NEW WEBSITE

I will be transitioning this website to an informational website about myself shortly. All new posts, including sermons, plus some yumminess will now be found at my new project. Click the logo below and enjoy Pastor Chef!

 

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Your Mind Matters

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Your mind matters.

We so often pursue outward change in our lives (behavior modification), and we forget that the inward is even there. But in reality, the inward controls the outward. And, if all we do is seek to control the outward, our progress will never last.

Your mind matters.

Jesus said the greatest command is to love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our MIND.

Your mind matters.

Information informs behavior. We can’t truly and properly worship God without being informed about God. Theology leads to doxology. The study of God leads to worship of God. The more you know about God, the greater your worship of God can be.

Your mind matters.

Some may say, well we run the risk of having full heads and empty hearts. True. But, since when has risk been considered an appropriate excuse for not fully seeking God? The greater risk is in not knowing God and therefore not appropriately worshiping God, or worse, worshiping something other than that which theology is centered…God, which is idolatry.

Your mind matters.

“Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service,” says John Stott. “If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality.”

Your mind matters.

Pursue God with your mind and watch it change your life.

Summer Reading

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June has passed, but there is still much of summer left. If it has gone by too quickly and you’ve felt like it has been wasted, it’s not too late! You can redeem the rest of your summer by nourishing your soul.

When it comes to summer reading plans, I usually recommend a simple, four book formula.

  1. Classic
  2. New
  3. Self-Help
  4. Biography

This simple, four book formula ensures a wide range of material covered.

Classic: A Christian classic is called “classic” for a reason. It has weathered the test of time. While other books have sifted through the filter of time, the classics are the beautiful pearls that are left. Many people only read modern titles. This is like only eating at fast food restaurants. A steady diet of Mickey D’s will fill your belly but will not provide lasting nourishment. The classics have the nourishment you need.

This summer I have read Francis Schaeffer’s “True Spirituality,” and am currently reading John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.”

New: While one should not solely rely on a steady diet of new titles, new titles are extremely beneficial. There are many smart theologians and pastors that are speaking truth into modern times. We need these voices.

This summer I am reading David Platt’s “Counter Culture.”

Self-Help: While reading classics and new titles are great, if this is all we read, we will often fill our heads while failing to strengthen our lives. We need to read books that strengthen areas of our lives that are weak. If you struggle with prayer, read a book on prayer. If you want to strengthen your marriage, read a book on marriage. You get my point.

This summer, though it is in the classic section too, I have read Francis Schaeffer’s “True Spirituality.” It hits on many aspects of practically living out theology.

Biography: The most inspiring books you will ever read are biographies. We do ourselves a disservice if we only read books on how to better our lives while failing to look to those who have lived extraordinary lives. Every person needs to read at least one biography each year.

This summer I read Colin Duriez’s “Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life.” It impacted me in more ways than I can begin to explain.

 

So, now that you are halfway through your summer, why not pick a few of these categories and get to feeding your soul!

 

Carry them to Jesus

Read Mark 2:1-12
The paralytic’s needs drove the four men’s action.

I’ve always see the four men as the subject of the story, no, the paralytic is the subject. He had needs that only Jesus could meet. The four friends acted off those needs. If they hadn’t, the man would have been left there, alone in his desperation, while Jesus walked by outside and right past him.

The man would have died a cripple, taking his last breath in that same bed that was his only companion. He would have died in that bed, a cripple, and gone to burn in Hell.

But that’s not what happened. Four people cared. They cared so much that they took that very bed that the paralytic would one day die in and picked the whole thing up and used it to carry him to Jesus. And his world was changed.

There are people you know who are chained to their beds, their beds of depression, of feelings of unworthiness and loneliness, of a hard home life, of past haunting sins, of past abuse that was thrust upon them, of social disorders, eating disorders, of nagging and repetitive sin. There are people chained to these beds, not even knowing Jesus is outside. They need someone to pick them up and bring them to Jesus. And just as the guy’s legs were healed, their depression and loneliness and cutting and false self-perception will be healed. And as the paralytic’s soul was healed, their soul will be as well. And they will die…one day, not chained to that bed, dying to live forever with the God that freed them and saved them.

But this would never happen if the four men didn’t carry their friend to Jesus. And this won’t happen if you don’t carry yours.

 

The Gospel-Centered Life

The Gospel Centered Life

We just completed a short series at The Well called The Gospel-Centered Life. It was a three part series that started with simply explaining the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. We then looked at the gospel-centered life is not a me-centered life, and the gospel-centered life is missional.

1. The gospel-centered life is not me-centered.

Idolatry is our main sin problem and self-worship is our main idolatry problem. Many of the problems that we have come from this problem, from being me-centered. Depression, anxiety, bitterness, fights, jealousy, etc. Yes, I know some of these can be chemically induced, but majority of the time, I would say they are caused by self-worship, or trusting oneself over God.

Depression – I’m trusting in the surrounding cloud over trusting the light outside the cloud.

Anxiety – I’m trusting in the hustle and bustle and problems and activities and what’s next and what if and…not trusting in the God who rested on the 7th day because He has it all under control and all of it is good.

Bitterness – I’m trusting that my view of this person and their actions is all that matters and it doesn’t matter if I’m wrong, even if I’m only 10% wrong and it doesn’t matter if God says forgive because He can’t possibly know what they did to me…

Fights, jealousy, etc…you get the picture.

 

A couple years ago I got E. coli from Taco Bell during a late night road trip with my wife. We had to spend $100 to pay for a hotel room so I could throw up in it all night. What joy. But, you know what? This is what happens with sin. It may taste good going down, but its effects are disastrous. But, what if instead of resting and throwing up, I go back to that same Taco Bell and order some more quesadillas…”that will make me feel better. If only I had more quesadillas!”

That’s exactly what we do with our lives and with our sin.

You’re constantly depressed? Just keep thinking about how depressed you are and how bad life is…

You’re feeling guilty? Just keep thinking of ways to get alone with your boyfriend or girlfriend and how to not get caught looking at porn…that’ll fix it…

You feel hopeless? Just keep thinking of all the things that haven’t gone your way…

You feel anxious? Just keep thinking about all you have to do and all the time you DON’T have…

We’re like dogs returning to our own vomit!…and we wonder why we’re left with a bad taste in our mouths.

 

A me-centered life leads to frustration and despair. A God-centered life leads to joy and human flourishing.

So, stop looking at your belly button and moping around…and LOOK UP! Get your eyes off yourself and get your eyes on Christ!

Colossians 3:1-3 – “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

 

2. The gospel-centered life is missional.

What I mean by mission is proclaiming and making known the gospel, the good news of Jesus. Mission is a natural overflowing of a gospel-saturated life. So, we should address our lack of mission not by addressing mission (saying ‘just do it’), but by addressing our unbelief in the gospel.

If you are full of the gospel…if you truly grasp its depth and importance…if you are dwelling on its goodness every day, you can’t help but share it.

If you came up with the cure for cancer, you would share it with the world! You’ve been given the cure for something far worse than cancer…the gospel. Do you share it?

 

We should both live out the gospel and invite people in to the gospel.

Here are some specific ways you can live out the gospel: (1 Peter 2:12; Matthew 5:16)

  • Encourage those around you
  • Withhold gossip, sarcasm, and slander
  • Gently correct what is not good
  • Stand up for what is good
  • Tell people about Jesus (explain the gospel, share your own story, talk about how the gospel applies to situations they are facing, etc.)
  • Help others in practical ways, even when it’s not fun or costs you money
  • Listen well, especially to the concerns and questions people have
  • Choose to do the right thing, even when there is pressure to do otherwise

Here are some specific ways you can invite people in to the gospel: (Romans 10:13-15)

  • Ask questions that lead to meaningful conversation
  • Invite people to come with you to lunch, a party, church, a church event – really just whatever you are doing
  • Introduce people to your friends (don’t be protective or jealous)
  • Be honest about your struggles; it helps people open up about theirs
  • Initiate conversation with people who are different from you
  • Don’t hide your faith

 

What has been said above are some of the highlights from the last two weeks of messages from The Well. To get the full feel for this content, please listen to the sermons on the sermon page or on our podcast.

May God bless you as you set your eyes on Christ, living out and inviting people into the gospel that you and I hold so dear!

Sorry for my Absence

I just wanted to take a moment and apologize for my absence on the blogosphere. I know that only two people and a cat read this site, but I just wanted to take a second to let you know that I will be back posting again!

Life has been crazy these past 6 months. It has been turned upside down. On April 4, 2014, I lost my twin sister. She died unexpectedly, leaving behind a family that loves her so dearly, including two precious children. Throughout these 6 months, I have learned what it means to suffer. But I have also learned what it really means to hope in God. Without Him, there is no hope. I completely trust in His goodness and faithfulness. As Spurgeon once said, “When you can’t trace His hand, you must learn to trust His heart.” I have learned what it is to suffer, but I have also learned what it is to trust and hope.

I will be posting more of my journey now, and I pray that it is an encouragement to you. Until then, please listen to my sermons on the sermon page. The Heaven and Hell series was a powerful series and God has also been greatly working through our Change the World series.

I pray God’s blessing for you as you seek to live for Him! It’s all for His glory! Everything.

Water into Wine

(7th entry from Grace Park Family Devotional Guide)

Water-To-Wine

John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Devotion

This is the first of the many miracles that Jesus performed. It was a seemingly simple miracle, yet it had profound implications. In the book of John, there are eight miracles of Jesus mentioned. Jesus performed many more miracles, but eight are listed in the book of John. When we look at these miracles, we notice something…they are simple and for a singular purpose.

If you think about it, Jesus could have performed extravagant mind-boggling miracles that we cannot even comprehend. He could have dangled people in the air until they confessed He was the Messiah. He could have thrown whole cities into the ocean. He could have turned mountains upside down. But, these are the types of miracles that Jesus actually did: A man was blind, so Jesus let him see. A guy was paralyzed, so Jesus let him walk. Some people were hungry, so Jesus fed them. The miracles of Jesus had a purpose, a simple yet significant purpose. They filled a need and they showed His glory.

Weddings were a BIG deal, and they would celebrate for a week. Wine was the most common drink, since they did not have refrigeration or preservatives. So, most drinks fermented, and it was even much safer than drinking the water. The wedding celebration had not ended, but they had run out of wine. A big no-no! So, Jesus began his public ministry. He met a need. He turned water into wine.

Why did Jesus do this? He is God. He is in control of nature and the entire universe. He did it to show His glory (vs. 11). This first miracle wasn’t simple…it was the beauty of the simple Savior meeting man on the simplest level of his life and supplying his simplest need, and He does the same to this day.

Discussion

-Share some of the ways that God has provided your needs over the years.

-How does this remind you that God cares for you?

-What’s an area that you need to trust God’s provision in right now?

Prayer

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank you for caring. Thank you for caring for me, my family, and my every need. Use me this day and this week to radiate your glory in every thought, conversation, and action. Be glorified!