Blog

Last week Pastor John, Bill Burns, Bret Willoughby, and I attended our denomination’s 49th General Assembly in Birmingham, AL. This is an annual meeting of representatives from the churches of the PCA to deliberate over matters that concern our denomination as a whole. Our denominational magazine, byFaith, provides a full report of the actions of GA on their website. You are welcome to read that (and ask questions), but I wanted to share some of the highlights here. GA received the report from the ad interim study committee on Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault. This committee was formed by the 47th General Assembly in 2019 to “provide resources to God's people to help and encourage them respond well in cases of abuse in the church.” Their report is excellent and thorough and will be a valuable resource for the leaders of our church. You can check out the committee’s website for more information and to read the full report yourself. GA voted to withdraw the PCA from the National Association of Evangelicals. Concerns have grown over the increased political advocacy of the NAE, and many believe there is little value in remaining in such an association. As I read on Sunday, GA voted to send this statement about abortion to federal and state government officials:... Keep Reading

As one of the great Puritan writers, Thomas Brooks wrote The Unsearchable Riches of Christ in 1655. As the title implies, in this treatise, Brooks digs into the goodness and richness of Christ. Interestingly, however, his first section focuses on humility. He builds the case for a theological how-to for becoming humble by cataloguing the many benefits of being humble. We will come back to that list of eighteen characteristics of a humble soul in a later Touchpoint. Today I want to share Brooks’ nine “how-tos” for becoming humble. You’ll see some overlap with my relational how-to and theological how-to from the past two weeks, but like a good Puritan, Brooks leaves no stone uncovered. I will briefly comment on each. ... Keep Reading

Last week I began to answer the question, “How does one grow in or develop humility?” I brought us to Jesus’ call to become like children in Matthew 18:3-4 as an answer to that question. As I have thought more about that call, I think we can call that the “Relational How-To.” We grow in humility when we see ourselves in relationship with God as children with a loving, gracious, and holy Father. Like children, we are utterly dependent on God for everything. When we live each day with that relational perspective, we grow in humility. Today I want to answer the question with a “Theological How-To.” Our knowledge of God and his ways directly shapes and develops our humility. A.W. Tozer opened his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by stating, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” He builds the case that what we think about God shapes and impacts every area of our lives. John Calvin opens his Institutes of the Christian Religion by stating, “True and sound wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves” (Book 1. Chapter I. Paragraph 1). He wrestles with what comes first, knowledge of God or knowledge of self. He ultimately concludes that knowledge of God must precede proper knowledge of self. Therefore, we grow in humility when we deepen our understanding of God and his ways. Let me touch on some highlights of this theological how-to. ... Keep Reading

We have spent several weeks considering the definition, examples and importance of humility. Humility is living in light of God’s assessment of our nature, position, abilities, and calling. Jesus and Paul are great, biblical examples of humility. Satan is the perfect anti-example. Humility is essential for our relationship with God and with others. Let’s talk about the how-to. How does one grow in or develop humility? Admittedly, there is no clear statement in the Bible about how to grow in humility. But I think Jesus gives us the closest description in Matthew 18:3-4. Starting in verse 1, we read: 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus puts forward a child as a model of humility. There are parallel statements in verses 3 and 4 that emphasize the parallel between humility and childlikeness. In verse 3 Jesus says. “unless you turn and become like children;” and in verse 4 he says, “whoever humbles himself like this child.” We grow in humility when we “turn and become like children.” What is it about becoming like a child that fosters humility? ... Keep Reading

Two weeks ago, I brought our attention to 1 Peter 5:5-7. In this passage Peter gives two commands related to humility. The first is others focused. The second is God focused. Hear Peter’s exhortation: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Last time we considered the second command and concluded that without humility, we will never have a relationship with God. Let’s consider the first command, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.” Notice, once again, the command is grounded in the Proverb, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” That’s what the key word “for” indicates for us. We must clothe ourselves with humility toward others because God will oppose us if we don’t. What does this mean? Our relationships with one another will not work according to God’s design without humility toward one another. If we do not live according to God’s design, we find ourselves in rebellion to our Creator and at threat of the decay of sin. This applies not only to personal ethics (e.g., alcohol and substance abuse, sexual impurity, work/rest balance, etc.), but also to relational ethics. If we do not engage in relationships with one another according to God’s design, we will not find the blessings of joy and companionship God intends for us through those relationships.... Keep Reading

Sound Doctrine: Helpful Resources

May 26, 2022 | by: John Lee | 0 Comments

As we have been going through Paul’s letter to Titus, a common theme that continually shows up is the importance of sound doctrine in one’s life. One main concern in Titus is for the continued growth in godliness which comes about through the proclamation of sound doctrine. In Titus 2:1, Paul exhorts Titus to teach all that accords with sound doctrine as opposed to the false teachers who taught a false gospel by seeking to add to the gospel. With that, it is good for us to remember that we are in need to have the gospel pressed upon our hearts daily. We need to be reminded that Jesus, His person and work, is truly enough and we can rest in Him! We need our lives to be saturated in God’s Word and to heed the sound doctrine that accords with godliness. For this week’s Touchpoint, I’d like to share some personal recommendations to help you and your families be saturated in the truths of Scripture. None of these resources should replace Scripture, but I pray that they would be helpful resources. If you’d like to borrow, discuss, or start a reading group with any of these, I’d love to share them with you. ... Keep Reading

So far in our deep dive into humility we have defined humility and considered some examples. I have proposed this definition of humility: living in light of God’s assessment of our nature, position, abilities, and calling. I want to turn our attention now to passages that speak to the importance and benefits of being humble. As we look at these passages, I pray that the call to humility would be enticing as a path in which we all strive to walk. We start with a passage that has two explicit commands to be humble, 1 Peter 5:5-7. Consider these words from Peter: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” The first command is others focused. The second command is God focused. Today I want to unpack this second command. Next time we will consider the first command. ... Keep Reading

In our deep dive into humility, we are working with this definition: humility is living in light of God’s assessment of our nature, position, abilities, and calling. Last week we saw this illustrated in the examples of Jesus and Paul. Neither were self-directing or self-promoting. They both looked to God for his will and direction. They both drew strength and confidence from God’s grace to sustain them. They both were fruitful in their callings to serve the Lord. To further our understanding of what humility is, let’s consider the anti-example of Satan. In the end, Satan does not live in light of God’s assessment of his nature, position, abilities, or calling. Many Bible scholars believe we get a window into the fall of Satan through the analogous falls of earthly kings mentioned in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. The earthly kings of Babylon (Is. 14) and Tyre (Ez. 28) grew proud and presumptuous in their rise to power. The folly of their pride is so similar to the pride of Satan that the biblical writers use language only appropriate for Satan in describing their own fall. We read in Isaiah 14:4 that what follows is a “taunt against the king of Babylon.” Then the taunt focuses on his pride in verse 13, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north.’” ... Keep Reading

Last week I proposed this definition of humility: living in light of God’s assessment of our nature, position, abilities, and calling. The challenge with defining humility is taking into account the model of Jesus. Many definitions of humility focus on honesty about our shortcomings and limitations. These definitions cannot apply to Jesus, and could lead us away from, not toward, humility. True, biblical humility is the posture of living in light of God’s assessment of us. How does God view us? How does this impact how we live? Two biblical examples will be helpful. Let me start by drawing our attention to Jesus again. When Paul puts forward Jesus as an example of humility in Philippians 2, he draws attention to the actions that flow from Jesus’ humility: emptying himself and self-sacrifice for others. To understand Jesus’ humility, however, we need to look to Jesus’ relationship with his Father. Paul says in Philippians 2:6 that Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” Jesus is willing to submit to his Father’s will, which even included Jesus’ incarnation and death. The writer of Hebrews explicitly highlights Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will in 10:5-7, “When Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.”’” ... Keep Reading

A Deep Dive Into Humility, Part 2: A Definition

April 28, 2022 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Say my name and I disappear? What am I? My kids love to riddle one another with questions like this. As with all riddles, there is some play on words. I can’t help but think that trying to define humility is just like this riddle. The more we try to define and think about humility the more we miss the mark. C.S. Lewis implies the challenge of identifying humility when he wrote, “Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody… He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.” Looking to dictionaries do not help much either. The Oxford Dictionary defines humility as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.” The Cambridge Dictionary says, “humility is the quality of not being proud because you are aware of your bad qualities.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “freedom from pride or arrogance.” And Christianity.com states, “True humility is to see ourselves as we actually are, fallen in sin and helpless without God.” ... Keep Reading

Filter Messages By: