The Blog Is Dead; Long Live The Blog

Photo by  Joshua Ness  on  Unsplash

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Around the internets, I’ve seen comments that blogging is on its way out. That being the case, I’ve decided it’s the perfect time to get back into it. You’ll thank me for my future-focused mindset and bucking the trends…. if the blog lives. 

In memoriam of the blog, he’s an “Everything That’s On My Mind (Almost)” list.

  1. Is it baseball season yet? I like what the Giants have been doing in their offseason to shore up the roster. January is a long dark month on the hot stove. 
  2. The #BCSPasCon18 was great this year. So much helpful on the Spirit and his ministry in my life, and in the church. Dr. Piper’s last plenary session was of particular help to me. 
  3. I’m concurrently preaching in Mark, writing a sermon from Psalm 119, and crafting a sermon series in the summer on the life of Samuel. 
  4. Gospel-Centered Discipleship had a great year. I’m excited about the future and the continued development of the resources and writing God has entrusted to us.
  5. Why does the eye doctor punish you for seeing well by dilating your pupils? 
  6. E.B. White now graces my site header. This picture inspires and astounds me. I’d love to have a shack to write in just like that. 
  7. Favorite vinyl right now? Over the Rhine Drunkard’s Prayer, War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding, U2 Songs of Experience.
  8. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preachers and Preaching is essential reading for anyone who aspires to stand in the pulpit and declare God’s Word. 
  9. Eagles by 5.
  10. I pray for no more snow this year. 
  11. I'm staring at you Long's Peak... this summer, let's meet.  

 

The Power of Gospel-Formed Resolutions

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As the New Year comes into reality, there can be a sense of concern about the year ahead. What will the next 365 days hold for us? Will they be profitable? Will they be well spent? Will they hold joy and happiness, or despair and difficulty? Add to that concern a layer of shame that takes form in our hearts when we consider the missed opportunities, lack of progress, or downright failures we experienced in the year prior. I didn’t lose the weight I said I would, nor did I complete reading the Bible in its entirety. I didn’t pray. I didn’t give as much as wanted to. I didn’t defeat that habitual sin that has plagued my character.

Read my entire article over at Gospel-Centered Discipleship.

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Books on Prayer

Tonight on Woodside Plymouth's online prayer event (embeded above) I mentioned some specific books to help you grow in your understanding and application of prayer. I have listed them here in one place to help you find them. I've separated them into two categories, "Books on Prayer" and "Praying Scripture." I have found each of these books instrumental in my own walk and growth in "answering God" and aligning better with him in prayer. Also be sure to check out the #PrayFirst Journal that Woodside produced to help you begin this year growing in prayer. 

Books on Prayer

Praying Scripture

Dear Woodside... Pray Big

Dear Woodside,

A New Year is upon us and we are already in the midst of the first week. Usually, at the beginning of the year we spend some time casting vision for the year ahead as well as preparing for greater gospel outreach and influence in the community. Perhaps you spend a little time evaluating your life and making some commitments or resolutions towards things you would like to change in the new year.

As we begin this new year we wanted to do something a little different. Instead of aiming ourselves at a vision or a particular trajectory we wanted to take the first several weeks of the year to aim ourselves at the Lord. We wanted to come before him with humility, seeking his direction and aim for our lives and for our church. We want to come before God in prayer and seek his face for our good and the good of our city. Like the first church in Acts 4 that went to God in prayer asking for greater boldness to share the good news of Jesus, we too want to be in the presence of God asking for his supply of grace to us so the gospel will advance. To put it another way, we want to use God's means, under God's power to accomplish what only God can accomplish. The means of connecting with God's power to accomplish what only God can accomplish is the means of prayer and fasting.

So let me ask you, what are you asking God to accomplish in your life, in your family, in the church, in the world that only he can accomplish. For many of us, myself included, our prayers are too small and too weak. We ask God for little things, which he is inclined to provide for us, but we rarely ask God for the things that only he can do. Again, I ask, what are you asking God to accomplish that only he can do?

Let me encourage you to take some time today and consider some God-sized things that you have been neglecting to pray for. It may be for the salvation of a family member that is very far from God. It could be for the removal of a besetting sin that you so deeply long for God to free you from. I am praying for some things that are beyond my grasp as a husband, father, and pastor in 2017. I don't want to settle for prayers that just get me through the day. I believe in the power of God and the bigness of God and the goodness of God to do all that he has purposed in this world and through prayer I want to seek first his kingdom in my life, at Woodside Plymouth, and among the nations for the sake of his glory. I want to pray big this year.

I also want you to "pray big" this year. I want to encourage you to go before God with big requests, big needs, big ambitions for his glory, and ask God with courage for the great things he can do in the world. John Knox was a pastor in Scotland who has inspired me this way. He prayed to God for his country, that his fellow Scots would turn to Christ and be saved. He prayed to the Lord and said, "give me Scotland, or I die!" Could you pray that for your workplace or neighborhood? Would you pray that with me for Plymouth/Canton/Westland/Northville/Livonia/Ann Arbor?

I'd love to share with you in your prayers as well and invite you to join us in prayer over the next few weeks. As the church gathers for Revival Prayer on Sunday, January 8 and 15 at 5pm we will pray together as a church for the big things that we long to see God accomplish in our church and in the world. Please join us for those times of prayers. Additionally, join me on Facebook Live (just follow the Woodside Plymouth page) on Thursday the 5th and 12th as I lead us in Evening Prayer at 9pm. If you have specific requests that you would like me to pray for please reply to this email and I will pray for you and those requests online.

As the "father of modern missions", William Carey was so given to say, "expect great things from God, attempt great things for God!"Let's expect and ask through prayer and then attempt as we obey him in all our lives. I am praying big for you this year.

In Christ,
Pastor Jeremy

Reading for the Reformation

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This year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. On Oct 31, 1517 the German monk, Martin Luther, nailed 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg as a way of publicly interacting with the Catholic Church, and the Pope, over various issues and abuses he noted in Church. With the invention of the printing press the writings of Luther began to spread quickly and mounted a challenge to the ecclesiastical and political structures of Luther's day. From those initial 95 Theses a movement began that has deeply shaped the world today.

I am a lover of history, and a lover of theology. While one of my earliest critiques of those who talked about Reformed theology was that they seemed to only go back to the sixteenth century, I am confident more than ever that the truths that Luther and Calvin and other "Reformers" spoke of went back directly to Jesus and Paul. They were, in fact, taking us to the intended meaning of the Scriptures themselves when they talked about justification by faith alone. The Reformers developed their teaching on the sovereignty of God, the depravity of humanity, the unmerited grace of God, and the security and perseverance of the saints to glory from a clear and sound method of Biblical interpretation. Reformed theology, is in my opinion, simply Biblical Christianity.

In light of that this year I am building into my reading life a few works on the Reformation that I would recommend to you. They are no more than 250 pages each and are written for the general public. I am going to read Luther on Galatians this year, probably in October, specifically so I get a primary source on the Reformation. I hope these will be of benefit to you, and challenge you in your own understanding of theology and history so that you will grow. Here's to a happy 500th anniversary!