Saturday, September 1, 2012

Reading Till We Die

In a recent sermon entitled 'He Stood by Me and Strengthened Me for the Sake of the Gospel' pastor/author John Piper asks: "If I am about to die and will see Jesus in a few weeks or days, why should I try to know or relearn or see anything, since I am going to know even as I am known in just a matter of days?"

Piper offers the following three reasons:

"Because reading and thinking over what you read is how God speaks to you now and makes himself known to you now — both through his inspired word and through spiritual teachers dead and alive."

"Because reading and thinking over what you read is how God nourishes and strengthens the soul for living and for dying."

"Because reading and thinking over what you read is the way worship is ignited and joy is increased and peace with God is sustained — for the journey and for the final river-crossing!"

"Form the habit of reading now, and don't ever think you can do without it. And if your eyes fail you, and all your friends have failed you, take your food money, if you must and pay to have the Bible and good books read to you. 'The hour of my departure has come, Timothy, bring the books, and above all the parchments.'"

Pastor Van

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Questions We Should Ask


"One ought to take time to reflect seriously upon the question, 'Has God truly wrought a miracle in my life?  Is my own heart proof of the supernatural intervention of God?'  That is the apologist's first question.  In the West we go through these seasons of new-fangled theologies.  The whole question of 'lordship' plagued our debates for some time as we asked, is there such a thing as a minimalist view of conversion?  W said the prayer and that's it.  Yet how can there be a minimalist view of conversion when conversion itself is a maximal work of God's grace?"

"If you are proposing marriage to someone, what would the one receiving the proposal say if you said, 'I want you to know this proposal changes nothing about my allegiances and my behavior and my daily life; however, I do want you to know that should you accept my proposal, we shall theoretically married.  There will be no other changes in me on your behalf.'  In a strange way we have minimized every sacred commitment and made it the lowest common denominator. What does my new birth mean to me?  That is the question we seldom ask.  Who was I before God's work in me, and who am I now?"

Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stupid Love


Attention all who may know someone who is infected with "stupid love" – share the following blog post at this link with them.

Pastor Van


Monday, July 16, 2012

Digging For Treasure


One of my hobbies is treasure hunting. When I purchased my first metal detector, now over 20-years ago, the salesman, a treasure hunter himself with a huge display of goodies to validate his prowess, gave me two pieces of helpful advice.

First, he told me that once I found something buried in the ground, before filling in the hole, I should always scan the hole once again. He insisted that oftentimes where there was one coin, there would be others. He was right, and I have proved this time and time again.

Secondly, he told me never to believe that a place had been "hunted out," meaning that all the treasure had been taken. "For the patient hunter," he said, "there will likely be another treasure waiting." Once again he was right.

On one such occasion I was given permission to hunt the site of a home built in the late 1700s, a property that I was told had been hunted out. I started scanning early that morning, and hunted for six hours without finding a thing. Just when I was ready to give up, I started getting signals—one right after the other. I dug out so many coins they were literally running out of both of my pants pockets. One of the coins I found that day was an 1865 2-cent piece, worth about $70.

In the same way, new Christians desiring the milk of the Word can sweep over the Scriptures and find a host of marvelous treasures. But veteran students of the Bible can be sure that no matter how much we dig it will never be hunted out.

Keep on digging!

Pastor Van


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Unequally Yoked

For a helpful article on reasons why a believer should not marry an unbeliever, check out the following link:


Pastor Van

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Remember - God is Guarding You

A few years ago, Kathryn and I, along with our daughter and grandchildren, made a visit to the Louisville Zoo, and while we were there we visited the orangutan exhibit. The only thing separating us from these awesome creatures that possess the strength of at least five men were panes of thick glass, each 20-feet tall. My grandson, Trevor, 2-years-old at the time, was amused at first by the orangutans' antics. Then one of the hairy beasts suddenly began to beat on the glass. Trevor leapt into the arms of his mother, crying, "I scared! I scared!" His mother tenderly took him, placed his little hand on the glass, and showed him that the glass shielded him from the animal, so there was nothing to fear. Afterwards, any time Trevor seemed uncertain, his mom would simply say, "Remember the glass."

The first-century church faced persecution at the hands of a powerful government bent on snuffing out her message, her influence. The fact that some had been beaten, imprisoned, even killed for their faith made them feel as though there was nothing at all that stood between them and the enemies of God's kingdom. Into these trying times the apostle Peter wrote them with a reminder that though it might not seem to be true at times, they were ultimately shielded by the eternal power of God that surpasses the temporary power of any other powers and principalities:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials… (1 Peter 1:3-6; ESV)

Perhaps it was Peter's way of saying, "Remember the glass. Remember the glass."

However, someone might say, "If God is 'guarding' His people, then why do they suffer?"

First, it's obvious that Peter doesn't interpret God's guarding as producing a life without suffering, for he mentions their current trials and grief.

Perhaps some thoughts from Paul David Tripp might help:

"But guarded doesn't mean that God gives me a ticket out of difficulty and pain.  No, this promise of protection addresses a deeper danger than the physical and circumstantial difficulties that we all face in this fallen world.  Guarded doesn't mean that God will protect me from trouble, but rather that God will protect me in the middle of trouble until my troubles are no more.  It means that God is with me, and in grace he gives me all I need to face what I am facing with courage and hope.  To do this, he gives me all the grace I need to fight bitterness, doubt of God, and the temptation to run away from my faith and give way to panic and fear, bombarding myself with questions no human can answer…Guarded means that in my moment of suffering, God provides me with protective grace, and because he does, I can have 'living hope'". (From the book: Forever: Why You Can't Live Without It; by Paul David Tripp)

Remember the glass.

Pastor Van


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tiatanic Calmness?

Why do many people seem so calm in light of God's coming judgment upon this earth?  I'm sure many answers could be offered up.  However, there was something I read today from NPR, an article concerning the sinking of the Titanic , that set me to thinking:

As the Titanic was sinking and women and children climbed into lifeboats, the cellist and violinist from the ship's band stood and played. They died when the ship went down. Men stood on the deck and smoked cigars. They died, too.

This behavior is puzzling to economists, who like to believe that people tend to act in their own self interest.

  "There was no pushing and shoving," says David Savage, an economist and Queensland University in Australia who has studied testimony from the survivors. It was "very, very orderly behavior."

Savage has compared the behavior of the passengers on the Titanic with those on the Lusitania, another ship that also sunk at about the same time.

But when the Lusitania went down, the passengers panicked.

There were a lot of similarities between these two events. These  ships were both luxury liners, they had a similar number of passengers and a similar number of survivors.

The biggest difference, Savage concludes, was time. The Lusitania sank in less than 20 minutes. The Titanic took two and a half hours..

"If you've got an event that lasts two and a half hours, social order will take over and everybody will behave in a social manner," Savage says. "If you're going down in under 17 minutes, basically it's instinctual."

The writer seems to be suggesting that the longer the time span building up to the event, people will be more inclined to behave in a social manner – "a very, very orderly manner."  But perhaps this is the proverbial calm before the storm.

This may at least be one answer as to why many seem so calm; so unconcerned in spite of the scriptural warnings of God's judgment. (The Titanic received 6 iceberg warnings).  I must say there was certainly a time in my life when I lived quite comfortably with the wrath of God hanging over me.

But I was misinterpreting the delay – something the Scriptures warn us not to do:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

I'm almost certain – in fact I'm absolutely certain – that if I had been on the Titanic, and did not have a seat on a lifeboat, I would not have been calm.

There is, however, one reason that a person could remain calm in the face of the coming judgment of God.  That is, by having a guaranteed deliverance from judgment.  This is exactly what God graciously offers in Jesus.  In fact, to believe Jesus is to trust Him for the deliverance that God offers through Him.

Might there be a false calm and a real calm?

Pastor Van