The Biggest Loser specializes in physically transforming morbidly obese people. The transformations are nothing short of remarkable, and it is an honor to win the title "The Biggest Loser." The show also specializes, however, in boosting the self esteem of the contestants. They are constantly told that they have what it takes and that they should lose that weight for themselves. "You can do it; you're good enough; you're worth it; do it for YOU!" When they leave the Biggest Loser campus, they have lost tons of weight but have gained the ability to trust themselves like never before.
What a contrast to the gospel. The gospel is for losers, but not losers who are proud of what they've lost. Paul says, "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." In other words, you're not good enough; you can't do it. But Jesus is good enough; he did do it. If you want to be a follower of Christ you have to view your supposed strength as weakness; your good works as filthy rags; your gain as rubbish. Faith looks away from self and looks to Christ in complete dependence upon him. See the difference? The winner of The Biggest Loser walks away content and confident in who they are. The one who loses all things for Christ's sake walks away content and confident in who Christ is. Which kind of loser are you?
Sunday is many things to many people. For many it is a day off work; a day to relax; a day to dread getting back to the grind of work, school, etc. on Monday. God's word tells us that it is the day Jesus rose from the dead, and therefore the day that the church gathers for worship. It is the Lord's Day. This Sunday, March 20, we welcome you to worship with us at 10:30 AM. We will be looking at Jesus' words of warning and welcome from Matthew 11 - you'll find challenge and encouragement here! But in addition to this we are inviting you to join us for a meal following the morning service. Some of the ladies are cooking up some barbecue pulled pork and chicken for sandwiches. If previous lunches are any indicator, you will walk away happy and full! So please come. It will be an opportunity to worship with God's people, see first hand what GBF is all about, and to enjoy the company and fellowship of some very dear people. Where will you be this Sunday? We would love to have you spend part of it with us! We meet here.
Here's the important part. Turn your clocks ahead one hour (spring forward!) before you go to bed Saturday (March 12). If you fail to do this and head off to church at the usual time on Sunday morning you will arrive around what you think is 10:30 AM. In reality it will be 11:30 AM and the service will be approaching its conclusion. You will be slightly embarrassed as you realize your mistake and everyone else smiles knowingly as you walk in hoping to find some seats in the back row.
Less important is what you and I think of DST. When we moved to Indiana back in 2002, most of the state did not spring forward or fall back. This was totally new to me and it created some interesting dynamics in our family. My parents live in the Central Time Zone; Erin's parents in the Eastern Time Zone. So for 1/2 the year good old Eastern Time Zone Indiana was on Eastern Standard Time and for the other 1/2 of the year on Central Standard Time. Our parents never knew what time it was at our house when they called. So regardless of my thoughts on the usefulness or uselessness of DST, I was glad when Indiana caught up with the rest of the country and switched several years ago.
Soon, it will be lighter later in the day. My children will be able to help me plant and harvest the crops later into the day (or will be able to play outside with the neighbor kids until later). Thankfully, God will meet with us as we worship whether it is 10:30 or 11:30, light or dark outside. Looking forward to the Lord's Day. See you Sunday at 10:30. I hope.
Starting in the early 1980s, my parents started taking us to Reformed Baptist family conferences. So began a practice that continued (with a few interruptions) until 2002 or so. I still remember dorms with no air conditioning in Blufton, OH. I have been to conferences in Blufton, Huntington and Marion, IN, and Dayton, TN. During those much anticipated weeks of the summers of my childhood and young adulthood, we would form friendships, eat, talk, pray, and soak up good preaching. Flowing from that I have friends all over the country that I would not have otherwise known. There were opportunities to grow in grace, to develop leadership, and to form relationships that are still enjoyed today. The closest thing to revival I have ever seen took place at one of these conferences.
All that goes to say that those weeks were some of the most profitable of my life and I have missed them. That's why I am thrilled that our brothers and sisters at the Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville are undertaking the huge responsibility of hosting a family conference this summer in Louisville, KY on the campus of Southern Seminary. You can learn all about it and register here. If you can carve out a few days of your schedule, bring your family. You won't regret it.
There are a couple of exciting things happening this week. One is that I am currently in Grand Rapids, MI for a Pastors' Fraternal. I have been richly fed by Pastor Jim Savastio of the Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville. He is ministering to ministers on the topic of endurance. It is refreshing to soak up the truth of God's word. I have also found encouragement in fellowship with other pastors, hearing what is going on in their churches, sharing what is going on in ours, and praying for one another. What a privilege.
Also new this week - our first ladies' Bible study will be held tonight. Peg will be leading the ladies in a study of being a faithful wife. We look to the head of the church to bless these opportunities for the greater health and strength of our church plant.
I ran across this Sabbath-Eve Gospel Prayer awhile back and appreciated it. It is written by Tullian Tchividjian - the pastor who followed D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. I'm posting it here so that you can benefit from it as well. We would all do well to take a minute to make this our prayer some time today as we anticipate the Lord's Day tomorrow.
Looking forward with expectation to gathering with God's people to worship him!
9,000,000,000 and 100,000. Those are some big numbers. One of them is the average number of hairs on the human head. The other is the amount of revenue generated by the National Football League (NFL) each year. You can probably guess which is which. Right now NFL owners and players are negotiating who gets how much of the $9 Billion. The negotiations are actually much more complex, and I don't pretend to understand it all. I just know it's not going very well. I understand that investors want a good return on their money and workers want a fair wage and benefits, but when the pie is that big, it seems like whatever size piece you get is more than enough. (For example, it takes Tom Brady less than one complete pass to earn what I do in one year).
The other number is a bit more manageable. With some shampoo and a hairbrush you take care of your 100,000 hairs without giving too much thought to how many there are. A few of them go down the drain; you don't think anything of it. Interesting to know that something so insignificant that we'll wash it down the drain is known by God. He knows the number of hairs on your head and on the head of every other person in the world. That's over 690 TRILLION hairs God is keeping track of right now. And if he's got that in his hands, how much more the people those hairs belong to?
So you can chase your piece of the pie or entrust your life to the hands of God who knows the number of hairs on your head. Which is it for you?
When I quote Scripture In this blog, unless otherwise indicated, the quotations are usually from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission.
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