Monthly Archives: November 2012

Internet Mixer – November 30, 2012

Here’s to mixin’ it up!

Starbucks $7 cup of coffee.  Lie Witness News! Jimmy Kimmel sets up taste testing Starbucks’ new $7 cup of coffee. Watch the whole thing. Payoff at the end. Haha!

Unlucky Lottery Winners:  Think that winning the Lottery will improve your life? Think again. Hopefully the recent Powerball winners will have a different end to their newfound riches.

Fiction Feeds Souls:  Eternal Perspectives blog post by Nate Wilson about reading fiction.

C.S. Lewis:  A rare BBC Clip of C.S. Lewis giving a talk on God and Time.

Real Estate Scam: Foolishness and greed is a very bad combination.

Have a blessed week-end, everybody!

Terrie


A Perseverance Not My Own

The last 4 or 5 months have been the most difficult I have ever faced.

There, I said it.

My struggles have to do with people in my life that I love very much. These trials do affect me, but what hurts worse is watching those close to me suffer. Loved ones are battling against disease, facing single motherhood, reaping life-changing consequences for sinful choices, awaiting family custody hearings, and grieving prodigal children.

I am sure I have shed more tears in the last few months than I have in my whole 57 years on this earth.

But today, Paul’s assurance to the Philippians, written so many years ago, has encouraged this believer as well. In chapter 1 verse 6, he writes:

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

In the darkest hour, God never fails to light the way with Grace. Grace that works itself out in encouraging words written centuries ago that remind us: God is still at work not only in me, but in the people I love.

Our stories are not fully written yet!

Our lives get messy. In fact, life stinks sometimes. There have been moments over the last several weeks that I have positively squirmed under the pressure. I have let it get me down. At times, I have felt downright hopeless.

That’s why the eternal perspective we enjoy by virtue of the Gospel is of such great importance. Without it, our hope would wither and die.

Thank God for assuring me today that even in the mess we make of our lives, He is still working. He will complete what He started. I will hold on to that truth as tightly as I can, all the while knowing that when darkness overwhelms me and I let my grasp slip, that the perseverance of the saints of God lies not in their own ability to hold on, but in the power of the Gospel of Grace.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Grieving With Those Who Grieve

SERMON NOTES – PASTOR MILTON VINCENT
November 25, 2012 – Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Rejoice with those who rejoice, grieve with those who grieve. Romans 12:15

This verse is a description of how to love one another. Love expresses itself by rejoicing with those who rejoice and grieving with those who grieve. This is a call to relationship with one another. In this way, we render ourselves vulnerable to the joys and griefs of others.

FIVE THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND GRIEVE WITH THOSE WHO GRIEVE:

1. Appreciate the fact that the capacity to grieve with those who grieve is a precious gift.
A. An inability to grieve with those who grieve is one key characteristic of a psychopath.
-Even the unsaved have the capacity through God’s common Grace to grieve with those who grieve.
B. The capacity to grieve with those who grieve protects us from many evils.
-The ability to empathize with others and thought of the grief we would bring loved ones if we were to sin against them can keep us from sin.
-Grieving with those who grieve is a key to relationship, friendship, ministry, counseling, and the overall health of the church.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor. 12:26

2. Realize all that you are being called to inside of this instruction to grieve with those who grieve.

Includes:
A. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that God has allowed in both of your lives. Grieving together.
B. Grieving with a person who is grieving where God has allowed  a sorrow into their life and not yours.
-Paul calls us here to step outside of ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable to the grief of others.
C. Grieving with a person who is grieving during a season in which you find yourself rejoicing (or grieving).
-Setting aside your own grief (or joy) to grieve (or rejoice) with others.
D. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow not as great as the sorrow that you yourself are grieving over.
-Humbling yourself to enter into the lesser grief of others.
E. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow they have brought on themselves.
-Luke 15:20 (story of prodigal son).
-Not rejoicing over “what they had coming to them”.
-We can look at them and their sin and say, “That’s me and Jesus came to me!”
-No “I told you so” attitude.
F. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that you know will be short-lived.
-John 11:33-35 (the resurrection of Lazarus).
-Jesus was moved with compassion and wept with them even though He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.
G. Grieving with a person who is grieving over hurts that you have caused.
-When you sin against someone, make a true apology which includes grieving with the person you have hurt and sinned against.
-Owning and entering into the hurt you have caused.

Apologies are moral events that have real power to heal. -Susannah Meadows

H. Grieving with a person who is grieving before you impart wisdom to them.
-Paul does not say preach or lecture with those who are grieving.
-You may really have wise words for the person who is grieving but if you skip grieving with them your wise words will only be an irritant.
-Don’t stay safely outside the other’s circle of grief and try to lob truths into it. Enter into their pain first.
-Words of wisdom are more effective when we first enter into the other person’s circle of pain.
I. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way you think is inappropriate.
-i.e. longer, more intensely, hurtfully than you deem appropriate.
-Especially when it is grief over a hurt you have caused.
-Sometimes people may even grieve in ways that hurt you–i.e. acting out, etc.
J. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way that is different than how you express your grief.
-People are different and grieve in different ways.

3. Let the compassion of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 12:1; “by the mercies of God”.
-God has great compassion for us.
-God sent Jesus to save us because He was moved to do so.
-Rather than moving away from us, God moves toward us in the Gospel.
-The Gospel radically changes us into compassionate people.
-Isaiah 53:3; Jesus despised, a man of sorrows…
-Emmanuel = God with us. Jesus entered into our griefs and sorrows.
-In the Gospel we have the ultimate empathetic friend.

4. Let the ongoing sympathy of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:22-23
-The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26).
-God groans with us in our brokenness.
-We always have the Spirit to express our griefs and groaning to God when we don’t know how.
-Hebrews 4:15; …we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…
-Grieving with those who grieve reveals the heart of God to others.

5. Let the hope of the Gospel shape and free you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:28; Knowing that for those who love God all things work together for good.
-When we grieve with others, we guarantee that joy, when it does come, will be our joy too.
-When we go through our own grief, God is deepening our ability and capacity to grieve with others.

Paul calls us here into something rich and deep–the essence of our community with one another. In this we display the heart of God to others. Rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve.


Thanksgiving!

And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  John 1:16

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: tengrrl)

I love Thanksgiving.

Of course, we have a million reasons to thank God every single day. But, to have a day specifically set aside to do so is a great blessing.

For our family, Thanksgiving is the pinnacle of our family gatherings throughout the year. It is a day rich in tradition, a part of the legacy left to us by our grandparents and parents that we are handing down to our children and now (in some cases), their children. It is a time we set aside to eat, play, fellowship, and worship the Lord together.

All of us try each year to attend, but as our families have grown there are times when that’s not possible. (The in-laws want time with their family members, too. Understandable!) But this year is different.

As many of you know, my mom was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer last summer. This turn of events has intensified our resolve to spend our holiday as one, big family. And so, this Thanksgiving we will all be together. All 38 or so of us!

There have been some very low points in this journey with Mom. And make no mistake, this trial is by no means over. But, amazingly, we approach this Thanksgiving with, well, thanksgiving!

While it is true that our trials test us, throughout this trial I think that God has given us the honor of testing Him. The result? Our family has experienced first-hand the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father. Again and again He has proven Himself to us. We have learned that His Word is sure, His character is true and His promises are real. The Lord has done a great work in our hearts and minds. We have walked through the crucible together and stand ready to raise our hands and our voices this Thanksgiving and shout, “Hallelujah! God is good and we THANK HIM!”

I stand amazed at what the Lord has so freely given us even in the midst of a cancer diagnosis for our mother. What mercy! What hope! What love! What grace! How could we ever withhold our deepest thanks to such a God as this!

Most importantly, when I think of what I have been given by virtue of the Gospel compared to what I deserve, my only rational response is a heartfelt giving of thanks to the Lord.

Praying all of you know His goodness this Thanksgiving.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Rejoicing With Those Who Rejoice

SERMON NOTES-Pastor Milton Vincent
November 11, 2012-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Rejoice with those who rejoice… Romans 12:15a

A failure to rejoice with those who rejoice will ruin you and reduce you to a spiritual invalid. You will never be a consistently happy person until you learn to rejoice with those who rejoice.

“Rejoicing with others (even if we are deprived of their joy)…requires a selflessness which only the power of the Gospel can bestow.”  -James Edwards

FOUR THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE:

1. Understand that there are limits as to what you are to rejoice in.
-1 Cor. 13:6; Rom. 12:9
-Agape love knows what is good and what is evil and hates evil.
-In our world there is rejoicing in evil, calling evil good.
-The path of love is not to rejoice in evil. In fact, the most loving thing you can do is not rejoice in evil.
-Includes rejoicing when someone is rejoicing over any genuine good that God has brought into their life. (James 1:17)

2. Rejoice with others when it is natural and easy to do so.
-Many times it is natural and easy to do so.
-Rejoice when you share in whatever it is that they are rejoicing about.
-We don’t even need to ponder what to do in these kinds of situations. Rejoicing comes easy.

3. Rejoice with others when it is difficult or seemingly impossible to do so.
-Sometimes it is costly to rejoice with others.
-At times, rejoicing with others takes a denial of self.
-Maybe the person has received something that you have wanted.
-Includes rejoicing over a blessing that God has given to another and not to you.
-Includes when someone who (in your mind) is less deserving than you has received some blessing greater than you or even equal to you. (See Matt. 20:1-15)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in the achievements or ministry of another person instead of you. (See 1 Cor. 12:26)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in something that does not interest or affect you at all.
-Includes when someone is rejoicing during a season in which you find yourself grieving, even if the area they are rejoicing in is the very area in which you are grieving.
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in some blessing that you think is not as impressive as what you are rejoicing in.

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person.” -C.S. Lewis

-Includes when someone is granted an opportunity beyond what has been given to you. (Phil. 1:17-18)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in God’s forgiveness of their sins which they have committed against you. It’s easy for the wounded person to begrudge the joy of forgiveness given to the one who has wounded them.

Sometimes it takes a heroic Gospel effort to step out and rejoice with other people. We see that Paul’s call to rejoice with those who rejoice is humanly impossible. Therefore:

4. Let the Gospel motivate and shape your rejoicing with those who rejoice.
-Reason from the Gospel. (Romans 12:1-15)
-If you want to rejoice with those who rejoice, you must plumb the depths of the Gospel to do so.
-Remember the judgment you deserve. Not to stay there, but to use as a backdrop to see clearly the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Romans 1-3)
-Think what God has done for you in Christ! (Rom. 3:20-11:36)
-Understand God gives you everything needful. (Rom. 8:32)
-Even what we lack is a gift from God and He is working toward our good through what we lack.
-Understand that God works everything out for good. (Rom. 8:28)
-Remember that you are destined for glory. (Rom. 8:30)
-Make use of the privilege of prayer. (Rom. 8:26) Prayer is a Gospel blessing. Even when we don’t know what to pray the Spirit is interceding.

When you are challenged to rejoice with those who rejoice, know that such moments are tailored for you by God to bring us to the foot of the cross. Go there!

Note from Terrie: I have glossed over this Bible verse many times and never thought too much about what rejoicing with those who rejoice really means. Pastor Milton was correct when he announced at the beginning of his sermon that this verse would give us a good scrubbing on the inside. Point 3 was very convicting for me. But, thanks be to God for the Gospel and for our pastor who never fails to bring the good news to bear on the many ways God’s word makes us aware of our failings and sins against God. Without point 4, we would be hopeless, indeed!  What hope we have in the Gospel!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie


Internet Mixer – November 9, 2012

Here’s the mix for the week:

The Incumbent: I liked Jonathan Rourke’s comments about the election. Short and to the point.

Lessons from the 2012 Election: For more in depth coverage, here’s link to Al Mohler’s take on the election results.

Power Flats Challenge High Heels: For a girl like me who never wears heels, this is good news!

That’s it for now. It’s been a busy week!

Terrie


Counting My Blessings

Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.  Psalm 106:1

b/w line drawing of a cornucopia

b/w line drawing of a cornucopia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I give serious thought to counting my blessings, both great and small, I find that they are innumerable. For example, I am thankful for my husband, for my children, my family, my friends. My marriage is a blessing. My children are healthy. My family ties are strong. I have good friends and, I love my church. Beyond that, I even have clothes to wear, a roof over my head, and enough to eat. My car runs. And if it doesn’t, the busses do!

There are also the small things in life that make me happy and for which I am thankful. Sunsets. Yellow roses. The sound the wind makes blowing through the trees. The early morning cacophony of singing birds. Music! The warmth of clean clothes straight out of the dryer. And laughter.

While it is good to be thankful for these gifts, I would also do well to cultivate a grateful heart for the blessings I have in Christ. Blessings that will never fade away, my inheritance, my adoption into the family of God, salvation. Access to Godly wisdom. Truth. Love. God’s Grace. His peace. The prospect of Heaven. Genuine joy. His mercy that endures forever. Surely, I can echo the psalmist’s exclamation, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”

I will leave you with these wise words written in 1897 by Johnson Oatman:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


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