Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master


January 2017

Thanks from the Slaves!

Many thanks to all who attended the Common Slaves Combined Service this past Sunday afternoon at Bethany Bible Church in Big Lake, MN. Many of you traveled over 90 minutes to attend and encourage the body of Christ as well as be encouraged by it. Special thanks to Pastor Ken Carlton for preaching the Gospel with great passion and power. Thanks to the folks from Bethany who provided an such an opulent spread of sugar-based food sufficient for the great gathering of people from Crosslake, Crosby, Quamba, Hinckley, as well as locally.

Thanks to Pastor Eric for volunteering me to sing, and many more thanks to Pastor Mark for letting me serve everyone by not singing! The brotherhood in Jesus Christ is profoundly deep, joyful, playful, meaningful, and life-giving. What a glorious gift is the cross of Christ that makes such an evening of joy and gladness together with the children of God possible.

As Flavel says, “Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ!”


A Somber Exhortation from Bishop Ryle

When we have carried you to your narrow bed, let us not have to hunt up stray words and scraps of religion, in order to make out that you were a true believer. Let us not have to say in a hesitating way one to another, ‘I trust he is happy; he talked so nicely one day, and he seemed so pleased with a chapter in the Bible on another occasion, and he liked such a person, who is a good man.’ Let us be able to speak decidedly as to your condition. Let us have some solid proof of your repentance, your faith and your holiness, so that none shall be able for a moment to question your state. Depend on it, without this, those you leave behind can feel no solid comfort about your soul. We may use the form of religion at your burial, and express charitable hopes. We may meet you at the churchyard gate, and say, ‘Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.’ But this will not alter your condition! If you die without conversion, without repentance, and without faith, your funeral will only be the funeral of a lost soul, you had better never have been born.

-JC Ryle, Holiness

I am of Flesh, pt2

“I am of flesh”
– Paul, Romans 7:14

In these following paragraphs, I want to simply consider the nature of the human body in light of its relationship to the soul. In part 1 we considered the behavior of creatures lacking an eternal soul, finding at least in some degree a similarity toward many of our own behaviors and even feelings.

I am neither a scientist nor a doctor, as you will no doubt easily discern. But I am an observer and to some degree an interpreter of the data these worthy professions have unearthed, and I set observation of their data forth for our consideration.

When Paul says “I am of flesh,” what exactly does that mean? Flesh is obviously related to wicked behavior in the pages of the New Testament, but why use the term “flesh”? If we are flesh and non-flesh, or body and spirit, or material and immaterial, what is the connection between the material and the spiritual, or perhaps more appropriately, what are the boundaries of each of them, if we can even use such a term? Continue reading “I am of Flesh, pt2”

I am of Flesh, pt1

I am of Flesh”
– Paul, Romans 7:14

Calvin famously opens his Institutes this way:

Our wisdom, insofar as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.

Much has been written expounding the boundless glories which necessarily rise when pondering what God has revealed to us concerning Himself. But I find it fascinating that Calvin should assert that true and solid wisdom consists not only in knowledge of God, but also in knowledge of ourselves. Continue reading “I am of Flesh, pt1”

Reformed Bible Conference

Sunday Evening, March 5 marks the first of six consecutive Sunday evenings that comprise the Reformed Bible Conference, sponsored and hosted by Pastor Kevin Carr and First Presbyterian Church in Hinckley, MN. The conference this year is themed around the five solas of the Reformation. Bookending the conference are the patriarchs of Common Slaves, Drs. Kevin Carr and Ivan Fiske. I want to highlight also that another one of our own, Pastor Eric Anderson, will be presenting at the Conference on March 12.

Service time is 6:30PM, Sunday March 5 through Sunday April 9.

Click here to see a copy of this year’s brochure, including schedule and speakers. In lieu of a Common Slaves Combined Service in March, we would encourage you to join us for this conference, and we’ll do a coffee gathering in March as well.

Common Slaves Combined Service

Coming up on Sunday, January 22, at 4:30PM will be our Common Slaves Combined Service, hosted by Bethany Bible Church in Big Lake, MN. This will be our first trip down to Big Lake, and we are greatly anticipating fellowshipping with Brothers Mark and Erran and meeting those brothers and sisters the Lord Jesus has providentially placed in His body there.

Pastor Ken Carlton from Providence Community Church in Crosslake, MN will be bringing the Word from Titus 3:1-7. Pastor Ken is akin to Apollos – an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, and we look joyfully forward to receiving the ministry of the Spirit through the ministry of the Word delivered by our dear brother.

We look forward to seeing you there for what has become a treasured time of worship and the ministry of fellowship and encouragement.

Bethany Bible Church is located at: (click address for link to map)
511 Eagle Lake Road
Big Lake, MN 55309

You can contact them at:
t: 763.263.2167

Ambrose on the Tamed Tongue

Let there be a door to your mouth, that it may be shut when need arises, and let it be carefully barred, that none may rouse your voice to anger, and thou pay back abuse with abuse… Therefore although we are angry (this arising from the motions of our nature, not of our will), let us not utter with our mouth one evil word, lest we fall into sin; but let there be a yoke and a balance to your words, that is, humility and moderation, that your tongue may be subject to your mind. Let it be held in check with a tight rein; let it have its own means of restraint, whereby it can be recalled to moderation; let it utter words tried by the scales of justice, that there may be seriousness in our meaning, weight in our speech, and due measure in our words. – Ambrose

ed. note: Thanks to Phil Lang, lover of patristic literature, for graciously giving me Ambrose’s “On the Duties of the Clergy,” from which this quotation is taken.

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