Love for the World

I was humbled and grateful to get to share a message with my church, Sovereign Grace Church of Orange County, this past Sunday! The subject was “Love for the World” and I chose 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 as my text. If you’d like to have a listen, you can hear or download from our webpage by clicking here.

Also, The Gospel for OC has just posted the first of a two-part series I’ve written on being saved from God by God. You can read the first installment here and be looking for the second to show up soon!

For His glory and fame,
Dustin

4 Reasons The Gathering Conference Has Me Rejoicing

The Gathering Conference

It’s difficult to explain how wonderful The Gathering Conference was this past Saturday. I’m going to give it a quick attempt, knowing that I won’t do it justice. If you did attend, I hope these few observations encourage you and help to memorialize the great things God accomplished in your heart at the conference. If you could not make it, then I pray that you’ll be encouraged and strengthened by these few reflections offered here.

1. The Sinless Savior Died and Rose Again

The greatest reason to sing and rejoice is the glorious gospel of God’s grace. The controlling aim of The Gathering Conference was to renew our pleasure in the good news of all that Christ has done for us.  This was accomplished in the singing, teaching, seminars, and fellowship. The Gathering Conference has me rejoicing because my heart cried out, over and over again, with hundreds of other saints: “Hallelujah, all I have is Christ!”

2. God is at Work in Southern CA

The conference actually sold out the week leading up to it. This was a surprise since it was hosted by a church made up of just under 100 people. The place was packed! Around 575 people, representing over 80 local churches attended. These people were hungry to hear Bob Kauflin explain how the gospel shapes our meetings and to engage in corporate worship with hundreds of other Southern Californians who see the gospel as the centerpiece of their entire existence. We must take a moment to recognize this as a mighty work that God is doing in our hearts. The Lord is here, moving in such a way that many are compelled to see and savor Jesus Christ. What cause for celebration!

3. Singing Together is Better than Singing Alone

The Gathering WorshipIf you read this post by Bob Kauflin, you’ll see him make reference to the importance of tuning our attention to others as we worship. He goes so far as to instruct us to look around at others while we’re singing. I put this to practice while at the conference and found it to be incredibly edifying! Seeing others transfixed with the Savior made me desire to offer praise to Him even more.

4. There is More Yet to Come

One of the NT passages that we lean on to encourage one another for corporate gatherings is Hebrews 10:24-25. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The Gathering Conference was an expression of this encouragement from Hebrews. As great as the conference was, we are convinced that God still has many great things in store for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). And we pray that He brings those things to pass in His sovereign, perfect timing.

*If you would like to see the full photo gallery please click here.

The Forgetful God – TG4OC

In case you hadn’t seen it, The Gospel for OC has published another of my articles. It’s actually a re-working from one I’d written a while back, but I hope you find joy and encouragement in the God I’m writing about and who I treasure. A God who “will not remember your sins.” O Hallelujah, there is mercy for us! Here’s the link:

http://thegospelforoc.com/2012/01/the-forgetful-god/

For His glory and fame,
Dustin

Singing to Each Other

There’s a guest post by Bob Kauflin that I helped edit and adapt over at The Gospel for OC. It contains some very helpful thoughts on how singing in worship can not only be toward God, but one another as well. It is also an encouragement to join us at The Gathering Conference in Huntington Beach on January 28th! Bob will be there along with Enfield to instruct us and to lead us in singing the songs off of Sovereign Grace Music‘s latest album, The Gathering. You can check out one of my favorite songs from this album, a revision of a hymn written by Augustus Toplady in 1772, below. I hope to see you there!

Now Why This Fear from Sovereign Grace Ministries on Vimeo.

Feasting for the Fame of Christ

Recently I met with Chris Poblete from The Gospel for OC, a ministry that “exists to spread the glorious news of Jesus Christ-His death and resurrection-throughout Orange County, California, and beyond.” One of the main expressions of their ministry is a blog and Chris asked that I begin to contribute a couple articles each month. I was excited to do so and today my first post has been published! It’s entitled Feasting for the Fame of Christ and it is my meditation on how feasting can draw our minds and affections toward the Savior. I hope you will read it and be blessed by God as you consider Christ in your abundance of food this Christmas!

http://thegospelforoc.com/2011/12/feasting-for-the-fame-of-christ/

The Children in the Road

Last Sunday, Dec. 4th, I was privileged to preach at Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church in Riverside, CA. This church was incredibly gracious, kind, receptive and encouraging! It built me up and convicted me to see their hearts to serve.

If you’d like to have a listen, you can access the audio for this message on their website by clicking here or you can listen to it on this post where I’ve embedded it below. If, after listening, you feel the desire to serve children in foster care please let me know! I’d love to connect you with opportunities so that you could be a blessing to these kids and they could be a blessing to you. Also, if you would be interested in having me come to share this message or a similar one at your church please don’t hesitate to ask. Blessings in the Savior!

The Children in the Road

The Sensibility God

God is not who you and I think He is. He is who He says He is. What we think is inconsequential. We do not define Him, He defines Himself for us.

Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me…I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it” (Isa. 46:8-9, 11b).

Perhaps one of the biggest distortions in our view of God flows from our escalated view of humanity. We have such a high view of our ability to reason that we end up subjecting Him to our sensibilities instead of letting our sensibilities be shaped by His self-revelation. Have you ever said or heard somebody else say “I couldn’t believe in a God who ________.” This disease of the Western mind is one huge barrier to a real and impactful relationship with God. As long as we confine Him to our limited scope of understanding, we forego the transformative power which comes from knowing the Living God through Jesus Christ (cf. Isa. 6, 1 Cor. 1:18-25).

There are basically two ways that we redefine God according to our sensibilities. The first is by willful ignorance. The second is by over-dependance on subjective provision. Let me explore each since I am confident that all of us make these mistakes and need to be lovingly redirected.

1. Ignoring God’s Revealed Character Willfully
God has disclosed Himself supremely through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is one with Him and who was sent by Him (Jn. 10:30, Jn. 5:23, 36, 37). Jesus lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15), died a sinner’s death (2 Cor. 5:21), and rose again conquering death and the grave (Hos. 13:14, Acts 2:31). He embodies God’s love, mercy, grace, justice, patience, might, and wisdom. We know Jesus through the work of God’s Spirit (1 Jn. 5:6) and through the Scriptures (Lk. 24:27) both working in conjunction. If we ignore Jesus Christ and the truths He taught, we willfully ignore God. If we embrace the Messiah, we enjoy forgiveness of our sins and joyful acceptance by God.

Those who do not accept these truths about Christ are certainly ignoring God. But how can those of us who are Christians willfully ignore Jesus? A few ways would be through 1) neglecting to spend time seeking Him through prayer and Bible study, 2) failing to fellowship with other believers, and 3) forgetting the gospel which reminds us of His great love. All of us must be cautious not to fall into these traps and instead we should continually be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2). The positive sides of the three failures I listed above all serve us in “looking to Jesus.” We don’t merely participate in personal devotion, church life, and preaching the gospel to ourselves as some religious exercises, but instead as the means God has given us to know our Savior more deeply and truly.

2. Putting Too Much Stock in Subjective Provision
It is all too easy to want God to do something for us now instead of being satisfied with all that He’s already done. Many of us are discontent because God isn’t coming through in some present circumstance in the manner which we expect. Maybe you’ve been frustrated because He isn’t letting you into the college you want to go to, you’re still single but want to be married, or you have been hunting for a job but still find yourself unemployed. Why is God holding out on you? If that’s the line of thinking you’ve slipped into, beware of idolatry. You don’t really want God, you just want His blessings. And yet, at great personal cost, He has ransomed you from death and granted eternal life. The objective provision that you need has already been freely given to you! What more could you ask for? There is enough joy and satisfaction in knowing the gospel of His grace. Even if He takes all of your relationships and possessions away, you still have Him forever and He is enough.

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Forgive me if my tone has come across as harsh. This has been a bit confrontational but that is not always bad. Sometimes we need a wake-up call though it may be unpleasant. Please know that I’m just as convicted by these things as you are. My prayer is that we would all ditch our sensibilities and look to Jesus to find out who God really is. Rely no more on your own capabilities to know God but instead trust in His revelation through Jesus Christ. May you find rich, gospel blessings as you do.

For His glory and fame,
Dustin