Sunday, March 31, 2013


Luke 24:1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

To many this still seems an idle tale.

Not to me.
Not anymore. 

Thank You Jesus.

good morning

Matthew 28:8-9

So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news. Just then Jesus met them and said, “Good morning!” They came up, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him

Could there be a better time and day to say, "Good morning!"?

Could there be a better morning?

I love the simple profundity of Jesus greeting those seeking Him on the day He rose from the dead with, "Good morning."

It gives the phrase richness and context.

It makes me excited for Easter morning to rise and say to my wife, "Good morning."

I am excited to tell my kids about this and to start a tradition of anticipation in saying, "Good morning" on Easter Sunday.

Thank you Jesus.
Good morning indeed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

s-a-t-u-r-d-a-y WAIT!

I was thinking today about what it must have been like on Sabbath Saturday after Good Friday.

Yesterday, Jesus was killed.

Have you ever a very dramatic event occur in your life?
Remember the day immediately following?

You wake up, if you slept at all, and initially you are not ready to embrace reality.
You gravitate towards doing that which you normally would do.
And then it hits you.

Everything is different now.

The Sabbath would have been a day of rest.

Have you ever been anxious about something?
What do you do?
Anything, right?

Anything to get your mind off of the one thing you are anxious about.
But in this case, there was nothing permissible to do.
Nothing left to do but stew.
Yesterday won't go away.
Tomorrow seems so far off.

Good Friday is memorable for its horror.
Easter Sunday is memorable for its hope.

But that Saturday in-between is largely forgotten.

It must have been marked with the sinking feeling of life without Jesus. 

This day between seeing Him die and seeing Him alive again must have been mostly focused on the fact that He was not there with them.

Scripture records that Jesus' predictions of death and resurrection were not understood until afterwards when the Holy Spirit enlightened them. 

That means Saturday was a extraordinarily difficult day.

The events that define us are often marked by powerful moments for better or for worse, but each of them is also yoked closely to that feeling of the morning after each when life goes on, but life is changed.

Today is spent reflecting upon the bruised heel.
Tomorrow will reveal the crushed skull.

And in the middle is this rest.
Nothing to do.

He died.
He rose.

It's fitting that in-between you did nothing.
You didn't do anything Friday or Sunday either.

Friday, March 29, 2013

good friday

2 Corinthians 5:14-15
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

the sword of peace‏

Chambers pierced my heart today when he reported
I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34
Never be sympathetic with a person whose situation causes you to conclude that God is dealing harshly with him.God can be more tender than we can conceive, and every once in a while He gives us the opportunity to deal firmly with someone so that He may be viewed as the tender One. If a person cannot go to God, it is because he has something secret which he does not intend to give up— he may admit his sin, but would no more give up that thing than he could fly under his own power.It is impossible to deal sympathetically with people like that. We must reach down deep in their lives to the root of the problem, which will cause hostility and resentment toward the message. People want the blessing of God, butthey can’t stand something that pierces right through to the heart of the matter.

If you are sensitive to God’s way, your message as His servant will be merciless and insistent, cutting to the very root. Otherwise, there will be no healing.We must drive the message home so forcefully that a person cannot possibly hide, but must apply its truth. Deal with people where they are, until they begin to realize their true need. Then hold high the standard of Jesus for their lives. Their response may be, “We can never be that.” Then drive it home with, “Jesus Christ says you must.”
There must be a sense of need created before your message is of any use. Thousands of people in this world profess to be happy without God. But if we could be truly happy and moral without Jesus, then why did He come? He came because that kind of happiness and peace is only superficial. Jesus Christ came to “bring . . . a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.
There is nothing more disgraceful in our culture than uttering the words, “I can’t.” 
We resist saying it. 

We encourage others to avoid saying it. 

We work harder. 
We turn frowns upside down. 
We overcome. 
We are made stronger by that which does not kill us. 
We wrestle silver linings from the skies. 
We “spin.”
The first trace of the grace of God is the poverty found in the end of one’s self. 

“I can’t” is the first drop of moisture dripping off the ice cold exterior of our hardened hearts.
“I can’t,” is the right response to the “you must” of God’s Holy Law.
Jesus only.
Jesus solely.
Jesus ever after be.
If “you can” then “He shouldn’t have,” or at least “didn’t have to.”
Why did God deny His Son’s request to let this cup pass?
Jesus had to die.
Had to.
Until you say, “I can’t,” you will never embrace the power of “He had to.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013

marriage and fertility rates in america‏

My wife sent me THIS article the other day.

So apparently we are a growing anomaly in this society because we are married and have children and ZERO dogs.

I'm OK with being weird if defined by that standard.

I've heard Driscoll speak to this matter for years mentioning that pets outnumber children in his home city of Seattle.

I'm not a dog guy.
That is not to say I'm a cat guy.
Is that even a thing?

I'm not a pet guy.

I would rather have kids.
I like watching them eat.
I don't think about them eating my paycheck.
It's fun to eat with them.

I would rather have a wife.
Sure, I don't get everything she likes to buy.
But I'd rather buy stuff I don't understand for her than stuff I do understand for dogs.
I'll take nails and hair dye over leashes and beggin' strips anyday.

That's just me.
Pets are cool.

But they are not cooler than spouses and children.

what does R & B mean?

Mark 1:14-15
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;repent and believe in the gospel.”
Repent and Believe.
Law and Gospel.
God is far off, holy and wholly worthy.
You have failed Him.
You have let Him down.
You have fallen short.
You are not worthy.
Change your mind.
Turn around.
Follow God.
Forsake yourself.
God is near and offers Himself wholly for us.
He has succeeded.
He has come down to be with us.
He has finished the work.
He is worthy of all our praise.
Conform your mind to Christ’s.
Turn to Him in faith.
Trust what He has done.
Be crucified with Him so that you may rise and reign with Him.
Repent of the old man. Believe in the God-man.
Repent of your old ways. Believe in the Way.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
R & B.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"good enough" is no good at all‏

My Utmost for His Highest had this to say today.

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him . . . —1 Corinthians 2:14

The gospel of God creates the sense of need for the gospel. Is the gospel hidden to those who are servants already? No, Paul said, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). The majority of people think of themselves as being completely moral, and have no sense of need for the gospel. It is God who creates this sense of need in a human being, but that person remains totally unaware of his need until God makes Himself evident.

…The only thing that can possibly satisfy the need is what created the need. This is the meaning of redemption— it creates and it satisfies.

There are more people who like Jesus as a leader than love Him as a Savior.

There are more people who want Jesus to heal their injuries than see themselves as terminally ill.

There are more people who add Jesus to their lives than give their lives wholly to Him.

God is gracious and good to reveal in His Gospel BOTH our depravity and His mercy, our sin and His Savior, our death and His life.

It is only in knowing that we deserve wrath that we flee to Christ to save us from it. Until then, we are merely dating the idea of repentance. We are flirting with it, but have no intention or commitment to make it our way of life.

Romans 2:4-5

4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

Biblically, repentance and wrath are impossible to divorce. They justify each other’s import.

We often opt for morality over our Maker.
We often choose being good enough over being perfect in Jesus.

Being rich in Jesus means being poor in yourself.

The riches of Christ will not and cannot enter where pride has hoarded its rusts.

“Good enough” is no good at all.

“Not too bad” is not great.

God is BOTH great and good.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

stranger danger‏

Tullian is often Johnny-on-the-spot.  THIS proves it yet again. Read below:
I was putting my daughter Genna (11) to bed the other night and I asked her, “Honey, what do you think is God’s overall disposition toward you?” Her immediate response was, “Disappointed.” After probing why she might answer that way–wondering, perhaps, if the Holy Spirit had convicted her regarding something she may have said or done–I realized that she wasn’t feeling convicted about any particular sin, she simply sees God as someone whose feelings toward her are basically unhappy ones. She knows that God is perfect and that she is imperfect–she understands that God is holy and that she is sinful–and so it only makes sense to her that God is perpetually displeased with her.
Seizing an opportunity to preach the gospel to my daughter–AGAIN–I scrambled in my mind for an illustration that might help an 11 year-old grasp the liberating power of Christ’s imputed righteousness. Now, don’t be nit-picky. I know illustrations all break down at some point. But this was my best off-the-cuff attempt to help an 11 year-old sleep well knowing that God’s love for her is immutable (it’s actually kind of sad that I even have to say that).
I said, “Genna, imagine some stranger (let’s call him Steven) comes walking down our street right about the time Mommy is making dinner. He walks up our driveway, through our front door (without knocking), into our kitchen, looks at mommy and asks, ‘What’s for dinner?’ Now, you and I both know that Mommy is hospitable. But a complete stranger walking in our house would freak her out. She’d probably say something like, ‘Who are you? And if you don’t turn around and leave right now I’m going to call the police.’”
I continued, “Now imagine that same stranger comes walking down our street around dinner timewith Gabe (Genna’s 17 year-old brother). The two of them together walk up our driveway, through the front door, and into our kitchen. Gabe looks at Mommy with his arm around his friend and says, ‘Mom, this is my friend Steven. Can he stay for dinner?’ Her response would be totally different, wouldn’t it? She would say something like, ‘Nice to meet you Steven. Of course you can have dinner with us.’ Then she’d get another place-setting and treat Steven like a son at our table. Why? Because he was with Gabe.”
I then went on to explain the difference between the way God feels toward those who come to him without Jesus and those who come to him with Jesus. Reminding her that, because of what Jesus did for her on the cross, God sees her as a friend and a daughter, not an enemy and a stranger, she smiled. I explained that God is a good Father and will discipline those he loves, but because she’s with Jesus, God’s affection for her is unchanging and his approval of her is forever.
Having talked to many, many Christians over the years, I know for a fact that a lot of them (like Genna) think that God is perpetually disappointed with them. Maybe it’s time the church spends more energy reminding Christians that God’s love for them is not dependent on what they do or don’t do, but rather on what Christ has done for them. For, as Luther said so well, “God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.”
I promise you, more Christians need to be reminded of this than you think–including you and me, if we’re being honest!

the sovereign sickbed‏ and the divine deathbed

Isaiah 38:1b

And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.”

We will all die.
None of us will escape it.

Because of sin, we die.
Because of our individual sin, we die individually.

"Set your house in order."

Hezekiah was given the grace of God in that he was provided a sickbed. Hezekiah had a place from which he could reflect on days gone by and look forward in fear to days to come. We are not guaranteed this period of sober recollection. God does not grant everyone the opportunity to reflect upon His mercy with eternity laid out before them.

Know this: you will die and not recover.

Sin is a sickness more severe than our ability to remedy.

We will die.
You will die.
Sooner than you think.

"Set your house in order."

Psalm 2:10-12

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

"Set your house in order."

Psalm 127:1-2

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

happy birthday mrs. van voorst!

It is my wife's birthday today!

She is God's daughter first.
She is my wife second.
She is my children's mother third.
She is a friend, sister, daughter and mentor next.

I love that she and I see these priorities the same way.

Birthdays are not guaranteed.

We take them often too lightly in these years where they are largely anticipated.

I am thankful for yet another year with my wife.

Vapors are unpredictably brief.
I'm happy to be spending mine with my wife.

Monday, March 25, 2013

the tyranny of self‏

Psalm 14:1-3
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good, not even one.
In other words...
I will not be ruled by anything outside of me.
I will be governed by my heart, my passions, my desires my thoughts, my rights, my loves, my hates.
I am my one and only sovereign.
I have no king, but me.
I will not be told what to do.
I will not listen.
You can't make me.
I'm free to be a slave only to my desires.
You are right.
You are and you will.
Romans 6:16
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,
you are slaves of the one whom you obey,
either of sin, which leads to death,
or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?


All my life long I had panted
For a draught from some cool spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.
Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
Through His life I now am saved.
Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.
Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul's sad cry.
Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life, so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me
Listen and buy it HERE

Friday, March 22, 2013

decimating religion‏

Bloodied and burdened with fear, I stand here trembling next to my fellow soldiers.

We fought so bravely to defend our homeland, but in the end they were just too much for us.

My wife and children are at home. I force thoughts of them out of my mind. I do now know if I will ever see them again. I do not know if they will survive this war.

Blood and sweat trickle down my temple. My knees shake. My armor rattles. My teeth shiver.

Why have we been standing here so long? I wish I would have been killed in the battle.

I wish we had had more men to fight along side of.... what?

What was that?

Looking to my right and see one of my brothers brought down by the plunge of a sword.

They are far off, but I recognize that sound of metal piercing bone even from here.

What is happening? O God, what is happening.

The man with the sword is making his way towards me. I don't remember seeing him in battle befo.... O God, no!

Another one of my brothers has been pierced and put down.

What is the rhyme or reason here? How is he deciding who to slay and who to save?

What is the logic? How can I survive? Who will die? Who will live?

It's too late to manipulate my odds now.

O God, another one slain. My heart beats against my breastplate. My temples are full of blood.

The man is drawing closer and killing men. Not all men, but some. No one is speaking.

How is he deciding? Is this all random? How can I avoid his gaze?

Here he comes. Do not look at him. Maybe he won't.....

O God, this is how I die? Like this? For what? And why?


All religion is as fickle as decimation.
A crapshoot.
A daisy saying, "He loves me, He loves me not."

Only in Jesus is there any assurance of salvation.

No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus. Know peace.

Yeah, I'm with you: it's lame.
But it is accurate.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

train track theology‏

Ephesians 6:1-3

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Trains are marvelous and powerful. 
They are huge and full of potential. 
They are free to pull and push. 
They are stuck on tracks. 
If you try to liberate them from their narrow-minded tracks, you immediately rob them of any potential for purpose. 
They were made to travel on tracks. 
They were not meant to frolic in meadows. 
They need tracks. 
Without tracks, they die. 
They lose their purpose. 
They are rendered useless.
We were meant to live under authority.
We were meant to live for God.
We are so blind, we fail to acknowledge our purpose.
We are so arrogant, we presume having a purpose is the same as fulfilling one.
It does not go well with the train off its tracks anymore than it goes well with the person who removes themselves from the authorities established by God.
But life is not found in simply chugging along the straight and narrow.
Trains can jump off track.
They cannot, however, jump back on.
In Christ we are reckoned as having never left the right track.
In Christ we are exhorted to live in light of that which was reckoned to us.

because He died‏

Ozzie was faithful to remind me of God's grace this morning in pointing out that:

We trample the blood of the Son of God underfoot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only reason for the forgiveness of our sins by God, and the infinite depth of His promise to forget them, is the death of Jesus Christ. Our repentance is merely the result of our personal realization of the atonement by the Cross of Christ, which He has provided for us. “. . . Christ Jesus . . . became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption . . .” (
1 Corinthians 1:30). Once we realize that Christ has become all this for us, the limitless joy of God begins in us. And wherever the joy of God is not present, the death sentence is still in effect.

No matter who or what we are, God restores us to right standing with Himself only by means of the death of Jesus Christ. God does this, not because Jesus pleads with Him to do so but because He died. It cannot be earned, just accepted. All the pleading for salvation which deliberately ignores the Cross of Christ is useless. It is knocking at a door other than the one which Jesus has already opened. We protest by saying, “But I don’t want to come that way. It is too humiliating to be received as a sinner.” God’s response, through Peter, is, “. . . there is no other name . . . by which we must be saved” (
Acts 4:12). What at first appears to be heartlessness on God’s part is actually the true expression of His heart. There is unlimited entrance His way. “In Him we have redemption through His blood . . .” (Ephesians 1:7). To identify with the death of Jesus Christ means that we must die to everything that was never a part of Him.

God is just in saving bad people only as He makes them good. Our Lord does not pretend we are all right when we are all wrong. The atonement by the Cross of Christ is the propitiation God uses to make unholy people holy.

God does not wink at sin. And thank God for it. God does not forsake His Son is saying you are "good enough." He does not turn His back on His Son's life and death. He does not overlook the value and worth of His sacrifice on our behalf. For God to forgive us in any other way than the Cross of Christ would be for Him to forfeit the glory of Jesus displayed and earned in accomplishing the perfect sacrificial life. Furthermore it would dimiinish and tarnish the glory of the resurrection and the validation of Jesus' atonement.

If there is any other way to survive His wrath, He was cruel to ignore His Son's pleas.

But there was NO other way and Jesus IS that worthy of our praise.

Because He died, we live to God.
Because He lives, we die to sin.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


God is a big deal.

His weightiness and gravity is enough to hold every other planet of influence in its proper orbit (a la Piper search keyword "orbit").

In your world, what does everything else orbit around?

If it is not God, it is not sustainable.

Nothing and no one else possesses enough gravity to sustain the harmony and chemistry of other spheres of influence.

Only God can give purpose for one's life of work, marriage, ministry, parenting, hobbies, habits, etc...

Only God can deliver one's work, marriage, ministry, parenting, hobbies, habits, etc... from damnation by the word of His promise.

God will not be satisfied to hover around your self-centered world.
He is not a moon.
He is not even the sun.

He is One with a gravity enough that the sun, the earth, the moon, the Milky Way, the entire created order revolve around Him.

Everything we know and everything we don't.
All of it is subject to Him.

What is the center of your life?

If it is not God, your whole world will fall apart.
All of it.
And for certain.

no toggle‏

Romans 1:22-25
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

There is no "worship off" button.

We were made to worship.

If we reject God, we do not stop worshipping.

He simply worship other stuff. That is why the commands are in order:

Exodus 20:1-3
1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
2“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

If you do not love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength, and all your soul; you love something else.

If you know that you are holding back from God today, you can also know that you are giving yourself away to something else.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

good God man!

Deuteronomy 29:29

The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.

God is sovereign over each and every thing. Nothing happens without His permission. There is nothing that happens that He could not have altered. There is nothing that takes place in which He is powerless to intercede and interfere.

God is holy and in His grace has communicated to us that which is in keeping with His holiness. "Love of God and neighbor" being the summary of it all.

When someone asks, "Was it God's will that ______ happened?" the answer is always "Yes," in one sense.

Nothing has ever happened outside of His control. Ever.

Is it God's will that children are aborted?

In one sense, "Yes" because He allows it to occur.
Does this make His goodness suspect?
Does this make Him the author of evil?

In another sense it is not God's will that any should be murdered.
He specifically commands people not to murder.

How can God be good and in perfect control?

If He is in perfect control, then why doesn't He stop evil?
If He is good, then why does He allow bad?

Some conclude that God must not be in full control.

They do so on the basis of believing He is good, but find themselves stumped as to why so much bad takes place. They conclude that must mean that He wishes good things, but cannot make them happen for whatever reason.

Others conclude that God must not be good.

They do so on the basis of believing He is fully in control, but find themselves stumped as to why so much bad takes place. They conclude that must mean that He is in fully in control, but does not care about goodness or justice for whatever reason.

If you bend on either of these points, you create a scenario the eliminates Jesus.

If you defend His goodness and surrender His power, you end up with a God who is likeable, but weak. He is not someone to Whom we should turn or offer prayer because He can't do anything about it anyways.

If you defend His power and surrender His goodness, you end up with a God who is powerful, but mean. He is not someone to Whom we should turn or offer prayer because He doesn't care about anything anyways.

Rest assured, Jesus is good and He is in charge.

The secret things belong to Him: I do not know why people are allowed to abort their children.

The revealed things belong to us: I do know that sacrificing children to idols (no matter how modern and suave) is forbidden and not from God.

The secret things belong to Him: I do not know why God designed a world for the purpose of sending His Son to die for us to show His love.

The revealed things belong to us: We should worship the Son and surrender our lives to Him because on the Cross He proves that He is good and in control.

Jesus is worthy of both titles: Good and God.

Still hungry?

Here more about this from Tullian Tchidjian HERE.