Blessed Assurance

All of us have probably experienced a degree of doubt at some point in our Christian life. I have found an excellent resource that I believe will help anyone struggling with doubts concerning their salvation. It will also be a tremendous resource for a pastor ministering to someone dealing with this issue.

It is entitled Assured by God: Living in the Fullness of God's Grace, edited by Burk Parsons from P&R Publishing. Each chapter is by different contributors such as Al Mohler, Sinclair Ferguson, Philip Graham Ryken, John MacArthur, Jerry Bridges, R.C. Sproul, and several others. As the back cover says, "Each author writes with a pastoral desire to help lay Christians understand God's promises and live in the fullness of of his grace."

It is a short book, less than 200 pages, so it is an easy read for anyone. However, in spite of its size, it is packed with invaluable pastoral counsel that will help people gain assurance they have been lacking, or even that they may be trusting in false security, and understand how assurance is related to other areas of the Christian life. I share with Ligon Duncan's comments concerning this book:

"Thankfully a band of faithful brothers has given us this book to clear the fog, present the truth, protect us from wrong-headedness, and help us on our way. True, evangelical assurance enlarges our hearts with peace and joy, fills us with love and thankfulness to God, and strengthens and motivates us to glad, gospel obedience..."


"Blessed are the Forgiven"

Time hasn't permitted me to post in a few days, but I thought I'd share a passage of Scripture I was reading this morning. The word of God is living and powerful so maybe this is a word someone needs to hear:

Psalm 32
1Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

5I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

6Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.

10Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


Ready for Marriage?

I've witnessed many instances where people get married hastily and end up divorcing because of differences in opinion and conviction on assorted issues. It is so important to talk through ideas and philosophies on issues before getting married so that potential conflict can be reduced or avoided altogether.

John Piper offers a great list of Topics for Conversation When a Man & Woman are Considering Marriage that would be beneficial to consider when planning for marriage. All of them are areas of potential conflict, some more than others, so would be advisable to clearly understand where your future mate stands on them.

If there is any disagreement I think it would be wise to delay wedding plans until such a time as some sort of agreement can be reached, at least in terms of how the differences will be handled.


NAMB Approval

Just a little something in the way of a personal announcement. Michelle and I were officially approved this week by NAMB trustees to serve as Mission Service Corps missionaries with Parkland Hills Baptist Church in Fisherville, KY as "church strengtheners."

We have been members there for several months already and are actively involved in numerous areas. This appointment, however, will provide us the resources, training, and credibility of NAMB as well as the prayer support for our ministry at PHBC by thousands of faithful Southern Baptists.

We will be announcing more developments as they become available, including information on ministry needs and the MSC missionary adoption program for those that may feel led to support us financially.


Desiring God Easter Outreach Offer

Desiring God Ministries is providing John Piper's book "Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die" for a low price of $1.00 each as an Easter Outreach Special if you agree to give them away. You can purchase a case of 108 books for a suggested donation of $135 (includes S&H).


Worship and Fun

In this day when worship and entertainment seem to be synonymous in many churches, Bob Kauflin provides a good word on the subject in a recent post entitled Should Worship be Fun?

He makes a much-needed distinction between finding our "fun" in the true worship of a holy God compared to the usual idea of fun. He writes:

"If "fun" is defined as a lighthearted activity with no purpose or meaning, strictly meant to amuse, then the answer to "can worship be fun?" must surely be no."


Pray for Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church near Cleveland, OH, author, speaker, and leader of Truth for Life Ministries was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Please pray for him and his family.

Also, if you or someone you know is facing the dreaded disease we know as cancer, I would encourage you to read John Piper's reflections on his prostate cancer written on the eve of surgery. It is entitled Don't Waste Your Cancer.