By Walt Alexander
I hope all of you are rested from New Attitude. It was a joy to spend four days with over 3,000 people listening to the preached Word, exulting in the Savior in corporate worship, and spending every waking hour conversing about the Savior. But it is over. Bob Kauflin was not on the keyboard when I awoke this morning. And C.J. Mahaney was not gearing up to preach. Now, I (read we) have the responsibility of applying these truths.
James 1:22-25 commands us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
Conferences come and go and leave us unchanged. Truths applied transform our lives. Now we must do the diligent, unseen work of application. Counselor David Powlison, in his article “Think Globally and Act Locally,” has taught us to take one bit of Scripture (or truth) and apply it to one bit of life. So, don’t think globally about your life without acting locally. Take one bit of truth and apply it to one bit of life.
To do this, we must make a plan. We will not stumble into application. We must take proper action. Here are 3 things to remember as you make your battle plan (from my Community Group Leader Grant Layman):
Be simple. All to often, I will come home from a conference and try to change every affected area of my life. I will then fail and abandon application altogether. So, it is important for us to remember to pick one area and to be simple. If you want to start memorizing Scripture, don’t start with Psalm 46. Start with one verse.
Be specific. This is also an area I tend to fail. I all to often talk generalities when I talk about application. My life inevitably remains unchanged. So, it is important for us to remember to be specific. Make a clear, specific battle plan.
Share your plan. Application is often incomplete without involving others. So take your plan to a friend or two and have them keep you accountable for the plan.
So, what are you planning to apply from Na? How do you want to change?
Filed under: Devotions
Read this summary of the gospel, the testimony of Jesus Christ, delivered by Peter here in Acts 2.
How awesome that this is the same man who denied knowing Jesus in each of the gospel accounts of Matthew-John, and yet now he is boldly proclaiming Him! This is because of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that Christ promised in Acts 1:8.
How awesome that Peter was an eye-witness to the miracles and signs of Christ that affirmed his deity, that he was put on the cross by the will of God, and that He is the Lord! And by placing your faith in Him and repenting of your sins, God will save you!
If that describes you this day, re-read this passage in Acts, this eye-witness summary of the gospel, and rejoice that this truth applies to you today!
God is so good!!!!! We are saved not by works, but by His Grace!!! Remember this summary and be encouraged today!
As an added bonus, here is a video that my sister showed me. It is a little girl describing Star Wars: A New Hope, (The first released one with Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker…Not Episode One) quite a manly movie, I must say. It’s a Manspeak must-see movie, and she does a pretty good job summing it up…check it out.
Filed under: Roles and Relationships
By: Travis Evans
What do you do when you have a few hours free to spend as you wish? When do you go to bed? When do you wake up? Do you ever ask, “Where did my day go?”?
Here are some numbers:
- 1 hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.
- The average American watches 28 hours of television per week. That’s an average of 4 hours a day.
- Tennessee ranks 12th for wasted time at work: 2.5 hrs. hrs/day = $19.3 billion year. Note: Missouri ranked 1st with 3.2 hrs. = $28.1 billion and South Carolina ranked last with 1.3 hrs. = $3.0 billion
- Top Time-Wasting Activities at Work: Surfing Internet (personal use) 44.7%, Socializing 23.4%, Conducting personal business 6.8%, Spacing out 3.9%, Running errands 3.1%, Making personal phone calls 2.3%, Applying for other jobs 1.3%, Planning personal events 1.0%, Arriving late / Leaving early 1.0%, Other 12.5%
- Top Time-Wasting Excuses: Don’t have enough work to do 33.2%, Underpaid for amount of work 23.4%, Co-workers distract me 14.7%, Not enough after-work time 12.0%, Other 16.7%
Try making a time sheet and keep track of how you spend your time. You will see that there is more time than you think. (This table can be copied and pasted into Word.)
If I may quote my good friend Caleb: “We don’t want to kill time; we want to redeem it.”
So, do you kill time? Do you pass the time with idle speech and video games? Let’s be motivated by grace to redeem our time and use it to glorify the Lord.
How do you see yourself wasting time? What is one way that helps you fight this fight and not waste time?
Fighting the fight of faith with you, as the chief of time killers!
Filed under: Uncategorized
By Walt Alexander
Well, today I wanted to recommend a new worship CD for you guys. It is the Na Band’s first CD entitled Looked Upon. Listen to a sample or purchase it. It’s only $10 here. The Na Band, led by Devon Kauflin – one of Bob Kauflin’s sons, leads worship at New Attitude. During the year, they regularly lead worship at Covenant Life Church.
The title rings through as you listen to each song – with each song uniquely telling of how we, as Christians, were looked upon in our sinful state and rescued through the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. To listen to this CD is to survey the wondrous cross again! The CD contains 11 tracks, written predominantly by Devon Kauflin but including several songs written by Jordan Kauflin, a song by Joel Sczebel, and a song written by Devon & Bob Kauflin. All of the songs are great, but here are my current favorites!
What a Savior is the seventh track. It concentrates on the suffering of Jesus Christ and his substitutionary death on the cross. The verses are from the classic hymn by Philip Bliss (1875). However, Deven rewrites the music and adds a great chorus. Our church has done this song for over a year and it has served us very well to more clearly see and sing the suffering and death of Christ.
My Lord, I Did Not Choose You is the eighth track. It expounds the glorious truth of election in Christ. The verses are taken from the classic hymn by Josiah Conder (1836). However, Devon again rewrites the music and adds a great chorus. The chorus goes like this:
Jesus, You have saved me
And taken all my sin, all my sins away
Jesus, You have called me
Before the world began, to glorify Your name
I was without hope and dead inside
But You chose to save my life
Songs about election are rare and hardly ever able to be sung passionately! The combination of lyrics and music make this song unique.
Finally, All I Have Is Christ closes the album. It is a beautiful song written by Jordon Kauflin that takes us through our sinful state, God’s gracious invitation, our salvation, and leaves us laying down our lives in song for what he has done. Let me share several lines that have encouraged me!
Verse 2 begins…
But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace
The chorus rings out…
Hallelu – jah! All I have is Christ
Hallelu – jah! Jesus is my life
Verse 3 ends with this compelling prayer…
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You
So, take some of your summer money to buy this CD and let us celebrate that God has indeed looked upon our estate!
Filed under: Growth
My every sense, member, faculty, affection, is a snare to me,
I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those above me, or despise those below.
I covet honour and riches of the mighty,
and am proud and unmerciful to the rags of others;
If I behold beauty it is a bait to lust, or see deformity, it stirs up loathing and disdain;
How soon do slanders, vain jests, and wanton speeches creep into my heart!
Am I comely? what fuel for pride!
Am I deformed? what an occasion for repining!
Am I gifted? I lust after applause!
Am I unlearned? how I despise what I have not!
Am I in authority? how prone to abuse my trust, make will my law,
exclude others’ enjoyments, serve my own interests and policy!
Am I inferior? how much I grudge others’ pre-eminence!
Am I rich? how exalted I become!
Thou knowest that all these are snares by my corruptions,
and that my greatest snare is myself.
I bewail that my apprehensions are dull, my thoughts mean,
my affections stupid, my expressions low, my life unbeseeming;
Yet what canst thou expect of dust but levity, of corruption but defilement?
Keep me ever mindful of my natural state, but let me not forget my heavenly title,
or the grace that can deal with every sin.
(Taken from Self-Deprecation, The Valley of Vision, pp. 132-133)
Filed under: Devotions
Last week, we examined a few verses in Mark 10. Click here to read part one of this post if you missed it.
So….I have to ask…did that song get stuck in your head? Did it help you to remember the text?
Anyways, let’s go ahead and look at the more important issue at hand in this text in Mark 10:32-34…WHY Jesus was heading towards Jerusalem.
Verses 33-34 depict clearly WHAT will happen to Christ in Jerusalem: namely, injustice, torture, and death.
From this text alone, we can see why it was such a miracle that Christ would have headed towards the Israelite capital so boldly. But, without the rest of scripture, we would be lost as to WHY Jesus would be headed towards this destiny at all, boldly or not! (So let’s thank God that he has given us His revealed will and testimony in scripture.)
To answer the question: “Why would Jesus go to Jerusalem to die?” We need to look at another text in scripture, which will provide the lion’s share of this post today. Read this text slowly, and think about Christ and the cross that he was soon to bear later in Mark.
This text from Isaiah, written centuries before Christ was born in the manger at Bethlehem, not only provides accurate descriptions of how Jesus was to die and the circumstances that surrounded Him (giving evidence to the divine inspiration of the scriptures) but it also reveals WHY Jesus was headed towards His death. He did it voluntarily for US!!!
Because of our sin, we deserve death. We deserve to face hell forever. Let’s not forget this bad news of the gospel. Without the realization of these facts, grace is no longer amazing and the cross is an overreaction. Don’t be deceived by what your flesh tells you, or what our world tempts you to believe; you DESERVE NOTHING besides the opposition of the almighty God. That’s the truth.
“But God so loved the world” that he chose to crush his son in our place, fully expending His wrath for our sins on Christ, so that the moment that we believe in Him and confess our sins, we are FORGIVEN!
This is the WHY of Mark 10:32-34, as well as the rest of scripture!
The gospel is good news to sinners who are aware of the bad news of what they actually deserve.
Let’s remember these truths this week, and be amazed at God’s love, as revealed in the gospel of Christ, for sinners like us!
Filed under: Uncategorized
by Mike Plewniak
Summer has begun. You are trying to guard it. The pool is calling. Lemonade is waiting. American Idol is down to the last few and Lost is getting more confusing then ever. That small voice in your head keeps saying, “don’t waste it”, “don’t waste your summer”, “carpe diem”….no, that’s from a movie… different voice…okay there it is, “don’t waste it”.
There’s plenty of time to read some great books. We started with some fun ones, you’ve picked out one book on the cross to read, now let’s stir our souls in our call to evangelize…to preach the good news of Christ to all nations. Luckily, all the nations are coming to us in the fall, so let’s prepare to reach them by reading one of these great books on evangelism.
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever
This book just recently came out and it is a great place to start to understand evangelism. From why to how, Dever answers most of the questions and gives us great insight into our own hearts and why evangelism can be so hard at times. Two thumbs up!
Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman
When you don’t have the right answer, your not sure what to say or what to do, “ask a question”. That what Newman says Jesus did, and I tell you it works. Just asking questions and leading a conversation to the gospel is amazing in how much you learn about the person, what they believe, and how to relate the gospel to where they are. Great book.
The Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon
Spurgeon won souls, thousands of them. He writes, “The Gospel will be found equal to every emergency — an arrow which can pierce the hardest heart. Preach it, and preach nothing else. Rely implicitly upon the old, old Gospel. You need no other nets when you fish for men.” Enough said, buy it.
The Way of the Master by Comfort and Cameron
This book was a great help to me personally in how I share the gospel. You can also learn most of the what the book teaches from their show about evangelism. Check it out here.