Archive for June, 2010

Jun 30

How We “Examine” Ourselves in Communion

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Lord's Supper,Quote

Tonight (6:30 PM) we meet for the Lord’s Supper. It is a mingling of song, Scripture, and symbol for the purpose of remembrance. We hope you plan to come.

But what if you had a bad week spiritually? Should you still come, knowing that examination is part of Supper? John Piper answers that question well.

Can I take the Lord’s Supper if I’ve had a bad week spiritually?

It depends on the transaction of the moment, not the quality of the week gone by.

Nobody brings a successful week to the Lord’s Table, period. Nobody. We all call into question—and rightly—the effectiveness of our devotions or the quality of our communication with our kids. It’s never been perfect. Therefore, we bring to the table our sin.

That’s the point of the table. It is a recognition of our sin.

However, what you do in preparation—when you take stock of yourself—is that you confess all known sin. You do Psalm 19: “Cleanse me of hidden faults, and hold back your servant from presumptuous sins.”

So you pray specific confession for the sins you know, you pray general confession for the sins you’re unaware of, and you receive afresh the cleansing, the application of the blood of Christ (1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”).

Now, after you’ve appropriated afresh the work of Christ and are enjoying that forgiveness, you eat. And you eat worthily, not because you had a good week, but because you have a great Savior and are united with him by faith and are renouncing all those sins.

That’s what I encourage our people to do. “Set it right with God now, in these next three minutes.” And then as the trays come we celebrate that, we remember the foundation of that forgiveness, by eating.

Jun 27

Best Introduction to B. B. Warfield

2010 | by Parker Landis | Category: Gospel

Dr. Fred Zaspel, who is teaching at DSC this weekend, is an expert on B. B. Warfield, the greatest theologian in the English-speaking world in the last century.  In a special session with the staff, elders, and deacons yesterday, Fred mentioned that the best place to start reading B. B. Warfield’s work is his book, Faith and Life, which is a collection of some of his sermons.  If you’ve never read anything from Warfield before, this is a great book and its easy to just pick out a sermon or two to read.  You can even download the whole book for free at Google books here or purchase it here.

Jun 25

Zaspel on How We Come to Believe

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Quote,Recommended Link,This Sunday

In view of our Sunday evening talk and Q&A with Fred Zaspel on Romans 9, let me point you to an article Fred wrote on a similar passage — John 1:11-13.

He came to his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

What does it mean to be born of God? How do we come to receive Him? Fred answers these and other similar questions in a methodical, progressive, and clear way. His conclusion is:

To believe in Christ unto salvation requires much more than anything human life can produce. It is not a matter of ridding ourselves of our worst habits. It is not a matter of moral improvement. It requires such a drastic, such a thorough-going transformation that it cannot be brought about by anything we do or will. It is not a matter of human excellence; it is a matter of divine grace.

And so the Biblical writers are careful to tell us not only that “it is not of him that wills or of him that runs,” but also that “it is of God who shows mercy” (Rom. 9:16). They tell us not only that we must believe, but that “God works within us both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). They tell us not only that we cannot do anything to birth ourselves into God’s family but also that God in Christ and by His Spirit does for us what we would not and could not do ourselves. They tell us that those who savingly confess Christ do so only “by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). True confession of faith in Christ is something that is entirely beyond us until we are so enabled by God the Spirit.

In other words, all this comes down to that one big word which we find everywhere in the Bible, and that word is grace. Salvation comes to us entirely from God’s side. “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). It is His doing for us not because of us or even with us. It is His doing for us and in us. It is all a work of His grace; it all stems from His loving kindness.

Read the whole article to see how he comes to these conclusions from the passage itself. Some great, helpful, grace-glorifying stuff!

And we hope to see you Sunday. Fred will be preaching from Job in our Sunday AM services and, again, on Romans 9 that evening.

Jun 18

Z on Community

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Community,Quote

Zach has a great post today on the “Blessing and Ache of Living in Community”:

We have been “homeless” since April 30th.  Dear friends in Albuquerque and Madison have been gracious enough to allow the three ring Nielsen family circus to invade their homes for weeks at a time while we wait for our move in date of July 1st to arrive.  We are living in true community with those who love us.  For this we are endlessly thankful.

This has got me thinking a lot about church community and what it means to live with each other.  Middle class Americans have a hard time doing community.  Part of this is due to technology (FB and Twitter allow me to have “friends”), part of this is due to wealth (we don’t need to depend on anyone else), and part of this is due to the general ethos of Americanism which trumpets the value of “I did it myself!” and “you don’t have a right to tell me what to do!”.

Aside from these cultural influences, living in community with other people is just plain hard.  It exposes our selfishness.  Living alone is easy. You only have to look out for number one.  Relationships are a dance where you have to learn to move and bend with the preferences of those around you.  Being selfish is easy but God said “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18).

Living intentionally with others in community is a blessing but also comes with an acute ache.  Why?  Because our flesh only goes down swinging and the punches of our flesh hurt bad.  Who likes to have their selfishness assaulted?  But that is exactly what we need and therein lies the blessing.  Any means by which I can learn to be less selfish will always, in the end, bless me. Take the punches from the flesh, endure in the fight, and the blessing of your personal sanctification will be more than worth the battle.

Unless our churches can learn to embrace the messiness of community we’ll never grow together into the beautiful body of Christ that Jesus wants us to be.

Pray for this sweet, courageous, church-planting family. May their tribe increase!

Jun 13

An Evening Soaking in Romans 9

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Recommended Link,Sermons

A good friend of mine, Dr. Fred Zaspel, will be at DSC Sunday, June 27th. In addition to preaching in both of our morning services, Fred will give a special talk at 6:00 PM that evening — “Romans 9: Hard to Understand or Hard to Believe?” This will be followed by an open Q&A on the passage and its teaching. I’ve heard Fred preach this passage and answer questions on related doctrines, and I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed.

Childcare is available for five-years-olds and younger. Just email Terry Ash if you plan on taking advantage of that.

Let me say a little more about Fred and how I know him. He has invested hours in me personally over the last dozen years. He has sent me a lot of books, articles, pep-talk emails, and spent probably hundreds of hours on the phone helping me with this or that pastoral dilemma. For all practical purposes, he’s really been a long-distance Paul to this Timothy. In addition to his pastoral and writing ministries, Fred directs the theology and biblical studies curriculum for To Every Tribe missions. He recently completed his PhD dissertation on B.B. Warfield, which is to be published by Crossway later this year. It will certainly be the most thorough and authoritative work on one of the most important American theologians. On a slightly lower shelf of reading, he also co-authored (with Tom Wells) New Covenant Theology. Even more accessible, dozens, or even hundreds, of Fred’s sermons and articles are online at And, Lord willing, we’ll be posting some of those articles over the next couple weeks.

So, all that to say, we hope you’ll be looking forward to June 27th, and planning on coming that Sunday PM to soak in Romans 9. Maybe even invite a friend from another church to come with you!