You’re #1! by Travis Evans
April 17, 2008, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Culture

By: Travis Evans

Men, chances are you have some of these on shelves, in closets, and in display cases. Sports award them. Schools give them out. Watch ESPN and it seems that someone is always winning something.

You did not achieve. “For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)” Yes, you were the one who hit more home runs that year or the one who won the foot race, but where did your abilities come from? Why is it that you are a fast runner and not a slow jogger? Yes, you were the one diligent to practice and train, but what made them effective?

You’re a winner! While it is ok to win, God’s will is not that His people win every award or achieve the highest successes. Knowing Christ is the treasure. Glorifying God is our aim. When you win, who receives the praise?

Not the end. Trophies and awards are not an end in and of themselves. They will rust and fade. It will all be forgotten. It’s going to perish. However, this does not mean that they are worthless and pointless. I think they serve a marvelous point and have a great worth. In my opinion, it is a thankless, ungrateful person who views them as worthless (and I would know better than anyone else). “What worth can they have?” Well, I think that their purpose is to serve as markers, pointers if you will. Reminders of the Lord’s work in our lives. We should be humbled at the site of a reward or prize. It is God who has gifted us. I think God graciously gives us pointers to remind us of the race and the goal Christians strive for. These awards should seem to say, “Press on! God is faithful and has been merciful to you!” not “Hooray! You are the greatest!”

So display them as you so wish, just know how you value them in your heart. Display them as great statements that proclaim “Look! Look, what God has done!” not “Look! Look, what I have done!”

May our be viewed as . May they point you onward and outward.

On a side note, what is the strangest award that you have received (i.e., Mustache of the Year)?


April 14, 2008, 5:00 am
Filed under: Devotions

by Caleb Hancock

I’m sure that many of you have seen the Lord of The Rings videos that came out over the last decade. Not only are these some of my favorite books, but I think the movies did a great job of translating the books into film. One of the most memorable, and thus, most quoted characters in the series is Gollum. Check this scene out from The Two Towers:

So what does Gollum, or the goofy business man in the photo up top, have to do with devotions, you ask? Well, I believe that these scenes depict the practice of speaking to yourself.


There are many ways that you could speak to yourself wrongly! This is prevalent is the worldly view of depression and self-esteem. Our culture would counsel you to remind yourself that you are great and can do anything, and not to let anyone tell you different.

Much like this picture:

But as Christians, we need to ask ourselves…is this biblical?


So how do you speak TRUTH to yourself? What is is that we need to be reminded of daily? What is our greatest need?

I submit that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ!

How do you do it? How should it look?

Let’s take a look at one of the biblical examples of preaching to oneself and let it inform us. By the way, I love and would recommend bookmarking it for searches. Also, I didn’t want to take up too much space on the blog, so click on the text to go to and read Psalm 42.

So what did you read? Here we have the psalmist, obviously a man with some troubles. And what is he doing? reminding himself of how great HE is? Nope. He is crying out to God for help!  What else does he do? He preaches truth to himself! (verses 5 and 11)

Like David, we need to not depend on feelings and circumstances, but rather on the promises of God in scripture. So remind yourself today if you feel condemned of Romans 8:1. Or if you feel like you can handle things on your own, be sobered by 1 Peter 5:5 , Romans 3:9-20 , and Isaiah 66:2

In any and all circumstances, we, each of us, needs to remember the gospel today! God is Holy, Sovereign, and perfectly Just. He made us and will punish sin! We are sinners! And yet, in His love and mercy, God sent Jesus Christ to bear the wrath deserved by all that would turn from their sins and believe in Him. He lived without sin, and yet bore the curse of sin on the cross for all who will believe.

How amazing is this! How undeserved! Is this not reason to rejoice, and to abandon all inferior pleasures for this one, all-satisfying TRUTH?!

So, if you have believed, remind yourself of this truth daily. Let it color the way that you view today, and the next, and on into eternity!

April 12, 2008, 10:13 am
Filed under: Devotions, Roles and Relationships

That’s right, Bob Kauflin’s book Worship Matters: Leading Others To Encounter the Greatness of God has been released. Bob has been leading corporate worship for over 30 years. Bob, a pastor and worship leader at Covenant Life Church and Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries, is a significant gift from God in the area of corporate worship. I personally have been affected many things Bob has taught and many songs he has written. My understanding of worship has been drastically altered, as Bob has faithfully led Sovereign Grace Ministries to continue to clarify the content and practice of worship.

And, here is his book, with all his thoughts on worship. This book should be required reading for everyone who serves on a worship team. However, it is also for non-musicians. In fact, I think all people would be edified as Bob teaches us how our hearts should be positioned worshipfully throughout the week, what the worship leader is called to do, and what is more important than all these “worship wars.”

The book is broken into four sections: (1) The leader talks about the worship that is more important than Sunday mornings, that of personal devotion to God and worshipful obedience of God throughout the week. (2) The task analyzes what the worship leader is called to do, as Bob explains his definition of a worship leader. (3) Healthy tensions speaks of true and healthy tensions in corporate worship, such as worshipping a transcendent and immanent God, worshipping with head and heart, being rooted and yet relevant, etc. And (4) Right relationships walks through relationships among the worship team with the church, themselves, and the pastors.

This book is a gift. So, take the time to read it with me! You will benefit whether you serve on a worship team, are a professional musician, or serve in other areas in the church.

Oh yeah, you can buy it here for $11.21.

Throttle Up Thursday by Travis Evans
April 10, 2008, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Throttle Up Thursday

What would you do?

college sex scene and the gospel. by bigplew
April 8, 2008, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

by Mike Plewniak

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal talks about how college students view sex. The author did a survey of 2500 college students and found some interesting results. She writes this:

“Interestingly, most of the study respondents do identify with religious traditions that have rules about sexuality. But, with the exception of evangelicals, American college students see almost no connection between their religious beliefs and their sexual behavior. This radical separation of religion and sex tells us important things not only about the power of the college hookup culture but also about the weakness of religious traditions in the face of it. Perhaps the various church leaders would be interested to know that their young people are longing for the kinds of guidelines and rituals for dating that religion can offer. It might make them more willing to actually explain church teachings on sex and engage the students in honest discussions about how to foster healthy, fulfilling romantic relationships.”

It’s amazing to see the vast difference between what college students desire (loving, meaningful, devoted relationships) and what they experience (selfish, undevoted, hook-up relationships). What’s amazing is they want more meaningful relationships, yet “only 7% said that they felt that their friends wanted to reserve sex for committed, loving relationships”. I think the answer lies in the doctrine of sin that lives inside of our hearts. I also think there is something inside most of the students in this article that says there is something more joyful and meaningful out there (even though they have no idea how to get to it). The only way to get there is through the gospel of Jesus Christ — which saves us from our sins and frees us to live joyful lives in obedience to God’s word.

As you read the article, you see how relationships effected by the gospel are appealing to the students (even after reading Josh’s book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye) yet they do not see the connection to the gospel. Hopefully, as you men live out godly lives and demonstrate true love and true friendship, it will give you an opportunity on the campus to make the connection for them — it’s the gospel that sets us free!

A Right Perspective by Caleb H.
April 7, 2008, 5:00 am
Filed under: Devotions

by Caleb Hancock

If you haven’t read this Psalm in a while, or seriously contemplated it, please take the next few seconds to read it slowly, think about what David is saying, and what it means about God.

Psalm 70

1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
2 Let them be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
3 Let them turn back because of their shame
who say, “Aha, Aha!”

4 May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
5 But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay!

I love this psalm, because as I read it, God regularly reminds me of what a right perspective looks like. We see in verses 1-3 that David is in trouble. He needs to be rescued.

Like David, we have legitimate needs on a day-to-day basis. This can range from physical needs, like food (usually not a problem for most of us here in the US), to protection and relief from the temptations that bombard us by the minute. But how does David deal with these legitimate needs? Does he sit there and complain despondently? Does he try to work himself up with motivational speaking about self-esteem and believing in himself? NO!

David, in verse one above, goes to the source of his being (Acts 17:25 …[God] himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything) and pleas for mercy and help. This is the wisest thing that anyone can do.

As we are faced with struggles, and not just trials, but with every day, we should cry out to God for help, declaring our dependence upon Him for all things and pleading for His sovereign help.

But, this begs the question, why should God help us?

Answer: based on what we’ve done…He shouldn’t! (Romans 3:23 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…)

So why cry out to Him if we know that we don’t deserve a favorable response?

Answer: 1 Timothy 2:5 is true for the Christian today! It says that …there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

So, if you have repented, turned from, and confessed your sins, if you have placed your faith, hope and trust in Christ’s life and death and resurrection alone for your justification, then you can be sure that through Him, through Christ, you have access to God, whom you are now at peace with. You can ask for mercy, can expect, and can experience God’s providence in your daily life. (Romans 5: 1-2)

And may the realization of these truths take root in the Christian’s heart today, this very moment. And may the response be, along with David from verse 4 above…

“God is great!”

April 5, 2008, 11:43 am
Filed under: Leadership, Roles and Relationships

This post is sent out to fathers and young men. If you aren’t one of these, please read but understand that they are the audience to whom I am writing.

So, over the past several years of trying to figure out this courtship thing, I have heard of something I will call the sincerity meter. The story goes like this: When someone is about to court, the father of the girl or a care group leader must come alongside the man to check his sincerity, to see how it rates on the sincerity meter.

Now, my question is twofold: (1) Is this sincerity meter biblical? (2) If so, what should we look for in this sincerity?

Yes, the sincerity meter is biblical. Before a courtship a man should be very sincere and very serious about entering one. Men don’t stumble into courtship. They stumble into sexual immorality. Therefore, every father or every care group leader should check a man’s sincerity before letting him jump into a courtship. Check him to make sure this isn’t a whim and check him to make sure he is ready to move the courtship to marriage.

But what should we look for in his sincerity? We should look for seriousness. This should be serious about his desire to be married and to see if he is to marry this girl. But, this man’s sincerity should not be characterized by a sure sense that it is God’s will for him to marry this girl. As we heard from Bill’s message last week, to speak authoritatively about the Lord speaking and his will in this manner is a dangerous, hazardous minefield. To demand this of anyone is absurd, much less a young man. We should not even want this man to be so convinced. We should want him to unconvinced that this is definitely his wife but, rather, excited about the opportunity to see if this is her. After all, courtship is not pre-engagement (or engagement).

Furthermore, cultivating such an unbiblical sincerity often leads to many other pitfalls. For instance, it can encourage (and even allow) a man to unwisely plan his wedding before his courtship starts. It can also carry an unhealthy vibe to the courtship – when the father and man are convinced of marriage before the daughter even gets to begin the courtship! I am not in this post trying to de-role fathers from their crucial position in leading and guarding their daughter through a courtship. I am Lord-willing urging them to do it all the more – by serving the men and helping them navigate their heart through these hard questions!