Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Win a Copy of "Pass It On" by Champ Thornton

Yesterday, I shared my interview with Champ Thornton about his brand new book Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation. Today, I want to tell you what I think about this book and open a contest for someone to win their own copy.

My Review

Earlier this year, Champ sent a pre-publication copy to me and asked for my feedback. In short, I think it's terrific! Here is my endorsement "blurb" review:
In Pass it On, Champ Thornton has created another unique resource for assisting Christian parents to extract the precious wisdom from the endless goldmine of the Book of Proverbs and impart its righteous riches to their children. I will be using it with my kids and urge others to dig in, too.

I'm not a big fan of the title of Champ's book. If you grew up in the era and wing of the church I did, those three little words always spark a camp song in your head. {If it's now in your head, you're welcome.} But it is an appropriate title for the purpose of the book. Champ takes each chapter of the Book of Proverbs, provides as short "guided tour" and then gets you writing your own reflections, prayers, and applications down in the blanks provided to pass on to your younger loved-ones.

When I read the pre-pub version, my one critique was really about how many of today's readers won't find it easy to do the thinking required in processing the Proverbs and writing out their own reflections, especially if they were trying to do it at the pace of a chapter-per-day. But that's not really a weakness of Champ's book--it's our weakness as readers who want to be spoon-fed our spiritual food. Champ has run the roto-tiller and turned over the heavy first layer. It's now up to us to get to digging for the treasures. And nothing dictates the pace of a reader working through it. I plan to take a year or so (not a month) to do it with my boys.


For the last decade, I have been teaching a class on Proverbs to the teen boys in our church on Wednesday nights. Champ's introduction "A Bird's eye View of Proverbs" distills everything I've been trying to the teach the boys into 16 excellent pages. It's worth the proverbial price of the book. Champ teaches us what Proverbs is, how to read it for ourselves, and how to get the most out of it. Then he walks us through each chapter, one at a time, giving us clues for how to extract the treasure hidden therein.

The appendices are excellent: endnotes, suggestions for further study, and topical index. These things are all more valuable than you might initially guess.

I'm really impressed with the time and money that New Growth Press has put into producing this volume. It has an attractive imitation leather cover which will make it durable as a gift to give now and last for a long time.

In short, it would be wise to buy at least one copy of Pass It On, and to do what the title says.

Win Your Own Copy

Starting today, I'm offering a contest to win a copy of Pass It On. The good folks at New Growth Press will send a copy to the winner picked at random.

Entering this contest is very simple:

1. Leave a comment on this post (either here or on Facebook) with your name on it.

2. Wait to see if you win. I'll be drawing the names out of a hat. It's that easy! (Don't forget to check back or subscribe to updates to find out if you win--I'll need your mailing address if you do.)

You can also increase your chances of winning by posting about this contest on your social media page (FB, Twitter, Blog, Pinterest, etc.). Just send me an email or leave a comment with the link so that I know that you've expanded the reach of the contest. For each time you link to the contest, you get your name added to the hat one more time (limit of 7 chances, the contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Thursday night, November 2nd).

I'll announce the winner on Friday.

Can't Wait Till Friday?

Buy your own copy now. [Amazon, New Growth Press, Westminster Bookstore]

And thanks to New Growth Press for my review copy of Pass It On.

Monday, October 30, 2017

An Interview with Champ Thornton about "Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation"

Champ Thornton's newest book releases today from New Growth Press.

It's called: Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, and I got to read a pre-publication copy and provide my endorsement.

I'm really excited about this new resource. Tomorrow, I'll tell you some of my biggest takeaways from reading it, but today, I'm pleased to have Champ tell us about it himself.

Matt: Why did you write Pass It On? What was your burden for creating it? What is your hope for those who use it?

Champ: Pass It On is a devotional guide to the book of Proverbs in which parents and others can record and pass along to the next generation their observations about wise living which they have gained from God’s Word and from their own life experiences. I researched and wrote this book because I knew I needed to learn the book of Proverbs better for myself, as my wife and I rear our three children. Proverbs-filled children come from Proverbs-filled parents. Beyond that, I wanted other parents (and grandparents and others) to be able to study Proverbs and pass along that wisdom and other advice, memories, and life skills to those they love in the next generation.

Matt: This is your second book that is a little "different." Tell us a little about the process of creating this creative book. How did you come up with the format? What was the hardest thing to write and the happiest thing?  What surprised you the most as you wrote it?

Champ: This book is different than what I have written previously. I had written a Bible storybook for preschoolers (God's Love) and an intro to the Christian faith for middle-schoolers (The Radical Book for Kids), but this book is different in that it’s not aimed at children, but rather at their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. This book doesn’t survey the whole Bible (like God's Love), and it isn’t a topical guidebook (like The Radical Book). Instead, it’s an interactive and user-friendly guide to the book of Proverbs, designed to help parents and others pass along the wisdom they learn from Proverbs (and from life) to those they love in the next generation.

It’s also different in that it brings together the benefits of several kinds of books all within one cover. Pass It On is part study guide to the book of Proverbs, it's part journal for capturing your thoughts on wise living; and it's part gift book to be given to one of your children, grandchildren, nephew or niece, or a younger friend. In short, it’s doing your devotions, not just for your own benefit, but also as a keepsake for the next generation to treasure.

Pass It On started as a spiral-bound copy of Proverbs which I had made, and then began using for months in my time in the Word. I wanted to know how to instill Proverbs in my three children. And since I find it difficult to keep 915 verses on ready-reference to apply at any given moment in life, I wanted to first grow in my own understanding of Proverbs. Eventually, I also taught a couple workshops on Proverbs at our church, and at some point the idea came to mind that parents could write down my observations of life and of Proverbs, and then pass it on to their kids—in writing. That became the genesis of the concept.

And since that time, the happiest part of the project was learning how various parts of Proverbs fit together (it’s not as random as it first appears—kind of like life, actually). The hardest was without doubt the Topical Index, mainly because it was so time-intensive and tedious to produce, but I trust that it’ll also serve others well when they’re looking for particular themes in Proverbs.

Another “different” aspect of Pass It On is that it does ask the reader to reflect and share not just about Proverbs but also about life. And I was not anticipating this realization. Here’s what I found. God made the world to work a certain way, usually according to general and predictable patterns. Wisdom, then, is learning God’s ways in this fallen world and living in harmony with them. So, Proverbs provides a God-inspired starter kit to understanding how to wisely navigate the twists and turns of life. So we should all learn about wise living from Proverbs. But as we examine wisdom in Proverbs, we should also learn to examine wisdom through Proverbs. (And Proverbs expect this—telling us to “go to the ant and consider her ways,” or to give attention to a broken-down house or weed-filled garden, etc.) In other words, we should learn to observe how God designed life to work—by looking at Proverbs (which is inspired) and then by looking at life (which is not inspired).

Matt: Give us a guide to the best reading experience. Who do you hope reads this book and how do you hope they read it?

Champ: I hope that many parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, will leave their families a rich legacy of wisdom. That they would come to understand Proverbs better and  take time to record and pass along their observations about the wisdom of Proverbs, along with their wise observations about life. Their children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces will treasure these observations. So, I hope that first, parents (along with grandparents, and aunts and uncles) will read, enjoy, and benefit from this book. Then I hope that in years to come their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces will read what’s been written in the book—the study notes and their personal observations—and benefit from them for generations to come.

Matt: Thanks, Champ, for taking time to answer these questions, but even more for taking the time to create this unique resource!

Pass It On is on sale today at a whopping 40% at New Growth Press (much lower than Amazon!). This is a high-quality imitation leather book that would make a really nice gift.

Tomorrow, I'll be opening a contest to give out a free copy, but you might want to order one or 10 while the price is so low.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

[Matt's Messages] "Here We Stand"

“Here We Stand”
Reformation Sunday
October 29, 2017 :: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Because it is Reformation Sunday and because it is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year, we’re going to take another break from our current sermon series on Galatians.

And yet we’re not.

We’re going to see this morning how this all ties in with our series on Galatians.

And, in fact, how it ties in with our other series that we’re in this year.

We actually have two sermon series running concurrently in 2017.

One of them is called “The Truth of the Gospel” (the book of Galatians). And the other is called “Gospel Roots” where we are exploring our spiritual heritage as a church family.

Both of those series tie directly in with the Reformation.

Have you seen that or felt that this year? That’s on purpose.

For example, our church family comes directly out of the Reformation. We’ve been learning this year about those Swedish Lutherans who wanted to read the Bible for themselves and follow what it said for themselves. “Where stands it written?” That’s “Sola Scriptura” and the priesthood of all believers.

So when those old Swedes came to the United States they formed Free Churches, free of state control and free to come directly under the Word of God and free to preach the gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone that Martin Luther had rediscovered.

We are, as Lanse Free Church, Children of the Reformation. Our first and main Gospel Root on January 1st this year was Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. That’s “Solus Christus.” In Christ Alone.

So consider this sermon part of the Gospel Roots series.

But also consider it part of Truth of the Gospel series, as well.

What word is the same in the title of both our current series?

The Gospel, right? The Good News.

In Galatians, the gospel was in danger. The Galatian churches were close to losing the gospel. They were close to abandoning the gospel and turning to another gospel which was really no gospel at all. Not good news!

Well, guess what?

That’s exactly what had happened to the Medieval Church.

The church had, by and large, lost the gospel.

They had lost the gospel in wrongly emphasizing good works, giving money, indulgences, as if those things led to getting salvation from the church itself. They had lost the gospel in priests and popes and saints instead of Christ. They had lost the gospel because nobody knew it! The Bible was only translated into a dead language that just a few professional people could read. They didn’t sing the Bible or have it preached to them in their own language.

We call the Medieval period of history “the Dark Ages” for a reason. The gospel had (by and large, there were always exceptions! God always has a remnant. The gospel had) gone dark.

The gospel had been just about lost.

That’s why Luther loved Galatians. Remember that I said that Luther loved Galatians so much he nicknamed it after his wife?

Because Luther could see how Galatians spoke directly into the problems of the situation of his day. How the Medieval Church had adopted a form of the Galatian heresy and was teaching people they were justified by their works and not by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

I almost dressed up like Martin Luther for the sermon today and got up here and nailed 95 theses to that door over there. But I couldn’t find a floppy hat. Just kidding.

The point of the Reformation isn’t Martin Luther (as used by God as he was!).

The point of the Reformation is that God used the Reformation to recover the gospel.

I’m not going to give you the whole history of the Reformation this morning.

I’d like to. I’d love to give a long lecture on how it all came about. Because it’s a wild and crazy story full of twists and turns. And some pretty amazing people. And some real rapscallions, including, sadly, at times Luther himself.

This whole month, there have been a boatload of great resources posted online that unpack that history in really interesting and relevant ways.

I have lectures, books, and articles that I’d be glad to recommend to you if you wanted to get to know the story better.

But I’m preaching the Bible today, not giving a history lecture.

So I asked myself what I should preach on from the Bible if I were marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation?

I mean why should we care about the Reformation today?

And you know, there are a lot of good answers to that.

I mean, we’ve already noted our history.

We are not Lutherans, but we are heirs of the Reformation.

We are Protestants here.

And practically speaking, we have so much for which to thank the Reformers.

Congregational Singing, for example.

Not just that they gave us songs like “A Mighty Fortress,” but they recovered congregational singing. Not just choirs singing to us, but the congregation itself singing to God. Remember we learned that back in February? Congregational singing was recovered by the Reformers.

Biblical Preaching! The Reformers emphasized teaching and preaching the Bible to the people. In their heart language! The vernacular!

The Reformers believed in Bible translation. Luther translated the Bible into German. Germans still use it today. Wycliffe and Tyndale translated the Bible into...English!

The fact that you have a Bible sitting in your lap right now or on your phone in your own language is in many ways a blessing that came from the Reformation.

Pastors, doing pastoral ministry. That comes from the Reformation, too. I heard a whole lecture in February at the EFCA Theology Conference on how pastoral ministry as we know it now is a byproduct of the Reformation.

This has been Pastor Appreciation Month, and I feel very appreciated. Thank you. And I appreciate that my very role as pastor has been shaped by the Reformation.

We could go on. The Reformation reshaped marriage. You know Martin Luther was a monk that got married?!

That’s a change! And it changed how people thought about the institution of marriage. About how good marriage was. And that marriage wasn’t second class to being a celebrate priest.

And the Reformation changed work. Luther’s view of vocation, of our how our work is a part of our worship, changed people’s understanding of their daily labors.

Remember that series I preached on work two years ago? I’m going to give a short version of that next week at the Deep and Wide Conference in Deep Creek Maryland. Joel Michaels is going preach here. You’re not going to want to miss that.

But I’m going to be preaching on work. And my insights on work as worship will be shaped by the Reformers and how they recovered the doctrine of vocation.

There are lots of reasons to care about the Reformation.

But the biggest one is the gospel itself.

That’s what I kept coming back to again and again as I thought about preaching this message on this Sunday.

Here’s why we should care about the Reformation:

Because the point of the Reformation is that God used it to recover the gospel.

And how important is the gospel?

Let’s read 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 1 through 11.

It’s not Galatians, but it is Paul. And Paul is again, as he always is, talking about the gospel. V.1

How important is the gospel?

Of all of the messages that you will hear in your life.

Of all of the truths that you will be told.

Of all of the stories that you will learn.

Of all of the ideas that you will explore.

How important is the gospel?

Well, what did Paul say in verse 3?

He said that he had received this gospel, and he had passed it on to the Corinthians as of first importance.

Number one.

This message above all other messages.
This truth above all other truths.
This story above all other stories.
This idea above all other ideas.

“What I received I passed on to you as of first importance...”

The gospel!

Like say around here: The Main Thing Is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.

And the Main Thing is the gospel.

Paul is going to teach, in this chapter, on the resurrection. Because apparently there were some false ideas circulating about the resurrection that Paul needed to fix.

And it was important because the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our consequent resurrection as well someday is a vital part of the gospel message that Paul preached.

So he reminds them. V.1

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.”

That sounds a lot like Martin Luther, doesn’t it?

When Luther was brought before the Diet of Worms by the ecclesiastical authorities of the day who demanded that he recant his teachings, to repent of his gospel.

He gave what we call the “Here I Stand” speech.

He said, “...my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. [Here I stand.] God help me. Amen.”

Paul said to the Corinthians that they had also taken their stand on the gospel.

They had received it. And they had stood on it.

And that’s true for us today.

So I titled this message, “Here We Stand.”

Because we, too, have received this gospel, and we have taken our stand upon it.

I want to point out three main things about this gospel in 1 Corinthians 15.


“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

“By this gospel you are saved...”

That’s how important the gospel is! It’s how God saves us!

Remember Romans 1:16

“I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes...”

It isn’t just good news. It is the good news that saves people from their sins.

How does it do that?  Look at verse 3.

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...”

Notice “Sola Scriptura” there. Paul doesn’t appeal to some other outside authority. He appeals to the Scriptures.

And the Scriptures taught that the gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead.

That’s “Solus Christus,” isn’t it?

That salvation comes through what Jesus did. Not what anybody else did. Not some saint or some relic or some priest or Mary. But through Jesus alone.

The gospel is the good news of Jesus’ death.

Good news? Now, why would we be glad that Jesus died?

Because of these three words in verse 3, “for our sins.”

Jesus’ death was not an ordinary death. It was a sacrificial death.

Jesus died on the Cross as our substitute. He died the death that we should die.

He died “for our sins.”

And since He died for them, we don’t have to!

Isn’t that good news?!  It’s the best news!

Because believing in that news will get you saved. It’s a saving gospel.

But you do have to believe it. V.2 again.

“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

That’s Sola Fide. By faith alone.

Christians believe the gospel.

And they keep believing it. The proof that the Corinthians’ faith was genuine was that they stuck with it. Paul doesn’t have a category for “believers” who do not believe!

Now, don’t think that this means that your salvation is only as strong as your ability to keep believing. If you are a true child of God, then He has committed His vast and powerful resources to keep you believing. Many of the Reformers taught that, too!

But if you stop believing, if you no longer hold firmly to the word preached to you, you can have very little assurance that your faith was genuine in the first place. A faith that gives up on the Gospel is not a saving faith at all. It is “in vain.”

That’s what was at stake in Galatia!

Remember Paul was afraid that he had preached the gospel there in vain because some Galatians were talking about abandoning it. And adopting another gospel which would really be no gospel at all.

Salvation comes by faith alone in Christ alone.

That’s what the Reformers recovered for us.

And that’s what we stand on.

Here we stand on a saving gospel.


By that, I mean that is historical and verifiable. It comes to us through witnesses.

The first set of witnesses was the Scriptures. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Paul is appealing to the witness of the Old Testament which predicted the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. Like Isaiah 53.

Second was the witness of eyewitnesses. V.5.

“[And I passed on to you that] he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles...” Stop there for a second.

Eyewitnesses. The Corinthians heard that this gospel was not just a hallucination or a lie. It was verifiable history. Eyewitnesses had seen His death, and (more importantly) eyewitnesses had seen Jesus alive again! Over 500 at one time! And many of those were still alive to give personal, eyewitness testimony when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.

If 500 people had the same facts straight in a court of law in our nation today, the evidence would be overwhelming!

We stand on a factual, historical, verifiable, reliable gospel.

Third, was the abnormal eyewitness of Paul. V.8

“...and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

All these other resurrection appearances were before Jesus’ ascension into heaven.  But Jesus made a special trip to call Paul on the Damascus road.

The word for “abnormally born” here was used of miscarried fetuses. Babies that were born pre-maturely.  Here Paul is saying that he was spiritually born POST-maturely. This was not the usual way of saving someone or calling them into the apostleship. It was abnormal, especially in its timing.

But he had seen the risen Christ and Christ had appointed him to be an apostle. V.9

“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

Remember what Paul said in Galatians 1 about himself?

Paul was not just ambivalent about Jesus, until he met Him face-to-face, Paul thought that Jesus was a BAD THING for Israel.  He used to believe a different gospel! And he was willing to kill for it.

But one day, Paul got knocked off his donkey by the glory of Jesus Christ and was called to be an apostle of His grace.

God’s grace reaches down to the worst sinner. If He could save Paul, He can save you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your sin is too big for Him to handle.  The blood of Jesus is the most powerful “cleansing agent” in the universe. It can wash you clean, as well.

His grace is so powerful!  It could turn a persecutor into an apostle. Imagine what He can do with you!

And that’s the last thing I want you to see about this gospel.


“Sola Gratia.” Salvation is by the gracious gift of God alone. V.10

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

What is grace?

Grace is unmerited favor. It is not getting the punishment that we do deserve and getting the blessings that we certainly do not deserve.

It’s not logical. It’s not fair. It’s not earned. It’s grace.

It’s a gift.

It’s free.

That’s what Martin Luther re-discovered about 500 years ago.

That the gospel is salvation by a free gift of God’s grace.

You and I can’t earn our salvation.  And we shouldn’t even try.

We have to receive it.

And any gospel that is based upon any other principle than grace, is no gospel at all.

That’s what Paul was saying in Galatians, wasn’t it?

What does Galatians 2:21 say?

We know Galatians 2:20. What does the very next verse say?

Paul says “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Your salvation is by grace or you are not saved!

Remember what Dave Catanzaro preached to us back in February?

Ephesians 2:8, 9, and 10.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

You know what that is?

That’s “Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Soli Deo Gloria.”

We are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

...and who gets to boast?

Who gets the glory? Not us.

God alone gets the glory for our salvation because He did all the work!

And His grace is effectual. That is to say, it accomplishes something.

The grace of God doesn’t just forgive us, justify us, it also enables us to live differently.

It turned a killer into an apostle! Look at verse 10 again.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am [an apostle now!], and his grace to me was not without effect [a double negative meaning “it was effectual!”]. No, I worked harder than all of them [all the rest of the apostles, but he’s not bragging, because it wasn’t something he earned]–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

The grace of God accomplishes something in the hearts and lives of all true Christians.

It changes them. Verse 10 of Ephesians 2. What Dave preached to us in February.

“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

We are not saved BY good works. We are saved FOR good works.

That’s what the Reformers taught us.

They had a saying that it is “faith alone that justifies but the faith that justifies is not alone.” It always is accompanied by good works that come from grace.

Sola Gratia. “By the grace of God I am what I am...”


“Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”

We stand on a gracious gospel.

Passed down to us from the Reformers.

I’m so thankful they had the courage to rediscover it and stand on it even in the face of great opposition and persecution.

What should we do about it today?

I see four things in this passage that make obvious applications for us. Let me give them to you briefly.


Look back at v.1. “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received.”

They didn’t just listen and then walk away.  They took it. They took it in.

Have you done that?

All of this talk is in vain if you don’t personally believe the gospel yourself.

If you don’t take it in by faith.

Have you done that?

What a great day this would be for someone to get saved!

Hearing the gospel on Reformation Sunday. V.3

“that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...” v.2

“By this gospel you are saved!”

I invite you to trust in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and the hope of eternal life.

Receive Christ. Receive His gospel.


V.1 says that the Corinthians did it.

We know the Reformers did it.

We know our forefathers at Lanse Free Church did it.

And God is calling us to do it, too.

We must take our stand and not back down from the gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone which we receive from the Scriptures alone.

And that will mean making some hard choices from time to time.

Sometimes we’ll have to fight.

Sometimes we’ll have to divide over this.

Because the gospel is that important.

Last week I was at Miracle Mountain Ranch teaching a class on Galatians. I read and taught on every verse in all of Galatians in an hour and a half. That was crazy! You think I talk too much and too fast here?!

But one of things I told them about was the “Chapter One Test” that I use when I have to decide whether or not to do shared ministry with someone else who calls themselves a Christian.

The first question I ask is if we have the same gospel or not.

Remember the folks in Philippians chapter 1 who were preaching the gospel for the wrong reasons, from the wrong motivations?

They didn’t like Paul, and they were like trying to get his goat by preaching the gospel from selfish ambitions. That’s crazy and dumb, by the way.

But what does Paul say. “No big whup.” Right?

That’s in the Greek! “No big whup.” He says “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

That’s Philippians chapter 1.

What does Paul say in Galatians chapter 1?

“If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”

What’s the difference?

The difference is the gospel.

We have to take our stand on the gospel.

There are lots of things that we can let go.

Lots of things that we can let slide and not come between us.

There are lots of secondary things out there not worth fighting about.

But the gospel is worth fighting for.

And when called upon, we cannot back down.

We must take our stand.

And number three, hold firm.


That’s what Paul said in verse 2. We can’t let the gospel go.

We can’t let it slip out of our fingers.

We’ve got hold on to it and not lose it once again.

It could be lost again. It would not be hard.

All the church has to do is take their eyes off the ball.

And Satan offers that temptation to every generation of the church.

To believe a different gospel and go back to the darkness.

Believe the gospel of medicine.
Believe the gospel of science.
Believe the gospel of education.
Believe the gospel of self-esteem.
Believe the gospel of money.
Believe the gospel of racial superiority.
Believe the gospel of American Nationalism.
Believe the gospel of world religions.
Believe the gospel of self-determined sexual expression.
Believe the gospel of entertainment and comfort.
Believe the gospel of church growth or health, wealth, and prosperity.
Believe the gospel of salvation through the Church, salvation by good works, salvation by our own efforts. Salvation by law-keeping.

Satan offers these and many more to every generation.

But we need to hold firmly to the gospel that Paul preached, Luther preached, and that we have believed.


Make it first priority.

Do you know the gospel?

Could you explain the gospel to somebody if they asked?

When was the last time you told somebody the gospel?

How important is the gospel?

We have to get the gospel right, make sure we have it right, and then put it in its rightful first place.

Kids, if your Mom or Dad or someone asks you what the sermon was about today when you’re having lunch, tell them, “The Main thing. The Main Thing is the Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing. And the Gospel is the Main Thing. And the Reformers recovered the gospel.”

You can say more than that. Show off the Latin phrases that you learned.

But that’s the main thing.

That’s the main reason for us to care about the Reformation.

Because we must care about the gospel.

Let me give you one more Latin phrase to take home with you today.

“Post Tenebras Lux”

That was another catch-phrase from the Reformation.

Anybody know what it means?

“After Darkness...Light!”

The gospel had gone dark, but 500 years ago God in His perfect wisdom and power saw fit to shine a new light on the gospel and from the gospel to His people once again.

Salvation is according to the Scripture alone by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone.

May the light of the gospel continue to shine on us and from us into the world.


Questions for Group Discussion:

1. Why did Pastor Matt pick 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 for his Reformation 500 sermon? Why do think he thought that was the most appropriate passage to highlight for this special anniversary? Do you agree? What other scripture passages might have been good ones to focus on for this event?

2. How does the Reformation figure into our two concurrent sermon series in 2017?  “The Truth of the Gospel (Galatians)” and “Gospel Roots?”

3. What are the 5 Solae (“Solas”) of the Reformation, the rallying cries of the Reformers? [Extra credit if you can give them in Latin!] Can you name one Scripture verse that relates to each one?

4. What are some of the significant “side-benefits” of the Reformation that Pastor Matt mentioned? How important are they to you?

5. The Reformers were courageous heroes of the Christian faith in their day, but they also were sinners with inexcusable flaws. How should we think about and appropriately honor human heroes without arguing away their failures? What are the biblical categories that help us to process those issues?

[Closing Bonus Question with Latin that wasn’t in the sermon!] 6. The Reformation is not yet finished. What does the phrase, “ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda” mean? And how does it relate to us today?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Pass It On" by Champ Thornton

Got my hands on a first edition of Champ Thornton's newest book! 

Look for a review, interview, and giveaway contest next week.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

And the Winner is....

... Meredith Broadway!!!

Congratulations, Meredith, on winning a copy of A Small Book about a BIG Problem by Ed Welch. Send me your address so that the generous folks at New Growth Press can send you your free book.

Thank you, everyone who participated! If you want to buy your own copy, visit Amazon, New Growth Press, Westminster Bookstore or any other book retailer today.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Win a Copy of "A Small Book About a BIG Problem" by Ed Welch

Ed Welch is one of my greatest mentors in both life and ministry. His teaching, example, writing, and personal interactions have had an outsized influence on me for which I am truly grateful.

Ed understands how people tick. He knows how people feel, think, and behave and why people feel, think, and behave as they do. He even knows how people change. And he's good at talking about it! Ed has a way of boiling down complex ideas of the inner-workings of the human heart and the intersection of the human heart with God's Word into cogent, concise, and relatable language. So when I saw that Ed had written a short book on anger, I jumped at the chance to read it. I wasn't disappointed.

My Biggest Problem With This Book Is a Small One.

First, the critique.

I hate the title. It's accurate because the book is small (the 185 pages are only 4"x6"!) and the problem it talks about is big and affects us all, but you can't tell from the name what the book is actually about. The small print subtitle helps a little: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace. I like the simplicity and color-scheme of the cover, but it also doesn't signal what is inside. Most of Ed's titles are timeless classics--Blame It on the Brain?, Running Scared, Shame Interrupted, When People Are Big and God Is Small, Side by Side--so this one is a bit of a let-down.

The Biggest Strength of This Book Is Not a Small One.

Okay. Glad I got that off my chest. I really don't have any other criticism to offer. This is a great book! The genius of it is how Ed crams 50 pungent meditations into such a small space and at a perfect pace.

Ed hasn't written a bunch of "devotional nuggets" with flowery, mystical, syrupy thoughts. He has distilled the dynamics of human anger and found 50 helpful ways to approach the problem biblically. Reading it is like having a really good conversation with a really good counselor. But a purposeful conversation. Ed doesn't waste time or words to get to the heart of things. For example, Day 41 begins, "If you want to know what you really think about the Lord, watch how you live." And he ends most of the short chapters with a searching question or two for application. It's really powerful stuff.

And it's funny, too. Day 36 begins, "You usually don't want to mess with raccoons, but this one was extreme." You know you want to read that chapter! The humor is often self-deprecatingly disarming and, before you know it, you see yourself (and your own hang-ups) in the mirror.

When I first started reading it, I said this on social media:
This book is small like a "ghost pepper" is small.
I expect that this small book will have big impact in people's lives.

Win Your Own Copy

Starting today, I'm offering a contest to win a copy of A Small Book About a BIG Problem. The good folks at New Growth Press will send a copy to the winner picked at random.

Entering this contest is very simple:

1. Leave a comment on this post (either here or on Facebook) with your name on it.

2. Wait to see if you win. I'll be drawing the names out of a hat. It's that easy! (Don't forget to check back or subscribe to updates to find out if you win--I'll need your mailing address if you do.)

You can also increase your chances of winning by posting about this contest on your social media page (FB, Twitter, Blog, Pinterest, etc.). Just send me an email or leave a comment with the link so that I know that you've expanded the reach of the contest. For each time you link to the contest, you get your name added to the hat one more time (limit of 7 chances, the contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Thursday night, October 19th).

I'll announce the winner on Friday.

Can't Wait Till Friday?

Buy your own copy now. [Amazon, New Growth Press, Westminster Bookstore]

And one for a friend. Ed recently wrote a humorous post about whether or not it is impolite to buy a book on anger for someone else. I thought his answer was not just funny but really loving, too.

Walk Through the Ideas with Ed

Want more?

CCEF is offering an 8 week video series with Ed directly delivered to your inbox.

By the way, Ed's book would make a great companion to David Powlison's Good and Angry which I reviewed last year. They are good friends, and their insights into anger are compatible and mutually support each other. David's writing is more essay-like, expansive and comprehensive. Ed's writing is more staccato and direct.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicty for the review copy of A Small Book About a BIG Problem.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

[Matt's Messages] “Keep in Step with the Spirit”

“Keep in Step with the Spirit”
Galatians: The Truth of the Gospel
October 15, 2017 :: Galatians 5:16-25

Our series is called “The Truth of the Gospel” because that’s what was at stake in Galatia.

Paul had been there and planted churches in that region, and he loved them, and they loved him.

But false teachers had crept into the churches and begun spreading a false gospel which is really no gospel at all.

The false teachers were saying that to be justified, to be righteous before God on the last day, a person must observe the Mosaic Law and rely on observing the Mosaic Law.

And that’s a false gospel. That’s not how it works.

So Paul has sounded the alarm and has systematically dismantled this false gospel and urged the Galatians to stick with the truth of the gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Does that sound familiar? I hope so because I don’t have time to go back and preach the first four and a half chapters again to you this morning!

In chapter 5, which is where we are now, Paul has brought it all to a climax and reminded the Galatians that it was for freedom that Christ had set them free so they shouldn’t go back to a yoke of slavery to the Law.

But also that they shouldn’t use this freedom to indulge their flesh, their sinful nature.

Jesus has brought us freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.

He has called us to be free to serve others in love.

Apparently, these Galatians were having trouble getting along with each other. Paul says in verse 15 that they were “biting and devouring each other.”

That’s not what our freedom in Christ is for.

Our freedom in Christ is given to us so that we can love our neighbors as ourselves.

We are set free from the Law so that we can fulfill the Law!

But how do we do that?

Where does the power come from to do that?

Kevin told us last week. 

When he took us John chapter 14.

When he told us about Jesus’ promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And what a difference the Holy Spirit makes in our lives!

The Holy Spirit is the power source for the Christian life.

The Holy Spirit is the dynamo that makes it all possible.

Paul reminded the Galatians in chapter 3 that they had received the Holy Spirit by faith. Now he tells them to “Keep in Step with the Spirit.”

That’s what he says in the very last line of our passage for today. Galatians 5:16-25.

“Keep in Step with the Spirit.”

This passage of scripture is full of good news.

This passage of holy scripture is just overflowing with good news for Christians like you and me.

Often, when I read it, I don’t feel it that way. I don’t recognize that.

When I read about the flesh and its works, it seems so powerful and ugly.

And even when I read about the beautiful fruit of the Spirit in verses 22 and 23, I am reminded how far short I fall in reflecting that fruit right now.

I can read this passage and feel condemned.

But as I read it carefully this week, I saw how Paul was urging the Galatians to keep in step with the Holy Spirit because Paul was sure that the Holy Spirit was going to powerfully work within them.

This passage is just brimming with good news.

Let me give it to you in 3 points.


Look again at verses 16 through 18 and notice the fighting words.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

Here’s the truth: There is a war going on between the sinful nature and the Spirit.  And this war rages across the hearts of Christians.

Now, we know who the Holy Spirit is. Kevin told us about Him last week.

Who is the “sinful nature?”  Or if you have the King James or the ESV, “The flesh.”

Who is that? Not “The Flash.” “The Flesh.” Who is that?

The “flesh” is the Old You. It’s your old way of life.  Pre-Christian. What’s left-over of your old sinful self now that you have become a believer in Jesus Christ.

It’s not just your bodily cravings. It’s all of your old spiritual passions and desires.

Everybody’s got one of these sinful natures. Not just unbelievers.

Remember when we learned the phrase, simul justus et peccator?  That’s from Martin Luther who taught that Christians are simultaneously righteous ones and sinners. We are declared righteous in Christ (justified) and given a new heart when we came to faith in Christ (regenerated), but our new hearts are not yet perfected (glorified) and sin still dwells within us.

Yes! The Holy Spirit dwells within us, and yet, so does sin!

Now, let me ask you a question...

How do you think the Holy Spirit feels about living in the same residence as the Sinful Nature?

Do they want the same things? No they don’t. V.17

“For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.”

So what do we have? We have a fight going on.

The Spirit and the Sinful Nature (v.17), “are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

Now, we all feel this, don’t we?

Don’t you often feel like there is a battle going on inside of you?

I want to be holy, but I don’t want to be holy. Right?
I want to be pure, but I don’t want to be pure.
I want to speak the truth, but I also want to tell lies.
I want to be a man of peace, but I also want to fight.
I want to be content, but I also want to be gluttonous.

You know how that feels, don’t you?

Well, I have two pieces of good news for you.

Number One.  Praise the Lord! It’s a good thing that there is a war inside of you.  Because it’s HIS War! If there was no battle, then you might have to wonder if you had the Holy Spirit inside of you at all!

You know, I’m not very worried about folks who come to me and confess terrible struggles with sin and the battle that they feel all the time to gain some victory.

You know whom I am worried about?

I’m much more worried about people I see who have just given in to sin and aren’t struggling with it very much. Or who aren’t even aware of their indwelling sin because they don’t yet have the Spirit within them to start the warfare!

So, praise the Lord for the war within.

And secondly, Praise the Lord! The victory is sure! Because this is His Fight, we know how it’s going to ultimately turn out.

Who's going to win the “cage-match” of your Soul? The Sinful Nature or the Holy Spirit?

Not “what does it feel like sometimes!”

Even the Apostle Paul felt sometimes like the Flesh was going to win (remember what he said Romans 7!).

But Who do you really think is ultimately going to win this battle?

My money is on the Spirit. Any fight that the Holy Spirit seriously takes up is NO CONTEST.

That’s why Paul says to live by Him. V.16 again.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you WILL NOT (guaranteed) gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

Literally, it says to “walk by the Spirit.”

I think that means that the Spirit provides the direction and the empowerment for the Christian life.

To walk is to live in a certain direction, and Christians walk by the Spirit.

He provides both the direction and the power to move.

And if we’re walking by the Spirit, the flesh simply will not win.

Isn’t that good news?

And look at verse 18!

Paul says, “I know it feels like you can’t do what you want to do.” “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

And that’s what Christians are. They are those who are led by the Holy Spirit.

They are guided through life by the Spirit.

The word “if” there in verse 18 could be translated, “since.”

“SINCE you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

You’re under grace! We’ve heard this before, haven’t we?

You’re released from the law because of the Spirit.

You don’t NEED the Law! You’ve got something more powerful uat work inside of you doing battle with the Flesh, and Who will win.

The Spirit will win His fight.

Do you need to hear that today?

I know it’s frustrating that there is war going on in your heart.

And it seems like it will never end.

It starts every morning when you get up, right?

It’s relentless.

And willpower alone doesn’t cut it.

But the Spirit will win His fight.

He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion for the day of Christ Jesus.

You’re a Christian! So you are led by the Spirit. You are not under Law.

Walk by the Spirit, and you WILL NOT gratify the desires of the flesh.

Isn’t that good news?

And what does His “winning” look like?

What does it look like when the Holy Spirit wins that fight?

It looks like...fruit.


V.19 “The acts of the sinful nature [the deeds that the sinful nature produces] are obvious [obviously sinful, that is]: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

As usual, Paul starts with the bad news.

If you live like verses 19-21, then you can have no assurance that you are going to inherit the kingdom of God.

Why?  Because these things come out of the sinful nature and are signs that the sinful nature is all that there is to know about you: sexual immorality (which is sex outside of the covenant of marriage), impurity (not being pure) and debauchery (which is giving yourself fully over to your unholy sexual passions); idolatry and witchcraft (both of those are false worship–of other gods); hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy (those are all relational-type sins); drunkenness, orgies, and the like (which opens these categories up for expansion as we think up new ways to sin and new levels to take sin to).

If that’s what characterizes your life, then it’s pretty obvious what you are living from: the flesh, the sinful nature. And it’s ugly!

And Paul warns us that if that describes us, then we aren’t headed to heaven.

If that’s your lifestyle. If that’s your regular practice. If that’s your pattern of life.

Paul warned them before and he warns them again.

And he warns us, if your life looks like verses 19 through 21, then it’s pretty obvious that you aren’t going to get the kingdom of God.

But catch this!

That’s not what He expects of believers! Paul expects believers to live by the Spirit, to walk by the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit, and embody the fruit of the Spirit.

V.22. Famous words:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

My parents have a plaque with these two verses hanging in their kitchen in Ohio.

When I was growing up on the farm, it hung over the stair steps. I used to just sit on the landing and read that plaque over and over again and commit it to memory.

I didn’t know then that it was in the Bible! But I knew that it was good.

I knew that it was beautiful.

That’s a beautiful list isn’t it?

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Who wouldn’t want those 9 virtues to describe them?

Well, guess what?

That’s what the Holy Spirit is doing inside of you!

What Paul is saying is that these character qualities are produced by the Holy Spirit when He comes to live inside of us.

This is HIS FRUIT.

“The fruit of the Spirit is...” these things.

Fruit is the product of some process, organically-tied to its source.

Apples are the product of apple-making trees.
Oranges are the product of orange-making trees.
Acorns are the product of acorn-making trees called oaks.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (and other such things) are the product of a Holy Spirit-making process in our hearts.

They are HIS FRUIT.

And He is going to produce it in us!

Isn’t that wonderful?

The Spirit will produce His fruit in us.

His love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, His self-control worked into me. Worked into you.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have any part in it.  It’s not just automatic.

But this fruit doesn’t come from our own self-effort and independent hard work, either.

This is HIS WORK in us.

And our job is simply to repent, trust, and cooperate as He produces it in us.

I’ve made the mistake before of trying to make Galatians 5:22&23 a checklist of character items that I need to achieve. Like levels in a video game.

Of course, I want these verses to be true of me!

They are a beautiful list of character traits that are exemplified by the person of Jesus Christ!

But I can’t just walk up to them and achieve them by myself or with a little help from my friends and then check them off of my list.

Love.  Check.
Joy.  Check.
Peace. Check.

No, I need the Holy Spirit to create these things in me as I yield to Him. As I keep in step with Him.

And when He does, then I increasingly begin to look like Jesus.

As the Spirit produces His fruit in us, we are increasingly restored to the image of Christ.

And that means that we are increasingly...holy.

This is what holiness is. These 9 things are holiness lived out in someone’s life.

Sometimes, we think that holiness is NOT doing certain things.

“I don’t smoke. I don’t chew. I don’t go with girls that do.”

And forsaking unholy things is a part of holiness. It’s saying NO to verses 19, 20, and 21.

But it’s so much more than that!

Holiness is being a loving person. Putting someone’s needs ahead of your own.

Holiness is being a joyful person. Someone who is filled with a happiness that isn’t tied to their circumstances and how things are going in their life.

Holiness is being a peaceful person.  Someone who isn’t ruffled by the difficulties of life. Not that they ignore them, but their boat isn’t upset by the wind and waves of adversity. They have peace with God, and they are peaceable with others, and they are at peace in themself. That’s holy!

Holiness is having patience. The King James Version translates this “longsuffering.”  What a great description. That’s putting up with someone or something for a long time–longsuffering–without complaining.

When you or I see that in another believer–we’re seeing holiness. His fruit!

Holiness is kindness. Being a person who finds something good to say to someone that will build them up and not tear them down–even when it’s hard to do. There are some really kind people in this church–and it’s holy!

Holiness is goodness. Wholesomeness, moral beauty on the inside where it really counts.

Holiness is faithfulness. Sticking to promises.

Holiness is gentleness or meekness. Strength under control. Strength used for someone else’s good instead of to overpower them. Power with the power to caress.  That’s holy! And it comes from the Holy Spirit.

Holiness is self-control. Being a person who has himself or herself under command.  And that’s holiness!

This is what holiness looks like! And it is the fruit of the Spirit.

And the Spirit is going to produce it in us.

All of it!

This Summer our prayer meeting studied the fruit of the Spirit one piece at time.

And we noted every week that it says the “fruit” of the Spirit (singular) not the “fruits” of the Spirit (plural).

Not like the works of the sinful nature. The fruit of the Spirit.

And we said this Summer that that means that we don’t get to pick and choose.

“I want to be loving but I don’t want to be patient.”

“I want to have joy, but I don’t want to be self-controlled.”

No, you need all of that fruit.

But here’s something even more wonderful. This is really a promise that the Spirit is going to do this in you. He’s going to do this to you.

That’s what the Spirit is doing in you.

It’s His work!

He’s making you beautiful!

He’s making you like Jesus!

His fight in verses 16 through 18 is producing His fruit in verses 22 and 23.

That’s a description of what the Spirit is up to in you.

In you!

And Paul says, “Against such things there is no law.”

Of course that means that it’s not against any law to be loving and joyful and peaceful.

But I think he’s also saying that these things are not produced the Mosaic Law either.

You don’t need a law to produce this kind of living.

You don’t need circumcision.

You need the Spirit!

And guess what?  You have Him!


Look at verse 24.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”

Now, that’s really good news.

Paul is taking us back to our conversion, and he’s tell us what happened then.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus...” Who’s that?

That’s the people who have put their faith alone in Christ alone, right?

That’s us.

And what did we do when we put our faith alone in Christ alone?

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”

When we repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus Christ, we put a nail into our flesh.

And we started the process of killing it.

I almost got out a hammer and nails and pounded on in up here.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”

Those are strong words.

What do they remind you of?

Our memory verse right? Our “Hide the Word” verse.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Now verse 24 is not saying the exact same thing.

It’s built on that Galatians 2:20. Because of Galatians 2:20 and how I was crucified with Christ, I have crucified my flesh.

And it is dying.

The sinful nature was dethroned at the Cross.

More than dethroned. It was defeated.

Decisively. It has received its death-blow.

Yes, it’s still staggering around.

Living a zombie existence, trying to pretend its in charge, fighting and insurgency to try to regain control.

But it is a defeated enemy.

It’s doomed to lose because it has been crucified with its passions and desires.

It has lost. The flesh has lost.

For whom? V.24

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus...”
Those the Holy Spirit lives inside of.
Those in whom He is producing His fruit.

Those whom He has given new life. V.25

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

We live by the Spirit.
We live by His power.
He has regenerated us.
He has given us a new heart, a new life.

This “live” is not the same word for “live” as in verse 16.

That was “walk.” This is literally, “live.”

“Get your life from.”

We get our life from the Spirit!

And that makes all the difference!

So, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

You see how his logic works?

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Don’t go back to the Law.
Don’t go back to your old life.
Don’t go back to giving in to the flesh.

Don’t stop fighting the flesh! It’s ultimately crucified. Crucify it again today!

Keep in step with the Spirit.

That’s also a different word from verse 16.

It means to walk, but to walk in line with a leader.

It means that the Holy Spirit is our leader, and we’re supposed to play follow the leader.

It’s basically what we mean by discipleship.

Walking with God the Holy Spirit.

Do you see how this passage is full of good news?

This passage doesn’t say, “Yeah, you better clean up your life. You’ve got a lot of work to do. That stuff about justification by faith? It only goes so far, and then you’ve got to really get to work.”

That’s not what Paul is saying.

Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit is at work in all genuine Christians.

And His work is so much more powerful than what the Law could do.

And so much more beautiful.

And so much more effective.

Yes, there is a battle inside of you, but that’s good news.

Because the Spirit will win His fight in you.
And the Spirit will produce His fruit in you.

Because you belong to Jesus!

You are crucified with Christ.

And you have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

And the Spirit has given you new life.

So...just keep in step with Him!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday, October 07, 2017