Saturday, December 15, 2007

"In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life" by Sinclair Ferguson

Dear Friends,

I want to introduce to you a great book, it is brand new by Dr. Ferguson, entitled, "In Christ Alone." It is an outstanding book that is VERY readable while deep in content as he helps the reader see the beauty and loveliness of Christ's person and work. I would highly recommend this to the families of our church as we are just now finishing our series "Believe and Behold: A Journey Through The Gospel Of John." The first several chapters deal specifically with John's Gospel and I know you will find it very helpful reading, especially as we start our new series, "Living & Loving Jesus: A Study of 1 John." This book is made up of 50 short chapters, which would make it great to for family reading and devotions focusing our attention on the sufficiency and glory of Jesus' person and work and how we live in light of Him. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK! This is book money well spent!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Husband of the Year Awards

Hey folks,

Here are some pics for a good laugh! But may this not be so with us! May we live out the mandate of Ephesians 5:25!

Sixth Place Goes To...

Fifth Place....
Fourth Place...
Third Place goes to...
Second Place...
And the grand prize goes to... a dude and his bike...

No date night ideas here...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?"

This is a question that God asks of Job, as Job is seeking to work out his theology in the midst of his own personal and very real suffering. And to answer that question, "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" The answer to that question would without a doubt be me, far too often. I cringe as I remember too many times I have been quick to speak and slow to listen. Quick to "tidy up a theology" with a nice neat bow on top of it, rather than living in the sovereignly ordained messiness of it, knowing that God Himself is sovereignly at work. These thoughts come to me after reading Andree Seu's article from World magazine entitled, "Letters To God: Cluelessness never stopped the clay advising the potter." It is a thoughtful article, written by an author who is aware of her own failings, written to inspire us to walk on the "unkept roads" with one another through a life that is far from the idealized "perfect life" trusting in our Sovereign Lord. Pour yourself a cup of this Psalm 88 and the see who the Lord calls you to pray for today. Take care ~M

"Susanna got in the way of my having a perfect life. It's nothing she did; it's something that was done to her. Worse than that, it's something that God did to her.

Five and a half years ago, Susanna's three sons, hale men in their 20s, died in a boating mishap on the same day. Her husband and she were already divorced. Her Christian daughter subsequently renounced her faith—and her mother.

I happened to be in the home of a friend of a friend of Susanna's when the news of the accident came that spring. But I didn't know the woman. Didn't want to know her. Our paths finally crossed last month at a retreat.

A retreat, imagine. She asked to come to my room and chat. Just before that, a woman in the last session had raised her hand and asked how we can be joyful when we're always "waiting for the other shoe to drop."

I offered sound theology: "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise" (James 5:13). Someone else did better: "Life is like a fairy tale where a lot of bad things happen in the middle, but the ending is happy. Think about the ending."
Sitting in my room with Susanna, I gave up all thought of saying a helpful word, though that's why she had come. I was scandalized myself. I felt like David when God struck Uzzah because he touched the ark. "David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah. . . . And David was afraid of the Lord that day" (2 Samuel 6:8-9). God had killed the hapless cart man in the middle of a worship dance to the accompaniment of "songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals."

Susanna does not fit in my theology. She is like Psalm 88, a chapter of the Bible that you always hope won't be there next time you open it. Some other Psalms start poorly but have soaring endings. Psalm 88 has no ray of hope.

At one point in the retreat I had read selections from Children's Letters to God:
"Dear God, In school they told us what you do. Who does it when you're on vacation? Erin"
"Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones why don't you just keep the ones you got now? Jane"
"Dear God, If you let the dinosaur not extinct we would not have a country. You did the right thing. Jonathan"
"Dear God, If you give me a genie lamp like Alladin, I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set. Raphel"

What makes the letters cute is that the kids are clueless and yet they're giving God advice.
I went home and read all of Job.

God gave Job no answers. Nor did He apologize. He is God, He does as He pleases. We are all clueless, like children, and yet would give Him advice. He tells us that He is good. There is nothing to do with that but accept it or reject it. Job's wife rejected it, as did Susanna's daughter: "Curse God and die," they said. That's a choice.

I told two of my friends, independently of each other, the story of Susanna, thinking I would rattle their faith too, thinking I was presenting them with a theological Gordian Knot. I thought we would do a little hand-wringing together and flirting with doubts. They surprised me and said, in effect, "It all comes down to trusting Him."

Writer Anne Lamott tells the story of a little boy locked in his room and afraid. But his mother reaches under the door and finds his fingers, and he is consoled enough to wait for the locksmith who's coming in a while. This is the best we will do with Susanna: God's presence and His promise.

"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:2). That would be me, Lord.

"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (Job 42:2-3).

Click here for a link to the actual article: Copyright © 2007 WORLD MagazineDecember 15, 2007, Vol. 22, No. 46

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Cross Eclipses Everything!

Hey folks,
I just received this great quote from Mr. Kettler by Mr. Octavius Winslow, and it is outstanding. Read it slowly...

"It is the cross which eclipses, in the view of the true believer, the glory and attraction of every other object. What is the weapon by which faith combats with and overcomes the world? What but the cross of Jesus! Just as the natural eye, gazing for a while upon the sun, is blinded for the moment, by its overpowering effulgence, to all other objects—so to the believer, concentrating his mind upon the glory of the crucified Savior, studying closely the wonders of grace and love and truth meeting in the, cross—the world with all its attraction fades into the full darkness of an eclipse. Are not Christ and His cross infinitely better than the world and its love? "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." -Octavius Winslow

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving Family Vacation in Illinois!

Here are some pictures from our vacation to see family during Thanksgiving week! We drove to Illinois with my parents in their new mini-van. It was a wonderful time! Every time I come back 'home' I find myself so refreshed. It was a very relaxing and fun time visiting with my grandma and many other relatives. So hope you enjoy!

Here is a picture of my Mama's house. Christian, Vivian and I decorated her house for Christmas. Every time I go there I can't help but think of Psalm 23:2, 3 "He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." It was such a refreshing time!

Above is a picture of us with Mama! What a godly woman!

My Aunt Cindy and Cousin Ashleigh (Above)
Janice, Aunt Janet and my dad's sister from Sitka, Alaska, Aunt Julia

Uncle Dee and Diane and Rick

Here we are with our cousin Sharon, and Aunt Opal (Mama's sister)

Here is where we spend a lot of time, especially Christian and I. This is what we have now unofficially called "Lake Happy" which is behind my grandma's home.

It was too cold to fish, but we spent many hours down here skipping rocks, shooting Christian's slingshot and just hanging out. You can see below that Christian caught a "baby frog" he wanted to keep it, but instead he wisely decided to let it go.

I am a blessed man!

And last but not 11x14 picture of my big head hanging in my grandma's home. Vivian couldn't resist, she wanted to take a picture to post it on her blog...but I beat her to it! Check out that jean vest!

Bella - Great Date Night Movie

Anna and I really enjoy good movies, however, all too often there are so few good movies out there that one could really whole heartedly recommend. But here is one for you that Anna and I have seen recently that we really enjoyed - the movie, "Bella." The harshest word in the movie is "gosh" which is a real shocker coming out of Hollywood. Bella is a great story about friendship. Jose, one of the main characters puts on display for us what being being slow to speak, quick to listen and sacrificial to care for others really looks like. This is a story about two individuals Jose and Nina and these themes come up around the topic of abortion vs. adoption, as Nina has found herself pregnant out of wedlock by a nameless, faceless man. (So because of this, I can't completely recommended it as a 'family movie.') Throughout the story there are wonderful vignettes of family interactions and care for others. It is a beautiful story of friendship, care and compassion with no sexual scenes depicted, etc.

One thing though, that some might not care for, it is a low budget film, with a type of 'independant' look to it (concerning its cinemography). The picture though is very well done it doesn't have any of the flashy Hollywood flare to it (which we find actually refreshing). It also has some of the symbolism that might be more common to some independent "artsy" films, which does make it more of an intelligent story to watch. If you see it, we hope you enjoy it.

Here is a link for movies that we have found very helpful from Focus on the Family called, "Plugged In Online." They give movie reviews from a Christian perspective. ((I do have to warn you-they do seem to tell you "everything" in the movie in great detail so this would be for parents to preview before watching a movie or sending your kiddos to a movie. It is a great resource

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Most folks find a certain disdain for Mondays, because it often signals the beginning of another week of "the daily grind." However, for the Hoffman family, this is my day off and it is the day that I get to do what is most important to me in an uninterrupted way and that is to be a husband and a father...and for that reason, I have found a particular joy in Mondays. I also love Mondays because (as it has always been) it follows Sunday (I know that is profound) of where on Mondays my mind is freshly aware of being with God's people. The songs that we sing are still humming in my head and I get to have a day of rest and fellowship with my "first disciples" and "first mission field" my lovely wife and two kids. In this blog post, of 'random thoughts and musings' I wanted to just pass on a couple of pictures of a Monday we had a couple of weeks ago at the Overland Park Arboritum, where we took a family hike together. If you haven't be out there, I highly recommend planning a day of it, (or even a couple of hours) just to get lost on the trails and enjoying one another's company. We hiked about 3 miles together, had a stop for snack time, as well as stopping and observing the colors of all the leaves. It was a great time! And whatever your "day off" is, I would encourage you go and make those memories together. Have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Heroes Of The Faith @ Providence - Ron Goodman

Today I am starting a new series of blogs that will be coming up from time to time, called, "Heroes of the Faith @ Providence." Romans 13:7 says, "Pay to all what is owed to them...respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." And this last week, one great hero among us has served us so very, very well helping to mobilize us into areas of ministry to the poor and the needy - This hero would be Mr. Ron Goodman! Ron for the last couple of years has served the church so faithfully in organizing "Mercy ministry" to Prison Fellowship and then this year to Samaritan's Purse through Operation Christmas Child. As I have had the opportunity to walk with Ron, I see his heart, as I know many of you do as well, for those less fortunate. Ron, thank you so very, very much for how you have served us through the many hours of organization, attention to detail and your heart to serve. Last Saturday night was a wonderful time! Thank you for your sacrifice, your labors of love and your example! One day, I trust and know there will be many you will meet around the throne of Our Savior, that came to know Him through your obedient work, care and love for Christ. Thank you Ron for your example!
Likewise, folks if you would like to add your comments of thanks and appreciation to Ron, please feel free to do so in the comments section. Also, Ron is organizing a "work day" at the Operation Christmas Child distribution place in a couple of weeks, so be sure to contact him if you would like to serve that way. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"The Roots Of Endurance" by John Piper

I cannot recommend this book more highly! Of course this is written by Dr. Piper, and what has this man written that can't be recommended? If you are looking for a great set of biographies, his "The Swans Are Not Silent" series is outstanding. I have only read a couple of excerpts from other books in this series, but through the recommendation of my dear friend, Ron Boomsma from the Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena, I have found this to be true "medicine" for my soul. I personally love to read good biographies, (one of my favorites is on the life of Jonathan Edwards, written by Iain Murray, published by Banner of Truth) however, oftentimes one can find that some biographies can be somewhat long and burdensome for the average reader. Dr. Piper has done us a great service through these series of books, by giving us much shorter biographical stories, while putting them under particular headings, revealing what he personally has learned from their lives. As this particular one, which is book 3 in the the series on the topic of endurance and perseverance. Let me just the introduction is worth the price of the book, because in those few pages there is enough "cultural shattering" material to apply to one's own heart that would take a life time to walk out. Dr. Piper points out that we live in such a day when men can be so weak emotionally and in their character, that few can be given the title of "one who endures." These three men's testimonies of endurance and perseverance under much trial speaks volumes to us. If you are looking for some good Fall reading, please pick up a copy! Here is a quote from one review about this book:
"John Newton. Charles Simeon and William Wilberforce suffered lifelong opposition and endured for the causes of gospel truth, missionary zeal and political justice. They found, in solid doctrine and joy the roots for habitual tenderness in response to their adversaries-without doctrinal or moral flinching. They are examples of remarkable grace. Here are the lives of three great men and focuses on not only how they endured great opposition, but that they did so without bitterness."
May we all!

Together For The Gospel 2008 - Video

Back in 2006, Doug, Derek and I had the most wonderful opportunity and that was to go to "Together for the Gospel." This was a historic conference, where you had guys from our family of churches, "Sovereign Grace Ministries" fellowshipping together in one room with Baptists, Presbytrians, and many, many others around the glorious message of the gospel. Being able to be there hearing men such as Dr. Piper, Dr. Sproul & Dr. MacArthur, along with men such as Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Al Mohler and of course our very own Mr. C.J. Mahaney. This next April, we will have this opportunity again to be "Together for the Gospel." This morning, I came across this video of "the 4 friends" having a conversation about the conference, and our gospel-centrality together. I would highly recommend you watch it. It is not too often one is able to "just drop in" on a conversation with 4 such great leaders to hear their observations on the gospel and their friendship. I found it very humbling to attend the conference two years ago, and likewise feel the same today. Looking forward to April!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wildfires: San Diego Church Update

Dear Friends of Providence,

I wanted to pass along to you an update on our sister church in San Diego regarding all of the fires from this last week. Please lift them up in prayer during this time. -Matthew

In the aftermath of this week's wildfires, Mark Lauterbach, senior pastor of Grace Church in San Diego, reports that about 40% of church members were evacuated from their homes, but all are safe. Many have been staying with others from their church whose homes were in safer areas. At least ten homes of Grace Church members were in "high risk" areas. The status of two of these is unconfirmed, but eight are confirmed virtually untouched by the fire. (In one case, the fire stopped within ten inches of the house.) No damage is reported to the facility the church has been preparing to move into next month. Mark says, "We do not feel alone at all." Regional Sovereign Grace churches including Sovereign Grace Church (Pasadena) and Comunidad Cristiana de Otay (Tijuana, Mexico) have been quick to offer assistance. Steve Shank has been in touch with the church daily. Mark jokes, "Steve knows more about what's going on than I do." Grace Church is deeply grateful to the Sovereign Grace family of churches for their love, affection, and desire to help. This Sunday, members of Grace Church will meet together in their small groups since the high school building where they are currently meeting is closed. There are still many prayer requests from Grace Church:

  • Pray for church leaders: wisdom to care for members who are scattered geographically and discernment for many upcoming decisions

  • Pray for Grace Church: grace to guard against temptations to fear and anxiety

  • Pray for opportunities to serve the community and to have gospel conversations

  • Pray for the new church facility: that its final inspection will be completed by next week

Check Mark's blog, GospelDrivenLife, and Grace Church's website for more information.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What a blessing! 5 years in mission together!

Hey folks, I apologize for not posting anything before now...but our internet service at the church has been down for the last 2 weeks! So in days to come, I will be posting some pictures from our 5th anniversary as a church. What a fabulous time it was just to survey God's grace in our lives as church family. Here is one of many pictures to come. These are our dear friends Ron and Tami Boomsma. Ron is the Senior Pastor of the Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena, CA, the church that sent us out here 5 years ago. Ron and Tami have been and continue to be a great friends and we miss them dearly. Ron preached an outstanding message from the book of Numbers, just recounting God's faithfulness and mercies to us! And yes, God has been faithful! More pictures to come...

Friday, October 5, 2007

The People Of God - "Dew From Heaven"

Dear Friends,

This morning as I was reading Mr. Spurgeon and as we are preparing for the 5th year anniversary of our church together, I could not help but think of you and seek to encourage you. This last week, I was in a dialog with someone in our church and they were there telling me about a recent opportunity they had in witnessing to someone they had just met. Then another individual from our church was sharing how another story of how they had witnessing to another person about Christ. I think in this last week, I have had at least 3 different conversations with 3 different members of our church in how they have been witnessing to others about Christ and how they have been seeking to build bridges with the non-believers in their lives. Then as I read this morning's devotion I could not help but think about how through your lives and through your personal witness of Christ how others have been effected as you have attempted to just walk out what Spurgeon calls here the seemingly "insignificant" duties of our daily lives. Thank you for how you love one another and how you seek to "shower" others with the "dew of heaven." Enjoy and be encouraged.

Then the remnant of Jacob shall bein the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord,like showers on the grass,which delay not for a mannor wait for the children of man. (Micah 5:7)

If this be true of the literal Israel, much more is it true of the spiritual Israel, the believing people of God. When saints are what they should be, they are an incalculable blessing to those among whom they are scattered.

They are as the dew; for in a quiet, unobtrusive manner they refresh those around them. Silently but effectually they minister to the life, growth, and joy of those who dwell with them. Coming fresh from heaven, glistening like diamonds in the sun, gracious men and women attend to the feeble and insignificant till each blade of grass has its own drop of dew. Little as individuals, they are, when united, all-sufficient for the purposes of love which the Lord fulfills through them. Dew drops accomplish the refreshing of broad acres. Lord, make us like the dew!

Godly people are as showers which come at God's bidding without man's leave and license. They work for God whether men desire it or not; they no more ask human permission than the rain does. Lord, make us thus boldly prompt and free in Thy service wherever our lot is cast.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Checkbook Of The Bank Of Faith by Spurgeon

Hey folks,

I realize I haven't updated my "whatcha read'n?" section in a while, so I wanted to pass on you this particular resource that is absolutely outstanding! I realize this has a strange name to it, and for some folks it might sound like something out of the "name-it, claim-it" faith movement, but it is not. It is this little devotional that Spurgeon put together entitled, "The Checkbook of The Bank Of Faith." And it is outstanding. My wife and I have been going through this in our devotions and we have found it to have a wonderful affect on our hearts over a season of just studying the great promises of who God is and what we have in the gospel. The affect that we have found is that our hearts have grown in biblical faith and trust in our Soveriegn, Grace Giving God. It is a wonderful daily resource and just to read Spurgeon's introduction to this devotion that he constructed is worth the price of the book itself. For those of you from Providence Community Church, we have this for sale on our booktable...or you can order it through I trust after you have spent several weeks reading it, you will find its same affect on your own heart that we have - an increasing love, faith and hope in God's hand at work in our lives through the Cross of Christ. Outstanding book!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Peacemaking Q & A

Below is a copy of an e-newsletter that I receive from time to time from Peacemaker Ministries which is an outstanding ministry aiding believers to resolve conflict biblicially. I have referenced them before, but I wanted to do so again, as I have personally found their material, especially the book, Peacemaker by Ken Sande, expremely helpful.


Peacemaking Q & A

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brotherhas something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

If you learn that someone has something against you, God wants you to take the initiative in seeking peace - even if you do not believe you have done anything wrong.

Food for Thought
Q: What if I had no idea that I had offended Jim?

A: If you had no idea, then you're not responsible. But if you learn or overhear or even get a vague sense that things aren't quite right between you and Jim, then you are responsible.

Q: So I'm responsible to do what? Talk with Jim? Confront him? What?

A: We must remember that taking the initiative always has a goal - seeking peace. Peacemaking may begin with conversation and progress to confrontation. Then again, it may involve extending kind words or clarifying hurt feelings. There are many different facets, but the gem is called making peace. And the first step is to "go."

Q: But what if I haven't done anything wrong to Jim? To take the initiative seems so counter-intuitive.

A: It's all a matter of obedience. The heart of the matter is not, "Were you right or wrong?" but "Will you be obedient?" God asks you to take the initiative in seeking peace. Yes, it may feel counter-intuitive, but the ways that seem right to us oftentimes lead to death. God's ways lead to life. It's not just because He said so. It's because He loves us so.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

After 16 years I STILL can't believe I got to marry Anna!

Last Friday, my beautiful bride and I had a wonderful time recounting 16 years of God's grace in our lives. Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." In Anna, I have, by God's grace found a tremendously "good thing"! What a blessing she is!
Sovereign Grace Ministries graciously gave us a gift for our marriage anniversary so we were able to go out and splurge at this incredible restaurant. What a blessing men like C.J., Steve, Brent, Dave and Pat are! We are so blessed to be serving in this family of churches!
I wanted to pass on this unashamed date night hint...If you are looking for an idea for a "Big Night Out" check out "The Melting Pot" on the Plaza. It is pricey, but worth every penny! The atmosphere is very quiet and peaceful. And because it was our anniversary, they gave us private tables for two down a back hallway called "Lovers Lane." The food is incredible, but expect to make it an entire evening, because it is about a 3 hour dining experience. Wonderful place, we highly recommend it! Also, you have to make reservations! Here is a link to their website that offers directions as well as a copy of their menu. Go and have a great time!

Friday, August 31, 2007

"I Can't Believe I Got To Marry Anna!" August 31, 1991

"I can't believe I got to marry Anna!" Those were my thoughts then, and I still have now 16 years later. I stand absolutely amazed at God's grace displayed in my life through the greatest "means of grace" God has ever given to me, my beautiful wife, Anna. Besides the day of my conversion, today I get to celebrate THE most wonderful day of my life, that being when she said, "Yes!" to me! Here are some of the details, that led up to that wonderful day...

On March 30th 1991, after we had been in a courtship for about 6 months (though we were good friends for two years before this) I took Anna out to a restaurant (that neither of us could afford). (I was 19 years old at the time.) It was a beautiful restaurant that had its own acre garden behind it. After our dinner, the sun had already set and we went for a moon lit walk in the garden. Behind its trees and spring flowers, we found pathways that led to ponds, fountains and little gazebos. Having never been there, I was looking for just the right spot to this memorable occasion. As we turned one corner, there it was...a beautiful white bridge crossing over one of their many little ponds. It was a full moon, and beneath us was the sound of not only the rippling waters, but two small swans resting against one another, asleep, softly snoring beneath us. And, by God's grace and for His glory, that evening I asked sweet Anna to be my bride...and then the most wonderful thing happened! She said, "YES!" That evening, for the very first time, I kissed the only woman I have ever kissed, my sweet dear and precious Anna. As we drove home to tell our families, the Lord then graciously provided for us a shooting star that shot across the sky, flaring up, not once, but twice. In that moment, both of us sat there in awed silence thinking, "Thank you Lord! It doesn't get any better than this."

Well, we were does and it has. This morning, as I was drinking my coffee on my back porch, I stood amazed, as I have done many other times, reflecting on our years of marriage together - thinking, "How can it get any better?" But year by year, I find myself almost shocked at how God's grace keeps pouring out is kindness on our little marriage together.

What a blessed man I am! I still can't believe I got to marry Anna! (Check out those glasses!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our Soul As A Watered Garden

In light of this last Sunday's message when we looked at Mary's unashamed adoration of and devotion to Jesus (John 11:47 - 12:11), I wanted to pass on to you a quote from Mr. Spurgeon that speaks of having "one's soul under heavenly cultivation." Enjoy and have a wonderful day adoring our Savior!


Their soul shall be as a watered garden. (Jeremiah 31:12)

Oh, to have one's soul under heavenly cultivation; no longer a wilderness but a garden of the Lord! Enclosed from the waste, walled around by grace, planted by instruction, visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power, one's favored soul is prepared to yield fruit unto the Lord.

But a garden may become parched for want of water, and then all its herbs decline and are ready to die. O my soul, how soon would this be the case were the Lord to leave thee! In the East, a garden without water soon ceases to be a garden at all: nothing can come to perfection, grow, or even live. When irrigation is kept up, the result is charming. Oh, to have one's soul watered by the Holy Spirit uniformly -- every part of the garden having its own stream; plentifully -- a sufficient refreshment coming to every tree and herb, however thirsty by nature it may be; continually -- each hour bringing not only its heat, but its refreshment; wisely -- each plant receiving just what it needs. In a garden you can see by the verdure where the water flows, and you can soon perceive when the Spirit of God comes.

O Lord, water me this day and cause me to yield Thee a full reward for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

ALL MP3 Teaching & Preaching Messages From Sovereign Grace Ministries Are FREE!!!!!!

Hey folks,

Here is a great deal! All the messages that Sovereign Grace Ministries has on its website are now available for FREE on their website! Messages by CJ, Carolyn, Joshua, Bob and many many more! Click here for more details! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Our New Church Building!

God is so very good to us! Come and visit us this Sunday at our new permanent facilities @ 10113 Lenexa Dr. Lenexa, KS. 66215!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

C.J. Mahaney on Conflict

C.J. has a prediction: Conflict is coming your way...soon... Read his exposition of James 4:1-2. This is outstanding and why I so love this man and feel so blessed to be a pastor under the care of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Read, apply, change and enjoy. Take care. -Matthew

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"The Ninety and Nine" A Hymn about The Good Shepherd

In light of this last week's message on Jesus being "The Good Shepherd," my mother forwarded on to me this hymn that my grandfather use to sing. I trust as you read it you will be freshly reminded of our Good Shepherd's goodness and kindness

Words: by Eliz­a­beth C. Cle­phane, 1868.

There were ninety and nine that safely lay

In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die;
Sick and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of Heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”

Oh friends rejoice in the Good Shepherd who brings back His own!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Casting Our Burdens Upon God

The following is an excerpt that was forwarded to me by a dear friend as an encouragement to my own soul. When I read it, it was not only timely in its intellectual comforts that it brought to me, but I found my soul flooded with God's sustaining grace through it. This is from Octavius Winslow's "The Burden Cast Upon God."

"Cast your burden upon the Lord, and
He shall sustain you." Psalm 55:22.

It is by an act of simple, prayerful faith we transfer our cares and anxieties, our sorrows and needs, to the Lord. Jesus invites you come and lean upon Him, and to lean with all your might upon that arm that balances the universe, and upon that bosom that bled for you upon the soldier's spear! But you doubtingly ask, "Is the Lord able to do this thing for me?" And thus, while you are debating a matter about which there is not the shadow of a shade of doubt, the burden is crushing your gentle spirit to the dust. And all the while Jesus stands at your side and lovingly says, "Cast your burden upon Me and I will sustain you. I am God Almighty. I bore the load of your sin and condemnation up the steep of Calvary, and the same power of omnipotence, and the same strength of love that bore it all for you then, is prepared to bear your need and sorrow now. Roll it all upon Me!" "Child of My Love! Lean hard! Let Me feel the pressure of your care. I know your burden, child! I shaped it- I poised it in My own hand and made no proportion of its weight to your unaided strength. For even as I laid it on, I said I shall be near, and while she leans on Me, this burden shall be Mine, not hers. So shall I keep My child within the circling arms of My own love. Here lay it down! Do not fear to impose it on a shoulder which upholds the government of worlds! Yet closer come! You are not near enough! I would embrace your burden, so I might feel My child reposing on My breast. You love Me! I know it. Doubt not, then. But, loving me, lean hard!"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Grace Motivated Giving - Matthew 20:28

This last Father's day I preached a message based on Matthew 20:20-28, entitled, "Becoming Men of Biblical Greatness." In that message the last point was "Biblical Greatness is found in men who sacrifice." In each point, though there was a directive for us to apply in pursuing what Scripture calls truly great, there was also a point for worship, in that each point was also an opportunity to worship Christ, because He and He alone is the One Who is eternally so Truly Great. Using that passage as a spring board, I would like to do a series of blog entries on why we "give" whether it be our finances, time or talents to the building of the local church.

Being a pastor, I am often times the recipient of a host of emails and direct-mail advertising by
"church marketing" firms that claim that if we use their services, etc. then we can really do "great things" for God's kingdom. Several years ago, I received one advertisement almost (almost is the key word) claiming that if we used their bulletins then people would be coming back again and again to our church, and that it would grow exponentially. "Wow" I thought, "I never thought about building a church on the style of the bulletin." There are many other "church marketing" groups out there seem to promote a variety strategies to pastors to help make their church grow numerically or to give more, etc. As a pastor reading such material and the thought of actually employing such methods to motivate (or manipulate) God's people to give financially makes one's stomach turn.

As we come to Matthew 20:28, we see a motivation to give and live self-sacrificial lives that are not motivated by compulsion, nor by human manipulation, but instead are motivated by and rooted in the grace of the Gospel, from the very Nature and Heart of God, that produces true, worshipful, grateful, gracious and joyful hearts.

That passage states, "even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Here in this passage, we are shown not only the uniqueness of our precious Savior, but we are also given an example to follow. I say, an example to follow, because in this context, Jesus is contrasting the disciples desire for a type of "worldly" greatness (using the Gentile rulers manipulation and lording of authority over the people they are to lead), and then saying to them, "It is not to be so among yourselves" and then points them to Himself in verse 28.

Here we see that the very notion of giving our lives away for the cause of Christ, is not motivated by "successful stories" by others who have done this and then come out on top. Nor, was it because of some natural wisdom or antidote that someone acquired through their own life experience, saying that sacrifice for good or moral causes is a good thing to do. No. The reason why the "Christian" life is to be a life of sacrifice for Christ, is because this is Who God Himself is.

The goal of the Christian life is that we will be made like Him. And one by, by Grace Alone, we will be made like Him, we will be transformed into His image. And one of the characteristics of this God Who saved us, is that He, Himself is a "Self-Sacrificing, Generous God." This is the God Who has GIVEN TO US. We who deserve His just wrath and judgement, He instead, gave us what we didn't deserve and that was grace, which was purchased through the GIVING of His one and only Son for us.

John 3:16 For God so loves the world that He gave His Son
Matthew 6:11 He gives us our daily bread
Luke 11:13 He gave us the Holy Spirit
Luke 12:32 He gladly gives us His Kingdom
Matthew 7:10 He gives us good gifts

We give our lives for Christ...why? Is it because we heard a good motivational speaker who shared a lot of great anecdotal stories? No. We give because we worship God. We give because we adore Him and desire Him. We give our lives because this is the very nature of the God who so graciously "gave His life as a random for many." In light of what we have truly earned through our own sinfulness, aren't you glad the Father gave the Son? Aren't you glad that the Son, in submission and love for the Father, He gave His life as a ransom for you?

How and why do we give? Is it out of a sense of manipulation or out of a sense of legalism? No, we give of our time, finances and talents, because this is a reflection of our redemption. This is a reflection of the gospel itself. This is a reflection of the very God we serve. Our lives are no longer our own, we were bought with a price! We are His! And we give of our lives not grumbling or complaining, but instead out of joy that is motivated by the Gospel. As Hebrews 12:2 shows us the root of where our motivation is to come from by pointing us to the glad, generous sacrifice of our Savior,

"Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

We give so in true, free grace motivated joy! And so in closing to this blog entry, I want to end by just commending the people of Providence Community Church. You excel in this! You excel not just in the grace of giving (time, possessions, finances and resources), but you excel in your keeping of the gospel central to your motivations. The Gospel is to be central to all of our motivations and especially so in how we give our lives in service to one another as unto the Lord in gladness! This you do so, so very, very well. You are a joy to lead! Take care...and have a great day giving yourself increasingly so to the God Who gave Himself to us.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shifting Our Focus From Ourselves To Our Savior

Because of my pride, I spend far too much time contemplating myself (my desires, my opinions, my thoughts, etc.) and never enough time contemplating my Savior's work and grace. I am so very thankful for men like Mr. Jerry Bridges, C.J. Mahaney and of course Mr. Spurgeon himself who call us to "Preach the Gospel To Ourselves Everyday!" ((Because we, I need it!!)) What a necessary daily journey it is for us to take! It is a difficult road, but a necessary one - from ourselves to Our Savior.

I received this quote by Charles Spurgeon this week from a great friend. Listen to these words of Mr. Spurgeon as takes us from ourselves to our beautiful Savior! Enjoy!

"It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.

But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee."

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What Forgiveness Is NOT!

As we walk in relationship with one another, because of the presence and nature of indwelling sin, there will forever be conflict and the need to both be forgiven and to freely forgive. But then questions arise - like, "But do I have to in this circumstance or that circumstance?" Or, "what does it truly look like to forgive?" In this posting, I wanted to copy a portion of an outstanding book, "The Peacemaker" by Ken Sande, on this topic. I would highly recommend this book to you! If you are in a conflict, get this book...if you are not presently in a conflict...hurry up and get this book, because you soon will. Enjoy...

"What Forgiveness is Not"

To understand what forgiveness is, we must first see what it is not. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is an act of the will. Forgiveness involves a series of decisions, the first of which is to call on God to change our hearts. As he gives us grace, we must then decide (with our will) not to think or talk about what someone has done to hurt us. God calls us to make these decisions regardless of our feelings--but these decisions can lead to remarkable changes in our feelings.

Second, forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgetting is a passive process in which a matter fades from memory merely with the passing of time. Forgiving is an active process; it involves a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action. To put it another way, when God says that he "remembers your sins no more" (Isa. 43:25), he is not saying that he cannot remember our sins. Rather, he is promising that he will not remember them. When he forgives us, he chooses not to mention, recount, or think about our sins ever again. Similarly, when we forgive, we must draw on God's grace and consciously decide not to think or talk about what others have done to hurt us. This may require a lot of effort, especially when an offense is still fresh in mind. Fortunately, when we decide to forgive someone and stop dwelling on an offense, painful memories usually begin to fade.

Finally, forgiveness is not excusing. Excusing says, "That's okay," and implies, "What you did wasn't really wrong," or "You couldn't help it." Forgiveness is the opposite of excusing. The very fact that forgiveness is needed and granted indicates that what someone did was wrong and inexcusable. Forgiveness says, "We both know that what you did was wrong and without excuse. But since God has forgiven me, I forgive you." Because forgiveness deals honestly with sin, it brings a freedom that no amount of excusing could ever hope to provide.

((Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 206-207))

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

J.C. Ryle on the Sufficiency of Preaching Christ & Him Crucified

Hey folks, I know it has been a bit since my last posting, but this week someone passed on this quote to me, from Mr. J.C. Ryle that is not only very encouraging, but one that, if taken to heart causes one to rest in the simple, pure and yet eternally profound message of the Cross. May we grow in simply loving our Redeemer!

"Let us never doubt for a moment, that the preaching of
Christ crucified--the old story of His blood, and righteousness, and substitution--is enough for all the spiritual necessities of all mankind. It is not worn out. It is not obsolete. It has not lost its power. We need nothing new--nothing more broad and kind--nothing more intellectual--nothing more effectual. We need nothing but the true bread
of life, distributed faithfully among starving souls. Let men sneer or ridicule as they will. Nothing else can do good in this sinful world. No other teaching can fill hungry consciences, and give them peace. We are all in a wilderness. We must
feed on Christ crucified, and the atonement made by His death, or we shall die in our sins." -J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Chosen For Life" by Sam Storms

Oftentimes I am asked, "What are you reading?" Well, I wanted to start a new "category" of blog entries on that.

Right now, one of the books I am presently reading is Dr. Sam Storms' book, "Chosen For Life." Friends, this is an outstanding introductory book on the controversial topic of election and predestination. If this topic is new to you, you need to read this book! If you feel like you know a lot about this topic and are firm in your convictions about still need to read this book! There are many things that are impressive about it, but here are just a few:

1. Dr. Storms, does not set up "straw men" of Arminianism and then knock them down. He deals honestly and respectfully with the many nuanences that Arminian thinkers believe.

2. His demeanor is not only commendable and an example to follow, but necessary when dealing with this subject. He deals with those who hold an Arminian postion respectfully and pastorally, while unapologetically cherishing God's sovereign grace in election. As a pastor, I have looked for several years to find a book on election that would respectfully and humbly explain this topic for someone who is new to it...this is that book!

3. It is sound biblically and it will drive you back into the text of Holy Scripture, causing one to love God's word more deeply.

Listen to some of these endorsements:

"This extraordianarily clear and courteous book makes its case without stooping to caricature...It is a fine model of exactly how theological disagreements should be resolved: with respectful listening, careful distinctions, historical awareness, deep reverence for Scripture, and patient exegesis." - D.A. Carson

"This new edition of Chosen for Life has everything one could want on the topic of election. Those who agree will be heartily encouraged; those who disagree will be respectfully challenged; the hearts of all will marvel at the glorious grace of God in the gospel." - C. J. Mahaney

Highly recommend it! It will be on our resource table soon!

Friday, April 6, 2007

C.J. Mahaney & John MacArthur on the Basketball Court

Well folks...I thought you might enjoy this. Many folks thought they would never see C.J. and MacArthur on the same platform speaking...but now we have proof of them playing basketball together. How refreshing to see these men not only in their humble pursuit of Gospel purity and rallying other men around it, but also their genuine friendship and affection they have for one another. Start here at Joshua Harris' blog and then follow the links... And being the great athelete that I am I also appreciated this as well...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Living Out Matthew 18

Having Conflict? I can't recommend more highly to you the material from our friends at Peacemaker Ministries! Ken Sande's book, The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide To Resolving Conflict, is outstanding. We have gone through this book a couple of times in our Care Groups, and I was just reviewing it again this last week and found myself freshly reminded of God's grace in the midst of conflict. Below is a "clip" from the Peacemaker book. As you read this blog, I would encourage you to have your Bible open to Matthew 18 to follow along.
For more information about Peacemaker Ministries log on to:

((Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflictby Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 144.))

Living out Matthew 18

When Christians think about talking to someone else about a conflict, one of the first verses that comes to mind is Matthew 18:15: "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you." If this verse is read in isolation, it seems to teach that we must always use direct confrontation to force others to admit they have sinned. If the verse is read in context, however, we see that Jesus had something much more flexible and beneficial in mind than simply standing toe to toe with others and describing their sins.

Just before this passage, we find Jesus' wonderful metaphor of a loving shepherd who goes to look for a wandering sheep and then rejoices when it is found (Matt. 18:12-14). Thus, Matthew 18:15 is introduced with a theme of restoration, not condemnation. Jesus repeats this theme just after telling us to "go and show him his fault" by adding, "If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." And then he hits the restoration theme a third time in verses 21-35, where he uses the parable of the unmerciful servant to remind us to be as merciful and forgiving to others as God is to us (Matt. 18:21-35).

Food for Thought
Jesus is clearly calling for something much more loving and redemptive than simply confronting others with a list of their wrongs. He wants us to remember and imitate his shepherd love for us--seeking after others, helping them turn from sin, and helping them be restored to God and those they have offended. Have you ever heard others in a conflict say, "We followed the Matthew 18 process"? Have you said it yourself? Read all of Matthew 18 and ask the Lord to give you the heart of a shepherd who seeks and gently restores the lost sheep.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"The Secret" and The Glory Of God

Because of much of the hype concerning the New York Times Bestseller "The Secret," I wanted to forward on to you this excellent blog entry by Dr. Mohler as he diagnoses this particular book, along with Dr. Donald Whitney. It is a very thorough and thoughtful book review, that takes the claims of this book and sheds the light of the Cross upon it. I wanted to forward this review on to you 1) because of the book's great popularity and 2) because of how Dr. Mohler speaks of these very popular cultural ideas so that you might be able to engage others with The Truth, that is no secret! Enjoy.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Father Of A Flourishing Family - Psalm 128:1-4

Below is a an excerpt from a journal that I receive from time to time that is for pastors, called the "Kairos Journal." I found this both greatly convicting and helpful as I myself as a father and a husband am seeking to grow in these precious roles and responsibilities that the Lord has given to me. I trust you will not only be provoked, but served as you read this passage of Scripture, meditate on it, and then read the commentary that follows it. Take care. -MH


The Secret of a Flourishing Family

Psalm 128:1-4: "Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD."

In Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, Michael Henchard committed one of the most despicable deeds possible: while drunk, he sold his wife and daughter for a few pounds. In one merciless act, he cut off the very people the Lord intended to be a man’s blessing, his family. Not surprisingly, Henchard reaped a reward of loneliness and sorrow. Obviously, this was not God’s plan.

Psalm 128 presents God’s intention for the family. It is a song of ascents sung as the Israelites made their way to worship and offer sacrifices at the temple. It would not have been uncommon for entire families to journey together and for the women and children to stand behind the father, the representative of the home, as the priest made atonement for their sin. Such a trip was the perfect time for a husband and father to be reminded that God delights in blessing the man whose heart belongs to the Lord.

The blessed man of verse one is a holy man, intent on submitting to God by following His Law. Verse two indicates that he is a man who works and whose labor is not in vain. Indeed, he is productive (an important reminder that hard work and blessings go hand in hand). In verse three, the Hebrew man is told that holiness makes family life wonderful.

A wife and children are part of God’s plan for the righteous man’s life. Unlike the adulteress of Proverbs 7:11, who “is loud and wayward,” whose “feet do not stay at home,” his wife is “a fruitful vine within your house.” She is both productive and faithful. As “a fruitful vine,” she brings forth children who are “like olive shoots at [the] table.” Husband and wife fill a home; they build a community.

Of course, there is no perfect family. The Hebrew men knew this. After all, they were going to the temple to offer sacrifices for their sin—singing these words reminded them that they missed God’s mark and needed His forgiveness. The same is true today. No man always walks in the ways of the Lord. Marriage is not constantly a celebration. Sometimes, children seem more like thorns than olive shoots.

Nonetheless, the Church needs thoughtful men willing to contemplate Psalm 128 and recognize their own faults. If their wives are wayward or if their children are unruly, husbands and fathers should first look at their own hearts and ask themselves the questions: “Am I fearing the Lord, am I walking in His ways?” Personal holiness is never merely personal—like a pebble thrown into a pond, a man’s character ripples into the lives of others—especially those closest to him. The well-being of a man’s family is yet one more reason for him to fear the Lord.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sickness Sanctified To The Saint, part 4

Ok, for those of you who might be "sick" of these blogs about sickness...this one is for you. Though there is much more that can be said on this topic (and I might say more at a later date), I wanted to share with you the words of the Puritan pastor, Mr. Lewis Bayly again, but this time on what do when you are well. I, personally found this to be very helpful, because all too often, when I am sick, I will find myself crying out to God, but then when I am fully recovered, I find my heart once again directed back at myself again.

"Meditations For One That Is Recovered From Sickness" - Lewis Bayly

"If God has of his mercy heard thy prayers, and restored thee to thy health again, consider with thyself:

1. That thou hast now received from God, as it were, another life. Spend it therefore to the honor of God, in newness of life. Let thy sin die with thy sickness; but live thou by grace to holiness.

2. Be not more secure, that thou art restored to health, neither exult in thyself, that thou escaped death; but rather think, that God seeing how unprepared thou wast, hath of his mercy heard thy prayer, spared thee, and given thee some little longer time of respite; that thou mayest both amend thy life, and put thyself in a better readiness against the time that he shall call for thee, without further delay, out of this world. For though thou hast escaped this, it may be, thou shalt not escape the next sickness.

3. [Hold fast to Christ because] thou knowest not how near [the end] is at hand [for you]. [Use this sickness and] be so fairly warned, be wiser.

4. [If sin was the cause of your sickness...] Return not now, with the dog, to thine own vomit, nor like the washed sow, to wallow again in the mire of they former sins and uncleanness; lest being entangled and overcome again with the filthiness of sin, which thou has escape, [and] thy latter end prove worse than the first beginning. Twice, does our Lord give the same cautionary warning to healed sinners, First, to the man cured of thirty-eight years' disease - "Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing fall upon thee." Secondly, to the woman taken in adultery - "Neither do I condemn thee; go thy way and sin no more." Teaching us, how dangerous a thing it is to relapse and fall again into the former excess of roit. Take heed, therefore, unto thy ways, and pray for grace, that thou mayest appy thy heart unto wisdom, during that small number of days which yet remain behind; and for thy present mercy and health recieved, imitate the thankful leper, and return to God in thanksgiving."

Now, with Mr. Bayly's words, I would like to add another meditation for when you recover:

5. Let your former fervor and crying out to God be your present fervor and desire. I would encourage you to think about your desparation in times of sickness and pain and how you were crying out to God then...use that, as a living parable for how desparately we always need His active saving presence in our lives. Let this preach to yourself of how greatly we need Christ in doing battle against the "cancer" of our souls - sin. As you laid down in your sickness hating the illness that came over you, let that preach to you of the distain we are to have, and need to have for our present levels of tempting sins.

6. Give yourself sometime of thanking God for your healing. Make this an active aspect of your worship and meditation to God, thinking upon His goodness.

7. Testify to others what God has done! This takes humility on our parts as well, which is good for our souls, to stop and engage with others concerning what God Himself in His undeserving kindness and mercies has done for you!

I am sure there are many more, but *cough* *cough* until next time.