How to be a Difference Maker in Your Local Church

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kevin DeYoung provides several suggestions on how to be a difference maker in your local church. Incidentally, these are also good suggestions on how to majorly encourage your pastor!

• Find a good local church.
• Get involved.
• Become a member.
• Stay there as long as you can.
• Put away thoughts of a revolution for a while.
• Join the plodding visionaries.
• Go to church this Sunday and worship in Spirit and truth.
• Be patient with your leaders.
• Rejoice when the gospel is faithfully proclaimed.
• Bear with those who hurt you.
• Give people the benefit of the doubt.
• Say “hi” to the teenager that no one notices.
• Welcome the old ladies with the blue hair and the young men with tattoos.
• Volunteer for the nursery.
• Attend the congregational meeting.
• Bring your fried chicken to the potluck like everybody else.
• Invite a friend.
• Take a new couple out for coffee.
• Give to the Christmas offering.
• Sing like you mean it.
• Be thankful someone vacuumed the carpet for you.
• Enjoy the Sundays that “click.”
• Pray extra hard on the Sundays that don’t.
• And in all of this, do not despise the days and weeks and years of small things (Zechariah 4:8–10).

HT: Sovereign Grace blog


Anchored to Him by the Message of the Cross

Thursday, July 29, 2010

“We ought never to set present communion with Christ, as so many are doing, in opposition to the gospel; we ought never to say that we are interested in what Christ does for us now, but are not so much interested in what He did long ago.

"Do you know what soon happens when men talk that way? They soon lose all contact with the real Christ; their religion would really remain essentially the same if Jesus never lived.

"That danger should be avoided by the Christian man with all his might and main. God has given us an anchor for our souls; He has anchored himself to us by the message of the Cross. Let us never cast that anchor off; let us never weaken our connection with the events upon which our faith is based.

"Such dependence upon the past will never prevent us from having present communion with Christ. Unlike the communion of the mystics it will be communion not with the imaginings of our own hearts, but with the real Saviour Jesus Christ.

"The gospel of redemption through the Cross and resurrection of Christ is not a barrier between us and Christ, but it is the blessed tie by which He has bound us for ever to Him.”

-J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991), 153-54

HT: Of First Importance


The Three Books

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Always before thou retire at night, read three books, which thou oughtest always to have with thee. The first is an old, gray, ugly volume, written over with black ink. The second is white and beautifully written in red, and the third in glittering gold letters.

"First read the old volume. That means, consider thine own past life, which is full of sins and errors, as are the lives of all men. Retire within thyself and read the book of conscience, which will be thrown open at the last judgment of Christ. Think over how badly thou hast lived, how negligent thou hast been in thy words, deeds, wishes, and thoughts. Cast down thy eyes and cry, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ Then God will drive away fear and anxious concern and will give thee hope and faith.

"Then lay the old book aside and go and fetch from memory the white book. This is the guileless life of Christ, whose soul was pure and whose guileless body was bruised with stripes and marked with rose-red, precious blood. These are the letters which show his real love to us. Look at them with deep emotion and thank him that, by his death, he has opened to thee the gate of heaven.

"And finally lift up thine eyes on high and read the third book, written in golden script; that is, consider the glory of the life eternal, in comparison with which the earthly vanishes away as the light of the candle before the splendor of the sun at midday."

–John of Ruysbroeck


Just Open Your Eyes!

Friday, July 9, 2010

When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

Do you even notice them?

They pass you every day on the sidewalk. They live 30 yards from your front door. You wait behind them in line at Kroger. They sit just a few feet from you at a restaurant, talking and laughing with their friends while you talk and laugh with yours. You speak to them at Burger King and Applebee’s but usually only to place your order or to ask (impatiently) for a refill.

They are lost people. Made in the image of God, just like you and me. Dead in their sins, and enemies of God, just like you and I once were. And far too often, we pass right by them without even a second glance.

We like to talk about our desire to see unsaved people believe the gospel, receive Christ, and join our church. However, we will never be a part of this wonderful work of God unless we take the first step...and see the crowds.

Jesus was a busy guy. He had a mission from God that would forever change the course of history and eternity. And he had only three and a half years to accomplish it! Yet He found time for lost people. Whether it was an immoral woman at a Samaritan well or two blind men on the street, Jesus stopped. And spoke with them. And helped. He made time for them because they were a top priority for Him. He knew that he would receive glory as lost people repented and believed.

Most of us are also busy people. We’re involved in jobs, classes, family, friends, church activities, entertainment, hobbies, and multiple other things that sap our time and focus. But let me encourage you today to make it a priority to see the crowds. See lost people and feel compassion for them in their harassed and helpless condition. Ask them how they are doing. They are hurting from the effects of sin! They need Christ! Have a gospel tract or a church invitation ready in your pocket or purse. Take time for a conversation with them. Introduce them to the Shepherd.

Want opportunities to present Christ to lost people? They are all around you. Just open your eyes!


The One Inestimable Gift

Monday, July 5, 2010

"If we have regarded religion merely as a means of getting things — even lofty and unselfish things — then when the things that have been gotten are destroyed, our faith will fail. When loved ones are taken away, when disappointment comes and failure, when noble ambitions are set at naught, then we turn away from God. We have tried religion, we say, we have tried prayer, and it has failed. Of course it has failed! God is not content to be an instrument in our hand or a servant at our beck and call.

"Has it never dawned on us that God is valuable for His own sake, that just as personal communion is the highest thing that we know on earth, so personal communion with God is the sublimest height of all? If we value God for His own sake, then the loss of other things will draw us all the closer to Him; we shall then have recourse to Him in time of trouble as to the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. If here and now we have the one inestimable gift of God’s presence and favour, then all the rest can wait till God’s good time."

—J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth: 1991, 73-74)

HT: Of First Importance


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