Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mark Driscoll on Haiti

This video has certainly made its rounds since it first came out, but I have just now watched. If you can take the 1 hour 24 minutes to watch this, I highly recommend it. God-willing, we'll be in this same area in just a few days. I'm not sure of the difference now, but I'm sure the devastation is still great.

A large video is here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Going to Haiti...with Christ and His Gospel

My trip to Haiti is coming up this weekend. God-willing, we'll leave VA on Friday and head to stay with my in-laws on Friday night because our plane leaves at 6:00 Saturday morning. From there we will fly to Miami and then to Santo Domingo before driving into Haiti. This week I had an interesting encounter after talking with someone about this trip. He/she looked me in the eyes and told me I was wasting my money and my time for going. He/she said I should have given that money to the Red Cross because they could have used it to do a better job than I could.

Before I go any further, this person was not a church member. However, it does represent (I think) the thinking of many people who are on the membership roles of churches all over the place. And, to be fair, if I am only going to help those who are suffering, perhaps the Red Cross (or several other organizations) could do it better. Maybe this person has a legitimate pattern of thinking. In the moment, however, I looked back at her/him and said, "except Jesus told us to go."

Now, was I wrong? I mean, Jesus didn't actually tell me to go to Haiti. Of course I was speaking generally about the command to go, but is that even the case? In the Great Commission passage it's about making disciples. The command in Matthew 28:18-20 is not "go", but it is "make disciples". So maybe this particular person was correct in saying what he/she said. It could be stated that we are called to make disciples where we are. That is certainly true. But we must also realize that the gospel is be proclaimed to all nations.

Let me get back on track here. My main point here is that if we go to Haiti (or across the street, or anywhere else in the world) with the intentions of only helping people, then there are many organizations that can do it better than we can. However, by God's grace, I have been saved and am now part of His church. And the church has been empowered to take the gospel to the nations. And not only have they been empowered and entrusted with the gospel, but they have also the promise that Christ is with them. So when I think about going to Haiti to help, I must remember that the Red Cross cannot do it better because they have not been entrusted with the gospel of grace. I wonder how many people (and churches) miss that when we involve ourselves with mercy ministry (here or abroad), that we are serving so that we might get the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are still lost in their sin. To make disciples of all nations begins with sharing the gospel in all nations. May we go forth with boldness realizing that we have both the gospel and the Christ of the gospel with us.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Sermon on the Mount

This Sunday, God-willing, we'll begin working through the Sermon on the Mount on Sunday mornings at First Baptist. I plan to do an introduction and overview of the Sermon this Sunday, and the following two paragraphs are enough to excite me and to scare me for the journey we're about to take together as a faith family.

There is always a gap between our words and our thoughts, but Jesus' words perfectly represent his thinking. He never had to correct himself or explain what he "meant" to say. Whoever hears Jesus' words hears him. His words perfectly express his convictions; they also represent his character. His thought, his character, and his actions are wholly consistent. If we follow his word, we become like him, and that is a blessed thing (Matt. 5:3-12). That is another reason to accept the authority of his every word (7:28).

The clarity and power of Jesus' teaching is stirring, yet alarming because honest people know they cannot obey it. Some believe that it is also impractical, since it calls disciples to turn the other cheek and to give to all who ask, and these are hardly strategies calibrated for survival in a rough world. Taking the beauty, the authority, and the rigor together, it is no wonder that the church struggles to interpret the Sermon on the Mount.

Daniel Doriani in The Sermon on the Mount: The Character of a Disciple

It IS Goodnews!

When I was preparing my sermon for this past Sunday it dawned on me that we often treat the gospel as if it were bad news. Let me explain. It may just be me (though I doubt that), but often times when I have a chance to share the gospel with someone I have fear start to rise up within me. I wonder if it's because I'm not convinced that it's GOOD news. Maybe I'm convinced that it's good news, but I feel they may not agree. To put it another way, it really doesn't seem like good news when people do not realize the depth of their own depravity and the fact that Hell is a real place. If people really knew they were lost, without Christ, and facing the just judgment of God, then maybe they would see it as good news. But many people do not believe that and, I'm convinced, many of us who belong to Christ haven't really thought it through either. After all, if we are really not all that bad, and we have nothing to worry about for eternity, and we can enjoy our lives while on this earth indulging in the things of this world, then how can we say it's good news? Christian, we must realize it is good news. We must be bold in its proclamation because without this news no one will ever be saved. Christ dying in place of sinners and purchasing a people for Himself is very, very good news. I pray that we (definitely including myself) will not treat the gospel of grace found in Christ alone as bad news that we're afraid to share with others, but rather we'll see it as the greatest news one will ever hear. May we proclaim it boldly and humbly that Christ may be exalted as He draws people unto Himself.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Update on Haiti

I thought I would give a quick update on the plans for Haiti. God-willing I'll fly out of Charlotte, NC on February 27 and come back on March 5. At the time of this post I have received $600.00 towards the needed $1,200.00 to go. I thank all those who have given for this mission trip. While there we will take supplies to a couple of different areas and help out wherever we can. I am going through Youth on Mission, and they have partnered up with SCORE International. In a previous post I told you of a couple of ways to donate if you feel led. And I've also asked for specific prayers for the upcoming trip. Thank you again for your support and partnership in the gospel.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Home Worship

Since were are unable to gather for worship this morning with FBC, I want to give you a few thinks to consider. Even though we aren't gathering together, we can still lead our families, and ourselves, to worship. There are many ways this can take place in your home, so I want to give you a couple of options. We have just recently started recording and putting our sermons online on our church's website. You can go there an listen to one of the past 2 sermons, and there is one I preached a couple of years ago at a friends church. You can also find thousands upon thousands of sermons online by a variety of good preachers that may help minister to your soul.

I would also be good for you and your family to gather together this morning and sing songs/hymns together. You're at home, so feel free to think through the best way to do this. However, I hope you will not waste your morning, but use it to honor Christ with your family. Let's live our lives (even/especially at home) in such a way that Christ proves to be your Treasure!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Where your Treasure where your Money goes

I have been reading The Treasure Principle and it has been fantastic. I highly recommend it for every believer. It is a small, easy to read book that any and everyone can read. In the book Randy Alcorn brings out much about storing up treasure in heaven rather than treasure on earth. He talks about learning to live off a particular amount (which will vary with people) and learning to give the rest away for the Kingdom. I have been very convicted about this in my own personal life.

However, this post is geared more toward our churches. I think we must think very clearly through this as we prepare our yearly budgets. Where is the majority of your church budget? Of course, this needs to be looked at on personal, individual situations as well, but I really wonder where most of our "Great Commission" churches put their money. I have no intention (or desire) to go and look at everyone's budgets, but wherever the money is going shows what that particular body finds most important.

In the SBC there is a lot of talk about what the state conventions and the national convention puts their money towards, and there should be. They are to represent the churches who give to them. However, my guess is that they DO represent most of the churches who give to them. Maybe I'm way off here, but with the few churches that I've been familiar enough with to say this, my experience is we claim to be Great Commission churches, but we hold our money more for ourselves. I wonder, church, when we will recognize that we belong to Christ and are about His mission to make disciples of all nations.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life Together

I am presently reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book Life Together for my internship at Open Door Baptist Church and in preparation for our Thursday morning Theology Breakfast for FBC. This is actually my second time reading this book, but the impact has been greater this time. The following paragraph is a great reminder of the grace that we have received to be a part of the church. We could complain and have a desire to see the church the way we want it, or we could rejoice in the fact that we have a church:

Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for what he has done for us. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness, and His promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace? Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day, even the most difficult and distressing day? Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together - the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship.

From pages 28-29

I highly recommend this book.