Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Dearest Place On Earth

“Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all! And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it.
Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us… All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? If it is right for anyone to refrain from membership in the Church, it is right for everyone, and then the testimony for God would be lost to the world!"

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Best Donation,” (No. 2234), in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 37, an exposition of 2 Corinthians 8:5 preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, on April 5, 1891.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Highest Possible Resolution - by Mike T.

As a tech guy I sometimes have a different perspective on things. Allow me to put a unique spin on the New Year’s Resolution. When I hear the word ‘resolution’ the first thing I think about has to do with the image detail for displays, cameras and televisions. Simply put the higher the resolution the finer detail of a picture that can be displayed. Wikipedia defines this as the pixel resolution.

Below is an illustration of how the same image might appear at different pixel resolutions, if the pixels were poorly rendered as sharp squares (normally, a smooth image reconstruction from pixels would be preferred, but for illustration of pixels, the sharp squares make the point better).

An image that is 2048 pixels in width and 1536 pixels in height has a total of 2048×1536 = 3,145,728 pixels or 3.1 megapixels. One could refer to it as 2048 by 1536 or a 3.1-megapixel image. (Note:

In digital photography to print a decent 4x6 photo requires 3 MP. But enlargements such an 11x14 require 4 MP, while an 20x30 requires 8 MP. For televisions and computer monitors the higher the resolution the clearer the image. As the resolution gets higher the more details that will be visible. In a lot of cases the higher the resolution, the more expensive the equipment can be. To get greater detail and clarity requires an investment.

How does this relate to the New Year’s Resolution? For this coming year, rather than making a resolution, use the highest resolution possible. Invest in what it takes to get greater detail and clarity. Make that your effort and goal. Like cameras and displays require more pixels for a clearer image, seek more of God’s Word to get a more detailed perspective on the Savior and yourself. The more of God’s Word that is used the more in focus the picture of Christwill become. Take the time this year to drill down and focus on the images that are presented in the Scriptures. You will learn so much about Jesus Christ that you have missed before. You will see more about yourself and your own sinfulness and need for a Savior as you let God’s Holy Word make the pictures clearer. Get as much resolution as you can and take time to notice the nuances and details that you missed before.

Focus on the Savior. Have you seen all there is of His righteousness, love, compassion, divinity, meekness, power and purpose? Have you missed something of the joy of loving Him with your whole heart and mind and strength?

And as you read allow the Bible to help you focus on a better picture of yourself. Would more clarity help you see some things that were hidden before? Are there idols that take your focus off of Jesus as Lord? Do you have sins that you might have not been able to see before at a lower resolution?

Take advantage of the highest resolution possible this next year. When you look at yourself you find some things that ruin the picture. When you look at the Savior in greater detail you will spot some things you missed before.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finally Alive

When looking for new reading material I often browse the web to see what others are reading. At the top of several 2009 book lists I noticed Finally Alive by John Piper. So I begun reading it. While only 3 chapters into this book, I am greatly impressed and encouraged by its message. This book talks about regeneration: what it is and why it is important.

I have always been a fan of John Piper's works and this is one of his finest efforts. It is excellent reading for both mature and young Christians.

Sample Finally Alive and many other of John Piper's works for free at I have always admired the ministry of Desiring God which makes its many fine resources available at no cost to those who can not afford them. They show a true trust and committment to share God's Word.

New Look

The Light Keeper's Journal has taken on a new look and a new committment to posting articles and links that will be of interest to Christians who are interested in growing and finding joy in Jesus Christ.

I am looking for other dedicated believers who want to share interesting links, articles and stories of interest to build up believers and reach others for Christ. If you want to become a partner posting on this blog about matters of faith, witness, prayer, worship, fellowship, humor, news and other information please contact me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just the Facts

Today we begin a series of short studies on effectively witnessing the Gospel to unbelievers.

Where should you begin when witnessing to others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The approach that is tried a lot of times is to try and convince others that they need Christ because of what He can do for them. The offer that ‘Jesus can mend a broken heart’ or that ‘He makes things right’ or "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness." We might even begin by telling someone that without Jesus that they will go to Hell. Often times we mix this with the testimony of our own experience as to what Jesus has done for us. All of these approaches fail to help the other person understand who Jesus is.

Think about where the others that you might try to witness to are coming from. Most will carry into the conversation some sort of understanding of religious notions and ideas. For the majority of individuals will attest to some sort of religious beliefs. The backgrounds will vary. Some will profess faith in another god, perhaps Buddha or Allah. Others will attest to some sort of pseudo Christian beliefs or have rejected the idea of a ‘higher power’ altogether. They will have already established faith in something or someone. They may be content or even restless and unsure of their beliefs and their faith. They have tried religion and expressed faith. But as yet they do not in fact know the Jesus of the Bible.

The opportunity to effectively witness then exists in not offering them another option on their religious menu but to lead them to know Jesus as Christ, God in the flesh who died on the cross and rose again to save His own. When they learn who Jesus really is they can begin to realize how worthless their faith in any thing else actually is.

Remember as you witness that it is not your words or your approach that saves others, but God who changes hearts of sinners and opens their eyes and ears to the Gospel. Until the Holy Spirit works in the heart of another the Gospel remains ‘foolishness’ to them. In the Book of Acts Philip witnesses to an Ethiopian official.

God will open up the opportunity. You be obedient and willing to do the work.

But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert. And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship; and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. Acts 8:26-29

When the opportunity arises- jump at it
As we stated earlier most people you get the opportunity to witness to will already have an established faith and religious experience. Here Philip met an Ethiopian official who worshipped God and read the Scriptures. However, the true meaning of the words he read eluded him. No doubt that God had a hand in this encounter. Philip responded by leading this man to an understanding of who Jesus is.
And Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31

Witness with the Word of God (just the facts)

The only tool you need to witness is the Word Of God. In it you will find all you need to explain who Jesus is to others.

Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: His generation who shall declare? For his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other? Acts 8:32-34

Preach unto them – JESUS

The scriptures tell us about Jesus. That is the focus of the Gospel message. Rely on this message and not on the needs of others or your own personal experiences. Jesus did not come to mend broken hearts, bring peace, joy and lasting happiness. He came to Glorify God. Those who do not know Him as God, Savior, Redeemer and King only need to know this one important fact.

And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus. Act 8:35

The Gospel Saves
As you witness to others and share the Word of God others will come to see Jesus as Savior, Lord, King, Redeemer. Philip opened up the scriptures and an Ethiopian official came to know Jesus. This led to the man’s conversion and the request to be baptized.

And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
(Act 8:26-40 ASV

Jesus did not come to mend broken hearts, bring peace, joy and lasting happiness. He came to Glorify God. Those who do not know Him as God, Savior, Redeemer and King only need to know this one important fact. It is in Jesus Christ and no one else that they will find Salvation.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spiritually and Physically preparing for Sunday Worship

Ever struggled to stay awake at Sunday School or church? I often joke with my friend Floyd about the need for us to help one another stay awake for the sermon. Though it is a running joke between us and 'mostly' we are just having fun, this article on Being a diligent listener I found today makes an excellent point worth waking up for. No reflection on our Pastor, the fault usually lies with my own failure to get enough sleep.

How much more we could get out of and give back to our church family if we came refreshed spiritually and physically to hear God's Word.

Being a diligent listener- by Tim Challies