Joy of Holiness

Men’s Small Group // May 9, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 17)

Bridges – “God intends the Christian life to be a life of joy – not drudgery. The idea that holiness is associated with a dour disposition is a caricature of the worst sort. In fact, just the opposite is true. Only those who walk in holiness experience true joy.”

  • Take a moment and really think about that. You know this in your head, but do you keep this in your heart?
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Heart Intention

Journal Entry // May 27, 2022

Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

Acts 8:22 ESV

These past few weeks have been difficult for me in a variety of ways. I feel the weight of the burden I am carrying on my shoulders still. The guilt and shame of the past comes upon me at times and I just drift into this state of listlessness. I allow this burden to weigh me down and affect every area of my life. I allow it to suck all the joy and happiness from my life. I allow it’s tentacles to invade both my mind and my heart. I see it happening and I feel helpless to fight it at times. I know the truth. I know that I can lay this burden down before Christ. He will replace my heavy burden with his burden that is light and easy. Yet, I find this difficult to do in practice. I find that as much as I may want to lay my burden down and put on Christ, that my heart struggles still. The intent of my heart is isolation, selfishness, and pride.

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Loving Obedience

Journal Entry // May 24, 2022

provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the LORD your God and by walking ever in his ways—then you shall add three other cities to these three,

Deuteronomy 19:9 ESV

For the past two years, I have been working to focus on what it means to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. When I first started this endeavor, I thought I would take a year on each aspect beginning with the heart. Yet, here I am over two years on and I am still learning what it means to love God with all my heart. I’m still learning that God’s Word is full of commandments, phrases, stories, and warnings to put my obedience into action through engaging my heart. This passage is the same message that is repeated over and over throughout the Books of Moses. In order to keep the commandments of God, I must walk in His ways and I must love Him. Not one or the other. I need both.

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Peaceful Tribulation

Journal Entry // April 29, 2021

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 ESV

Tribulation… This is what we can expect from the world. It’s not a matter of if there will be tribulation, it is only a matter of when and to what degree. The world will most assuredly bring tribulation into my life. But Jesus has overcome the world. He does not take away the trials and adversity, but he does take away the power. The world can only go as far as Jesus allows. He doesn’t shelter me from the storms of this world. No, just as he had to walk through adversity and hardship in his life, so too do I need to walk through the struggles.

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Fear, Walk, Love, Serve

Journal Entry // May 21, 2022

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV

What does the Lord require of me?

  • Fear the Lord
  • Walk in all his ways
  • Love him
  • Serve the Lord

And how am I to do this? With all my heart and soul.

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Week 21, 2022

Week Twenty-one of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

“Do we eagerly long for the coming of Christ? Or do we want him to wait while our love affair with the world runs its course? That is the question that tests the authenticity of faith.”
John Piper

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Holiness in an Unholy World

Men’s Small Group // May 2, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 16)

John 17:14-17 ESV
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one*. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
* or from evil

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Abide Together

Journal Entry // April 28, 2021

Abide in me, and I in you.

John 15:4 ESV

“Abide in me” and “Abide in my love” is clearly the primary theme of this chapter in John where Jesus gives us the great picture of our relationship as a vine and branches. I am interested in his teaching about the indwelling of God with the believer. I tend to really only think about this as a one-way abiding. That the Spirit comes to dwell in my heart and my life is changed as a result. But Jesus clearly teaches that not only does God come and dwell within me, but I too am to come and dwell or abide in him.

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Week 20, 2022

Week Twenty of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

“Jesus didn’t come to tell us the answers to the questions of life, he came to be the answer.”
Tim Keller

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Lesson on Compassion

Group Discussion // May 4, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a community group discussion. I have reworked it a bit to provide a summary of the discussion points during our time spent together in Jonah chapter 4.

Jonah 4

4:1-4 Self-righteous Anger

  • (v1) Anger…What should have been a moment of joy and praise about the relenting of the promised destruction of a city, Jonah finds himself exceedingly displeased with the outcome that led to anger. Anger with the Lord for not destroying this enemy of Israel and by extension an enemy of God.
  • (v2) Prayer of accusation, but using positives. The self-righteousness of Jonah leads him to pray to God not with superlatives of praise for his mercy but of accusing God of being wrong about Nineveh.
    • “I knew that you are” – Jonah here knows the doctrinal truth about the character of God. He even states that the reason he fled previously was that because of God’s character, there would be mercy instead of judgement at this message.
    • If we read this prayer out of context, it would seem like a psalm of praise. Starting with “for I knew,” this phrase could easily be a hymn of praise and worship. Not a cause for bitterness and anger.
  • (v3) He is so angry that he would rather die than see Nineveh spared. Jonah hates these people so much that he does not want to live in a world where it is possible to have mercy and grace given to them.
    • Do we have these same thoughts about our supposed enemies?
      • Different political party?
      • Different social justice issues?
      • Different lifestyle choices?
      • Sinners being sinners?
  • (v4) God’s response to Jonah’s anger is a simple question, “Do you do well to be angry?”
    • God wants Jonah to examine his heart and motivation. Clearly there is a disconnect between the doctrinal head knowledge of Jonah and his doctrinal heart knowledge.
    • How often do you ask yourself this same question? Do you meditate on the Word of God and let it examine your heart with critical questions or do you sit and wallow in your indignation and self-righteousness? Letting this poison of bitterness and anger grow and infect every area of your life.
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