This is Chapter 1 in Growing in Grace: a 36-Week Discipleship Course. Listen to the content as delivered to Creekstone Church in Dahlonega, GA: While some of us raise our own chickens for eggs, most of us buy our eggs at the grocery store. If you are like me, before you choose a carton to purchase, … Continue reading The “All-ness” of Sin
“But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.” Genesis 3:4 My faithful Father and God of truth, how I think upon the bait offered to Adam and Eve. It was a lie sugarcoated with a promise. Maybe in the instant they bit into the fruit and hit the hook they knew. … Continue reading Rejecting Lies
"12 …sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." Romans 5:1 “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, … Continue reading What is Wrong with the World?
Listen: This is message #2 in our expository series in James, The Gospel for Real Life. I like to fish. Admittedly, I’m not very good at it. But when I do catch a fish and proceed to remove the hook, I kind of feel sorry for the creature. He was hungry, thought he saw an … Continue reading “Resisting the Bait”
Listen: [Here is an important addendum to this message.] In the mid-14th century, a bacteria called yersinia pestis was carried by fleas from Asia to Europe, being transported on rats that commonly infested merchant ships. As these ships arrived in ports such as Constantinople, Marseilles (mar-say), and Barcelona, the rats would disembark, carrying the infected … Continue reading Pandora’s Box
According to Psychology Today, in 2000, only 50 books were published on the topic of happiness. Somebody found an inch and began to scratch, because by 2008, that number had skyrocketed to 4,000 a year. By 2014, there were over 10,000! Apparently, happiness sells... because we all want to be happy. Yet a better word … Continue reading 3 Practices that Restore Joy (Ps. 51:6-12)
This is message #2 in our Broken and Contrite: The Unexpected Pathway to Spiritual Renewal sermon series. Listen: The Bible speaks of a sickness that is not transmitted by physical contact. It is a sickness that invaded the world in the earliest chapters of the Bible. It is worse than a sinus infection. It is … Continue reading How to Survive the Pandemic (Ps. 51:3-5)
This is the first message is our 4-week study in Psalm 51, Broken and Contrite: The Unexpected Path to Spiritual Renewal. Listen here: It has been twenty years, but I still remember the stain. After I had completed my seminary studies and the trials of pastoral ordination, I received a fountain pen as a gift. … Continue reading Stain Removal (Ps. 51:1-2)
"Think of your own personal disaster, your own struggle with sin and your own failure. If you're able to be given wisdom to see those failures and struggles, and own those failures and struggles, what are they? Can you see how God can teach you through those moments, those low broken places, in ways he can't … Continue reading Light Shinging Through the Cracks
In his book, The Beautiful Fight, Gary Thomas tells a story about the power of seeing ourselves for who we really are. A businessman in a service industry grew weary of being yelled at. He tired of getting sprayed with angry spittle from dissatisfied customers who expected five-star service at Motel 6 prices. One day, he … Continue reading If I Could Only See Myself
There is a great story that is told about Charles Spurgeon, who, after preaching a sermon, was approached by a woman from the congregation. She looked at him, and said with disdain, “You are most unholy preacher I have ever heard!” As the story is told, Spurgeon turned to an elder next to him and … Continue reading You Don’t Know the Half of It!
Most of us have tried to pack a present in a box that wouldn’t fit. The gospel is that way. We just can't contain it. We never really grasp it. As Paul says, because of the vastness of its dimensions, God's love for his people "surpasses knowledge." “16 I pray that out of his glorious … Continue reading The Gospel Doesn’t Fit in a Box
From the apostle Paul to the Puritans to modern day grace preachers, we learn that the more mature we get as Christians, the more we will see our sin. This does not mean that we necessarily will sin more, but that we will become more aware of various actions and motives as sinful, that before … Continue reading Seeing More of My Sin, More of the Cross and Coming Alive to the Wonder of the Gospel
In his well-known book, Human Nature in Its Fourfold State, the Scottish pastor, Thomas Boston (1676–1732) describes the four states of human nature as integrity (before the fall), depravity (after the fall), recovery (after redemption), and consummation (consummate happiness or misery, depending on one's response to the gospel). These four states correspond to Augustine's teaching … Continue reading The Fourfold State of Mankind
Note that what Paul says here is in the present tense, not the past. He is describing his "now" need for the gospel, not his "then" need. This is so hopeful for a sinner like me. "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of … Continue reading A “Now” Need Rather Than a “Then” Need
In The Letters of Francis Schaeffer, he writes to a woman named Sharon: "Christianity is not a religion for the mentally healthy. Rather, ever since the Fall, none of us are totally mentally healthy, any more than any of us are totally physically well... Christianity is for weak people just as we are... We must … Continue reading Christianity is Not for the Mentally Healthy
The blood of Jesus has rescued and freed me from my sins (1 Peter 1:19; Rev. 1:5) The blood of Jesus removes my guilt (1 Peter 1:2) The blood of Jesus cleanses my conscience (Heb. 9:14) The blood of Jesus brings me near to God (Eph. 2:13) The blood of Jesus provides access to God … Continue reading The Power of the Blood
Here is TFL 3, "Restoring a Glorious Ruin."
In his classic, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks about The Great Sin. Concerning this sin, he says, "the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others." What is this great, ultimate, most devastating of all sins? Pride, or self-conceit. Lewis goes on: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God … Continue reading The Great Sin