My professor made this comment today when discussing change and conflict:

“It takes 20 statements of encouragement to balance out one statement of discouragement.”

That’s right folks. 20-to-1.

This isn’t going to be long, or profound, or beautifully said. My point is simple: our words are powerful. They can (even unbeknownst to us!) be destructive and pain-evoking, or they can be empowering and be life-giving.

My simple challenge/throw-down/idea is just for you to try and make it a habit to be a person of uplifting words. Think of ways to intentionally encourage people you interact with tomorrow. If you think something positive about someone-just tell them! Don’t keep it to yourself! You don’t know what statement of discouragement they may be needing to battle today.

But hey, don’t take my word for it! Look at The Word!


1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.


Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.


Hebrews 10:24-25 esv

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

How to Catch the Eye of a Reformed Guy


How to Catch the Eye of a Reformed Guy

Reformed men who don’t live in their parent’s basement

Seem to be a rare commodity.

Ones who are willing to initiate and pursue are even

more of an blessed oddity.

So if you find yourself rubbing elbows

with a man with much appeal

Here are some things I’ve heard you can mention

to really seal the deal:

“Just call me Miss ESV

Why, yes these are the

Institutes you see!

My favorite passage is

Romans 8:28-33

I love the atonement,


I have a Spurgeon based blog

I write in every day.

I love beards and free trade coffee

Jon Edwards all the way!”

After saying things like that to him

His heart will skip a beat

But if he is timid or apprehension filled

You can try some of these:

“I love how godly women

Are to just sit back and wait

For godly men

Following Christ’s example

To initiate.

One of the favorite subjects is


I love the incarnation, alcohol,

and debates on paedobaptism!”

Affectionately reference Tim Keller, Martin Luther, Abraham Kuyper

B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, and of course, John Piper!

And if time is running out,

and you need to make a last impression.

All you need to do quote

As much as you can of the Westminster Confession

Studying the Holy Spirit-Part One

I don’t know how most 20-30 year olds feel about their “head pastor” but we at Grace Baptist Church of Millersville adore ours. Last night he started a 6 part series (meeting every other week) on the Holy Spirit and around 20 of us crammed into a room to learn under him. I was so encouraged by those who came, their overt desire to learn and understand, and their deep appreciation for the intellect that God has given to Joel. I heard several people comment on the depth and  variety of his tangential thoughts, and express gratitude for the way he develops and cultivates his mind.

So I thought it would be beneficial to type up some of my notes for those who miss the study, and for those who want to learn along with us via the world wide web. Realize that the study is about two hours long, and I’m just giving you the “bones” of it.Snails

We started the night brainstorming facts we knew about snails, verses our actual experiences with snails and used that to segue into and a discussion about the difference between knowing and experiencing. What does it feel like to know the Holy Spirit? To experience Him? Should I be able to speak in tongues? Should I be expecting God to speak to me in dreams? Am I missing out if that doesn’t happen?

Before I go on, let me insert that our Pastor is very secure in his cessationalistic thinking. He will be teaching from this view found and supported by the Scriptures. Though he verbally and humbly recognized that there are good, godly, brothers and sister of the faith who disagree with him…and he added, “and the Apostle Paul”. 🙂 He’s a funny one that Joel.

We went on to discuss the Theology Pie (see my messy notes below!) (also I spelled Pneumatology wrong!)  and pointed out that out of this pie, and the utensil we use to partake of it (Holy Spirit) spiritual gifts is a very small part! We went on to discuss why we make such a big deal about such a “small thing”. After we made some observations here, Pastor Joel carefully articulated this truth:

PieDuring this study, as we discover the purpose of the Holy Spirit and the direction it takes us, we will also seek to discover the purpose and direction of the gifts of the spirits. If the gifts of the spirit ever take us in a different direction than the one the Spirit is taking us-there is something very wrong.

After this we then discussed reasons why the Holy Spirit himself (not itself-we get fined for calling him an “it”!) is so neglected.  He is ambiguous; there are evidences for the life of Jesus, philosophical truths to reason for God, but what about the Holy Spirit?

Next was a dip in systematic theology as we looked at the following passages asking “Who He is”, “How He Comes” and “What He does”:

  • John 14:16-17
  • John 14:25-26
  • John 15:26-27
  • John 16:7-11
  • John 16:12-15

Who He is– The Spirit of Truth, Another Advocate, Helper, the Holy Spirit, Counselor, Partner

(one of many wonderful side notes that Pastor Joel made was about the difference between the Old Testament language and the New Testament language and why in the Old Testament “the Spirit of God” is used instead of “the Holy Spirit”)

How He Comes-Through the Father, Through the Father via the request of the Son, From the Son

What He Does– Helps, advocates, teaches, reminds the apostles, testifies, bears witness of Christ, convicts concerning guilt, righteousness, and judgment, guides to truth, declares things to come, glorifies Jesus.

We spoke of the roles of the trinity, who though are completely equal, have clearly defined roles. The Spirit’s role and delight is to do the will of the Father and of the Son. We don’t need to sing songs all about the Spirit and worship the Holy Spirit because the Spirit wants us to worship the Son. Imagine a late night visit to the Washington Monument. Is the purpose of the light being shone on it to say “wow, look at these lights!”? No! Of course not! Be grateful for them, because it’s only through them that you can see the monument, but it’s purpose is for you to relish in the splendor of the monument’s architectural magnitude. In that same manner, the Holy Spirit is a flood light whose greatest joy is for you to behold the glory and majesty and dominion of Jesus. If you adore Jesus Christ, then you are in step with the Holy Spirit!

Apostle Paul Made Me Laugh this Morning

I just finished reading the book of Acts. Take a minute real quick and read chapter 26.

Okay. Did you read it? Good. Did you crack up at verse 29 like I did? Maybe that’s just me! Because to me, it went something like this:

Paul (who in my mind looks like strangely like Gandalf the Grey) finishes sharing his conversion story and following, and shares a taste of the gospel. It’s beautiful, it’s profound, and it’s compelling.


Loud, fat ol’ Festus recognizes the brilliant mind that Paul has but makes fun of him, saying he’s probably just thought too hard for too long and gone bat crazy.

King Agrippa on the other hand is impressed and drawn to Paul, and responds, “Wow, Paul, you’ve only spoke for a few minutes and I’m already almost convinced of this whole “Christianity” thing.

Paul then responds-“That would be wonderful! That is exactly what I want! Whether it takes me minutes, or hours, or days, or years-I want you all to be just like me!”

Then he looks down at himself.

“Well…except for the chains of course. “

“Yeah, you guys can do without the chains.”

And it just made me giggle! Maybe Paul wasn’t being funny, and that’s okay! I know that that is not the point of the passage! But I do like it when I am reminded of the simple truth that God created comedy, and humor, and little giggles, and side splitting laughter. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that God is witty, and funny, and the most hysterical being in the universe. I love that we can laugh with our God. It’s not His most important attribute, but it is just as perfect as all His other attributes and should lead us to worship Him.

Monday Morning Munch No. 64 – Don’t look there

So blessed by Sophie’s words and wisdom! You will be too! Read on!

Sophie McDonald


God, You are the fullness of my heart.
You are the One who sees the inner workings of my soul and love me the same.
You are the One who will never leave or forsake me.
Who loves without measure.
Who understands perfectly.
Who sympathizes with my weaknesses.
Who joyfully embraces my imperfection (because that’s where Your glory is more fully shown).
Who died to make me Your eternal bride.

I realize these could sound like arrogant statements, but I say them because (they are the truth and) I’m asking myself why I should ever look for those things to come from a flawed human being?

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