New Article at the Spurgeon Library: “Spurgeon’s Guidance on Christmas Celebrations”

All-Around Spurgeon

I’m thankful to the Spurgeon Library (on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO) for posting a recent article: “Spurgeon’s Guidance on Christmas Celebrations.” Here’s the first portion:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) loved Christmas. Hear the glee from the 21-year-old Spurgeon:

I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt labouring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us; particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus.[1] 

While he loved Christmas, he also guided his congregation to discern certain aspects of Christmas from the cultural perspective…

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The Casting Comes from the Humbling: Good Morning Devotional for 12.3.2021

Good morning! The casting comes from the humbling. In the verse preceding this one, Peter writes, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). This is all one sentence. You cannot understand 5:7 without 5:6.

 And, if you want to walk it back a little further, Peter reminds his younger listeners that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (5:5). The clothing of humility paves the way for us to cast our cares on Him, for if we walk in our pride, do we not risk trying to handle all of our issues ourselves from our own shallow wells?

Humble yourselves! Surrender! Submit! Without this, we cannot cast our cares and anxieties upon Him! If we think we have it all together, then those cares and anxieties will stay along for the ride.

What is God doing to humble you and bring you to the feet of His dear Son? Whatever it is, lean into it! You’ll be glad you did!

The Gift of Grace Through Faith: Good Morning Devotional for 12.2.2021

Good morning! As Christians, we have been saved by the gift of grace through faith. Yes, even our faith is a gift. In Romans, Paul reminded us that no one is righteous and that no one seeks after God (cf. Romans 3:9-12). By God’s grace, we are saved by the faith He grants us.

Julia Johnston wrote this hymn in 1910 that, thankfully, is preserved in many of our hymnals. This last stanza reflects Ephesians 2:8:

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
All who are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive? 

Will you?

Christ Changes Everything: Good Morning Devotional for 12.1.2021

Good morning! To “believe” means to commit, trust and treasure. This word is the same as the root word that we translate “faith.” From Christ we receive our nourishment (eating and drinking) but also an ability to nourish others.

In the Scriptures, water serves as a picture representing the Holy Spirit, as it does here (see John 7:39). When Jesus ascended to the Father (Acts 1:9-11), the promised Spirit would come to indwell all believers–essentially Christ would live in them, fulfilling the prophesy of Him being “Immanuel … God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Christ changes our lives, our treasures–He changes everything. As soon as He rescues us and changes those treasures, the Spirit seals of our hearts immediately at salvation. What a treasure when Christ changes our treasures where we no longer trust in other things that can’t follow through in what they promise. Christ can… and Christ will!

Where is your treasure?

A Harvest of Thanksgiving from Your Generous Giving: 11.30.2021

Good morning! We sow bountifully and abundantly, knowing that God loves a cheerful giver–a cheerfulness instilled in us thanks to the Spirit who applied Christ’s work to our hearts. That freedom gives us cheerfulness. Now, will we merely receive that and go on our merry way? No, we are the conduit. 

We give based on the grace God gave us through Christ and the gospel. Paul sought to connect the giving as a basis for the giving nature of Christ toward us. Paul by the Spirit makes it clear:  there’s a connection between sowing and reaping  Not trying to be funny when I ask this, but “Sow what?” In this case, this is a sowing of acts of giving in and toward Kingdom work. The acts of sowing in these acts of grace (8:6) with reap a harvest of righteous that leads to thanksgiving and glorifying God. Thankfulness for what God has given you leads to a generosity with what God has given you. 

Are you sowing what God has given you (resources, time, giftings, talents, etc.) in order to reap a harvest of thanksgivings in yourself and others? If not, why not? The acts of grace we give physicially result from the act of grace Christ gave you spiritually through his death and resurrection?

Implications of Our Dire Situation: Good Morning Devotional for 11.29.2021

Good morning! If we have been in church world for most of our lives, we often hear or speak of “getting saved.” As is prone to happen, those phrases lose their luster over the years due to an assumption that everyone understands the implications.

To help us out, Paul uses the Word “rescue.” Outside of Christ, we exist in a dominion of darkness–so dark that we have no hope of finding our way out to escape. Thus, our need for the Father to bring us into the His Kingly Son who is the Light of the World (John 8:12).

“Rescue” implies that we are in a dire situation. Do you believe that outside of Christ is a dire situation? If not, you should. Those outside His kingdom need rescuing. That is what we should think of when we hear of salvation in all its varying phraseology. Praise God He provides that rescue through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sunday Sermon: For the Sake of His Name Among the Nations (Romans 1:1-7)

Advent reminds us of His coming and prepares us for our going.

I pray you all had a blessed Thanksgiving. We now enter into another season in the calendar. The next holiday we celebrate en force is Christmas–a mere 27 days away. As such, today marks the beginning of a liturgical holy season known as Advent. Taken from a Latin word, it means awaiting, anticipation. This serves as a time where we calm our hearts and ready ourselves for the coming Christ-king.

Sadly, whenever I mentioned during the year on the 25 of each month, most respond with groaning. Groaning! Why? Rather than anticipate the celebration of God becoming flesh to rescue us from our sin and brokenness, we groan because of all that happens over the Christmas holidays: Christmas shopping, party preparation, school plays, church musicals, cooking, cleaning, and on and on. Rather than the beauty of resting in anticipation, we are bombarded with the racket of overscheduling ourselves. Thus, the Christmas season comes and goes with little reflection.

[Listen to the rest.]

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Don’t Waste Your Advent: ARBC Worship Ramp-Up (11.28.2021)

Do you approach Christmas Day with dread or with delight? Sadly, all-too-many approach it with dread because of all the activities to attend and presents to purchase.

The next holiday we celebrate en force is Christmas–a mere 27 days away. As such, today marks the beginning of a liturgical holy season known as Advent. Taken from a Latin word, it means awaiting, anticipation. This serves as a time where we calm our hearts and ready ourselves for the coming Christ-king.

Thankful Heart or Entitled Heart? Good Morning Devotional from 11.26.2021

Good morning. Thankfulness marks the Christian life—not simply for the things in the hear and now and not simply for material things.  James tells us that “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17).  Paul writes to the Corinthian church, “What do you have that you did not receive?  If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it” (1 Corinthians 4:7)?   So what we find ourselves thankful for has a whom behind it.  God gave us all we have.       Even with this, some fail to recognize this.  Thankful hearts that should mark a Christian can become entitled hearts: “Well, God, I know you gave me this—but that’s your job!”  We can become bitter hearts:  “Well, God, I know you gave me this—but I really wanted that.” We can become proud in heart like Nebuchadnezzar, who, when looking over his kingdom from his montrous  We can become proud in heart like Nebuchadnezzar, who when looking over his kingdom from his monstrous palace in Babylon, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30).  Immediately, to show who truly ruled over all men, God immediately took away Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom until He gave glory to the Most High. 

Give credit where credit is due–every good and perfect is from above. All good things come from God–most notably His Son, Jesus Christ. Will you receive this good gift?