Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Goal

This past Sunday I preached a message that was aimed at helping us think through why we are here in Fort Myers, FL. Obviously, we are the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not decide what that means in the ultimate sense, but I wanted to challenge our church to take seriously a few commands in Scripture. I set my message up around what I hope to be our mission: We exist by the grace of God to make disciples of all nations, through treasuring Christ above all things, for the glory of God at all times. If you're interested, you can hear the message here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I have much to be thankful for in my life. I am thankful for my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, and most importantly my Savior, Jesus Christ. However, I also want to say as clearly as possible that I am extremely thankful for my new church family. We have been here for almost 3 months now, and the Lord has been overly gracious to me.

Last night we had our Thanksgiving Dinner together. They have done this every year for many years. However, this was a first for my family. In fact, this is the first Thanksgiving that we've been too far away to make it back 'home' if we wanted. I found myself thinking through the importance of realizing that Cypress Lake Baptist Church is our family. By God's grace, these are my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. I am overjoyed at what the Lord is doing in my life and I am truly thankful to call this my family of faith.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Mission

I posted this on the blog for our church, but thought I'd post it here as well.

This past Sunday evening I mentioned that I have been talking with the deacons about a new mission statement for our church. From the beginning, however, I have stated that we do not NEED a mission statement. What I mean by that is that we already know the calling that we have and the commissioning that we have from Christ. The clearest 'mission' of the church is found in the Great Commission. It is our mission to make disciples of all nations. However, I also stated with both the deacons and this past Sunday night that a good mission statement will help us to remain true to what we believe Christ has called us to do. With that being said, this is what I am recommending we embrace as the mission of CLBC:

We exist to make disciples of all nations, through treasuring Christ above all things, for the glory of God at all times.

I hope we will see to be true to what the Lord has called us to do.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Love Fort Myers!

Palm trees, warm weather, the beach, and a ton of other things would attract many people to Southwest Florida. In fact, I must confess I love those things. I also love the fact that there are thousands of luxuries all around. There are restaurants all over the place, there are thousands of activities to do, and, have a I mentioned this, it feels great!

However, that is not what makes me love this area. As I travel around this town I realize how many people there are in need of Christ. I realize that we have a great opportunity to reach people with the gospel. I love this city because I believe Christ is at work here and means to use His people to do great things. With that being said, it's not simply this city. I love the fact that God has providentially placed me in Fort Myers, FL, but I also long to see all of Lee County and all of SWFL reached for the glory of God. I have heard that around 93% of Lee County is unchurched! That was perhaps the greatest statistic that drew my heart to come here. God is at work in this place. He means to use His people to proclaim the good news of Christ. He means to draw many people unto Himself. And through this, I am able to be here. I love Fort Myers, FL!

It's His Church!

I have heard several times over the years people talk about the church as though we can pick and choose what/who makes up the church. For instance, this past week I overheard a conversation between two men. One of the men was white while the other was black. They were talking about the difference between preaching in a 'white' church and a 'black' church. The conversation was friendly and both agreed there is more excitement in the 'black' church. However, as I listened (they were quite loud so it was really just about impossible not to listen) I wondered if the definition of the church was a correct definition.

What I mean by this is that the church is the church. The church is the bride of Christ composed of those who believe from every tribe and language and people and nation. I think we do a great injustice to try to say anything different. Some say they're white church, others say their black churches. Some say they're traditional while others are contemporary. Some are old churches (as in their members) while others are young churches. The list can go on and on and on. In fact, often times church 'experts' will tell you that you need to have a 'target group' that you are trying to reach.

I have a huge problem with this because IT IS HIS CHURCH! The target group is pretty clear to me. We are to go and make disciples of all nations. We are to seek to see those from every tribe and tongue and language and nation become followers of Christ. I understand language barriers. I do not understand how we can justify having different churches based on color.

I heard of someone who once stated they didn't want to go to two services with one being contemporary in style and the other traditional because it says the world watching us that we are not really united. Our preference of music is enough to divide us. I wonder, are we not stating the same thing when we make excuses for not worshipping together based on the color of skin? Are we not saying something like this, "We believe in Jesus. Jesus has reconciled us to the Father and to one another. We are united by faith in Christ and the fact that the Holy Spirit now dwells in each of us. However, our color of skin is stronger than that unity in Christ!" Maybe I'm wrong, but that conversation has been in my mind for several days now.

Beloved, the gospel is more than enough to unite us together. Does our practice show that truth or hinder that truth?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Studying Colossians

I have found the book of Colossians to be a great book over the years to teach when coming to a church. Paul covers several important truths in this book (as he does in every book!) that help to lay a foundation for many things to follow. When coming to Cypress Lake I had no intention of teaching through this book right away. However, I wanted to lay an important foundation for the place of the gospel in the life of the church. In Colossians 1:6 Paul tells the church that the gospel “is bearing fruit and growing.” I wanted our church to see from the beginning that the way in which we would see the church of the Lord Jesus Christ grow was through the proclamation and application of the gospel. I still find that truth to be extremely important and foundational for the church.

However, the following week I wanted to make sure that our people knew that not only does the gospel bear fruit and grow, but it is the responsibility of followers of Christ to as well. In Colossians 1:10, as Paul talks about his prayer for the church, he prays that they would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” We, as the church, are also called to bear fruit and increase. This happens as we seek the Lord and seek to be His church. Christ has promised to build His church, and He has promised to lead His people. I hope that we will grow in grace and increase in our knowledge of God as the gospel goes forth bearing fruiting and growing.

With those two things being said and taught on Wednesday evenings, I decided I may as well go ahead and work through the book of Colossians. So far we have made it through Colossians 2:15. If you are in the area, we would love to have you come and grow in grace with us as we seek to work through this precious book on Wednesday nights together.