Zealous of Good Works

faithworksTitus 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

I notice two things in this passage:

  1. We’re to be a peculiar people. When the world looks at us, there should be a difference – in spirit, in charity, in demeanor, in “conversation”. If we continually seek the things of the world, and there is no difference, why would the world want what we have, when we show that we really want what they have?
  2. We’re to be zealous of good works. Earlier in the chapter, Paul says to show forth a “pattern of good works”. Our greatest Example, Jesus Christ, “went about doing good”. Might our lives be characterized by a zeal to do good works, for the Lord and in service to Him, and unto others.

As we see here – He’s coming, and His coming is imminent. When He comes, let Him find us “so doing”.

Not Self-willed

helping-handTitus 1:6-8 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

The qualification that speaks to me this morning is that of not being “self-willed”. An honest assessment of all of our lives shows that we are all prone to cater to ourselves. Yet, an effective minister will soon realize that for an impactful ministry, he must be willing to set aside his will for the sake of others.

Some might say I’m a schedule Nazi. I’ve set a schedule and reminders for everything – from family alter, to a cat nap at lunch, to reminding the boys to take the trash out at 7:45 every Thursday, and pretty much everything else. But here’s the kicker – I can’t schedule when a couple in my class is going through marriage problems. I can’t schedule when a former addict asks to go out to coffee to talk about his struggles. I can’t schedule when a teen has admitted to or been caught in sin, and his parents ask me to talk to him. That’s not how the ministry works. And as much as we try to organize (set in order), preach, and lead, there will be times where we must set aside our schedule, planner, task list, and plans.

A study of the great men in the Bible (Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Paul, and many others) shows that they allowed their plans and their wills to become secondary to God’s, and to those He had called them to serve. My prayer is that I’d do the same today.

You’re Kidding


Just reminiscing and thanking God for the vision, while praying He’d keep it going in our church, and around the world. Below are a few sermons by Pastor E, casting God’s vision for missions here at PBC.

Missions Emphasis 2010, Pastor Esposito – https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5uaN7jCWZI8Q05DNEY0WU5WU2s

Missions Survey Trip Presentation, Pastor Esposito – https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5uaN7jCWZI8NXVWdG1yRTV4RG8



lwjas04392 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 

I’m not one for trendy hashtags and popular jargon, but the title is fitting as we look at today’s passage. Here we see an older preacher giving instruction to his son in the faith, who is now a young preacher himself. Paul gives Timothy instruction, encouragement, advice, and warnings.

It is verses six through seven that stick out to me this morning. The word that I notice more than any other is the word, “ready”. In these verses, Paul gives a powerful testimony of his own state of being. He’s close to the end of his life, and he knows it. Yet he says “I am now ready to be offered”. Here is a man who, at the end of his life, is ready to die. Paul is ready to face Jesus Christ. Could there not be a better goal to strive for?

Might I live my life in such a way that, when it’s my time to go, I’ve prayed, sacrificed, witnessed, given, passed my faith on, and I’m ready. Is this how we’re living today?

Insight from an Atheist

image_christian_atheistChallenging words here. Found on a “tract” from an atheist, CT Studd came across the words below in his early adult years. It challenged him to live as if he believed what he said he believed. CT Studd ended up giving up a lucrative career to become a missionary to China. Do we live like we believe what we say we believe?

“If I firmly believed—as millions say they do—that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences the destiny in another, then religion would mean absolutely everything to me. 

I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. 

Religion would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. 

I should labor in its cause alone.  I would take thought for the morrow of eternity alone.  I would see one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering.”

An Atheist.


ranger-sniper-photo2 Timothy 2:3-4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Entangled: to become twisted together with or caught in. The Christian life is likened to many things. We’re reminded that our life is a vapor (James 4). It’s like a marathon (Hebrews 12). We’re likened to branches, that are to abide in the vine (John 15). But here, this life is compared to a war, and we are the soldiers that have been chosen for the war. The Bible says that if we’re to please HIM Who has chosen us to be soldiers for His cause, we must not entangle ourselves in the affairs of this life.

A soldier on the battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan cannot be entangled in civilian affairs on the ground if he’s to fight well. Likewise we, as soldiers in this spiritual warfare, must not get caught up in the affairs of this life if we’re to fight successfully. Too many have fallen by the wayside because they’ve entangled themselves in the affairs of this life. How many times have we seen careers, the pursuit of money, seeking to acquire or pay off a car, or even a home, entangle God’s people to the point that they no longer “war a good warfare”. They no longer “please Him Who has chosen them to be soldiers”.

This morning I’m reminded that this world is not my home. I’m living for another one. And I must not get caught up/entangled in the things of this life if I’m to please the Lord. Let us fight the good fight of faith, with our eyes and affections set on things above, not on things on the earth.

Purged by the Father.

obrezka-vinograda-1John 15:1-8 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 

John 15 is one of the passages that is easier to preach than it is to live. However, it is vital to successful Christian living. Jesus and the Father desire that we be fruitful, Christ-abiding Christians. But as with everything that is worth something (discipleship, godly children, etc.), it doesn’t come without a cost. We must possess a willingness to go through two types of pruning if we’re to be “much fruit” bearing Christians.

Purging (pruning) by the Father – As with a rose bush, grape vine, or tree that will be thriving and fruitful, we must be willing to be pruned if we are going to be the fruitful Christians He desires us to be. We realize, however, that the pruning process isn’t a fun one. The farming in Jesus’ day (to which He was referring) teaches us that there are two kinds of pruning the farmer applied to the grapes. We’d do well to take note, as they apply to our lives so well:

  • Spring Pruning – The first pruning took place in the spring, before fruit bearing and harvest time. This was known as the “cleansing” part of the pruning process. This was the time where the husbandman came and got rid of anything that would harm, suck at, or take away from, the branches’ ability to bear good fruit. Twigs that latched on, but served no purpose were taken away. Insects and harmful leech plants were cut off. Even leaves and parts that were attached to the plant would be cut if they would take away from it’s ability to bear the right fruit. This reminds me of us when we begin to grow as a Christian. The husbandman (the Father) comes by and begins to cut off, or prune, things in our life that would harm our ability to be fruitful. Maybe it’s the wrong kind of music, or friends, or sin that’s harmful. Maybe it’s worldly desires or friends, or a temporal value system. The point of Spring pruning is that if we’re to be fruitful in our lives, we must be willing to allow the Lord to prune those things that would hinder our fruitfulness, no matter what they are or what the pruning process feels like. It’s worth it to be fruitful.
  • Fall Pruning – The second season of pruning is totally different. This is another level of pruning. By this time, the cleansing has taken place. By this time, the fruit has grown, and even been picked and harvested. By this time, the branches have been fruitful. Oh, but the husbandman isn’t done with the vine, or with the branches. We see that the husbandman wants what’s best for us, and what’s best for the harvest. So He’s willing to come and purge even what has been a fruitful branch. At this pruning, he prunes the actual branches that had been fruitful, that they might bear “more fruit”. These things aren’t bad, but they’re necessary for “more fruit” to come the next season. This reminds me of Christians who have been willing to remove many things that would be harmful. They’ve begun to be fruitful. They’ve pleased the husbandman. But then the husbandman comes by with the pruners, once again, with a proposition, “do you want to bear ‘much fruit?'” And if allowed, he begins a different kind of pruning. This pruning produces patience. This pruning produces wisdom. This pruning produces godliness. This pruning often produces a manifestation of God’s grace not before experienced by this “branch”. This pruning is sometimes more painful. It doesn’t cut off sinful things, so to say, but is a removal of anything in our lives that would hinder us from being a “much fruit” type of Christian. This pruning may bring sorrow, at times. If may (most of the time does) require sacrifice. It may require my “decreasing” so He could increase.

The eternal fruit that is born is worth it all the pruning we can go through. Experiencing God’s grace is worth it. Sending treasures ahead is worth it. Seeing the difference it makes in the lives of others is worth it. When the Father brings His shears our way, let’s willingly and patiently accept the pruning process, whether Spring pruning or Fall pruning, that we might bear much fruit, and that our fruit might remain.


Godly Exercise > Bodily Exercise

www.usnews.com1 Timothy 4:7-8 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Our society places high value on bodily exercise. Gyms are full. There is no short supply of gym memberships. People get up at ungodly hours of the morning to lift weights, workout, do their “cardio”, get toned, or get in shape. But according to Paul, bodily exercise profiteth little.

Now, I don’t think Paul was discouraging staying in shape, or getting some exercise for health’s sake. But I do believe he is discouraging getting up before dawn to workout, and then rushing into the day without spending time with God. Because exercising godliness > bodily exercise.

I wonder how our churches, yea, our world, would look, if we all placed as much emphasis on exercising ourselves “rather unto godliness” as we do on our bodies. What if we got up early, had a plan, “labored” in the Bible, toiled for souls, desired the “protein” of the Word, as so many do in their bodily exercise? Let’s take an honest assessment, and seek to exercise ourselves unto godliness. For this is “profitable unto all things”.

Behave thyself in the house of God

1 Timothy 3:14-15 “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: [15] But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

The pastoral and church epistles are great reminders that there is a standard of conduct when it comes to the house of God. We understand that in a soul winning church, there will be new people who need “nursing, cherishing, gentleness” (1 Thess). But there must come a time – especially for the church leadership and those with influence, when we behave ourselves as the Lord would have us to in His house.

We would do well to study God’s Word, and ask if we measure up to His standard of “behavior” at church. Below are a couple questions from this morning’s reading:

  1. Am I blameless?
  2. Am I “grave” – do I possess a seriousness about the things of God and work of God?
  3. Am I greedy for money? Or are my affections set on things above?
  4. Am I ruling well my own self and my own house? How do my children behave? How is my wife’s example to others in the church, in spirituality? In modesty? In godliness?
  5. Am I spiritually mature? Or am I still a novice?
  6. Am I a “striker” – do I run to a fight, or seek to diffuse it? The Bible says “no striker, not slanderers, not a brawler, etc”
  7. Am I vigilant? The enemy is real. We MUST be vigilant to what devices he might bring into my life, my family, or our church.
  8. Do I have a pure conscience, or are there things that I do that violate it?
  9. Am I bold with my faith, both in the church and out of it?

There is a code of conduct in God’s house. How are we measuring up? Might we seek to live out God’s code in His house – especially those of us who are examples to the believers!

Spiritual Men, Modest Women

304c2d71c5a197564b7b7b527fc3e0dd1 Timothy 2:8-9
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

What if the modesty of the ladies reflected the spirituality of the men? How would our churches look? Paul addressed two timeless principles that were just as relevant 2,000 years ago as they are today: the need for spiritual men, and modest women.

First, let’s look at what Paul says about the men. Generally, when we hear a preacher begin to quote 1 Timothy 2:8-9 (or, generally, vs 9), we’re quick to let out a hearty “amen!”. However, when we realize how verses 8 and 9 are interconnected, we’d do well to take an honest assessment of our condition first. Paul first begins by exhorting the men to “pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”. We could pull this verse apart and get a lot of principles that are needed among men. But to put it in a nutshell, Paul “wills” (desires, asks, hopes that, exhorts) men to be spiritual men.A Man praying holding a Holy Bible. For, when we get to verse 9, we see that the exhortation to the ladies is to be done “likewise”, or, after the manner of, the prayer and spirituality exemplified by the men. For myself as a man, I’m reminded of the importance of my prayer life, and my example of spirituality in private, as well as in the church. Further, when I’m the Christian I ought to be, I’ll then have the discernment to help my wife and daughters to be the modest ladies the Lord desires, as well as the have ability to teach the ladies under my influence to do likewise.

Of course, we do then come to verse 9, which is addressed to the ladies. I believe there is an all-out assault on biblical modesty in our churches. The church used to be a place where we came and had an oasis from the sensuality and indecency of the worldly ladies’ dress. But unfortunately, every Sunday, and even among the faithful, that has changed. What used to be unacceptable in the public square is now common in the house of God. As Paul says, “brethren, (or “sisteren”) these things ought not so to be”. I’m just being honest – during a church service recently I opened my iPad commentary, and my Bible. And instead of watching pastor preach, I had to focus on something else, because right in front of me was immodesty that, though I tried, continually drew my eyes in. “Brethren, these things ought not so to be”.

In this age where sensuality and ungodliness assaults our senses daily, might there be a place of refuge – a place where godly, modest ladies, and prayerful, spiritual men gather, worship, and seek to please the Lord. Might the men For it’s when we’re right in the church, that we can effectively go out as lights in a dark world that desperately needs us.