Pastor Tyler Horton

December 2014

Providence: Am I Suffering Because God is Teaching Me? (Part 3 of 3)

It seems that the picture the Bible presents is that wherever you cut circumstance, it bleeds providence.  God does not relate to His world like a nervous mother whose son has moved to college for the first time, checking in on weekends to make sure there is milk in the fridge.  He is ever and always upholding, directing, disposing and governing all things.  But on what basis does God choose?  Does God send circumstances to match the lessons I need to learn? There are a few things in Scripture that suggest such a connection.  Proverbs is full of cause and effect statements between what we choose and what follows.  It is clear that God has made the world so that if you jump in the water you’re going to get wet and if you kick a dog you’re going to get bit.  As well, Paul warns the Corinthians that the reason “many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” is that they were partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily...

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Providence: Am I Suffering Because God Is Teaching Me? (Part 2 of 3)

Toward the end of the last post I let some of our early Baptist ancestors summarize what the Bible seems to say about God’s providence.  A more complete version of the statement they made is: “God the good Creator of all things, in His infinite power and wisdom, doth uphold, direct, dispose and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence....to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness and mercy” (1689 London Baptist Confession, 5:1).  That sounds alright standing on its own. God is governing all things with wisdom and holiness for His glorious purposes.  But our beliefs don’t get to stand alone.  They have to hold the weight of life that leans on them without toppling.  If God is disposing all creatures and things doesn’t that mean He is directing people to sin?  If it is all by His choice, how can my choices be real or matter at...

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Providence: Am I Suffering Because God Is Teaching Me? (Part 1 of 3)

Here in New Brunswick, we all have a common pool of experience with mosquitoes.  We have all sat out to enjoy the splendour of a maritime evening and we have all had that serene moment interrupted by the buzz and the bite.  I for one take a special delight in killing them.  Strategies are laid out and scores are kept.  Each successful strike triggers a surge of delight.  Unfortunately, as humans, we also all have a common pool of experience with thinking of God like this.  That He is in a state of leisure enjoying the universe He has made until the incessant buzzing of our sin gets too loud.  And then...swat!  You can feel the pulse of this fear by putting your finger on any of the religions that we have made.  Attempts to appease the gods, superstitions to ward off spirits and even just living as a good person (or maybe as a just good enough person) all spring from this impulse.  Hopefully, we have been convinced by the gracious...

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An Unpleasant Christmas

Most of us are hoping to have a pleasant Christmas.  There are many enjoyments associated with this season exclusively that we try to lap up while we can.  Anticipation grows to an avalanche.  Nostalgia cries from every corner.  I plan to revive the Horton tradition of making caramel popcorn and I already bought the peanuts.  It is good to enjoy the good gifts that our Heavenly Father gives to us (James 1:17) but that is not the only thing that Christmas is about.  I’ve been reading a collection of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas sermons and although I’ve only finished the second one, I have been challenged already.  He has been helping me to see what a jarring reality Christmas is.  It is a ‘nice’ time of year for us but the fact of God coming incarnate to the world is anything but ‘nice’.  This particular sermon was preached in Cuba and he called them to “look around at the outside world...

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