Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Advice from a Pastor on Talking to Your Pastor After He Preaches
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

We find it very easy in our culture to meet and greet folks with simple introductory lines: “What’s up?” or “How’s it going?” or “How are you doing today?” I would like to humbly and yet honestly suggest to you a pastoral word of counsel.  When the corporate worship service has concluded and your pastor has finished preaching, rather than seeing him and saying: "So how are you doing?" or "How's it going?" or “What’s going on?” I’d like to proffer some reasons why this is not helpful communication to your minister right then and there and then offer three practical suggestions to consider.

After he preaches, every faithful minister is emotionally drained and physically exhausted and mentally wiped. A pastor may feel like he has just birthed something that has resided with grown in him all week. He’s tired. He has just spoken for the Lord. He has just spoken the utterances of God. If a well-intentioned Christian approaches their pastor and says: “What’s up pastor, how are you?” a faithful minister would be tempted to say (even though he may not verbalize it): “I’m utterly exhausted. I’ve just spoken the Word of God for the last hour. My mind is tired. My energy is gone. I wonder if I said what I needed to say the way it needed to be said. I’m both encouraged by the power of the Word and discouraged at my inadequacy of handling God’ sacred Word. So, I’m worn out!”

So, as a pastor, let me speak for pastors and provide 3 helpful and humble suggestions for believers when addressing him right after he preaches.

1) Speak specifically of one thing the pastor guided you to see about God and His gospel from the word.
As those who are called to be hearers and doers of God’s Word and as those who desire God’s Word to sink deeply into our ears, let’s engage in gospel-focused, sermon-applying conversations right after the preached Word. How did your shepherd guide you into the pastures of God’s truth? What did you see today, this day in this sermon, about God, His gospel, Christ’s glory, salvation’s intricacies, or your duties to walk in God’s Word? Surely there was something that the Spirit used in the Word that just went forth to exhort your will, encourage your heart, edify your soul, and enflame your affections. So instead of trivial, mindless talk, consider speaking specifically of how God taught you!

2) Thoughtfully share a way that you have applied God's Word from a past sermon that has been preached.
Pastors can often find themselves discouraged wondering how the preached Word is affecting the congregation. How do they hear the Word? Are they practicing it? Are they obeying God’s truths? Are they loving Christ more? Consider sharing a specific point from a past sermon, or a particular area of growth and development in your Christian life, or a story of how God used a specific sermon at a specific time in your life to minister particularly to your soul. Those can encourage your pastor in ways that it’s hard to express with words. The greatest way to encourage your pastor is to live out the Word of God as he preaches it, and as he shows you Christ, and illumines the text weekly to you.

3) Simply pray right then and there for the Word as it just went forth. Pray for fruit, humble hearts, and Spirit-wrought work.
So there you are, you’re walking out of the worship center and you see your pastor and you shake his hand. Instead of saying: “Hey, how’s it going?” consider something a bit different. Shake his hand, genuinely thank him for preaching God’s Word to you that day, thank him for his love for you by guiding you into God’s eternal truth, and then ask him if you can pray for him and for the Word as it just went forth to do the supernatural work in the hearts and lives of the hearers. Yes! You pray for your minister, right there, right then, with him. It can be brief. It can be short. But let it be full of love, genuineness and desperation that God would watch over His Word to perform it for His glory!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

God Reigns.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The most comforting reality in all the world that gives solid consolations to my soul is this unshakeable truth that the Lord reigns. “The Lord reigns” (Psalm 93:1) is a repeated refrain that should comfort, gladden and uplift our hearts!

How does God reign? This brief writeup will explore 3 dimensions of God’s kingship.

1. God reigns over the past.
Go far back, as back as your human mind can possibly travel, and survey human history. Still more, go back even before God’s creative work in Genesis 1 and try to survey how the Triune God reigned sovereignly as the only, gloriously sufficient and everlastingly happy Being in and of Himself. But then consider history. God has ruled over every empire, king, nation, revival, calamity, rebellion, and conversion. Indeed, God has reigned over every moment of the past — including every moment of your past. Whatever God has wisely brought and allowed into your life in your upbringing, in family relationships (or, discord), in your sins, in your hurts and pains, and even in the many saddening memories of the past, plant your roots deep in this one solid reality: the sovereign God of the universe has reigned perfectly, wisely, immovably over it all. Let this reality console your anxieties and let it ease the floods of guilt and shame as you reflect on “your past.” Rather than dwelling on the sins of the past and remaining there in the swamps of guilt and shame, let Scripture direct you to the Sovereign over your past so you remain there in the ocean of His wisdom.

2. God reigns in the present.
Right now, in your life, at this very present moment, God is working most powerfully, wisely, and providentially for His renown and for His pleasure. He is always doing a thousand huge things in every small event in our lives. Right now, it’s raining somewhere in the world. Right now, insects make their God-given sounds in some rainforest. Right now, the massive sun shines brightly giving warmth to many millions of people. Right now, planet earth (and other planets) orbit around the sun at God’s specific direction. And in your life. Consider how God, right now, this day rules over all that happens. Your conversions. Your meetings (or cancellations). Your rush-hour traffic (that may be a bit extra-long). Your hearing of some good news of a friend’s achievements. Your opportunity to gather with God’s people to hear your pastor preach a text from God’s Word. Your family worship time. Your moment of evangelizing your children when they’ve sinned and are in need of reproof from the Word. Your urging a man you meet to repent and believe. Do not underestimate the glorious reign of God in the everyday, even the small and seemingly insignificant moments in your life. God is at work. This is providence whereby God perfectly works out His eternal decrees in everyday moments.

3. God reigns over the future.
Do you fear something that may (or, may not) happen? Is your soul anxious today because of news that you’ve heard? Do you wonder at your job security? Your children’s welfare? Your adult child’s salvation? Your baby’s health in these early stages of development in your womb? Your financial provision? Whether you’ll ever get married? Let us establish our hearts upon this bedrock truth that the one God who is wise and powerful over all is the God who reigns over the future -- indeed, over every single (individual) moment and event. From the movement of the largest star in our galaxy to each raindrop that falls from clouds, to every circumstance in your life to the unknown ‘possibilities’ of the future, plant your tentpegs deep in this marvelously comforting truth: the Lord reigns. Let your soul rest in Him!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Diagnosing & Mortifying the Sin of Complaining
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Philippians 2:14 — “Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”
James 5:9 — “Do not complain, brethren, against one another…”

THE CORRUPTION OF COMPLAINING
Everyone does it. It’s all around us. In fact, it’s so normalized and pervasive that we hardly even recognize when it actually occurs. The sin of complaining is one of those “respectable sins.” That is, it’s one that’s hardly spoken about, seldom preached against, and still less frequent, a sin with which Christians persistently wage violent war. Complaining is ugly. Complaining is one of the most commonest and frequent sins that’s almost as easy to find and common as the air we breathe.

Complaining isn’t, however, the real issue. Complaining is the outward manifestation of other heart-sins taking place in that moment. Let’s diagnose complaining. When we complain, we manifest three heart-sins that are all taking place together.

First, complaining manifests an attitude of “deservedness.” It’s like saying: “I’m not getting what I feel like I deserve!” Or, to state the opposite: “I am getting what I don’t think I deserve.” And in that moment of a complaint, we soar to the realms of deservedness, specifically, that we deserve something good or better than what we’re actually experiencing.

Second, complaining manifests an attitude of “disbelief.” In the moment of a complaint, the mumbler’s saying something like this: “God, I don’t think you’re doing what’s good, or what’s best, or what’s right, or what’s wisest at this moment.” It’s almost as if the complainer is craftily suggesting to the Omniscient God: “Lord, I feel as though you’ve made a mistake and that you should do things my way as that would have a better outcome.”

Third, complaining manifests -- or, leads to -- an attitude of “ingratitude.” Obviously, in the moment of a pity party or whining, a person isn’t thinking about the majesty and dominion of God nor of the overflowing waves of grace that has swept over him. Rather, in complaining-times, we don’t thank God because we, frankly, don’t think we’re getting what we deserve. And this self-centered, self-focused, self-exalted, self-idolatrous mindset never leads one to praise and thank God in that moment.

The corruption of complaining is that it is a very sly assault and it is a frontal attack on the goodness of God. Complaining is a sin where the sinful heart of man rises up against God and draws the weapon and aims it at the goodness of His Person and at the wisdom of His plan and at the sovereignty of His rule. O may God deliver us from this monster of complaining!


THE KILLING OF COMPLAINING
Can this monster be killed? Is it possible to slay the dragon? Like all sin, there’s no pill to take to ensure a once-for-all removal of this sin -- especially, the heart-rooted, subtle monster -- but the good news is that by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, with the sufficient and heart-transforming power of the Word of God, in the context of the local church, and with diligent effort, by God’s enabling grace, every true child of God can -- and must! -- constantly be vigilant to kill this monster of complaining.

We can think of complaining as being synonymous with grumbling, whining, making a fuss, criticizing, happily finding fault with something/someone, griping, moaning, objecting, and even protesting. The Word of God is not silent about this and provides much help to weed out the roots of this sin.

Jude 16 provides a very illustrative and well-rounded portrait of the complainer (who, in this context is a false teacher in the context of professing Christianity). Grumblers are those who “find fault, follow after their own lusts; and they speak arrogantly, flatter people all for the sake of gaining an advantage” (Jude 16).

We must dig far deeper than just pulling the visible leaves off the weed of complaining. We must dig deep, we must excavate far down, we must pull the underground, unseen roots out of this sin of complaining. But how?

THE CULTIVATING OF CONTENTMENT
Even in the Psalms when David finds himself in terribly hard and distressing seasons (where he pours out his soul to God in fervent, honest, desperate prayer) he finds himself resting, relying, re-focusing, even re-orienting one’s perspective on the immutable character of God amidst the uncontrollable and shakeable circumstances of life. Only this gives contentment to one’s soul.

If complaining is the manifestation of heart-mumblings and frustrations at what is happening to me at a certain point, then contentment may be defined as a heart-rooted and solid satisfaction in God that does not shift with external circumstances. Jeremiah Burroughs once said: “Christian happiness, or contentment, is the exact opposite of a complaining spirit.”

So in uprooting the monster-sin of complaining and cultivating contentment, what is to be done? How can we, enabled and empowered by God who so mightily and powerfully works within us, cultivate this blessed, satisfying, and necessary trait of contentment?

First, let us study God’s character. Nothing can so uproot discontentment and complaining than a deep, biblical, thorough, and heart-enthralling study of the majesty, awesomeness, infinite nature of the one, true and Living God.

Second, let us rely on God’s sovereignty. Whatever happens in life, or to state it more precisely, whatever God brings into your day-to-day life, actively choose to trust in God’s glorious kingship, His good dominion, and His wise sovereignty. He not only has a decreed and immutable plan but He also providentially, powerfully, and lovingly brings that plan to pass through every single instant and event that ever occurs. Rely on Him. Rest in His unfrustrated kingship.

Third, trust in God’s bigger plan. Always remember that what God brings into your life (or, what God keeps from you at a certain time) is one part of a much, much bigger plan that God is outworking for His glory and for the good of all of His saints. This helps keep our focus God-centered rather than me-centered.

Fourth, gladly receive pains and trials from God’s loving hand. Gladly? Pains? Trials? Loving? Those words go together? For every child of God who is in union with Christ, he can rejoice in remembering that no good thing does God withhold from those who walk uprightly (Ps 84.11). Whatever God brings into our lives -- even the unplanned and unpleasant experiences -- let us gladly receive them as personally given by God’s fatherly hand of love.

Fifth, make it a point to thank God specifically, daily, and worshipfully. In a simple and summarizing word, the way to keep killing the sin of complaining is to keep cultivating the daily habit of thanking God. Praise strangles grumbling. Gratitude starves disputings. Constant thankfulness to God is the best way to constantly mortify complaining. May God help us to specifically, daily, and worshipfully thank Him for all that He gives or withholds from us, for His glory.

Download the pdf article here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June is sometimes pronounced to be 'PRIDE' month. Often, 4 reasons are given by those embrace this worldview.

I provide the 4 reasons that they give and then answer each of the 4 reasons biblically by helping evangelical Christians with an understandable, gospel-driven, loving, and courageous response to each of the reasons.

4 reasons why many promote LGBT/Pride...
1. history
2. community
3. identity
4. future (much work yet to be done re: discrimination)

*How must we respond? What can we say? I seek to provide biblical clarity and gospel-saturated responses to each of these 4 reasons that LGBT adherents give.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

More on homosexuality and sexual issues found at Pastor Geoff's site here.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Today on the streets of St Louis, MO I will complete my open air preaching thru the attributes of God (2nd time doing so in the last 5 years).

[I have compiled a philosophy of open air preaching that guides & guards me in this area of evangelism.]
 
In the public & open air, I've preached on...

  • existence of God
  • sovereignty of God
  • aseity of God (Self-existence)
  • eternality of God
  • personhood of God
  • tri-unity of God
  • infinitude of God
  • holiness of God
  • righteousness of God
  • justice of God
  • goodness of God
  • omniscience of God
  • omnipresence of God
  • omnipotence of God
  • wisdom of God
  • patience of God
  • faithfulness of God
  • wrath of God
  • love of God
  • mercy of God
  • grace of God
  • glory of God
  • immutability of God (unchangeableness)
  • transcendence of God
  • compassion of God

Today I complete the study with 2 more...
  • the fatherhood of God (I'll preach Jude 1)
  • the praiseworthiness of God (I'll preach Psalm 117)

May God use His Word to awaken many masses who have heard about the ONLY, TRUE GOD in St Louis -- that they would flee from their false gods and self-created gods and flee to the one true God in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ the LORD!

Please pray for fruit.

All the audios can be found here.
More podcasts on the topic of evangelism can be found here.
Many other sermons in the open air are found here
 
A Primer for Parents to Discipline Their Children With Gospel-Grace
Bringing the hope of the Gospel to your child’s heart
Geoffrey R. Kirkland  |  Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Proverbs 22.15 — Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;  The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13-14 — Do not hold back discipline from the child,  Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.


So your child has sinned. They have disobeyed God, defied you, transgressed God’s Word, and you’ve now taken your child into the discipline room. Then what? What do you do? What do you say? How do you discipline & point to Christ? How can you be firm with truth & tender with compassion?

1. Gather the facts. —  Ask questions of the child (as much as you’re able with the younger ones) such as: "what happened?" or “tell me what’s going on.” This way you seek to understand the situation (even if you saw it) and you’re allowing them to speak and give their account of the event.

2. Reach the heart. — Then, whatever happened to them, you ask "how did you respond?” or “how did that make you feel?”  “what did you choose to do in that moment when it happened?” Then you can ask: “Why?” All of these questions intentionally target the heart. We want to reach the heart.

3. Expose the sin. — At this point, regardless of what’s happened, it’s vital to specify the sin. Perhaps the child manifested a heart of selfishness, a desire for control, an outburst of anger, not considering others as more important than themselves, etc. The goal is to clearly expose the sin.

4. Prove it biblically. — Ideally, we as Christian parents should have an open a Bible and show the child where in the Scriptures they have sinned against God. This is crucial so the child knows he didn’t ultimately sin against mom or dad but first and foremost against God. This is where godly parents need to constantly study the Word and hide it in our hearts so that we can bring biblical truth to the child’s heart regularly & specifically.

5. Give the discipline. — The sin has been committed. The facts have been gathered. The heart has been exposed (as much as possible). The sin has been clearly stated and biblically proven. The child is guilty and has disobeyed God. Now the parent must use the rod. The goal is to bring enough pain for the child to see the error in what he’s done but, of course, the discipline is not to bring harm or bruising to the child. Using the rod must be done in a private location and it must be firm. Whether it’s one swat or two or three on the rear-end (an area that’s not exposed but easily covered up), the parent must choose to obey God and use the rod when the child has sinned. Parents must choose to obey God rather than follow culture on spanking. Culture calls it “harming/abusing the child.” God calls it: “saving your child’s soul from death!” Choose to follow God! Use the rod.

6. Express tender love. — Immediately when the discipline has occurred and the child is saddened by the pain, hold the child, hug the child, affectionately place the child on your lap, and verbally tell them: "I love you!” This tender love and physical and verbal reassurance is important.

7. Give the gospel. —
 Now is the glorious opportunity to say: “do you know why I did this? You've sinned. And our God is holy. You're a sinner, just like daddy (mommy)…” The Law has exposed the sin. The child has received a discipline for the offense. Now bring the balm of the gospel and the hope of Christ. The glorious benefit of this consists in parents having many opportunities (even daily, at times!) to present the gospel to their children who have sinned. Yes, our God hates sin and sees our sinful hearts! But God sent His Son to take the “eternal discipline” that we deserve. Compel your children to trust in Jesus! Sinners are saved by faith — childlike faith — in Jesus as Lord & Savior! Show them Christ’s glory, worth, work, and hope! Never underestimate the power of a faithful father who disciplines when he’s home and able and a faithful mother who disciplines in the home and how many gospel occasions this presents with the child. O may God use Christian homes to save children at young ages for His glory and renown.

8. Pray with them. — When all has been done and said, don’t forget to pray for them and with them. Still keeping the child on your lap and embracing him in your arms, pray for God to save them. Then, move on tenderly, lovingly, caringly, affectionately, and prayerfully.

More articles on parenting can be found at Pastor Geoff's website.
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