Jonah: God’s Sovereign, Unfailing Love (PART 2)

Some thoughts from pastor Stephen concerning his studies on Jonah.

4 Men Proclaiming the 1 Hope

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Empty Hopes and a Sovereign Savior 

Diagnosing the Problem 

I can’t discern which comes first, discontentment or idolatry. It seems like the two feed upon one another. When I am discontent I am so tempted and prone to turn to things that are not God for comfort, encouragement, hope to save me from pain, melancholy, and despair. Simply put, I turn to created things to give me life. And Yet I also know the product from me turning to created things to give me what they were never intended to give me is discontentment, pain, melancholy, and despair. These are the confessions of a Christian who finds himself fundamentally guilty of the same sins as the polytheist.

Martin Luther taught that the reason the reason the first commandment was against idolatry was because it was impossible to break the other nine without first committing idolatry. The monk turned…

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Jonah: God’s Sovereign, Unfailing Love (PART 1)

4 Men Proclaiming the 1 Hope

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Part 1: Running from the Presence of God

     When I was in High School I went through a stage of rebellion a couple of years after being a Christian. I was still actively reading my Bible daily. I was still going to church on my own accord (though my parents rightfully didn’t give me the choice). I was still seeking opportunities to speak to others about Christ and his gospel. However, there was one area that particularly stands out to me that saddens me. One area I had fought hard to justify. One area I knew I was running from God.

What was it you ask?

Music

Music wasn’t the problem. I am not even drawing a line concerning so-called “Christian” and “secular” music. What made the music particularly wrong to listen to was that the artist sung about loving the things that God hates. The artist mocked, ridiculed…

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Baptisms

One of the greatest joys pastors get to enjoy is leading people to Christ.  It is particularly special when you get to lead them to Christ and them baptize them.  I (Stephen) had that joy twice this year and I am confident this will be a year for me to remember!  I hope you enjoy watching these baptisms!

Austin Woodard

TJ Edberg

Blessings!

A Introduction to the Millennium in All Its Forms: Pre, A, and Postmillennialism

4 Men Proclaiming the 1 Hope

I had the honor of presenting at a Theology Colloquium on the Millennial Kingdom.  I presented a Postmillennial point of view.  Two other godly men and pastors that I highly respect presented two other points of view on the issue.  Below are three presentations from the three most common views of the Millennial Kingdom.

A Defense for Premillennialism:

Amillennialism 101:

An Introduction to Postmillennial:

Blessings,

Stephen

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Self-confidence vs. Confidence in Another

There once was a man.  This man was born in an non-Christian family.  In his early High School years he went to a High School youth event where he was introduced to the Christian faith.  He soon became a Christian and was baptized in the local church.  After graduating High School he went off to college to get his engineering degree. He was very gifted and excelled in school and landed a good paying job.  He met his wife in college and got married soon after graduating.  Throughout his High School, College, and career life he was heavily involved in his church.  He loved working with youth and adults alike. He served as an elder, helped in AWANA for 40 years, lead the High School Youth Group, and was widely respected by the community and church alike.  One day he was praying while walking his dog.  He was thanking God for the change he had seen in his life, how he had become so well respected by men, how he was enabled to give to the poor and even fast regularly.  And as hew as praying, he felt a quiver in chest, a pain shoot down his arms, and he fell down and died.  And that man, when he awoke, was in hell.

My fear as an under-shepherd of God’s flock is that many in Christianity today are putting their confidence in their goodness.  And if we do that, we will end up like that man!  Friend,  listen to these words from the Apostle Paul,

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.

Here, we see the Apostle Paul lay out all his credentials from: heritage, right doctrine, to right behavior. And after he does this he counts them all as being in his credit line and not debit line.  He then considers himself bankrupt before God and in complete and utter need for Christ and His righteousness.  And praise be to God, he discovers that by placing his faith in Jesus Christ alone he is found to be righteous before God.  Friend, let me ask you, “what are you putting your hope in today?”  I plead with you, don’t be a fool to think your good actions bring you in any good standing before God.  Recognize that you are lost, naked, blind, and poor.  And put all your confidence in another.  That is, put your every bit of confidence in Jesus Christ alone for your right standing before the perfectly righteous and holy God.

Blessings,

Pastor Stephen