Friday, March 09, 2007



This site is no longer in use. Instead, please visit joshharris.com.

Gone

This blog site is gone...









like Frank Sinatra,








like Elvis and his mom,








like Al Pacino's cash,








nothing lasts in this world.









Instead, please visit joshharris.com.

This Site Has Moved to www.joshharris.com

This site...








is no longer alive,







no longer functioning,







no longer a place to visit.






Instead, please visit joshharris.com.

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Site

Well, it’s finally happened. I have a new site. From now on, my blog will reside on the new joshharris.com.

All this is the result of the hard work of my assistant Katherine Reynolds and a lot of help from our friend Tim Challies. Thanks, guys!

Note: If your site links to this blog, please be sure to change the link to www.josharris.com, and don’t forget to update your RSS feeder.

Go to the new site.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sledding

We went sledding on Monday with the Lees. This is a shot of JQ launching off a little jump that some kids had built.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Holiness Requires Putting Off Sin

Today, I continue this series of posts related to my message on cultivating holiness, drawn from Romans 13:11-14:
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV)
I have shared that holiness requires urgency, and that it requires starving our flesh. Here’s a third point:

Holiness requires putting off sin.

That’s what verse 12 urges us to do. It reasons that, since the night is far gone, since the day is at hand... "let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Verse 13 gets more specific about the works of darkness. It says, "Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy."

The works of darkness are the opposite of godly behavior. John Stott sums up the list by describing it as "a lack of self-control in the areas of drink, sex and social relationships."

God says, don’t escape into alcohol and partying to solve your problems. Don’t try to find meaning in immoral sex or in living for sexual pleasure. Don’t ruin your relationships by fighting and destroying others to get what you want.

He calls us to cast off this sinful behavior. To throw it away. This is what real repentance is all about. It’s putting off sin--casting it off, throwing it away. We're called to drastic action.

Many times, when we find an area of sin in our lives, we don’t trash it. Instead, we file it away. Instead of throwing it away--really getting it out of our lives--we just relocate it to another drawer, as it were. We shuffle it out of sight for a little while. We don’t cultivate real conviction, we don’t mourn over it, we don’t hate it. We just hide it until our conviction passes.

Casting off sin means to totally reject it--to change your lifestyle so that it’s no longer an option. Where is God calling you to cast off sin? Is there an area in which you continue to stumble over and over again? Is there a particular sin you keep coming back to again and again? What radical action could you take to throw this sin out of your life for good? How can you make a decisive break with it?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Holiness Requires Urgency

I shared part of the message I did about the importance of not "feeding our flesh." In the same message, there were three other aspects of cultivating holiness that I highlighted. Over the next week I’ll share them here.

Romans 13:11-14 says:
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV)
One of the greatest enemies of holiness is apathy and complacency--the sense that pursuing godliness is something that can wait till tomorrow, that there’s no rush. Paul attacks this wrong view and shows us that we need to see holiness as a crucial need--one that requires immediate, prompt attention. So here’s the key point I want to consider today:

Holiness requires urgency.

This passage begins by addressing the issue of the time that we’re in. Verse 11 and the first part of verse 12 pile up words and images that press on us the high priority of holiness. It says, "You know the time..." and "the hour has come" and "salvation is nearer to us now" and in verse 12 "the night is far gone; the day is at hand."

What does all this mean?

Paul is addressing the fact that we’re living in the end times or the last days. In the Bible, the end times refer to the age between the first and second coming of Jesus. So, everything after his resurrection and ascension--including our own day and age--is part of the last days.

The last days are a time of overlap--Jesus has inaugurated his kingdom, but we’re still waiting for the full expression of his salvation. We’re still waiting for his final return and the glorification of our bodies.

That’s what he refers to when he says "our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed." He’s saying that the time of Jesus return is closer. Every day takes us nearer to the day when we’ll see Him face to face and be utterly freed from the effects of sin. When Paul says, "You know the time," he’s setting the pursuit of holiness in the context of the age that we’re living in. He’s saying "holiness matters because the clock is ticking...this sinful world is on the way out."

Paul uses several vivid metaphors for illustration:

First the imagery of "night" refers to the world ruled by the devil and ravaged by human sin.

Second, the imagery of "sleep" is a symbol of sinful behavior. In this passage, to be asleep as a Christian means to be indulging in sinful thoughts and desires; it means to compromise. It’s the spiritual equivalent of lazily sleeping in when you should be awake.

Have you ever slept in and forgotten a really important appointment you had? The alarm rings, but you forget all about where you need to be. You turn it off nonchalantly roll over. You’re snuggled up in those nice warm covers. You have no intention of leaving your cocoon. You’re in no rush. You don’t have a care in the world. And then, all of the sudden, you remember. Or maybe someone else remembers for you and pounds on your door and says, "What are you doing asleep! You’re going to be late! You can’t miss this meeting!"

Suddenly everything changes. Sleepy bliss turns to panic. Adrenaline surges through your body. You’re awake, you’re running, and you’re trying to shower, brush your teeth and put your clothes on all at the same time.

Sometimes, as Christians, we are groggy and lazy in our pursuit of holiness because we’ve forgotten the time. We’ve stopped thinking about the fact that Jesus is going to return. We’ve stopped thinking about our meeting with him. And so, instead of watching for the coming day, we’re snuggling up with sin. Paul would say, "Stop sleeping! Stop hitting the snooze button, spiritually. Shake off your grogginess and your apathy toward godliness. Rouse yourself! Wake up!"

If someone were to examine your life for a month--how you spend your time, what you give your attention to, the choices you make--would they say that you pursue holiness with a sense of urgency? Would they say that you’re focused, intent and aggressive in obeying God?

Also, consider--are their other parts of your life that you’re more urgently pursuing than holiness? What about entertainment? I’m sad to say that there have been many times in my life when I’ve approached the next movie or DVD or TV show with more urgency than I did my relationship with God. And when I’m wrapped up in the endless pursuit of entertainment, I’m sluggish toward the things of God.

In this passage, I believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to wake up, rouse ourselves from sleep and pursue righteousness.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Miscellaneous (in three life-changing points)

Here's some random stuff:

1. Thanks for all the feedback on the Romans 13:14 cartoons. I've been amazed at all the encouragement I've received from these drawings. Several people at my church have communicated something along the lines of "you should do this all the time." Of course if I did, I think it would get old after about two weeks. "Let me try to explain what the Apostle Paul meant by 'food sacrificed to idols' by showing you a doodle I did of a big hunk of steak..." The truth is that most passages or biblical concepts don't lend themselves to cartoon explanation quite so easily as "feeding the flesh." We'll see. I'm sure a cartoon will crop up again some time.

2. Someone recently asked if we could organize the posts on the blog into categories. Yes, that is coming very soon. My assistant Katherine has been working hard (with the help of our friend Tim Challies) on moving everything from this blog and my old website into a new, combined, neatly organized blog/website. It's going to be a big improvement from what we have now. It should be here in the next couple weeks.

3. I don't really have a third point, but as a preacher I don't feel comfortable ending this post with only two. Why do I so often have three points? Seriously, I'm not trying to. It might be some sort of subconcious trinitarian thing. Hmmm, I'll have to think about that more.

Have a great day.

Friday, February 02, 2007

9 Marks Interview

I'm a big fan of 9 Marks Ministries. And have really enjoyed listening to the different interviews they've done with some of my heroes in the faith. So the fact that they featured me this month is a serious drop in standards on their part. But I was honored to be included and it was great to be able to talk with Mark Dever, who I deeply respect, and share the story of how God brought me into ministry through CJ Mahaney.

If you're not familiar with these interviews, 9 Marks publishes them every few months. I highly recommend checking out past interviews they've done, especially if you're a leader.

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