I Read Dead People (like Charles Spurgeon and others!)

I Read Dead People

I read dead people.

Charles Spurgeon. John Bunyan. John Calvin. CS Lewis. Arthur Pink. Leonard Ravenhill. AW Tozer. St. Augustine. The list goes on…

All dead. All great authors.

Some pastors. Some preachers. All love Jesus.

I like reading contemporary Christian books as well, but I find there is little that is out there today that has the depth and meatiness of these old dead dudes.

My personal favourite is an old English Baptist Pastor from the 19th century named Charles Spurgeon, nicknamed the Prince of Preachers. I have several dozen of his books, not to mention three large collections of his sermons, including this one:

spurgeon books

Here are two different websites that host transcripts of his sermons:

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon:

I just finished reading one of Spurgeon’s sermons called A Great Bargain, which I downloaded from the Spurgeon Gems website. Here are a few quotes that blessed me. May they inspire you as well!

A Great Bargain:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matt. 13:45-46).

“Here we have a fit emblem of many who lay hold on Christ and find Him to be their All in All… Seek not only pearls, but seek good pearls. Go in for the good! Yes, cast your soul about to find the best!”

“When a man finds Christ, I cannot tell you how much he values Him, but this I know – all the world besides seems nothing to a Christian when he has once found His Lord and Master!”

“If now you have found Him, who is “the chief among ten thousand” and, “altogether lovely,” and you value Him so that you cannot be happy without Him, He will become, at once, your portion!”

“He sold all that he had… He must have money. Everything must go for that pearl! He is more glad to get rid of his possessions than ever he was to obtain them! Away they shall go at the best price they will fetch, but go they must, for he must have the pearl! Well now, Jesus Christ is to be had, but there is a great deal that a man must give up if he is ever to call Christ his own.”

“And when a man once finds Christ – ah, then he seeks nothing more!”

I want to challenge you – check out some of the great classic Christian literature that’s out there… you will be blessed!

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No Cost Too High, No Effort Too Great – 2015 #EverestVBS Report

VBS Group

This past week, our church hosted a Vacation Bible School. This is one of our annual children’s ministry outreach events that reaches the most unchurched children and families out of everything we do during the year. This year was no different. In addition to the 40 children that were in attendance, we had 17 youth helping us, and 10 adult leaders.

The material we used was Group’s Everest VBS. During the morning, the children rotated through seven different action packed stations, including: The Base Camp Sing and Play (opening session), Bible Expeditions, KidVid Cinema, Imagination Station, Glacier Games, Mountain Top Treats, and Summit Celebration (the closing session).

The thing I love about this program (and I highly recommend it for anyone involved in children’s ministry), is that they do everything for you – tying together one theme in everything from the catchy kids worship songs and Bible lessons, to the games, crafts (premade, take-home fun science experiments) and even the snacks. This year, the children learned about Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power. We taught them that God has the power to provide, comfort, heal, forgive, and love them forever.

IMG_5301The director of the Vacation Bible School was my wife Liza. In addition to overseeing our church’s children’s ministry, Liza also runs the annual VBS.

Liza says, “I love kids, and I love to see them having fun and learning more about Jesus and God’s love for them. We always have a large turnout every year, so obviously the children and their families are enjoying what we’re doing. We’re already starting to get ready for next year’s VBS: Cave Quest!”

About one third of the children who attended our VBS were there for the very first time, and we were so excited when 15 children made first time decisions to give their lives to Jesus Christ – praise the Lord! And, on the final day, I gave away 12 free Bibles for families that didn’t have one. That’s what I would call a fruitful time of ministry!

Perhaps one of the most personally exciting aspects of the Vacation Bible School for me was the fact that I had the opportunity to do ministry together with my entire family: My wife Liza was the director for the VBS, I was the leader of the Bible Expeditions station, my son Caleb was the leader of the games station, and my other three children Tori, Austin and Hannah were all crew leaders. What a blessing!

IMG_5417

 

We know from the Bible that Jesus loves little children, and said, “Let the children come to me” and that’s why when it comes to children’s ministry that no cost is too high, and no effort is too great to reach our children with the love of Jesus. Amen!

Here’s the theme song from the Everest Vacation Bible School:

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The Storyteller – The Parables of Jesus #4: The Unforgiving Servant – #Sermon of the Week

THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #4: THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

The Storyteller #4

INTRO TO SPEAKER: Thirteen years ago today, I was on a mission trip in Mexico with our Christian school, and Liza was nine months pregnant with our fourth child Hannah. Hoping to get back in time for her birth! Hannah was born less than 24 hours after we got home.

OPENING: VBS Report. 40 kids this week, 15 made first time decisions for Jesus!

INTRO TO TOPIC: Jesus is the World’s Greatest Storyteller.

  • 1/3 of Jesus’ teaching – Parables. Parable: an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
  • In His parables, we find wisdom and encouragement for living our daily lives.

ILLUSTRATION:

The mother ran into the bedroom when she heard her seven-year-old son scream. She found his two-year-old sister pulling his hair. She gently released the little girl’s grip and said comfortingly to the boy, “There, there. She didn’t mean it. She doesn’t know that hurts.” He nodded his acknowledgement, and she left the room. As she started down the hall the little girl screamed. Rushing back in, she asked, “What happened?” The little boy replied, “She knows now.”

BACKGROUND TO THE PARABLE:

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22, NKJV).

  • Jewish rabbis taught that you forgive three times, but after that there was no forgiveness.
  • Peter thought he was being generous by saying seven times.
  • Jesus goes beyond any kind of reasonable human standard: “Don’t keep score!”
  • He wants us to keep on forgiving even when their offenses are too many to count.
  • THINK ABOUT IT: What standard of forgiveness do you follow?
    • Do you refuse to forgive at all?
    • Are you forgiving according to what you think is reasonable?
    • Or, are you following Jesus’ command: to forgive lavishly and unselfishly?

THE BIG IDEA: People who have experienced God’s grace in their lives will walk in love and forgiveness towards all others.

1.  THE FORGIVING KING:

So Jesus told a story! “23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.” (Matthew 18:23-27).

  • The wicked servant owed 10,000 talents. A talent was about a thousand denarii, and one denarii was about one day’s wage. About one billion dollars.
  • The King reveals God’s heart to us. We have sinned and owe God a huge debt:
  • But, if we confess our sins to Him, He loves us, releases us, and forgives us.
  • He does for us what we could never do for ourselves!
  • This amazing act of grace should fill us with gratitude and grace toward others.

2.  THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT:

“28 But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.” (Matthew 18:28-30).

  • In the Kingdom of God, He is the King, and we are His servants.
  • In this story, the forgiven servant was owed around $10,000. That was nothing compared to his debt that was forgiven by the King. Yet, he still refused to forgive.

3.  REVISITING THE KING:

“31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:31-35).

  • Jesus gives a very serious warning to those who refuse to forgive!
  • PERSONAL ILLUSTRATION: I know what it’s like to be hurt by someone!
  • To forgive doesn’t mean what they did was right, and it doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
  • It simply means that you are ‘settling accounts’ and releasing them from the debt.
  • You are saying, “You don’t owe me anything.”

HOW TO HANDLE HURT:

“15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV).

  1. Talk to God about it first in prayer. Pray that God would heal your brokenness.
  2. If you feel you need to talk to that person about it, let your goal be reconciliation.
  3. DO NOT talk to someone else about it! That’s gossip and sin.

STORY: REMEMBER THE DUCK:

A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. As he came back to Grandma’s back yard, he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck fell dead. The boy panicked.

Desperately he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing. After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you, Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So Johnny did the dishes.

Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it.” Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing. After several days of doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck. “I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you. (Richard Hoefler, Will Daylight Come?).

CLOSING APPLICATION:

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15, NLT).

  • Forgiveness is such an important principle in the Kingdom of Heaven!
  • Jesus’ example: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
  • The Bible says: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31-32, NLT).
  • Why are we to forgive? Because we’ve been forgiven. It’s that simple.
  • Who do you need to forgive this morning?

PRAYER

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The Weekend Funnies – on summer reading

I love to read! According to my Goodreads “Currently Reading” list, I have seven books on the go right now (and many more on my to-read list). Some of the books I’m reading right now include:

  • The Confessions of St. Augustine
  • Teaching to Change Lives – by Howard Hendricks
  • The Screwtape Letters – by C.S. Lewis

What book(s) are YOU currently reading?

Enjoy your weekly Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, and go do some summer reading!

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

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The Storyteller – The Parables of Jesus #3: Who’s My Neighbor? #Sermon of the Week

THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #3:

WHO’S MY NEIGHBOUR? (THE GOOD SAMARITAN)

The Storyteller #3

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

  • To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

INTRO TO TOPIC: Jesus is the World’s Greatest Storyteller.

  • 1/3 of Jesus’ teaching – Parables. Parable: an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
  • In His parables, we find wisdom and encouragement for living our daily lives.

THE BIG IDEA: In the parable of The Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that if we love our neighbors, we will be moved with compassion to do something for them.

BACKGROUND TO THE PARABLE:

“25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29, NKJV).

  • A lot of Jesus’ parables were told in response to people’s questions.
  • Here a lawyer comes to Jesus with a question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
  • He had a wrong understanding of salvation: You can’t do something to gain an inheritance! An inheritance is a gift. But he thought you had to do something.
  • The two greatest commandments in the Bible: Love God and love people.
  • The lawyer wanted to justify himself: “Who is my neighbor?” What’s the bare minimum?

1.  GOOD NEIGHBOURS HAVE EYES TO SEE:

  • “Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” (Luke 10:30).
  • This man was on an ordinary trip – seventeen miles from Jerusalem to Jericho.
  • It was a winding road through narrow mountain passes by many large rocks that provided thieves many opportunities to prey on travelers.

“31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.” (Luke 10:30-32).

  • Here one would have expected the priest or Levite to stop and help this man!
  • These were men of God who served in the temple (like a pastor in a church).
  • These religious leaders were too busy to help someone in need.
  • QUOTE: No wonder Ghandi said: “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” (Ghandi).
  • “But when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt. 9:36, NKJV).
  • Christians need to be like Jesus and have eyes to see, and a willingness to do something.
  • Do you see the needs around you? Those struggling financially, depressed, sick, lonely?

2.  GOOD NEIGHBOURS HAVE A HEART OF COMPASSION:

  • “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.” (Luke 10:33).
  • God will bring ministry opportunities across our paths every day, but we don’t always recognize them because they often come in the form of interruptions:
  • A phone call, a knock at the door, a sad post you read on Facebook.
  • If you’re too busy to help those in need, then you’re too busy!

ILLUSTRATION:

A young woman backpacking in Colorado encountered another woman hobbling down a mountain trail. On one foot she wore an improvised shoe made of green twigs wrapped with a strip of cloth. “I lost one boot crossing a stream,” she explained. “Hope I can get down the mountain before dark.”

The first hiker reached into her own pack and took out a spare sandal. “Wear this,” she said. “You can mail it to me when you get home.”

The woman gratefully accepted the sandal and set off down the trail. A few days later the sandal arrived in the mail with a note saying: “I passed several people who noticed my predicament, but you’re the only one who offered any help. It made all the difference. Thanks for sharing your sandal with me.”

  • Sometimes it’s the little gestures that can make all the difference!

3.  GOOD NEIGHBOURS HAVE HANDS TO HELP:

  • “So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” (Luke 10:34).
  • Look at the six action words here: Went to him, bandaged his wounds, poured in oil and wine, set him on his donkey, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
  • Love is an action word: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:14-16, NLT).

4. GOOD NEIGHBOURS SHARE THEIR RESOURCES:

“35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” 37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:35-37).

  • Sometimes compassion costs something. Are we too selfish to help those in need?

CLOSING SCRIPTURE:

Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NKJV).

  • What will show people we are true Christians? Our love for one another!

THREE DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHIES OF LIFE:

  • The Thieves: “What’s yours is mine, and I’ll take it.”                            “Beat him up.”
  • The Priest and Levite: “What’s mine is mine, and I’ll keep it.”           “Pass him up.”
  • The Good Samaritan: “What’s mine is God’s, and I’ll share it.”         “Pick him up.”

APPLICATION: Who are you most like in the story?

  • Are you a thief, looking to take from others?
  • Are you like the priest or Levite, unwilling to help others?
  • Or are you like the Good Samaritan, looking for ways to show God’s love to others?

QUOTE: “All that is necessary for evil to prosper is that enough good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke). Let’s refuse to do nothing!

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Matt Walsh, Bruce Jennings, and True Courage

Matt WalshThe following blog post is taken entirely from a Facebook update from Matt Walsh, a blogger, writer, and professional sayer of truths. You can learn more about who he is and what he does at www.TheMattWalshBlog.com.

Bruce Jenner won the ESPN courage award last night.

It’s a shame that courage, of all the virtues, has been so cheapened in our culture. It’s the one thing we need most, but most lack, or most often fail to understand. Just look at that story out of DC from a few weeks ago. A man was beaten and stabbed to death in the middle of the day, on the middle of a train, while dozens of other men huddled in corners watching it happen.

The assailant, I should mention, was something like five and a half feet tall, a buck twenty. He could have been easily overpowered by one other man, certainly two. Unless this dude was a martial arts master ninja, there’s no way he could have killed the whole train with one sharp object. Yet the other men sat and hid and watched a young college student get hacked to death. Nobody tried to help. Nobody.

Courage. We need courage. We need courage in less dramatic ways. We need courage in the routine, everyday sense of the word. The courage to be moral, honest, upright. The courage to lead our families, to stay loyal, to maintain our character and integrity in these trying times.

But this is what we get instead. A bunch of fawning children handing a courage award to a rich man in a dress. It should come as no surprise that reports today indicate Jenner’s PR team asked ESPN to give him the courage award in exchange for mentions on his reality show.

It’s all a fraud. It’s all a joke. But still the sycophants on social media fell over themselves applauding Bruce for his courage.

No, Bruce Jenner is not courageous, and I’ll give you several reasons why:

1) Courage is defined as the willingness to do the right thing in the face of adversity. Mutilating your genitals and playing dress up is not “the right thing.” It’s the sick thing, the delusional thing, but certainly not the right thing.

2) There was no adversity here. Aside from myself and a small minority of other commentators, virtually everyone has applauded Bruce, using the sorts of glowing adjectives previously reserved for saints and war heroes. Courage is not the ability to cope with near-universal praise and adoration. Courage is not the willingness to be complimented and told how awesome and beautiful you are.

3) Jenner stood to gain financially from this decision. He’s reaped millions in TV deals, book deals, and other promotional revenue. Courage is not the audacity to stand firm while people hand you massive wads of cash.

4) Jenner cut himself up and started wearing girl clothes because he wanted to. It makes him feel good. It satisfies some disordered desire in his mind. Even without the fame and fortune he has earned from this perverse charade, he would still be doing it merely because it satisfies an urge. Notice that a true courageous person often feels the urge NOT to do whatever it is he’s doing because he knows he will not benefit from it at all. If one man had stood up on that train in DC and tried to stop that murder from happening, he would have been acting against his desires and urges, thus he’d have been courageous.

5) Due to all the bad publicity, ESPN made up some other award to give Lauren Hill, the teenage basketball player who died of cancer earlier this year. But that does not absolve them.

Before dying, she dedicated her last moments on Earth to raising awareness about the disease, and money for research. She also pursued and achieved her goal of taking the court for a college basketball game. She faced down her own mortality and acted with immense bravery and dignity, despite not profiting at all from it. She knew she wouldn’t be around to benefit from the money she raised. She knew she’d likely die before she achieved any kind of fleeting fame. There were no TV contracts or book deals. No commercial spots. No PR teams. No stunts. No gimmicks. No self-congratulation. She just lived out her abbreviated life with poise, grace, and strength, and inspired millions in the process.

ESPN snubbed her for Jenner. They say it’s a myth that she was “runner up.” I believe them. Turns out, she was never even considered. Jenner was the only one they ever thought about, according to them. That is a disgrace. Ms. Hill had courage that Bruce Jenner can’t even conceive of. She did something that dwarfs anything Jenner has achieved, and that includes winning an Olympic medal. If anyone in sports deserved a courage award, it was her.

6) If you look at the rest of Bruce’s life, you find estranged children, ex wives, broken families, and a dead woman who he recently killed in a car crash. The fact that we are awarding this sort of man with any kind of attention, much less a damned courage award, is lunacy. He needs counseling. Extensive, prolonged counseling. And Jesus. And I think he should think about taking some of his millions and maybe think about giving a few bucks to the family of the woman he killed. Just a thought. You know, because he’s so courageous and all.

  • (I know that this post will most likely get me in trouble with many people, but I just wanted to let people know where I stand!)
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The Weekend Funnies – on happiness again

Thank God It’s Friday! That means its only two days away from Sunday, and I love Sundays… Here is your weekly Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, another look at ‘happiness’. Enjoy!

Calvin & Hobbes - happiness 5

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

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