Wednesday, June 23, 2010


2 Timothy 3:1-5

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these."

These last days in which we live--these difficult times--are characterized by love for all the wrong things. Two Greek words for love are used six times in these five verses--three times in speaking of things that should be loved, but are not, and three times in speaking of things that should not be loved, but are.

What should be loved? We should love God, but in these last days men are "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:4). According to Jesus’ own testimony the great commandment in the law is "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matt. 22:37). We were created to love God, but in sin love is misplaced.

We ought to love others. But in the last days men are "unloving." The Greek term translated "unloving" means "without natural affection or unsociable." The RSV translates it "inhuman." In these last days men are "inhumane" in their dealings with other men. Jesus said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:39). We were created to love others, but in sin love is misplaced.

We ought to love that which is good. But in the last days men are "haters of good" (2 Tim. 3:3). Instead of seeking "after that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:15), men are prone to "call evil good, and good evil" (Isa. 5:20). We were created to love good, but in sin love is misplaced.

What is loved instead? Instead of loving God, others, and what is good, men love self, money (KJV, "covetous"), and pleasure. We have terms to define these conditions. The love of self is narcissism. "Narcissism" is a term derived from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who looked into a pool of water, saw his reflection for the first time, and was left there to pine away for love of his own reflection. Having forsaken love for God, our humanistic generation elevates self-worship in His place. Self-love and selfishness rule the day in which we live.

We ought not to love money. The love of money equates to materialism. Materialism has been defined as "a desire for wealth and material possessions with little interest in ethical or spiritual matters"--an apt description of the days in which we live. "The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil" (1 Tim. 6:10), so "let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have" (Heb. 13:5).

We ought not to love pleasure ("lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God"). The word translated "pleasure" is a Greek word related to our English word "hedonism." Hedonism is, according to Webster’s, "the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the whole or chief good in life." The commonly used expression, "Whatever makes you happy," reflects a hedonistic attitude. Pleasure ought to be pursued instead in God. Psa. 16:11, "In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever."

This unholy trinity of misdirected loves--love for self, love of money, and love of pleasure--is reflected in the narcissistic, materialistic, and hedonistic tendencies of the world in which we live. Sadly, these pursuits are but "broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13). They offer mere "passing pleasures" (Heb.11:25) and represent a "futile way of life" (1 Pet. 1:18). They are consistent to the "way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Prov. 14:12).

God saves us, in part, to redirect our affections. We are born-again and "taught by God to love" (1 Thess. 4:9) and to love that which we ought to love. In loving God, loving good, and loving others we love the things that last. "And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:17).

The misdirected love of this present generation gives ample opportunity for believers in Christ to "appear as lights in the world" "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Phil. 2:15). As we walk in the narrow way that leads to life we need to pay careful attention lest we be drawn away by the multitudes who "spend their love in all the wrong places." Let love for Christ guide our steps as we learn how to love the things that last.

Pastor Jerry

Saturday, June 19, 2010


This is from J.C. Ryle's book on "Holiness," Chapter 15, "Do You Love Me?"

"Man," said a thoughtless, ungodly English traveler, to a North American Indian convert, "Man, what is the reason that you make so much of Christ, and talk so much about Him? What has this Christ done for you, that you should make so much ado about Him?"

The converted Indian did not answer him in words. He gathered together some dry leaves and moss and made a ring with them on the ground. He picked up a live worm and put it in the middle of the ring. He struck a light and set the moss and leaves on fire. The flame soon rose, and the heat scorched the worm. It writhed in agony, and after trying in vain to escape on every side, curled itself up in the middle, as if about to die in despair. At that moment the Indian reached forth his hand, took up the worm gently and placed it on his bosom. "Stranger," he said to the Englishman, "do you see that worm? I was that perishing creature. I was dying in my sins, hopeless, helpless and on the brink of eternal fire. It was Jesus Christ who put forth the arm of His power. It was Jesus Christ who delivered me with the hand of His grace, and plucked me from everlasting burnings. It was Jesus Christ who placed me, a poor sinful worm, near the heart of His love. Stranger, that is the reason why I talk of Jesus Christ, and make much of Him. I am not ashamed of it, because I love Him."

Sunday, June 13, 2010


In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already wealthy. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world's hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his "desire to be a missionary."

One friend expressed disbelief that Bill was "throwing himself away as a missionary." In response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: "NO RESERVES."

Even though young Borden was wealthy, he arrived on the campus of Yale University in 1905 trying to look like just one more freshman. Very quickly, however, Borden's classmates noticed something unusual about him and it wasn't that he had lots of money. One of them wrote: "He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. We who were his classmates learned to lean on him and find in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration."

During his college years, Bill Borden made an entry in his personal journal that defined what his classmates were seeing in him. That entry said simply: "Say 'no' to self and 'yes' to Jesus every time."

During his first semester at Yale, Borden started something that would transform campus life. One of his friends described how it began: "It was well on in the first term when Bill and I began to pray together in the morning before breakfast. I cannot say positively whose suggestion it was, but I feel sure it must have originated with Bill. We had been meeting only a short time when a third student joined us and soon after a fourth. The time was spent in prayer after a brief reading of Scripture. Bill's handling of Scripture was helpful. . . . He would read to us from the Bible, show us something that God had promised and then proceed to claim the promise with assurance."

Borden's small morning prayer group gave birth to a movement that soon spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshman were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time Bill Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale's 1,300 students were meeting in such groups.

Borden made it his habit to seek out the most "incorrigible" students and try to bring them to salvation. "In his sophomore year we organized Bible study groups and divided up the class of 300 or more, each man interested taking a certain number, so that all might, if possible, be reached. The names were gone over one by one, and the question asked, 'Who will take this person?' When it came to someone thought to be a hard proposition, there would be an ominous pause. Nobody wanted the responsibility. Then Bill's voice would be heard, 'Put him down to me.'

Borden's outreach ministry was not confined to the Yale campus. He cared about widows and orphans and the disabled. He rescued drunks from the streets of New Haven. To try to rehabilitate them, he founded the Yale Hope Mission. One of Bill Borden's friends wrote that he "might often be found in the lower parts of the city at night, on the street, in a cheap lodging house or some restaurant to which he had taken a poor hungry fellow to feed him, seeking to lead men to Christ."

Borden's missionary call narrowed to the Muslim Kansu people in China. Once he fixed his eyes on that goal, Borden never wavered. He also challenged his classmates to consider missionary service.

Although he was a millionaire, Bill seemed to "realize always that he must be about his Father's business, and not wasting time in the pursuit of amusement." Although Borden refused to join a fraternity, "he did more with his classmates in his senior year than ever before."

Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers. In his Bible, he wrote two more words: "NO RETREATS."

William Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China. Because he was hoping to work with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.

When the news of William Borden's death was cabled back to the U.S., the story was carried by nearly every American newspaper. "A wave of sorrow went round the world . . . Borden not only gave (away) his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice." wrote Mary Taylor in her introduction to his biography.

Was Borden's untimely death a waste? Not in God's perspective. Prior to his death, Borden had written two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words "NO RESERVES" and "NO RETREATS," he had written: "NO REGRETS."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


This is the wonderful account of Charles Spurgeon's conversion. God works in mysterious ways to bring about the salvation of His children...

"The 15 year old teenager headed off to church, as he normally did on Sunday mornings. But there was a blizzard that day and the heavy snow kept him from going to his usual place of worship. Instead he found himself in a Primitive Methodist Church.

As a young man, from a long lineage of Pastors, he knew all about Christianity, but he didn’t know Christ. Later he would write of those days, "It was my sad lot to feel the greatness of my sin without a discovery of the greatness of God’s mercy."

The Primitive Methodist Church almost didn’t open that morning, but the caretaker, thinking that a few people might show up, opened the doors and lit the stove. By 11:00 some 12-15 people had come inside, but not the Pastor. He had apparently been unable to get there because of the snow.

Finally one of the laymen of the congregation reluctantly took the pulpit. As he looked down, he could see the small congregation, hundreds of empty seats, and the young 15 year old boy seated under the gallery. The text for his sermon was "Look unto me, and be ye saved", and after about ten minutes of repeating himself, the man was about to step down from the pulpit. But before he did, he addressed the teenager. "Young man," he said, "you look very miserable, and you will always be miserable if you don’t obey my text. But if you do obey now, this moment, you will be saved." He paused again, then shouted at the young man with more animation, "Young man, look to Jesus! Look! Look! Look!"

That substitute preacher and his tentative sermon was what the Holy Spirit used to bring Charles Spurgeon to Christ. Later Spurgeon wrote of that experience, "There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness was rolled away."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I was visiting the Estabrooks today. Doug and Laura recited this poem by heart--their Grandfather had taught it to them. It was quite funny--so I thought I'd share it...

C. Frank Horn
--: Shaw, W. F., 1883.

As I sat at my windy last evenin', the letter man brought unto me
A little gilt-edg'd invitation sayin', "Gilhooly, come over to tea."
Sure I knew that the Fogartys sent it, so I wint just for old friendship's sake,
And the first thing they gave me to tackle was a slice of Miss Fogarty's cake.

CHORUS: There was plums and prunes and cherries,
And citron and raisins and cinnymon, too.
There was nutmeg, cloves and berries.
And the crust it was nail'd on with glue.
There was carroway seeds in abundance.
Sure 'twould build up a fine stomach-ache.
You would kill a man twice after 'ating a slice
Of Miss Fogarty's Christmas cake.

Miss Mulligan wanted to taste it, but really there wasn't no use.
They work'd at it over an hour and they couldn't get none of it loose
Till Fogarty wint for the hatchet and Killy came in with a saw.
That cake was enough, by the powers, to paralyze any man's jaw.

Mrs. Fogarty, proud as a peacock, kep' smilin' and blinkin' away
Till she fell over Flanigan's brogans and spill'd a whole brewin' of tay.
"Oh, Gilhooly," she cried, "you're not 'atin'. Try a little bit more for my sake."
"No, thanks, Misses Fogarty," sez I, "but I'd like the resate of that cake."

Maloney was took with the colic. McNulty complain'd of his head.
McFadden laid down on the sofy, and swore that he wish'd he was dead.
Miss Daly fell down in hysterics and there she did wriggle and shake
While ev'ry man swore he was poison'd thro' 'atin' Miss Fogarty's cake.

["resate" = receipt = recipe