Tag Archives: Glory of the Gospel

True Grit, Perseverance, and the Joy of the Lord

16 Aug

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“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10

Charles Spurgeon described the joy of the Lord as, “…a joy of divine origin…a source of strength to  all who partake…” This joy springs supernaturally from God Himself radiating outward to us as we contemplate all He is, has done, will be. 

“All these attributes of my God are mine: his power, my protection; his wisdom, my guidance; his faithfulness, my foundation; his grace, my salvation” Charles Spurgeon

This delight in His character, His salvation, His abundant grace, promises, and providence stems from a heart tuned to the Lord — filled with His very presence; the indwelling Holy Spirit. Joy is our reaction to abiding in Christ, our expression fellowship with our Savior.It is this joy — the joy of the Lord — that…

Please click here to continue reading: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > True Grit, Perseverance, and the Joy of the Lord.

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Spiritual Disciplines for the Purpose of Godliness | WORSHIP | 4th in Series

2 Aug

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“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” — Hebrews 12:28-29.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “worship?” For many it’s the music and songs typical for a Sunday morning church service. While the music and singing can create great joy, the heart of worship is about magnifying God’s name and ascribing to Him the glory and worth that only He is due Psalm 29:2.“Worship is the specific act of ascribing to God the glory, majesty, honor, and worthiness which are His,” — Jerry Bridges.Derived from the Old English “weorthscipe” meaning the “condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown,” “worship” denotes worthiness. It is the outpouring of grateful sincere hearts to our infinetly holy God; blessing Him, praising Him, thanking Him. “It’s the response of awe for God while reflecting on…

Please click here to continue reading: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Spiritual Disciplines for the Purpose of Godliness | WORSHIP | 4th in Series.

Who Are You Wearing?

26 Jul

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“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” Romans 13:14

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” Colossians 3:12″

Who are you wearing?” Have you ever watched an awards show and heard that question repeated to every passing celeb on the red carpet? It is meant to be a sort of pre show advertisement for designers and it works. Sales spike in the wake of these televised fashion parades as many believe the wordly ideal that ensures us the right outfit will buy us a better life, after all, the star looks amazing and happy…right?…

Finish reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Who Are You Wearing?.

Finding Calm in the Storm

20 Jun

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Finding Calm in the Storm by Marci Lopez

Do you ever get motion sick? I do. When Pastor Bob talks about motion sickness in a sermon, I relate. Travel in general is tough for me no matter the conveyance –car, plane, boat, amusement park ride –the rockier the motion the more ill I feel and the greater the suffering. This is true during times of turmoil as well. When the ebb and flow of every day turns into a tumultuous toss and turn like angry seas during a storm, that’s when I feel an anxious sick, a disequilibrium where a foothold is not easily gained.It is during those times…

Finish reading here:  Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Finding Calm in the Storm.

Servanthood: A Lost Art?

31 May

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 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

Have we lost the art of servanthood? Have we allowed the world to twist, pull, corrupt, and change the definition of a word originally intended to mean a demonstration; a beautiful outpouring of our love for each other expressed as a devoted waiting upon? Have we forgotten who it is we ultimately serve; who our master is or are we weighted down under personal feelings and columns filled with tallies of perceived slights and offenses that allow the muddied messy church to obscure the true freedom of othercentered serving?Servanthood is not synonymous with slavery. We are as liberated as one dwelling on this cursed earth can be. We have been ransomed, a blood price was paid, and we are no longer living in bondage; no longer in chains. Our Savior, the ultimate servant Mark 10:45, poured out His grace as He hung on that tree along with abundant faith and love 1 Timothy 1:14 that we might glorify God through selfless service to others in an expression of deep love and shared grace.

Please read the remainder of the article at:  Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Servanthood: A Lost Art?.

Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Prayer | 3rd in Series

24 May

praying hands_opt“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7b NASB)

Prayer is an expression of our heart, an outpouring of intimacy, a loving dialogue with the Father.The Word of God makes it clear we are to participate in prayer.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Prayer | 3rd in Series.

Maundy Thursday | A New Commandment

17 Apr

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“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” —John 13:34.

On the Thursday before Jesus was crucified, in an act of humility and love Jesus was on His knees washing the feet of His disciples. The Creator of the Universe, the Author of Life performed the lowly task of washing clean the dirt and muck from callused feet seeing past the filth and grime. This simple act was full of meaning; a foreshadowing of the morrow.

On this day Jesus gave a new commandment shedding new light on “loving your neighbor as yourself,” (Leviticus 19:18).

“What makes the command new is that because of Jesus’ passion there is a new standard, a new example of love.There was never any love like the dying love of Jesus. It is tender and sweet (13:33). It serves (13:2-17). It loves even unto death (13:1). Jesus had nothing to gain from us by loving us. There was nothing in us to draw us to him. But he loved us still, while we were yet sinners.” —Kevin DeYoung, Maundy Thursday.

Jesus desired for us to love our brothers and sisters out of the depths of an overflowing love no matter the cost (John 15:13)…to go low in foot-washing-like service to others, be willing to risk everything, our lives, our privileges…to love because we are “members of His body,” (Ephesians 5:30) and like Christ who was sustained “by the joy set before Him,” (Hebrews 12:2) we too shall be stengthened by the indescribable joy found at the cross when we love out of faithfulness, obedience, and the desire to bring glory to God.

Additional Resources:

The Gospel Coalition | When Jesus Said Farewell

Desiring God | The Greatest Prayer in the World (Maundy Thursday)

Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Bible Intake |2nd in Series

30 Jan

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“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7b NASB)

“If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folks from digging into the Bible. Knowing that it is the Word of God, teaching men to know and love and serve the God of the Word, I should do all I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorn hedges, and man traps, to frighten people off…At all costs I should want to keep them from using their minds in a disciplined way to get the measure of its message” (J.I. Packer).

Bible intake is a broad term and encompasses the many ways the Word is made known to us. “[There is] no spiritual discipline…more important than the intake of God’s Word” (Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life). This particular discipline is inextricably linked to spiritual growth and maturity; where hearts opened to the knowledge of the glory of God crave “the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2-3) and yearn to know and love Him more. Our soul cries out as a “deer pants for water” and “thirsts for God” (Psalm 42:1-2). Quench this thirst by hearing purposefully, reading consistently, studying deeply, memorizing intentionally, meditating thoughtfully, and applying God’s Word accordingly.

Through Bible intake God’s attributes are revealed and His characteristics are highlighted in the Gospels through Jesus giving us access to a deeper understanding of how to glorify God and an amazing love. Seek Him, spend time with Him, obey Him, honor Him…He is jealous for us

How to Get People to Read the Bible Without Making Them Feel Dumb by Trevin Wax

“The Bible is easy.”

“The Bible is simple for a child to understand.”

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the Bible.”

I hear these and other statements at times from well-meaning church leaders and church members. The idea is to shrink the distance from us and the biblical text, to make the Bible seem accessible…with the hope that more people will read it. I think this is the wrong way to go about it. It’s just not going to happen. When we stress the Bible’s “easiness,” we lead our people into two wrong directions. Some will throw up their hands and say, “I must be really stupid because this seems very dense.” Or, even worse, we train people to only look for the easy parts, to be satisfied with daily nuggets of wisdom and never wade deep into the Bible’s waters. Either way, you wind up with people who never feel the satisfaction of studying the Bible on their own.

Instead, I suggest we be upfront about the demanding nature of the Bible.  Let your people know that it’s hard work. It’s a challenge…

Continue reading here: How to Get People to Read the Bible Without Making Them Feel Dumb – Trevin Wax

Additional Resources:

Three Tips for Better Bible Reading | Desiring God

Why Read the Bible? | Desiring God

Five Promises for Your Bible Reading and Prayer | Desiring God

3 Common Ways to Read Scripture – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Hearing Gods Voice 101 | Are YOU listening? | Connect to Women’s Ministry @TACC

 

Love So Amazing, So Divine | Poured Out, Overflowing

17 Jan

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“We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19

“God chose the moment…He sat His love upon you…He sent His Spirit to open your eyes to see the beauty of Christ…[to] take you for Himself” (Pastor Burris, The Affection of God in the Soul of the Church).

When the dank dark corners of our heart are flooded with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God we see in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) and the hidden corners are illuminated as we are chosen to Him; the goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and graciousness of the Lord shines through; made visible to a heart no longer blind. His Word ceases to be unintelligible, revealing cogent scripture we can examine and savor; a feast for a newly awakened palate. 

“…a mighty power from God coming upon their souls, conforming them to God, addicting them to God, uniting them with God, making them center on God,…The Spirit that is from God suits us to God and to divine things and makes us savor the things of God and take delight in them.” (John Howe, via Ray Ortlund, Has He Given You New Life).

As believers filled with the Lord’s love from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:17) our desires change. We become preoccupied with the Gospel and crave spiritual sustenance with hunger pains welling up from the soul only the Word can quell. 

“I can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, writing about it, reading about it, wrestling with it, reveling in it, standing on it, and thanking God for it. For better or for worse, my focus has become myopic. My passion has become singular.” (Tullian Tchividian, I’m Addicted).

As God’s own possession filled with love poured out, the scope and magnitude of His love via propitiation spectacularly displayed upon the cross creates a spiritual affection for Him and those who belong to Him. We cannot remain comfortable, complacent, apathetic, and outside of community in the shadow of such enormity nor can we not love fellow Christians deeply and intensely. Seek revival; transform and renew your mind; immerse yourselves in the Bible memorizing, meditating, reading, studying and praying scripture so as to truly know the love of God. Ache to love Him more; you cannot love too much. 

The following article offers a love expository and posits love is the most important pursuit:

Love Is Not a Verb, by Jon Bloom

Based on the following statements by Jesus, I would say that love is the most important thing to pursue this year.

[The greatest commandment:] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37–39

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

However, we must be clear on what love actually is or else we will find ourselves lost in the pursuit of it and lose our resolve. Love Is Not Only a Verb…

Keep reading here: Love Is Not a Verb | Desiring God.

Additional Resources:

The Affection of God in the Soul of the Church

Love So Amazing, So Divine | Poured Out, Overflowing

Christmas For The Weary And Heavy Laden

25 Dec

burdenedChristmas For The Weary And Heavy Laden

Christmas is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year”, but for many of you it’s the most painful. It’s that time of year when budgets break, when you’re reminded of how dysfunctional your family is, when you miss the people you love who have died or left.

For some of you, this is your first Christmas as a divorcee. Figuring out how to shuffle your children back and forth between you and your Ex on Christmas Day is a new pain for you. For others, you’re afraid it will be your last Christmas because of your recent diagnosis. Or, you’re afraid it will be your last Christmas with your mom because of her recent diagnosis. A lost job, a daughter who won’t even call on Christmas day, a son you haven’t talked to in three years, a father who can’t get sober, a sibling in rehab–Christmas reveals our deepest frustrations and fears, our most sincere sadness and suspicions, our brokenness and bitterness.

Christmas has a painful way of revealing why the first Christmas was so necessary.

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking; How we need to hear from God…

Christmas exposes our desperation but it also announces our Deliverer—the one who promises rest to the weary and heavy laden; the one who promises never to leave us or forsake us. For those who feel lonely and lost, anxious and abandoned, tired and tense—for those who are guilt-ridden and grieving—Christmas is for you. Especially for you!

The Incarnation of Jesus serves as a glorious reminder that God’s willingness to clean things up is infinitely bigger than our capacity to mess things up. It is the fulfillment of God’s promise to confront our misery with his mercy, our confusion with his comfort, our guilt with his grace.

Christmas is the beachhead of God’s campaign against sin and sadness. It is the coming of light, life, and love into the occupied territory of darkness, death, and hate. Christmas is a war fought by a Peaceful Prince whose battle plan is to defeat death by dying, fear by forgiveness and slavery by salvation.

Christmas sets in motion the Divine pattern of God drawing near to us–not because we’ve done it right–but because we keep doing it wrong. Jesus came down to us because we are weak, not because we are strong.

Christmas highlights the inescapable fact that no matter how hard we try, we can’t do it. Apart from the Incarnation we are left to our own bankrupt resources. But at the same it shows us Jesus, who came to liberate us from the pressure of having to fix ourselves and others!, find ourselves, and free ourselves. He came to relieve us of the burden we inherently feel “to get it done” and make it on our own. He came to set us free from the need to secure for ourselves the affection and approval we long for but cannot attain.

In short, Christmas is God’s answer to the slavery of self-salvation. From the cries of a baby lying in a manger, God shouts, “I’ve got this. I’ll take it from here.”

Fragile finger sent to heal us, Tender brow prepared for thorn; Tiny heart whose blood will save us, Unto us is born.

It is this crying baby that wipes away our tears as our Wonderful Counselor. It is this powerless child that conquers despair and dejection as our Mighty God. It is this needy newborn that is the source of everything we need and long for as our Everlasting Father. It is this helpless infant that restores okayness to our lives as our Prince of Peace.

As Everything, he became nothing so that you–as nothing–could have everything.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Reprinted from: Christmas For The Weary And Heavy Laden – Tullian Tchividjian.

Additional information: Five Truths About the Incarnation – Desiring God

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