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Though Dead He Still Speaks–C.H.S

Hanging on my wall just to the left of my desk is a small framed sheet of paper. The fragile paper is the palette upon which in faded purple ink are scribbled the almost unintelligible handwritten notes of a sermon entitled, “The Joyous Return.” Everything about it bears the marks of age. And rightly so! For the sermon was preached on March 1, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London by the Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. The name and influence of Spurgeon has attained near ubiquity among contemporary preachers and students of preaching—and that’s to say nothing of the impact he has had on thousands who have read his sermons. It’s probably not advisable to try and quantify who is or is not the greatest preacher, but I don’t think it’s overly ambitious to agree with the consensus of many that he remains the Prince of Preachers.

It was a little over ten years ago that I was first introduced to Charles Spurgeon. At a very pivotal and difficult time in my life my brother recommended that I try reading some of his sermons. I quickly began to devour them as I read under the conviction of sin, the joy of […]

Revisiting the Manger

The following is a guest post from Dr. Michael LeFebvre, pastor of Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian in Brownsburg, Indiana.

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“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7, ESV)

This week is the time when society remembers the birth of Jesus, with nativity scenes popping up everywhere. The traditional scene of Mary and Joseph checking motels and finally bunking in a stable, is all based on the interpretation of one word in the above verse—a word which has probably been misunderstood in the motel-and-stable version of the story. The word in Luke 2:7 that is normally translated “inn” actually means “a lodging space.” This word can indeed refer to a public inn (as in Luke 10:34), but it often refers to the lodging room within a common house (as in Luke 22:11). Which does Luke have in mind in this verse: a public inn or the lodging space of a common house? Almost certainly the latter.

The reason Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem was because that was where Joseph’s family was from. That means Joseph had lots of […]

If You Are Sad This Thanksgiving

Though Thanksgiving Day will be filled with joy and happy memories for many, for others the holidays can remind them of loss and tragedy. Such is the case for the family of Amanda Blackburn, the young pastor’s wife murdered in her home two weeks ago.

Below is her father, Phil Byars, being interviewed by Indianapolis reporter Scott Swain. Though you can see the grief, pain, and struggle on his face and hear it in his words and voice, you also see and hear the real ministry of Jesus to him at this time. Listen especially to how he answers the question about how his family will spend Thanksgiving. Then take a little time to pray, call, invite over, or visit someone who may be struggling with pain today.

Also, for those who may be wondering how someone can forgive such things, here is a prayer from Martin Luther on the petition regarding forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer. You can see in Mr. Byars that he is learning to pray just like this.

O dear Lord, God and Father, enter not into judgment against us because no man living is justified before thee. Do not count it against us as a sin that we are […]

A Long Time Dream Has Come True

Yesterday I received news that my transfer request to Pensacola, Florida was approved. It came in the form of a call from my Postmaster declaring, “You got Pensacola!” Immediately after that conversation, I called my wife and shed tears of joy, crying like a baby in a parking lot off of south 3rd street.

That moment easily ranks as one of the best moments of my life. It’s been a long time dream of this mailman to make it down to Florida.

There were a couple months of extreme disappointment as it looked like any and all transfers would be declined. There was also much waiting and uncertainty. At one point, I was offered a transfer to northern Indianapolis (a very good offer too) and had to make a very quick decision. I pleaded with the Lord to give me some kind of sign that Florida would work out, as that was what I really wanted. I couldn’t see how I could turn down the offer to Indy though. But when I came home and tried to call the Postmaster to accept the position, the phone was busy. Like three times in a row. As I sat waiting, I decided to check […]

Love (III) by George Herbert

In posting about the darkness of our age earlier this morning, I thought I would share the poem below.  In a class I am in being taught by Dr. Dennis Johnson, he read aloud this poem with tears. One help in reading these verses is each time you see Love to substitute in the name of Jesus. Truly Love will conquer all.

Source: George Herbert and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Poets  (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1978)

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Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
                             Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look […]

So I’m Apathetic…Who Cares?!

It is incredibly easy in our day to observe an incredibly saddening reality:  Apathy is everywhere.  To which you might reply: “Who cares?”  To which I might reply:  “Fair point, and my point exactly.”  To which you might reply: “Whatever.”  This could go on for a while, and I would win, but you wouldn’t care!

It is easy to be apathetic when we feel unthreatened, or unimpressed.  Imagine being at one of those zoo aquariums where you can walk through a transparent tunnel and be surrounded by all the sea life.  You feel quite safe, even though a group of gnarly- toothed, flesh eating sharks swarms above and beside you.  The Plexiglas is protecting you, so you’re rather indifferent to their presence.  You might even get irritated that the sharks aren’t doing anything interesting, like attacking some other sea creature or each another.  Maybe you can find a video like that with your phone.

After several minutes of searching, you look up and see the sharks looking back at you.  They’re now together, side by side, and it seems they’ve been staring at you the whole time you were staring at your cellphone.  You’re a little embarrassed at being startled, so you […]