Monthly Archives: January 2011

My Name is Jack Estrella

Yesterday in Church we celebrated Sanctity Of Human Life; one of our members is the Director of Carenet of CNY. She talked about Carenet and all they do for the work of the Lord… She shared a video and had a former client, who also regularly attends our Church give her testimony and it was powerful… She talked about how she went to Carenet pregnant and decided to have her baby. You could see how God worked His sovereign and irresistible grace throughout her life… Not only did He save her baby, He saved her soul. So, I urge any who might be reading this post to click on the above link and support this wonderful ministry.

I got to thinking that there’s more to be said… there are so many people with disease and physical and mental handicaps, what about them? The scripture was Psalm 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. Are they fearfully and wonderfully made? Did God form their inward parts? How wonderful is God’s work in their lives?

But what really struck a chord in my heart while I was singing the first hymn was – I noticed a dear friend and brother holding his son in his arms… his son’s name is Jack (Jack Estrella to be exact) and Psalm 139 hit me like a ton of bricks. You see, Jack has Autism and he is fearfully and wonderfully made by the same sovereign God who saved that wonderful clients baby I previously talked about. God made Jack and I want to celebrate his life today… I have had many conversations with Jacks dad, Matt and he is a changed man because of Jack. It’s my conviction that Jack has altered the lives of not only his parents and sister but also whoever may have the honor and privilege to know this little boy.

My wife and I often say how we’re in awe of both Matt and Amie and the grace God has given them to have and I must say, to handle Jack and raise him… They are wonderful examples to us all, I don’t know all the details but I know some and it’s not easy for them. They never-never give up on Jack and the hope they both have in Christ. The extraordinary love these two people have for their kids and the grace God has given them… Especially Amie! Matt has told me many times how God has blessed him with a wonderful wife… To see her with Jack is just pure God honoring grace.

God has a purpose in allowing Jack to be Autistic… For His glory… I can only go to God’s word, mine would be incomplete. God said to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Dealing with trials and suffering is  not easy and can be weary at times… As one writer states, it draws us to God making you more obedient Psalm 119:67 deepens your insight into God’s Word Psalm 119:71 increases your compassion and effectiveness in ministry  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 teaches you to wait patiently on God Psalm 27:14 and makes your joy less dependent on circumstances Habakkuk 3:16-19

I can only imagine the mental, physical exhaustion and suffering the Estrella’s go through at times… The Apostle Paul has some comfort for you regarding your future with Christ Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. I love what A.W.Tozer said regarding our Trials, sufferings and problems we face as Christians ” What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them. We must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly

I love that we have such a God honoring ministry as Carenet and that they are so passionate about the unborn and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I also, am so honored to know this little boy… His name is Jack Estrella – set apart by God for His glory! There is never going to be another Jack; he is fearfully and wonderfully made by God and for God.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36

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A little of this and a little of that

The Osteen Moment — Your Own Moment Will Come Soon Enough… By Albert Mohler. Joel Osteen found himself forced to answer a question that every Christian — and certainly every Christian leader — will be forced to answer. When that moment comes, and come it will, those who express confidence in the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is a sin will find themselves facing the same shock and censure from the very same quarters. Read the rest Here.

Cautions for Mere Christianity By Kevin DeYoung… C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity is a classic. It is a winsome, thoughtful, well-written defense of the Christian faith. Some of its better known sections–like the famous liar, lunatic, Lord, trilemma–have become part of the way evangelicals think and speak. No doubt God has used Lewis and Mere Christianity to awaken affections for Christ, engage the mind for Christ, and remove obstacles for the Spirit to draw people to Christ. I’m thankful for all this. More than that, I’ve benefited from every Lewis book I’ve read. But… read the rest Here

One of my favorite sites to visit when studying and want to listen to a dead guy is S Lewis Johnson… This site is dedicated to the teachings of the late Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, Jr. You can access more than 1,400 of his sermons, John MacArthur writes ” Through the years I have listened to the preaching of S. Lewis Johnson far more than any other preacher” Visit the site at The SLJ Institute

Bible Minute from Jay Wingard… Something new I am working on – a weekly 5 minute audio clip called “Bible Minute”. Would love to get your feedback. I pray this will be a great way to get the teachings of Scripture out in a quick and easy audio format. Check out this weeks topic Here

A Prayer for Friends Weighed Down with Various Burdens by Scotty Smith… I love checking in on this blog, He writes prayers on things we deal with everyday and helps us through prayer to set our minds on things above… Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 Dear Jesus… read the rest Here

The Fifty Fruits of Pride: A Self-Diagnostic 1. Want to be Well Known or Important HT: Challies

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

“A wife who is 85% faithful to her husband is not faithful at all. There is no such thing as part-time loyalty to Jesus Christ.”

Vance Havner

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Truth!

The opposite of Truth is not Error.

The opposite of Truth is SIN!”

Adrian Rogers

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Bach Quote

“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”

-J.S. Bach

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The Old Cross

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:34-35

All unannounced, and mostly undetected, there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique-a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. The new cross, if understood aright, is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure. The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. The old cross is a symbol of death. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life. God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. (The Old Cross and the New)

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You thought I was just like you

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Good Enough

“The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man was the idea that somehow he could make himself good enough to deserve to live with an all-holy God.”

Martin Luther



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Faith and Works

Salvation by faith does not eliminate good works per se. It does away with works that are the result of human effort alone (Ephesians 2:8). It abolishes any attempt to merit God’s favor by our works (Ephesians 2:9). But it does not deter God’s foreordained purpose that our walk of faith should be characterized by good works (Ephesians 2:10). John MacArthur The Gospel According to Jesus,

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Works Are An Evidence Of True Faith

Works are an evidence of true faith. Graces are not dead, useless habits; they will have some effects and operations when they are weakest and in their infancy… This is the evidence by which we must judge, and this is the evidence by which Christ will judge… Works are not a ground of confidence, but an evidence; not the foundations of faith, but the encouragements of assurance. Comfort may be increased by the sight of good works, but it is not built upon them; they are seeds of hope, not props of confidence; sweet evidences of election, not causes; happy presages and beginnings of glory; in short, they can manifest an interest, but not merit it. (Thomas Manton Commentary on James.)

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What I Learned In Church Yesterday

Today the temperature outside this morning at 3:17 am in Central New York where I live is -18… I can’t remember when the last time it was that cold out. It wasn’t as cold yesterday morning…. but it was cold, and it didn’t keep people away from our Sunday School class on Romans. First let me say I was very pleased to see more people and new faces… Not that it matters, but I just see a desire in people to hear the word of God. The word of God must take preeminence in our class; it’s not about me! or Tim or how well we talk, our position in life… It’s about Him and His word being center stage, it’s about teaching His word clearly, correctly and with authority… Doing all this without compromising the truth. It’s about studying this book and coming prepared to say something that God said… so as not to be ashamed before God 2 Timothy 2:15 It’s about giving Him the glory Romans 11:36 in our study in Romans. That’s my desire! and I know that to be true with Tim also.

Last week we gave a little background of this book… Who, what, where and why kind of things. So yesterday we started the first 7 verses, which is one long sentence in the original language, and I guess we will be there for a while. I had ready for at least getting through half of the first verse… But we never got past the word Paul. The class was very talkative about Paul… asking a lots of questions, so I went with it. We looked at Paul’s life, his credentials… Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin Philippians 3:5. He was also a Roman citizen Acts 16:37; 22:25… Paul spent much of his early life in Jerusalem as a student of Gamaliel a famous rabbi Acts 22:3. Paul was a Pharisee Acts 23:6, a member of the strictest Jewish sect Philippians 3:5. Paul was also a tent maker, to help support himself Acts 18:3.

Paul was converted on the way to Damascus where he was headed to arrest and persecute Christians there. Acts 9:1-19 The conversion was the amazing power of God’s sovereignty in salvation, to choose Paul a Pharisee… well let Paul describe himself as he speaks to King Agrippa.

“So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead? “So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. “And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. “And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities. “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:4-18

writes in his Romans Commentary “Paul himself was living proof of God’s great love and mercy. Though he had opposed Christ and persecuted the church, God had made him the Church’s chief spokesman. He could imagine no greater role than being set apart to God for the proclamation of His gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ. Perhaps that is one reason he was so effective. Who knew better than Paul just how good the good news really was?”

That’s why Paul can say without any hesitation… Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, and I love how the HCSB stays true to this verse Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news. Paul a slave of Christ Jesus and that’s for next week and that’s what I learned in church yesterday.

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