Psalm 19:7-14

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Good, Hard Work

Every Christian has been created in Jesus Christ for good, hard work!  This is clear with what Paul says in Eph. 2:10 –


For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


Paul reinforces this truth in Eph. 4:28


Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.


In the hope of all God’s riches and power in Christ, Christians must avoid every temptation to steal.  Positively, we must excel in working hard.  Hard work is God’s design, hard work is honorable, and hard work has a purpose – that we might share with others in need.


To encourage you in Gospel-motivated, Spirit-empowered good hard work, here are a few short and helpful books to check out:



Beloved, may we continue to trust God’s power and provision moment-by-moment, and work hard for the blessing of others, and the glory of God!


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


Revelation 7:9-12

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Together for the Gospel Conference

The biennial Together for the Gospel Conference takes place next week (April 12-14) in Louisville, KY.  Over 10,000 brothers and sisters in Christ, from all over the world, will be gathering for 3 days of preaching from God’s word, singing, praying, fellowship, and networking.  While the conference is generally geared toward pastors, missionaries, and church-leaders, many wives attend, along with others who serve in various areas of ministry.  This year Laurie and I have the privilege of attending, for which we’re very grateful.


I encourage you to check out the conference theme, and also the Affirmations & Denials expressing just what we’re “together” about!  Likewise, the main sessions of the conference will be live-streamed beginning next Tuesday, April. 12.  Finally, you can also find audio and video from previous conferences.


Please be praying that God will work through His word, by His Holy Spirit, to hallow His holy Name, advance His kingdom, and accomplish His will (Mt. 6:9-10).


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


Christ’s Gift

How Jesus Christ cares for His body, His church!  Now exalted at the right hand of our Father in heaven, Jesus has sovereignly and diversely gifted every member of His body.

“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”  (Eph. 4:7)

As Paul goes on to explain in Eph. 4:8-16 , Christ has done this that His church might be equipped and made mature in His holy love.  All of this is for the ultimate purpose that the church might live more fully to the praise of God’s glorious grace (see Eph. 1:6,12,14 and Eph. 3:20-21).

What this means for every believer is that to love Christ is to love His body!  To serve Christ is to serve His body!  It is love for Christ, and zeal for the Fathers’ glory, that should enflame us to walk worthy with all humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, and diligently preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).  Obviously, these truths have great implications for our lives together in a local church.

The more we’re gripped with zeal for God’s purposes in Christ, the more we’ll understand and obey His will for us as members of His church.  And the less we’ll be concerned about ourselves and our often self-centered desires, instead pouring ourselves out in love for one another.  Consider this exhortation:

“Let us be done with our little kingdoms as well as the spirit of complacency that does not care if the church is divided or immature.  On the contrary, let us seek out our gifts and ask how we may use them to the building up of Christ’s body.  Christ does not squander His gifts; each one is essential.  He does not withhold his gifts; they are poured out in full measure.  He is not indifferent to how His gifts are used; He has His own wise and lofty purposes in view.”  (James M. Boice, Ephesians:  An Expositional Commentary, pg. 138)

Beloved, what a privilege to share life in Christ together with you.  May God help us to keep walking worthy of His calling, for the glory of His great name!


One Sovereign Voice

The words of mankind never seem to cease.  Whether in print, through social media, over the airwaves, on a podcast, or live and in person, EVERYONE’S got something to say about EVERYTHING.  And my oh my, how the voices intensify during an election year!


Thank God for the wonderful gift of communication, and the many venues through which our voices can be heard.  But never forget that over and above every voice, there is ONE UNCHANGING VOICE that silences all others; ONE SOVEREIGN VOICE that commands the worship of all.


Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

  The voice of the Lord is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the Lord, over many waters.

  The voice of the Lord is powerful;

the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

  The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;

the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

  He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,

and Sirion like a young wild ox.

  The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.

  The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;

the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

  The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth

and strips the forests bare,

and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10  The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

11  May the Lord give strength to his people!

May the Lord bless his people with peace!


Amen!  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.


Christians are those who, by the power of God’s Spirit, should be zealous to “THEREFORE…walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called” (Eph. 4:1).

Because God has “made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:5), we should be eager to grow in the glories of knowing God (this is what Eph. 1-3 is all about).  And we should therefore excel in the duties of pleasing God (this is what Eph. 4-6 is all about).

The key to rightly understanding the Christian life is found in the significance of the word “therefore” in Eph. 4:1.  The point of Paul’s entire letter is that as we believe and grasp the glories of Eph. 1-3, we should therefore walk in the duties of Eph. 4-6.  If we try to fulfill the duties without living in the hope, riches, and power of the glories, we’ll know nothing but defeat, guilt, fear, discouragement, and exasperation.

Oh Beloved, God has called us to better things, things that magnify His grace and glory!  This is why Paul prays for believers as he does (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21).  And this is why and how we should be praying for one another (Eph. 6:18); praying with the confident expectation that God is indeed “…able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20)!  Amen!

Praying for you, and with you,

Preparing for the Lord’s Day

As we prepare to gather again this coming Lord’s Day, let me encourage you in a few specific ways.

First, take advantage of the “order of service” information we include in this newsletter.  Individually, or with family/friends, take some time in the days prior to our Sunday gathering to read through the various Scripture passages we’ll be using.  Also take time to read or sing through the songs we’ll be singing (you can easily find the lyrics on the internet).  This will help your own heart and mind be that much more prepared, and also help you serve and encourage others as we meet.

Second, as we’ll be diving back into the book of Ephesians this Sunday, I encourage you to read the whole book before we meet.  It’s a relatively short 6 chapters, and only takes 20-30 minutes to read.  Again, this will be helpful in the preparation of your heart and mind.

Third, let Paul’s prayers in Eph. 1:15-19 and 3:14-19 be a guide for how you pray for our brothers and sisters at RCG.  And together, let’s confidently expect God to do as He’s promised in Eph. 3:20-21!

Finally, if you’re not already in the habit of joining us for our “Sack Lunch Sunday” following the worship service, why not begin this Sunday?  We enjoy an informal lunch from around 12:30pm to 1:15pm.  You can either bring a “sack lunch”, or grab something from a nearby restaurant.  Following lunch, we have a time of sharing and prayer from about 1:15pm – 2:00pm.  There’s always a range of folks who attend: singles, couples, and families with kids (young and old).  Of course it makes for a bit of a long morning and afternoon, but the sweetness of encouraging fellowship is well worth it, and brings glory to God.

Beloved, what a privilege and blessing we have to share life in Christ together at RCG.  Participating in what He wills for us each Lord’s Day is a huge part of that privilege and blessing.  I look forward to being with you again, as we eagerly await gathering with all the redeemed before God’s throne in heaven!

Because Christ lives, and is returning,

Humble, Contented Submission

Oh the massive, incomprehensible, mind-boggling, jaw dropping power of God Almighty!!  Listen how Job describes it in Job 26:7-14.


He stretches out the north over the void

and hangs the earth on nothing.

He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,

and the cloud is not split open under them.

He covers the face of the full moon

and spreads over it his cloud.

He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters

at the boundary between light and darkness.

The pillars of heaven tremble

and are astounded at his rebuke.

By his power he stilled the sea;

by his understanding he shattered Rahab.

By his wind the heavens were made fair;

his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,

and how small a whisper do we hear of him!

But the thunder of his power who can understand?”


Take all of the grandeur and wonder of God’s creation in the heavens and on earth – all of God’s power, wisdom, authority, creativity, etc. – and all of it only reveals “the outskirts of his ways”!  Amazing!


Interestingly, we know Job was expressing these words in the midst of unimaginable problems, pain, and perplexity.  Job knew God, and he knew much that is true about God.  But for all he knew and struggled to trust, Job couldn’t understand WHY he was suffering as he was.  Job never cursed God, but he complained and lamented a lot, as expressed in Job 3-31.  The essence of his complaint?  “God, why is this happening to me…what have I done to deserve this?


God’s answer, in short, was to bring Job into the fuller knowledge and trust of “the thunder of his power”.  God never explains the “why”.  With all God declares in Job 38-41, Job’s sinful lust to know “why?” is dissolved into contented, quiet trust and submission (see Job 42:1-6).


Oh beloved, someone has once said, “in acceptance, lieth peace”.  May God give us grace to trust Him for who He is, and accept all that He ordains for us in humble, contented submission.


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


In the Gift of His Son

With Paul’s prayer in Eph. 3:14-21, he is asking God to powerfully enable believers to live by faith in the fullness of all He is and has given in Jesus Christ.  Paul prays with great confidence and expectation that God will do abundantly more than all that could be asked or imagined.


Through this Christmas season and beyond, please know that myself and the other elders (Smokey, Gary, Chuck, and Tim), continually pray for each of you at RCG in this way.  And we pray with the same assurance as Paul, knowing that God is faithful to all His purposes and promises in Christ.


May your joy be multiplied as you consider afresh God’s great love in the gift of His Son, and all the blessings that are yours in Him.


But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  (Gal. 4:4-7)


Merry Christmas,


Joy at Christmas

The Christmas season is not always “the most wonderful time of the year” for many people.  To the contrary, this season can often be filled with very tragic and painful memories, or present realities.  Yet whatever our past or current circumstances may be, the “inexpressible joy” (1 Pet. 1:6-9) found in Jesus Christ is real and soul-satisfying.


I encourage you to give a listen to this 10-minute podcast from Heath Lambert,  Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors: My Personal Journey to Joy at Christmas.  Dr. Lambert’s thoughts are both convicting and helpful.


Beloved, not only does Christ call us to follow Him as our all-sufficient Shepherd (1 Pet. 2:21-25), but we have the privilege of proclaiming His excellencies to lost and hurting people all around us.  The baby born in Bethlehem is the crucified, risen, and exalted Lord and Savior!  And He speaks, even through us, these words of hope and promise for all who would hear and believe on Him:


28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Mt. 11:28-30)  


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


The Focus of Faith

The outworking of sin in our lives, and in our world, has produced distorted thinking in countless ways.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the distorted, wrong ways we often think of God, and of human beings.  Simply put, we have a great tendency to deify other human beings, and to humanize/domesticate the eternal, almighty God!  We easily overestimate the power and significance of other humans (even ourselves), and underestimate the power and significance of God!


The Apostle Paul was very aware of this tendency that even Christians can have.  Thus in Eph. 3:8-13, he passionately seeks to magnify the “unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ”, and the “manifold wisdom of God”!  Lest his readers become discouraged over the difficult things Paul is suffering, he deflects attention away from himself to God’s eternal purposes in Jesus Christ.  This is where the focus of faith must always be!


Oh beloved, how easily we’re tempted to be discouraged when we, or those we love, face various trials and difficulties.  And how necessary that we continually “lift up the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16) – gazing upon, trusting in, submitting to, and praising always our God – the One who powerfully and perfectly works everything after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11).


Even today, at this very moment, He is worthy of our fullest trust, and our highest devotion.  May He strengthen and encourage your soul to that end, knowing myself and the other elders pray for you as Paul did – Eph. 3:14-21!


With love in Christ,

Psalm 40:5

“You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.”

Ministering God’s Word from Uganda

This coming Lord’s Day, we have the special privilege of having a faithful brother and pastor from Uganda preach in our morning worship service.  I first met Vanensio Bamwitirebye a few years ago, when he was a student at The Cornerstone Bible College & Seminary.  He has since returned to Uganda, where he is involved in pastoring, church-planting, leadership training, and mercy ministry.  RCG members can see here to learn more about this dear brother.

Most of you know that as a church, we are currently in a process of praying about new missions partnerships.  Prior to learning of this opportunity for Vanensio to preach at RCG, we had already identified more than 10 potential partnerships for consideration.  For this reason, it has not seemed prudent to add Vanensio as another potential partnership.  So while we aren’t considering partnering with Vanensio at this time, we’re grateful to have him with us to proclaim God’s word, and to learn about God’s work in Uganda.

Vanensio will be here with his California host, Tom Johnson from Napa.  We’re praying and trusting that God will bring great mutual encouragement to all of us, in the great hope and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:8-17).

Because Christ lives, and is returning,

Singing Among God’s People

In His great wisdom and goodness, God has designed singing to be an instrumental (no pun intended 🙂 ) means of grace among His people.  Our singing to God, with and to one another, expresses thanksgiving to Him, along with instruction and admonition for each other.  And so God graciously commands us:


 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col. 3:16)


Our rich heritage of biblically solid “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, both old and new, demonstrates the centrality of singing among God’s people.  Who can measure the faith-strengthening impact of these songs, helping us give voice to our deepest joys, sorrows, longings, and praises?


This coming Lord’s Day we’re planning to sing an old song, with a couple new verses.   The ancient Irish lyrics to Be Thou My Vision date to the 8th Century, and were translated to English in the early 1900’s.  In addition to the four familiar verses found in our hymnal, we’ll add the following:


Jesus exalted in glory above

Thou my Redeemer through Thy precious blood

Now interceding my confidence sure

O my Good Shepherd be my vision pure


Spirit indwelling my Counselor Thou

Teaching, enabling by Thy holy power

Through Thy Word given perfect and true

Help and transform me while bearing Thy fruit


Beloved, one way we cultivate Christ-exalting love for each other is to heed the command of Col. 3:16.  Looking forward to gathering with you again, with these truths in mind!


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


A Few Important Items

A few important items…


First, as a follow-up to this past Sunday’s sermon from the book of Job, check out these resources:



Second, our Equipping Hour resumes this coming Sunday, Sept. 13, meeting from 9:00am – 10:10am (followed by our Corporate Worship Service at 10:30am).  In addition to nursery care and age-appropriate children’s classes through 6th grade, our class in the auditorium through the Fall will examine “A Biblical View of Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality”.  This first week will provide an introduction/overview of the whole class.  As a means of continuing to be equipped (Eph. 4:11-12), and sharing in the life of Christ’s people at RCG, we encourage you to make participation in the Equipping Hour a high priority.


Finally, in the Lord’s kind provision, we’ve been able to purchase a new piano for the auditorium.  Our old upright piano (it may be older than the church J) was increasingly unable to hold a strong, consistent tune.  So after praying, and much research by a few folks involved with our music ministry, a new piano was purchased and delivered this week.  The old piano was moved to the Education Building, where it will be used with ministry to children.  We’re grateful for the Lord’s supply of a wonderful instrument to help guide our “…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…” (Eph. 5:19).


Beloved, what a blessing to walk together in the Lord’s faithful work among us.  May He continually be glorified as His grace and truth in Jesus Christ abounds in, and overflows from us to more and more people!


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


1 Peter 2:9-12 (ESV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh,which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

The Great Sufficiency of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the great sufficiency of His people!  Even as He lovingly ordains troubling circumstances, so He abundantly supplies for all His people’s needs, all the time.  His comforting words are always true and timely:

 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”  (John 14:1)

Beloved, consider how lavishly Jesus provides for His people:  through His holy love (Jn. 13:1), through His cleansing sacrifice (Jn. 13:8-11), through His resurrected life (Jn. 14:18-20), through His humble example (Jn. 13:17), through His truthful words (Jn. 14:23-24), through the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16-17), through His heavenly peace (Jn. 14:27),  through His untouchable joy ( Jn. 16:20-22), and through His eternal glory (Jn. 17:22-24).

Because of the great sufficiency of Jesus Christ, we who belong to Him can confidently sing:  I Have a Shelter!  Jesus is all we need.  May He indeed be all we trust.

Praying for you, and with you,

“But God” is the Gospel

“BUT GOD…” (Eph. 2:4)!

The very heart of the Gospel is expressed in these glorious words, “BUT GOD…”!  Though mankind is spiritually dead and hopeless in sin (Eph. 2:1-3), God has powerfully acted in Christ to bring about the salvation that only He could accomplish (Eph. 2:4-10).  “BUT GOD…” really summarizes the whole message of Scripture, played out from Genesis to Revelation.  Over and over again, God’s word reveals:

  • All the deadly works of man in sin, and
  • All the mighty works of God in Christ!

Oh Beloved, what hope, riches, power, and assurance for believers are found in these truths!  “BUT GOD”!!   The God who is rich in mercy and great in love has flooded us with His kindness in Christ – to the praise of His glorious grace!  And God wills for us to know and believe these truths all the more, daily trusting the absolute sufficiency of His mighty, saving power.

To that end, let me encourage you to listen to this sermon on Eph. 2:4 by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (a faithful Bible expositor from the 20th Century).  May God continue to strengthen your soul in the fullness of His grace in Christ!

Because Christ lives, and is returning,

Overwhelmed by Awe

Are you OVERWHELMED??  We often experience this in daily life, don’t we?  We know what it is to be overwhelmed, sometimes crushed under the burdens and challenges of life in this groaning, fallen world.


But let me encourage you to think of being overwhelmed in a completely different way than we normally do.  While there’s no denying the difficult things we often face, there is also no denying that God Almighty, the “Father of Glory” (Eph. 1:17), would have us be OVERWHELMED at the wonder of His greatness, goodness, and grace in Jesus Christ!!


In Eph. 1-3, the Apostle Paul is clearly overwhelmed with wonder and awe before God and in view of the riches of His grace.  Paul opens this great letter by bursting forth with adoration and praise:


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (Eph. 1:3) 


As Paul’s words unfold from this starting point, you quickly sense that he’s beside himself with amazement at the glory of God and the goodness of His grace.  He simply can’t find enough adjectives, enough superlatives, to adequately describe the overwhelming reality of God and His glorious grace in Jesus!


Paul was certainly much like King David, who likewise was often overwhelmed  by the knowledge of God and His grace.  Consider the beginning of Psalm 103, which sets the focus for all that follows:


“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”  (Ps. 103:1-2)


Beloved, whatever your circumstances and cares may be this day…even this moment…God calls you to look to Him by faith, rejoice in Him, and praise His glorious name.  Take some specific, undistracted time to Look to His word – His revelation of His glory – and ask Him to help you be overwhelmed, amazed, and in awe of all He is, and all the blessings He’s given in Jesus Christ.


Remember:  a “worthy walk” (Eph. 4:1), is first and foremost a walk of praise – being more and more overwhelmed in the knowledge of God’s glorious grace.  Let’s keep praying for, and encouraging one another in these ways!


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


Psalm 111 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
    studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
    in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant forever.
    Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures forever!

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

In our corporate worship on the Lord’s Day, we’re now gazing into Eph. 1:13-14, as Paul gives praise for the guaranteeing seal of the Holy Spirit.  In this brief passage, Paul speaks specifically about the Holy Spirit’s work with regard to the genuine conversion of God’s people, and also with regard to His securing of their eternal redemption.


To be sure, much confusion and distortion abounds with regard to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  Dr. Sinclair Ferguson makes this observation:  “For while his work has been recognized, the Spirit himself remains to many Christians an anonymous, faceless aspect of the divine being.  Even the title ‘Holy Spirit’ evokes a different gamut of emotions from those expressed in response to the titles ‘Father’ and ‘Son’”.  (Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, IVP: 1996, pg. 12)


An exhaustive biblical study of the person and work of the Holy Spirit goes beyond the framework of our current exposition of Ephesians.  But even as you read the book of Ephesians, you find that the Holy Spirit is prominent in all Paul has to say.  Thus we learn of the sealing of the Spirit (Eph. 1:13; 4:30), of access in one Spirit to the Father (2:18), of God building His people into a dwelling of His in the Spirit (2:22); of God revealing truth to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit (3:5), of God seeking to strengthen His people with power through His Spirit (3:16),  of Christians needing to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:3), of there being one Spirit (4:4), of the danger of grieving the Holy Spirit (4:30), of Christian’s need to continually be filled with the Spirit (5:18), of the word of God being the sword of the Spirit (6:17), and of the need for Christian’s to continually be praying in the Spirit (6:18).


Beloved, because the Spirit of God has revealed so much about Himself in God’s word, we need to rightly understand His person and work.  And even from all that is declared in Eph. 1:3-14, we need to rejoice and live in the power of the Spirit’s work, in connection with the electing grace of the Father, and the redeeming work of the Son.  May God teach and strengthen all of us – for our assurance in Him, and His glory in and through us.


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


On Biblical Inerrancy

As you know, last week’s Shepherds’ Conference focused on the theme of the inerrancy of Scripture.  Ever since the Garden of Eden, when Satan tempted Eve by saying, “did God actually say…?” (Gen. 3:1), the authority and reliability of God’s Word has been under attack.  Satan’s strategy is as simple as it is deadly:  if he can tempt you to doubt God’s Word – which is now permanently revealed in the 66 books of Scripture – then you’ll be deceived into thinking there’s no need to treasure, trust, and obey that Word.

Because this issue of inerrancy is so important for the spiritual health of individual Christians, and the whole church, I encourage you to learn more.  All of last week’s 18 general sessions are helpful in this way (some more than others).  You can find them here.  While it’s best to listen to the messages in order, you might start with the Panel Q&A, which provides some helpful background to the topic.

Additionally, more information about the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, which gives a somewhat recent historical context, can be found here.

Beloved, God’s holy word is the treasure of all treasures.  He has given it that we might know and grow in His salvation through Jesus Christ – 2 Tim. 3:14-17.  May we be faithful stewards of what He has entrusted to us!

Because Christ lives, and is returning,

In Light of Our Divine Inheritance

As far as life on earth goes, who wouldn’t be excited to learn they’re the chosen beneficiary of the full inheritance from some super-rich relative?  Any excitement, of course, would be tempered by the truth that “…we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Tim. 6:7).


So it is that when God’s people learn they are His chosen beneficiaries, and in Christ “…have obtained an inheritance…” (Eph. 1:11); when they likewise learn that this eternal inheritance is “…imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…” (1 Pet. 1:4), they increasingly “…rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…” (1 Pet. 1:9).


In the context of Ephesians chapters 1-3, it’s clear that God Himself is the inheritance of His children – the fullness of His triune reality, and the riches of all His spiritual blessings in Christ.  The wealth and weight of this glorious inheritance is beyond our ability to fully comprehend!  C.H. Spurgeon makes these reflections:


“Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales, and his treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures which belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ’s sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss which God hath prepared for them that love him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ’s possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect.” (from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, Jan. 30, Evening)


Beloved, are you living in light of the wealth of your inheritance in God?  Are you confident and content in Him alone as your portion?  Are you trusting His faithful provision moment-by-moment for all you need as you seek to walk in His will?  I’m praying you are, by God’s grace, and coveting your prayers for me to this end!


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


Gazing into God’s Word

I can’t get it out of my head!!


One of the hymns we sang last Sunday morning, Jesus I Am Resting, Resting, just keeps going over and over again in my mind.  And what a blessing it is!  Even as there have been sins to confess, responsibilities to fulfill, challenges to face, and temptations to fight, I’m reminded through this hymn that Christ “…hast bid me gaze upon Him”.  As I do so by gazing into God’s word, indeed, “…I am finding out the greatness of His loving heart.” I’ve been feeding on this mainly in connection with Eph. 1:7-12, and the riches of God’s redeeming, forgiving work in Christ.


So even in the details of my days – whether I’m answering emails, meeting with people, changing the car oil, or watching my son’s basketball game – my heart and mind are being strengthened by faith in the joy of all that Jesus is, and all that God has given in Him.   And the song keeps going on!


Beloved, this illustrates the blessing and privilege of our weekly gathering in corporate worship.  Even as we speak to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, God graciously works through this so the word of Christ might dwell all the more richly in us (Col. 3:16)!  All for our good, His glory, and the blessing of others through us.


Looking forward to being with you again this coming Lord’s Day!