A Very Necessary Gift

This past Sunday (12.19.21), I had the opportunity/privilege to preach the Christmas message.  
The passage was Romans 5:12 - 19.  While it is not the typical Christmas passage, it does show why Jesus had to come to this sinful world as an infant who would eventually die on a cross and rise from the dead.

Here are some of the key points:

The FREE GIFT is so very necessary because of what it saves us from – SIN.

  • Because of sin, we all exist in a from-birth state of separation from God, for whose glory we were created and in whose fellowship we were meant to live.
  • Because of sin, we are rendered unable.  It is impossible for us to think as we were made to think, to desire what we were created to desire, to speak as we were designed to speak, and to behave as God intended us to behave.
  • Because of sin, we are in a constant state of delusion.  We think we know ourselves well, but we don’t.  We assess that we are more righteous than we are, and because we do, we don’t seek the help that we desperately need.
  • Because of sin, we are placed under God’s judgment.
  • Because of sin, we are left hopeless.

The FREE GIFT is so very necessary because of what it gives us – THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD!

The FREE GIFT is so very necessary because of its result – ABUNDANT, ETERNAL LIFE.

If this truth of Christmas doesn’t change the way you parent, you work, you relate to others YEAR ROUND, I don’t think you truly understand what Christmas is about.


2021 Update

Family and friends,

Merry Christmas!!  At Christmastime, you see and hear the word “peace” a lot – in Christmas carols and on Christmas cards.  Throughout 2021 we have been reminding ourselves of the peace referred to in Isaiah 26:3-4. 

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,

because he trusts in you.

Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

This perfect peace is found not in the circumstances of life but rather in God through Jesus Christ.  2021 has been a year of blessings and some of them were very unexpected.  Here are just a few of the blessings…

January -Four out of five of us had COVID.  Thankfully none of us had bad symptoms and we were blessed by friends who helped with meals, groceries, and prayers.

May - Joel graduated from Northpointe Christian School.  He is attending Grand Rapids Community College now. 

August - Krista started her 5th year as a paraprofessional/intervention teacher at Northpointe Christian School

September - I started my new position as pastor of children’s ministry and adult education of Trinity Baptist Church

October - Josiah got his permit and had a great fall season of cross-country

November - Jadyn was baptized at Trinity Baptist Church as she wanted to make public her desire to follow Jesus Christ.

In December we started an Advent/Christmas devotional book as a family.  Come Let Us Adore Him is filled with reminders of the real meaning of Christmas.  Day 8 of the devotional says “Sin has broken the most important relationship in all of life, the relationship between people and their Creator.  This separation alters everything in each of our lives.  That’s why it is so wonderful and encouraging to know that Jesus came to earth to be the Prince of Peace.  Through his life, death, and resurrection, he would make peace between God and us.”

Through sickness, major transition times, another year at work, a new job, a new teenage driver on the road, the joy of seeing our daughter baptized, and the highs and lows of life, we want to trust Him more and more and we are praying that you, our friends and family, will do the same.



What is the focus of evangelism?

The focus of evangelism is the glory of God, not getting people to change their mind.

God is glorified in evangelism because we share the life changing truth of how God, through his Son, Jesus Christ, shows grace and mercy to sinners who repent and trust in Jesus to save them.

God is glorified in evangelism as we prayerfully depend upon him to save those we share the Gospel with.

God is glorified as we trust him to do the work that only He can do in the hearts of people.

What is evangelism?

 In his book The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever shares this definition of evangelism.  "TELLING the good news about Jesus, and doing it with honesty, urgency, and joy, using the Bible, LIVING a life that backs it up, and PRAYING, while doing it all FOR THE GLORY OF GOD."

Evangelism must involve speaking, living, and praying for the glory of God.

While many people have preferred methods to share the gospel, there is no one perfect method.   Whatever method is used must contain Biblical truth.

Below are three different methods to present the One Gospel, along with several articles related to evangelism.  It is my prayer these will be a help, encouragement, and challenge to you, the church, and me.

Gospel Presentations:

TWO:  2 Ways to Live - twowaystolive.com/

THREE:  3 Circles - www.namb.net/evangelism/3circles/

FOUR:  What is the Gospel? - www.crossway.org/books/what-is-the-gospel-case/


What does the Bible say about evangelism?  - https://www.crossway.org/articles/what-does-the-bible-say-about-evangelism/

That Is Not Evangelism - https://g3min.org/that-is-not-evangelism/

Five Reason We Don't Evangelize - https://www.9marks.org/article/journalfive-reasons-we-dont-evangelize/

Must Every Christian Evangelize - https://www.9marks.org/article/journalmust-every-christian-evangelize/

Evangelism Journal Part 1 - https://www.9marks.org/journal/evangelism-part-1/

Evangelism Journal Part 2 - https://www.9marks.org/journal/evangelism-part-2/


An evangelist, a pastor, and a philosophy professor walk into...

An evangelist, a pastor, and a philosophy professor walk into a recital hall.

What you thought might have been the beginning of a bad joke was actually my Friday night.

A student at Calvin University and a member at Trinity Baptist Church invited me to share at an apologetics club meeting.  The topic was The Problem of Evil.  Below are the notes I put together.  While I didn't get a chance to share everything in this document and what I wanted to share, it is my prayer that in the ten minutes I had and in my answers during the Q&A time, God was glorified and the truth of scripture was spoken from my mouth.

Here are my notes from the night.

My name is David Rodgers.
I am the pastor of Children and Family and Adult Education at Trinity Baptist Church, near Knapp Corner.

I want to share a very quick, very open and honest, summary of my life to help you understand why I think it is important to think about this topic.

Growing up my dad spent time in a psychiatric wing of a hospital because of severe anger issues and my mom was hospitalized because of an eating disorder. She still struggles with the effects of this.

After graduating college, I lived in the Dominican Republic for 8 years through a MAJOR hurricane. When I first arrived in the D.R., living in a third world country was overwhelming

Until I visited Haiti, where life was even tougher.

I returned to the states in 2002 and two years later my dad died at 56, from lung/breathing issues

Four years ago, my family moved to Grand Rapids, from Ohio, for a ministry position. This position did not work.  I was in this role for only one year.

Then I worked in a warehouse for almost 3 years while I tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. Actually, ½ year was deciding if I wanted to be in ministry.  One year was sending out resumes and beginning the ministry search

AND then COVID hit

My mom was very sick in the hospital for about a month.  Some of that time she was on a ventilator.

These circumstances were hard, some very hard.
In each of them, there why moments when I cried out to God, “Why?”

Each of us has suffered, is suffering, will be suffering, and knows someone in any of those three states.

In my new role at Trinity Baptist Church, I pray I can help others look to God during the difficulties and “Why?” times of life.

I am not sure why you are here tonight.

You may be here because you are going through suffering right now and are looking for answers.

You may be looking for a good debate topic and this is a good one.

You may be trying to make sense of circumstances in this world and your life.

You may be questioning God’s goodness and power.

Whatever the reason, you are here, and I am thankful for that.

As a pastor in a local church, I want to share in a way that will help you think about God and prepare you to better handle the challenges of life, and help others do the same.

Let me clarify what I mean by that.
I hope my time here tonight will help Christians, I mean those who have repented of their sin, called out to Jesus to save them, and are trusting in Jesus Christ day by day, trust him more and more.

And help those who are not to consider who God is, who you are without him, and the necessity of trusting in Him in this broken, sinful world.

I am going to be referring to a couple of books and articles and will put more information at the end of this post.

The first quote is from a book that has been a blessing to me and my family for years.  The Gospel Primer contains reminders of what we have in the Gospel.

One entry is “Perspectives in Trials”

More than anything else could ever do, the gospel enables me to embrace my tribulations and thereby position myself to gain full benefit from them. For the gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move, and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me. When I view my circumstances in this light, I realize that the gospel is not just one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere among all the bad. I realize instead that the gospel makes genuinely good news out of every other aspect of my life, including my severest trials. The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to His gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ.

Preaching the gospel to myself each day provides a lens through which I can view my trials in this way and see the true cause for rejoicing that exists in them. I can then embrace trials as friends and allow them to do God’s good work in me.

Question for you, what is the chief end of man?

The answer, man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

In talking with people about the Problem of Evil, the challenge is what do they believe about God. Here are a couple of statements about God we need to remember.

God is God and we are not.

God is Holy, which means not only that he is perfect but that he is also so “other” than us, different, separate.

God is to be worshipped and submitted to.

            God is to be glorified. Our worship is not like a microscope but rather a telescope.

What does a telescope do? It takes something huge, and so not of this world, and makes it more understandable, visible to us but it doesn’t completely represent the object being looked at.

            God glorifies himself. He is a jealous God.

            The difference between our jealousy and God’s jealousy is he deserves our worship.

            He deserves to be AND NEEDS TO BE IN THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE.

If this problem of evil debate is between believers, it is about worship, where is God.

If the is debate is between an unbeliever and believer, it is about the existence of God but really at the heart of the argument is worship.

I want to share ideas from a Gospel Coalition website article by Greg Welty, professor of philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In sharing these thoughts from this short article taken from a 22-page journal article, I am not doing them justice.

If you have done any research, even a little, you probably saw these six statements in some form.

  1. A perfectly powerful being can prevent any evil.
  2. A perfectly good being will prevent evil as far as he can.
  3. God is perfectly powerful and good.
  4. So, if a perfectly powerful and good God exists, there will be no evil.
  5. There is evil.
  6. Therefore, God doesn’t exist.

Now the “problem” with this argument is in the second statement.

“A perfectly good being will prevent evil as far as he can.”

In the article, Welty writes…

We can argue that this premise is false:  Theodicy.

We can argue that no one can know this premise is true because no one can know enough to conclude that God doesn’t have a good reason for permitting evil:  Inscrutability.

“We cannot grasp God’s knowledge, the complexity of his plans, or the deep nature of the good he aims at in providence. And there is no proof that God does not have good reasons for allowing evil but because he is good can only assume that he does.”
We “can’t come p with God’s reasons, given who God is and who we are.”

I have shared from a devotional book and a philosophy professor.

Now I want to share from the Bible, our source of truth. Here are four passages.

Job 38 – 42.

In my Bible, there are two titles given to these sections “The Lord Answers Job” and “The Lord Challenges Job”

With one small section 40:3-5, entitled “Job promises silence.” Let me read that.

 Go home tonight and circle the question marks in Job 38 – 42.

The Story of Joseph

In Genesis 50, Joseph’s brothers come to him fearful that Joseph would have his revenge after their father died. They worked out a formal statement of apology.  What was Joseph’s response?

“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good [an even greater good than my good], to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  So do not fear, I will provide for you and your little ones.”  Thus, he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Jeremiah 29:11

Do you know who this verse is written to?

This well-known verse is written to Jewish exiles in Babylon.

Do you know what the verse immediately before this verse says?

“For thus says the Lord:  When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you…”

I would remind high school and college senior classes of this context before they picked this as their class verse.

The big idea is not “God has big plans right now for me.”

The big idea is “I am going to trust God’s plans now and for the next 70 years and beyond because of who he is not because of my circumstances.”

Romans 8:28      

The "good" in verse 28 is not the easy life with no troubles.

Verses 29 says is conformity to the image of God.

As you read through different Christian writers you will see different approaches to the problem of evil (logical, evidential, existential) and different responses to the problem of evil (Free Will Model, Soul-Making Model, Possible Worlds, Suffering of God, Mystical, Narrative)

In what I shared with you tonight, in pastoring my church family, and in the narrative of scripture, I believe the “greater good” response best demonstrates a high view of God and understanding of the Biblical narrative and Biblical theology.   

“So many traditional treatments of the problem of evil assume that God’s ultimate purpose is to provide happiness for man and that is not so. God’s ultimate purpose is to glorify himself.”  Christensen.

Resources referenced in my notes.

A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent

The Problem of Evil by Greg Welty, www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/the-problem-of-evil/

What About Evil? A Defense of God's Sovereign Glory by Scott Christensen


September 11 2021

20 years ago.

I know there are a lot of documentaries, articles, and posts out about the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and this is just one more.

Below, by the book cover, is a post I wrote 5 years ago about 9/11, a specific book, and God's providence.
Since I wrote this some significant things have happened generally and personally. 

  • A couple of challenging ministry transitions including a move from Ohio to Michigan
  • The release of the book Dark Clouds, Deep Mercies (A post about this book)
  • The COVID-19 virus 
  • A new, exciting ministry opportunity at Trinity Baptist Church.
I am very thankful that the truth of Isaiah 26:3, 4,
You keep him perfect peace 
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD God is an everlasting rock.

was true 20 years ago, is true today, and will remain true.

As I think about these years, I am thankful for God's word and am also thankful for how God has used specific people at specific times...
David Ryan's gift of a great book
Rick York's leadership at Santiago Christian School
Bob Flamm's leadership at Emmanuel Christian School
Pastor Duke's preaching at Emmanuel Baptist Church
Lyle Fortney and Jim Soss's examples of living for God in the midst of hard times.
and so many other people.

I am so thankful that God's glory is made known to me...
in His Word
in His Son
in the testimony of Godly men and women
through Bible-based, God-glorifying books and
in the circumstances of life.

Previous Blog Post:

I want to tell you about a great book and the impact it has had on my life.
There is a great book on the fruit of affliction and suffering called The Hidden Smile of God.  You can download a free copy of the book by clicking HERE.
With Pastor Duke's recent sermons on suffering (Suffering is the Pathway to Glorification The Weight and (Wait) of Glory) Jim Soss and Lyle Fortney's testimony video and EBC's upcoming "God Healing for Life's Losses" conference,   I have been thinking about suffering and the glory of God.  When I think about this topic, I am reminded of The Hidden Smile of God.

First of all I want to let you know about the book.  So I took some quotes from the Desiring God website.
Bunyan. Cowper. Brainerd.
John Bunyan suffered long-term imprisonment, even when a simple promise to cease preaching would have freed him, and he was moved to rely on God even more. Despite month after month of debilitating depression, William Cowper’s poetry reflected the sustaining character of God and led him to worship more deeply. David Brainerd so desired to honor God that, through the loneliness of wilderness ministry and the agony of tuberculosis, he pressed on, transforming world missions forever.
For John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd, the loving purpose of God in pain was one of the most precious truths in the Bible and one of the most powerful experiences of their lives.
Now let me tell you some personal stories in how God has used The Hidden Smile of God in my life to remind me of God's glory in the midst of suffering.
I received my FIRST copy of The Hidden of Smile of God almost 15 years ago.  I don't remember the exact date I received many books BUT this one I do.  It was September 11, 2001.  I was teaching in the Dominican Republic.  We received mail once a week, on Tuesdays.  The pilots who brought us our mail had to stay in the Dominican Republic because flights were cancelled.  I remember receiving this book on suffering from my brother-in-law on one of the biggest days of suffering in my lifetime.  Seeing the news stories.  Wondering what was happening.  We taught students from all over the world.  The Dominican Republic, South Korea, Germany, Italy and Canada.  Many of them came to school to let us know that they loved us and our country and they wanted to help us if needed.  It was hard to process everything going on, especially being outside of the United States but God used this book of biographies to help me think through suffering and God's glory.
Spring ahead about four years.  Christmas, 2005.  The mercury fire at Emmanuel Christian School.  A couple of students vandalized the school where I taught.  This resulted in a fire that "mercurized" - a word made up by that year's senior class - the high school.  Krista and I lived in a small apartment so I had all of my books including my FIRST gift copy of The Hidden Smile of God in my classroom.  My books were in my classroom with no obvious damage but they were "mercurized."  Unusable.  I saw all of my books and other classroom things on a video but would not be able to have any of it.  I lost my September 11th copy of The Hidden Smile of God along with so many other precious items like a file of encouraging notes from friends and family.  What was especially hard was there were many notes from a good friend of ours in the Dominican Republic - Heidi Goodbar, a creative, artistic, encouraging co-teacher who died from cancer.
Someone suggested that I write Desiring God about the fire and losing several books, including The Hidden Smile of God.  I did and they blessed me by sending me the books I lost in the fire along with a couple of other books.  So I received my SECOND copy of the book.  It was not signed by my brother-in-law and it wasn't received on the day of a national tragedy.  Another blessing during this time was watching Bob Flamm, the teachers and the students work together that second semester to finish the year well despite very challenging circumstances.
As I think about my SECOND copy of The Hidden Smile of God and as I think about Jim Soss, Lyle Fortney, Heidi Goodbar, and many others who have suffered or are suffering through the circumstances of life, I am so thankful for the Hidden Smile of God, not Piper's book but rather God's providence written about in William Cowper's hymn "God moves in a mysterious way."
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will. 
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head. 
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face. 
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower. 
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
For more about William Cowper's life read The Hidden Smile of God or at least read Tim Challies' article about William Cowper.

I am so thankful that God's glory is made known to me...
in His Word.
in His Son.
in the testimony of Godly men and women.
through Bible-based, God-glorifying books and 
in the circumstances of life.


Where I Didn't Plan To Go


Our family recently chose Isaiah 26:3-4 as a family verse for this next phase of life.  We want to focus on God and trust in Him because He is an everlasting rock.  He has always helped and sustained us, especially during these last 4 1/2 years.  And we look forward to what He has for us going forward.

Sunday night Trinity Baptist Church voted to call me to join the pastoral team as associate pastor of children ministries and Christian education.  I am very excited about this specific opportunity, especially after three years out of vocational ministry.   We are very thankful for the prayer and encouragement from so many different people.

Four years ago (August 2017), we moved to Grand Rapids for a ministry.  

Three years ago, (August 2018), the ministry we moved here for didn’t work out.  

From the summer of 2018 to the summer 0f 2019, for many different reasons, I struggled with what was next for me.  This was evidenced in many different posts and journal entries, including - Be Here Until and A Letter to Those Struggling in Ministry.  A Paul Tripp quote that has really stuck with me is "In grace, he leads you where you didn't plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn't achieve on your own."  I have been reminded of the truth in that quote so many times over the last 4 1/2 years.  

During the second half of 2019, I began the process of even more aggressively searching for a ministry.  

And then 2020.  Not sure if you knew this or not, but most things in 2020 did not go as planned for everyone.  The ministry search didn't really go anywhere as churches were working through how to get the lock-downs and so many other unique problems.  

The amazing thing is that through these transition times and a pandemic and so much more God has shown Himself faithful and loving.  While there are many ways He showed this, I want to share two.

  1. A job I didn't plan for at an amazing place.  I would have never thought I would have worked in a warehouse for almost three years.  But I did and during my time there I was able to listen to a lot of audiobooks, pick up some new skills, and make some great friends.  I have told my InOnTime co-workers and others that while I did not want a logistics/warehousing job for these three years, I am so thankful for time to work at In On Time, a great company and great people.
  2. A church we love being part of.  After visiting some great churches in the surrounding Grand Rapids area, we began attending Trinity Baptist Church in October 2018.  It was great to be cared for by a church that has great Bible teaching and caring people.  We got involved in different ministries.  I served as an elder.  AND NOW, after almost 3 great years at Trinity Baptist Church, I have the privilege and opportunity to serve here as pastor of Children's Ministries and Christian Education.  I have had tremendous opportunities to do ministry while not in vocational ministry.  I pray I would bring lessons I learned like ministry is not a formal position, it is a mindset to this new role at Trinity. 
I have learned so many things over this time - ministry lessons, differences and similarities between ministry & vocational ministry, Biblical lament, forklift skills, Zoom-etiquette, and especially God's faithfulness.  

Here is the sermon I preached this Sunday for my candidating weekend.  Romans 1:16 and 17.


Brief Family Update & Made Holy - Tuesday

First, I thank my God for the opportunities, blessings, and challenges over these last several years.  Second, I thank Him for this great ministry opportunity to serve Him and Trinity Baptist Church as part of the pastoral team.  

I must say I am very excited about this great ministry opportunity.  It is my hope and prayer that people will see this not as my opportunity to serve and minister to the church but rather an expanded, even more focused opportunity to serve and minister to the church.  Trinity has been such a blessing to my family and me over the last three years and I pray that we have been able to bless and encourage others as we have served in different ways.  As a pastor at Trinity, I want to help each member and soon-to-be member see the importance of being equipped to and making the most of opportunities to serve.  

I am planning to share a more detailed post tomorrow.  

Here are some thoughts, quotes, and a song to help with the assignment from Sunday Holiness class. 

Learning and meditating on Biblical doctrines, reading and re-reading Gospel-centered books, and listening to songs are great ways to rehearse/remember the gospel.


Sanctification is the ongoing work of God in the life of the believer, whereby the Spirit of God, in cooperation with the believer, brings about holiness in the character, conversation and conduct of the believer. 

Initial sanctification is being set apart from the power of sin and set apart unto God. This occurs at the moment one is saved (1 Cor. 1:2,6:11; Heb. 10:10; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2). 

Progressive sanctification is a supernatural process accomplished through the Father (1 Thess. 5:23), the Son (Eph. 5:26) and the Holy Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2) and in cooperation with man (Romans 8; Galatians5; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Cor. 15:10). Progressive sanctification is also an ongoing process (Phil. 1:6) towards the goal of Christ-likeness (Rom. 8:29). 

Ultimate sanctification is when believers will be completely conformed to the image of Christ and free from the presence of sin (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 15:50; Rom. 8:23, Phil. 3:21).

Good Books:

The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent

Saved for Good Works 

Through the gospel I learn not only of the saving works of God on my behalf, but I also learn that one of God’s key purposes in doing these works is to put me to work myself.

The Bible tells me that when Christ redeemed me, He did so in order that I might now be “zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)  When God “works” in me day by day, He does so in order to produce in me the desire and the power to “work for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12, 13)  Indeed, though I am saved by grace and not by works, I am God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that [I] would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) 

Being naturally lazy, I do not normally thrill at the prospect of work; but the more I embrace the saving work of God on my behalf, the more I find myself embracing the works for which God saved me. And as I am “working hard” at doing these works for the good of others, I experience the truth of Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:34 - 35)  I also find myself saying with Christ, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:32 - 34)  Indeed, gospel-motivated works do for the soul what food does for the body. They bring refreshment, enjoyment, blessing, and strengthening to the doer of the deeds, even more so than to the receiver. Hence, the fact that God has prepared such works for me to do becomes a part of what makes the gospel such great news to me. 

Preaching the gospel to myself each day not only reminds me of the love of God for me, but it also reminds me of the love of God for the works that He has saved me to perform. When I see the Cross, I see the premium that God places on the works that He has prepared for me. How valuable all of these works must be if Christ would die so that I might now perform them! And how precious are those for whom these works are done if Christ would die that they might be served!


 Good and Gracious King 


Made Holy - Monday

This summer Trinity Baptist Church's Adult Sunday School class has been an 8-week combined study on Holiness.  I was asked to teach the Week 7 (Made Holy) and Week 8 (Be Holy) lessons.  

I shared the following definition 

a progressive work of God, initiated, empowered, and eventually completed by God, in and with the believer that makes the believer more and more free from sin and transforms the believer more and more into the image of Christ (adapted from Grudem and MacArthur's Systematic Theology).

This quote from J.C. Ryle, who lived from 1816 to 1900, is still very true today.  

"I do not have a desire to make an idol of holiness.  I do not wish to dethrone Christ and put holiness in His place.  But I must candidly say, I wish sanctification was more thought of in this day than it seems to be, and I, therefore, take occasion to press the subject on all believers into whose hands these pages may fall.  I fear it is sometimes forgotten that God has married together justification and sanctification.  They are distinct and different things, beyond question, but one is never found without the other.  

At the end of this Sunday's Adult Sunday School class, I gave an assignment to the class.

  • Remember/Rehearse what God has done for you throughout this past week.
  • Plan to share an encouraging thing you remembered, learned or did.


Find a passage of scripture like the ones we looked at in class (Ephesian 2 and Romans 1) that show the transformation from death to life.  Meditate on the verse.  Memorize the verse.


Find song that sing Biblical truth.  Here is a link to the song we listened to in class - Only A Holy God.


Senior Breakfast 2021

This is the manuscript of the devotional I shared at Northpointe Christian's Senior breakfast.

Hello!  I am Joel Rodgers’ dad, and I am very thankful to have a couple of minutes to talk with you, the graduates, and parents of the graduates this morning.

Four years ago, we moved to Grand Rapids and five days, before school started, we enrolled at Northpointe.  3 years ago, the ministry we moved here for didn’t work out.  Just about a year and a half ago the pandemic hit.  Throughout these challenges and many others, God has helped us in so many ways, and often these blessings and encouragements came through our Northpointe family, including people in this room.  Thank you so much for being used by God.   

One of my responsibilities has been trying to help him understand and appreciate 1980’s culture.

Roller skating, thin ties.

and the movie this quote comes from.

If you don’t recognize this quote your education is not complete, whether you are a student or a parent.

In thinking about what to share this morning to help us pray for the class of 2021, my son, and your sons and daughters.

I thought about one truth I need to remember, I want to encourage Joel to remember, and I need to remember. 

And I was reminded of a passage of scripture that points to this truth.

One verse in this passage is a verse that people use a lot around graduation.
AND it is a great verse.  The problem is the verse is so much better than what people often think it means.

Some people keep using this verse, but I know it does not mean what they think it means.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

We often think of this verse as “You are awesome, and God has planned awesome things for you.”

That is not the case. 

This might be a shocker but today, this day, May 24, 2021 is about so much more than a celebration of these seniors.
Today is a celebration of our loving, sovereign, powerful, merciful, God has been, is, and will continue working in each of these seniors’ lives.

Jeremiah 29 is written to Jews who have been exiled to Babylon. 
God tells them while in exile…
  Build houses and live in them.
  Plant gardens and eat their produce.
  Marry and have children.
  See their children marry and have children.
  Be fruitful and helpful in the cities, you have been exiled to.

In summary, God tells them live life, AND
Verse 10 says after 70 years God will fulfill his promise. 

Then verse 11. 

Verses 12 through 14, show that the blessing is not the fulfilled promise,
The blessing is him; the blessing is God.

Jeremiah 29:11 – specifically, and all of God's word in its entirety is not about how awesome we are and what great things we deserve.

It is about how awesome God is and what a great, omniscient, loving, sovereign provider He is.

It is about HOW OUR HOPE MUST BE IN GOD!  That is the big idea. 


I know this is high school graduation day.  A HUGE milestone in a graduate and a parents’ life, and this quote related to parenting is still a good thing to remember and a great thing to pray for our graduates.

Our goal in parenting is not ultimately for our kids to get a great education or
to be great athletes or
to find a great husband or
get a great career.
Our goal is for them to love a great God.

Students and parents, know this,
  Good grades or not so good grades, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
  Lots of honors and awards or no honors or awards, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
  Athletic or not, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
  Musical or not, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
  Extrovert or introvert, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
  Big college plans, other plans, or not sure about your plans, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM
  Time of joys and blessing or times of heartbreak and challenge, HOPE IN GOD & LOVE HIM

I want to encourage each of us to love God more today than you did yesterday and more tomorrow than you do today. 

Hope in God, not the gifts He gives. 

Let's pray.

Our blessed God, the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Through your great mercy you have saved us and given us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for Jesus Christ.

Through him, we have an imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance kept in heaven for us.  Hope and Life that is greater than ANYTHING this world can offer.   

Help each of us find our ultimate joy in you during great days like today and during difficult, challenging times like a pandemic. 

May our lives bring you the praise and glory and honor that you deserve!

Amen!  (adapted from 1st Peter 1:3 – 7)

Here is a great reminder in song...


National Day of Prayer 2021

Today is National Day of Prayer.  "The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a 'National Day of Prayer.'" (www.whitehouse.gov/)  Wherever you work, whatever you do, understand this BY CONGRESSIONAL LAW AND PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION, CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN CALLED ON TO PRAY TODAY!  

I have the privilege of working at a Christian owned company, Inontime, so during our morning meeting time I shared the following.

This year's National Day of Prayer theme is 2 Corinthians 3:17.  

Remember this verse and ALL of scripture is NOT about American national pride and political freedom.  I am proud of my country and thankful for political freedom but this verse is about so much more than these things.
It is about freedom in Christ that enables us to see life through a Biblical worldview and to be transformed into the image of Christ.  
For an explanation of this verse in context, check out Look at the Book on 2 Corinthians 3:15-18

Verses 14 and 15 refer to dull minds, veiled sight and veiled hearts.
Verses 16 and 17 say that Jesus Christ removes the veil and gives freedom.
Verse 18 refers to the transformation those in Christ experience.  


Thank you for the freedom you have given us in Christ.

Freedom to see and understand that we are sinners in a fallen world in desperate need of a savior
Freedom to be transformed into the image of Christ by your power and your grace.  
Freedom to love others no matter where they are at spiritually because you loved us when we were still sinners.



Challenges from Lead

Reading Lead by Paul Tripp has been a blessing because I took a different approach to reading this book.  I slowly went through the book.  This helped me think about what each chapter was about and what I needed to learn and/or remember about each topic.  
Part of this reflection time included writing a general, leadership prayer for each chapter.  I put the links for each prayer below.  
Another part of this reflection time was a more personal prayer.

The following two quotes helped me think about the theme of this book.
"Because we are not sovereign over the situation in which we minister, because we have no power to change people's heart, because we are often in the way of instead of being part of what God is doing, because we cannot predict the future, we have no ability on our own to achieve ministry growth or success." 
"Ministry success is a testament to who God is and what he is willing to do through us by grace."
Ministry leaders need to have a ministry team helping one another through, not just this specifically rough time, but even so times of blessing AND challenge.  I would recommend church and ministry leaders read this book.  It will be a blessing and a challenge.

  1. Achievement
  2. Gospel
  3. Limits
  4. Balance
  5. Character
  6. War
  7. Servants
  8. Candor
  9. Identity
  10. Restoration
  11. Longevity
  12. Presence

Introducing 'Lead' by Paul David Tripp from Crossway on Vimeo.