God’s Two Planning Departments

All Christians believe that God has a “Salvation Planning Department.” Although Calvinists and Arminians disagree about what goes on in that department, with Calvinists favoring “Big Government” here and Arminians demanding more “Limited Government”, yet all agree that God plans our salvation.

But God also has a “Good Works Planning Department.” He has not only planned our salvation, but also all the good works that follow our salvation. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

God planned not only His good work of conversion but our good works in sanctification. He has mapped out every single day of our Christian life, and every single good work of each day.

Think of every Christian, in every country, and every good work that each will do each day, and then think of the solo-staffed planning department that has plotted, organized, and arranged all this!

That changes the way we view each day, and every opportunity to serve that comes along. Whether it’s cleaning a drain, typing an email, preaching a sermon, sharing the Gospel, visiting the sick, seeking justice, or phoning a widow, etc., none of these “good works” come by chance.

The Planner has planned it all; long before He was in your plans.


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Stop using (some) illustrations
“My heart always sinks when I hear the words ‘I’m not sure whether to use this illustration or not….’ in a sermon. Mrs R tells me that at that point she always wants to stand up and shout, ‘Don’t do it, preacher!’”

Two reasons why finding the root problem may not be a good goal for counselors
Another good reason to subscribe to Phil Monroe’s blog. Though- provoking, thought-changing, and thought-leading.

A Classical Christian School Reading List: 4th to 5th Grades
Many parents and children will benefit from Justin’s compilations.

Jesus loves the little children
$3 introductory book on the subject of infant baptism.

Unashamed Workman Has Moved
Great site for pastors, especially on the subject of preaching.

Obama, Gay Marriage, and the Black Church Vote
“Do not be deceived: Our votes will not come cheaply. Our mutual identity as African Americans is something we celebrate every time you laugh off the ignorance of those who question your American citizenship and when you make those long strides that have come to characterize your trek from Marine One to your home. Yet our confidence in your ability to govern the nation justly and equitably is not based solely on the contrasting ethnicities of your opponent and you. Yes, our ancestors made many sacrifices for us to have the right to vote. However, they also died while trying to stand for righteousness. So we can use the nil option in November, opting not to vote for you or the presumptive Republican nominee.”


You are God’s Masterpiece

Thinking, imagining, creating, concentrating, inventing, innovating, improvising, beautifying, loving, decorating, styling, polishing, and presenting.

Description of an artist?

No, it’s God. It’s God at work on His latest masterpiece. And its name – look closely – is “YOU.”

Yes, believer, you are God’s masterpiece (Eph. 2:10)! His craftsmanship! His handiwork! It’s literally “His poem.”

Think of how much time and talent the poet pours into every word she crafts, every line she composes. God is lavishing even greater time and talent on you each and every day. He is weaving together the seemingly disconnected rhythms and rhymes of your life into an epic poem of grace.

I remember a cartoon from my childhood in which a sculptor was tapping away on a block of ugly stone for days, months, and years, without any sign of progress. As he aged through the years, the mocking crowds grew larger as this poor little man tip-tapped away with patient care. And still, for all his work, not one chip of stone had fallen to the ground. The block was unchanged ugliness.

But one day, when the jeering crowd was particularly large and hostile, the sculptor leaned on his stool, took a little silver hammer, and gave the block one faint tap on the top. A crack started moving down and out, breaking up into multiple tributaries. Little chips began to fall away, then larger blocks, until at last an avalanche of material was cascading to the ground.

The dust settled, jaws dropped, eyes popped, and voices gasped: ”It’s a masterpiece!”


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How much sleep do you really need?
“Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hr. or more, or less than 6.5 hr., they don’t live quite as long.” And here’s the science of napping.

A Critical Mind vs a Critical Spirit
“I wonder at what point our appreciation for insightful analysis turns into a celebration of critique that leads to an unhealthy elevation of the critic.”

Is learning Greek and Hebrew really worth it?
A rhetorical question, of course.

Some challenges and trends for Seminaries
The Chronicle of Higher Education has some advice for Seminaries (HT: BibleX)

Your ministry is not your identity
“I was a pastor in the process of destroying his life and ministry, and I didn’t know it. I wish I could say that my pastoral experience is unique, but I have come to learn in travels to hundreds of churches around the world that sadly, it is not.”

The new style of writing for the Net
It involves.

Lots of short and choppy.

Sentences and paras!


The most unbelieved 10 letters in the Bible

Some of you are expecting something like six-day-creation, aren’t you? Or a literal, historical Adam? Or something related to the Trinity or the divinity of Christ? Or maybe the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to God?

But it’s none of these things. It’s 10 letters found in Ephesians 2:9.

N…O…T…O…F…W…O…R…K….S

The hardest words for unbelievers to believe.

Often the hardest words for believers to keep on believing.

I’ve asked hundreds of seniors about their hope for heaven, and despite listening to thousands of  N…O…T…O…F…W…O…R…K….S sermons their entire lives, many still answer, “I’ve done my best…I’ve gone to church…I raised my children to go to church…I pray and read my Bible…etc.”

Ask even your own children, your own regularly evangelized children, “What’s a Christian?” and you’ll be stunned at how often they’ll give child versions of the seniors’ answers.

And though most Christians will be able to give you the “salvation by grace apart from works” answer in a theology exam, their personal daily spiritual experience too often defaults to various versions of “salvation by works.”

It’s as if W…O…R…K…S is tattooed on our hearts from birth.

Regular Gospel preaching is the only laser that removes this deadly tattoo.

Or, perhaps it would be better to say that regular Gospel preaching tattoos these five life-giving letters N…O…T…O…F in front of the five killers.

How our lives would be transformed if we could really believe and keep on believing these 10 unbelievable letters!