Thursday, February 24, 2011

Easily Offended?

Are you easily offended? God can work on that. But at least we should be quick to forgive.

Ken Sande (The Peacemaker, p. 83), suggests that overlooking an offense is appropriate under two conditions.

First, the offense should not have created a wall between you and the other person or caused you to feel differently toward him or her for more than a short period of time.

Second the offense should not be causing serious harm to God’s reputation, to others, or to the offender. . . .

He explains that overlooking is active, not passive:

Overlooking is not a passive process in which you simply remain silent for the moment but file away the offense for later use against someone. That is actually a form of denial that can easily lead to brooding over the offense and building up internal bitterness and resentment that will eventually explode in anger.

Instead, overlooking is an active process that is inspired by God’s mercy through the gospel. To truly overlook an offense means to deliberately decide not to talk about it, dwell on it, or let it grow into pent-up bitterness.

If you cannot let go of an offense in this way, if it is too serious to overlook, or if it continues as part of a pattern in the other person’s life, then you will need to go and talk to the other person about it in a loving and constructive manner.

Proverbs 19:11: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

Proverbs 17:14: “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.”

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

Colossians 3:13: “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

On a related issue, see Kevin DeYoung’s excellent post today (you can find on this blog see previous post), “Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person.”

Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person

Posted By Pastor Kevin Deyoung
Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.

Our evening service was canceled last week because of the snow. The portion below is an edited portion of the larger sermon, a message on conflict from Proverbs. I thought it was worth posting (although now I haven’t preached it yet) as a follow-up to Tuesday’s post.

Quarrels don’t just happen. People make them happen.

Of course, there are honest disagreements and agree-to-disagree propositions, but that’s not what the Bible means by quarreling. While studying Proverbs recently I was struck by the fact that most of the advice about conflict is not on how to resolve it, but how to avoid it.

Quarrels, at least in Proverbs, are unnecessary arguments, the kind that honorable men stay away from (17:14; 20:3). These fights aren’t the product of a loving rebuke or a principled conviction. These quarrels arise because people are quarrelsome. Some Christians have a lifeline to Speedway and love to pour gasoline on every tiny spark of conflict.

You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the nice Nazis to believe that quarreling is wrong. You only have to believe the Bible (James 4:1). Hot-headed, divisive Christians are not pleasing to God (Proverbs 6:19). We are told to drive them out (22:10) and avoid such people (Rom. 16:17). This doesn’t mean we only huddle with the people we like. We are not talking about awkward folks or those who disagree with us. We are talking about quarrelsome Christians–habitually disagreeable, divisive, hot-headed church people.

So what does a quarrelsome person look like? What are his (or her) distinguishing marks?

1. You defend every conviction with the same degree of intensity. You don’t talk about secondary issues, because there are no secondary issues.

2. You are quick to speak and slow to listen. You rarely ask questions and when you do it is to accuse or to continue prosecuting your case. You are not looking to learn, you are looking to defend, dominate, and destroy.

3. Your only model for ministry and faithfulness is the showdown on Mount Carmel. There is a place for sarcasm, but when Elijah with the prophets of Baal is your spiritual hero you may end up mocking people instead of making arguments

4. You are incapable of seeing nuances and you do not believe in qualifying statements.

5. You never give the benefit of the doubt. You do not try to read arguments in context. You put the worst possible construct on other’s motives and the meaning of their words.

6. You have no unarticulated opinions.

7. You are unable to sympathize with your opponents.

8. Your first instinct is to criticize. Your last is to encourage.

9. You have a small grid and everything fits in it. Everything is a social justice issue; everything relates to the regulative principle, everything is Obama’s fault; everything is wrong because of patriarchy; everything comes down to one thing–my thing.

10. You derive a sense of satisfaction and spiritual safety in being rejected and marginalized. You are constitutionally unable to be demonstrably fruitful in ministry and you will never affirm those who appear to be. You only know how to relate to God as a remnant.

11.You are always in the trenches with hand grenades strapped to your chest, never in the mess hall with ice cream and ping pong. Remember G.K. Chesterton: “We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return to at evening.”

12. You have never changed your mind on an important matter.

Just some food for thought. I know I choke on my own words at times.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Can we trust the Bible

Originally posted at 

Beware: The Bible Is About to Threaten Your Smartphone Focus

Are apps a threat to God-focus? Yes. But it works both ways. Fight fire with fire.

If you are reading your Bible on your computer or your smartphone or your iPad, the presence of the email app and the news apps and the Facebook app threaten every moment to drag your attention away from the word of God.

True. Fight that. If your finger offends you, cut it off. Or use any other virtuous violence (Matthew 11:12) that sets you free to rivet your soul on God.

But don’t take mainly a defensive posture. Fight fire with fire.

Why should we think of the Facebook app threatening the Bible app? Why not the Bible app threatening the Facebook app, and the email app, and the RSS feeder, and the news?

Resolve that today you will press the Bible app three times during the day. No five times. Ten times! Maybe you will lose control and become addicted to Bible! Again and again get a two-minute dose of life-giving Food. Man shall not live by Facebook alone.

I’m serious. Never has God’s voice been so easily accessible. The ESV app is free. The OliveTree BibleReader app is free. And so are lots of others. Let the Bible threaten your focus. Or better: Let the Bible bring you back to reality over and over during the day.

Originally Posted at 

Lovers and Their Loving God...

While it only takes one spouse to be friendly, it takes both spouses to be friends. When both spouses are unfriendly, the marriage is marked by conflict and coldness. When one spouse is friendly and the other is unfriendly, the marriage is marked by selfishness and sadness. But when both spouses make a deep, heartfelt covenant with God to continually seek to become a better friend, the marriage is marked by ever-increasing longing and love.

Guard Your Heart

Sadly, it is common to hear married people speak of “falling out of love” with their spouse and “falling in love” with someone else in adultery. By using the language of “falling,” people are cleverly avoiding any responsibility, as if they are simply required to follow their heart. However, the Bible tells us not to follow our heart, but rather “guard” it because it is prone toward selfishness and sin (Prov. 4:23; Jer. 17:9).

“Love is often first an action based upon obedience to God that results in a feeling for our spouse.”

According to the Bible, love does not come from our hearts, but rather through our hearts. This is because “God is love,” and in relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit we receive God’s love to share with others (1 John 4:7–21). It is through the presence of God the Holy Spirit in our life that we are able to love our spouse with God’s love. Galatians 5:22 says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” Also, Romans 5:5 says, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Even when we don’t feel like being loving with our spouse, we can give love to them and receive love from them if we live a Spirit-filled life.

Love is a Verb

In the Bible, love is often a feeling. Rather than being a feeling that promotes action, though, it is often first an action based upon obedience to God that results in a feeling for our spouse. This explains why the Bible commands husbands to love their wives (Eph. 5:25) and wives to love their husbands (Titus 2:4), rather than commanding them to feel loving. This further explains why the Bible even commands us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43–47).

“Christian marriage is reciprocal acts of covenant love.”

Thus, love is a verb in the Bible. Love is what we do. Like Jesus’ love for us, marital love is a covenant commitment that compels us to act for the good of our spouse. This also explains why perhaps the most popular wedding Scripture of all time depicts love as a series of verbs, or things to be done: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4–7).

Covenant Love

Christian marriage is reciprocal acts of covenant love. This includes the little things, such as not always getting our way but often eating at the restaurant, watching the movie, and doing the activity that our spouse likes. This also includes studying our spouse to find ways we can give love to them and receive love from them to build our friendship with them.

In what ways has your spouse loved you with God’s love?
In what ways have you failed to love your spouse with God’s love?

This post originally appeared on the Mars Hill Church  blog.
And was re-posted at on Valentines Day 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Husbands: Headship Means Taking the Lead in Reconciliation

John Piper:
Leadership means we must take the lead in reconciliation.

I don’t mean that wives should never say they are sorry.

But in the relation between Christ and his church, who took the initiative to make all things new?
Who left the comfort and security of his throne of justice to put mercy to work at Calvary?

Who came back to Peter first after three denials?

Who has returned to you again and again forgiving you and offering his fellowship afresh?

So husbands, your headship means: Go ahead. Take the lead. It does not matter if it is her fault.

That didn’t stop Christ.

Who will break the icy silence first?

Who will choke out the words, “I’m sorry, I want it to be better”?

Or: “Can we talk? I’d like things to be better.”

She might beat you to it. That’s okay.

But woe to you if you think that, since it’s her fault, she’s obliged to say the first reconciling word.

Headship is not easy. It is the hardest, most humbling work in the world.

Protect your family. Strive, as much as it lies within you, to make peace before the sun goes down.

Originally Posted at Justin Taylors Blog

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quiz Time! The Pride Test | Sermon Notes, Luke #61

Mars Hill Church on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 6:01 pm

From the Feb. 6 sermon, “The Parable of the Wedding Feast,” preached by Pastor Mark

Originally Posted at 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why John Piper Doesn’t Own a TV

John Piper is known for many things. . . .

Some would likely mention the fact that he’s never owned a television! I vividly remember my first visit to John’s home in 1992. He had invited me to speak at his annual pastor’s conference which, as it turns out, is regularly scheduled during the week following the Super Bowl. Upon arriving at his home after the Sunday service, I told John that I had been looking forward for quite some time to watching the game with him. “Not at my house,” he said. “We don’t have a TV.” After I recovered from the initial shock, John graciously agreed to take me to the home of a church member where I could indulge myself in this annual affair. And yes, John stayed and actually watched the game!

Romantically Challenged

This skit and many more like it can be found at 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Touching Letter

The following is a letter written to theWay of The Master ministry by an individual who was impacted by what God is doing through that ministry. This letter was taken from the Weekly Update Newsletter on January 31st 2011

"I spent about three weeks listening to this show. Not because I liked what they were talking about but rather because it was hilarious when these over-bearing bible-bangers would just get exploded on by someone who didn't want to hear what they had to say. At some point during this I was laughing at them and I remember saying through laughter, 'God, if this garbage is real, you need to open my eyes. This seems like a scam to me.' Sometime during the third week, they found a guy that was exceedingly convicted by the walk through of the Ten Commandments. The guy never hesitated when he was asked, 'If you were to stand before God in judgment do you think you'd go to Heaven or Hell?' The guy replied, 'Hell.' He had what I remember being a very somber voice. When asked if that concerned him, he simply replied, 'Yes.' ... This day it wasn't funny. This day I sat there thinking, 'This guy is me.' As I heard Ray explain the Good News to the gentleman on the air, I fell apart. I started to cry like a baby. I could hardly see the road as I worked the semi into the wayside rest. I stopped, pulled the breaks on, went back into the sleeper, hit my knees and I've never looked back. I spent almost two hours repenting and praying for forgiveness. I spent the rest of the day listening to Christian radio and talking to God."

Originally Posted in the Living Waters Weekly Update on January 31st 2011

God's Final Warning to America

Psalm 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

America is once again tampering with marriage, and the LORD is responding from on high by timing a record breaking blizzard to strike the very location of this rebellion against His holiness! Only the LORD could time the blizzard with the rebellion!

Illinois Gov. Signs Historic Civil Unions Law
01/31/11 "CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a bill legalizing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples." "The measure gives gay and lesbian couples official recognition from the state and many of the rights that accompany traditional marriage. That includes the power to decide medical treatment for an ailing partner and the right to inherit a partner's property."

Red Means 20+ Inches
Notice how the worst of the storm is focusing on Chicago the day sodomite unions were legalized in the state! Today, the law was signed in Chicago! The very location of the signing is the location of a record breaking blizzard! What a warning from the Holy God of Israel.

Storm could be one for the record books
01/31/11 "Chicago meteorologists plan to bring cots and a change of clothes to work this week as a massive blizzard is expected to dump up to 20 inches of snow starting Tuesday. A blizzard watch will be in effect starting Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon for all of northeastern Illinois, according to the National Weather Service."

The following two articles were touching each other on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times:

‘Life-threatening’ blizzard on its way to Chicago area
01/31/11 "A major blizzard the National Weather Service is calling “life-threatening” is on its way to the Chicago area, also bringing along strong winds that could send 18-foot Lake Michigan waves onto Lake Shore Drive Tuesday night into early Wednesday."

Gov. Quinn signs civil union bill into law 
01/31/11 "Gov. Quinn on Monday signed a bill legalizing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. “Here we are in 2011 on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday and I think this is very special,” Quinn said as 20 politicians joined him on stage and hundreds of supporters packed a hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. “We believe in civil rights and we believe in civil unions.”

The day of America tampering with God's holy institution of marriage is over. The judgments are now instantaneous! The very location of the signing is going to be the center of a fierce blizzard. The church will not defend God's sacred institution of marriage, so the Holy God of Israel is stepping into the gap with judgments.

I can see the snow covering all those pastors and Christians hiding in the tall grass that are so fearful of being criticized as "homophobes". They fear man without the slightest fear of God.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Originally Posted @ On January 31st 2011