The challenge that Zephaniah gives the student of the Bible is immense. As with most Minor Prophets, there’s constant friction between immediate and far-off future prophecies. This is why studying end times (eschatology) is so challenging.
The challenge that Zephaniah gives the student of the Bible is immense. As with most Minor Prophets, there’s constant friction between immediate and far-off future prophecies. This is why studying end times (eschatology) is so challenging.
This week’s edition of musings will be more like ramblings. It’s been a few weeks since I last posted anything, but I thought I would touch on several things in this post that might be of interest.
There is simply too much to talk about when it came to my trip to the Phillippines. Here is a trip report that attempts to describe how grateful I was to be part of this ministry team.
The next time you get worried about sharing the gospel with someone or worried about how God could use someone like you, just remember that Jonah preached a 5-word sermon, and God flipped Ninevah upside. Just give that some thought…much like God speaking through a donkey (Numbers 22:28), God did the miraculous in a most unusual way. The Lord will always send out His word to accomplish his plans.
Bruce’s sermon was fantastic. It was clear, challenging, and faithful and made us long for Jesus more. I think if the Apostle Paul were writing about men today, Bruce Wells would be one of those who have the interests of Christ in his heart and who have given their lives for the Lord. I’m grateful for Bruce, and I know you are as well.
One of the reasons why Amos is such an intriguing study for me is because I like straight talkers. I’ve never been a fan of people hiding their intentions, playing games, and never telling me the straight truth. I’m not a veiled communicator, and I’m not a fan when others are veiled in their communication to me. So, while Amos is hard-hitting, he was remarkably refreshing to study.
I mentioned on Sunday that my hope for us to learn the book of Joel was to see how big our God is and how He is intricately involved in every facet of universal history. And I said in the 2nd service that I would write a little on this from the book of Job.
This new series that we began on Sunday is one that I’ve been looking forward to teaching. Most of that is because of the cultural moment we find ourselves in being “on the outside looking in.” But also, I know how refreshing it was to my soul to spend in the Minor Prophets. I found solace in the fact that these prophets spoke forthrightly and directly to God’s people about their sins and how they should think during their time in exile.
I have always been reluctant to extend myself beyond my “borders” regarding leadership. So, I declined anytime an outside organization asked me to serve on a board. I did this because I want my time given to my family, church, and community. And when it comes to community things, I’ve limited myself to the game of baseball because that’s about all I can handle. I have also declined because I don’t “need” other leadership positions for my self-esteem or prestige. In my younger years, this would’ve been a huge temptation, and part of my declination over the years has been to guard my soul against any speck of selfish ambition.
Several people approached me before preaching on Sunday to let me know that Romans 8:12-25 was one of their favorite passages in the Bible. So, I sure hope that I did that passage justice for those of you who love it, and I hope that the wonder of that passage still resonates in your hearts. What a text!
This is why we must cling to the truths of Romans 5-8. In our union with Christ, God no longer determines our relationship with Him based on our sin, our fickle love for Him, or how we feel in the morning. God relates to us solely on our union with Christ.
Throughout this series, “United with Christ, I see things in Romans 5-8 that I’ve studied before, but they have come to me with new freshness and joy. Focusing on these chapters has given me a new sense of freedom from the power and penalty of sin and Jesus being my righteous advocate before God. It is simply a stunning display of God’s grace and power that stir me to gratitude and worship.
Romans 6 is a breath-taking look at how the power and penalty of sin do not dominate our lives anymore. It is a text about true freedom. Freedom to live as God intended and the joy that living in that freedom brings us. It’s a chapter about how sanctification (being more like Jesus) happens in our lives. It’s a chapter that shows us the reality and power of Christ’s work for us and how that reality works itself out in our everyday lives.
Romans 6 talks about our real, spiritual union with Jesus. It’s about how God sees our position and status before Him. He not only relates with us based on Jesus’ righteousness, but He frees us from sin’s power and penalty because when Christ died, our old sinful self died with Him, and when Jesus was raised from the dead, our new man was raised with Him. Sin’s power no longer enslaves, and sin’s penalty no longer hangs over our heads. That’s what this text is really about.
So, one of my prayers for our nation is a prayer I have for our church (which is who this blog post is for), is this: that we would be respectful, grace-filled people, who treat others who disagree with us with gentleness and kindness, and we commit ourselves to let truth win our hearts. It’s a big ask for the nation, but it’s not a big prayer for our church.
Sunday was a rich day with our church. I knew going into Sunday that it would be one of those days that I would look back on fondly. The main reason was the text and sermon series we were beginning. Romans 5-8 are some of the most theological encouraging chapters in the entire Bible.
Now, with this crazy week, I decided not to preach on 1 Timothy but to preach on “The Functional Centrality of the Gospel.” It really is the most important lesson of my life. And like I said Sunday, “if I were to preach the last sermon of my life, this would be it.” Lord willing, this wasn’t my last one, but it’s sure an important message.
the church that pastor and I love the people that I get to serve alongside. I have told the Lord many times that I just can’t believe that I get to do what I get to do. Yes, pastoring is hard. But it’s joyful labor. And the church I pastor makes it that way.
I had a few of you ask on Sunday about how the Good Samaritan story would fit into the sermon on Sunday. It’s a great question. But here’s a very brief summary with an explanation: The Good Samaritan story was taught by Jesus to the Jewish people about their lack of love for anyone who wasn’t Jewish. 1 Timothy 6 was written to a pastor regarding how the church should care for those in their church who were truly in need.
It’s always a daunting task to teach about the role of pastors while being a pastor. I never want a sermon like that to come off as “we have it so hard” or “you just don’t know what we go through.” My hope in Sunday’s sermon through 1 Timothy 4:6-16 is the joy, gratitude, and wonder I have in being a pastor.
It’s funny how our background affects the way we see things. As I grew up in ministry, one of the things that always bothered me was the “glitz” of ministry. Don’t get me wrong…I was drawn to it. And at times, even pursued it. But it always bothered me. I have never liked the idea that the church needs to “keep up with the world” (or, using a common phrase, “keep up with the Joneses).
Our last two weeks, previous to Sunday, were incredible Sundays at CLF. One of the challenges of church ministry is to fight the urge to hit home runs every week. Jeffrey Jo, being with us…home run. Easter Sunday…home run. Someone asked me last week: “How do we follow Easter?” My reply was that we keep doing what we’ve always tried to do…be faithful to God and His word.
I usually park in our new parking lot south of our church building. As I walk to the church building, I spend time praying. Last Sunday, I marveled at God’s kindness to our church and me as the pastor. I prayed for our Easter gathering and just marveled….”God, You have been kind to us.”
We see it in Paul and Barnaba’s missions in Acts. And we see it in history. But that is pioneering work. They are going where the gospel has not gone before, preaching it and planting new churches. But what happens when there’s a church established or disciples are made? What happens when people of THAT nation trust in Jesus and start churches? Well, in my mind, that’s the goal!
demonstration (life) and declaration (lips), rather than a reflection of the world. What I fear, at times, is that the church attempts to placate to the world on issues of gender, sexuality, marriage, parenting, purity, etc., and in doing so, ruins a gospel witness with the power of transformed lives.
You can’t stop a man like this from serving God’s people. He’s a “church-man” in every sense of the word. He’s got the people for “whom Christ died” in his heart.
repeating. One of the major issues with the truths of God’s word, like authority and submission, is that it has been misapplied so often that it’s hard to believe the truth. But what I said Sunday was that a truth that is misapplied, does not mean the truth is an error. It means the application is in error. We must be careful to not allow bad application to cause us to discredit biblical truth.
God has created our genders in such a way that they are to complement one another. And when each person is playing their role in their God-given gender, it honors and strengthens the other gender. It doesn’t take away from the other gender but enhances it.
when the gospel is preached, believed, and submitted to, it does transformative work in people, nations, and cultures. I hope you noticed the brief tracing I did through history about this. We can get lied to by our media about how bad we have it. We can get lied to by our culture that we don’t have enough “love” or “rights” for others. But, if you look at cultures/nations that have Christian underpinnings, you will find that advances in science, medicine, education, and human flourishing are prevalent everywhere.
The servants at CLF humble me. So many gifts on display…givers, gifts of hospitality, mercy, compassion, teaching, discernment…the list could go on and on. But what makes the gifts function so well at CLF right now is the posture people have toward Christ and one another. This is something never to take for granted and something that only the Lord has done. Praise God!
I thought about this Sunday afternoon. One way to look at false doctrine is as wrong doctrine. It just teaches us the wrong way to be made right with God and one another. That might make it more clear when trying to explain it.
Rightfully so, Christians get frustrated and disillusioned by conflict. And many will say, “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be” or “this isn’t right.” But few Christians are willing to apply what God has taught us in His word to deal with conflict. The reason why God gave us instructions on how to be peacemakers…is because there is going to be conflict.
I picked out two of the most common sins that create division in the church: gossip and slander. I could’ve done more, but those are sadly the most common sins. Scripture gives us clear guidance on handling such things, but it does take courage and God’s power to deal with something like this.
When I began to believe that God loved me more than I could ever imagine because of Jesus, I stopped living for others’ approval because I didn’t “need” it anymore. Rather, in Christ, I had all the love I could ever want/need, and I had a reservoir of love to give out. Further, when I began to believe that God had judged me more than I could ever imagine because Jesus’ death for my sin reveals this, I stopped being crushed by others’ judgments of me because their judgments were not nearly as critical as God’s already was. In Christ, I was truly free.
The fact that there are two types of forgiveness listed in the Bible was new information for some of us. But when there is no confession of sin, there should not be spoken forgiveness to the sinner. Reasons for this are many, but we see this in the Bible. We are not granted forgiveness of our sins until we confess we’re sinners and believe in Jesus.
Here’s the point: for Christians, we’re the only people in the universe who have the power of Christ at our disposal to pursue peace and reconciliation. Yet, most of the time, the issue is that we don’t plug into that power by humbly and obediently doing what Christ has commanded us and leaving the results in His hands. Instead, we never try. We avoid; we isolate, run, and stay in conflict.
As we noticed Sunday, God came to us in the person of Jesus. His coming to us shows us how reconciliation works. The offended party goes, ready to forgive. In reality, Christ came to us to reconcile us to God and then empowered us to be reconciled to one another. We cannot be peacemakers, without the power of THE PEACEMAKER, within us.
These comments are reminders that this series is more like preventative medicine. Our church has enjoyed a wonderful season of unity, joy, and care. The Lord has been very kind to us. And this series is one of the ways that God’s word will protect us in the future.
and see how redemptive history plays out, leading up to Jesus’ coming. Personally, I was freshly affected by this series. I was reminded of great truths of God’s love for us in Christ, of the wonderful thought that we can experience the joy and peace that’s in the Godhead, and how Jesus really is the Genesis 3 Champion. It was a great privilege to walk through this with our church.
But there is a severe issue with this “love myself first” strategy. Namely, it is not the way that God created us. God created us to love God and love others, with the same type of “others-focus, sacrifice” that we find in the Godhead. So, the question is, what did Jesus mean by “love your neighbor as yourself”? Did He mean, “love yourself first, then you can love others like you’re loving yourself”? Or did He mean something else?
One of the challenges for me in preaching on the theme of “Joy” is the amount of time that I’ve heard sermons on this subject attempt to define the difference between joy and happiness. Most of the time, this is done because of statements like “I don’t care what I believe, as long as I’m happy;” or “It doesn’t matter how I live, as long as I’m happy.” So, to be fair, preachers attempt to redefine an unwise humanistic use of the word ‘happy’ and then contrast happiness with biblical joy.
I’ve got to admit, these Advent sermons are growing on me:). I’ve really enjoyed the sermon prep, and I’ve been deeply affected by what I’m learning again. Thinking through big themes, like hope and peace, in the Bible has been a delight to my soul.
I must admit that I’ve always been a bit of a non-traditionalist when it comes to the church history calendar. I cannot explain it except for my youthful zeal. Honestly, I’ve watched churches and people observe traditions, without any connect to the gospel, heart-transformation, or life-adjustments and I just haven’t had any flavor for it. So, I’ve rejected some really good things, like Advent, because I “threw the baby out with the bathwater”.
From Thursday-Sunday of this past week, our elders (pastors) and our wives went to Sunriver for our annual Elder/Wives planning retreat. I thought I would take a few moments in this post to talk about why this is important and what we do while we’re there.
During Bill’s sermon on Sunday, I was really encouraged by his introduction as he compared the division in the Church in Corinth, with the joy that we have experienced at CLF. But what I appreciated about the introduction, was the lesson in his sermon on the importance of humility.
Here’s what I desire for CLF: I want us to be courageous to make decisions that we have prayed about, researched, and we believe are best for us and our families, without the fear of being criticized or falsely accused. Further, I want us to be a church that can have openness of dialogue on very hard issues, be able to disagree, yet not hold one another at “arms length”.
In Sunday’s text, we ran into 1 Corinthians 15:29 that’s just really hard to translate. So, without giving you hundreds of different approaches/interpretations of this, let me just offer two of them that I think are the most plausible.
The Church gathered on Sunday mornings is a cosmic event. It’s a moment in time when we gather together to say, “Jesus is King.” It’s a moment when in unison, we sing praises to the One true God.
In both sermons I thought, “with the treasure that I have in Christ, why do I not read God’s word more and pray more often?” My prayer is that I will apply the things I’ve heard from these two wonderful men.
Sunday was amazing. When we go to the baseball field, I get the unique privilege being in the 1st base dugout until it’s time to preach. The viewpoint from down there is awesome. I can hear the crowd singing, see the entirety of the group, and watch.
I literally can allow situations to dominate my thinking, my time, and my headspace. (Anyone else?) And, because I’m naturally persuaded by my own arguments or ideas (which is pride), I have a tendency to not listen very well to another perspective. Or to put it in the above metaphor, when the Lord tries to pull the binoculars away from my face to correct how I look through them, I anxiously pull them back to the way I like them.
When we recognize that Jesus is God’s final revelation about His character and how to be right with Him, we can stop wrestling in our souls. Here’s what I mean: so often, we feel like we need to be in the “center” of God’s will. We need to have some clear, discernible, ‘word’ from God about our lives. And if we don’t, we’re missing out on “God’s best”.
It’s crazy to think that the last time we were all together in 1 service was March 15, 2020. Our church has responded very well to the changes in the past year. Together, we have served each other, worked to make changes in our church services possible, and we have grown in grace and in number. Sunday was another expression of God’s grace among us.
One of the verses that I’ve kept at the forefront of my thinking has been Psalm 115:1, which says, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” The Lord has been kind to give us wisdom, to help us resolve conflicts, add/subtract ministries, and given us the courage to share the gospel.
Well…we safely made it through 1 Corinthians 14! There was no food fight in the cafeteria and we came out the other side with no one hanging from the rafters or doing cartwheels down the aisles! Seriously, it has been a very good time for our church as we studied 1 Corinthians 11-14.
One of the challenges with this particular gift is how much misapplication has happened with it and how much hurt has happened because of that.
I think it’s very interesting how Paul put 1 Corinthians 13 right before his discussion about prophecy and tongues in chapter 14. Those two gifts, especially tongues, seemed to cause the most issue in Corinth. And…they’re still an issue today. That’s why we need the love chapter so desperately.
One challenge with preaching on a familiar text, like 1 Corinthians 13, is that it’s…familiar. When a text is so widely known, the danger for me is to try to be cute or “original”. You know what I mean…try to do something no one else has done. Well, with true biblical preaching, that’s a very serious danger.
It’s an art to give honor correctly without flattery. Honor is about recognizing the work that God is doing in a person’s life and honoring them for obeying God or doing something well.
One of the things that I’ve been particularly burdened about as a pastor is to take the ‘weirdness’ out of spiritual gifts and if I can be frank here, take the ‘weirdness’ out of being a Christian. By that, I acknowledge that there will be times when being a Christian or God doing something miraculous will seem ‘weird’.
Grace is more powerful than our sin. Grace is more forgiving than our consciences. And grace motivates us to change and inspires us to love Jesus more.
We must admit that much of the confusion about gender and gender roles is not because God is not clear or that God has not spoken. It has to do with the Church misapplying or even in some cases, abusing the truth. This has created an overreaction in our world to these abuses or misapplication (not in every situation). The Church, must not only correct these misapplications and abuses, but we must live lives in our manhood and womanhood for the glory of God and the good of others.
When the power of God goes to work in our lives after we believe in the gospel, God begins to open our spiritual eyes and appetite to a variety of things. One of the areas that happened to me was beginning to see that God has provided all things for us to “richly enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
In my years in the ministry, I have found that people like to put on fronts, like to protect their reputations, and are afraid of being exposed. I’ve said often, “everyone wants accountability until they get it.” It’s true. We’ll ask off-the-wall questions, make untrue accusations, and even remember things that never happened…all for the sake of the cover-up.
When you read this text, especially when you see that the Old Testament people were “overthrown in the wilderness” or “were destroyed by the Destroyer”, it creates some challenges for us. Were these people Christians? What happened to them? And what does this mean for us? Is it possible for us to be lost, be found, then be lost again?
It’s never easy to talk about suffering and trials. It’s much easier to speak about God’s promises, God’s grace, and the empowerment to overcome sin. But Scripture is full of suffering examples: Joseph, people of Israel, and most importantly, Jesus.
There is so much to be said about the Church. I really wanted to help all of us see how the Church benefits to our souls. The combo of “drawing near to God” and “drawing near to one another” was challenging for us. Especially in the independent and isolated Northwest. My hope was that we would see how valuable and precious the family gatherings are to us and that we should make them a priority in our lives and calendars.
I have really enjoyed this sermon series. In hearing from many of you, it seems this series has been needed and encouraging. My prayer is that it’s a good launching point for 2021. We are children of God…adopted by God’s grace; representing Jesus in this world; empowered to overcome sin and the grave; and we love Jesus more than our lives.
For a long time in my Christian life, I found myself on the “tread mill”. Things seemed to always be a big deal or worse or better than they actually were; I didn’t find much traction; or I was up and down spiritually. It was frustrating, to be honest. Then I spent more time in Romans 5-8.
It is always amazing to me how the Lord providentially puts us in a text that fits perfectly with issues in our world. That was certainly true this past Sunday.
I was looking forward to opening up the new year at CLF because of this. It’s just felt like we need a fresh beginning. That’s part of the impetus for the series, “Children of God”.
I love preaching at CLF. I love my “home field” and I am eager each week to see the “upturned faces” and m hope each week is to turn those faces to their Savior and King, who is the best Shepherd and pastor.
It was a delight to step into our Christmas series this year. I really got a sense as we started planning for this series that it was needed.
There are so many various directions that a text like 1 Corinthians 9:1-18 can take you, that’s it’s tough to stay on track. My hope from Sunday was to make sure that we noticed/remembered the context of 1 Corinthians 8 because it plays itself out in 1 Corinthians 9.
A major principle: Love should win the day because Christ has won our hearts. Let that guide all of this.
Learn how to prepare your family and home for a potential disaster.
Doing an overview of 1 Corinthians 5-7 is a challenge due to the vast amount of information that is covered. When I went back and reviewed for this sermon, I was struck that I had preached 10 sermons in these 3 chapters. So…taking that information and reducing it into 1 sermon was a fun challenge.
The texts from 1 Corinthians 7 have been incredibly challenging to interpret and then make clear. Much of the dilemma is cultural, but the syntax, grammar, and language also made these sections really hard. So, my prayer is that throughout this chapter, it has been clear and hopefully, encouraging and helpful.
ALL of God’s people are in ministry, at one level or another. And when Jesus enters our lives, he doesn’t expect us to move, change locations/jobs/spouses/etc., to be better Christians or be more acceptable to God.
Marriages that represent Jesus and His church are desperately needed and the Lord has given us everything we need to serve Him faithfully in our marriages: the power to change; the grace to forgive; the church to mentor, counsel, & help; and His word to direct.
I added some thoughts in 1st service that I didn’t add in the 2nd, and vice-versa. For instance, in the 2nd service, one thought I gave that I didn’t say in the 1st service, was that as Christian parents, raising Christian kids, the tendency is to treat sex as bad, rather than good, when it’s in it’s right context.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a desire to provide hope and help during all the craziness. As I mentioned at the outset of yesterday, our goal has been to shed some light on the reality of the craziness…a historical battle about the supremacy of Jesus.
As I prepared for this week, I was very mindful of so many of the “ironic” cultural moments. I mentioned several of them in the sermon: abortion clinics being open and churches being closed; gathering to worship Jesus is deemed a public hazard, while gathering in a protest is deemed honorable…but to be honest, there’s so many of these ironic issues that it literally makes your head spin.
There have been few moments in my ministry that have happened where the Lord seemed to change directions on me at the last minute. This past week, really wasn’t one of those.
We finished up our Summer Psalms Series on Sunday. And what a great series this has been. When the idea for this series first popped into my head, I wanted it to be a “refreshing summer experience”.
I love that our people love God’s word; respect the preaching of God’s word; and are expecting the preaching of God’s word. I am very grateful for what the Lord has done at CLF and what He continues to do.
The past couple of weeks have allowed me some needed time off. As a general rule, the elders have asked that I am in the pulpit at least 44 out of 52 Sundays. This allows for our church to benefit from the wide-range of other men, who can preach God’s word to us. One of the joyful challenges we’re currently facing is that we
One of the challenges of doing multiple services is that it really doesn’t matter what you try, no 2 services are the same. One feel rushed, the other feels too slow. One feels forced, the other feels free-flowing. One feels like there’s a time crunch, the other feels like there’s no clock. However, this past Sunday was different…both services were the same. They had the same pacing,
This past Sunday was a unique one for me. I was able to take the Sunday off, be a church member, and sit with my family. It was amazing. I really enjoyed being part of the crowd and not having any responsibilities, except to fellowship, sing, pray, listen and heed God’s word being preached, and pray for all involved. It really was a joy. Sitting with my
Well, it’s been a few weeks since I sent out my musings. Lots has happened. Doesn’t it feel like the world is changing every few hours? I look up from my desk or head out the field and it seems like something new has been recommended, required, or ordered. I’ve literally had to keep my “head on a swivel”… Since our last time, we had our
For the first time since starting 3 services, I finally “hit the wall” in the 12:00 service yesterday. I preached about 10-15 minutes shorter and when I got done, I thought that I might’ve left something out! So, if you were in that service and you felt gypped ?, get the video/audio from the website tomorrow. But man, was I tired. Not sure what happened. Now, onto
Well, Sunday with 90/service went off without a hitch. Amazing Sunday! I’m very grateful for the way you have navigated through this season. CLF, you continue to amaze me with your gratitude, generosity, and eagerness. Thank you. Here are several things from Sunday’s sermon that I didn’t cover: Christian Freedoms with food/drink: One of the issues in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 that we didn’t cover was how
Sunday was one of the smoother Sundays for us, since we started the re-opening. There was a great spirit at church and many remarked about how great it was to be back in the building. We agree. As Dave Quilla has said often…those of us doing the services each Sunday get to see 75 people each week. It’s been awesome. One of
There’s a ton to get to after Sunday’s message, so let me say a few things at the outset: This is a little longer post than normal, so I’ve tried to highlight the various sections so you can skip to things that might interest you more. I will be putting something this week about the President’s comments on Friday about churches and
A full day of services, preaching 3 services, and hearing other voices in the church building…let the musings begin. Sunday’s services: I cannot tell you how excited I was (and am) about Sunday’s services. It’s the first time since March 15th that we had an in-person church service. I didn’t sleep well (more on that in a moment) but I was full of faith
We put out an important video this past Saturday and I want to take on that, so you can hear a little more of our thought process. You can see that video here: https://clfroseburg.com. Also, I wanted to give some of the quotes from Sunday’s sermon and also talk about why I did what I did on Sunday to help you see the importance of
Pastor Dave York is joined by Elder Bill Heard in this episode of “Thursday Thoughts”. Together they look discuss the question “How has CLF decided to respond to the pandemic?”
There’s quite a bit that I want to say about Sunday’s sermon, so let’s just get right to it. Sunday’s sermon: Let’s start with things that need some clarification: In one point of my sermon, I mentioned that some believe this COVID-19 thing is a hoax. That needs to be cleaned up a bit. Here’s my concern and here’s what I meant to say…regardless
Pastor Dave sits down and looks at the question, “What is God doing in me during the pandemic?”
Sunday’s sermon was challenging on a few levels. One, the text was challenging. Two, not having people in the building to look at, to insure that the concepts were coming across clearly, was challenging. Three, there is so much more to say on this text. So, what I hope to do in this edition of ‘musings’ is to explain a little more. Sunday’s sermon: One