- The Reformed Pastor
- My real name is Charlie Albright. I am the pinnacle of evil who God has flooded with His mercy. Declaring my sinful self righteous and holy in His sight! Lavishing His grace upon me by the blood Jesus shed on the cross! Carrying me through this life and giving me satiatfing joy! Anything good about me is only because of His grace!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I am here at this year's New Attitude conference. Already, it has been a time of challenging truth, God exalting worship, and encouraging discussions.
The theme of this year is the Word of God. What place that the Bible has in a Christian's life? How we should think about this book and the authority it should have over us? Do we feel the impact that this is the very word of God when we pick it up to read?
Joshua Harris, Mark Dever, and Albert Mohler have already spoken. C. J. Mahaney speaks tonight. After that is the meet up with the Rebelution group. It will be great to put some faces with people's names.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High,to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! (Ps. 57:1-3)
It is a great paradox that the One who brings trouble and tribulations into our lives delights to deliever us from such trouble. We seek refuge in the One that brought the trouble we are seeking refuge from.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
As I defined contentment in my last post: Contentment is a satisfaction in God that a Christian possess that transcends the circumstances of life. No matter what life brings to someone, there is a foundation of joy that stabilizes one through the life struggles. Even though finances are strained, relationships bring difficulties, or any other host of problems, the soul is sustained by a trust in the One that is greater than all that life brings. “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:8b-9)
One of the opposing attitudes to contentment is fear. When faced with a circumstance that causes the heart grief, the sustaining joy in God is removed. For fear says that the difficulty that one is going through transcends the ability of God to reign over that problem. “We felt like we had received the sentence of death, that is too much for God to conquer!” That is what fear communicates!
That is why Paul tell the Philippians not to be anxious about anything. Fear should not be a response to any problem the Christian faces.
The response should be, instead, to bring everything to God in thankful prayer. Why is that? What does prayer communicate?
If fear communicate distrust in God, prayer communicates absolute trust in God. It is going before the sovereign Lord of the universe and confessing what He already knows. That you and I are only sustained by the Lord's strength. We turn to no one else for help but to the only One who can provide full and lasting help. Prayer is a declaration of total dependence in God.
That is where contentment plays into this. When we pray, it is a act of contentment. We humbly and happily say to God that “Even though this trouble that has come into my life is far too strong for my strength, you, oh Lord, rule the heavens! There is nothing too hard for you to do!” By praying we find ourselves satisfied by handing our deliverance and sustainability in the hands of our transcendent, friend, our sympathetic, sovereign High Priest, in our Savior, Christ Jesus. Prayer is the rightful response to seeing the might of our Savior, His delighting in showing His glory by providing our needs, and in our complete inability to care for ourselves. Therefore, we show our satisfaction in God by going to Him in prayer. And this is part of the satisfaction that underlies a contented life.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
-Andrew Fuller. Letters on Systematic Divinity. Letter II: Importance of a True System
Saturday, May 3, 2008
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores!
Here every bowel of our God
With soft compassion rolls;
Here peace and pardon bought with blood
Is food for dying souls.
While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?
“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”
’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.
Pity the nations, O our God!
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.
We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May with one voice, and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.
By Isaac Watts.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I know that I was not able to post more regularly than I would have liked for the past few weeks. But, when I started my spring break I had several things to get done. From finishing those things came the sprint to the finish as the semester wound down. Finishing books and reviews of books transformed into studying for finals. What looked like a slow finished from my contentment post turned into going from assignment to assignment until the end of the semester.
But now it is the end!
It has been a full semester at that. One with God's hand continually working in my life. Working Christ likeness into my being while showing more of Himself to my mind. I look back and see his hand moving. As usual, It was in no way that I could have foreseen. When I though that circumstances were signifying that God was doing this over there, I was swung around to find myself in a totally different place. Where I thought I need to grow spiritually was not the place that God wanted me to grow. He had other areas in my life in mind to work in. And for those workings I am grateful. It is awe inspiring to sit back and realize that the One who spoke all the worlds into being is interested in my life!
Actually interested is wrong...He's relation to me is much more than "interested,"
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:3-14
He is so much more than "interested."
Well, what about my blog?
I know, I know that I said I was going to start a series on contentment. And I still plan to. The reason my begining plans were thwarted was due to the school work I needed to do. But I still plan to work through contentment. I know I need that virtue!
But, things are going to put on hold for another week. I have a summer class May 5-9. The class starts on Monday and goes to Friday of the same week. Each class goes from 8 in the morning to 5 in the evening.
After which, I have the whole summer in front of me! So there should be plenty of blogging.
Ministry is a carousel of victory and defeat.
Paul did all of his responsibility with joy. This set Him apart. Thus we need to consider the joy of Paul. There is no doubt that most pastors are serving God’s church faithfully, but they are not serving it joyfully. Are you happy pastor? (not speaking of a particular personality)Underlining the grief in your life, is their a joy that characterizes you as a pastor?
Would your wife describe you as glad as a pastor? How would your children describe you? Pastoral team? Members of your congregation? What is your church like? Have you built a culture of joy in your church? It would be right and humble to ask each of these if they see you as a happy pastor?
How did Paul consistently serve God with joy?
The dominate feeling in the letter of Philippians is joy. Remember, it was written in prison.
1.Gratefulness to God (3-5).High priority to gratefulness.
What is it like to encounter you? Is it seen that you assign a high priority to gratefulness.
Paul’s gratefulness was theological inclines.
- Recognize the working of God in the church.
- Expressed thanksgiving for God’s work.
- When there is the abstinent of joy then there is a lack of seeing God’s
Study this topic for a season.
Apply this subject to your life.
If you don’t you will be vulnerable to a predicable temptation. (complain)
- Complaining is a daily temptation.
- Many are unaware of the seriousness of this sin against God Himself.
You can see the difference in a grateful pastor and a self-righteous pastor.
Protect your wife, children. What do your children hear about the church from you.
Teach your church to see evidences of God’s grace in things. This is a priority!
2. Faith for the Future. (6).
Faith inform Paul’s labors for this church.
Our confidence is based on the fact that God will see them to the end.
You can be certain about God’s work in your church’s life.
This will make all the difference. (Heb 11:6) To have faith in God’s work in your church.
Set aside time to study faith.
Charles Bridges, all our failures lay in our lack of faith. The main difficulty is in ourselves, in conflict with our own unbelief. It is faith that enlightens our work with perpetual cheerfulness.
Where is your confidence when you stand behind the sacred desk? In the one that will keep his ones to the end. In the gospel of salvation.
If you are discouraged by the intelligence of other, then your confidence is in the wrong place.
We need confidence in God and in the gospel. And in the promises of God.
Be cheerful in your private seeking to please God.
3. Affection for others (7-8).
Do you yearn for your church?
We are to reflect the affection Christ has for the church. (It was a theologically informed affection)
Could you write the same thing to your church?
Contemplate the love of Christ for that individual if you don’t have that affection.
See the cross and contemplate the love of the Savior.
The challenge is maintaining joy over the long run. We have every reason to be joyful pastors.
All of those ultimately refer to the supremacy experienced as the all satisfying to your life.
Hebrews 10:32-35, 11:6, 11: 24-26, 12:2, 13:12-14.
Wider context. That my ministry would have radical flavor, a gusts, counter culture flavor. It makes people uneasy because you are pursuing Christ. You live and preach in such a way that your church becomes salty. Crazy people that meet cancer and death with trust in Christ and treasure Him above all else.
The world is not going to glorify Christ because they see that Christians are wealthy and healthy and prosperous. For that is what they live for! Don’t build a church on being safe, middle class. Have a radical flavor! It will cost your life to build a church that is radical for Christ.
Where are the pastors that say with Paul, “my life is not any worth at all, but to proclaim the gospel.” The world needs to see that type of pastorThe only authentic ministry is one that will suffer. Jesus says that all Christians will suffer.
2 Tim 3, Rom 8,
Do not think it strange when you have come in to various trails thinking that something unusually is happing to you .How can you ever want to get through the world safe!?
What creates such a ministry?
Hebrews is a sermon to believers (13:22). The sermon was given to call Christians to radical services of sacrificial love.
10:32-35. What cause these people to accept the plundering was their persuasion of the value of the reward that they would receive. What created this sacrificial service was heavenly minded us.
11:24-26. Present sacrifice is sustained by the hope of eternal reward.
12:2. Jesus looked to the reward.
In all these texts, the arguments are the same. We are treasure our eternal world vastly more than we treasure this world.
Christ is that reward.
The book seems to show Christ as a means to the reward.
Clearly, from the Bible, Christ and His work are a means to something. In the very moment of his means work he became and displayed the supreme beauty of the glory of the grace God. So Christ in His means works becomes at the moment the clearest focus of the purpose for which we are made. We are made to praise the grace of the glory of God. In His means work, He becomes my end.
Everything in the book that it says intensifies our love for him and our desire for him to be our final reward. This supremacy of Christ is poured into the pronoun “him” in 13:13. The sweetest fellowship that you will ever know with the Savior is the fellowship of His suffering.
The Supremacy of Christ is present, personal, precious treasure.