Filed under: Humor
This past weekend I drove to Nashville, TN to attend a friend’s wedding. The drive from Knoxville, TN to Nashville takes you across the Cumberland Plateau. As I was passing across the plateau, I got to enjoy one of the most beautiful and clear revelations of God; the autumn leaves. I was struck once again at how beautiful creation is! Psalm 19:1 – 2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” I was sitting around a campfire a few weeks ago at a campsite. It was starting to rain and the downpour started rustling the leaves surrounding us. An older gentleman leaned over to me and said, “Do you hear that?” I, being such a quick thinker asked, “Hear what?” The man said, “He’s speaking to you.” My very God-centered answer came, “Who’s speaking to me?” “God,” the man said. In my internal monologue, my immediate, self-righteous and spiritual-elitist response was, “Oh, that’s a cute thing to say, dude. I mean that’s true, but dude…Duh. Who does this guy think he is, some kind of a self-exalted sage of the creation order, put here to interpret for everyone the unique ways in which God is revealing himself to us moment by moment through this world? Get a life, buddy. Look, I’m Reformed. I read my bible, I know that stuff, geez, go waste your petty little ‘theological’ insights on some kid or something.” Of course the Spirit of God inside me immediately convicted me of my sin and I was able, by the grace of God, to repent of my pride, but this moment of seemingly “simple” insight came flooding back as I was driving this past weekend. The “petty” little observation the man made finally clicked! As I drove I was awestruck at the beauty of the trees and the fields. The bright reds, oranges, and yellows, contrasted by the blue sky and evergreens speckled through out were, in a sense, the speech of God saying, “Look, Kevin, I am an awesome God. I created all of these things, and I made them beautiful and a delight to look at because I am beautiful and delightful and good.” I was freshly reminded of how good God is. I was moved to recount all of the amazing gifts God has given me in life, even above and beyond salvation! (As if that weren’t amazing enough!) I mean, God is really, really, good! My pastor, Bill Kittrell, has spoken about the goodness of God revealed in creation. Think about this: God didn’t have to make food that would taste good. He didn’t have to make birds that sing beautiful songs. He didn’t have to make beautiful colors to saturate His creation, but he did. He didn’t have to make gorgeous sunsets, moonlit oceanscapes, or friendly and faithful pets like dogs, but He did. (An extremely important side note: You may have wondered why I didn’t mention cats when talking about God’s goodness. There is a very important theological reason for this. And that reason is that before Adam and Eve sinned, cats did not exist. God created cats after the fall. They are clearly part of the curse! So, when you see a cat, let them be a reminder of the hatred that God has for human sin. He hated our sin so bad that He had to demonstrate that by making such proud, worthless creatures to torment man until God finishes applying redemption to the whole creation order. This is an extremely important theological point to me. I WILL DIE ON THIS MOUNTAIN! I hate sin and I hate cats. I propose a man law: Men who love cats shouldn’t be able to have a job, vote, marry, or speak! ) In addition, God gave us His word in the Bible and we learn that He didn’t have to send a Savior to deliver us from the wrath we deserved for our rebellion, but He did! So, I would encourage you to take a few minutes during this time of year to enjoy the amazing revelation of God all around us and then move to contemplate the goodness and kindness that God has shown you. End by turning to God’s word and be reminded of the ultimate revelation of God’s goodness: Jesus Christ; His life, death, and resurrection! Then, go kill a cat! Peace.
Filed under: Devotions
Posted by Jonathan Oldacre
I loved Mike’s “mini-message” to the kids at church yesterday. When I wasn’t dying laughing I was deeply affected by our mission of passing the baton of the gospel to future generations. Isn’t it amazing that the gospel is so basic and easy to understand that children can grasp it?
Mike likened the gospel to a gigantic present, the likes of which nothing on earth can contain. It’s a treasure that’s more valuable than anything we can imagine. Do we see the gospel like that? Do we hold it tightly? Are you and I keeping the gospel central today? One of my heroes, C.J. Mahaney, says that every day we have a tendency to move away from this “main-thing” of the Christian faith. We think the gospel is basic, it’s meant for the non-Christian, and now that we’re in the kingdom it’s time to move on to the hard work of Christian discipleship.
For the next few weeks on Manly Devotions we’re going to take a look under the hood of our devotional lives. My car has been in the shop for a couple of weeks and I just got it back, so sorry, I’ve got “cars” on the brain. What was the problem with my car? A faulty engine control computer. The cost? You guessed it: ten billion dollars! What does the engine control computer do? Everything. It is the brain and central computer of my tricked out 1992 Acura Integra. It makes the car go. Without it working properly the car just sits there trying to start when I turn the key, but nothing happens. Now before I tempt you to jealousy with my gold package, custom antenna, and tape deck, just know that the odometer is sitting at over 200,000 miles and the car has definitely seen better days! Guys if your devotional life is like a car that won’t start or it’s not running too well right now…maybe we need to look under the hood and check out the engine control computer for your times with God: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Without daily application of the gospel, you will lack the joy you so desperately need to glorify God. Christian discipleship will flounder, and you’ll likely be discouraged by your sin as you try to fight it without first being nourished by grace at the foot of the cross. Are you reminding yourself daily that: 1) God made us in His image for His glory, 2) We’ve sinned against him and because of this we deserve death and eternal punishment in a real place called hell, 3) BUT, In His great mercy God sent His Only Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect life you and I were supposed to have lived and to pay the penalty we deserve by dying on the cross for our many sins! Isn’t that good news?
Let me encourage you. If you’ve not kept this message central, you can tighten your grip by preaching the gospel to yourself today! Preach forgiveness of any and all sins because of the blood of Christ! Preach justification! Tell your soul, “Soul, because of Christ’s death for you, God sees you just as if you’ve never sinned AND just as if you’ve always perfectly obeyed!” Preach to yourself that there is no wrath left for you today because Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath dry! Doesn’t joy and thanksgiving well up in your heart when you preach the good news to yourself? Why not do that every day! Why not start today?
Men, there is great joy and grace and strength to be had through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s preach it to ourselves today!
Filed under: Evangelism
Contributor: Travis Maples
Evangelism. C’mon, say it with me men: “evangelism.” Let it just roll off your tongue. Even as you said it your heart may have started to pound, beads of that salty stuff started to run off your forehead, and your palms may even have started to gather that swampy moisture you can’t wipe off to save your life. Some of us don’t like talking about it. Some of us treat evangelism like that weird uncle in your family. You love him, you’re glad he’s there and a part of the family, but you just don’t like to be seen with him. But there is just no escaping the role it needs to play in all of our lives as Christians. Read through the book of Acts and you will soon see it wasn’t just the Apostles who were sharing the gospel. It was the whole church (Acts 5:42; 8:1-4, 25; 11:19-21; 13:32; 14:7; 15:35; 16:10; 17:18).
This is what Scripture says about the church: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people…” (I Peter 2:9-10). Let me reiterate this point! Who was Peter talking to in 1 Peter 2:9-10? Peter was addressing the Church—you and I—not the resident evangelist or pastor alone. Saying, “Sorry, evangelism just isn’t my gift,” is like saying, “Sorry Grandma, helping you cross the street just isn’t my gift.” Here’s another illustration to catch your attention. Say you’re driving down the road and you learn that up ahead the bridge is out. You instantly whip around that rusted-out ol’ beater you drive and start heading the other direction. You start feeling sorry for all the poor saps that are about to drive off the bridge into oblivion. But you don’t feel that it is your gifting to say: “STOP!! THE BRIDGE IS OUT!” meanwhile forgetting that you wouldn’t have known if someone hadn’t flagged you down. Don’t forget, this isn’t about personality or gifting, it is about being a Christian in a lost and dying world.
So fellas, you know why you need to share(see last Saturday’s post). You also know who it is that needs to share(YOU). So whether you’re in class or on a jobsite or in an office your role is the same. You’re a herald with a proclamation from the King, an ambassador with a message to a foreign land from your real country theKingdom of
Heaven. Get verbal up in this place!
Filed under: Humor
by Mike Plewniak,
The first 6 man law videos are now online. You can view them all on our
Filed under: Featured Resource
by Mike Plewniak, contributor
“The soul being so precious, and salvation so glorious, it is the highest point of prudence to make preparations for another world.” What a great way to begin a book. As we endeavor to study godliness and to become holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), what a reminder that we are preparing for another world. This earth is not our home. The question is raised: what truly matters in light of eternity? Watson’s thundering answer throughout this book: GODLINESS.
“What a rare thing godliness is!” I believe this is the case as much in our day (if not more) than in Watson’s day. To be godly is to have “exact harmony between holy principles and practices.” What a hard balance I’ve found this to be — grace-motivated, Christ-minded, work with all your might, no days off allowed godliness. How do we get there? When does “work with all your might” become self-sufficient? When does “grace-motivated” become lazy and licentious? These are the kind of questions Watson will help us to answer. Rarely a page will go by without being pointed to the cross, and rarely will a page go by without being challenged to love more, work more, be more passionate, study more, hate sin more, repent more, and rejoice more.
“Godliness puts a man in heaven before his time.” My prayer is that we would love being godly men. As we seek to grow in all these areas, let us depend on God more, cry out to God more, love the cross more as we see our insufficiencies more. As we experience grace to change, may it give us a taste of heaven here on earth. Watson reminds us that what we are doing in growing in godliness is not a secondary issue. It is our call as a Christian. “This is the grand business that should swallow up your time and thoughts.”
Ch. 1 — As Watson charts his course for our journey, he begins at the right place — forgiveness in the cross of Christ. No matter where you are today, remember that if you have repented and believed in Jesus Christ, you have been forgiven much. This is an act of God’s free grace. It has removed our guilt and pardoned us from our deserved penalty. It can only be found in the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the foundation for all our efforts. This is the foundation of our hope of change. This is the foundation of our desire to change. THIS IS OUR FOUNDATION FOR LIFE!
I want to encourage you to study, meditate on, memorize, and preach the gospel to yourself everyday. Here is the effect of doing that, “guilt clips the wings of prayer so that it cannot fly to the throne of grace, but forgiveness breeds confidence. He who has his pardon may look his prince in the face with comfort.” As we study godliness, we are going to need confidence to approach the throne of grace. That’s Christ. He is our confidence. Practice preaching the gospel to yourself this week. There is no better preparation for what we are seeking to do.
Assignment for next week: Chs. 2-3 (pages 12-19)
Note:I would love to hear your highlights from this book as we go along. Feel free to leave comments on what stuck out to you from the pages we read each week.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I was dropped off on Hinchinbrook Island in the heart of Prince William Sound by an air taxi on a cool, rainy Oct. 14 morning.
Hinchinbrook is a 165-square-mile island near Cordova, Alaska with an estimated population of about 100 brown bears, giving it the distinction of harboring the highest density of bears of any island in the Sound, according to Dave Crowley, Cordova area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Four to six bears are killed by hunters on the island every year, though rarely one of more
than 400 pounds.
I wasn’t there to hunt bear. Instead, I had packed for a week of hunting for Sitka blacktail deer on the remote,wooded island. I did, however, pick up a permit to shoot a bear, just in case.
On day two of the group’s hunt, the skies cleared at 8:30 a.m. I set out to follow a creek bed
upstream looking for deer. I was carrying a .300-caliber
Winchester Magnum, and a significantly more powerful
.338-caliber Winchester Magnum in case a bear crossed my path.
In the creek, I spotted a deep pool with 20 salmon circling.
By this time, the run was over and the salmon were looking
pretty nasty. I started thinking that I was
looking at a bear’s dinner plate.
That got me in what I like to call ”bear mode.”
I continued following the creek upstream until they came to
a small island ringed with thick brush. Some end-of-season blueberries
clung to the surrounding brush. In the middle of the island was a
spruce tree larger than I could fit my arm around. At the
base of the tree were signs that an animal had tried to dig a hole.
About 9:30 a.m., I glanced upstream.
Forty yards away was a big brown bear with all four paws in the creek,
flipping over logs looking for salmon.
“He’s a shooter,” I said under my breath.
So I started getting in the zone. When I am going to
take an animal, I am really concentrating. I racked shells into my
gun and took off my pack and left it by the tree.
I moved a few feet upstream. About halfway between me and
the bear was a large fallen tree.
I thought when the bear crawls over that log, he will present his
vital areas and I’ll take him. I brought the rifle up to take a shot, but the bear moved over the log like it
I thought, ‘Oh crap.’ I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to get a shot off there.
As the bear kept coming along the creek, I momentarily
lost sight of him in a thicket, so I retreated back to the big
I was sitting there concentrating when, a few seconds later, he
pops up right in front of me, about 10 yards away and he was coming
toward me. I don’t know if the wind was in my favor. I was dressed in camouflage. He might not have seen me.
I put the scope on him. I wanted to hit him in the chest, but all I could
see was his massive head.
I thought I had to take the kill soon or die from this beast. As I aimed for his left
eye I pulled the trigger. The bullet took an arc and I hit it about two inches low in the
side of his muzzle and into his brain.
He buckled backwards and raised his head like he was going to howl at
the moon, but nothing came out. I put two more rounds
in the vital area, then three more after that. Six total.
It was amazing
I watched for a few minutes, I reloaded and brought my other gun up
on him. I approached from the rear and poked him in the
butt to see if he was going to jump, but he didn’t move… He was dead.
I picked up the paw and Thought ‘good gracious…’ The paw was as
wide as my chest!
My bear was 12 feet 6 inches high at the shoulder, and weighing in at over one thousand six hundred pounds.
After the kill, I spent six hours skinning the bear —
and trying to drag its hide and skull back to my camp
As you may know, I am really not a bear killer, and in fact I have never killed anything but bugs and roadkill.
Filed under: Humor
If you were at VFC last week, you saw the first three installments of Manspeak’s Man Law Videos. Now, you’ll be able to watch them on the blog. We’ll be putting all the videos on our “MAN LAWS” page.
Also, on our MAN LAWS page you can post your best ideas for what you think should be classified as a “MAN LAW”.
Here is the intro video for those who have no idea what we are talking about: