Thoughts from Jim Wilson’s Talk

•November 25, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Last Tuesday, it was a blessing to hear from Pastor Jim Wilson of Community Christian Ministries on godly romantic relationships.  He spoke of seven signs, guiding lights, to discerning God’s will–“his good, perfect, and pleasing will” (Romans 12:2).

  1. The witness of the Spirit. What’s been on my heart?  Do I have peace about it?
  2. The Word of God. What does Scripture say?  If it’s not in line with Scripture, then it’s not God’s will.
  3. Circumstances. There’s no such thing as random happenstance.  Do circumstances line up?
  4. The counsel of parents. What do my folks have to say?
  5. The counsel of other wise Christians. What do these brothers/sisters in Christ have to say about it?  (With romantic relationships, he said, close friends don’t count–they’ll tell you what you want to hear.)
  6. Wanting the will of God. Do I desire it?  (Not my will but his will?)  Am I praying about it?
  7. Get moving.  His analogy was to a ship navigating through a narrow passage.  It’s gotta be moving–although not at 60 miles an hour.

(I don’t think these are exactly the points he explained.  If you’ve got it differently, just let me know.  Thanks!  -Kyle)

For those who were there, what struck you about his talk?


How I Approach God When Feeling Rotten

•November 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

From Pastor John Piper on his Blog:

A vague bad feeling that you are a crummy person is not the same as conviction for sin. Feeling rotten is not the same as repentance.

This morning I began to pray, and felt unworthy to be talking to the Creator of the universe. It was a vague sense of unworthiness. So I told him so. Now what?

Nothing changed until I began to get specific about my sins. Crummy feelings can be useful if they lead to conviction for sins. Vague feelings of being a bad person are not very helpful. The fog of unworthiness needs to take shape into clear dark pillars of disobedience. Then you can point to them and repent and ask for forgiveness and take aim to blow them up.

So I began to call to mind the commands I frequently break. These are the ones that came to mind.

  • Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Not 95%, 100%. (Matthew 22:37)
  • Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Be as eager for things to go well for him as you are for things to go well for you. (Matthew 22:39)
  • Do all things without grumbling. No grumbling—inside or outside. (Philippians 2:14)
  • Cast all your anxieties on him—so you are not being weighed down by it anymore. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Only say things that give grace to others—especially those closest to you. (Ephesians 4:29)
  • Redeem the time. Don’t fritter or dawdle. (Ephesians 5:16)
  • Set your mind on things that are above. Connect all your thoughts to Christ. (Colossians 3:2)
  • Do not return evil for evil—like when your wife or daughter says something you don’t like. (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
  • Rejoice always, and again I say rejoice. Always. If sorrowful, keep rejoicing. (Philippians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 6:10)
  • Give thanks in all circumstances. All. All. All. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

So much for any pretensions to great holiness! I’m undone.

But now it is specific. I look it in the eye. I’m not whining about feeling crummy. I’m apologizing to Christ for not keeping all that he commanded. I’m broken and I’m angry at my sin. I want to kill it, not me. I’m not suicidal. I’m a sin hater and a sin murderer (“Put to death what is earthly in you” Colossians 3:5. “Put to death the deeds of the body” Romans 3:18.)

In this conflict, I hear the promise, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9). Peace rises. Prayer feels possible and right and powerful again.

Be Assured

•November 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

From Holiness by J.C. Ryle:

My answer to all who deny the existence of real, well-grounded assurance, is simply this–What saith the Scripture?  If assurance be not there, I have no other word to say.

But does not Job say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the dearth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God”; (John 19:26)

Does not David say, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me”? (Psalm 23:4)

Does not Isaiah say, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee”? (Isaiah 26:3)

And again, “The word of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of rightesousness quietness, and assurance for ever.”  (Isaiah 32:17)

Does not Paul say to the Romans, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”? (Rom 8:38-39)

Does he not say to the Corinthians, “We know that if our eathrly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”? (2 Cor 5:1)

… Does he not say to Timothy, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him”? (2 Tim 1:12)

And does he not speak to the Colossians of “the full assurance of understanding” (Col 2:2) and to the Hebrews of the “full assurance of faith,” and the “full assurance of hope”? (Heb 6:2, 10:22)

Does not Peter say expressly, “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure“? (2 Peter 1:10)

Does not John say, “We know that we have passed from death unto life”? (1 John 3:14)

And again, “These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”  (1 John 5:13)

… What shall we say to these things?  I desire to speak with all humility on a controverted point.  I feel that I am only a poor fallible child of Adam myself.  But I must say that in the passages I have just quoted I see something far highter than the mere “hopes” and “trusts,” with which so many believers appear content in this day.  I see the language of persuasion, confidence, knowledge–nay, I may almost say, of certainty.  And I feel, for my own part, if I may take these Scriptures in their plain obvious meaning, the doctrine of assurance is true.

In other words, for those of us who believe, we can be assured that we are His!

The Power of His Ressurection

•November 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like [or “according to”, ESV] the working of his mighty strength, which he extered in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly realms…”  (Ephesians 1:18-20)

This is marvelous–the same power that raised Christ from the dead is ours day to day.  This is the power we can cling to, power that is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9).  What a great Father we have!

Let us imitate Paul and join with him in declaring, “I want to know Christ and the power of his ressurection…”  Philippians 3:10 (NIV)

Soma on for Veterans’ Day

•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Soma is still on!  Come to sing, pray, and relish God’s Word together after a break from classes.  Our topic is Imitating Fellow Citizens of Heaven:

“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we game you.  For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly wait a Savior from there,, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Answered Prayer

•November 1, 2008 • 1 Comment

We’ve prayed a lot of Joe Kyle Loemire, who had a pin break in his knee that required a potentially very dangerous surgery.  It sounds like his surgery this week went well beyond what anyone imagined. Praise God!

Pray that he would recover speedily.  (Getting around Pullman without being able to walk well is not an easy thing!)  Pray also that he would grow spiritually during this time, that though this he would be a blessing to his family and everyone he interacts with in the hospital, and that he would be able to keep up with academics while missing class.

Living Like Timothy and Epaphroditus

•October 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment

As we talked about this week in Philippians 2:19-30, Timothy took a genuine concern in the welfare of others.  He was looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ.  He was a living example of Paul’s commands in Philippians: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  “Do everything without complaining or arguing, os that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine out like stars…”

In Epaphroditus too we see someone who deeply cares for others.  He longs for his home church.  When they are distressed, he is distressed.  Do we love our church that way?  Do we see “church” not just a place to spend Sunday Mornings but as other people, brothers and sisters?  Will we work like Ephaproditus to build it up and fight to see it grow as more and more come to know Jesus Christ and his awesome saving power?

Let us seek to imitate Timothy and Epaphroditus.  None of this is humanly natural (“Everyone looks out for their own interests…” v21), but let us run headlong toward God who “works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  He gives us the desire and the power to act.  Lord, give us that kind of love for others!