Friday, January 29, 2010

The Harvest is Plentiful...

God-willing, this Sunday I will conclude our series entitled "Do We Care?" at First Baptist. My first sermon was about ministry to one another. My second sermon was about ministry to our community. This final sermon is about ministry to our world. It will have an international emphasis, but it's not limited to that. I want FBC to consider the numerous ways we can minister to those local and abroad. The several commissioning passages from Jesus make it abundantly clear that it is not an either/or mentality about who we minister to. We do not minister to those either where we are or across the nations. It is a both/and commission.

This coming Sunday (the following if we get as much snow as they're calling for) I plan to preach from Matthew 9:35-38. This is a very familiar passage for many people, especially verses 37-38, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." There are several things to pull out from this text. For instance, we see the need to pray earnestly. It is a reliance upon God to move and to raise up people to go into His harvest. You can also see that God intends to use people to accomplish this. Those are both fantastic truths from this text. And there are others.

As I am wrapping up my preparation for this sermon, however, I thought about a precious truth of encouragement for this. I asked myself the question, "Why is the harvest plentiful?" Here is the answer I believe the Scriptures give in Revelation 5:9, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." The reason the harvest is plentiful is because Jesus, through His death on the cross, through His shed blood, through His wrath bearing sacrifice, purchased a people for God. He has guaranteed through His death that people from every tribe and language and people and nation will respond in faith.

I hope to say far more than this on Sunday, but this is a precious truth. The mission is guaranteed to succeed because Christ has accomplished the success through His own blood.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Couple of Ways to Donate for my Trip to Haiti

There are a few ways you can donate to my trip to Haiti if you are interested. I have added this "Chip In" widget to the right for you to donate through paypal. You can click the link there and it will take you where you need to go.

However, you can also donate through the organization that I'm going with by clicking here. If you do this, you can put my name in the "Notes" box on that page to assure I get the credit. If, by God's grace, we raise more than the $1,200 needed to go, the rest will go for supplies and materials for the trip. Thanks again!

If you do not feel led to give, would you please commit to pray for us as we seek to minister to the suffering and take the gospel to Haiti?

If you happen to live around Pulaski, VA we would love for you to come out to First Baptist Church on Saturday night for chili, potato bar, music, and fellowship. We are taking donations for Disaster Relief of Haiti.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Going to Haiti

I just found out that I am going to Haiti February 27 - March 5. This is a great opportunity to serve/help those who have been through so much recently. I am going through Youth on Mission. I am honored to be able to be used in this way. Below are a few prayer requests I can think of right now.

pray that the Lord would be glorified in everything I do

pray that the Lord will continue to work in Haiti now and that we are able to jump in and work wherever needed

pray that we are able to raise enough money to go ($1,200 per person) and buy an abundance of materials to take into Haiti

pray for those leading this trip that, by God's grace, all will work out for His glory

pray for open doors for the gospel

pray we will be faithful to walk through those doors with a boldness to proclaim Jesus

As you know, the people of Haiti need much prayer. We need much prayer. There is far more to pray for than I have listed here. Thank you so much for partnering in the gospel with us.

If you would like more information about the trip, the needs, or anything else, please do not hesitate to let me know. If you would like to help with funds there are a couple of ways you can do that. You can go through Youth on Mission Donate and put my name in the "notes" box at the bottom. You can also send something to me if you would like. If I happen to raise more than the $1,200 needed to go, all extra will go for more supplies to take into Haiti. Thanks again for your partnership in advance.

UPDATE: Here is a tentative schedule.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Who's in Charge of You?

Last month I had dinner with Dr. Pete Schemm from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. While there I learned a great lesson from this man who has poured much time into my life. The waitress came up to us as we were preparing to order and told us about a special from the menu for two to eat for a particular price. As soon as she finished, before either us even looked at what she said, Dr. Schemm responded, "We're not interested." Well, I wasn't sure if I was or wasn't. So when she walked away I asked him why he responded so fast. Now, before I give his answer, let me say I wasn't really interested either, but it was just a very quick response. I was just shocked at how quickly he replied. His answer was, "Because I'm in charge of what I eat, not her or this menu."

That has not left me after several weeks. In that moment I learned a very important lesson. It is very easy for many of us to be enslaved by things that we ought to be in charge of. Food is one of them. For instance, when challenged with fasting I sometimes think I can't do it because I'm too enslaved to food. Or, when it comes to living a disciplined life I'm too enslaved to laziness, or television, or the Internet, or Facebook, or Twitter, or a thousand other things. This lesson I learned from my dear mentor that night is far more applicable than just food. He taught me to think through every situation, every motive, every desire, and to make sure I'm in charge of my life (under the authority of Christ of course).

For me this has changed several things. I'm not perfect by any imagination, but I have already seen a significant difference in my life since that final dinner of last semester. When I'm too tired to pray or read, I quickly remind myself that tiredness doesn't rule over me, Christ does! And if I am under Christ then I will seek Him. I will work to not be overcome with sin, but rather to be overcome with Christ that I may live in such a way that He is glorified, and my joy is made full.

Who is in charge of you? Are you still battling the enslavement of sin? Are you still giving yourself over to the desires of the flesh? Or are you fighting, with all you have, to give yourself to Christ and thus no longer be ruled by sin.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Hopes for 2010

In my previous post I listed a few books I plan to read in 2010. That list has already increased, but I won't take the time to list that right now. However, I did want to show a few other hopes for 2010 (and beyond).

1. I hope to lose another 35-40 pounds (as of this morning I've lost 12).

2. I hope to complete the Couch to 5K program, and actually run a 5K.

3. I hope to finish the Hundred Push-up Challenge.

I post all this for accountability. Since I have not put it out there, I hope it will serve to encourage me to do what I set out to do.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Few Books I Hope to Read in 2010

Some of these I've already started, but most I want to finish before the end of 2010. I have looked through some of these before, but haven't actually read them (except the Bible). I'm sure there will be books that come out that I want to read as well. Also, since I'm still a seminary student there will be plenty of reading that I do not yet know about.


1. The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism edited by Gregg Strawbridge

2. Believer’s Baptism edited by Thomas R. Schreiner and Shawn D. Wright

Books for Parenting, Family, or Marriage

3. Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade

4. When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey

5. Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

Books for the Church

6. Leading with Love by Alexander Strauch

7. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

8. Why we Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

9. The Courage to be Protestant by David F. Wells

10. Deep Church by Jim Belcher

11. Christ and Culture by D. A. Carson

12. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

13. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

Books for my Sanctification and Theology

14. Bible

15. The Christian’s Daily Walk by Henry Scudder

16. Biblical Theology: The History of Theology from Adam to Christ by John Owen

17. A Case for Amillennialism by Kim Riddlebarger

18. Putting Amazing Back into Grace by Michael Horton

19. Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore

As I have already said, I'm sure there will be many more that will come up or come out throughout the year. What are some "must reads" for 2010 that you can recommend?

Starting off the Year Reading

I am starting off the year reading a few different things. I've been sick for the past few days which has enabled me to read more than usual (I guess I'm too tired to get up and move about). Here is the list of what I'm reading now:

1. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller - So far this book has been fantastic. I would encourage any and everyone to read this book!

2. The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism ed. by Gregg Strawbridge. I have many friends and heroes who do/have baptized infants. I've never taken the time to learn what they understand the Scriptures to teach from their perspective until recently. It has proved to be another good book thus far.

3. The Bible - I'm actually presently working through 2 Bible reading plans at once. As a church I have decided to use the Book at a Time Bible Reading Plan. This is a great plan because it spends time in a just a few chapters a day and gives you a few make-up days every month. However, I've also challenged myself in another Bible reading plan. I am not sure I'll be able to do this one, but I'm reading the Bible in 90 days. While this is a good way to read through the Bible, it is not a good way to meditate on the Scriptures.

4. Leading with Love by Alexander Strauch - I'm reading this with my deacons this year. I read most of it a few years ago, but am looking forward to discussing it with these men who want to lead FBC well.

5. Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade - We are reading this during our family devotions 6 nights a week and working through the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

What are you reading now? What do you plan to read this year?