Friday, May 3, 2013
1. FEARLESS. You are afraid of nothing and no one except the Lord. Your courage steals my breath and challenges me to be a braver man. 2. STRONG. I’ve never met a stronger woman anywhere. You are a rock that refuses to let the waves of life diminish you. 3. DOER. You are not a talk-about it kind of girl; you are a get-it-done kind of woman. You see needs and you meet them. You see opportunities and you seize them. You help spur me out of my hesitancy and move me to accomplishment rather than just aspiration. 4. FRIEND. You are loyal and faithful to those you love. You meet people as they are and graciously walk beside them. You also never meet a stranger, they are just friends you’ve never met before. 5. ORGANIZER/LEADER. Whether in our home or an entire Christmas program for our church, your gifts of organization and administration are unparalleled. You always know the right place for every thing and can deftly break large tasks into manageable portions. You are a great leader and are a blessing to any team you guide. 6. MOTHER. How foolish I once was to wonder when we dated what kind of mother you would be. You have exceeded and continue to exceed every hope I could pray for my children in their mother. Though these 4 munchkins may not say it often now, the days are coming in which they will rise up and call you Blessed! 7. LOVER. A man could never be more blessed than I am by your love. In every way, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, you bless my life. I’m thankful for all the days your love has not wavered though I was clearly unlovable. 8. FULL OF LIFE. If not for you, I would not know that roses existed, much less take time to smell them. Of course, in our home, they would be tulips! You steadily help me see what are the most important things. You take time to live life. You are adventurous. You are never and will never be boring. 9. LAUGHTER. My favorite sound in the world is to hear you laugh. I love to hear your uninhibited joy when something makes you smile. I then love to hear you say “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe.” Nothing makes me smile more than your laugh. 10. GIFT. At our blessing party, I read Proverbs 19:14 which says, “Houses and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” Outside of salvation, you are and will always be the greatest gift the Lord has ever given me. Ten years later that statement is as true as ever. Because of you, many thanksgivings are offered to the Lord, especially from me. I am blessed beyond words. May the Lord give us many more healthy, happy, and holy days together. Happy Anniversary! MTML, Landon
Saturday, March 30, 2013
From John Piper's first sermon at Bethlehem Baptist Church (taken from desiringgod.org): If I could choose a symbolic sound that Bethlehem Baptist Church would come to be known for, you know what it would be? The swish of the pages of 500 Bibles turning simultaneously to the morning and evening texts. The reason is this: the source of my authority in this pulpit is not . . . my wisdom; nor is it a private revelation granted to me beyond the revelation of Scripture. My words have authority only insofar as they are the repetition, unfolding and proper application of the words of Scripture. I have authority only when I stand under authority. And our corporate symbol of that truth is the sound of your Bibles opening to the text. My deep conviction about preaching is that a pastor must show the people that what he is saying was already said or implied in the Bible. If it cannot be shown it has no special authority. My heart aches for the pastor who increases his own burden by trying to come up with ideas to preach to his people. As for me, I have nothing of abiding worth to say to you. But God does. And of that word I hope and pray that I never tire of speaking. The life of the church depends on it.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Without any triteness, I thank Jesus for salvation and the transformation that has been wrought in my life because of grace. I thank Jesus also for not letting me stand in the pulpit alone, but providing His own Spirit so that His Word might be efficacious. Thanks for doing all that I am powerless to accomplish.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
From Mack Stiles' - Speaking of Jesus: "I'm amazed how easy it is to launch an evangelistic effort and forget to pray. That tells us something about ourselves, doesn't it? Evangelism is not an exercise of information transfer where we transfer data from one hard drive to the next. Evangelism is a spiritual struggle for hearts. Hearts can change only through an act of the Spirit. We need the power of God more than anything else, in evangelism."
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I am a sinner. I sin every day. When I walk by the Spirit, I do not gratify the desires of the flesh. I do not always walk by the Spirit. For every believer this statement is true: My sin but our consequences (ask Achan’s family). This truth is particularly highlighted when the sinner is also the shepherd. Paul challenges Timothy to set an example for the believers in life, love, speech, faith, and purity. Even in the power of the Spirit, no pastor will be able to live this completely, but it does not mean we should not make it our aim. What happens, however, when the pastor is clearly not living this text? What happens when the pastor, rather than avoiding sin, aimed right at it . . . and hit it? What do the sheep then do with the shepherd? Here’s what some have done: fire them immediately. Throw them out. Don’t give them an opportunity to pack their office but instead pack it for them. Also, throw the spouse and children out with them. Especially don’t give them an opportunity to address the congregation, I mean who would want a sinner speaking to other sinners? Here’s what others have done: ask them to resign quietly. Don’t address the sin in the pastor’s life directly or, heaven forbid, mention it to the congregation. Yes, the “polite” and “respectable” way to deal with pastoral sin (and everyone else’s) is to handle the manner quietly and then whisper about it later in elders’ meetings or maybe even elders’ wives’ meetings. Here’s what I think should happen: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). How does a bone mend if it does not get reset? The word “restore” carries the idea of resetting a bone or in fishing terms: mending the nets. Sin in anyone’s life is certainly like a bone being broken in the local body of Christ. Without proper care, it will not be reset and will not heal as it should. When the pastor is the one who has caused the brokenness in the fellowship, why should he not be afforded the same grace every other sinner in that congregation has been afforded? Why is that some run away from him instead of to him? Why is there condemnation instead of restoration? If a pastor is not repentant, then Jesus and Paul are clear: put him out (Matt. 18 and 1 Cor. 5). The purpose of breaking our fellowship is in hopes of repentance, restoration, and reconciliation. Proper church discipline has been practiced in far too few congregations. But what if he is repentant? And by repentant, I don’t just mean remorseful. He’s not just sorry he got caught, but instead, he’s truly broken over his sin. He’s grieved because he’s grieved the Lord and in actuality had asserted his own kingship over Christ’s. By repentant, I mean, he’s striving in the power of the Spirit to turn from the sin and to never return to it again. He’s striving not to be the guy in Proverbs who is like a dog returning to its vomit. Is there a better picture of the reality of sin and its bondage? If we truly viewed sin this way, then who of us would actually want to redigest what we had recently released? Should the repentant pastor be removed from leadership? Absolutely. Should the repentant pastor be removed from leadership permanently? Maybe. Some will say yes and some will say no. Should the repentant pastor be removed from the fellowship? Absolutely not. If we cannot go to our faith community then to whom can we turn? It’s sorriest of all sorries (made this phrase up), if the pastor has walked through the mire, mess, and muck of all the people’s sins and no one is willing to run to him in his stench. Sometimes there will need to be a separation and perhaps the breaking free from the sin may require special treatment, but it’s far better for the pastor (and his family) to have the faith community walk through the mess with them than to have to walk through it alone. Why should he be extended less grace than he extended to you in your battles with sin? The only ones who should be excluded from membership/fellowship are those who still desire to walk in their sin and reject Christ’s rule, with all others we should be “kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving (them) as God in Christ forgave (us)” (Eph. 4:32). How long should a pastor remain in a congregation after he falls? I think only the Lord can answer this one. He certainly needs the accountability and love of the church in working toward reconciliation with the Lord, his family, and the faith family. Should he remain if a new pastor comes? Maybe. The presence and leadership of a new pastor alone should not determine whether the former pastor should stay or go. Perhaps the better question, is can the repentant pastor fully support the leadership of the new pastor and “strive to eagerly maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3)? If he would be divisive and distracting then he should go. If he can “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” then he should feel freedom to stay (Phil. 1:27). Above all, he should seek to please Christ and follow His leadership. So why am I writing this? Have I sinned today? Yes. I’m breathing. Is there some major sin I’m fixing to disclose? No. All sins are major and I attempt to disclose those weekly to Christ, my wife, and my accountability partner. My job, however, is to shepherd the sheep and equip them “for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). My job is to prepare them in the Word so that they might be “competent (and) equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). I want them to walk in the Word, especially on the day, that they might need to run to me rather than away from me.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
As we begin 2013, here are 10 helpful questions from Don Whitney: 1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God? 2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year? 3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year? 4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it? 5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year? 6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church? 7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year? 8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year? 9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year? 10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in 10 years? In eternity?