Friday, February 27, 2009

Good Series Starting...

at Wil Owens' blog. Wil has had a very difficult year that led him to pastor First Baptist Church in Paintsville, KY. God has taught him much. I truly believe Wil is one of the few people I know who truly walks with the Lord. He has challenged me much. I encourage you to check out his blog to find out more about him and Search and See Ministries. He has a heart for missions and the local church. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday's Question

How do you preach the gospel to yourself? Why do you preach the gospel to yourself?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sick Again

I woke up this morning at 4:00 with the knowledge that I am yet sick again. I thought it would be nice for me to let you know the extent of my illness with a video. I've shown this before, but it really helps to capture a man's sickness.

Friday, February 20, 2009

SEBTS and the Gospel

I'm a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am presently working on a Master's of Divinity degree there after having received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies with a Minor in the History of Ideas from The College at Southeastern. However, there was a time when I had decided I would not go back to SEBTS for my Master's Degree. In fact, I began taking some classes from Reformed Theological Seminary's Virtual Campus. Just before I graduated in 2005 SEBTS went through a transition from one president to another. I was quite anguish to see how the new president would be before I would change my mind. This post is about why I decided to go back to SEBTS and why I'm glad that I did.

When Dr. Akin came in I was a college student with enough pride in what I knew to ruin just about any church. I left the church I was serving to help plant a church in Matthews, NC having convinced myself that I knew all there was to know about the Bible and the church. That was a huge mistake. I knew very little. That became evident to me fairly quickly, which is why I decided to start taking classes from RTS. As that was taking place I was hearing great things from SEBTS including the emphasis that Dr. Akin and the school had for the gospel. Sure, SEBTS already had a great missions sending program (and they still do!), but there seemed to be a peace forming on campus that I didn't sense when I was in college there. In college I felt (maybe it was just me, maybe not) that I had to be careful to speak up with what I believed about the Bible because there was a fighting mentality. I do want to be careful not to say that was the former president's fault. I'll leave that for you to decide. There were constant comments from Calvinist against non-Calvinist and the other way around.

That all changed soon after Dr. Akin arrived. In fact, I have no idea which professors are Reformed and which are not. I have no idea how many students may or may not hold to the Doctrines of Grace. What I do know is there is a major emphasis on the gospel. This school is really about preparing the students to take the gospel to the nations. While I do not want to blame the previous president for what I felt, I do applaud the current president for his focus on the gospel. He doesn't care about where someone is on the 5 points. He doesn't care which view of the end time they hold to. But he cares deeply about their understanding of the gospel. This is what has not only kept me at SEBTS, but it has given me a love for the school. I am thankful to be a student at this seminary and I look forward to the pastors, missionaries, teachers, church planters, evangelists, and probably thousands of other things that are being trained there now.

This leads me to one more point. There is a lot of talk among the younger generation (I'm still there being only 31) about whether or not to stay in the Southern Baptist Convention. After the Conservative Resurgence took place I now see some great benefits ahead. I am part of the SBC because I love the emphasis on missions. I love the vision. Sure, I have opinions about some of it that I would love to see changed, but overall I think there's great potential. I also see great hope because of what I see taking place on the Seminary campus. There is a great focus on reaching people for Christ. As more and more students are equipped with this training I believe we will see that same focus spread across the convention.

So there it is. A brief point to say I'm thankful for Dr. Danny Akin, SEBTS, and God's grace within our convention. I look forward to what will happen in the years to come.

Friday's Question

How can the church better reach the lost world around her?

I've heard Mark Driscoll say something to the affect that it's important to study the culture. Others have stated we don't need to know anything about the culture other than they're lost and need the gospel. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

And certainly I know the gospel is what's needed, I'm thinking in terms of how the church can better get the gospel to the world.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine's Day Card from Abigail

This morning when I woke Abigail was sitting at the bottom of the stairs with my card. She could not wait to give it to me. This is what the inside of her homemade card said:

I Love you Daddy because ...

1. "He loves Roxie and me and you" (Shannon is the you).
2. "Because he loves to play golf balls.
3. "He can save my life."
4. "He loves me and Jesus."
5. "He loves trees and I love trees."
6. "He lets me get on his shoulders."
7. "He loves God."

I thought it was sweet. She is definitely daddy's little girl. She's got me where she wants me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Cross and Humility

I am preparing to preach James 4 this weekend. Through my preparation I am feeling very convicted about my own pride. This has caused me to think more about the cross. Here are a couple of quotes about the cross that ought to help us fight against our pride.

John Calvin: “In the cross of Christ, as in a splendid theater, the incomparable goodness of God is set before the whole world. The glory of God shines in all creatures on high and below, but ever more brightly than in the cross, in which there was a wonderful change of things - the condemnation of all men was manifested, sin blotted out, salvation restored to men; in short, the whole world was renewed and all things restored to order.”

Sinclair Ferguson: “When we think of Christ dying on the cross, we are shown the lengths to which God’s love goes in order to win us back to Himself. We would almost think that God loved us more than He loves His son.”

Colossians 2:13-14: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Friday's Question

What ways do you fight against pride and foster humility in your life? If you haven't yet, you should read C. J. Mahaney's Humility: True Greatness.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Obedience without Grumbling

I have the privilege of working through Philippians with y church family on Wednesday nights. It has proved to be a very fruitful time for us (I think and hope). Tonight we are looking at Philippians 2:14-18. Interestingly, this has just followed the statement by Paul that says the church is to be obedient to God even when Paul is not around. That is followed by the statement that shows the human responsibility of working out one's own salvation in fear in trembling because the sovereign God is at work in the church to will and to work for His good pleasure. So we are all to work because God is at work!

This is important for us to understand verse 14, "Do all things without grumbling or questioning." This is referring back to following the commands of Christ. They are to be obedient without grumbling or questioning God. I will stop there for this post simply because I think it's convicting enough without me saying anything else.

Monday, February 9, 2009

12 Ways to Use Your Tongue for the Glory of God

Yesterday morning I preached James 3:1-12 about the use of the tongue. I stated that the main issue for the tongue is actually a heart issue. Jesus stated this very clearly in Matthew 12:33-35. So the main problem is that we need to rid our sinful hearts of the things of this world and fill them with the things of God.

I concluded my message with 12 ways to use our tongues for the glory of God:
1. Prayer
2. Praise and Thanksgiving
3. Singing Songs for the glory of God and the benefit of His people
4. Reading Scripture
5. Reciting Scripture that is hidden in your heart
6. Confessing sin to God and to one another
7. Encouragement
8. Edification
9. Proclaiming the gospel
10. Confronting a wayward brother or sister in Christ
11. Teaching the Scriptures to others
12. Defending against false doctrine
Of course there are other ways, but I hope this helps.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Do these Verses Convict you?

They sure do convict me.

James 3:8-10 - but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

My Own Depravity

It's funny (actually sad) how often we blame something else for everything. It goes back to the Fall in the Garden. After Adam and Eve sinned, he blamed her and she blamed the serpent. This has not changed. We all do it still each and every day. In fact, I think I've become so good at it that often times I don't even know I'm doing it anymore. By God's grace, I want to become more aware of my own depravity so that I will gain a better glimpse into the overwhelming grace of God which covers my sin. Until we know that we REALLY are great sinners, we will never understand that He REALLY is a great Savior.

This is Horrific

Did you hear about the baby killed after the botched abortion? Denny Burk gives some good thoughts on his blog.

Friday's Question

I've been thinking about a quote from Piper's Let the Nations be Glad!, which say, "Missions exists because worship doesn't." I think he's right. If everyone everywhere was a worshiper of Jesus Christ, there would be no need for missions. That's why, as he says, worship lasts forever, but missions doesn't. So my question for today is, "In what ways should we be involved in missions?" I'm thinking more of those who do not give their life to the mission field (though I pray many more of us will). In particularly, in what ways should us Westerners be involved in missions?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Shall we Use our Tongues

I am preaching this coming Sunday on James 3:1-12 about the tongue. I have been thinking through some practical ways we should use our tongues for the glory of God. I would love to hear some of your ideas about how to use our tongues for the glory of God and the edification of the saints.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Few Stats from Missions Class

These are adapted from the notes of Dr. George Robinson's Missions Class at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
The Status of Christianity: Unreached and Unengaged Peoples
• Estimated 11,372 People groups
• Unreached estimated at 6,512
• Unreached, unengaged estimated at 3,498
• Unreached, unengaged people groups estimated at 638

Some Quick Facts about the Unreached, Unengaged People Group’s 100k+
• 310 are located in India
• 39% are predominately Muslim
• 25% are predominately Hindu
• 80 have no known evangelical resources available
• 278 reside in restrictive social settings
• 92 exist in extreme physical conditions
• 58 are located in places where the U.S. State Department advises citizens to not go
Access and Response
• 10% Evangelical, Bible-Believing Christians – 680 million – Saved
• 23% Cultural Christianity – 1.6 billion – Lost
• 43% Non-Christians with some access to the gospel – 2.9 billion – Lost
• 24% Non-Christian with little or no access to the gospel – 1.6 billion – Lost
Global Population Growth
• Global Demography
− 6.8 billion people
− 9.1 billion people by 2050
− 213,000 net increase every day
• India and China account for 1/3 of this increase
− Less developed countries: 5.3 billion to 7.8 billion
Human Suffering
• Increasing shortages of food and water as a result of population increases
• 30,000 children die each day as a result of malnutrition and disease-infested water
I pray God will raise up many people who will see these stats and give their lives trying to reach the unreached peoples of our world.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just for Fun

I am just curious to know what's on your iPod? I've got sermons by John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Matt Chandler, music by a variety of people, and The Whitehorse Inn discussions.

The Sin of Partiality

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching from James 2:1-13. In this text James begins by stating that you cannot show partiality while holding onto the faith in Christ. He then proceeds to tell about a rich man and a poor man coming into the assembly and how the rich man is treated better than the poor man because of his riches. Then there is verse 5, "Listen, my  beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?"

I stated yesterday that while some have argued that this is referring to those who are "poor in spirit" based on the teaching of Jesus, I do not think that is what James is saying. I believe, based on the context, that James is clearly referring to the fact that God chooses those who are poor (materially) to be rich in the kingdom of God. One reason, I think, is that those who have attached wealth in this world often times (though not every time) place their faith and confidence in their money rather than Christ. This is a Biblical principle. You cannot serve God and money. You are not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, but rather lay up treasures in heaven. Even Jesus said that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (after the rich young ruler walked away).
What is interesting about this passage is that in verses 8-13 James shows that we are all guilty of the law and then turns to focus on the gospel of mercy. The fact is no one has perfectly loved their neighbor as themselves. We have all fallen short of this command. And therefore, we are all guilty of sin (verse 8). We have all fallen into this sin based on the economic status of others. We have also fallen into this sin based on skin color, or living arrangements, or jobs, or a thousand of other things. We are all guilty. And God could judge us for that. However, as the last verse says, "Mercy triumphs over judgment."
I don't think this verse is in here just so that we would be better at how we perceive others. I think the point is that God's mercy, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, triumphs over judgment. If that is true of God, then how much more should it be true of us who are definitely not any better than anyone else? The point I made is that we must realize that when James sets us up as sinners based on the law of God, he is placing everyone on equal ground. Whether rich or poor, you have sinned before God. You and I are in need of a Savior. By God's grace, He sent His Son to bear the wrath of God because of our sin of partiality. He sent His Son to die that we might be made rich in Him (2 Corinthians 8:9). O how great is the mercy of God through Christ that triumphs over judgment for those who place their hope in the righteousness of Christ alone!