Links & Quotes

link quote

“When we reflect how prone we are to be drawn into error in our judgments, and into vice in our practice; and how unable, at least how very unwilling, to espy or correct our own miscarriages; when we consider how apt the world is to flatter us in our faults, and how few there are so kind as to tell us the truth; what an inestimable privilege must it be to have a set of true, judicious, hearty friends about us, continually watching over our souls, to inform us where we have fallen, and to warn us that we fall not again for the future.” —George Whitefield

“This was the staple preaching of [George] Whitefield. He was always great upon that which he called the great R—Regeneration. Whenever you heard him, the three Rs came out clearly—Ruin, Regeneration, and Redemption! Man ruined, wholly ruined, hopelessly, helplessly, eternally ruined! Man regenerated by the Spirit of God, and by the Spirit of God alone wholly made a new creature in Christ! Man redeemed by precious blood from all his sins, not by works of righteousness, not by deeds of the law, not by ceremonies, prayers, or resolutions, but by the precious blood of Christ!” —Charles Spurgeon

Here is a cool story about the churches in Cedar Springs making history.

In working on my message for our Aliens and Strangers series, I cam across this great post: Next-Door Strangers.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“‘And Enoch walked with God’ [Genesis 5:24]. If so much as this can be truly said of you and me after our decease, we shall not have any reason to complain that we have lived in vain.” —George Whitefield

“A neglect of secret prayer has been frequently an inlet to many spiritual diseases, and has been attended with fatal consequences.” —George Whitefield

“You have heard many men’s dying words, and these are mine: A life spent in communion with God is the pleasantest life in the world.” —Matthew Henry, to a friend when near his death

Sgt. Jason Kelley is a wonderful asset to my hometown, and our surrounding area. So I couldn’t be happier that he has been named Kent County Deputy of the Year!

We are losing a pastor who has been so involved in our city. Pastor Tom Holloway is moving to South Carolina, and I am going to miss him.

A U.S. Army chaplain has found an innovative way to water baptize soldiers. Love it!

Eric Metaxas asks, “How can anyone defend Planned Parenthood after the sickening video came to light this week?” Check out his insightful answer.

[VIDEO] Here is the video from another Periscope broadcast I did about handling fear—

The Strength & The Story In Unity

© Lori Oxford Photography

© Lori Oxford Photography

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking at our annual United service in Cedar Springs. I shared something I noticed about the New Testament church: These Christians spent a lot of time together, and that togetherness became a source of strength and told a story to the those watching the Christians.

In passages like Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35, we see Christians not only worshiping together, but actively involved in living out their faith. Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts, captures something that Eugene Peterson would summarize this way—

“Christians are a community of people who are visible together at worship but who remain in relationship through the week in witness and service.” 

This was not just Christians helping Christians, but Christians helping all the people in their communities. It was Christians who formed the first:

  • Blind asylums
  • Medical dispensaries
  • Hospitals
  • Orphanages
  • Elderly care home
  • Feeding programs for the poor

And this caught the notice of everyone. Aristides wrote to Emperor Hadrian about the Christians—

“They help those who offend them, making friends of them; do good to their enemies. They don’t adore idols; they are kind, good, modest, sincere, they love one another; don’t despise widows; protect the orphans; those who have much give without grumbling to those in need. When they meet strangers, they invite them to their homes with joy, for they recognize them as true brothers…. When a poor man dies, if they become aware, they contribute according to their means for his funeral; if they come to know that some people are persecuted or sent to prison or condemned for the sake of Christ’s name, they put their alms together and send them to those in need. If they can do it, they try to obtain their release. When a slave or a beggar is in need of help, they fast two or three days, and give him the food they had prepared for themselves, because they think that he too should be joyful….”

The Apostle Paul challenges followers of Jesus to constantly be growing in the outward demonstrations of our faith: to live our lives worthy of God’s calling, to get along with others, and to be making every effort to keep the bond on unity (see Ephesians 4:1-3).

With this in mind I have to ask myself: Am I doing this in my home town? Is there a strength and a story of Christ’s love that is told in my unity with other Christians? Am I helping to address the needs in Cedar Springs? What are people saying about Jesus because of my unity and service with other Christians?

United Together

UnitedOne of my favorite events in Cedar Springs each year is our annual UNITED service. On the fourth Sunday of each August, all of the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association churches unite for a combined worship service in Morley Park.

It reminds me of a dramatic part in one of George Whitefield’s sermons…

Looking up into Heaven, Whitefield called out “Father Abraham, whom have you in Heaven? Any Episcopalians?”

“No!” Whitfield called out, answering his own question.

“Any Presbyterians?”

“No!”

“Any Independents or Seceders, New Sides or Old Sides, any Methodists?”

“No! No! No!”

“Whom have you there, then, Father Abraham?”

“We don’t know those names here. All who are here are Christians—believers in Christ.”

On August 24, 2014, we will be united together in worship as Christians—believers in Christ. I am honored this year to be able to share the message from God’s Word.

I hope you can join us. Check out the UNITED website to get all the details.

Prayer Partners

Had a fellow pastor who is on vacation stop by Calvary Assembly of God today. One of our leaders felt led by the Holy Spirit for us to pray for them, so we gathered around this couple and prayed for God’s blessing on their lives. I ♥ my church, and I love their passion for all of the Body of Christ!

Prayer

Serving On Sunday

A couple of years ago a fellow Cedar Springs pastor told me about his plan for Service Sunday. His idea was to shorten his church service, so that his church could go serve in the community. I loved the idea so much that I said, “We want in on that too!”

So this past Sunday was our second year being involved with a couple of other churches in serving our community. I led a group that sang some old hymns at the Metron nursing home, others provided full service gas station attention for local motorists, others washed the windows of businesses along Main Street, others planted flowers, and on and on.

I wrote an article in last week’s Cedar Springs Post encouraging everyone to find ways to serve in our community every day (my article “Make Everyday Special” can be read by clicking here). I pray that our churches in Cedar Springs are known for their involvement in our community year-round.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These pictures courtesy of Josh Schram, Rich Tolar, and Lori Oxford Photography.

Service Sunday

Community Service Sunday 2013I love this! Several Cedar Springs churches will be wrapping up their Sunday services earlier than usual to head out into the community to continue worshipping God. We worship Him by loving others as He loves us!

Our church members will be spreading out throughout the city to perform all sorts of acts of service: From providing full-service gasoline services to area motorists, to washing the windows of businesses along Main Street, to singing for the residents at Metron nursing home, to sprucing up Elmwood Cemetery, to many other activities, there is something for everyone.

I hope you and your church can join us this Sunday, May 4.

%d bloggers like this: