Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!

It’s been a crazy season for us. Along with all the excitement and busy-ness of celebrating Christmas, our daughter delivered a healthy baby boy on December 24. We are now Grandparents! Our lives have already been enriched by this little one’s life!

I’ll be back blogging after the first of the year when things calm down a bit. God bless you all and give you an acute awareness this new year of the Gospel blessings that are yours in Christ.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,

Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After–The Christmas Story

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13

Christmas is a time of looking back. The once upon a time of the Christmas story is the birth of our Savior and the events surrounding it. We rightly celebrate the miracle of the Incarnation. Emmanuel, God with us!

However, doesn’t the celebration deserve a looking forward to the glorious future that awaits us in Him?

The revelation of Christ surely includes His birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection, all amazing facets of God’s Grace toward us. But, the hope that sets our hearts to sail ever higher and surer is a hope that rests fully on the Grace that will be brought to us at the final revelation of our Savior. Our hope resides not only in that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but in what we have not yet seen and patiently wait for; we will be like Him and see Him as He really is. This is Grace that is embodied not only in the birth of God’s Son, but also in His future revelation and our future glorification.

God gives Grace. He increases Grace. Grace upon Grace, His manifold Grace! And then, with nothing of our own work or merit attached to it, when all has been fulfilled, He lavishes us with more Grace. We are swept away in a mighty, rolling river of Grace, and the vast seas of this world are but a drop compared to the ocean of Grace that awaits us at the eternal and full revelation of His Son in the world to come. This is the happily ever after we long for.

To this end we hasten, to this end we hope.

Looking back and looking forward; Grace began the Christmas story, and Grace will finish it, too.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Merry Christmas!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

Internet Mixer–December 21, 2012

This week’s Internet Mixer:

Going Overboard: Douglas Wilson’s article in CT on what it means to celebrate Christmas.

All Glory Be To Christ: A music video from King’s Kaleidoscope. I loved this.

Ravi Zacharias speaks to Hamas Leader:  This video is worth the watch!

Silent Night, Peaceful Day, A Christmas Story: A World War II Christmas story from the family archives of Matt Heerema.

That’s all the Mix for this week. Have a blessed weekend!


A Willing Slave


LIberty (Photo credit: Stewf)

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

Here, at first gloss, is a paradoxical imperative. Live free, but live as servants. How can that be?

One of the more glorious aspects of the message of the Gospel is that it breaks the chains of sin that bind us and sets us free to serve God. In Christ, I am still a servant but have a different Master. Rather than serving sin and the flesh, I am set free to serve Christ. Freed from bare rule following, I become a most willing slave to righteousness.

Jesus frees me to cast off the filthy rags of performancism and then clothes me with the perfect cloak of His own righteousness. I dare not use this cloak as a cover-up for evil. It is far too excellent a garment for such contemptible use as that. (Shall I continue in sin that grace may abound? May it never be!)

There is no freedom apart from Christ. Write that truth on my heart, Lord! To be a slave to sin is to be free from righteousness. To be a slave to righteousness is to be free from sin. Because of Christ, and of no merit of my own, I am that willing slave to righteousness and find all the more joy in it.

May gazing at the beauty of Christ’s perfect and complete work on my behalf move me to cheerfully lay aside my own rights and puny pleasures in exchange for the freedom of willing servitude and a heart that delights in completely surrendering to Him. Let the Gospel rule in my heart and mind so that I may clearly see and by faith accept that it is finished, there is nothing more I can do to either gain or maintain my right standing and from that vantage point know real liberty.

May the will of God constrain me, and may the will of God set me free.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

Making Disciples Together

SERMON NOTES: Pastor Carlos Cuellar
December 16, 20112: Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

This sermon is part of our Winter Seminar: Together for the Gospel.


Matthew 28:16-20

We are all disciples of someone or something. We are all making disciples for someone or something.

1. Making disciples is our mission and greatest calling.
-Matt. 28:16-19a
-Jesus answered his disciples’ doubts by alluding to Daniel 7:13-14, All authority…has been given to me.
-Jesus’ response encouraged and emboldened his disciples to fulfill their mission and calling.
-God’s mission cannot fail.
-Misconceptions about the Great Commission:
that is is just for missionaries (it is for every disciple of Jesus)
that it is just for some people groups (it is global, not just local)
that it is just for unbelievers to be evangelized (it is for making and maturing disciples).

2. Making disciples involves making people followers of Jesus.
-Matt. 28:19
-Baptizing and teaching.
-Baptism is not just immersion into water (although that is important!). But immersion into a new reality, new identity, new relationship, new community, new purpose, new life, etc.
-Teach the Gospel.
-Teaching others about Christ because people who love Christ desire to obey Him.
-If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15
-Not about behavioral changes.
-Obedience being a means to the ultimate end of glorifying God.
-Luke 6:40

3. Making disciples requires evangelizing people with the transforming power of the Gospel.
-Matt. 28:10-20a: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…
-The Gospel is our greatest tool for making disciples.
-Without the Gospel, evangelizing is dangerous and does not transform people.
-Discipleship is a fight of faith to live inside of the Gospel (not performance based).
-Only the Gospel can continue to transform both new believers and more mature believers to be more like Christ.

4. Making disciples occurs in the relational context of community.
-In relationships as ordinary people living ordinary lives with Gospel intentionality.
-Making disciples:
Intentionality-We do.
Association-We pursue. (Pursuing relationships with other people, to know them.)
Impartation-We give our lives away. “Jesus’s followers do not kill to extend His kingdom, they die.” -John Piper
Demonstration-We show others how to live, not as perfect people but by humbly opening our lives to others.
-We are not only to make disciples individually, but together as a community with our varied gifts.

Our mission and greatest calling is to be disciples of Jesus and make disciples. We fulfill our mission and greatest calling with Jesus, and His mission will succeed.

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matt. 28:20b

Lord, Have Mercy

My heart is broken over the tragic school shooting in Connecticut. It truly is unfathomable. Today, rather than the regular Internet Mixer, I’m posting a special edition of Albert Mohler’s “The Briefing.” My heart and prayers go out to the families affected by this horrific event.

Listen to the Special Edition of “The Briefing” here.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,


56/365 morning run

56/365 morning run (Photo credit: kharied)

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. (Psalm 119:32)

Oh, Christian, run hard after God’s commands. His yoke is easy and His burden, light. His path is free of snares and traps. He goes before you to smooth the way. Follow close. The way is narrow, but well-marked.

Run without fear, for His perfect love casts out fear. Run without guilt; your sins are forgiven. Run without worry; God will provide. Do you love Him? Are you called? Then run without question, for He makes all things work together for good.

Run without doubt, for He promises you wisdom. Run without thirst; living water is yours. Run without hunger; He is the bread of life. Run by faith, for by it you are justified. Run with joy, for therein lies your strength. Run in love, for that is the greatest commandment of all. Run and take heart; He has overcome the world.

Run for His sake. Run by Grace. Run that He may be glorified. Run well, and do not faint.

Run with abandon, beloved. Has He not set your heart free?

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

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