Posts by gcbcmn (Page 2)

Posts by gcbcmn (Page 2)

The Nearness of God

Psalm 73:28: “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” This verse works in two ways. On the one hand, if life is going poorly for you, you can read this verse and take comfort in the fact that the “nearness of God” is your ultimate good. Your bad circumstances are not your ultimate good. On the other hand, if life is going well for you, you…

The Father of Lights in a Changing World

In James 1:17 a curious title is given to God. God is called “the Father of lights.” Why does James call God “the Father of lights”? James calls God “the Father of lights” because he wants to communicate that God is unchanging. But how does God as “the Father of lights” relate to him being unchanging? Since God is the creator of the lights—the sun, moon, and stars, He does not change. The creation experiences constant change. Even in the lights. The…

Government Leaders Serve God

One of the throw-away lines that often gets missed in a discussion about civil government appears in Romans 13:6: “rulers are servants of God.” This line, and the truth behind it, ought to seem radical if you know a little bit of the history of Christianity. In the history of Christianity, various positions with respect to the government have been proposed. Some have embraced a position that Christians are forbidden to serve in civil government office. Others have embraced a position that…

Why Is Our New Building Important?

The church is God’s people gathered in a place to worship him. This gathering can occur in a house, in the market, on a beach, or in a building designed for a church gathering. Praise God he has led us to, and provided the way for us to acquire the building on Holyoke and Lakeville Blvd. But is this new location important? Our new location is important, and it is not important. What do I mean? The new location where Grace…

Civil Government Is Not a Human Creation

In Romans 13:1 Paul states: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” At least one implication can be drawn from this verse: civil government is not fundamentally a human creation. I say this because in political theory, several theories of government origin exist, to name a few: Government exists because of the consent of the governed Government exists because of an…

Desiring Church

John Piper has built a ministry around the concept of “desiring God.” The basic idea, as Piper often puts it, is that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. In my opinion, in general, Piper has done a great service to the Christian Church in his teaching, though I do not agree with everything Piper has taught. What I want to do in this short blog is to build on the idea of “desiring…

Two Insufficient Ways to Deal with Difficulty

Over the years I have recognized that people deal with difficulty in generally one of two ways. One person deals with difficulty by looking out. When difficulty and conflict are present, the tendency is to want to look away and escape. Escaping can take many forms, like binge watching TV, gorging on food, or spending above your means. Another person deals with difficulty by looking in. When difficulty and conflict are present, the tendency is to want to look in and fix.…

The Great Exchanges

When I travel to Sierra Leone to equip under-resourced pastors, one thing I have learned is that you get a much better exchange rate “on the street” than you do at the banks or markets. The “street” has very little overhead, so the exchange is great! If you have been attending Grace Community Bible Church for some time, you know that we are passionate about an exchange—not a monetary exchange—but what we call the “great exchange.” Very simply, the “great…

Why Is Christianity Exclusive?

Ravi Zacharias died over a month ago. Though I never read any of his books and only occasionally heard him speak on Christian radio, I do know he did much to advance Christianity in a religiously pluralistic age. We certainly live in an age in which religious pluralism prevails. In a nutshell, religious pluralism is the belief in the existence of multiple paths to God. Christianity, in distinction from religious pluralism, says that there is only one way to God.…

One Sentence That Could Change Your Life

Now that I have your attention from the title, let me give you the sentence: relationships are not meant for your happiness; they are meant for your redemption. This statement comes from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane in their brilliant and biblical book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. The fact of the matter is that your life is filled with relationships. You have family, friends, work associates, church members, neighbors, doctors, lawyers, accountants, contractors, postal workers, school associates, homeowner’s associations,…

Churches are Re-Opening…What Church Should I Join?

One thing the coronavirus pandemic has taught us is the importance of the local church. While you can “live stream” almost any church in the nation from the comfort of your living room, this is no substitute for being a member of a specific local church. Choosing a local church is an important decision. Thankfully, you are not the first person in history to have to make the decision. Throughout history, Christians have faced the decision of what church to…

Longing to Be Clothed

The changes to our lives brought about by COVID-19, one being the ability not to meet in person, has us longing to be clothed. What in the world do I mean? In 2 Corinthians 5 we read: “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with…

Prayer Is the End

We live in a culture of productivity. And one thing is for sure: a culture of productivity makes prayer challenging. Since we thrive on accomplishments, it is often hard to see what prayer accomplishes when prayers are not answered in the way we want. And when we cannot measure and quantify tangible results of prayer, prayer is often neglected. When we do not get what we want, we give up asking or get frustrated and impatient. But this is exactly…

Sorting Out Our Priorities

The COVID-19 pandemic has sorted out priorities in all of our lives. We haven’t arrived in this reorganization, but we’re closer perhaps than ever before. As a pastor, this prioritization has taken place regarding theology. Theology matters. But not every area of doctrine has priority. I believe three doctrines emerge as foundational. 1. The foundation of the inerrant word of God. As we have discovered on social media, everybody is an expert and people’s opinions come and go, but the…

A Discipleship Lesson for Every Christian

During Jesus’ short three-year ministry on earth, He taught us much on how to minister to others. One of the important ministry lessons Jesus taught (which we need to be reminded of again and again!) and borrowing the words of one pastor, is this: “Don’t let what God wants you to do get in the way of who God wants you to be.” This simple truth is so profound and helpful. In a real way, God is more concerned about…

Theology Matters Now More than Ever

Over the past two months, with the outbreak of the coronavirus and the rapid change of “normal” life as we know it, I have experienced quite an array of emotions. Here are a few: fear (that I could have or will get COVID-19), panic (because everybody else is panicked!), joy (that the market finally received the correction it needed), sadness (that I cannot worship with my church family in person), and many others. In all these emotions, I have realized,…

God’s Omniscience Motivates Prayer

God is omniscient. This means that God knows all things past, present, and future. As this relates to prayer, it means that God, as Jesus says, “knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Notice carefully that Jesus does not say God knows what you need if you do not ask. Instead, Jesus says God “knows what you need before you ask.” While it is certainly true that God knows what you need if you ask or do…

Annihilating Anxiety

During this unprecedented time associated with COVID-19, we can be tempted to fall into various sins. While there are many that I could mention, sinful anxiety comes to the surface. We are tempted to be anxious in this current situation, not only because we are afraid of getting very sick, but because of the pressure it is placing on relationships and on our finances. In fact, I think the tendency towards anxiety in our lives is often directly connected to…

Who Wants to Limit the Atonement?

Some Christians are often charged with limiting the atonement. The truth is that these Christians do not want to limit the atonement. No one does. The reality, however, is that unless you are a Universalist, then you limit the atonement. How? In one of two ways. You either limit the effectiveness of the atonement, or you limit the extent of the atonement. If you limit the effectiveness of the atonement, you believe that Christ atoned for the sins of every…

Consider One Another

The New American Standard Bible, the version used to preach God’s word at Grace Community Bible Church, puts Hebrews 10:24 like this: “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Unfortunately, this way of translating Hebrews 10:24 does not entirely capture the original Greek wording. In the original Greek, the main verb is the word “consider,” not the word “stimulate,” which happens to be a noun. Since the main verb is “consider,” the immediate object of…