Reflections on My Grandmother’s Passing

This is what I shared at my grandmother’s memorial service. I hope this serves as a blessing to you:

Growing up, our family would visit my grandparents almost every weekend. Grandma was always excited to see me and spend time with me, despite all the times I wanted to just watch TV or read every box score from the sports section of the newspaper. She displayed genuine hospitality to everyone that walked through her doors. I also remember that she frequently prayed at our extended family gatherings. She was an example of years of faithfulness to the Lord.

I also want to take this time to encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In the gospel of John chapter 14, Jesus said to His disciples on the night before He went to the cross,

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

At this time, Jesus told them that He was leaving, and He knows that they felt uncertain about the future. He comforts them in verse 1. If you believe in the one true God of the Old Testament, you can believe in Me. This is a call to trust Him with full confidence. Why? He explains that He is going back to the Father in heaven to prepare a place for them. Eternal life with God awaits all Christians after death. He promises also that He will come again to take us to be with Him and our heavenly Father. Earth is not home, for we are strangers here in this world. What a promise that is the hope of all Christians. We are in eager anticipation of His second coming.

If you are here today and don’t consider yourself a follower of Jesus, this promise can be true for you too. Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, then asks Him,

“Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:5-6)

There is no other way to be right with God. Everyone, including me, is a sinner that doesn’t meet God’s perfect standard. But God showed His love by sending His Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice and die in our place. Three days later, He conquered death by rising from the dead. If you turn away from your sin and place your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, you will be saved from the wrath of a just God and adopted into His family. There is no amount of good works that you can perform to earn God’s favor. Only through Jesus is there forgiveness of sins. So I plead with you to consider this truth.

We celebrate today because my grandma is away from the body and at home with our Lord. Let us rejoice and praise Him, for His steadfast love endures forever and His faithfulness to all generations.

Reflection on My Grandfather’s Passing

In the book of 2 Timothy, the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, begins the epistle by thanking God for his beloved Timothy, specifically for the legacy of the faith in his family. He writes, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” He continues on later in the letter, exhorting Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Likewise, God has been faithful to me. My grandparents, being the first Christians in our family, raised my mother in the discipline and instruction of the Lord who, along with my father, raised my sister and me the same way. By God’s grace, there is a Christian heritage in this family that He has preserved over three generations, and Lord-willing, He will preserve for many more generations to come.

A few years ago, I was visiting grandpa and grandma. At this point in my spiritual life, I had already been a Christian for more than a couple years, and I was struggling to read the Bible consistently because I didn’t need to anymore: I grew up in the church; my parents read the Bible to me; I thought I already knew everything. That past Sunday, I heard a sermon from 1 Peter 1 about how a Christian is marked by how much they read God’s Word. I was challenged to read more, but it hadn’t completely soaked in yet. That day, when I walked in, I saw grandpa sitting at his desk, with His Bible open, diligently studying the book of Daniel. To see him at his age still reading the Word of God was an encouragement to me that I am always in need of the Word as nourishment to my soul. Paul goes on to remind Timothy that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Praise the LORD, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 117)

Sunday Six (3/8/2015)

I’ll try to make this quick since it’s late.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder and professing Christian Josh Hamilton has fought for years to stay clean from his previous addictions to drugs and alcohol. Last week, he admitted to experiencing another relapse. TGC editor Jeff Robinson reminds us that the same thing could easily happen to us.

Recall from last week that ex-pastor Rob Bell admits that support for same-sex marriage from churches is inevitable. SBTS professor Owen Strachan replies that Christians aren’t ready to give in quite yet.

You will remember that about a year ago, Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy debated over the origins of the universe. In an early episode of his show, Bill Nye featured the inventor of the MRI scanner, Dr. Raymond Damadian. Ken Ham reveals that Dr. Damadian is a biblical creationist and that Bill Nye unknowingly brought glory to God through his profile of him!

Are you always puzzled on how you would have answered the question, “Are you hiding Jews in your home?” Fear no longer! Pastor Clint Archer lays out the possibilities to solving ethical dilemmas.

It’s a long ways away for me, but it’s never to early to think about how to raise my children (Lord-willing I get married and have children). Pastor Dan Phillips shares about his weekly meetups with his sons since they became teenagers. What an encouragement.

Hebrews 10:24-25 is a commonly cited passage to support the necessity for regular church gatherings (and rightfully so). But Pastor Erik Raymond points out that the part that is sometimes neglected is the first command in that section of Scripture.

*BONUS: How do you minister to someone who comes to you with a problem or struggle? Pastor Jason Vaughn gives us four practical steps to use in that situation.

I’ll also post a Shepherds’ Conference roundup sometime in the next few days.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday Six (3/1/2015)

Happy Saturday Sunday! Hope you enjoyed your time of corporate worship with the local church. Apologies for the late post as I was out all day Saturday. Here are the top blog posts of the week:

After last week’s tragic murder of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS, there were some questions on who exactly the Coptic Christians are. Pastor and TGC blogger Kevin DeYoung enlightens us with some background on what they teach.

The case of the florist in Washington refusing to make decorations for a same-sex wedding continues to draw attention in the media. Theologian Douglas Wilson gives reasons for why Christians should follow her example in the same situation. Please continue to pray for her: Baronelle Stutzman.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald confessed that he lied about his previous involvement with the special forces. Pastor and TGC blogger Erik Raymond talks about how sin is, first and foremost, against God, and how the motive is always to steal glory away from Him for ourselves.

Former pastor Rob Bell appeared on Oprah’s show recently to discuss his new book on marriage. Not surprisingly, he gave a few eyeopening statements on the subject. Pastor and RTS professor Michael Kruger responds to those comments with a few of his own.

The Shepherds’ Conference starts on Tuesday! You can find the schedule and live-stream at http://shepherdsconference.org/. Pastor and Cripplegate blogger Mike Riccardi summarizes some of Albert Mohler’s arguments for inerrancy taken directly from a book on the matter.

This one caught my eye simply because the introduction mentioned Michael Jordan. Pastor and Glory Books blogger Robert Wauhop answers the question, “How would you describe a Christian to someone for the first time?”

BONUS! For those who struggle with idolatry (like myself), this was very revealing. Blogger Tim Challies confesses that his validation is found in speaking far away at large conferences, not in Christ’s completed work on the cross. So what gives you affirmation?

Have a blessed week!

Saturday Six (2/21/2015)

Happy Saturday! Here’s the lowdown of the top blog posts of the week:

With Ash Wednesday happening several days ago, WTS professor and Reformation21 blogger Carl Trueman makes a strong case for why Christians shouldn’t observe Lent.

Last Sunday, ISIS executed 21 Egyptian Christians from Libya. SBTS professor Thomas Schreiner helps us to reflect on the tragedy. ERLC president Russell Moore answers the question, “Should We Pray for the Defeat of ISIS, or Their Conversion?

The Shepherds’ Conference Summit on Inerrancy is coming up next week. It’s gonna be huge. Pastor and ParkingSpace23 blogger Greg Peterson lists the implications of denying the inerrancy of the Bible.

This story has been in the news for a few years now, but to give a recap, a florist in Washington refused to provide flowers for a customer’s same-sex wedding (note: he was a friend and regular customer of the florist). The state attorney general and the customer (with his partner) filed separate lawsuits, citing Washington’s anti-discrimination law, and won. Boyce College professor Denny Burk wrote a guest post for CNN.com on the consequences of the decision. He then follows up talking about the courage of the florist to turn down a settlement with the AG and risk losing her entire livelihood to stand up for her biblical convictions.

TMS professor/Cripplegate blogger Nathan Busenitz originally cited a story about an ex-KGB assassin who persecuted Christians in Russia then became a believer. It turns out that the whole thing wasn’t true. Here’s the apology he wrote. A lesson in humility that we can all learn from.

A shout out to the sound crew at RGC, Crystal Chan and Caleb Chao, for faithfully serving the body week in and week out by helping the congregation sing during musical worship and hear during the sermon. Desiring God blogger Jonathan Davis shares about the impact that serving on media team makes for those who hear.

Have a blessed week!

Saturday Six (2/14/2015)

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I’m going to try to post these weekly: a compilation of blog posts on current events in the world and within the church (or anything I like). Here we go!

A few weeks ago, TGC blogger Justin Taylor said that there are biblical reasons to doubt the creation days were 24-hour periods. SBTS professor Jim Hamilton responds to Taylor’s claims here and here. In October, I attended a creation conference hosted by Institute for Creation Research (ICR) at Grace Community Church. There, TMC professor Abner Chou explains why Genesis 1 can only mean six, 24-hour days.

At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, President Obama compared the acts of the terrorist group ISIS to those committed by Christians during the Crusades. Pastor Kevin DeYoung debunks misconceptions about that time period. Ligonier Ministries also released an overview lecture from WTS professor W. Robert Godfrey on the Crusades.

Related to our commander-in-chief, his chief campaign advisor in 2008, David Axelrod, admits that Obama lied about his stance on same-sex marriage to get elected. Boyce College professor Denny Burk calls him out for using faith to cover his position.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was suspended for six months for lying about getting hit in a helicopter by enemy fire during the Iraq War in 2003. Ligonier Ministries blogger Lee Webb comments on the story from a journalist’s perspective. Reformation21 blogger Rick Phillips points out that this is a reflection of the sinful male ego.

The film version of the bestselling book 50 Shades of Grey was released in theaters yesterday. SBTS president Albert Mohler asserts that this accurately indicates the direction of our culture when it comes to pornography. Blogger Tim Challies compiles a list of recommended articles and books on the topic as well.

At Glory Books, pastor Chad Coley uses 1 Corinthians to list six ways to evaluate your love for the body of Christ, and pastor Steve Swartz suggests three practical ideas to make your church more loving. Very helpful for me as I think about how to love my local church better.

Have a blessed week!