Keep You Only to Myself—Proverbs 5:1-23

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Last Sunday, June 21, I preached a sermon from Proverbs 5:1-23. This is a powerful passage that (1) warns readers of the dangers of adultery and (2) encourages readers to enjoy sexual intimacy in the warm embrace of marital union. If you’re unfamiliar with this passage of Scripture you might be surprised to read from the Bible,

Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love. (vv. 15-19)

Later that evening I heard the sad news of another pastor who had committed adultery and disqualified himself from ministry. It made the import of this passage of Scripture I’d just preached even more compelling.

The sermon may also have something to say regarding the Supreme Court’s decision this week. Sex is a good gift from our gracious God given to a man and a woman who’ve looked each other in the eyes with the solemn vow, “and forsaking all others, to keep you only to myself, so long as we both shall live.” It’s to be exclusive. It’s to be exhilarating. And, it’s to be ______ (I made up a word here—you’ll have to listen to the sermon to learn what it is!).

May God give us all grace to stay true to the end.

You can listen to the sermon HERE.


Reminded of a Great Quote

I received a very encouraging email this week regarding a portion of Clarifying The Bible.

I just want to say THANK YOU for the Pauline Letters segment. I think I first saw it via Tim Challies’ site. It really made my heart sing! I just loved how you connected the story of Paul (his journeys) with the writings of Paul (his letters) with the words of Paul (his message) to tell the life of Paul to the glory of God. It gave me such a better understanding and really built up my faith and deepened my love for the Bible. I’m really looking forward to watching the rest! JEFF

Jeff’s phrase, “It really made my heart sing!” reminded me of a quote somebody shared with me. They heard it at a conference by a speaker I can no longer remember. But, the speaker was encouraging young college students to read seven chapters of the Bible every day. In doing so he said, “I’m not trying to be legalistic, I just want your heart to sing!”

I love that. This speaker wasn’t trying to lay some legalistic standard upon these students: “You must read seven chapters of the Bible in order for God to be pleased with you.” NO! He simply wanted their hearts to sing and knew that if these students would spend good time absorbing God’s Word… learning of His nature and character… learning of His mighty acts in history… learning of His amazing salvation of sinners in Jesus… learning of His amazing help through the Holy Spirit… learning of His unstoppable plans to make all things new… that their hearts would sing.

Is your heart singing? If not, maybe this speaker’s challenge is something you should try.

Christ is all,


Read Romans Lately?

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This morning I spent a bit of time reading and pondering in Romans 6. It got me thinking about the pride of place this book has held in the hearts and minds of many. Consider what these have said,

It is the true masterpiece of the New Testament, and the very purest Gospel, which is well worthy and deserving that a Christian man should not only learn it by heart, word for word, but also that he should daily deal with it as the daily bread of men’s souls. For it can never be too much or too well read or studied; and the more it is handled the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes. Martin Luther

No man verily can read it too oft or study it too well; for the more it is studied the easier it is, the more it is chewed the pleasanter it is, and the more groundly it is searched the preciouser things are found in it, so great treasure of spiritual things lieth hid therein. William Tyndale

If we have gained a true understanding of this Epistle, we have an open door to all the most profound treasures of Scripture. John Calvin

… unquestionably the most important theological work ever written. John Knox

Romans is as solid and durable and reliable and unshakable and thorough as the truth can get. John Piper

If it’s been a while since you’ve read through Romans, take the next few days and work your way through this profound work. Here’s a good outline to keep you on track.

  • Introduction 1:1-17
  • Condemnation 1:18 – 3:20
  • Justification 3:21 – 5:21
  • Sanctification 6:1 – 8:39
  • Vindication 9:1 – 11:36
  • Application 12:1 – 15:13
  • Conclusion 15:14 – 16:27

May your reading be blessed!


Memorial Day Weekend SALE: 50% OFF the Digital Bundle

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Clarifying The Bible at 50% OFF!

For the Memorial Day weekend I’m offering my Clarifying The Bible: Digital Bundle at 50% OFF—that’s $7.50 rather than the regular $15.00. The Digital Bundle includes downloadable video links to the entire presentation, as well as a downloadable PDF copy of the workbook.

Since watching Mitch Maher’s Clarifying The Bible, the Bible’s complexities have been demystified and have been given a new breath of relevancy to my daily life. Mitch has presented the whole of the Bible in such a way that even amongst our busy and frantic lives we can catch it and run with it. I highly encourage you to check this out!
Joshua Pock
Just a guy saved by Grace, Lincoln, CA

This is the best program I have seen to study the Bible. If only I could I have had it earlier in life and made the link between the old and the new. Should be in all homes.
Juanita Smith
Retired Senior, Tupelo, MS

When you order, use the coupon code memorialday to receive the discount. Note: The place to enter your code is sometimes easy to miss! So, after adding the Digital Bundle to your cart, hover your cursor over your cart in the upper-right-hand corner and then click Proceed to Checkout. On the very next page you’ll see a dark blue line across the screen—it’s in the blue line that you’ll be directed to Click here to enter your code.

Christ’s richest blessings to you and yours this weekend,





Be Ready. Pick 10!

On Sunday I preached from Proverbs 2:1-22 (you can listen to the sermon HERE). This is another great passage pointing to value of wisdom. Quickly, the passage lays out according to key words that are easily discerned:

  • If… if… if… (2:1-4)
  • Then… (2:5-8)
  • Then… (2:9-11)
  • To deliver… (2:12-15)
  • To deliver… (2:16-19)
  • So… (2:20-22)

I believe the passage can be summed up like this: If you will passionately pursue God’s wisdom (2:1-4), then God will graciously give His wisdom to you (2:5-8). And, as you apply that wisdom to your life God will guard you from all sorts of unnecessary pain and heartache (2:5-11). Two great examples of the foolishness you’ll avoid by applying God’s wisdom are bad company (2:12-15) and illicit sex (2:16-19). In the end, if you’ll passionately seek God’s wisdom and apply the wisdom He gives, then you’ll walk in the way of good men (2:20-22).

Now, the real application of this passage is found in 2:1-4. That’s where the conditional clauses are found (If… If… If…) that call us to action. In my studies I ran across one little nugget I wanted to pass on to you in this regard.

In 2:1 Solomon writes,

My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you…

In his wonderful commentary on Proverbs Bruce Waltke writes concerning the word “treasure”,

“Accept” is escalated to store up (or treasure), which means, with the accusative of a thing, to hide or conceal for a definite purpose (cf. Ps. 119:11). That notion entails that one treasure that which he stores (see 2:4; 10:14; Job 15:20; 21:19; Hos. 13:12). The metaphor signifies to memorize with religious affection Solomon’s “sound bites” in order to have them ready when the occasion demands them (cf. 5:2; 7:1; 22:18; cf. Job 23:12; Ps. 119:11).

Memorize with religious affection. That phrase stood out to me. So did have them ready when the occasion demands them. Because of this I encouraged my congregation to Pick 10. I challenged them to work through Proverbs, particularly starting in chapter 10 when the shorter, one-verse Proverbs begin, and choose 10 that would be really good for them to have on the ready. Not 10 that would be good for their spouse! Not 10 that would be good for their kids! Rather, 10 that would be good for them! Then, I encouraged them to memorize them with religious affection.

Might this be a good exercise for you? Might there be 10 Proverbs (or more!) that you need to store up and make a greater part of your life? Maybe you need a Proverb related to anger, maybe your mouth, or maybe listening to reproof. Maybe you could use a Proverb related to lust, maybe pride, or honesty in the workplace. How about child-rearing, handling your money, or the avoidance of laziness? There are hundreds of Proverbs to consider, and many of them are perfectly tailored for you.

These nuggets of eternal wisdom are gifts from God that can lead us to life! But, if 2:1-4 teaches us anything, we must actively pursue this wisdom—we won’t drift into it.

To close, notice how Solomon sounds a lot like Waltke in 22:17-18 (or maybe Waltke sounds a lot like Solomon!),

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.

Waltke said, “… in order to have them ready when the occasion demands them.” Solomon said, “… That they may be ready on your lips.”

Will you be ready?

Pick 10,


The Aim of Christ Together Katy


Christ Together Katy is a growing group of pastors and the churches they lead, along with other leaders in our city, who have been gripped by an incredible goal: SATURATION. We state it like this,

We aim to give every man, woman, and child in Katy, TX the repeated opportunity to see, hear, and respond to the Gospel of Jesus.

Is that what God wants for your city? If He does, what might He have you do about it?

Visit to learn more about this vision and how it’s finding expression around America.



Turn to Me—Proverbs 1:23

Just yesterday I preached from Proverbs 1:20-33. In this passage a terrible tale is told of God’s Wisdom made available to men, their refusal to submit to it, and the painful consequences that often result. The passage is a stern warning to all of us, highlighting the “calamity… dread… dread… calamity… distress… anguish…” to be experienced in this life if we turn a deaf ear to God’s Wisdom and go it on the basis of our own flawed or the culture’s godless insight.

If you’d like to listen to the sermon, you can find it HERE.

But, I would like to draw your attention to one little phrase in the passage the shines with hope. After speaking of her (Lady Wisdom) availability to all men and then expressing her exasperation as the naive, fools, and scoffers have too long rejected her, Wisdom pleads,

Turn to my reproof; Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Proverbs 1:23

This is wonderful! Sadly, many believe that because they’ve chosen a foolish path in life, because maybe they’ve been on that path too long, because they’ve been in too deep, that God won’t have them. Not true! God says to you and me, to any and all,

It’s not too late. You haven’t gone too far for too long. You aren’t in too deep. If you will turn humbly to Me, I will take you under my tutelage. My grace extends further and deeper than any path of foolishness, sin, and rebellion.

“God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) No matter who you are… no matter what you’ve done… no matter where you’ve been… God’s arms are open wide to those who will humbly come to Him. Because of the amazing grace found in God’s Gospel—the person and work of His Son Jesus Christ—God can forgive you, draw you close to Himself, and begin to help you move in a different direction. Not a foolish direction which leads to unnecessary pain, but a wise direction full of life. Indeed, at the end of this passage we read,

But he who listens to me shall live securely, And shall be at ease from the dread of evil. Proverbs 1:33

You’re never too far gone if you’re willing to humbly come to God in Christ. Thankful for the grace of God with you,



Suffer Hardship

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.22.17 AMSeveral weeks ago I wrote a few blog posts on 2 Timothy. Later this week I’m headed to Atlanta to teach 2 Timothy at Downline Ministries in Atlanta. The small letter is fresh on my mind.

As we hear of more and more Christians experiencing severe persecution for their commitment to Jesus Christ, I couldn’t help but think of this emphasis in 2 Timothy. Remember, this is Paul’s final letter. He has experienced much persecution throughout his ministry, and sitting in a maritime prison in Rome he’s staring death in the face. To his young protege in the faith, Timothy, he writes,

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God… (1:8)

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. (1:12)

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2:3)

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,  for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. (2:8-9)

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. (3:1)

Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (3:10-12)

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (4:5)

It wasn’t easy for Paul. It wouldn’t be easy for Timothy. It may be difficult for you and me. May God give us grace to stay true even as it gets harder and harder to do so.

Christ is all,


“Easter: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration”
by Mitch Maher

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

On Easter Sunday I took up the WHOLE BIBLE as my text for the sermon!

Not exactly, but I did lead us on a journey from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, highlighting the grand story from Creation to the Fall to Redemption and finally to Restoration.

If you’ve got the time, listen to the sermon and give me your thoughts.


Motivations for Ministry: 2 Timothy 4

On Sunday we finished up a short series through 2 Timothy. I love this little book in our Bible. The circumstances of Paul’s life (aged, in prison, cold, about to die) and Timothy’s (younger, ministering in a difficult place, facing the prospect of life without Paul) makes for a moving letter.

In chapter one Paul called upon Timothy to be courageous. In two he urged him to be faithful. In chapter three, be strong. And now finally chapter four, be expectant.

The final charges to Timothy are found in verses 2 and 5,

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. v. 2

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. v. 5

I noted on Sunday four motivations surrounding these verses Paul used to encourage Timothy to “preach the word” and “fulfill his ministry.”

  1. Jesus is coming to judge (v. 1). Timothy’s to remember that Jesus, having come from glory, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, risen bodily from the grave, ascended and sat down at His Father’s right hand, will come again to establish His kingdom. Associated with this coming with be a judgment. Paul could have in mind the judgement of Timothy’s hearers; thus, the need was urgent for Timothy to preach the word that they might repent, believe, and be saved. Or, Paul may have in mind the judgment of Timothy’s works; since all of us will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Either way, the prospect is a weighty motivation.
  2. The temptation to shirk responsibility is enticing (v. 3-4). Why else should Timothy stick to the Scriptures? Because the temptation to do otherwise might be enticing. Paul envisioned a scenario when Timothy might look upon the great following that false teachers garner by telling their hearers what they want to hear, rather than teaching sound doctrine; and wanting a growing ministry himself Timothy might be tempted to do the same. The sound doctrine Timothy is to proclaim exalts God and humbles man, leads hearers to the narrow path that only a few find, calls people to die to themselves that they might find life, warns that much will be lost in following Jesus, and never promises health and wealth in this life. It doesn’t tickle ears, that’s for sure! When sticking to the Scriptures is difficult, Timothy is to “be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill his ministry.” (v. 5)
  3. The baton is passing (v. 6). Notice in verse 5, “But you…” and then in verse 6, “For I…” Another reason Timothy must preach the word and fulfill his ministry is because Paul is about to die. And like a sprinter in the 4 X 100 meter relay who’s finished his leg of the race, Paul is yelling “stick” so that Timothy might reach back his hand, take the baton from Paul, and run his leg with faithfulness. Paul is done. He’s fought the good fight. He’s finished the course. He’s kept the faith. Now, it’s Timothy’s turn.
  4. The reward is great (v. 8). Finally, Paul’s gaze returns to the future as he anticipates the day when he shall be awarded the great crown of righteousness. Paul would soon stand before unrighteous Nero and hear the words, “guilty.” He would then be led outside the city of Rome and lose his head. But, that didn’t worry Paul at all because he knew in that moment he would be welcomed by the great righteous Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ, with the words, “Righteous!” and “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.” And what’s awesome is that Paul said, “and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (v. 8) I love that. This reward from the Lord is not just for Paul, but also for Timothy, you, and me!

Your calling may be different than Timothy’s. But, surely God has a ministry for you, a course set out that He wants you to “fulfill.” (v. 5) Paul has fought, finished, and kept. And now it’s your turn and mine. Stay at it, for the reward is great!

In this fight of faith with you,