God's great mercy (vs. 7-8)

- God left the snakes but created a way for healing and salvation just as sin is left in this world yet He has created a way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

- God was gracious in His provision for a leader (Moses).

4. Look long at Calvary's Lamb
John 8:28; 12:32

**The great danger of glancing at Christ.
Jeremiah 29:12-13

**Is Jesus Christ a part of your life or is He the point of your life?
Isa. 45:22

**We need to look to Christ with a:
- look of faith
- look of repentence
- look of dependence
- look of worship

Hebrews 3:1