Dec 20, 2009

Aspects of Advent

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." ~Luke 2:11

It's not only five days until Christmas. 'But what are you looking forward to more: Gifts and food, or celebrating Christ's birth? As a family, we have been reading a book called , "O come, Though long-expected Jesus." It's a collection of writings from many "wise heads", including George Whitfield, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Calvin, Luther , Spurgeon, Edwards, Piper, and St. Augustine. All of them speak about an aspect of Advent. Some write about how the shepherds, despised as much as swineherds and dung-sweepers, were the first to know about Christ's birth and come and see Him in the flesh. The wise men, Gentiles and foreign rulers, journeyed hundreds upon hundreds of miles to find a toddler. Yet they had faith and believed that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and bowed down and worshiped him. A teenage girl is told she will give birth to the Son of her Creator. But she believes and says, "Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:39) What marvelous faith existed in that day! Today we regard God more as a friend than a Lord. True, He is the best Friend we could ever have. But He is also All-powerful, All-wise, And Omnipotent. We are His servants and should address Him as such. Today we want to be as independent as possible. "I can do this," we often say. In effect, we're telling God we don't need Him. In that we are sadly mistaken. Christmas is one of the greatest reminders that we have besides Communion. These two remind us of our sin and about God's redemption of us. Listen to the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55 and make it your prayer.
“ My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him, From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Merry Christmas and God Bless!
Your Brother in Christ,

Dec 2, 2009

God's Awesome Power!

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." ~Genesis 1.1

We often do not realize what that sentence means. We just say, "'God created.' Yep!" But God made our world incredibly complex. Of course this was a simple thing for Him, but to us it shows great and unsurpassed power. Think of a piece of metal. You are trying to figure out what to do with it. Will you make it into a toy truck? Think of all the work you would need to put into it to transform the metal into a truck, and, especially if it was your first time building one, think of all the flaws it would have. Yet our Creator created a flawless masterpiece out of absolutely nothing. How great is the Potter! Something else I have struggled to comprehend is that God is eternal. I have no trouble processing the fact that He will be forevermore. But it is very hard to understand how He has been forever. Our minds cannot imagine something that does not have a starting point. The concept is completely impossible and unbelievable. How awesome is His knowledge and majesty, and how awesome are His plans! All is done to His glory. So let us be aweful before our Lord! (Note that aweful in this case doesn't mean "bad" or "disgusting". It simply means "full of awe") God Bless!

Your Brother in Christ,

Nov 29, 2009

Dependent upon Christ

Dear Corey,

I also don’t have a quote, but I have a story. I was watching Grace as she struggled up the hill above our house. Well, I was doing more than watching, but it reminded me of how we can treat God. She would struggle up the hill, mostly ignoring my help. When she fell, I would pick her up, but then she’d take off again.

This is how some people treat God. He is always with us, watching over us. He helps us in troubled times and He directs us, showing us where to go. When we deny God or His power over one aspect of our lives we “fall” more often. Many times this results in us ending up in the wrong place, arriving at a destination we weren’t planning on going to.

It might not even be apparent to us that we are denying God. We might think we are merely being “independent;” we might not even think that, we’re just thinking, “I can do this.” We can do nothing without God’s help. He walks with us, watching our feeble attempts at obeying Him.

Not to say that God cannot help us unless we let Him. I want to make it clear that this is not what I am saying. Many times God intervenes before we get to that destination we don’t know we’re going to. He does this by many different ways. Through parents, friends, relations, strangers, car problems, etc…God uses everything for His glory.

“For all things work together for good to those who love God.”

We should always strive to become more like Christ, but we do not do this by ourselves. We can only do this with God’s help. I want to encourage you this week to not be independent, but dependent upon Christ.

Your BIC,


Nov 5, 2009


I don't have a quote today because I don't think there is one for this topic. What I want to talk about is interpretations. Too often we get caught up in "traditional" interpretation. What I mean by "traditional" is views that people think have existed for centuries. Many people think that there is only one way to do things. They look at the Bible, especially the New Testament, thinking, "What does this have to tell me?" What i mean is, "What significance does this have for me? What is the Author saying to me?" Part of my schoolwork this year is theology. One of the speakers I am listening to at the moment is Richard Pratt. In one of his lectures, Mr. Pratt talks about the steps that we have to go through as we interpret Scripture. He says there are three steps.

1. Original Meaning (What a passage meant to the original audience)
2. Biblical Elaborations (Passages in Scripture that talk about a different passage)
3. Legitimate Applications (What it means to us today)

Before we look at a passage and determine what it is telling us to do, we must first look at the Bible through a filter composed of the original meaning and Biblical elaborations. Take Genesis 1:1, Pratt says. In order to determine what this means for us today, we can't just tack it to the debate over creation, we first have to understand why Moses wrote this. After figuring this out, we then have to look at the passage, in this case Gen. 1:1, through Biblical Elaborations such as sections from 1 Cor. and other New Testament writings. Now you may be thinking I'm just talking about OT interpretations. In a way, yes and no. Yes, most of the topics in the NT are also present in the OT. I can't think of any book in the Bible, except maybe some of the shorter letters like Jude and the Johns, that don't include passages from the OT to make a point or reinforce a point. But no, because some Biblical Elaborations elaborate NT passages. have you ever wondered why there are four books of the Bible speaking about Christ's ministry? Mr. Pratt says it is because the Lord used each of the writer's personalities to talk about the same thing. In the first four books of the NT, we read the history as told from the viewpoints of a tax-collector, a doctor, the one who is said to be the "one whom Christ loved", and another soldier from the ranks.

Baptism is one of the most controversial topics in the modern church. Should we baptize infants or not? Now I am going to state a few ideas that I cannot take credit for. Some of these points are going to be either exact quotes or close quotes of people like Mr. Pratt, theologians, or my parents, people who have done a lot of study of the Bible. We often look at the Bible through "Americanized" eyes. We think, "None of the NT writers or OT writers speak about the baptism of infants." But now we need to look at the original audience. The writers would not have needed to say "children" or "infants". People bred up with eighth-day circumcision would take it for granted that people like Paul were also talking about infant baptism. Now I'm not going to turn this into a paper on baptism. However, I want to emphasize the fact that we often misinterpret Scripture.

As another quote, "We are in a sense eavesdropping on the letters and works of the OT and NT." But, this is not to say that there is not anything useful for us. All I'm saying is that in order to gather the full meaning from a passage we must first approach it with Biblical eyes, not "Americanized" eyes. May the Lord always give you a clear understanding of His word and may He bless you with the ability to instruct others.
God Bless!

Your Brother in Christ

Nov 3, 2009

The word and the Word

Dear Corey,

“Don’t be rash with your mouth and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.” ~Ecc. 5:2

In the verse above, it shows us that we have to guard our tongue and mouth. Paul likens our tongue to a small flame that can kindle a mighty fire. Instead of having to give excuses we should watch what we say first.

“Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was in error.” ~Ecc. 5:6

We cannot trust excuses to save what we have said. We must watch our tongue (I know this from experience). This week I am going to watch what I say.

Your BIC,


Dear Corey,

“That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth.” ~Prov. 22:21

God’s word helps us in three areas that I will list below. The first is that the Bible equips us for evangelism. It helps us get ready to further God’s kingdom. Second, It helps us use the spiritual gifts that God has given us. Paul says that knowing God’s Word makes us ready to use our gifts. Third, it equips us with the knowledge to fight Satan. God’s word is a sharp two-edged sword that allows us to defeat the wickedness of Satan.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” ~Eph. 1:17

Your BIC,


Oct 26, 2009

Cut off Temptation

"And have no Fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." ~Ephesians 5:11
Take a moment and do a general evaluation of you life as to whether or not it falls into one of the following categories.

"But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them." ~Ephesians 5:3-7
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you." ~Titus 2:6-8
(There are other passages that speak of what is good and what is bad, but they are too many to mention.)

Now think on these questions:
  1. Take a specific point from your life.
  2. Does Scripture commend or condone it?
  3. If you're unsure, ask for others' opinions
  4. If this is a good habit or trait, keep and cultivate it. If it is a bad trait, immediately seek to destroy it.
Many people, including Christians, struggle with earthly things. Still more struggle with the thought that their things are "harmless". What this really means is that it is useless. Now I'm not talking about kitchen utensils. I don't think that the rich young ruler would have classified them in his wealth.

"Yes, I have 45,692 Cutco knives, 61,783 Pampered Chef serving spoons, and 101,101 Oxo cheese graters."

Other things may not necessarily be habits or traits, but they can be a temptation. For instance, our family decided to not have TV. We still watch videos, but we felt that being able to choose what went on screen was something that TV didn't have. Now some things like TIVO gave this trait. We were also watching a show in our car the other day. But after the bible study we were at was over, (which is where I got the topic) my mom asked us about the show. We decided that the show wasn't very good and actually fell into some of the "bad" categories. Many things evade our gaze for a long time. Sometimes I have thought something was okay, but then some passage or something that someone says, "Jumps Out" at me and shows me that what I thought was good, is actually the opposite. We must constantly evaluate what will encourage us to become more like Christ. If anything is a stumbling block we must get rid of it, or in Paul's words, "Cut it off." May you always be evaluating your activities and may you always know what will be profitable and what won't. God bless!

Your Brother in Christ

Oct 20, 2009

Words are Important!

"In the Multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, the heart of the wicked is with little. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom. The blessing of the Lord makes me rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." ~ Prov. 10:19-22
Yesterday I was talking with my mom about a pamphlet Mr. Kayser wrote. It is called Leader Development. It is basically a checklist for young men (though it can also be used for men, not just young ones) to evaluate what they need to work on in order to become godly leaders. The very first section is titled "Communication". After I went through the list, I found just what I expected; I don't talk enough. My favorite question was, "I don't always speak my mind but instead seek to be short on words." I got a perfect score on that one.

There are some benefits to little speaking, but also many weak points. As the passage above says, "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise." But as my mom pointed out, we communicate, fellowship, relate to, encourage, evangelize, teach, lead, and understand people because of words. So there is a fine line between speaking the right amount and speaking too little. But we should not go to the other extreme of talking too much. Looking at the first line at the top, we see that Proverbs says that "in a multitude of words sin is not lacking" So we draw another line between speaking the right amount and speaking too much.
"Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding" ~ Prov. 10:13
The passage up top says that the words of the righteous are like "choice silver." Our words should be like honey to those who hear us. Even if we speak correctively, we should be able to have it be loving correction. There is an old saying which I am sure you have heard:
"If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it."
But I think it should go like this,
"If what you have to say will harm someone needlessly, don't let your mouth speak. But if what you have to say will build up and not in the least destroy, don't hesitate to say it."
May you bring every thought and word captive. God bless you in all you do!

Your Brother in Christ,

Oct 18, 2009

"Life isn't fair"

“Life isn’t fair’” ~Many, many, many people

Dear Corey,

Many of us, at one time or another, have heard the quote above. In most contexts we have heard it as a disappointment, when someone does or gets something we want as well. We should not be sorry that the world is unfair. On the contrary, we should be praising God at the top of our lungs. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” If we accept these to be true, as we should, we see that; everyone has sinned and deserves death and nothing w can do will save us. If the world and life was fair we would ALL burn in hell.

So next time you think life is unfair, praise God that it is and congratulate the people/person that received the blessing.

Your BIC,


Oct 13, 2009

An Encouragement to Share the Gospel

"Go Therefore and Make Disciples of all the Nations..." Matthew 28:19

We have often heard this passage spoken on, we have read it, and we know what it basically means. I say basically because we cannot always fully draw out all the meaning from it for a long time. Think about this passage: we are to go and make disciples. Of who? All Nations. Does this mean we have to move to a different continent and be missionaries? Of Course not. Evangelism takes place anywhere and everywhere. No matter the time or place, you can share the gospel.

When do we start evangelizing? Hudson Taylor told a story of a Chinese Pastor he had met who encouraged people to witness as soon as they were Christians. This is how the story goes:
"Once upon meeting a young convert, the pastor inquired, 'Brother, how long have you been saved?' the man answered that he had been saved for about three months. 'And how many have you won to the savior?' 'Oh, I'm only a learner.' the convert responded. Shaking his head in disapproval, the pastor said, 'Young man, the Lord doesn't expect you to be a full-fledged pastor, but He does expect you to be a faithful witness. Tell me, when does a candle begin to shine-when it's already half burned up?' 'No, as soon as it's lit.' came the reply. 'That's right, so let your light shine right away.'"

This somewhat lengthy illustration shares a good point: it is never to soon to start sharing the Good News. Constant excuses fill our minds however. "I'm not a good speaker." " I get too nervous doing those things." "That's what other people are paid to do." "I wouldn't know where to start" "I don't know enough about theology to say anything important." These, as I said, are merely excuses. But, as with all excuses, there is a solution. Starting with the first question, I will give some ideas as to how to solve each dilemma: "You don't have to be outstanding, pray for help and God will give you strength." "Again, God will give you strength to conquer all fear." "True, a few are paid to, but that does not exclude you. All Christians are commanded to share teh gospel, regardless of who else is. If you are the only witness, how much more harvest will the Lord bring to You." "Start with Prayer and then go up to someone and ask a simple question such as, Are you Saved?" "If you don't know the answer to a question go to the Bible or to someone who does know."

I Personally have a lot of trouble going up to a stranger to ask them a question, especially if it is about faith. I cannot say or claim that I have harvested one grain of wheat for saved. The disciples were sent out to be fishers of men immediately after Jesus called them. How much more willing should we be, who have been disciples most of our lives.

Your Brother in Christ

Oct 3, 2009

Of Friends and Brothers...

"There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother." -Proverbs 18:24B

There are many times when your friends stick closer than your brothers. Although this is not often as true when you are younger, it is very important when you are older. While you are young (Before 20 or so), you make the most friends, which will hopefully be friends who are willing to lay down their lives for you when you get older (Above 20 or so) you strengthen your relationships. Now say that house prices went down in another state and you decide to move there. The friends in that state would be more comforting to you in times of need, because of the distance between your brothers. This does not mean that brothers are somehow less loyal than friends. As a brother, I not only want to be looked to for help by my friends, but also by my brothers. Although the above example is sometimes true the next example is always true: In Christ, your friends are "Brothers and Sisters". This means that a friend sticks as close as a brother. Your siblings should also be your best friends, which means that a brother sticks as close as a friend. Many times people may pretend to be your friend in order to seek some benefit. Don't rely on friendships that just scratch the surface, but seek out the ones that seem to join you as a brother.

Your Brother in Christ

How to Combat Doubt

"Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree in the garden?'" -Genesis 3:1B

Doubt is a dangerous weapon of the enemy. Satan understood the bower of doubt and used it against Eve. You could even say that, because of doubt, sin entered the world.

"He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:6B

James understood the power of doubt and its danger to a believer. Very few people are exempt from doubt, but those who experience it still need to know a way to combat it.

1. Confess the doubt to God as Sin "He who doubts is condemned... ... for whatever is not from faith is sin." -Romans 14:23
2. Study the Gospels, especially the later part where Christ has conquered death. It is good to read these constantly to remind us what we believe.

My admonition, Pray to God and Study his Word. These are things we can always do more of.

Your Brother in Christ,

Sep 15, 2009

Importance of the Psalms

Sometimes we overlook the Psalms... but they are just as important, if not more important than most other books of the bible!

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things...” ~Psalm 98:1

Many times we overlook the psalms of David and his music men, thinking that they are not as important as the deep theology of Romans or the overview of many points of the Christian Faith laid out in John. But if you think of the little Bibles handed out to new or unbelievers, they contain the New Testament and, out of all the Old Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. Because Psalms is so long we might start out really thinking about the passages but towards the end we start skimming or not paying as much attention to what the verses are saying. The truth is, Psalms is like essential oils. Essential oils are supposed to be good for almost any sickness or disease. The difference between the two is that Psalms is good for any condition: depression, joy, temptation, you name it. Psalms talks about Christ’s coming and His death and though it was written thousands of years ago, still seems like they were written today to address or at least state the feelings of modern people. So far I’ve only talked about the goodness of the Psalms. What I really wanted to do in this letter though was to encourage you to make the Psalms part of your daily Bible study. Read the Psalms, meditate on the Psalms, and believe the Psalms. May they bring you joy and refreshment in such abundance that you are never without a Christ-like attitude and encouraging word. God Bless!

Your Brother in Christ,

Aug 6, 2009

Dead in our sins

Even though these are somewhat brief, I hope they are still an encouragement to you. Here is the next letter:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ~Rom. 3:23

Now for the next letter in “TULIP.” Since I talked about God’s calling us last letter, I thought I might supply the reason we need it next. Even though I said we have no part in the calling, I didn’t explain why. Rom. 6:15-23 says that we are either slaves of sin or slaves of God. The slaves do not make the Master’s decisions, but instead make their own. Slaves of sin will always serve themselves, slaves of God will always serve God. The only difference is the master. Throughout history states under subjection have rebelled against their rulers. In sin we rebel against God but we have no hope of winning. We are like inexperienced children with sticks against an immeasurable army of trained warriors in full armor. Actually, we’re like dead men with sticks. WE also are the created. God, as the Creator, has rule over His creation. He is the Potter and we are the clay. He chooses whether to save or destroy. We cannot help ourselves because we are dead in sin. We are “totally depraved” (the “T” in “TULIP”). WE are like bodies without muscles and bones. We think, but cannot move. God has given us the knowledge of a life with Him. He has healed our broken bodies. We become His children and sheep. God is the Father and Shepherd and has rule over His own. Praise Him for His infinite mercy, for though we were dead in our sins, He saved us and raised us to new life! Rejoice that you have the best Master! He is better than anything you can imagine! Glory be to God in the Highest! God bless!

Your brother in Christ,


Aug 4, 2009

A new theme and a new beginning

As you can see, I have completely redone my blog. I have decided to change the focus, though. I am now posting letters. Last year at our church, some of the boys started writing letters to each other that gave some simple encouragement to live a life that glorifies God. I have about a hundred letters that I have written and received. I am hoping to add these letters over time, but I am beginning with a mini series of 5 letters I started abut 3 weeks ago. So, without further ado, the first of, I hope, many letters.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” ~John Newton

Grace is truly amazing! God, in His mercy, calls us to Himself. R. C. Sproul Jr. in his book The Holiness of God says that 5 of the main points of the Christian faith can be represented by the word “TULIP.” What I will be doing is sharing some of his points and adding some of my own comments. I am sort of flip-flopping the word though. As you can see by John Newton’s song, I am starting with “I”, which stands for “Irresistible Grace.” Grace is a point pounded out in Scripture through direct and indirect statements. Here are two such statements:

“…to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” ~1 Cor. 1:2


“…He who called you is holy…” ~1 Peter 1:15

God’s grace is most often described as His calling us. One of the most complete summaries is found in Rom. 8:30. But, lucky for us, His grace is irresistible. We are either called or not called, nothing we do helps decide one way or the other. God decides for us before we are born and He decided even further back than that, “before the foundation of the earth.” (Eph. 1:4) Praise the Lord for His infinite kindness in calling us to be with Him! God bless!

Your brother in Christ,