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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ananias & Sapphira vs. Abraham & Sarah

Two new messages by Jonathan give us a comparison between the deliberate deception of Ananias and Sapphira and the fruitful faith of Abraham and Sarah. One couple lied to God and were judged, the other believed God and were blessed and became a great blessing to all people. Here are their stories:

Are You Lying to God? - Acts 5:1-14

Ananias and Sapphira thought that they could deceive the Apostles and the Early Church into thinking that they were giving more than they actually were for the relief of the poor. But, as Peter points out to them, they have not just lied to men, but to God. Do you think that you can lie to God?

The Covenant Sign - Genesis 17

God again announces his covenant with Abram, and re-names him Abraham, and his wife Sarah. Circumcision is introduced as the sign of the covenant. This covenant foreshadows the New Covenant in which we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. Just like Abraham, we are all called to believe!

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Phillip's Phunnies - Who's on First?

A merry heart does good, like medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Just because it is a classic.

Watch it here:

And here is a scripted variation of the bit:

Abbott: Well Costello, I'm going to New York with you. You know Bucky Harris, the Yankee's manager, gave me a job as coach for as long as you're on the team.

Costello: Look Abbott, if you're the coach, you must know all the players.

Abbott: I certainly do.

Costello: Well you know I've never met the guys. So you'll have to tell me their names, and then I'll know who's playing on the team.

Abbott: Oh, I'll tell you their names, but you know it seems to me they give these ball players now-a-days very peculiar names.

Costello: You mean funny names?

Abbott: Strange names, pet names...like Dizzy Dean...

Costello: His brother Daffy.

Abbott: Daffy Dean...

Costello: And their French cousin.

Abbott: French?

Costello: Goofè.

Abbott: Goofè Dean. Well, let's see, we have on the bags, Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third...

Costello: That's what I want to find out.

Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.

Costello: Are you the manager?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: You gonna be the coach too?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?

Abbott: Well I should.

Costello: Well then who's on first?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I mean the fellow's name.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The first baseman.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy playing...

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.

Abbott: That's the man's name.

Costello: That's who's name?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: That's who?

Abbott: Yes.


Costello: Look, you gotta first baseman?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: Who's playing first?

Abbott: That's right.

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

Abbott: Every dollar of it.

Costello: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy that gets...

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: Who gets the money...

Abbott: He does, every dollar. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Costello: Whose wife?

Abbott: Yes.


Abbott: What's wrong with that?

Costello: Look, all I wanna know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name?

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: How does he sign...

Abbott: That's how he signs it.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Yes.


Costello: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.

Abbott: No. What is on second base.

Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first.

Costello: One base at a time!

Abbott: Well, don't change the players around.

Costello: I'm not changing nobody!

Abbott: Take it easy, buddy.

Costello: I'm only asking you, who's the guy on first base?

Abbott: That's right.

Costello: Ok.

Abbott: All right.


Costello: What's the guy's name on first base?

Abbott: No. What is on second.

Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott: He's on third, we're not talking about him.

Costello: Now how did I get on third base?

Abbott: Why you mentioned his name.

Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?

Abbott: No. Who's playing first.

Costello: What's on first?

Abbott: What's on second.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott: He's on third.

Costello: There I go, back on third again!


Costello: Would you just stay on third base and don't go off it.

Abbott: All right, what do you want to know?

Costello: Now who's playing third base?

Abbott: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

Costello: What am I putting on third.

Abbott: No. What is on second.

Costello: You don't want who on second?

Abbott: Who is on first.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott & Costello Together:Third base!


Costello: Look, you gotta outfield?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The left fielder's name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: I just thought I'd ask you.

Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell ya.

Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field.

Abbott: Who's playing first.

Costello: I'm not... stay out of the infield! I want to know what's the guy's name in left field?

Abbott: No, What is on second.

Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first!

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!


Costello: The left fielder's name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: Because!

Abbott: Oh, he's centerfield.


Costello: Look, You gotta pitcher on this team?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The pitcher's name?

Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: You don't want to tell me today?

Abbott: I'm telling you now.

Costello: Then go ahead.

Abbott: Tomorrow!

Costello: What time?

Abbott: What time what?

Costello: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's pitching?

Abbott: Now listen. Who is not pitching.

Costello: I'll break your arm, you say who's on first! I want to know what's the pitcher's name?

Abbott: What's on second.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!


Costello: Gotta a catcher?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: The catcher's name?

Abbott: Today.

Costello: Today, and tomorrow's pitching.

Abbott: Now you've got it.

Costello: All we got is a couple of days on the team.


Costello: You know I'm a catcher too.

Abbott: So they tell me.

Costello: I get behind the plate to do some fancy catching, Tomorrow's pitching on my team and a heavy hitter gets up. Now the heavy hitter bunts the ball. When he bunts the ball, me, being a good catcher, I'm gonna throw the guy out at first base. So I pick up the ball and throw it to who?

Abbott: Now that's the first thing you've said right.

Costello: I don't even know what I'm talking about!


Abbott: That's all you have to do.

Costello: Is to throw the ball to first base.

Abbott: Yes!

Costello: Now who's got it?

Abbott: Naturally.


Costello: Look, if I throw the ball to first base, somebody's gotta get it. Now who has it?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Naturally?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

Abbott: No you don't, you throw the ball to Who.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's different.

Costello: That's what I said.

Abbott: You're not saying it...

Costello: I throw the ball to Naturally.

Abbott: You throw it to Who.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: That's what I said!

Abbott: You ask me.

Costello: I throw the ball to who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Now you ask me.

Abbott: You throw the ball to Who?

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: Same as you! Same as YOU! I throw the ball to who. Whoever it is drops the ball and the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don't Know. I Don't Know throws it back to Tomorrow, Triple play. Another guy gets up and hits a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don't know! He's on third and I don't care!

Abbott: What?

Costello: I said I care!

Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Merely Speaking

Recently I was very encouraged as I read a series of posts on "The Mereness of Church" by Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile at his blog Pure Church. Topics covered included the Mereness of Church in the areas of Preaching, Mission, Singing, and Fellowship. The point driven home throughout these posts is the remarkably ordinary and simple things that make up the life of a growing church.

It reminded me of a message I preached from Isaiah 1:10-20 titled "Iniquity and the Sacred Meeting." In that message I stressed the simplicity of pure worship and concluded that church is not something we do, church is not somewhere we go, but church is what WE ARE, and we must never confuse the physical building for the spiritual body.

But what do we do when these mere things are not enough? Let's face it, many in the church today want to be entertained, excited, and energized by innovative and relevent programs and projects. The atmosphere in many local churches is such that Ravenhill stated that the Holy Spirit could leave and things would go on as usual for at least 6 months before anyone would notice. In our search for meaning and in our pursuit of spiritual self fulfillment we have learned to depend upon ourselves. We see spiritual gifts as a means to an end - namely, making each other feel good!

But what is the purpose of the Church? Why have gifts been given? Is our focus so humanistic that we see the universe swirling around us as we desire to be the center of God's desires? Do we see God as a Genie, there to grant us wishes, wealth, and well being? Have we forgotten Soli Deo Gloria? Have we neglected the power of God given to us through Christ? Have we quenched the Spirit of God as we strive to do things our way in our wisdom according to our will?

Merely speaking, the church is built and the Body grows as we continue "steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). And yet just as so many rely on diet pills and suppliments instead of a healthy diet and exercise, so too in the church we chase short cuts and neglect the proven methods, the God ordained methods of being about the Father's business.

What do we do when sound, practical, expository preaching is not enough? What do we do when no one comes to the prayer meeting? What do we do when there is no body life, no fellowship? What do we do when we neglect fellowship, worship, and the ordinances of our Lord? We do what we do when sinners are not saved and saints are not sanctified - we see the local church die. When we hear and do not do, when we learn but do not live, when we know but do not obey, then we see that we are living in the land of make believe in stead of walking by faith. We make the simple complex. We run away from wisdom and into foolishness. We abandon the family of God and embrace the cheap substitute of worldliness. We desire things that have no place in the church and we accept false doctrine and unsound practices as if they were good and right before God. We pollute worship. We sully the blood bought Bride.

We have indeed adopted a new mereness when it comes to church. We are merely spectators. We are consumers. We come to get. And if we do not get what we want we leave. And churches hurt and are dying because people that God has called and gifted and joined to these local bodies neglect and forsake the church in order to pursue a religion of self help.

Let's move back to the simplicity of merely being what God has called us to be. As Pastor Anyabwile rightly concluded in his posts:

What Christian who has ever benefitted from the power of God's word, the intimacy of fellowship, the grace of breaking bread, and the delight of prayer would really want to exchange all of that for the newest denominational initiative and publication? Deep, refreshing, joyful, lasting, awe-inspiring, favor-inducing, thankful and ultimately evangelistically powerful corporate living is actually quite mere. What we need is devotion to it, a back to basics, Word-trusting approach.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

No Room

Nothing like the first day of the month to start fresh! As you may have noticed the blog has lagged quite a bit of late. It has been noted that this blog is usually tied in with my preaching schedule and in fact the daily devotionals and many thoughts I share do indeed spring from my daily study in preparing messages to preach. I also like to provide devotionals that are related to the sermons I preach so that the congregation and others who listen online can delve more deeply into the things we cover from the Word of God.

However, since I have not been preaching lately I have not been studying for messages.....that and a very hectic work schedule have conspired to hamper my writing. I need to learn to blog apart from preaching if I am to continue blogging faithfully. And in the mean time I hope you are praying with me as we wait on the Lord for our next assignment in service to Him and His bride so that I may once again preach the Word regularly!

So, Lord willing, I will finish out this week with a few thoughts and then work back into our devotions on the spiritual armor starting next week.

For today, I want to share a quote I recently came across from Leonard Ravenhill. It is challenging and strikes at the very core of how we think about our relationship to the world around us. Ravenhill preached:

If I was to ask you tonight if you were saved, do you say, "Yes, I am saved?" When? "Oh, so and so preached, I got baptized, and ..." Are you saved? What are you saved from? Hell? Are you saved from bitterness? Are you saved from lust? Are you saved from cheating? Are you saved from lying? Are you saved from bad manners? Are you saved from rebellion against your parents? Come on - what are you saved from?

Look at Jesus. We see that there is no room for Him in the inn. He got a bit older, there was no room in His family. His family turned on Him. He went to the Temple, no room in the Temple, the Temple turned on Him. And when He died there was no room to bury Him. He died outside the city. Well why in God's name do you expect to be accepted everywhere?

How is it that the world couldn't get on with the holiest Man that ever lived and can get on with you and me? Are we compromised? Have we no spiritual stature? Have we no righteouness that reflects on their corruption?

As Dr. Tozer used to say, "You knew one thing about a man that was carrying a cross out of the city. You knew he wasn't coming back." Is the world crucified to you tonight, or does it fascinate you? The world out there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity, it's waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity. I am embarrassed to be part of the church of Jesus Christ when she is totally, radically different from the New Testament, so impoverished, so blind, so powerless. The redeemed must be determined to be a part of the bride and to be part of the bride you've got to be divorced from everything in the world!

Are we busy trying to make room for ourselves in the world? Are we truly fascinated with the things this world has to offer to entertain and amuse us? Some have been asked if they want to go to heaven and they answer, "Yes. But not today." Perhaps that is what is wrong in so many of our lives. We are not citizens here. We are pilgrims passing through. And yet we have become infatuated with the world around us. We love this life more than we love Christ.

Today, at the start of this new month, let us look to see if we are trying to make room here, to be accepted here and esteemed here. If so, let us repent. Let us strive to store up treasures in heaven. Let us love Christ more than this life. More than this world. Let us love Christ with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This after all is the least we might do in service to Him.