I wanted to share this devotion I read today.  I pray that we all seek the Lord for a soft heart daily!   
(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

“Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root!” Mark 4:5-6

Much is said about these stony-ground hearers of the Word, which is attractive and hopeful. I anticipate a true life, a brave witness, an abundant harvest. But suddenly comes the check, the change, the fall. And what was the problem? Ah! the heart was wrong, and therefore everything was wrong!

1. The heart was unbroken. The rock had never been penetrated at all, and the seed died soon on its hard and impervious surface.

I wonder whether the stubbornness and the stolidity of my heart have been shattered. Have I been melted . . .
into practical concern of soul,
into the sense of spiritual neediness,
into godly sorrow,
into contrite prayer?
There can be no new birth and no vital growth, until then!

After an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the lava covered the fields with an apparently invincible crust; but the peasants bored holes in it, and pierced to the ground below, and planted their vines–and in due season gathered the grapes. Has the lava-crust of my heart been divinely pierced and overcome?

2. And the heart was shallow and superficial. It had no depth. Immediately beneath the thin layer of top-soil, was that rebellious and intractable adamant; the seed had not a sufficient resting-place and home.

This is the fatal fault of very many. They do not stop to think about unseen, eternal, heavenly things. They do not take time to consider their own miserable state of soul, and the grace of Jesus Christ. They nod, and glance, and bustle by. 

Again I ought to examine myself. I can be eager enough, and resolute enough, about earthly matters. But have I ever roused my very soul, have I ever set my face like a flint, to seek and find the Lord my Savior, my Righteousness, my Strength? There is no possibility of salvation for the superficial heart!

3. And the heart was dry. It had none of the moistening, subduing, fructifying influences of the Holy Spirit. If the showers descend upon the rocky soil, there is no loam to retain them and to derive a benefit from them.

Just so, does everything depend on the Spirit’s presence and work within me! Apart from His dews and gentle rains, I am helpless, hopeless, dead, damned. For until His almightiness renews me, until His waters slake and vivify my parched and thirsty being, until I receive the outpouring of the grace of God–I have no spiritual life.

Is it not a miserable heart, this heart of stone?

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh!” Ezekiel 36:26

Keep your eyes focused on Him today!


“He is clothed with a robe reaching down to His feet”–what Official Dignity! 



“He is girded about the chest with a golden sash”–what Strong Affection! 



“His head and His hair are white as white wool, as white as snow”–what Perfect Holiness! 



“His eyes are as flames of fire”–what Consuming Knowledge! 



“His feet are like burnished bronze refined in a furnace”–what Righteous Judgment!



“His voice thundered as the mighty ocean waves”–what Absolute Authority!



“He has in His right hand seven stars”–what Sovereign Administration! 



“Out of His mouth proceeds a sharp two-edged sword”–what All-Searching Truth! 



“His face is like the sun shining in all its brilliance”–what Transcendent Glory!

 

 

(W. Graham Scroggie)

 

 

 

White Flag Calvary“.

That’s our name.

You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to come up with a name for a new church.  You want something unique, so you don’t get lost in the crowd of church names out there.  Yet, I firmly believe that the Lord Jesus builds His own church, as He wills, regardless of the name.  So, my wife Dana and I asked Jesus to show us what the name should be.

I started writing down what is most important to me as a pastor.  I started with the word “GRACE”.  Well, thats a great word and an even better idea but just about every church in Denver has the word “GRACE” somewhere in the name.  So, to avoid confusion, I kept thinking.

A synonymous term for grace is the phrase “New Covenant”.  I thought of using that term or some creative way of breaking up those words but nothing was really catching my eye.    The journey continued.

I thought of how our church, and any church, needs to respond to the New Covenant of Grace and that is by surrendering in humility and faith.  James 4:6 tells us that God gives grace to the humble and we certainly want, and rely upon, Gods favor for our church.   So, I took a look at the word “Surrender“.  Thats a pretty neat word.  I had just about decided that would be the name of the church when I started drawing some pictures of what our logo could look like.  Thats when the idea of a white flag popped in my head.  My wife was sitting right next to me when I drew the flag and said “Thats it!”

The more I thought about it the more I loved the name.  It truly speaks of humility and faith.  Those two relational realities that are required in the life of a believer to receive grace.  I know for many years I tried to make God happy through my own efforts.  I tried to obtain victory over sin in my own way.  Yet, I found out what everybody else does, that I could not do Gods will in my own efforts.  From my own resources I drew upon, there was never a victory.  But God, in His great love, showed me the Word of God, that teaches us to surrender instead of strive.   To trust in Gods grace and resources instead of my own.

Thus, White Flag Calvary was named.

WHY DO WE DEDICATE CHILDREN?

Dedicating children to the Lord is not strict command in Scripture. It is simply an attempt to apply several Biblical principles regarding parenting and Church life in a way that is culturally relevant.

In Mark 10:13-16 we read:

Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a lit- tle child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
The dedication of children is a way of bringing them to Jesus for His blessing.

Our children have been entrusted to us for a time. We have been given the task of teaching them and protecting them. To the end that they can glorify God in their own lives as they grow up. Dedication is an act of declaring Jesus’ Lordship over our family and asking his help to accomplish such an important task.

Also, by bringing our children before the Lord and the church, we are making a promise that we intend to raise our children in Jesus Christ as we are instructed in Ephesians 6:4. For this reason, parents considering taking this step of formally dedicating their children need to consider the seriousness of the commitment.

So, dedicating our children is not some kind of ritual. It is a sober dedication of the parents to the ways of the Lord in raising their child.


WHAT DEDICATION ISN’T:

Dedicating your child to the Lord does not save them. It is not baptism. It is not a good luck charm for their lives. It is not magical. It cannot do for your child what they will need to do for themselves when they grow to the age where they can understand and participate in baptism and communion by faith.

A FINAL WORD:

Making a commitment to raise your child in The Lord does not mean that you need to figure out how to do that on your own. As your church family, we are there for you to help in any way we can. And, as always, God’s grace will accomplish the work in your heart and soul as you abide in His word and connected with Him through humility and faith.

Pastor Shawn