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Family Values / Fear of the Lord / …Binge on Netflix

Sermon of the Day:

Macdonald: Family Values

Weekly Audio:

Fear of the Lord (see attached – email version)

Daily Devotion: Six Questions to Ask Before You Binge on Netflix

Ask Pastor John
Interview with John Piper
Founder & Teacher,

Listen to 12 min Audio here.

Audio Transcript

We have talked about Game of Thrones, and nudity in TV and film in this podcast. Today we talk about drama and comedy and PG shows that seem more harmless and less obviously corrupting. It’s a question that comes to us from a listener named Blake. “Hello, Pastor John! My question is, when does humor in media become sinful? I’m a little confused about it, even from some things I have read by you. Is watching secular comedies like Friends andSeinfeld, etc., sinful? I’m rather confused over what is acceptable humor for Christians. If it is wrong to watch these shows, please let me know why.”

The first thing to say here is that I’ve never seen either of those programs — Friends or Seinfeld. I’ve heard of them but never seen one. Which means that my comments, I hope, have the advantage of not being a response to any particular TV show. Rather, they can be seen as an effort to bring biblical reality into view when deciding what we will be entertained by.

What’s Wrong with It?

 Another thing I should probably say here is that my whole approach toward what Christians view or listen to or are entertained by is not governed mainly by the question “What’s wrong with it?” That seems, to me, to be a very different approach than the way the New Testament (the way Paul, especially) approaches questions of right and wrong.

I always get the impression that the question “What’s wrong with it?” is rising from a heart that is basically governed by a desire to minimize wrong rather than maximize holiness or faith or spiritual power or worship or zeal for the lost or missions or justice. Basically, what I’m going to do, in answer to this question, is try to simply reorient our minds about what we should think and feel when it comes to entertainment.

I could, I suppose, go to particular verses (they’re there for a reason) and point out things that are wrong that you might find in TV programs and therefore avoid — like obscene talk in Colossians 3:8 or filthiness, foolishness, and crude joking from Ephesians 5:4. The problem with that approach, right now on this podcast, is that it’s going to leave thousands of Christians right where they are in the immaturity and worldliness of their passions, which is the main issue.

I think most Christians are so in the grip of the spirit of the age and in the grip of popular culture and popular entertainments that the kind of radical reorientation I’m talking about is almost unthinkable for them. For me to pitch into that mindset, a few little warnings from Bible verses that disapprove of certain things seems to me almost useless.

Radical Reorientation

 Here’s my effort at reorienting our thinking. For this to happen, it would be a great work of God, not me. It would be a miracle if it happened to a few listeners. I certainly need it to happen more deeply in my own life as I try to navigate these cultural waters.

What I want to ask is, What are you longing for most earnestly and with the greatest passion in your life? What are you longing for? Let’s just say in your relation to Christ — in your personal walk and relation to Christ — what are you longing for?

Are you longing for greater intimacy? Are you longing for greater depth? Are you longing for greater power? Are you longing for greater clarity as you see his glory in the Scriptures? Are you longing to hear his voice with greater confidence as you read his word? Are you longing to discern his will more confidently? Are you longing to walk more closely with him in a real living relationship, as a real person? Are you longing for his smile of favor rather than his frowns of discipline?

Do you even think in these terms? Do you go to bed with these longings? Do you wake up with these longings governing your life? Do you devote time, perhaps on the Lord’s Day, to seek his face in intensifying these longings? If not, that’s the issue.

This is ten thousand times more important than what particular shows you click on. This will govern that. But if this is missing — if the growing intensification of these longings in your relationship with Jesus is missing — no answers will make any difference about your entertainment habits.

Questions for the Heart

Let’s just pose the question a little differently.

What are you longing for in your relationship with other people? Do you long to represent Jesus with greater compelling forcefulness? Do you long for a greater love for people and a greater zeal for their salvation? Do you long to have greater boldness and encouragement from God in your own representation of Christ? Do you long to be a means of other people’s holiness and purity and power?

Do you long to bring the word of God from your encounter with the risen Christ into the lives of other people with effectiveness? Do you long for readiness to speak hope-filled words into the face of those who are dying or suffering or coming out of divorces?

Do you have the aroma of Christ about you and do you long for it in your conversation with others so that they say, “There’s an aroma about you that’s different”? Do you long to be able to inspire others by your own example in a life of more consistent and deep and satisfying prayer?

If not, what’s the point of talking about shows being right or wrong? If we don’t have that, we don’t even have in place the mindset that can make those kinds of judgments possible. Now, once those kinds of longings are pursued and you have a new passion and you’ve been moved from being a nominal, minimalist, “get by,” cultural Christian to an authentic, passionate, earnest, God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated lover of Jesus, then you will begin to ask questions like, Does this show build up my faith? Does it weaken my faith?

Treasuring God

 Or you might ask questions like this: Does this show make Christ more clear and precious to me, or does it make things more cloudy and make biblical realities more unreal? Does the show make the Bible and immersion in Scripture and meditation more desirable to my heart or awkward to find time for? Does this show leave me with a disinclination to pray and seek God’s face and long for his power? Does this show dampen my zeal for missions and my desire to see salvation come to the lives of the people around me — not to mention the people in Hollywood?

Does it leave me with any desire for a great revival in my city — to see people brokenhearted for the sin represented in a lot of these shows? Does this show sweeten my experience of corporate worship with God’s people and make it more authentic?

Does this show heighten my sense of desire to be a risk taker for the cause of justice and the advancement of God’s righteous rule? Does it help me want to get in a boat or a plane and go to some hard place and die for Jesus? Does this show make a better, more natural conversationalist about spiritual realities like heaven and hell and the Holy Spirit and the gospel and faith?

That’s my response to the question of whether a person should watch any particular show or movie or video. My calling in the world is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all people through Jesus Christ. “Spread a passion for the supremacy of God” — that’s what I’m after. I’m after the kind of passion for his supremacy in everything that functions as a radical litmus test on what we find amusing and entertaining in media.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes.


Thirst For God/ It’s Not Happening Without God

Sermon of the Day:

It’s Not Happening Without God

Psalm 143:6 NIV

I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.

Good Morning Men.

The above verse hit me like a ton of bricks. It convicted me of some wrong thinking and wrong pursuits. Then it encouraged me and strengthened me immensely.

The question I asked myself, I would like to ask each of you: What is the main thirst of your life?

We live in an amazing time to be alive. There is so much opportunity, there is so much that we have access to everywhere we look, at the touch of a button. However with these amazing advantages also comes some disadvantages.

Our society is constantly shaping us to do more and more in less and less time. We all are being tugged and pulled in a hundred directions. Majority of these things could be straight up eliminated. They either are fruitless endeavors, or pursuits that in time will damage the important things in life like our relationships.

My pursuits many times have to compete with God. Many times I have pursuits that I pursue like a parched land.

Is there a time for everything, and seasons of ups, downs, highs and lows? Yes, absolutely.

So how do we as 21st century Christians thirst for God like a parched land?

This of course is the million dollar question, that will look similar yet radically different for each and every one of us. However, let me try to list a few things that I believe God’s Word directs us into.

  1. Matthew 6:33 – This verse is very clear where it all starts, we are to SEEK FIRST God and all that God is and represents in our lives. Does our day start with God? Do we do anything intentionally throughout our day to learn more about God, to draw closer to Him? Do we have a desire to be more like Him in all that we say and do? Do our choices align with God’s Word?
  2. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 – This verse is a clear commandment for parents. This verse when you really think about it and break it down, basically commands us that we need to infuse God into every facet of our family life. In order to do that we need to be walking with Him daily. This is not an act or show. As parents, or parents to be we need to be humble enough to admit our wrongs and commit to turning from those wrongful mindsets or actions. When this starts to improve the family life gets radically strengthened toward the things of God.
  3. Mark 16:15 – Also called the Great Commission. Men what are we doing in our circles of influence to preach the gospel. I heard last week Sunday in church, we can preach it covertly or overtly. Again, time and a place for everything, but when we thirst for God like a parched land. This will either radiate out from us physically, or God places opportunities to share directly. God will place a thirst on our soul to share the greatest news in the world. The love, forgiveness and redemption of Jesus Christ.

These are just a starting point for all of us, if you are already here how can you clean this up and make it stronger?

If I have learned anything with God the best way is to put to death the thought that we ourselves can do it in our own strength. Only God, only by His spirit, by His grace and mercy. By His Sovereign will and timing. Remember that God gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud. Lets dig out all pride, all self-reliance and humble ourselves before God Almighty knowing that He alone is God.

Psalm 145:14 NIV

The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.

Why Are We Here/ It Is Well With My Soul/ The Eternal Shore

Daily Sermon:

MacDonald: Why Are We Here? 

Weekly Audio:

It Is Well With My Soul (see attached – email version)

Daily Devotion: The Eternal Shore : Five Things We Forget About Heaven

By: Gavin Ortlund

In 1952, Florence Chadwick tried to swim from Catalina Island to the coast of California. For fifteen hours, she endured choppy waters, possible shark attacks, and extreme fatigue. Then a thick fog set in. She gave up.

Two months later, she tried again. This time, though it was foggy again, she made it. When asked what made the difference, she said, “The first time all I could see was the fog. The second time I kept a mental image of that shoreline in my mind while I swam.”

For me, Chadwick’s comment gives a great image of how heaven should function in our lives as we follow Jesus. In order to persevere through the fog and fatigue of life, we need a mental image of the eternal shoreline toward which we swim.

But if you’re like me, you tend to think about heaven far less than you should. Many days it’s completely off my radar screen. What’s more, when we do think about heaven, we have a lot of misconceptions about it, as Randy Alcorn has helped us understand.

So lately, I’ve been trying to think more about heaven. As I’ve done so, several features of heaven have surprised me. Think of these as qualities we often forget about heaven — parts of the shoreline most likely to be overlooked.

1. All the Saints Are Equals

When I picture my grandfather in heaven, I picture him as he looked toward the end of his life, because that is when I knew him. But of course, he won’t have an aged, broken-down, 84-year-old body in heaven — any more than those who die in infancy will remain infants for all eternity. Everyone in heaven will have a perfected resurrection body (Matthew 22:30).

So here is a happy thought: my grandfather greeting my children in heaven, and all of them hugging as equals. Oh, how I pray for this! What a joy it would be to introduce them.

2. All the Saints Are Friends

Imagine being out for a walk and bumping into Charles Spurgeon. Or Moses. Or Joni Eareckson Tada (who, of course, can walk and run!). All the saints, from all times, will be your intimate friends and neighbors. It is, after all, eternity, so if you miss anyone over the first ten billion years, you’ll have no less time to get started.

Personally, I look forward to having a conversation with C.S. Lewis. I feel like I have come to know C.S. Lewis somewhat because I have spent so much time in his books. I cannot wait to tell him all that I love about PerelandraThat Hideous Strength, and Till We Have Faces, and see what he thinks about my theories.

3. Sadness Is Permanently Unmade

We know that earthly sadness cannot enter heaven. This is true, but the Bible seems to point to something even more profound — that heaven will enter our earthly sadness.

Once when I was preaching on heaven, my eye was drawn to Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” This verse seems to be claiming more than simply, “We won’t weep in heaven.” The imagery of God wiping away our tears seems to suggest consolation for, as well as the end of, earthly grief. Heaven will not merely end our pain — somehow, it will mend it.

Tim Keller puts it like this: “Resurrection . . . means that every horrible thing that ever happened will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual glory and joy even greater.” It’s like at the end of The Lord of the Rings, when Sam asks Gandalf, “Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

Imagine yourself newly arrived in heaven. God Almighty summons you. As you stand trembling before him, he surgically draws up the deepest wound of your life, healing you and transforming your pain into glory and joy.

Such imagery is tender to the point of embarrassment. Dare we believe it? Dare we not?

4. Every Pleasure Finally Finds Itself

We tend to think about the spiritual joy of heaven more than its physical pleasures. But I think heaven will have both. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know how to imagine all the details, but I don’t think God created waterfalls, raspberries, relationships, and art only to destroy them forever so we could float in an ethereal, cloudy realm. And I’m pretty sure the “pleasures forevermore” at God’s right hand (Psalm 16:11) are not exhausted by an eternity of singing praise choruses.

That means something startling: not only will heaven heal your earthly sorrow, but it will also recall, answer, and fulfill all your earthly happiness. Your happy moments on earth are not lost to you. They will return to you, in some deeper form — part of that final, settled Happiness of which they were, even at their best, mere anticipations.

It’s like in The Chronicles of Narnia when one of the characters makes it to heaven and says, “This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.”

In happy moments, I sometimes pray, “Lord, store this up until heaven.” I believe that is a valid prayer.

5. We Will See Jesus

How amazing will it be to finally see, with our own eyes, the risen, glorified, incarnate Christ in heaven? Truly, this will be one of the most glorious parts of heaven. The one to whom we’ve prayed a thousand times — but he’s always been invisible to us — now we can look into his eyes. We can put our hands into the holes in his wrists. We can hug him and say, “Thank you” into his ear.

But there are hints in the Bible of something even more intriguing (Psalm 11:717:1527:4Revelation 22:4). Theologians have often spoken of the “beatific vision” — that heavenly vision which involves not our resurrected bodily eyes, but “the eye of the soul.” In this way, it is said, we will behold Christ in his divine nature — a glory that surpasses the sweetness of laying our physical eyes on him.

Even the greatest theologians labor to describe this experience. But all agree it is the ultimate happiness of creatures. John Owen claimed that it “will make us blessed unto eternity.” Jonathan Edwards called it “happifying.”

Such an encounter with the glory of Christ can scarcely be imagined. How will we even endure such light and joy? Surely this will be the pinnacle moment of our existence, as we ascend into that permanent roar of joy from which we shall never, and can never, descend.

That Eternal Shore

These features of heaven’s eternal shoreline change how we swim, don’t they? For now, we struggle through rough waters, deep fatigue, and thick fog. But the day is coming soon when the seemingly unending waves will give way to a broad, sturdy shoreline where the joy is full and the pleasures are forevermore.

Knowing this awaits us at the shore can help us keep swimming, no matter how choppy the waves get.

Hope Starts Here / New Creation in Christ / Guys Need Bros

Sermon of the Day:

Piper: My Abandoned Life for Your Abundant Life

MacDonald: Hope Starts Here

Weekly Audio: New Creation in Christ (See attached – email version)

Daily Devotion: Guys Need Bros

Article by

American men are facing a health epidemic.

It’s not smoking or obesity. It’s not heart disease. No, the greatest health issue facing American men today is loneliness and isolation.

Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker details the all-too-familiar process. As we enter our adult years, work takes up more and more of our time. Then we get married and have kids. After running our homes, trying to stay in shape, and (for Christians) getting involved with the church, we have little time left for friendships with other guys. When we do find a bit of “free time,” it’s hard to leave our wives home alone to change diapers, correct homework, and broker peace deals among the warring children.

So, we let our male friendships slide.

Baker found that over the past thirty-plus years, study after study has documented the unhappy consequences for our health. Lonely people are far more likely to die during a given period than their socially connected peers — even after accounting for age, gender, and other factors like healthy eating and exercise. In fact, socially isolated people have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and the progression of Alzheimer’s.

It gets worse. Another study determined that loneliness matched smoking as a long-term risk factor. In 2015, a massive study from BYU gathered data from 3.5 million people over 35 years, and found that those who are lonely, isolated, or merely living by themselves are 26% to 32% more likely to die prematurely.

No matter how you look at it, loneliness is a train wreck for our health.

My Story, Your Marriage

I was forty and friendless. But this was a crisis at least fifteen years in the making.

For years, my wife had been telling me that I needed other guys in my life.

“Okay, but I already have plenty of friends. We’re always connecting on Facebook and emailing. I’m constantly seeing people at work. When I have something I need to share, I tell you. Besides, after work and our family, there’s nothing left!”

After I blew her off, she gave up and started to pray.

A few years after this uncomfortable conversation, a respected Christian author challenged us to form close male friendships in a men-only session at a marriage conference. At the time, I knew nothing about the risks isolation posed. Physically, I felt great. But then he drew a connection between our friendships with other men and our marriages.

Now he had my attention.

Letting our friendships with other men fade, he warned, turns our wives into unintentional idols where they become our only true confidante and friend. This is a role God never intended them to fill, and places a tremendous amount of stress on our marriages.

Furthermore, our wives are so involved in our lives that they can’t give us a truly outside perspective. For example, my wife has been giving me some helpful feedback on my parenting. She’s very wise, but when my friend listened, he added something neither one of us had considered. So, not only do man-to-man friendships afford more unfiltered honesty that, practiced with our wives, would hurt or frustrate them, but they also offer help with being a man in a way that wives cannot.

God Made Men for Friendship

Beyond the benefits for our health and marriages, God made men for friendship. That means we can’t simply opt out.

Other men make up for our deficits with their strengths, as when Aaron spoke on Moses’s behalf (Exodus 7:1–2). Male friends also provide encouragement to glorify God in new ways. Or they can help us persevere in difficulty, like when Jonathan “went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God” (1 Samuel 23:16) when David was running from Saul. Other men can also provide us with a life-giving rebuke we desperately need (Proverbs 27:6). Even Jesus had Peter, James, and John, his own inner circle of male friends.

So, forming close male friendships is absolutely critical to the health of our bodies and marriages, and reflects God’s design for our lives.

Key Elements in Male Friendship

But these friendships won’t just happen. The following are important elements for developing male friendships.

Find your identity in Christ. If we’re going to get close to other men, where they can see our sins and scars, we need to be deeply rooted in Christ — to truly know that “by grace [we] have been saved through faith . . . not a result of works” (Ephesians 2:8–9). When we trust that God accepts us apart from what we do, we’re free to let other men know who we really are.

Initiation. God calls men to lead and go first (Genesis 2:18Ephesians 5:23). Which requires some effort and — the real kicker — the risk of being rejected. It hurts when I reach out to another guy and he takes a week to respond. But remembering that Jesus left heaven to die for our sins gives us courage to take initiative in our own friendships (Hebrews 2:17).

Sacrifice. To make room for friendships, we’ll need to say no to some good, but second-best, things. If we have younger kids, it may require some sacrifice from our wives, so it’s important to work this out as a team.

Five Ways to Find (and Deepen) Male Friendships

Now that we’ve explored why we need true male friends and considered key elements of friendship, let’s take a look at what we can do about it.


Call them “man dates” or (in true male fashion) nothing at all, but spend time with different men and see which relationships have promise. In particular, test the ability to be real and transparent with each other.


Instead of looking for the perfect friend, look for a bunch of faithful, imperfect ones. For example, it’s good to have a friend who can encourage you, but also one who excels at giving you a holy dose of truth.


Taking initiative every time we want to connect with other busy guys is difficult. Having something on the calendar, like a regular men’s night or monthly lunch with a friend, is an easy way to overcome this challenge.


Small, thoughtful actions can go a long way without overwhelming us. My friend Eric, for instance, gave me a quick call in response to an email asking for prayer. It took fifteen minutes but meant the world to me.


It’s natural to focus on what our friends might do for us, but Jesus was right: “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Meditate on the mind-blowing reality that, despite our sin, Jesus has called us friends (John 15:15). This gives us incentive to be the friend we’d like to have.

By God’s grace, I now have a handful of close guy friends, and it’s transformed my life. Men, with a little consistent effort, the same thing can happen for you. When we follow God’s design for friendship, our health, our marriage, and our relationship with God will flourish.

What’s your next step?

 (@bryanstoudt) is a pastor serving healthcare students and professionals as Area Director for CMDA in Philadelphia, where one in six physicians in the country does some portion of their training. After Jesus, his passions include his beautiful wife, Sharon, their four children, coffee, and running. He writes at

Judge Yourself

Sermon of the Day:

Piper: I Am Who I Am

MacDonald: Tough Issues: Depression 


Psalm 32:3-5 NIV

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

Good Morning Men. The mercies and compassion of the Lord are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)

This Psalm is written by King David following the great sin involving Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Samuel  11). The King thought he could bury his sin, he thought no one had noticed. Unfortunately men he could not have been farther from the truth.

This psalm describes the emotional, physical and spiritual torment he was going through with unrepentant sin. It all started with those first four words; “When I kept silent”.

I read a commentary from Dr. McGee and I love what he says: ” If you are a child of God, you can sin, but you cannot get by with it. That is the difference between the saved and the unsaved man. If you are a man of the world, you can get by with your sin temporarily, but a child of God cannot.”


If your desire is to grow in your relationship with God then we must attack the sin in our lives. We must call it what it is, we must learn to judge ourselves. Let’s look at a simple two step plan to freedom in Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

Step 1. Judge Yourself

In our society we often hear people say I’m not here to judge anyone, or I don’t judge anyone and so forth. Most of that is a bunch of baloney anyway when people talk like that. We will leave that for another day, but what we do need to learn is that we must judge ourselves.

Just remember though, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, none are righteous (Romans 3:10,23). Don’t use that as a cop-out, remember God still wants our best.

Men the only way to judge yourself is to line yourself up against God’s Word, that is the measuring stick. Spend time in God’s Word, learn about who God is. How much He loves and cares for you. Most importantly learn how God has called you to be separate to live your calling and find your purpose in Him.

1 John 1:9 NIV

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Step 2. Confess your sins

Men that has to be the second greatest news in the whole Bible behind John 3:16. If we only could fully understand the power, and the key to remove all the junk, all the pain, all the shame and all the burdens with verse 9.

It really is tragic how we think keeping silent on sin will make it all go away. Like God really doesn’t know.

If you are a child of God your bones grow old, you groaning will be constant, the hand of the LORD will be heavy upon you, also known as guilt. Is that really worth it?

If your like me, and you’ve tried that route of staying silent. You know it’s not worth. it. Men lets learn to live a life worthy of the Lord. So that when we end up face to face with Him. We will hear Him say: “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)

If you don’t know the Lord today, and some of this is tugging on your heart but doesn’t quite make sense then just talk to God.

Call on Him, He promises to answer you. Seek Him with all your heart, He promises you will find Him.

Reaching the Most Unreached

Sermons of the Day:

Piper: Job – Reverent in Suffering

MacDonald: Does God Leave Sin Unpunished? 

Good Morning Men.

Below is an article that I copied from a Gospel for Asia Magazine in March of 2015. I stumbled upon this article the other day that I had saved previously and was so encouraged and refreshed by the things said in it. The individual being interviewed is K.P. Yohanan, look him up he is an amazing man with an amazing passion for reaching the lost world for Christ.

K.P’s primary calling is world missions, however I understand that is not everyone’s call. As you read this think about your purpose, your calling and your circles of influence. Think about how can you have a greater impact for Jesus in your marriage, your family, your extended family and friends, and in your workplace for starters.

Continue to ask yourself: Why am I here? What am I living for?

Fight the good fight

Reaching the Most Unreached

Gospel for Asia Magazine, March 2015 p. 4

In this Conversations, K.P. Yohannan talks about having a passion to reach the most unreached with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Q: What is the source of your passion to reach those who are dying without knowing Jesus?

If we say we are followers of Christ, our lives should reflect His. When we look at the Gospels, we see that Jesus’ entire life revolved around reaching out to those in desperate need of His Father. And His calling on our lives today is the same. Over and over again, we hear His invitation to, “Come, follow Me.”

He is calling us to see what He sees, to feel the passion He feels, to share His burden for reaching the precious, broken lives throughout the world. Jesus’ life was marked by urgency.

He came to this earth with one desire: to bring reconciliation between the Creator and His creation. Every person Jesus met was a soul His Father longed for. His last words to His disciples were to go and make disciples. That was His heart – and that should be our heart. If this passion to reach the hopeless and the dying with His Father’s love is what drove our Savior, how can we live for anything less?

Q: What is it that sustains you in this calling from the Lord to reach the most unreached?

Here is the key: Unless you and I consistently and perpetually maintain our humble, broken walk with the Lord, we will not be able to maintain a life of love for the untold millions without Christ. The way to develop this love on a daily basis is first of all to see myself the way I should see myself – I am a nobody. I am not that important.

What do I, or any of us, have that is not given to us by the Lord? Nothing.

The measure in which we see the Lord’s face, and spend time gazing upon Him and hungering for Him, is the same measure in which we will become like Him. The more I come to know my Lord, the more I understand Him and the more I’m driven and compelled by what He wants, not what I want.

Some years ago I challenged the brothers and sisters I serve with to begin praying this prayer: “Lord baptize me with Your passion, Your burden for the lost and dying millions in my generation. Let it be perpetual, not just for one time. Lord, I want to be like Jesus.”

Please believe me, there are a thousand things that you may struggle with, but they will all be resolved with this one thing: Jesus. He will tell you what to do. He will live through you. He will speak. His humility will become your humility: His passion will become your passion.

There are times we can find ourselves saying, “I wish I had a greater burden for those who are dying without Christ. I had it once, and I just don’t know what happened.” You know, the answer is not a lot of day-to-day practical things that you may think of; the answer is simply to fall in love with Jesus. Get to know Him. And ask the Holy Spirit to begin that work in you today. He will do it.

Q: How do you guard against daily distractions and stay focused on the things that are truly important?

None of us remains the same in our enthusiasm and commitment. Very often, we as believers are bombarded from all sides to invest our time, efforts and finances in everything but eternity. Material things, trips, social gatherings, building projects, the comfort of our families – all these and more may come at the expense of souls who are still waiting to hear there is a God who loves them. Even as believers who have already committed our lives to reaching the world with the Good News, we are in danger of losing our focus.

We get so wrapped up in who we are and what we are doing day-to-day that we are no longer able to answer the questions “Why am I here?” and “What am I living for?”

The souls of multiplied millions are at stake, and the Lord has commissioned us with the incredible privilege of reaching them and making an eternal difference in their lives. So how can we live comfortable for ourselves while millions of souls wait to hear there is hope?

I urge you to examine your heart. Look at the things you do and the activities you are involved in and ask yourself honestly, “Why am I doing this?”

Ask the Lord for the grace and maturity to look beyond the immediate, which tends to take precedence over everything else. Unless we think carefully, make deliberate decisions and allow the Lord to break our hearts continually, we will walk in the way of all flesh.

Every day, when you wake up, say to Jesus, “Lord today I am Yours. Body, soul, spirit, wealth, children, spouse-all that I have, all that I am, is Yours. What do You want me to do today? How do You want me to live?” Allow the Holy Spirit to take the Word of God and weave it into the very fiber of your being. Allow Him to guide you as you step out. Then you will regain that passion.

Q: Any final words you would like to add?

As believers committed to reaching the world for the sake of Christ, you and i are given more information about what is going on in the world today than ever before. We know more about the different people groups than the generation of believers who went before us.

We can use this information to come before the Father and plead on the behalf of those we know who are still waiting to hear the name of Jesus Christ. We can spend time praying over a world map. We can give of the resources the Lord has entrusted to us to help raise up men and women in these countries to be enabled to reach out to their own people. We can go if that is what God has asked of us. You and I must be willing and ready to make sacrifices so others may know Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit give you the ability to see the vision of the faces of people crying out for life. May He give you His burden for souls who are perishing. Only He can tell you what you must do with your life, your time and your resources.



Good Lovemaking Is About God

Good Morning Men. 
I know that I normally only do one a week, however I not only had time to post this one. I also could not resist this one. This is a topic that every single one of us needs more direction and guidance in. I hope and pray this blesses you as it blessed me. This has tremendous application for the married and the single.
JULY 11, 2017

Good Lovemaking Is About God

Article by

Pastor, Alexandria, Virginia

Years ago a friend named John met with a group of young men. He was the only married man at the time, and the rest were dabbling with pornography. In a moment of brutal honesty, one of them said to John, “I just don’t understand how you can have sex with the same woman all the time. That seems boring.”

Without hesitation, John said with a straight face, “I don’t have sex with the same woman all the time.”

Their silent stares begged for explanation.

John explained that his wife was not the same woman he married. She was always growing and changing as a woman, and he was always growing and changing as a man. They were not the same people they were when they got married, and neither was their sexual intimacy. Like a fine wine, they and their intimacy had matured over time. Sex was not always filled with flames of passion — but that’s not all sex is intended to be.

Sex Strengthens with Time

God created sex to be a bond between a husband and wife that strengthens over time. Married couples make love on their honeymoon and after a miscarriage. They make love to conceive children and after they bury them. They make love when bodies are healthy and during battles against cancer. As a husband and wife pursue each other through intimate service, sacrifice, and struggle, God blesses them in a way the world can never know.

“Lovemaking is more than just erotic pleasure; it is a soul-knitting intimacy that deepens with time.”

John explained to his friends that by continually neglecting God’s good design for sex, they were settling for flashes of sinful passion instead of the valuable white-hot coals of enduring intimacy. God designed sex to be best enjoyed when it is based on something other than appearance or performance. He bases it on committed love that reflects the unending love he has for all those who trust in Christ.

The world portrays pleasure as flash-in-the-pan passion that moves from lover to lover and fantasy to fantasy. But does this sort of pleasure really fulfill? Or does it actually deepen our discontentment? Who clicks on one pornographic picture and stops, satisfied? Who fantasizes for a few seconds and stops, satisfied? The offering of worldly pleasure can’t satisfy a heart that was created for a deeper, lasting pleasure.

Sin provides the sort of pleasure a parched man feels when he sees a mirage of water. He feels a thrill of hope, yet in the end disappointment only amplifies the emptiness.

Pursuit of Pleasure

But God has designed sex to be different for a husband and wife. In Proverbs 5:18–19, Solomon tells his sons,

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.

God uses vivid imagery to communicate that he intends husbands and wives to deeply enjoy intimacy with each other. Sex is a good gift from a good God who delights in our joy.

“God designed sex to be best enjoyed when it is based on something other than appearance or performance.”

That doesn’t mean sex is always enjoyable or easy for married couples. Because marriage is the union of an ever-changing and ever-growing pair of fallen people, we can expect that sexual intimacy to have both sweet and sour days and seasons. That is part of God’s wise design.

He has called a man and a woman to be committed to each other and to make love with each other during every season of life. Lovemaking on a honeymoon may be wonderful or awful. Intimate times are shared when buying a new house or burying a parent. It is pursued when God gives conception, and when he withholds it.

God Is Better Than Sex

God ordains lovemaking for couples when we are richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, when life is better or worse — until death do us part — because it reflects his enduring love for us.

We discover a depth of pleasure when we laugh and cry and pray and trust and weep and mourn and hope together. Lovemaking is more than just erotic pleasure; it is a soul-knitting intimacy that deepens with time. God designed this soul-level intimacy to reflect the deep, intimate, committed, faithful, servant-hearted commitment between Jesus and his bride, the church.

The goal of sex isn’t ultimately just enjoying your spouse, but it is enjoying God as the giver of good gifts. God is better than the best sex. We know this because for all of eternity we will live in a new heaven and new earth better than this one, a world in which we will not experience marriage or sex as we do now, but we will have a better and lasting pleasure with God (Matthew 22:30; Psalm 16; Isaiah 51:11; Revelation 21–22).

To the Married

1. Trust God when intimacy is absent.

At times, sexual intimacy may seem stagnant or nonexistent. Do not give up. Pray together. Press past the awkwardness and pain. Confess bitterness. Plead for God to help you.

“God is better than the best sex.”

Please do not hear me saying that if you just trust God and obey him, all your sexual struggles will vanish. That is not true. What I am saying is that true pleasure comes from receiving what God has given us by faith, and trusting that he is good, and intends it for our good (Psalm 119:68).

True pleasure is not found finally in having an amazing sex life, but in an amazing God. Bring your sexual satisfaction and sexual dysfunction to Jesus, because that is the ultimate goal of it all: to bring you closer to him.

2. Communication makes intimacy more intimate.

Simply making love in days of joy and sorrow won’t bring you closer to your spouse. Intimacy is cultivated through communication. Have regular conversations about how things are going in this area and how you can serve each other better. Talking honestly and listening to each other about intimate issues is part of God’s plan to draw you closer together.

3. Contentment in sex comes from delighting in God.

You can have the best spouse on the planet and enjoy the most fulfilling sex life imaginable, and still this fact remains: if our hearts are not satisfied in God, they will never be satisfied. Spouses can be wonderful helpers, but they are sorry saviors. The best way to have a blessed sex life is to delight in the God who gives the gift. Jesus is always better than any gift he gives you, including sex in marriage.

To the Unmarried

1. Don’t buy counterfeit pleasures.

Satan will provide many opportunities to satisfy your sexual frustration. But the fleeting flames of pornography or empty flings of premarital sex only end up stealing the very pleasure you are looking for. I realize it feels crazy to resist, especially when no end is in sight, but God promises to help you. By clinging to him in the battle, you will find the true joy that sexual sin can never provide.

2. Protect your future marriage.

Marriage is tough enough as it is. But if you fill your heart with sexual images and experiences, you set yourself and your future spouse up for unnecessary added difficulty. If God gives you a spouse, that person will be what you really need. Filling your heart with unrealistic or unfair expectations can end up hindering the intimacy God has for you in the future.

“Sex is created to be a bond between a husband and wife that strengthens over time.”

3. Find contentment in God today.

Remember that your fulfillment as a person is not dependent on being sexually or romantically fulfilled. Jesus was never married, never romantically involved, and never had sex. Yet Jesus was the most fully human and complete person who has ever lived.

Now you might think, Yeah, thanks, but I’m not Jesus. I get it. But please hear this: sexual pleasure will never ultimately satisfy you. A wonderful spouse will never fulfill you. Neither sex nor spouse can do what only God can. Seek to be satisfied in him, and if God gives you a spouse, you’ll be free to enjoy him or her all the more.

(@pastorjgkell) is married to Carrie, and together they have five children. He serves as pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.
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