Thursday, September 6, 2012


Reading Scripture is like collecting pollen. Meditating on it is like making honey. —Bruce Waltke

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Do We Define Ourselves?

In his book, Letters to New Pastors, Michael Jinkins writes the following story:

George MacLeod once told the story of a sailor, a latter-day Robinson Crusoe, shipwrecked on a lonely tropical island. When he was rescued many years later, he gave his rescuers a tour of his island home. He showed them his camp, the straw hut he lived in, and not far from his hut, his own little church, where he worshipped each week. Later that same day, as they were walking in another part of the island, the rescuers saw a building that looked curiously like the church that stood near the survivor’s hut. They asked him, “What’s that? It looks like a church.”

“It is a church,” he answered. “It’s the church I don’t go to.”

The church we don’t go to shapes so much of our identity as Christians. The most common litany of my childhood (if we had believed in litanies) might have been: “We don’t do that. That’s Catholic.” For some people its “We don’t do that. That’s fundamentalist.” Or: “We don’t do that. That’s what liberals—or evangelicals—or Pentecostals—do.” The possibilities are almost endless in the game of defining ourselves by what we do not do or do not believe.

Jinkins explains in his book that this is not always bad. At times it is necessary to explain what we aren’t, what we don’t do, or what we don’t believe. However, more often than not, most Christians define themselves by what they don’t do instead of what they do and believe. Wouldn’t it be great if the focus and emphasis of North Hills was described by what we do: being a people of grace, a community of service, a body of forgiving and loving believers, and an environment of discipleship and growth in Jesus Christ?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pursuing God

As the sailor locates his position on the sea by “shooting” the sun, so we may get our moral bearings looking at God. We must begin with God. We are right when, and only when, we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long  as we stand in any other position.

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image. The flesh whimpers against the rigor of God’s inexorable sentence and begs like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. It is no use.

We can get a right start only by accepting God ads He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we shall find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be too painful to endure.

So let us begin with God.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, 95

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bulletin Bloopers

We have to smile from time to time when we read the bloopers that have appeared in church bulletins:

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. 
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Last Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of an event that forever changed the history of our great nation. Many of us remember what we were doing that day 10 years ago as we witnessed the horror of the terrorist attacks on our own soil.

Last month the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, decided not to include clergy in the 10th anniversary remembrance of the 9/11. This reminds me of the verses in Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 where no one remembered the wise man who delivered the city.

“But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard” Ecclesiastes 9:16.

Fernando Cabrera, a pastor and New York City council member, made a statement to the Wall Street Journal of the response of clergy to the attacks, "This is one of the pillars that carried us through. They were the spiritual and emotional backbone, and when you have a situation where people are trying to find meaning, where something is bigger than them, when you have a crisis of this level, they often look to the clergy."

Spend a few moments today remembering the lives that were taken and those heroes who risked it all to save others. And let’s continue to pray for our leaders, our soldiers, our country, and our enemies! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why I trust in the Bible?

Its unity. A book with 40+ authors, written over a period of 1500 years, by men of different occupations living in different countries, under different circumstances and conditions, yet the Bible has one overarching theme: Jesus Christ and His redemption.

Its preservation. There are some 24,000 copies of the Greek New Testament (5300 Greek manuscripts including Latin, Coptic, Syriac, etc). Second to the Bible, we have a whopping 643 copies of Homer’s Iliad!

Its claim as the divine Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed…” 2 Ti. 3:16.

It’s historical accuracy. Prior to 1993, no extra-biblical material mentioned the name of David. To many scholars, he was a myth or legend. That all ended in 1993 when archeologists discovered a 3000-year-old inscription on black basalt in the town of Dan, a little north of the Sea of Galilee in Israel mentioning the king of the “House of David”.

Its honesty. Many a book “whitewashes” the details of an incident so that it is not shown in a negative light. Not so with the Bible! The Bible describes the individual and situation with “warts and all.”

Its prophetic fulfillment. There are some 300 prophecies of the first coming of Jesus Christ (born in Bethlehem in Micah 5:2 and born of a virgin in Isaiah 7:14). The chance of Jesus fulfilling 8 of these prophecies is 1 to 1017. Yet He fulfilled them all!

Its scientific reliability. For many years man believed that the earth was flat, but the Bible has said all along that the earth is round. See Isaiah 40:22.

Its Christological endorsement. Christ gave full weight to the authority of the OT. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” Matthew 5:17-18.

Its power to change lives. One of the greatest reasons I trust the Bible is when I see what it has done for you!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Will Build My Church!, Part 4

Now that we have seen where the word church is first mentioned in the Scripture and how Jesus defined this new program, let’s fast forward about a year from Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16. The disciples are not in Caesarea Philippi but in Jerusalem. Jesus is no longer with them but He has died on the cross, rose from the grave, and ascended to the Father. Before He left His disciples, He told them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit who will indwell them (Acts 1:8).

In Acts 2, we find some 120 men and women waiting in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit comes. Luke tells us that “there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind…and there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them” (Acts 2:2-3).

After the Holy Spirit filled each individual, they became witnesses for Jesus Christ in Jerusalem as described in Acts 1:8: “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses….”

This new movement spilled out in the streets of Jerusalem and the disciples began sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. We find an exemplary model of their witness in Peter’s message in Acts 2:14ff. Peter, who just a few months prior had denied Christ, now stands before the Jewish people and proclaims the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After Peter delivers his first sermon, Luke tells us that 3000 souls were saved (Acts 1:41). What’s happening? Jesus is building His church as He predicted in Matthew 16. I find this fascinating! 3000 people were saved and added to the body of Christ! No committees, no programs, no ministries, no youth groups, no church building, no church constitution or bylaws, no board of leaders, no lead pastor, no Awana program, no Sunday school. Nothing but the message of Jesus Christ!

Just as Jesus said: “I will build My Church!”