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Showing posts from November, 2014

Hallowed Manger Ground

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  The song below we used as part of our services throughout Advent last year.  Be reminded of who God is as you listen to this song today. He is Emmanuel-God With Us!

Transforming Grace

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A few weeks ago, I finished Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges.  I loved most of the book.  I disagreed with Bridges view on suffering and adversity.  However, I would recommend the book to people because of his great explanation of grace through all of life.

I have posted previously on the book so I have picked several quotes from the second half of the book.
We are responsible to clothe ourselves with Christlike character, but we are dependent on God's Spirit to produce with us His "fruit." We cannot make one inch of progress in sanctification apart from the powerful working of the Spirit in us. Instead, we have developed another brand of legalism, a brand that is concerned, not with salvation, but with how we live the Christian life. I call this "evangelical legalism." They (fences) begin as a sincere effort to deal with real sin issues. But very often we begin to focus on the fence we've built instead of the sin it was designed to guard against. We fig…

Promises of God from Proverbs

Here are some of the promises of God from Proverbs:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (3:5-6).“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (3:11-12). “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (16:3).'The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (18:10).

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wishing you a great Thanksgiving today! Enjoy your time with family and friends.  Remember we have much to be thankful for.  Thank you Jesus for your provision!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Martin Family

Psalm of Thanksgiving

As I mentioned yesterday, I am sharing Psalms in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Yesterday was Psalm 23 and today is Psalm 100.
Psalm 100A psalm. For giving grateful praise.1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalms of Thanks

As you prepare to travel for Thanksgiving, I will be sharing two Psalms (one today and one tomorrow) as a reminder of our thankfulness and how God is the One who deserves the praises.

Psalm 23A psalm of David.1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

You Are Chosen

I am continuing to remind us who we are in Christ.  Remember this as you go through your day today whether you succeed or fail.
“For he chose usin him before the creation of the worldto be holy and blamelessin his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)

Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith

Below is a portion of a prayer from Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith:

I praise you for friends who’ve helped me understand the lyric of the gospel—theology. As a young convert my arrogant mantra was, “Don’t give me theology, just give me Jesus.” My sentiments were good, but my sensibilities were shoddy. To speak the name Jesus is to do theology. Thank you for patient teachers who have opened the Scriptures and have shown me the real Jesus—the one who lived and died in my place and who is making all things new.  I praise you for friends who’ve helped me hear and experience the music of the gospel. For those broken and beautiful saints who have helped me get a taste of the radical goodness of the gospel—its life-giving liberty, its healing melody, its soul-engaging joy—I praise you, Father. Now I know you to be a God who greatly delights in your people, who quiets us with his love, who rejoices over us with singing. This is astonishing, even shocking, and it’s all because of what Jesus …

Grace So Glorious

Here is another song to remind you about our great God.  Do you see grace in this way?  Enjoy this song by Elevation worship.

Ordinary?

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Do you want to be ordinary?  Is this a bad word?  What images come to mind? Average, mediocre, passive? I am reading through Ordinary by Michael Horton with a group as an online book discussion.  I have read two chapters up to this point. 

Part of me is not fond of the word, ordinary.  I want to believe that through the Holy Spirit's power, we can be extraordinary.  I would like to see God do amazing things through us that can not be explained as ordinary.  However, the author is sharing some good thoughts.  Here are some quotes from the first two chapters:
We are called to grow in a personal relationship with Christ. We are also called to love and serve others--our fellow believers and our neighbors. And yet, the tendency of the evangelical movement has always been to prioritize extraordinary methods and demands over the ordinary means that Christ instituted for sustainable mission. What we are called to do every day, right where God has placed us, is rich and rewarding. Neverth…

123 Boxes

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Thank you to all who donated for Operation Christmas Child! It was a joy to  join together for Family Night. We donated 123 boxes this year. Thankful for the best gift of all, Jesus.

OCC Family Night

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All Church Family Night

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Tonight at Hesston MB, we are hosting our all church family night. This is a great evening for all ages.  It includes a meal, fun, message, and filling Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Join us at Hesston MB from 6:30-8:00 p.m. tonight.

Don't forget that you can win a pair of tickets to Silver Dollar City!

Is God Good?

Last week, I was reading Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges.  I came across a quote about the goodness of God that jumped off the page.  I hope it will reinforce the importance of not believing Satan's lies about God.
"We should not forget that Satan's very first temptation of mankind was based on questioning the goodness and generosity of God (see Genesis 3:1-5). And his vicious attack on the patriarch Job was designed to cause Job to question God's goodness so that he would then curse God (see Job 1:6-11). Satan has not changed his strategy today. This perception of God as the reluctant giver comes right from Satan and must be resisted by us if we are to experience the fullness of God's grace."

You Are Blessed

As I was looking at Facebook and Twitter last week, I was reminded of how hurtful we can be with our words to others created in the image of God.  Therefore, I want to declare truth from God's Word about who you really are.  This is a repeat on this blog, but it needs repeating.

YOU ARE BLESSED

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realmswith every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Prayer by Scotty Smith

Here is a portion of a prayer from Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith for today:

Jesus, I praise you for your patience and forbearance with me. Sit on your right or left? I’m just grateful to be in your kingdom, covered in your righteousness, secure in your heart. I could never drink the cup you alone drank for us on the cross.  The cup I now drink and the bread I now eat remind me of your death, unite me to your life, and call me to your likeness. Jesus, I don’t want to be incredulous over anyone’s sin but my own. Through the gospel, please make me less and less oblivious to my patently obvious need for your transforming grace. I pray in your patient and forbearing name. Amen.

Nothing but the Blood

As it begins snowing today, I was reminded of this great hymn.  Be reminded of what Jesus did for you.

Worried about your sin?

Feeling guilty today?  Wondering how God can forgive you for committing that same sin again? How does God view your sin? Listen to these word pictures about our sin from Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges:
Our condition was hopeless, but God intervened in grace.
So when God says He removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west, He is saying they have been removed an infinite distance from us.
In His relationship, to us as the moral Governor and Judge of mankind, God has put our sins behind His back.
So it is with our sins. God has hurled them into the depths of the sea to be lost forever, never to be recovered, never to be held against us.
It has been blotted out, never to be seen again. This is what God does with our sins. When you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, God removes your record from the file. He doesn't keep it there or daily add the long list of sins you continue to commit even as a Christian.
The blotting out of our transgressions is a legal a…

Nebraska, here I come!

Today after school, Bethany and I are headed to Henderson, Nebraska for a book table.  She is the brains. I am the brawn.  Faith and Life Bookstore will be set up at Bethesda Mennonite Church Wednesday and Thursday.  Stop by and see us if you are in the Henderson area.  You can get started on your Christmas shopping.  We will have books, gifts, toys, Bibles and more.

I look forward to helping my wife and for some time away together.  We enjoy conversations in the car. There will not be any posts on the blog for the next few days.

Grace for all of life

If you have heard me speak or read this blog often, you know I say a lot, "Grace is for all of life."  Many Christians know grace gets them saved, but then they believe it is up to them to do the rest.  We get in by God's grace, but then we better work hard to show Jesus how much we love Him.  Below is a quote from Jerry Bridges that reinforces this belief of grace for all of life:
God is not keeping score, granting or withholding blessings on the basis of our performance. The score has already been permanently settled by Christ. We so often miss this dimension of the gospel. We are brought into God's kingdom by grace; we are sanctified by grace; we receive both temporal and spiritual blessings by grace; we are motivated to obedience by grace; we are called to serve and enabled to serve by grace; we receive strength to endure trials by grace; and finally, we are glorified by grace. The entire Christian life is lived under the reign of God's grace.

Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith

Below is a portion of a prayer from Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith.  What a powerful reminder for us today that grace is greater than all our sin! As dead as we were in our sins and trespasses, we are much, much more alive in Jesus’ forgiveness and righteousness. As distant and disconnected as we were from you because of Adam’s sin and our own sin, we are much, much more at peace and intimate with you through the perfect work of Jesus on our behalf. As narcissistic and navel gazing as we were through our connection to the first Adam, we are becoming much, much more others-centered, loving, and caring through our union with Jesus.  Most generous and loving Father, you are most definitely for us. You didn’t spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will you not also, along with Jesus, graciously give us all things? You’ve justified us, and there is now no condemnation. Jesus, you died for us and you now perpetually live to pray for us and advocate for us. Nothing will ever s…

Jesus, This is You by Chris Tomlin

Who is Jesus to you?  Be reminded today from this new song by Chris Tomlin entitled, "Jesus, This is You."

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges

Last week, I began reading Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love by Jerry Bridges. Here are some powerful quotes from the preface and Chapter 1:
As Bridges says, many Christians believe: "We are saved by grace, but we are living by the "sweat" of our own performance." We recognize that even our best efforts cannot get us to heaven, but we do think they earn God's blessings in our daily lives. Not only are we legalistic by nature, our Christian culture reinforces this attitude in us. God answered (a specific prayer of Bridges) on the basis of His grace alone, not because of my merits or demerits. One of the best kept secrets among Christians today is this: Jesus paid it all. I mean all. He not only purchased your forgiveness of sins and your ticket to heaven, He purchased every blessing and every answer to prayer you will ever receive. Every one of them--no exceptions. That is, the entire Christian life from start to completion is li…

Books I Am Reading

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Below are the books I am currently reading.  How about you?  What books are you reading right now?

Post at 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Today

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Today, I am posting over at 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. Check out my post on getting to the root rather than treating the symptom.  I refer to banner in our church and it is posted below. Click here

Final chapters of The Gospel

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Last week, I finished reading The Gospel by Ray Ortlund.  There is much to recommend in this book even though I disagree with practical application at points.  Here are some quotes from the final chapters:
God is down underneath the mess, holding us all together, moving us steadily toward Christ In the same way, a gospel-rich church rejoices in hope. We are poor sinners who can look beyond present circumstances and enjoy our future by faith right now. This verse (Rev. 21:1) does not tell us that God will discard nature; it tells us he will redeem it. By the power of God, the gospel creates something new in the world today. . .Francis Schaeffer proposes four things that should mark a gospel-created church: sound doctrine, honest answers to honest questions, true spirituality, and the beauty of human relationships. But the beauty of human relationships in the church is itself an argument for the gospel . . .When the gospel is doubted, a beautiful church that sticks together is an unanswe…

Good and Beautiful Community

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In the adult Go Deeper class I teach, we will be going through Good and Beautiful Community by James Bryan Smith in the next month.  It is book 3 of the Apprentice series.  The first two books look at who God is and how we live.  Book 3 focuses on us as the body of Christ. Below are some quotes from the introduction:
When we move into this area, it is easy to lose the main focus (the heart) and put all of the emphasis on the wrong thing (the activity itself). Living faith is trust and confidence in God expressed in acts of love in our human relations and encounters with one another. Personal piety without social action can also become self-righteous and insensitive and lead to burnout. The problems are, ironically, identical. Both tend to see their actions (service or prayer) as they way to earn the favor of God and humans...And both lead to burnout because they are not empowered by the Spirit, only by the flesh. We are prone, he said, to put the emphasis on the action--serving, prote…

Prayer about judgment today

Below is a portion of prayer for November 2nd from Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith.
My self-righteousness usually shows up not in trying to merit more of your love but in withholding your love from others. The dark irony is that the sins that offend me most in others are the very sins most pronounced in my own life—a lack of mercy, unbelief, a critical spirit . . . I wish those were the only ones.  Lord Jesus, as cardiologist and ophthalmologist, bring your grace and truth to bear in my heart and my eyes. I want to love as you love and see as you see. I do not want people to feel pressure to change who they are around me, nor do I want them to feel my indifference and disengagement. Teach me and lead me in the third way—the way of the gospel.

Happy Anniversary!

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No, it's not my wedding anniversary, but my work anniversary today. 

I started my ministry at Hesston MB on November 1, 2008, so I praise God for his faithfulness and what He has done in and through me and through Hesston MB over the last 6 years!