Thursday, February 26, 2009

Real Hard Cash

Today would have been Johnny Cash’s 77th birthday. I grew up in a home where his music was often played and listen to, but not for its Christian value. Years, later, after I came to faith in Christ, I came to understand this man’s struggle with sin was in many ways not much different than my struggle (and our struggle) with sin – and that he and I and all of us share a common hope and great joy in having Jesus Christ rescue us from our sin. Russell Moore writes this:

Johnny Cash is dead, and there will never be another. But all around us there are empires of dirt, and billions of self-styled emperors marching toward judgment.

Perhaps if Christian churches modeled themselves more after Johnny Cash, and less after perky Christian celebrities such as Kathy Lee Gifford, we might find ourselves resonating more with the MTV generation. Maybe if we stopped trying to be “cool,” and stopped hiring youth ministers who are little more than goateed game-show hosts, we might find a way to connect with a generation that understands pain and death more than we think.

Perhaps if we paid more attention to the dark side of life, a dark side addressed in divine revelation, we might find ourselves appealing to men and women in black. We might connect with men and women who know what it’s like to feel like fugitives from justice, even if they’ve never been to jail. We might offer them an authentic warning about what will happen when the Man comes around.

And, as we do this, we just might hear somewhere up in the cloud of witnesses a voice that once cried in the wilderness: “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”
To read the whole article, Click Here. Below is a video bio of Cash's life.

From JT and Mars Hill Church

Sharing Jesus Saves You and Saves Others

Prayer Is For Us

“You may well ask why, if God already knows our difficulties and what is best for us, we need to plead with him in prayer. It is as if he were asleep and had to be woken up by the sound of our voices! This argument ignores the reason the Lord has taught us to pray. It is not for his sake, but ours. He wants us, rightly, to give due honour to his name by acknowledging that everything comes from him. But even in this, the benefit is ours.”

from "The Institutes of the Christian Religion" by John Calvin

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Four things I learned over the past week

I realize that over the past week I have not been very diligent in posting on this blog. As a pastor there are seasons when all you can do is put your shoulder down and persevere through a wave of people, issues, projects, and responsibilities that is coming your way. In reflecting on what has happened over last weeks, I thought I would share with you the four things I have learned over that time.

1) I have learned that Joab, the commander of King David’s army, was a true biblical Calvinist. Joab clearly understood his part (responsibility and effort) and God’s part (outcome) in the battle of life. Overwhelmingly outnumbered and surrounded in battle on one side by the Ammonites, and on the other side the Syrians, he tells his brother Abishai: "If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him” (2 Samuel 10:11-12).

2) I have learned that for some reason it much harder for me to memorize the eighth chapter of Romans than it was to memorize both of the first two chapters of Ephesians together.

3) I have learned that there is a place of true beauty and deep rest between Isaiah 48:10 (“I have tried you in the furnace of affliction")and Romans 8:28 ("for those who love God all things work together for good") that cannot be explained outside of God’s sovereign grace.

4) I have learned that walking from the front door of my home to the front door of the church takes 1110 steps.

God always understands . . . just run to Him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Time to Laugh

My daughter Jennifer recently posted this video called "Women Drivers in Action" on her blog. I am usually able to connect what I post on this blog with a principle or text from the Bible. The best I could think of in this case was 1 Timothy 2:14: "Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor" - but I sensed this was pushing biblical hermeneutics and my own masculine pride beyond reason. And so instead, I posted this simply because God's Word tells us there is "a time to laugh" (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Precious Than Gold Medals

Former NC State coach Kay Yow delivers the gospel message at her own funeral

Kay Yow accomplished most everything a women's basketball coach could dream. Over a 37-year career that included 34 seasons with North Carolina State, she compiled 737 victories, leading the Wolfpack to 20 NCAA tournament bids, 11 Sweet 16 appearances, and a Final Four in 1998. Outside the college ranks, she coached the 1988 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in Seoul, Korea.

But with her passing at the age of 66 last month, after more than two decades fighting breast cancer, Yow pointed her friends and well-wishers to look beyond basketball. In a video she'd recorded four years earlier with instructions to play it at her funeral, the Naismith Hall of Fame coach delivered 21 minutes of gospel, urging with deep sincerity that all who watched might come to Christian faith.

"Today, as I speak, I hope you won't be hearing Kay Yow speak, but that you'll be hearing the Lord speak through me," she opened, her voice faltering with grandmotherly affection. Yow recounted the story of her religious conversion in 1975, when a persistent Campus Crusade staff member elbowed her way into a 15-minute audience with Yow's players, during which she presented the message of Jesus and charged the team to repent. One person responded. It was Yow.

Christianity took root quickly in the young coach, her lifelong commitments to kindness and hard work folding into her new faith. She often spoke openly of her personal relationship with Jesus and penned poetry to further communicate it.

In her posthumous video, she quoted lines from these simple forays of verse: "There's just something about sport that touches every part of me. More like Jesus let it make me. Let it make me more like thee." And elsewhere: "I'd rather have Jesus than a gold medal." Yow charged her listeners not to grieve as though for one lost forever, but to "rejoice" that she had gone home: "I don't want you to fret over the fact that I'm not here or question why I'm not here, because God knows what He is doing. God doesn't make mistakes. He knows what is best for each of us. He's in total control."

by Mark Bergin
from World Magazine, 2009-02-28

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Corrective Disqualification

My favorite quote of this past week is from Erin McKean. To read the whole article Click Here.

"If you are correcting someone else just to prove yourself the smartest guy in the room, that automatically disqualifies you from the contest."

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Removing the Broken Things

This past Monday I cut down a cedar tree that was standing directly in front of our home – because most of its branches had been broken off due to the heavy snow we’ve had in Port Alberni this winter. It’s amazing how removing the tree has not only opened up our front yard, but also how it now allows us to see quite a bit more of the mountains and landscape from our front window in the living room.

It made me think of how often so many broken things in our lives become barriers that keep us from truly seeing the beauty and fullness of God. There are times we just need to take time and “chop” down those things that stand in the way, so we might finally know the beauty and fullness of who God is - and the possibilities of who we could be in Him through Jesus Christ.

. . . having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might . . . (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Podcast Feed for Sermons is Now Available

My sermon audios are now available on podcast for those who use iTunes to access audio files. They can be accessed by typing in "Arrowsmith Baptist Church" or "Leland Botzet" into the search module on iTunes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What is Eaten in One Week

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Below are pictures of what is eaten in one week throughout the world – according to family size, diet of each country, and availability and cost.

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: $260.11

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: $500.07

United States : The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: $189.09

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: $5.03

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: $1.23

from the Winklers

Friday, February 6, 2009

And the Bear Shall Play with the Sled Dog . . .

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (Isaiah 11:6-7)

from the Winklers

Morning Dedication


Almighty God,
as I cross the threshold of this day
I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Thy care.
Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me.
Incline my heart to thy ways.
Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus,
as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Thy praise.
Let those around see me living by Thy Spirit,
trampling the world underfoot,
unconformed to lying vanities,
transformed by a renewed mind,
clad in the entire armour of God,
shining as a never-dimmed light,
showing holiness in all my doings.
Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands.
May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot or stain.
In needful transactions let my affection be in heaven,
and my love soar upwards in flames of fire,
my gaze fixed on unseen things,
my eyes open to the emptiness,
fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities.
May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,
waiting for the coming of my Lord,
listening for the last trumpet call,
hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to Thy wisdom,
and to the gain of mutual good.
Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable.
May I speak each word as if my last word,
and walk each step as my final one.
If my life should end today,
let this be my best day.

From "The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotion"
edited by Arthur Bennett

Defining Human Holiness

My favorite quote of the week (from John Piper) -

“Holiness is a fancy word for somebody who is so happy in God, sin has no appeal anymore.”

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:52)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sermons now available on this blog

In response to those who have been struggling with getting the sermon audios to work for them on the Arrowsmith Baptist Church website – my sermons are now also available via a link on this blogsite on the right side panel marked Recent Sermons by clicking the picture link marked Pastor Leland’s Sermons - which is right below the picture/link marked Arrowsmith Baptist Sermons. The link will take you to a web page on with an audio player loaded with my sermons. You can play directly off of that page without any other player or popups.

To listen to the sermon – click on the ARCHIVE tab; then click/highlight the sermon you would like to listen to; then click on the play button of the audio player.

To download an audio of the sermon - click on the DETAIL tab; then click on the MP3 button. A window will appear; click download.

To download a manuscript of the sermon - click on the DETAIL tab; then click on the square button (PDF). The manuscript will appear to read and/or download.

At this time the sermons listed here are those from 2009 - the most recent sermon will always be at the top of the list. If you desire to listen/download sermons from before 2008, you can still find them on Arrowsmith Baptist Church sermon website. At some time in the near future they will all be posted on the audio player.

I am also in the process of getting the sermons on podcast, for all of you who use iTunes.

The Pursuit of God in Disobedience

Curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. (Deuteronomy 28:45)

These pictures reminded me of how I feel in my spirit when I am disobedient to God’s will.