Praise the Lord for his gracious gifts

Dear Friends,

I am writing to let you know what the Lord did for me yesterday. I am writing from the CCU of one of our local hospitals. That term will give you some clue what I am writing about.

Yesterday afternoon I was walking out of our local Walmart (i’m sure there’s no correlation with this) when I suddenly began to feel very unwell. As I walked I debated whether or not the pain I was feeling was really chest pains or not. (they say the denial is part of the normal experience when you’re having a heart attack)

I sat down to rest, thinking that surely this would pass and I could go into Starbucks to get the coffee I was contemplating. The feeling didn’t pass but I didn’t know what to do. I started walking again and ran across an old friend, someone I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. He greeted me and all I could say was “I don’t feel very well.”

He said, “you don’t look very well, do you want me to call 911?” I agreed that he should and then said I had to sit down. In short order, the ambulance was there and I was on my way to the hospital. As I came into the coronary unit, I was actually greeted by my own heart doctor. In less than two hours from the onset of symptoms, I was equipped with a life-saving stent. And so I am here today to tell you what happened. Apparently there is still work for me to do for our Lord.

I am writing this so that I can have something to refer all my friends to when they have questions about what has happened. I believe that I am here simply by the grace of God. All praise his name!

Needs vs. Desires

Paul Tripp has a good article on this subject here. We need far less than we think. It is dangerous to think otherwise. Tripp explains why.

May God bless Steve Pettit

I am pleased that my good friend Steve Pettit has taken on the post of president at our mutual alma mater, Bob Jones University. Steve and I were in seminary together, shared many classes, not the least of which was “Snack Shop Theology” where we would hash over what we learning during breaks between classes.

I call him a good friend, and so I consider him, though our ministries have been miles apart and we have not crossed paths frequently since graduation. There are some points of practice where he and I might not see completely eye to eye, but Steve is a good man and will be a strong leader for BJU, something that has been sorely needed for some time.

I am sure he will receive the occasional “what in the world is going on” kind of letter from me as both of his predecessors did. But, still, I think he is a good choice and I wish him all the best.

It is interesting to me that another mutual friend told me this was going to be the choice back in March. I don’t know when the final decision was made, but my buddy surely had the goods on this one at that time.

Safe at last

Dear friends, thank you for your prayers. It is 10 pm Mountain time. A little over a half hour ago my dear Dad went to heaven. He slipped quietly away. With the hiss of the oxygen going I didn’t even notice his passing.

My dad was a faithful Christian man. He led me to the Lord many years ago. I thank God for him. He has been the single greatest influence on my life. I’ll write more later.

Praise God for redemption, for Jesus Christ, and for the Sweet Comforter. We sorrow not as those who have no hope.

Maranatha! Don Johnson, Jer 33.3

4.18.10 gbcvic sermons

Last Wednesday’s Psalm:

Bless the Lord, O my Soul (1) (Ps 103:1-22)

This is the second and last of the psalms named "A Psalm of David" in Book 4 of the psalms. It reflects the thoughts of a mature David, admonishing his own soul in a time of discipline with his knowledge of the Lord’s past benefits and the Lord’s everlasting goodness. David’s thoughts become a hymn for our admonition as well.

Today’s Sermons:

Grace Magnified (Rm 5:16)

Today the contrast between Adam and Christ highlights the incredible magnitude of Christ’s gracious gift. The act of Adam plunged all men into sin – we all sinned in Adam. But we didn’t stop sinning with that one sin. Our lives are filled with sin. The gift of God in Jesus Christ answers every one of those human sins – working out of the many sins it pronounces the sentence: "Just before God". Hallelujah!

Towards an Understanding of Worldliness (2)

Today we make an attempt at defining the term ‘worldly’ and begin to look at a key passage for understanding worldliness, Titus 2.11-12.

Women’s Adorning (1 Tim 2:9-10)

Our message today looks at the topic of women’s dress, especially in the context of public worship. The way a woman dresses should flow from a godly inner testimony, but it does reflect itself in an appropriate, sober, modest style of dress.

persevering faith

One of the interminable theological debates is the source of faith. Some insist that faith is given by God. Others insist that faith is what a man does himself when he believes. I doubt very much that a blog post by me will bring this debate to any sort of resolution.

What I want to talk about, though, is something I heard in a recorded sermon preached by a friend of mine. He said something like this (loose paraphrase from memory):

God gives you faith. He gives it to you in such a way that genuine Christian faith will lead you to persevere in that faith. They won’t be able to burn it out of you, you will persevere to the end.

And such like…

Well. This raises some questions in my mind:

[Read more…]

11.1.09 gbcvic sermons

Glorying in Tribulations [Romans]

Rm 5.3a

One of the blessings of salvation is a new way of thinking God grants us by enlivening our spirit and giving us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Instead of looking at troubles as evidence that God is not good or sinking by them into bitter despair, the believer has the blessing of glorying in trouble because of what God will do in our lives through them. In this message we concentrate on the expectation of troubles in the Christian life and the examples of the new mind provided for us in the apostle Paul and our Lord Jesus.

The Imputation of Sin (1) [Basic Theology]

We begin to look at the aspect of sin which determines the physical death of all men – the imputation of Adam’s sin. Imputed sin differs from inherited sin in that it involves our participation in the guilt of Adam’s sin whereas inherited sin involves the transmission of corrupted human nature from father to son from Adam to each succeeding generation.

Eating Holy Food [Leviticus, Communion]

Lev 21.16-22.16

In this lesson we see how God regulated access to the holy food of the Old Testament (the priests portions of the sacrifices) but how in the new dispensation the Bread of Life (our Lord Jesus) is open to all, the blind, the lame, the diseased, the disfigured, the Jew, the Gentile – to all who will believe on our Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. The banquet table is open to all who receive Christ.


A great day in the Lord’s house in spite of several of our members being out of town. Several visitors made up the difference including a young fellow newly converted to Christ. His enthusiasm for the things of the Lord added much to our services.


3.1.09 gbcvic sermons

Here are the blurbs from our church website:

As a Man Does (Rm 3.15-17)
depravity displayed by conduct

Our text is essentially a quotation from Isa 59.7-8, part of Paul’s proof of the proposition that all men are sinners in need of righteousness from God. These verses point to the violence and wickedness that are seen everywhere in the world. The violence of some men proves the depravity of all men because though all men are not as violent as they could be, all men are cut from the same cloth, all are of the same nature. Again our passage proves the need of all men for righteousness from God.

Pilgrim’s Progress (2): Entering the Celestial City

Our study of Pilgrim’s Progress comes to a close this week. We follow the pilgrims through the last period of danger, the Enchanted Grounds, then watch their sojourn in Beulah Land. It is from here that pilgrims are called to the Celestial City and we see  numbers of them called on to glory as Bunyan’s allegory closes. Next week we will have a testimony time for our folks to talk back to me about what the Lord taught them in this series.

He is Clean (Lev 14)

Our series in Leviticus takes us to the regulations for restoring a healed leper to the congregation. The ritual teaches us that access to God is available only under God’s terms, not man’s. It also makes a visual parable for us of the new birth, as the cleansed leper is covered by the blood of the sacrifice and sanctified by the oil of consecration.


We had a great day today, with most of our regulars in attendance plus five visitors.

2.22.09 gbcvic sermons

Here are our sermons for this week:

As a Man Speaks (Rm 3.13-14)

Man’s depravity is betrayed by speech – by throat, tongue, lips and mouth. The wicked nature of man is universal, comprehensive, and constant. As we consider these themes in Rm 1-3, we see increasingly how desperate is man’s need of the power of God unto salvation with the righteousness that comes from God.

Pilgrim’s Progress (2): The Delectable Mountains

In this section, we see the pilgrims working their way along the way from just past Vanity Fair to the Enchanted Ground. On the way, the men of the party dispatch Giant Despair and rescue two fainting pilgrims, they meet the Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains and learn more spiritual lessons there, and meet a new manly Christian, Mr. Valiant-for-truth.

Our Church and Evangelism (Mk 16.15)

In this message we talk about our responsibility in the world as Christians, the business of preaching the gospel to the world. In our passage, as in Mt 28, going is the assumption, not the command. The activity to which we are called is preaching (heralding) where every task in the ministry of a church plays a part. And every creature is the opportunity. May God give us the courage and zeal to reach our world for Him.

What Dost Hinder Me to be Baptized?
Guest Speaker: Bill Carter, Capital City Baptist Church

This afternoon we had the great joy of offering our church building and baptistry to our fellow-workers and friends, the people and pastor of Capital City Baptist Church for a baptismal service. Three were baptized today, a great blessing to see. Several of our folks stayed for the fourth service of the day to celebrate the baptism with them.

Pastor Carter preached a solid message on the meaning and theology of message for us which we offer here for you. We pray that both churches may succeed in reaching our city for Christ.


A long day, but a good day in the Lord. It was a blessing to see three folks baptized and a privilege to serve a sister church.

the glory of ordinary ministry

I’d like to call your attention to a little book by D. A. Carson. He published this book last year, a truly wonderful tribute to his father, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The life and reflections of Tom Carson.

These Memoirs tell the story of every pastor, especially those pastors who lead small churches (most of us.) I have heard statistics that 50% of all churches are less than 100 in membership. If that is true, most men who enter the ministry will see long years of labour in small works with little increase. Such ministry can be very discouraging – the temptation to quit can ovewhelm. [Read more…]