Thursday, May 30, 2013

Registration Open for Mid-Michigan Reformation Conference

Even though it's not yet June, you can already register for the 10th annual Mid-Michigan Reformation Conference to be held on Saturday, October 26th from 10:00 am to 4:30.

As I have mentioned here before, the theme of this year's conference is "The Glory of Christ" and our speakers will be:
The entire event (including a hot lunch) is free of charge, but we do need to have an idea of how many will be attending, so we ask that you click here and fill out the quick and easy online registration form.

Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Church...In Less Than Three Minutes

(HT: Scott Sauls)

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom...Paul David Tripp on Spiritual Maturity

"It is quite easy for (seminary) students to buy into the belief that biblical maturity is about the precision of theological knowledge and the completeness of their biblical literacy. So seminary graduates, who are Bible and theology experts, tend to think of themselves as being mature. But it must be said that maturity is not merely something you do with your mind (although that is an important element of spiritual maturity). No, maturity is about how you live your life. It is possible to be theologically astute and be very immature. It is possible to be biblically literate and be in need of significant spiritual growth."

Paul David Tripp
Dangerous Calling

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Word for Preachers...Mohler on the Need for Urgency in Preaching

"In all too many pulpits, God has become our next-door neighbor, our great cosmic companion, or the divine leader of our small group, rather than the holy God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Perhaps the lack of urgency in so much preaching today comes from a lack of understanding about humanity's awful predicament. The greatest problem we human beings face is not a shortage of self-esteem. It is that we have rebelled against God, and, in His holiness, God will one day hold us to horrible account for our sin.

"The gospel necessarily comes with an urgent warning, because the distinction between those who obey its call and those who disobey is not merely between a better life and a worse life. It is the difference between life and death. It is an eternal distinction, for the cost of disobedience and the coast of not hearing the gospel is eternal death.

"That is why we must preach with urgency of a dying man. It is because human beings are in desperate need of salvation. Time is short, God's wrath is certain, and eternity hangs in the balance. Moreover, there is for each of us only one way out of this predicament, and that is the salvation God Himself has won through the gospel of his Son, Jesus Christ."

Al Mohler
He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Refuge Amidst Storms of Destruction

In the daily Bible reading plan our church is working through, chapters 57-59 of the Book of Psalms was on the schedule for yesterday. As I opened my Bible, it struck me that the reading began with these words:
"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by." (Psalm 57:1)
The phrase "storms of destruction" provided an especially vivid illustration in the aftermath of the tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma in recent days. At times, our sin and life's trials truly wreak havoc in our lives in such a way that they could be labeled "storms of destruction." And then other times, those storms are less metaphorical. In both cases, the Body of Christ is called on to come alongside those who are suffering and to show them the love of Christ.

That is why I was so pleased when the deacons at our church met this week and agreed to collect donations through Sunday, June 2 to assist the relief effort in Oklahoma. HERE IS THE GREAT PART: They have decided to match every dollar given to this effort (up to $5000), and then will send the total amount to our friends at City Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City for them to oversee allocation of the funds in the relief effort.

City Pres is a gospel-loving church with a real heart for Oklahoma City and the surrounding area, and they are deeply involved with the relief effort. Click here to read Pastor Doug Serven's reflections on his day yesterday, which was spent in part cleaning up a cemetery and praying with those impacted by this storm of destruction.

If you would like to be a part of this effort, a collection box will be made available the next two Sundays at Calvary. Or, if you can't join us but would still like to play a part, feel free to send a check to Calvary Presbyterian Church at 6100 Richfield Rd., Flint, MI 48506 with "OKC" written in the memo section.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

TGC Conference Audio Available

Last month around 5,000 people gathered in Orlando for The Gospel Coalition's national conference.  As TGC's founding documents state, their desire is "to serve the church we love . . . in an effort to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ." As such, they have made all of the TGC13 conference media (78 talks) available online for free. What a blessing to have all of this great teaching at our fingertips!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Robert Murray M'Cheyne

300 years ago today, Robert Murray M'Cheyne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. M'Cheyne is most famous for the Bible-reading program he developed and for his applicatory preaching. Eric J. Alexander writes of him in What is Biblical Preaching?, 'He seemed, as his preaching progressed, to advance upon you until he was standing inside your heart, applying the Word of God to all your life.'

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote of him in his wonderful book, Preachers & Preaching,
You remember what was said of the saintly Robert Murray McCheyne of Scotland in the last century. It is said that when he appeared in the pulpit, even before he had uttered a single word, people would begin to weep silently. Why? Because of this very element of seriousness. The very sight of the man gave the impression that he had come from the presence of God and that he was to deliver a message from God to them. That is what had such an effect upon the people even before he had opened his mouth. We forget this at our peril, and at great cost to our listener.  
Below is a talk that John Piper gave on M'Cheyne at the 2011 Desiring God Pastor's Conference. Check it out if you get the chance, and thank God for the presence and example of such ministers as Robert Murray M'Cheyne.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Greater Pleasure than Sin

Good friend (and speaker at the upcoming Mid-Michigan Reformation Conference) David Crabb authored a blog post today about sin. I know. What a fun topic to talk about! NOT!!!

Actually, as David recognizes in the post, if we had our druthers we probably wouldn't talk about sin at all. It is not pleasant spending time considering that which has so much power over us. And no matter how often we redouble our efforts to "try harder," it seems that those efforts always end in futility, as we are relentlessly enticed by sin's promises of pleasure (fleeting though it may be).

David writes though that there is a way to defeat sin:
The only way to defeat the pleasure of sin is by faith in the promise of God that there is a greater pleasure. Something more satisfying, more joy-giving than sin. Holiness will not come through man-made regulations or through using fear as a motivation, but through a mind captivated and controlled by Christ. Seeing Christ is what causes us to be like Him. When we see Him partially in this life, we are changed partially into His likeness. When we see Him perfectly in the life to come, we will be changed perfectly into His likeness.
Click here to read the entire post.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Word for Preachers...Wright on the Central Calling of Preachers

The words "Him we proclaim" in Colossians 1:28 "serve, for Christian preachers and teachers, as a constant reminder of their central calling, not (first and foremost) to comment on current affairs or to alleviate human problems, good and necessary as those activities may be, but to announce that Jesus is Lord."

N.T. Wright
The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries:
Colossians & Philemon

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Fun...Kiss Cam

A reminder to be careful. You never know who is watching...or when you might get exactly what you deserve.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mid-Michigan Reformation Conference...Save the Date

On Saturday, October 26th our church will be hosting the Mid-Michigan Reformation Conference. This will be our tenth year hosting the conference and we are very excited about it!

This year's theme will be "The Glory of Christ" and as has become our custom, we will once again have four gifted pastors from our region coming to speak to us. Our guest speakers will be:
One big change that we hope you will be excited about is the fact that THIS YEAR'S CONFERENCE WILL BE ABSOLUTELY FREE! We will gladly accept donations to help support the conference and enable us to continue to provide it, but we wanted to remove the possible obstacle of cost so that as many people as possible could be a part of this thoroughly enjoyable and edifying experience. 

So make sure you mark October 26th on your calendars now. In the meantime, feel free to email any questions to me at, and keep your eyes open for further information.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Ted Kluck on Cynicism and Sin

"Cynicism is described accurately by Paul Miller in A Praying Life: 'Shattered optimism sets us up for the fall into defeated weariness and, eventually, cynicism. You'd think it would just leave us less optimistic, but as humans we don't do neutral well. We go from seeing the bright side of everything to seeing the dark side of everything. We feel betrayed by life.'

"And when we feel betrayed by life--and God--sin usually follows. We sin because we fundamentally distrust that God's plan will be enough to bring us the happiness (or esteem or comfort) that we crave the most. So we look to the world to provide those things. And many times, from Christians, we're just implored to 'sin less.' We buy the forty-ninth Internet filter for our computers, or take on our fifth accountability partner. Those things, mind you, are good and helpful. But like John Piper asserts in Future Grace, we must replace the sin with something greater."

Ted Kluck
Finding God in the Dark

Sola Conference

The five "Solas" stand at the heart of Reformation Christianity and they will be the theme of a conference in Michigan this December. I look forward to attending the Sola Conference in Lansing on December 6th and 7th, and sitting under the teaching of a great group of speakers.

Heikkinen and DeYoung (the conference's organizers) speak about it in the video below:

Check it out here, register by July 31 for only $45, and I'll see you there! The schedule is as follows:

Friday, December 6, 2013 

9:00 – 1:00: Preconference Track for Pastors & Church Planters
2:30 – 4:00: Session 1 – Sola (Noel Heikkinen)
4:30 – 5:30: Session 2 – Ad Fontes: Why Going Backward Is the Best Way to Go Forward (Kevin DeYoung)
7:30 – 9:00: Session 3 – Sola Fide (Matt Chandler)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

8:30 – 9:30: Session 4 – Sola Gratia (Leonce Crump)
10:00 – 11:00: Session 5 – Solus Christus (Stephen Um)
11:30 – 12:30: Session 6 – Panel Discussion
3:00 – 4:00: Session 7 – Sola Scriptura (Albert Mohler)
4:30 – 5:30: Session 8 – Soli Deo Gloria (John Piper)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Back in the Blogosphere

Sorry for my extended absence. You may have noticed that I had not posted anything since Easter.

Well, the month of April was a very difficult month. My family left for St. Louis to visit my parents in St. Louis after church on Easter Sunday (March 31). We arrived around midnight, and just a few hours later my father became ill. Twelve hours after that we were taking him to the emergency room. That night he was admitted to the hospital, where he would remain for the next 10 days until he ultimately passed away peacefully in his sleep as my sister and I sat by his bedside.

Needless to say, this threw a rather major monkey wrench in my regular routine. I've been spending the last couple weeks trying to get to at least some facsimile of "caught up." I feel like I'm starting to get close, so hopefully I can resume spending at least a little time each week posting things here.

I would like to express my thanks to the many of you who have been so gracious through your notes, calls, encouragement, love and prayers over the last month or so. I can scarcely express how much they have meant to my family and me. May the Lord bless you all at least a fraction of how much he has blessed me through you. If he should, you would be mightily blessed indeed!