Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday Sermons

Yesterday I had the opportunity to preach two difficult passages. Cypress Lake Baptist was extremely gracious to me as they thanked me for the messages, but it was certainly one of those days where I felt I need to grow in grace before I preach those again! If you're interested, you can access the sermons by clicking on the links below.

AM - A Hunger for God (Luke 5:33-39)

PM - Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Buying Books

This year I've tried to cut back on the number of books I buy. However, yesterday I ordered three books and now am eagerly anticipating each of these to arrive. According to the tracking number, they should be here next Tuesday! The three books are:

Don't Call it a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day by Kevin DeYoung

King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus by Tim Keller

Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on The Way by Michael Horton

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Trellis and the Vine

Tonight we will start discussing The Trellis and the Vine together as a church. I expect around 15 people to be present (but could be a couple more). Our church is not a large church, especially when you look at our active membership. However, this is a great response to this time together. When I came to CLBC, I started preaching immediately on the necessity of making disciples (devoted followers of Christ). I see this as an opportunity to have healthy discussions around this very topic. Would you please pray that the Lord might urge us to take seriously His command to make disciples of all nations?

Also, if you're local and would like to be a part of this, we have a few extra copies of the book and would openly welcome you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Call to Fish and to Follow

Yesterday morning I preached a message from Luke 5:1-11 (you can listen here). I was extremely pumped to preach yesterday morning. The few days leading up to Sunday I was able to let the message soak into my brain as I had completed my sermon work on Thursday morning. It was great. It had me excited. As I concluded the message I prayed that the Lord may use our time together yesterday as a changing point in our congregation. I certainly do not mean that all things are bad, or that everything needs to change, but I do believe we can always do more. We can always become more like Christ. As I preached on the passage, I stated that I think Jesus was giving a live illustration of how the kingdom would grow. He told Simon to cast his net into the sea and the nets filled up and began to tear. Simon called for his partners to come over as well. They caught so many fish that both boats began to sink. So I concluded that we need to cast our nets into the sea of this world and trust that Jesus would fill them up with disciples (based on the fact that Jesus told Simon Peter that he would become a catcher of men).

For my few readers out there, would you pray for Cypress Lake Baptist Church? We had many visitors yesterday (probably 10-15 first time visitors!) and we want to be used by God to reach them and help them become devoted followers of Christ. In fact, yesterday was the largest gathering we've had since I came almost 6 months ago. This was great, but we do not simply want more numbers. We want to reach Fort Myers and the surrounding area so that they follow Christ. We want to be those few followers whom God may use to multiply His kingdom by drawing many others to submit their lives to Christ.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is Change Good?

When you're the young guy in the church, or the new pastor, you often times have to wrestle with change and how it ought to be handled. Unfortunately, some changes that are made are often times not really needed. They are preferences at best. However, my point in this post is not first about change within the church, but rather change within one's self.

Here's what I mean by that last statement. As I have recently come to a new church to pastor there has been much talk about change. The church expected change when I came. They were blessed with one pastor for the past 34 years. In fact, he was the first pastor of this church. That's right, in almost 35 years as a church I am the second pastor this church has been under. That means the church has taken on the personality and DNA of the previous pastor. By God's grace, that's a wonderful thing. However, they expected change. I've thought a lot about change and what it would look like in the church. My imagination has gone all over the place!

This, however, quickly turned personal. Many people resist change. Indeed, some change is bad and not worth pursuing. Other change, however, is not only good, but it's necessary. In fact, anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ must constantly change. After all, we are seeking to become like Christ. Each day ought to be filled with a pursuit of godliness that causes one to think and act differently because they are becoming like Christ. That means, each day ought to bring about some change in the individual. Right? These changes may be small, and even unnoticeable for some time. But if one looks back over the past year, or 10 years, they ought to see some significant change.

Now, the church is made up of individuals who have covenanted together in Christ Jesus. Logically this means that the church, made of of individuals who are changing daily into the image of Christ, must also change as time goes on. If this is true, and I think it is, then change is not only good, but change is necessary.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Going to India

This past week a good friend of mine called and asked if I was interested in going to India with him (you can find out the details of our trip here). Since I came to Cypress Lake Baptist I've pushed for our church to get involved with missions. We want to make sure we are looking to reach our immediate community AND seeking to minister to those far from us. This is a great opportunity for us and I hope and pray that others will get on board with us. If you're interested, please do not hesitate to contact Wil Owens with Search and See Ministries.