Reminded of the Brevity of Life

For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. – James 4.14

I am reminded of the brevity of life this morning. Three reasons:

1. I found out last night that Abbie Adams, a six-year-old from Southern Illinois, passed away on Saturday afternoon. Abbie went with her family to the same church as my parents and was the niece of one of my close long-time friends. A month or so ago Abbie caught a virus and tragically the virus went to her heart. She ended up losing her heart and being kept alive through a Berlin heart.

Continue reading Reminded of the Brevity of Life

“Children are a Kind of Wealth”

“Children are a kind of wealth,” according to Barbara Curtis, mother of twelve ranging in ages 8-39. Most Americans would find this king of statement strange or flat out absurd. We are now living in an era in which a large family is considered by the mainstream to be a sort of freak show. It was not this way not so long ago. According to an excellent recent New York Times article

In 1976, census data show, 59 percent of women ages 40 to 44 had three or more children, 20 percent had five or more and 6 percent had seven or more. By 2006…28 percent of women ages 40-44 had three or more children, 4 percent had five or more and just 0.5 percent had seven or more.”

So a lot has changed in just 30 years. As an ONLY child raised in the 70s, I probably had an uncommon view. To me, a family with two children was normal.  A family with three or more children was large. My uncommon view then is common now.

We have chosen to buck the trend.

Continue reading “Children are a Kind of Wealth”

The Truth about Sin

From A Tale of Two Sons by John Macarthur, page 78:

When we sin, we show disdain for God’s fatherly love as well as His holy authority. We spurn not merely His law, but also His very person. To sin is to deny God His place. It is an expression of hatred against God. It is tantamount to wishing He were dead. It is dishonoring to Him. And since all sin has at its heart this element of contempt for God, even the smallest sin has enough evil to unleash an eternity full of mischief, misfortune, and misery. The fact that the entire world of human evil all stemmed from Adam’s simple act of disobedience is vivid proof of that (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15.21-22).”

Back by Popular Demand: “Believing Despite Difficult Doctrines” (John 6:35-66)

There are rare occasions in which a message I preach is an instant hit.  An abnormal number of people approach me after the message and express thanks and seemed moved and people say things like “That’s the best message I’ve ever heard you preach.”  Usually it’s one I never dreamed would get such a response.  Such was the case this Sunday.  It had a lot going against it: #1) It covered too much ground (about 30 verses) #2) It had very few illustrations. #3) It was waaaayyyy toooo lonnngggg (1 hour and 8 minutes) and #4) It was on one of the most controversial doctrines in the history of the church: election. But, for whatever reason, God seemed to put His hand upon it.

And wouldn’t you know, something went wrong and it didn’t get recorded. 🙂

So, because of the interest in the podcast of the message and disapointment of the lack thereof, I have agreed to preach it again this Sunday (greatly reduced, of course, say about 45 minutes this time) for recording purposes.  If you want to help provide a congregation for this recording, please come early, about 8:20 a.m., and make your way into the theater.  Sorry, but no childcare will be provided.

This Sunday at Harvest

sabou-family-1Harvest welcomes special guest speaker Pastor Marius Sabou to the pulpit this Sunday, March 22nd.  Marius is the pastor of Betel Baptist Church in Cluj, Romania.  He is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Theology from Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  He and his wife, Mihaela, have been married for 15 years and have three daughters.

Regarding St. Patrick

Few people are aware that I am actually more Irish than I am Italian. I’m at least 1/4, and possibly 3/8, Irish. Which makes me more Irish than St. Patrick himself! That’s right, St. Patrick was not Irish at all. He was born in Scotland and then at a young age moved with his family to England where, still relatively young, was captured and kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He later escaped and returned to his parents in England, eventually being called by God to return to the land of his slavery to deliver the message of Christ. He planted 700 new churches and trained 1,000 pastors.  Read more about him HERE and HERE.

Pray for the Winters Family and FBC Maryville, IL

This morning, Fred Winters, the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Maryville, IL, was shot and killed at the front of the church during the early morning service.  You can find the story HERE.

They say it is a small world and how true that is.  This evening in our small group, one of our young singles, Logan, shared that his aunt is an employee at that church. I also called one of my close pastor friends who is serving in that area and he said that he just had lunch with Fred Winters within the past month.

While the details are sketchy at this point, and there has not been a motive revealed, I am assuming that Fred Winters is enjoying a martyr’s reward as I write.  May God bless and comfort his family, friends, and church.

Find the Doctrine of Hell Revolting?

In my message this morning, I spoke about how a lot of people just cannot embrace the idea that God would actually send people to Hell. This afternoon I came across these two quotes from Charles Spurgeon (via Phil Johnson):

Unrenewed persons find fault with God’s justice. Eternal punishment they cavil at; hell is such a bugbear to them, that, just as every culprit will, of course, find fault with the prison and the gallows, so they rail at the wrath to come, though that wrath is just as sure, notwithstanding all their objections to it.

But when the heart is really touched by divine grace, then it has no more to say for itself, but pleads guilty at the bar of God\’s great assize; and if the Judge should put on the black cap, and condemn it to be taken instantly to the place of execution, that soul could only say, \”Thou art righteous, O Lord, for I have sinned.\”

I despair of ever finding a word of comfort for any man or woman among you, if you have not been brought to feel that you deserve the wrath of God. Come with the ropes about your necks, ready for execution, and you will find a God ready to forgive.

.  .  .  .  .

Every sinner who has really come to Christ has been made to feel that however angry God may he with sin, He is not one whit too angry.

Until we know the power of divine grace, we read in the Bible concerning eternal punishment, and we think it is too heavy and too hard, and we are apt to kick against it, and find out some heretic or other who teaches us another doctrine; but when the soul is really quickened by divine grace, and made to feel the weight of sin, it thinks the bottomless pit none too deep, and the punishment of hell none too severe for sin such as it has committed.

This is not the emotion of a mind rendered morbid by sickness, but these are the genuine workings of God the Holy Ghost in the soul, bringing the man to stand guilty before the Lord, with his mouth closed, not able to say a word against the sentence of divine justice.