Prayer of Confession: He Emptied Himself


Heavenly Father,

We come today as those who have experienced the deepest realities of your grace. Our sins have been cleansed in Christ, we are comforted by his love, as your church we participate with one another in the work of your Spirit, we have shown one another the affection and love of Christ. All of those realities are ours. They define us, and hem us in, and shape our lives. 

Yet Father, even though all of these deep realities are ours in Christ, we also know that our hearts are sinful—they are bent not towards humility and service, but instead are bent towards selfish ambition and vain conceit. We are not naturally inclined to sacrifice for others, but are constantly looking out for our own interests. 

We confess that our fighting, our posturing, our self-centeredness comes from hearts that constantly seek the approval of others. Desiring to prove our own worth and validation we have chosen pride over humility. We have chosen a quick temper over patience. We have chosen to tear down others rather than seeking peace. All of this is because we are hungry for glory, hungry for approval, hungry for the status that can only be received from you as your child. 

So, Father, hear us now as we individually confess the ways we have sinned against you in silence.

Father, we thank you for hearing our prayer We know that it has been heard because Jesus Christ, the one who was due all glory, all approval, all status, emptied himself. He didn’t count his status as something to be grasped, but humbled himself and became a man who died in dejection, so that we could receive his name, and thereby receive your approval. Help us to have the mind of Christ. Help us to walk in humility just as Jesus walked. Help us to do nothing out of selfish ambition that we may be a walking testimony to Christ our Savior, in whose name we pray.


ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a

Here is a word for people who know their hearts are tragically twisted and who have confessed that twistedness:

17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself…

Sermon Notes: “To Be Rather than to Seem” Mark 12:18-44

Below you’ll find links both to the sermon audio and manuscript I wrote for this sermon. I pray they will encourage you in your walk with Christ and spur you on to godliness.

Sermon Notes: “Christ & Caesar” Mark 12:13-17

Below you’ll find links both to the sermon audio and manuscript I wrote for this sermon. I pray they will encourage you in your walk with Christ and spur you on to godliness.

In the Presence of Mine Enemies – A Communion Meditation

All week long, I’ve been helping my son memorize Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” We’ve been reminding him that God is his shepherd, and God knows all of his sheep. He knows their needs, their fears, their sicknesses and their sufferings.

Verse 5 of Psalm 23 says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” For us in the church, that table is this table. The table of communion. The table of the eucharist. The table of fellowship. To sit at this table means you are not just God’s acquaintance, invited over for a dinner—you are a member of his family. You have come to live with him.

Notice that God is the one preparing the table, not us. We don’t bring anything to this table but our sin—and that to lay it down and forsake it. And the menu at this table has only two courses. Bread and the cup—symbols of the broken body and shed blood of the table’s host. 

And notice that he has prepared the table in the presence of our enemies. The enemy is at the door, yet God has taken time to prepare a meal, set the table, and welcome guests He isn’t in a rush. Though it only takes a moment, this meal isn’t to be eaten hastily. It is to be savored for all of the glory it contains.

So, if you belong to Christ, the table is set and you are summoned to the table. You are to eat in faith, forsaking your sin. And, as you eat, say with the Psalmist:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

So come, and welcome to Jesus Christ.

Forget Not His Benefits

EXHORTATION – Psalm 103:2

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 

Ingratitude is what happens when we fail to give God credit and glory for the good gifts he has given us. And there are two ways that ingratitude manifests itself in our lives:

The first is to receive and enjoy all his good gifts while not acknowledging that God is the one giving them. It’s to forget that whatever good you possess was ultimately given to you, not earned. You didn’t choose your family, your ethnicity, your talents, where you were born, or when you were born. Therefore, Bless the Lord by remembering that every good and perfect gift comes from him.

The second way ingratitude manifests itself is by refusing to enjoy the gifts God gives; to throw those gifts on the ground in front of him. Because they are afraid of enjoying “things” more than God, or to give into the “desires of the flesh” many Christians believe that the only way we can know we’re devoted to God is if we detest the stuff of earth. Just like the Pharisees, they refuse to smile or laugh, and if they do enjoy a meal by accident, they muster up false guilt to atone for their non-sin. The problem is there’s no such thing as the spiritual gift of sourpuss. 

The path of obedience is to accept the good gifts of God, enjoy them to the fullest, all while keeping them in their proper creaturely place.

So, stop mindlessly eating and enjoy the meal God sets before you as you remember him. Stop mowing your lawn because you’re in competition with your neighbor. Maintain it because God gave it to you as a gift and a stewardship. Read a good book, laugh with your children, cultivate your talents, and if you begin to question whether your being ungrateful—then go to the Lord in humility and confession. His Word is the textbook for discerning your heart, and prayer is the classroom. Let’s do that now. 



We know that every good and perfect gift comes down from you. Every talent, every dollar, every home, every morsel on every plate. And so we seek to live lives that keep all these things in their proper place. We want to bless your name and remember everything you have given us. 

Sadly, we confess that we often take your good gifts without recognizing the giver. We often want what you can give more than we want you. 

We confess that at other times we refuse to accept the good gifts you are giving. We have not shown gratitude because we have refused to enjoy the world you made. 

Father, forgive us for our ingratitude. Help us to cultivate the habit of thanking you and blessing your name. 

We know that if we say “Amen” to this prayer while intending to hold on to our sin, this prayer will be ineffectual. So hear us now, as we confess our individual sin to you in silence.

In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Ezekiel 36:25-26

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.