True Greatness

What is true greatness? The term “great” is used so much that it hardly communicates what it should. You hear greatness pronounced on everything from TV shows to athletes to chocolate desserts. But what makes someone or something truly great?

Michael Jordan is probably the best basketball player of all time, certainly the best of our era, but is he great? Maybe the question we should be asking, is who defines greatness and what is his definition of true greatness? When we ask who defines true greatness, our minds must run to God. After all, he is the creator of everything, therefore He is great, and anything else that is great was made by Him. That certainly qualifies Him to define greatness for us.

God defines greatness for us through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came as the King over sin, Satan, death, and creation, but he also came as a servant. Can you believe that he came as a servant? He says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV) Jesus says that He did not come to be served, but to serve. The King came to serve. In this context, Jesus also defines greatness. Mark 10:43, “…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,” (ESV). Those who are great, are those who serve.

C.J. Mahaney has served us all by writing a book titled Humility: True Greatness. Using this text from Mark 10, Mahaney gathers a definition of true greatness in the eyes of God. Serving others for the glory of God is true Biblical greatness. This should be present in our lives both individually and corporately. To be great in the eyes of God you must rid yourself of selfish ambition. If our church is to be great in the eyes of God then we must be rid of selfish ambition. Serving one another for the glory of God will make us great in the eyes of God.

This definition of greatness is radically different from what the rest of the world will tell us is truly great. This Biblical definition also has deep ramifications for each of our lives. In the coming days we will look at some of these specific ramifications.

Links – The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Another site that I wish to recommend to you is the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. CBMW was formed in 1987 to help the church deal with gender issues. These issues must be studied carefully, as the discussion can be very explosive. Trinity Church embraces the complementarian position. That is, men and women are equal in essence, and distinct in role. CBMW exists to help the church navigate these gender issues by: teaching what the Bible has to say, defining the terms and issues in question, and correcting misapplications concerning gender. On the site you will find articles, audio resources, a blog, and many other helpful resources.

What did God do in your heart on Sunday?

What did God do in your heart on Sunday? I think this is the question that we should be asking ourselves and each other as we process our church experience each Sunday. The more common question people tend to ask is, “how was church?” This is a fine question (maybe), however the answers to this question tend to miss the point. Here are some common answers to “how was church?” – “The message was long”. “I liked one of the songs we sang”. Or maybe the answer will simply be, “it was good”. All of these answers (and I am sure you can think of more) are merely addressing how the “performance” of the service went. This is not the issue.

The real issue when we meet together on Sunday is what God is doing in your heart, and what he is doing in your hearts, together. A successful service is not one in which we play all the right notes, sing the right songs, and the sermon is applicable and under 40 minutes (yeah, right). That would not necessarily be a successful service. We want God to meet with us. That would be true success! If God used His Word, through the service, to soften your heart and strengthen your faith, wouldn’t you call that success? That would not be a waste of your Sunday morning.

So, we come back to the question, what did God do in your heart Sunday? First, notice that this question implies God is the active one. We come with open hearts, and God speaks through His word and through His people. When something happens on Sunday that helps your Christian walk, God is the one that does it. Second, notice that the heart is the issue. We don’t want to merely learn facts about God and the Bible. These truths must affect us. Learning must translate to living.

Now, as to what He did in my heart. (You can listen to the sermon from 5/4 here) The point that Mike made about Jesus’ continued teaching of the disciples was an excellent one. He made the point that his teaching implied that they should be continually learning. Mike was certainly right that none of us will have the audacity to say that we have learned all we need to and we have no need of any further instruction. However, I do see this true in my heart, and it is evidenced by a lack of real hunger for the Word. I believe that if I saw more urgency to learn, then I would have a greater hunger for the Word. Also, the time we took to slow down and look at the miracles of Jesus was very helpful for me.

So what did God do in your heart on Sunday?

Typically in the blog we do not show comments. The comments come to me and I respond to them, so feel free to leave one at any time. However on this type of post we will make comments public (if you wish). We can use this blog to encourage one another as to how God is working in our hearts through our Sunday meetings. So if you wish to share something (basically a testimony), you can leave a comment and others will have the chance to see it. Just be sure it is giving God the credit for working, that way it will edify us and encourage us in the faith.

How and Why we take in the Word

In our Sunday service we are reading through Psalm 119 (tomorrow’s passage is 119:57-80 if you want to read ahead in preparation). Maybe you have noticed the emphasis on the Word of God. I want to draw your attention back to Psalm 119:9-16 and make some comments. My desire is that you will encouraged in the Word today in preparation for tomorrow when you will be exposed to the Word. This passage instructs us by showing us why and how we should take in the Word.

Psalm 119:9-16 (ESV)

Psa. 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
Psa. 119:10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
Psa. 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Psa. 119:12 Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
Psa. 119:13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
Psa. 119:14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
Psa. 119:15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
Psa. 119:16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

Why do we take in the Word? The Word is the means by which we can fight sin. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it not in the power of the flesh, but according to Your Word. I store up Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You. We are to take in the Word for a specific purpose, that it might have a clear result. That result is that so we might not sin against God. That purpose is why we take in the Word.

But also notice how we are to take in the Word. The Word is our delight. With my whole heart I will seek you, in the way of you testimonies I delight, I will delight in your statutes. May the Lord grant us true affection and desire for His Word, so that we can affirm verse 14, “In the way of your testimonies I delight, as much as in all riches”. I want to delight in the Word more than I would in riches!

I trust the Lord will use this text to prepare you as you come tomorrow to take in the Word.

Links – Dr. Albert Mohler

We will begin to list several links in the column on the right side of this blog. I want to make you aware of them and give a little explanation as to why each of them are listed. The first one is a link to Dr. Albert Mohler’s website. Dr. Mohler is the president of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. He is a valuable gift to the church in that he has an incredible mind. One of his strengths is how he is able to engage in the current cultural scenarios of the day with a truly Biblical perspective. On his website you can find a blog, a commentary, and even a link to his daily radio program. Many times, these mediums are given over to current issues in our world and how to deal with them and engage them, Biblically. For example, his current blog post deals with the release of what is expected to be the most popular video game of the year. Dr. Mohler can help us shape a Biblical world-view on these things. I think you will find his website helpful and interesting.

Trinity News

We will not be having prayer meeting this Sunday night. Steven’s graduation is in the evening and some of us will be heading down to Virginia Beach for that.

Recommended Reading

Here are the two books that we have recommended over the last two weeks.

A Hunger for God by John Piper

Today there is a renewed interest in and emphasis on fasting in western Christianity. However, this discipline remains confusing to many Christians. Some question whether it has any relevance at all. A Hunger For God was written to help Christians understand the Biblical nature and purpose of fasting and prayer. In this book, John Piper looks at the phenomena of religious, political, and health-based fasting, which occur around the world, and explains what makes Christian fasting unique. He then discusses the reasons and ways the Bible commends fasting to us. Ultimately, Piper asserts, fasting is a way of expressing to God that he is the supreme hunger of our hearts — that we are starving for him.

You can read this book online for free, or purchase it here.

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever

Evangelism is not only misunderstood, it is often unpracticed. Many Christians want to share the gospel with others, but because those Christians don’t grasp the fundamentals of witnessing, they feel intimidated and incapable of sharing the truth of the gospel.

Yet those believers fail to recognize that God has already established who and how we are to evangelize. In The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Dr. Mark Dever seeks to answer the four basic questions about evangelism that many Christians ask: Who should we evangelize? How should we evangelize? What is evangelism? Why should we evangelize? In his answers Dever draws on New Testament truths and helps believers apply those truths in practical ways. As readers understand the fundamentals of evangelism, they will begin to develop a culture of evangelism in their lives and their local churches.

You can purchase this book here.

Don’t waste your economic stimulus package rebate.

The article linked to below is from the Desiring God blog. It deals with how Christ relates to the rebate checks that most people are getting from the IRS. The article was a major challenge to me. Specifically, it made me really consider what I view as a real need in my life, financially speaking. I was convicted that my first thought when I heard about a free check from the government was not how I could use it for Jesus.

Leave it to Piper to give us a radically God-centered way to view a check from the IRS!

You can access the article here.

Why Blog?

Just what the internet needs, another blog! This is certainly not the reason that I wish to start this blog. I do have a couple areas in mind in which this blog might be able to serve you. First, let me say that by “you”, I primarily mean the people of Trinity Church. Mainly, this blog is for you. I hope that you will find the contents of this blog applicable to your life, and helpful as you seek to live out the gospel. On the practical side, information on upcoming events, and announcements will be posted here.

This blog will also be used as a teaching outlet. A few weeks ago, Mike made a statement in his sermon that struck me. It is really a simple concept. Christianity is about learning! There is a strong connection between learning and living. Not all teaching/learning takes place in classrooms with long lessons or sermons. It is my desire to pass on some things that I am learning in a concise way, whether it be something from the Word, something from a book I am reading, or something from a recent sermon. I also wish to use this as an avenue to pass things along to you that might be helpful. Here we will be recommending books, music, articles, etc… I trust that these things will be helpful in your learning, to help you in your endurance.

You can make a comment on the blog, but the comments won’t be public. I will certainly receive and read all the comments. So if you wish to ask a question or make a comment, please feel free.

So let’s see what happens. I imagine there will certainly be more uses for this blog than these that I mentioned. My prayer is that it will serve you, and be a means by which you can encounter the goodness of God.