Sons or Slaves of God?

Are we sons of God (Galatians 4:7), or slaves of God (Romans 6:18)?

This is a false dichotomy (they are both true), but our primary identity is as children, not servants/slaves
1. It is a false dichotomy because Scripture depicts us as both slaves and sons
If you're talking about who we are relative to the law, sin and guilt, in Christ, we are forgiven and accepted sons and daughters.
If you're talking about who or what our life is directed toward, we are servants aiming and obligated to serve someone else, not ourselves.
2. Our primary identity is children, given the overwhelming Scripture in this direction.
1 John 3:1; John 15:15; Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:1-7.
But even though our inheritance is vast and unimaginable, we shouldn't be spoiled-rotten rich brats. We are still serving the Lord.
Deut 6:13; Rom 6:18.


Secret Gift Knitting

Here are the latest projects off the knitting needles, all gifts, so SHHHH!


Holier than... me

"We... are inclined to pretend that we have reached a higher plateau of righteousness than we've actually attained. When we do that, we put on the mask of the hypocrite."

RC Sproul, in Tabletalk, Oct 2009, pg 7.

Communion Exhortation - 3/1/09

Jesus loved the Church and gave Himself for her, as we remember here, to cleanse and present her to Himself perfect. Each of us nourishes and cherishes our own body. We use our head and hands to feed our body. Well, Jesus nourishes the church like that. We are members of his body, of His flesh and bone. This is a great mystery, but you see His hands feeding you now as the elders distribute the bread and wine; you’ve heard His voice speaking to you in the sermon.

Do you love Jesus? Do you want to serve Him? We need to start by receiving the gifts He gives us. His Word, His church leaders, His people. Believe that whatever fire the Lord puts you through, God has redeemed you and made you His child. He will not let you go, but will gather you to Himself with the rest of His people, in full joy and gladness in His kingdom.

Too much signaling, not enough joy

Jesus calls us in our sermon text to joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength. As we consider the duty of gladness in worship, we must prepare ourselves to reject the extremes that attend it. Godly maturity will reject giddiness and silliness before the Lord. Maturity also overcomes the dour expressions that assume that a long face is a sign of piety. A gloomy killjoy is no closer to the kingdom than the breathless emotion-seeker. Some signal their piety with laughter or tongues; others by removing their smiles when they come to worship. Many have been signaling so long they don’t realize they are more interested in what others think than in what God thinks. We all need to grow up into Christ. This reminds us of our need to confess our sins to God. 3/1/09.


Communion Exhortation - 2/22/09

Question from one of our children at church last week: "There's this I can't understand. The bread isn't really God's body and the wine isn't really God's blood. Why do you pretend it is?"

Good question. We talk this way because Jesus did when He told us to keep doing this to remember Him. In 1 Cor 11, Paul criticizes the church for not celebrating the Supper the right way. In verse 23, he tells us how to do it rightly, part of which is to say, "This is my body" when we break the bread. It isn't that we are pretending; we are saying something we don't fully understand. The part we understand is that Jesus is food and joy for our souls, like bread and wine are food and joy for our bodies.

Call to confession - 2/22/09

Malachi 3:1-5

We just sang that we look to the Lord for help in trouble. But when He comes He comes first to purify us. We desire Him, but can we endure Him, when He comes? He doesn’t put up with our casual looks or our lingering lusts, with our massaging the truth or our intentional lies, with our holding back helping the widow or breaking financial obligations.

The messenger of the covenant purifies us, not only to save us from the ravaging effects of sin in OUR lives, but to have a holy people for Himself. Our confession and forgiveness isn’t just relief for us, it brings glory to Him. We confess our sins, not out of self-preservation, to get out of the corner we backed ourselves into. We confess for the same reason we gather for worship, listen to the Word, receive Communion, and serve Him in the world. We confess our sins to glorify the Lord in our lives, even in the way He deals with our sin.


Communion Exhortation - 2/8/09

When Jesus sat in the upper room eating Passover with His disciples, He instituted this meal, this sacrament. And in it, He was giving Himself to them, as He gave them the bread and wine. He offered Himself as a sacrifice to God, as a savior to men. We are to take the bread and wine, receiving Him in faith, believing that He is the sacrifice of atonement for our sins, believing that we are at peace with God b/c of Him.

Call to confession - 2/8/09

Paul warns here [1 Cor 11:17-22] against divisions, against self-approval compared to others, against shaming those who have nothing, or less than we do. As we prepare to confess our sin, we must consider how we lift ourselves above others: we have more money, more resources, more experience, more wisdom. We must consider how we leave others to their poverty, spiritual or material, when we could help. We must consider this before we commune with Christ and His Body, remembering His sacrifice for us, and regarding each member around us for whom He died with dignity and compassion.

It is a natural thing in leaner economic times to pull back first on our generosity. But we must continue to remember the poor. We must continue doing good to all, especially to those in the household of the faith.

Scripture is for YOU

Mike Lawyer points out today that Jesus when tempted by Satan quoted Scripture for Himself, not at Satan. He wasn't engaged in a worldview/apologetics debate with Lucifer. We need to use Scripture to convince ourselves that obedience is more to be sought than the sin that tempts us in the moment. This is a different use of Scripture than apologetics, where we seek to convince others of the truth of God.

Heaven forbid we ever think we have arrived at the point where we don't need Scripture and the Spirit to stay out of sin. We are tempted daily to believe that our selfish desires are more important and valuable than God's will.

Even Jesus used Scripture to remind Himself to remain a humble and obedient servant.
We should, too.


The Body of Christ

RC Sproul, Jr.:

"One of the great successes of the serpent in our own day is that he has persuaded too many of us that joining a local church is unnecessary and superfluous. Many claim to be members of “the invisible church.” Others argue that church membership vows are not in the Bible. That is true enough. The Scriptures do, however, call us to submit to those in authority over us, even those who will give an answer for our souls (Hebrews 13). If you are willing to publicly acknowledge your obedience to that particular command, you have joined a church."


God's Judgment?


So a tornado hits the very place and time that a church gathers to consider allowing unrepentant homosexuals to serve as clergy in the church.

Where? Minneapolis.

Who? The Lutherans.

Christ alone

"This side of heaven, we must resist defining spirituality as anything other than a deep devotion to Christ, the fruit of which is a lifestyle of daily worship of him and active service in his kingdom…We cannot be satisfied with a Christianity that allows us to live at the center of our world."
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 89.

Some good news...

... in an often depressing evangelical publishing industry:

To be in Christ is to be in the Church

From Randy Booth:

"To be in Christ is to be in the Church (i.e., the Body of Christ); these are not separate propositions. Moreover, being in Christ means we are members of a particular visible church with real relationships and real people. While the visible church (like individual human beings), has invisible attributes, there is no mythical “invisible church” that exists apart from the visible church. Such a false dichotomy leads to a serious devaluing of the church and offers false consolations to many who see themselves as “members in good standing” in the invisible church. But we should never separate what God has joined together."


Posted outside a typical courtroom

Courtroom etiquette:
No pagers or beepers
No cellphones
Shirt tails must be tucked in
No shorts
No chewing gum
No talking

Amazing that judges for the state expect more reverence for man than many churches do in worshiping the living God.


Taste of Summer

Summer is an aging lady, starting to wither and fade, yet there are a few good things to be gathered in before she gives way to the crisp days of autumn. The basil patch has given us much, but there are a few good leaves yet to be harvested. We've been mixing up batch after batch of pesto, trying to capture the flavors of summer for the dark months ahead.

Basil Pesto
1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup firmly packed parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts (or almonds, walnuts)
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix together in the blender until the consistency of soft butter. I add the olive oil last, so I can adjust the amount if necessary. We enjoy this on pasta, paninis, mixed with butter for yummy pesto butter on bruschetta, or blended with cream cheese, sour cream and a bit of Wors. sauce for a tangy spread.

My kitchen friends, Geert & Antje, are frequent helpers.


reading rewards

At the beginning of summer, on Memorial Day, I made a deal with my daughter. We agreed that if she read 2,000 pages before the end of August, then I would make her a long wished-for doll dress. She easily held up her end of the deal, and so I had to keep mine. Here is her dress, fresh from the sewing machine, along with the list of books she read:

The Wheel on the School
Black Stallion
Ballet Shoes
Pippi Longstocking
Growing Up Where Jesus Lived
The Reluctant Dragon
The Secret Garden
Owls in the Family
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH

dress pattern can be downloaded for free here

happy anniversary

Our anniversary was a month ago, but we're still enjoying memories of the time we spent with the extended family. About 25 of us spent a weekend in Hocking Hills, Ohio. It's a beautiful state park with plenty of activities for everyone! We canoed, hiked, rode horseback.... as well as celebrate our anniversary! How could you not enjoy a walk through such a surreal place? I thought of Lothlorien, LOTR.


Be careful

"Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for Yahweh. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of Yahweh be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with Yahweh our God, or partiality or taking bribes."

2 Chronicles 19:6-7


She's GR8!!

My little girl turns 8 today - Happy Birthday! We started today out with a cake decorating session, done mostly by her.
Watching my giggly little girl grow up into a young lady is an amazing and humbling process. I thank God for the grace that He gives each day!