March 21, 2019

John Harper – Hero of the Titanic

John Harper

It was April 15, 1912, when HMS Titanic sank beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic, taking with it 1517 lives. The largest and most luxurious ship at the time was gone, reminding the world of our frailty as human beings. But there is more to the sinking of the Titanic than a historical tragedy. There is a story of courageous heroism and unshakable faith.

John Harper was aboard the Titanic when she set sail from Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage. An evangelist originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he was well known throughout the United Kingdom as a charismatic, passionate speaker who led many to Christ through his gift of preaching. In 1912, Reverend Harper received an invitation to speak at the Moody Church in Chicago, U.S.A. On April 11, 1912, John Harper boarded the Titanic.

Titanic: The Ship of Dreams

Titanic: The Ship of Dreams: John Harper
The ship that would never be sunk, a ship of dreams becomes a ship of nightmares as it is swallowed beneath the freezing Atlantic Ocean. Hit by a massive iceberg it was as much the arrogance of the ships owners and operators that caused the tragedy of the Titanic on 14th April 1912. 1,517 people perished that night but there was at least one man who was focused on saving souls amidst the horror.

As the icy waters brought the life of John Harper to a close he still had the energy to call one final person to come to Christ. This is a story of tragedy but it is also a story of faith and courage and eternal hope.
Check out the book!

Some of the wealthiest people in the world were aboard. While many passengers spoke of business deals, acquisitions and material desires, John Harper was diligently sharing the love of Christ with others. In the days leading up to the tragedy, survivors reported seeing Harper living like a man of faith, speaking kind words and sharing the love of Christ.

On the evening of April 14, as passengers danced in the ballroom and tried their luck at the card tables, John Harper put his daughter to bed and read his devotions as he did every night. At 11:40pm, the Titanic struck an iceberg. The “unsinkable” ship was doomed. Either in disbelief or unaware at the time, passengers continued about their pleasures. It wasn’t until the ship’s crew sent up a series of distress flares that passengers realized the seriousness of their situation. Then chaos ensued. [Read more…]

31 Days: Fruitful or Wasted?

Well, we are 31 days into this year and it made me think how have we been doing on our spiritual lives this year. I wanted to share and encouragement for those who have been faithful in their spiritual life and those who have not.

What opportunities have the Lord given us the first 31 days this year to share Christ to others? Has our life so far this year glorified God whether we are eating, drinking, or whatever we are doing? Have we gotten into our schedules and routines and left God our of it except on Sundays and maybe Wednesdays? I want to encourage those who have been faithful to remain faithful and those who have not to repent get things right with God and starts this month by cultivating our everyday relationship with Christ.

“I knew you were a shorter catechism man by your very looks!”

Westminster Shorter Catechism

…in a city of intense excitement of violent rioting and the streets were overran daily by a dangerous crowd, then one day he observed approaching him a man of a singular combined firmness of character; whose very demeanor inspired in him a measure of confidence. And so impressed was he with his baring amid thee surrounding up-roar all around him, but when he had passed, he turned to look back at him only to find that the stranger had done the same. On observing his turning, the stranger at once came back to him; and touching his chest with his forefinger, demanded without preface, “What is the chief end of man?” And one, receiving then immediately the countersign, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever!” “Ah,” he said, “I knew you were a shorter catechism man by your very looks!” “Why,” said the man, “that is just what I thought about you!”

Challenges For This Coming New Year

Hey everyone! Sorry about not posting more on my blog, I have been very busy. I wanted to challenge you all in looking at this coming new year. In this I am not just talking to all of you out there but to myself also.

“Resolution 1: I will live for God. Resolution 2: If no one else does I will stand.” -Quote attributed to Johnathan Edwards. As we approach the new year lets resolve and predetermined that we are going to live for God this year, forsaking the flesh, carying our cross and following God. We need to resolve that even if we are the only ones we will stand up and do what is right before God and what he requires of us and not follow the main stream which is set against God. The verse that is going to be my theme for this year is one we all at one time or another have heard but is important to practice; Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrafice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Be not conformed to this world be be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This year let every thing we do be as 1 Corinthians says, “do all to the glory of God.”

More verses to reflect on for the new year
Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

Quote on the Priority of the Bible

‎”This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object; our good is its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.” -Author Unknown

Video Series: Fabulous Life of a Teenager by Alex and Brett Harris

Many of you have heard of Alex and Brett Harris and their impact in making teens realize there is more to their teen years than ‘taking a vacation from responsibility.’ I have read their book Do Hard Things and would recommend it to any teen. I saw on their website theses awesome videos. I hope you take a few minutes to watch them and apply them to your life. God bless!

Alex and Brett Harris

“According to popular belief, being a teenager is a fabulous life. Wild parties, flashy clothes, shiny gear—the whole decade is basically a vacation from responsibility. But God has something more in mind. Our youth is a launch pad into His mission for our life. When we reset our expectations for our time as teenagers, we will accomplish things for God that are far more fabulous than we could imagine.”-Alex and Brett Harris
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Seven laws for running the [Christian] race by Jim Elliff

Seven laws for running the [Christian] race.

  1. Run to win: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).
  2. Observe strict discipline: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training… I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
  3. Don’t look back: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
  4. Get constant encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us…run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
  5. Throw off restraints: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
  6. Discount pain: “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:22-24).
  7. Don’t let up until you cross the line: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
    -Jim Elliff

Four Reasons to Passionately Pursue God by John Piper

John Piper

I saw this very helpful and encouraging post on the Desiring God Blog.  I wanted to share it with you and hope that it is an encouragement to you to “passionately pursue God.”

Pastor John Piper in 1984; Adapted from  Going Hard After the Holy God

Why do I insist that you must go hard after God, or, which is the same thing, why must we go hard after Christ? Here are four reasons:

1. In Order to Know Him

First, we must go hard after Christ in order to know him. Philippians 3:7–8: “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Paul went hard after Christ, forsaking all the things people normally boast about; and he did it in order to know him.

Why? Because knowing Christ is a value that surpasses everything else. The evidence of conversion is whether you become a Christian Hedonist. Christian Hedonists always go hard after the highest value. They sell everything joyfully for the buried treasure and pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44–45). We must go hard after Christ, because not to means that we don’t want to know him. And not to want to know Christ is an insult to his value and a sign of spiritual stupor or deadness in us. But when you go hard after Christ, to know him, the reward is your joy and his honor.

2. To Confirm Our Justification

Second, we must go hard after Christ to confirm our justification. Justification refers to the wonderful act of God in which he forgives all our sins and imputes to us his own righteousness through our faith in Christ. Philippians 3:8–9, “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

Philippians 3:9 is clear: the righteousness Paul pursues is based on faith. But he is pursuing it! As a Christian he counts all things as loss in order to have this righteousness. The faith which justifies is a faith which forsakes earthly values and pursues Christ. If justification depends on faith, and if forsaking the world as rubbish is necessary for having the benefits of justification, then it is plain: saving faith is not merely a one-time decision for Christ, but is an ongoing preference for Christ over all other values. The pursuit of Christ is the evidence of genuine faith in Christ as our treasure. Therefore, we must go hard after Christ in order to confirm our justification.

3. Because We Are So Imperfect

We must go hard after Christ because we are so imperfect. Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own.” We must go hard after Christ because we are so deficient. A failing student should pursue a special tutor. Nearsighted people should pursue an optometrist. People with strep throat should take antibiotics. Alcoholics should pursue a support group. Young apprentices should follow their master at his work.

Not to go hard after Christ means that either you don’t trust his power and willingness to change your imperfections, or that you want to cling to your imperfections. In either case, Christ is scorned and we are lost.

4. Because He Has Made Us His Own

The final reason why we must go hard after Christ is that he has gone hard after us and, indeed, has by faith made us his own. Philippians 3:12 again: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” This sentence explodes the false logic which says that if Christ has found us, we need no more seek him. If he has laid hold of us, we need not press on to lay hold of him.

Paul reasons exactly opposite to this: I press on in order to gain Christ, because Christ has already gained me. Paul’s conversion was not a cage to hold him back but a catapult into the pursuit of holiness. The irresistible grace of Christ overcoming Paul’s rebellion and saving him from sin did not make Paul passive, it made him powerful!

Christ’s Sufficiency

I saw this quote today and though it was fabulous showing Christ’s sufficiency in all things. I hope this encourages you like it has me!

In Christ we have a love that can never be fathomed; a life that can never die; a righteousness that can never be tarnished; a peace that can never be understood; a rest that can never be disturbed; a joy that can never be diminished; a hope that can never be disappointed; a glory that can never be clouded; a light that can never be darkened; a happiness that can never be interrupted; a strength that can never be enfeebled; a purity that can never be defiled; a beauty that can never be marred; a wisdom that can never be baffled; and resources that can never be exhausted. -Author Unknown

Teens Relationship with Parents by Karl Graustein

“The world says teenagers should break away from their parents and live more and more independent lives. Most people expect teens to have a poor relationship with their parents, whether they are Christian teens or not. This is a lie that we must reject. The Word of God calls children to honor and obey their parents, and the standards do not change when someone turns 13, 16, or 19.” -Karl Graustein