Archive for February, 2023


February 23, 2023

When Zack Meerkreebs, volunteer soccer coach, stepped off the stage at Asbury University February 8, after delivering an “improvised sermon on love” to the student body at their thrice weekly chapel service, he was certain he had “whiffed it.” He texted his wife, “Latest stinker. Be home soon.” But some students, moved by the service, stayed on, then some came back, then more. In the next thirteen days, fifty thousand people hungering and thirsting after righteousness from around the world, including five friends of mine, had cycled through that continuous spontaneous worship service in a small Kentucky town.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8).

God uses whoever and whatever he wants to accomplish his ends whenever he wants to accomplish them, which may or may not be within our comprehension. The pivotal point of human history, the sacrificial death of the Son of God on a cross, had the appearance of an itinerant preacher who whiffed it catastrophically. The Apostle Paul bore the stripes of the times he whiffed it, and surely Zack Meerkreebs is marveling at what our Sovereign God did with what he considered his failed effort.

In the same manner Jesus told Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wishes…” (John 3:8). That was his analogy for the prerequisite workings of the Holy Spirit in unregenerate hearts “appointed to eternal life,” producing in them spiritual rebirth and belief. From all appearances that wind blew in Asbury February 8th, and God used a soccer coach’s “stinker” sermon to fan a fire that touched thousands of lives. The university has stopped the worship service now but the students say the spirit lives on. If it was true revival those hearts aflame will never be extinguished.

God willing, the extraordinary events in Asbury will prove to be spiritual rebirth and renewal—real revival—in coming days, weeks, and years in permanently changed hearts and lives. God willing, a number of embers were plucked from the fire in Kentucky and taken back to home churches around the world and a global conflagration will ensue. One ember reached Cedarville University in Ohio, leading the university president, who attended their extended chapel service, to say, “I am not a charismatic, but I felt the presence of the Lord in the room. It was palpable.” God willing, there will be a planetary pandemic of “hearts burn[ing] within us” (Luke 24:32) like the men on the road to Emmaus. One cannot comprehend even a little bit of the magnitude of the Gospel story, with its unbroken string of supernatural events and incomprehensible love, without a sense of the heart burning within. There is nothing this unraveling civilization needs more.

Lord, may the fire in Kentucky keep on burning, inflame the world and lead your own to you.

“And when the Gentiles [in Antioch] heard this [Paul’s preaching], they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

See you in church.


February 17, 2023

Rev. William Jay (1769-1853) said, “Reflections on death can never be unseasonable while we are in a dying world … and are conscious that we ourselves are dying creatures.” I do the shut-in ministry in my church and as such I get to make friends and hang out regularly with dear saints in the twilight of their years. I hope and pray it is as edifying to them as it is to me. Consequently, I’ve been blessed with more opportunity than most to reflect on death real time and up close. One of those dear friends, Fred, recently entered hospice care. In all the time that I have known him he was always the most jovial soul. He laughed when he said “Hello!” They made him as comfortable as medicine allows and he was not laughing, but he had periods of blessed lucidity. A few days prior to his last he told me, serenely as it is possible for a dying man to communicate, that he was looking forward to meeting his Lord and Savior and his beloved wife. Generally speaking, men will tell you they are not afraid to die, but few will say it, as he did, when they are on the threshold of eternity. The first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism beautifully explains the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit that makes such a beautiful dying witness possible: 

Q. 1. What is Thy only comfort in life and death?

A. That I am not my own, [1] but belong with body and soul, both in life and death, [2] to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. [3] He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, [4] and has set me free from all the power of the devil. [5] He also preserves me in such a way [6] that without the will of my heavenly father not a hair can fall from my head; [7] indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. [8] Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life [9] and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him. [10]

As Christians we are called to live by grace Coram Deo—with an awareness that all we do or say or think is before the face of God. Fred clearly spent his last days that way. It is the second greatest blessing a soul can receive. The greatest blessing he received at 5:45 a.m. last Friday, one second after the last beat of his big heart. His ageless blood-bought soul, freed from his aged pain-wracked body, is now praising God in paradise!

In the agony of his crucifixion, Jesus said to a man next to him on a cross, “Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Confirm the truth of the above against God’s inerrant Word. Here are the proof texts for the Heidelberg Catechism answer #1: [1] 1 Cor. 6:19-20; [2] Rom. 14:7-9; [3] 1 Cor 3:23. Tit.2:14; [4] 1 Pet. 1:18-19, 1 John 1:7, 1 John2:2; [5] John 8:34-36, Heb. 1: 14-15, 1 John 3:8; [6]  John 6 39-40, John 10:27-30, 2 Thess. 3:3, 1 Pet. 1:5; [7] Matt. 10:29-31, Luke 21:16-18; [8] Rom. 8:28; [9] Rom. 8:15-16, 2 Cor. 1: 21-22, 2 Cor. 5:5, Eph. 1:13-14; [10] Rom 8:14.

See you in church.


February 12, 2023

Ours is a culture in crisis—a culture that is simply not sustainable, careening pell-mell for catastrophe. At this point I don’t need the Apostle Peter to tell me I am an alien and stranger in this land (1 Peter 2:11). John MacArthur says the judgment of Romans 1 is here—“God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts (v 24), …God gave them up to dishonorable passions (v 26), …God gave them up to a debased mind” (v 28). The headlines daily proclaim the evidence of that. Albert Mohler says “the moral universe is being turned upside down”—it’s “the unraveling of civilization.” It’s hard to imagine stronger statements from two highly regarded protestant churchmen. God will not be mocked. It’s appointed for man to die…and then the final judgment. There will be an accounting.

Yet the Son of God came that we may have life and have it more abundantly in the face of it all. Seek the Lord while he can be found—today is the day of salvation.

A true friend calls his friends to repent and believe. It’s not condescension. It’s not arrogance. It’s love—vertical and horizontal. It’s gratitude. It’s obedience. I count it all joy. Friend, if your toddler was headed for an unscreened fireplace with a roaring blaze, would you not do all within your power to stop him/her? If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you are sleepwalking toward a far bigger hotter longer lasting fire that is never quenched. That’s not my assessment of you, nor my opinion, but it is my conviction for all who do not know the Lord, because that is our Sovereign God’s inerrant Word: Matthew 18:8, Mark 9:47-48, Revelation 14:9-11,14-15.

Seek the one who said I am the way, the truth and the life. Seek the one who said come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Seek the one who said whoever believes in me shall not perish but have eternal life, and in an amazing act of incomprehensible love gave his life to make that happen. You will find him if you seek him with all your heart. These transitory troubles are not worthy to be compared to the glory that awaits through Christ. No eye has seen nor ear heard nor mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

Take him at his word, bow before the Throne of Grace, and let the culture storms howl during your cosmic millisecond here. Eternal peace and joy like you’ve never known, in the presence of our Lord and Savior, await.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the following verses listed that I have just summarized above: John 10:10, Galatians 6:7, Hebrews 9:27, Isaiah 55:6, John 14:6, Matthew 11:28, Isaiah 49:8, John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:1, Romans 8:18, 1 Corinthians 2:9.

“If I take God at his word the responsibility of fulfilling his promise does not lie with me, but with God, who made the promise.” – Charles Spurgeon

“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take him at his word;
Just to rest upon his promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”  — Louisa Stead

See you in church.


February 9, 2023

“Domain awareness gap” is a new term we have learned in recent days from the Pentagon. They are referring to a lack of knowledge as to everything that goes on over our heads in America. It’s a most critical issue in the defense of our country.

But there’s a far more important domain awareness gap that is far too prevalent in our culture. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” This one has eternal consequences.

Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Just ask the Pentagon. But this domain awareness gap can easily be closed and the weapon is readily at hand–your Bible. It guarantees a safe domain and a perfect domain to come.

Tolle lege.


February 4, 2023

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Psalm 25:1

Psalm 25:1 is not an easy thing to do. On occasion, in my daily devotions, I can climb the Delectable Mountains and see the Celestial City shimmering on the horizon. Too often, though, Isaiah has a better description of my devotional prayers to God—“… this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me…” Too often my wildly imaginative, undisciplined mind flits hither and yon as I mouth familiar words. It is a mockery of our Holy God to lift our pleas to heaven with our minds bogged down in earthly mire. An ancient poet said, “In vain to heaven we lift our cries, and leave our souls behind.” My prayer closet is my predawn living room long before my bride arises and there is nary a single exterior distraction, but the devil with regularity launches a full frontal assault on my thoughts, and sometimes I can mouth amen and not remember what I just prayed.  I need Divine intervention to lift my soul to heaven and hold it there. I can no more lift my soul by my own power than I can stand in a bucket and lift myself by the handle. I’m trying to make this cry of my heart my focused opening petition:

O God,
In Jesus’ name I make my prayer,
Lift up my soul and hold it there. 
Its weighted down by worldly cares,
Unfettered pride and lustful snares.

Incline my will to seek your face,
Block carnal thoughts with your embrace.
Without your grace my case is dire.
My hope is in your mighty power.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

See you in church.

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