Author: Jesse Pirkle

The Gospel has the Power to Drive Out Shame

Sin is ugly. Rarely does sin have only one consequence. More often, sin has a web of consequences. In John 4, we can see a few of those consequences playing out in the life of the Samaritan woman. First, the Samaritan woman came to draw water at the sixth hour, that is, about noon (v6-7). Why would anyone come to draw water at noon? The context seems to point to the fact that no one else was there during that time, except for Jesus. It’s speculated that the Samaritan woman came to the well at this time intentionally. She wasn’t coming to the well because she knew Jesus would be there, but likely to avoid shame she would feel in the presence of other people. There’s one consequence of sin—shame. Perhaps the shame she already feels is what led her to the well—all alone—at this hour. Sin also tends to separate us from other people. Whether we withdraw from community, or the community withdraws from us, sin can be found at the heart of this division. …

You Can Have Unshakable Confidence in Christ

Have you ever heard of Saint Augustine? Before his conversion to Christ, Augustine was known for his sexual appetite. He often indulged his flesh, as all unbelievers do in some form. While traveling, Augustine heard the gospel and responded in faith and repentance. Upon returning home, it is said that his former lover called out to him “Augustine, Augustine, it is I!” Augustine turned to her and said, “Yes, but it is not I.” Something changed in Augustine. His salvation not only altered what he believed in his mind, but also his desires and his will. In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Paul writes, “For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: if one died for all, then all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised” (CSB, emphasis mine). I wish I could draw out every single treasure in these two verses. I’m often overwhelmed by this passage of Scripture as …

Giving Grace To The Undeserving Spouse

He did it again. His wife is growing bitter as empty promises fill the room for the third time. “I won’t mess up again.” “I’ll do better.” “I’ll get help.” All words she’s heard before. Broken. Alone. Betrayed. Devastated. She begins to contemplate divorce. Reverse the roles and you end up with the same disappointment, the same hurt. I don’t think any other person has the power to hurt us the way our spouse can. As much potential as our spouse has to hurt us, it is also true that no other person on the planet can love us the way our spouse can. This has certainly been true for myself and my wife, Kyndel. We have both caused each other immense pain. However, the mountain tops are higher than any I’ve ever experienced. Matt Chandler, a pastor in Dallas, Texas, has said, “Love says: ‘I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying.’” What a powerful way to live out the gospel! Shannon hit the nail on the head on Sunday when he …

Working Hard for The Sake of the Gospel

What comes to your mind when you think about working hard? My mind tends to drift to some of my family members. I specifically think about my grandfathers, who both set an incredible example for me in this respect. I think about men and women in the Bible who worked hard; the Apostle Paul always comes to my mind. He endured all kinds of suffering because of his ministry, and yet he persevered to the end. In light of Paul’s suffering, how did he continue to work hard? How did he encourage those under his influence to persevere? We get a good glimpse of Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1, “Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.” Paul goes on instructing Timothy to teach other men, share in the sufferings of Christ, and to work hard in his ministry. I want to encourage you the same way Paul encourages Timothy (and us) to work hard for the advance of the gospel. But first, a …

How Do I Go And Make Disciples?

As a church, Southern Hills wants to be identified mainly by fulfilling the Great Commission. The Great Commission comes from Matthew 28:18-20, and we have made this our mission as a church—making disciples who make disciples. I’ve spoken to many people who have some fears when it comes to actually taking part in our mission; fears of not knowing where to start, or even what to say. One way to fulfill our mission is by inviting a friend, family member, neighbor, or coworker to church. While a good start, I want like to encourage you to do even more. The Scriptures give lots of description of what happens when someone becomes a Christian. I have taken much comfort from these passages and I would like to share a few with you, in hopes that the Word would embolden you. Here are a few realities of what God is up to when we share the gospel with people (and reminders of what He did for us): opening blind eyes and shining light (see 2 Corinthians 4:1-6) …

Meditating on the Goodness of God

Over the past few years, I have been greatly influenced and impacted by corporate worship through song. Whether it be with my church body, other believers at a conference, in the car by myself, or in the living room with my wife, I have come to love singing songs to the Lord. Psalm 96:1-2 says, “Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.” This Sunday, November 5, we’re singing a new song! We’ll also be singing a song that has become one of my favorites— King of My Heart. Through this song, we meditate on the goodness of our God. We meditate on the fact that God is our provider and sustainer— we are utterly dependent upon Him. I particularly like the bridge of this song, which repeats, “You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.” These are such sweet words to meditate on if we truly understand them. These words are like honey to our …

What Do Your Words Reveal About Your Heart?

When I was a kid, I remember seeing an illustration regarding my words. Maybe you’ve seen this illustration as well: two individuals are put head to head, squeezing toothpaste out of a tube as fast as they can. Once completed, the participants are then instructed to put the toothpaste back inside the tube. As you can imagine, this is an impossible feat and you’re left with a mess. I’m not sure exactly when in my childhood I participated in this experiment, but it has stuck with me for at least 15 years. Usually, if you do this activity with a group of kids, the atmosphere is fun and playful (unless you are the one in charge of cleaning everything afterward) and I think this helped the lesson stick with me. I remember the teacher explaining to us that our words are like the toothpaste, “Once you say something, you can’t take it back. It’s out there.”  Unfortunately, the illustration falls short when it comes to the clean-up. A mess made by toothpaste is much easier …

Speaking the Truth Within Community

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:14-16, emphasis added One common issue our counselees express in Biblical counseling is the feeling of being stuck spiritually. These believers usually read their Bibles at least occasionally outside of Sunday morning and spend time in prayer, but still feel as if they are not growing. I have been in that place, and so have many of my friends and family members. Often times, the underlying problem is a lack of biblical …

Love Your Neighbors And Your Enemies

The biblical command to love your enemies is likely one of the most difficult commands to follow in the Bible. Personally, I am tempted to just ignore my enemies. Whether it be someone I disagree with, who has wronged me, who has threatened me, or something else, I am really good at ignoring that person. I just pretend like that person doesn’t exist. If you don’t ignore your enemies, maybe you struggle with the tendency to want to hurt your enemy in return. Maybe you gossip about them. Or maybe you go out of your way to make their life miserable. Perhaps you make sure they do not get that job by digging up dirt about them. Whether you struggle with ignoring your enemies or are out to get them, we are disobeying Christ. Of course, Jesus knows that it is “normal” to hate an enemy. He says: You have heard the law that says, “Love your neighbor” and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In …

God Hears and Responds to Your Distress

Jonah prayed. Before we look at some of the aspects of his prayer, let it sink in that he prayed. In chapter one, we learn that Jonah tried to flee from the Lord’s presence by boarding a boat to Tarsus. In response, the Lord caused a mighty storm. The storm ceases once the pagans on the ship cry out to the Lord and throw Jonah into the sea. The Lord appoints a great fish to swallow Jonah. “Then Jonah prayed” (Jonah 2:1). I remember hearing this story when I was a child and I was always thought that the Lord was punishing Jonah by appointing the fish. But when we examine Jonah’s prayer, we see that’s not what Jonah thought! I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! – Jonah 2:6 Jonah was going to die if not for the fish. The fish was not an instrument of punishment; the fish was an …