Challenge for 2013

The New City Catechism is a compilation and adaptation of three historic catechisms from the Reformation era. Condensed to 52 questions, it is ideally suited to work through in a year studying one Q/A each week.

Each Q/A page has four aids to help study and reflect on the theme: Scriptures, Commentary, a brief Video Lesson, and a Prayer. An abbreviated answer for young children is contained (with highlighted text) within the longer answer for older children and adults. You can find the web page here.

Overcoming Sin

I had a great time with the 'Saints Alive' and 'SayIt' youth groups last night and thought I'd post the quote I shared with them. For a long time I had wrestled with how to understand Psalm 119:32,
"I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart."

Then, while reading Overcoming Sin and Temptation, which is a recent compilation of three classic books by John Owen (1616-1683) edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, I came across this passage in Kapic's introduction:

"To respond to the distorting nature of sin you must set your affections on the beauty and glory of God, the loveliness of Christ, and the wonder of the gospel: [Kapic then quotes Owen:] 'Were our affections filled, taken up, and possessed with these things... what access could sin, with its painted pleasures, with its sugared poisons, with its envenomed baits, have unto our souls?' Resisting sin, [according to Owen], comes not by deadening your affections but by awakening them to God himself. Do not seek to empty your cup as a way to avoid sin but rather seek to fill it up with the Spirit of Life, so there is no longer room for sin."

Psalm 119:32 made complete sense in the light of Owen's skillful insight.

Sermon Series: The Gospel According to the Old Testament

The Old Testament tells the history of the ancient people of God: the nation Israel. They are the children of Abraham, the man God choose and called, and to whom he gave a promise, sealed by a covenant, that through Abraham’s family God would bless all the families of the earth.

A common way of reading and understanding the O.T. is to find in the various stories examples for us to follow… or not. To see in the exemplary characters patterns for us to follow and in those that are less-than-exemplary, the pitfalls we should avoid. While this way of reading has some merit, the danger is that we simply moralize the text. That is, we merely seek to find the ‘moral of the story.’ And thus we come away challenged to ‘be like Moses’ or ’be like David,’ to ‘have courage like Joshua,’ or negatively, ‘don’t be like the 10 disobedient spies,’ ‘don’t be like wicked Saul.’ Great moral lessons, but not much hope for success.

But Jesus and the writers of the N.T. see far more in the O.T. than merely a collection of good morals, like Aesop’s Fables. The O.T. is, both as a whole and in its parts, an unfolding of the Good News that God has been at work throughout human history to accomplish salvation for lost humanity, winning rebels to his gracious will. This unfolding of the Gospel culminates in the giving of his own Son, the Messiah to fully and finally redeem a people for himself. Jesus himself said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “Didn’t you understand from the Scriptures…” and then he opened to them all the Law and the Prophets showing how the entire O.T. is a pointer to himself. Everywhere you open it the O.T. is going to build an expectation for something that only Jesus Christ can satisfy.

A Conversation with Death

Below is a link to the sermon by John Piper that I referred to on Sunday. It is the narration of a conversation between a young boy and Death.
It is well worth your time and reflection.

A Conversation with Death

Glen Memorial Baptist Church: sermon audio

See how God has bless His people this holiday season:
Listen to the Good Friday and Easter Service this week from Henry and Pastor Mike! 
Glen Memorial Baptist Church: sermon audio

The Other Sermon I Would like to Have Preached Today

Here is an outline of the sermon that I referred to this morning. You can read the complete text of the sermon by clicking the link at the bottom of this post. When I first read this, my spirit was greatly stirred to exalt in the amazing grace of God in my own salvation and in the glorious and humbling privilege of educating angels.

Angels Made Wiser by the Gospel, by Charles Simeon (1759-1836)
Eph. 3:10. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.
I.      The manifold wisdom of God, as exhibited in the Gospel—
Verily, it is wonderfully displayed,
1.      In making salvation possible—
2.      In devising a salvation suitable to man—
3.      In appointing a salvation so conducive to his own glory—

II.      The instruction which the angels themselves derive from the revelation of it to the Church—

The angels, from the first moment of their creation, saw much of God: but of him, as exhibited in the Gospel, they could have no conception, till that fuller revelation of him was given to the Church. Then the angels began to see:
1.      The extent of his perfections—
2.      The harmony of his perfections—
3.      The felicity arising from this exercise of his perfections—

III.      From this wonderful subject we may see,
1.      What guilt they contract who pervert the Gospel of Christ—
2.      What folly they commit who neglect it—
3.      What happiness is reserved for the saints in heaven—

The Sabbath

The following is an excerpt from an article by Henri Aldunate published
on the Heartbeat AT website.  At the end is a link to the complete article.

 Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

For some time now there has been a burning desire to begin to articulate what God has been teaching us in an area we believe our culture and yes, even the church with a capital "C" needs to be challenged to remember.  "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8).  Inherent in the what of remembrance is the act of remembering itself, which we cannot take for granted.  It seems strange to say it, but we need to remember quite simply because we forget.  It is part of our human makeup to forget what we profess to know so well.  The gift of the Sabbath to Israel on Mount Sinai and later to the Church of God is the fleshing out of the heart of God's divine injunction given to us in Psalm 46:10.
Every area of life requires active remembrance.  Unless we are deliberate in our practice, our memories will atrophy.  Daily life bears this truth out.  There is no mastering an art form without "practice makes perfect."  In other words, do not forget to remember.  The most effective remedy against forgetfulness is the practice of remembrance. more...

Surprise Blessing of the Day

I always enjoy the treat of an all male praise team, but today was an extra special blessing. Seeing so many men leave their comfort zone to go up front and praise God with their voices touched my heart. They sounded wonderful, but what struck me the most was how many men were on that stage. These are the men who step up as leaders in the church, in their families, and in the community. Some lead very visibly, but many lead quietly by example. Let us remember to uplift these men in our prayers on a regular basis. They can use the we all can. Have a blessed week.

Janice Lenoir

How to Arrive at Your Destination Without a Map

It was interesting to watch the GPS in our van constantly "recalculating" our route on the way to Minnesota. At one point it actually took us in a 3 mile circle twice before we had to help it "reset itself". I was reminded in my own life how each morning I must enter Jesus into my GPS (God Positioning System) to guide me thru the day, waiting for the Spirits promptings to do this or avoid that as I make choices that may or may not glorify God. I find my own internal (Holy Spirit) GPS constantly "recalculating" my route of sanctification, as I continue to make God honoring decisions. As I make the right choices the road becomes less congested I soon find myself on an "expressway" to God. Occasionally I have also found myself on a road with "no access" and had to turn around and reset my destination. This is never fun and the lost time is hard to recover.

I was reminded in Joshua 3:1-13 when Joshua led the people of Israel a "brand new way", "Yet there shall be a distance between you and the ark of 3000ft or 1/2 mile".  Just far enough to see the ark, but too far to see exactly what God would do. Ark was out in front. "It will show you the way to go for you have not passed this way before."

Jesus wants to lead us through mystery, opportunity and difficulty. So often we want Jesus to bless the choices we've already made, when he wants to be out in front. Leading us through the "mind fields" of life. Just like the children of Israel, we don't have to know when, where or why. He alone will lead us to victory.

So don't worry about the road map, worry instead about the relationship with the one who made the universe, the stars, the world, the roads and yes the maps!! :)

Darwin Hughey


If your experience is like mine, you have heard the book of Jonah preached many times.  In fact, when a familiar book or passage like this is taught again we might even wonder if there is something still to learn since we have heard it so many times.  It is good to remember that God's word is living and powerful.
Each Sunday morning we watch/listen to the live stream of the 8 am service from Jordan and Erin's church in Ft. Myers, Florida.  McGregor Baptist Church is a great lighthouse in southwest Florida, and we enjoy it so much (FYI: Esther Murphy's daughter Kathy attends there as well as Melissa Miller's parents).  On Sunday, January 29, Pastor Richard Powell referred to Jonah 1:3, "But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.  He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish.  So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD."
As if we can get away from an omnipresent God, Jonah turned away from God's plan for his life, and he paid the fare.  Pastor Posell noted that when we go our own way, we pay the fare, but when we go God's way, the fare has been paid for us!
Such a great thought - makes me think of Titus 3:4,5a, "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us!"
All glory to our great Savior!

Judy Wyse