thoughts on life and theology from an ordinary pastor

How Do We Daily Apply the Gospel?

How can we apply the gospel daily? What is the Gospel? Before practically answering that question, let’s quickly remind ourselves of what the gospel actually is. God The God who created all things is the standard of all that is right and wrong, and his standard is perfection – his standard is the reflection of his own character (Genesis 1:1; 1 John 1:5; Matthew 5:48; Isaiah 6:1-7). Mankind Mankind has violated that standard and continues to rebel against their creator and reject his standard, setting up for ourselves a new standard that tends to reflect the transitory whims of our own marred character. Man’s nature is one that rebels against God, does not seek God, does not desire God, thinks more highly of himself than of his creator, and is under the control of a humanness that follows the call of a God-hating system ruled by a demonically inspired leader, the devil himself. Thus, a perfect God who lovingly created all things for man to enjoy has been offended by the very crown of his creation in that they would rather serve themselves in a way that exalts sin and Satan more than God and his glory (Romans 3:10-18; Ephesians 2:1-3). Christ But the love of God and his wisdom have not only matched, but have overcome the depths of man’s depraved nature and choices. God has demonstrated the depths of his love in that he designed a way that would satisfy His perfect standard (the expression of His own character), accomplish justice for the injustice man has done against his holy standard, and apply the only sort of... read more

Cultivating the Beatitudes

This past Sunday, I completed a series of sermons on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. Each passing week’s message was used by God in some of the most providentially challenging ways in my life. My heart has been exposed and, I pray, helped in so many ways. I titled the series, “Values for Ultimate Satisfaction.” These are characteristics that people who are genuinely a part of Christ’s kingdom value and display as a result of the work of the gospel in our hearts. You can listen to the series HERE. Below is a summary of how I defined each value (beatitude) and then steps, by God’s grace, you can cultivate each one. Essentially, cultivating these values is simply applying the gospel to your heart: Be Broken – 5:1-3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What is this value? Poor in spirit is a radical dependence upon God from a thorough understanding of yourself before a holy God. How can you cultivate it? Meditate continually on the gospel, its message, cost, and application to you personally. Meditate consistently in God’s Word. Fellowship consistently with God’s people. Pray continually. Confess sin consistently and thoroughly. Avoid those things that cultivate circumstantial happiness and immerse yourself in the sorts of things that cultivate a concentration on  your spiritual position in Christ. Evaluate what tends to make you a satisfied person. Be Sad – 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. What is this value? Biblical mourning is a continual, internal sorrow over those things that grieve God. How can you cultivate it?... read more

How Shall We Then Facebook?

Face it, Facebook (I use this as a moniker for all social media, i.e., Twitter) is a part of our culture and it is not likely to go away any time soon. Like money, the love of Facebook is the root of many evils, and yet, at the same time, it has the potential to be used for the glory of God and the heralding of the gospel. I am intrigued, overjoyed, and discouraged by Facebook’s social influence. I have lists of friends, church members, family members, co-workers, high-school friends, fellow pastors, theologians, churches, etc. I check in on some of these lists regularly just to see what’s going on in the lives of people I know – know of – or wish I knew. Again, it can be joyfully encouraging or a colossal waste of time and instantly discouraging. A friend recently sent me a note in which he was seeking advice in guiding one of his children through the decision on whether he would allow her a FB page or not. I immediately thanked God for having children who are young enough to make this request a non-issue in the Capranica home at this point. My friend’s child came up with a list of what she would not do on the page if and when allowed to have it. Good list, but it had me thinking. For some reason, Facebook has evoked an “I will not” response because it has such a potential for producing what is unhealthy. What about the “I Will’s” of Facebook? A host of “I Will Not’s” is perhaps necessary, but we often... read more
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