Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"A Halted Work"

Mark 6:5-6 “And He [Jesus] could do no mighty work there, except that He laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief."

     I read these verses (actually the entire chapter) this morning during my quiet time with the Lord. I thought, here was Jesus Christ Himself among the religious folks of the day, and His work was interrupted due to their unbelief. Actually, the text says, “He could do no mighty work there…” The reality is that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and He can do whatever, whenever, however He wants to do it. Yet, Jesus chose not to do anything among them due to their lack of faith or unbelief in Him.

     The text caused me to consider my own life and faith. The Apostle Paul reminds the Roman believer, “For whatever does not precede from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b). Therefore, a life lived not in faith of God through Christ is sin. My thoughts, actions, and words not offered in faith is sin against God. This causes me to ask—am I hindering the work of Christ in my personal, family, and church life due to my unbelief? The faith, which believes God to be who He says He is and to do what He says He will do. The faith that was granted to me at the moment of salvation to believe upon the name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to live a perfect life, die a substitutionary death, and be raised on the third day for my eternal salvation. Is my faith in a preacher? Is my faith in a denomination? Is my faith in a friend? Is my faith in my children or grandchildren? Absolutely not! As believers, our faith is not in anything or anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. 

     I am of the opinion that God does not need anyone or anything. However, God uses means to bring about His end. His end is simply that His glory would be made known throughout the world. How does He accomplish this end? God redeems sinners through the preaching of His gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit to bring sinners to Himself. And once God grants repentance and faith to sinners, they continue to live a life of repentance and faith. As a matter of fact, repentance and faith will increase as their walk with God deepens. This is what it means to be “saved.” Salvation is not a “one and done” thing, but a continual walk of brokenness over our sin and unbelief in who God says He is and trust in what He says He will do. True believers will have a holy hatred for sin and will grow in faith by trusting in Christ for their salvation evermore.

This brings me to ask a few questions:
1. How is your faith? Is it increasing or decreasing? Is it growing or dying? If it is decreasing, perhaps your faith is not in Christ or it has never been placed in Christ, but somewhere or in someone else.
2. Is your faith serving others? Do you see your faith as only self-serving?
3. Has the cause of Christ been halted in your own life, your family’s life, and the life of your church because of your lack of faith? Your faith is either helping or hindering the cause of Christ.
4. What do you believe God is doing in your life, your family’s life and the life at your church? Do you have any expectations that God is doing something wonderful in and through you to accomplish His ends by using you as a means? If not, your faith is either small or non-existent.

May the Lord increase His people’s faith as we echo the words of a father from Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!"

Monday, August 15, 2016

"The Gospel and 167 Years of Grace"

“The Gospel and 167 Years”

 Matthew 16:18 “...I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” 

      The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the apple of God’s eye. God’s love for His Bride is manifested in all believers, throughout all the ages, and from all nations. God’s love is expressed mainly through the local church, where the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, is proclaimed. The proclamation of the gospel and the saving of sinners is where God receives most glory. The church is an assembly of sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus who strive to be as closely aligned to the Scriptures as possible—not perfectly—but striving toward that end. The church’s main responsibility is to proclaim the gospel of God’s glorious grace.

            There was a group of people who assembled on August 15, 1849 in Orlinda, Tennessee in order to establish a church. Orlinda is a small, rural tobacco-farming community located in northern Tennessee. These individuals assembled with the sole purpose of worshipping God through His Word, as well as continuing the practice of multiplying Baptist churches. The assembly started out humbly with only fifteen charter members. The property was donated in order to build a 30 x 40 ft. meeting house that featured 12 ft. ceilings and three doors. The building was to be used and benefit the community both as a schoolhouse and as a place of worship. The main purpose of establishing Pleasant Hill was for the people of God to be “salt and light” with the gospel in Orlinda and the surrounding communities.
Original minutes recorded at PHBC's first meeting

            Elders O.H. Morrow, B. Roberts, and W.I. Morton were the ones who helped constitute PHBC into a church. Elder Morrow served as the church’s first pastor, where he preached the Word of God when the church met for its monthly meetings. Elder Morrow paved the way for faithful gospel preaching throughout Pleasant Hill’s existence. Throughout the 167 years of PHBC’s existence, there have been 45 pastors who served the church. Although PHBC has never been large in number, there have always been people who were faithful to the Word of God and desired to see sinners saved through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
Elder O.H. Morrow

            Moreover, the church at PHBC has served as a location where the redeemed of the Lord could come, serve, and worship God, knowing that the Word of God would be proclaimed. We live in a time and day where the simplistic preaching of God’s Word doesn’t seem to be enough for families who are looking for a place to worship. However, this is not to be surprising, as Paul wrote Timothy and said, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but will having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim.4:3). The focus of any local Bible-believing church should be the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This must be the primary concern for the elders and the church, and that is what Pleasant Hill is striving for in 2016 and beyond.

            The Lord has graced PHBC by saving people and sending others to join an assembly who desires to be a part of a biblically healthy church. This appetite has been revealed by the people’s hunger for the gospel being preached, a passion for discipling the saints, and evangelizing to sinners with the gospel of Jesus Christ. After 167 years, there have been several valleys and mountain top experiences within the body of Christ; however, God’s grace is not only enough to convert sinners into saints, but God’s grace is enough to sustain the saints through any storm as long as the gospel is being preached. How do I know? God says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor.12:9), but I also know this due to the fact that there has been a group of people called by God’s name who remained faithful to the same message and mission for 167 years.

            As I am approaching my seventh year serving the Lord’s church at Pleasant Hill, my love for the Lord and His people have increased immensely. We have seen both good times and valleys, but it is all part of the journey God has called us to in order to make us more like Jesus Christ (Rom.8:29). We have been blessed with the resources to start a media ministry. The Lord has opened doors to spread the gospel in our community, nation, and even around the world. The people who make up Pleasant Hill Baptist have been concerned about one thing and one thing only, and that is the preaching of the gospel, whereby we see God glorified in redeeming lost sinners to Himself for His glory! I am thankful to be a part of a church where the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power unto salvation for whoever believes. I can say, along with the Apostle Paul, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph.3:21).

            In conclusion, I want to thank all of those who have paved and are paving the way for PHBC to be where she is today. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your commitment. Thank you for loving the Bride of Christ. I am reminded that no matter how much I love the people who make up PHBC, God loves them more than I do. That gives me rest and assurance that no matter what, He will continue to build His church for His glory!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Father, Forgive Them"

Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

    One of my very first memory verses from the Bible came from "The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer has been memorized and quoted by the masses, both Christians and non-believers. I remember quoting this prayer as an unbeliever on Friday night prior to taking the field to play football. I have heard it quoted by coaches leading their little league baseball team before playing their game. I have heard this prayer quoted by pastors when called on to pray. There is absolutely nothing wrong with quoting these scriptures; however, I do not believe Jesus wanted people to only quote the scriptures, but for believers to live them out.

     I am not sure Jesus is impressed with our memorization capabilities as much as He is with us living out what we memorize. Jesus said in Matthew 6:7,  "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” These phrases, “empty phrases and many words” were a rebuke on the religious crowds who would pray to be heard by others, but their prayers were empty of meaning. This is what happens when scripture becomes so familiar that we fail to apply it to our lives. The quote, “Familiarity breeds contempt” is both true and dangerous.

     When it comes to "The Lord’s Prayer,” I believe one of the most neglected verses is found at the conclusion of the prayer. These verses are often said in haste in order to finish the prayer. However, I believe that they hold the key and ability for believers to walk in the freedom of Christ. Those verses are on “forgiveness.” Forgiveness tends to be something only weak people do, but the reality is that forgiveness is what Christians are commanded to do. Forgiveness is not an option, but a command. But, how do you and I forgive others, especially our enemies? We are unable to forgive them in our own ability, but by the grace of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

     It doesn’t take living in this world to realize that people can and often hurt us. It’s not a matter of if they will hurt us, but when they will hurt us. This is why it is so important to have a biblical worldview, so that when we are hurt, we are able to look into the Word of God and read how God would have us respond. One man told me, “Things will happen in life, and what matters the most is how will we respond when life happens.” 

 1. Why should Christians forgive others?
     First, we should forgive others who hurt us because God commands us to forgive others. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus clearly reminds His disciples that if they do not forgive others, then they too will not be forgiven. It seems pretty cut and dry. The Christian should not ask if they should forgive, but rather if they have forgiven. 

     Not only does Jesus command forgiveness, but the consequences of not forgiving will lead to “bitterness.” The Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph.4:31-32). Bitterness, wrath, and anger are like cancer in the life of a believer. If they are not dealt with, they will eventually cost them their lives. Therefore, the believer must forgive others.

2. How should Christians forgive others?
     Col. 3:13 "bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 

      Christians are first commanded to forgive because they are able to forgive. How are they able to forgive? The Christian is able to forgive because God in Christ has forgiven them. This is the only reason anyone is able to forgive. However, forgiveness is more than a mental ascent. Biblical forgiveness will always lead to reconciliation. This means the offender will have acknowledged their offense toward the other party, the offended will accept their repentance, and the two will walk together in reconciliation.

      This is what God has done for us in Christ. We, as sinners, had offended our Holy God due to our rebellion, rejection, and sinful state toward Him. We were His enemies who hated God and wanted to be our own God, rejecting Him and His Word. However, God, in His grace, sent the good news of the gospel to us along with the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin, then lead us to repentance and faith to believe upon Jesus. God took those who had offended Him, forgave them in Christ, and now, we are made “at one” with Him. We have been reconciled to God because of what Christ has done for us in dying for our sins upon the cross. This is the only way anyone can truly forgive--because Christ has forgiven us.

     In conclusion, this past week I was in a conference where a Pastor John Fry said, “What if God forgave you the way you forgave others?” 
Would you be forgiven? What would that look like? Would you be reconciled to God? Do you pick and choose how you forgive?
May God grant us the grace to say like Jesus, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pray For Your Pastor(s) by Rick Muchewicz

Pray For Your Pastor(s)

Today's post is by guest blogger Rick Muchewicz. Rick serves as an elder at Pleasant Hill Baptist church in Orlinda, TN. He is married to Karen and they have a daughter Ella. Rick is an author and blogs at He is a graduate of Boyce College the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. 

Pray For Your Pastor(s)

    You as a church member have the responsibility and the privilege to pray for your pastor. Your pastor needs prayer. The average church member, I would guess, rarely thinks of their pastor when they are praying. Why is that? I don't know, I cannot answer that for everyone. But, if you are reading this, you now know that you ought to be praying for him.
Why do pastors need prayer?
    Pastors need prayer for the same reasons you do. They face the same things that you face day in and day out. Your difficulties are their difficulties. Pastors face temptations, struggle with sin, are often beset with weakness and doubts, deal with prayerlessness like other believers, have problems in the home, raise children, wrestle with apathy, grieve over social issues, allow stress to take hold, are at war spiritually, and live life in a fallen world just like everyone else.
    In addition to these needs, pastors face others. Pastors need your prayers because they often struggle with depression. The ministry is demanding and often fruit is not seen. It is easy for a pastor to take his eyes off of the Lord and look to all of the issues within the church. Or, a pastor might become bitter and complain. “Woe is me!” can easily become the attitude of a pastor.
    Other things that most church members may not realize are that pastors bear the sins and burdens of their people, are held accountable by God for their flock, experience heartache over the faithlessness of some members, face criticism, may feel pressured to perform in certain ways or produce according to the churches standards, and face the challenges of leading a group of people that are made up of different backgrounds, different maturity levels, different interests, etc.
What to pray
    Pray for your pastor's preparation. Pray that as he prepares to preach and teach that he would be illuminated, faithful, prayerful, obedient, studious, understanding, submissive, and able to apply God's word. Pray that God bless you pastor with clarity, the ability to deliver God's word, that he would communicate effectively, that he will not be distracted from his time in study, that he would be a good steward of his time, and that his sermon will be Christ-centered, Spirit-dependent, and gospel-saturated.
    Pray for your pastor's personal life. Pray for his family. Pray that he is growing, maturing, and spending time in the word. Pray also for his needs, struggles, leadership, character, joy, holiness, and hope. Remember to pray that he get enough rest, that he would be God-honoring, above reproach, a good husband and father. Pray that he work hard and be a good steward of all that God has given him. Pray for his physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
    Pray for his prayer life. Pray to God that as he prays throughout the week he be filled with passion, grace, mercy, love, and faith in God to hear and answer. Pray that he remember to intercede for the saints, confess the sins of the church, and beg God for mercy and forgiveness. Pray that your pastor's prayers will be scriptural, effectual, Spirit-led, and strengthened by God. Pray that your pastor have a desire to pray, that he makes time to pray, and that he never ceases to pray.
    Pray for your pastor's ministry. Pray that he would be faithful, God glorifying, biblical, and persevering. Pray that the Lord bless his efforts with fruit, spiritual growth, conversions, and joy. Pray that the Lord bless him with the desire to serve, cast a vision, be patient, be focused, love the people, and be evangelistic. And, pray that the Lord grace him with wisdom to teach, preach, and counsel in and through any situation.
    Pastors need the prayers of their people. Church members do not know everything that goes into being a pastor and the emotional, physical, and spiritual strain it places on a man of God. It takes its toll. So, remember to pray for your pastors. Your prayers, in God's sovereignty and perfect plan, may be the one thing that is keeping your pastor sane, faithful, and productive. Thank God for the prayers of the saints! Keep praying saints. The days are getting darker, the ministry more challenging, and life more arduous. The battle is real. Pray for your pastor as he prays for you.
    What a gift from God. God has called and equipped men to shepherd his church. He has given them the command to pray for the sheep. And God has orchestrated that the sheep pray for the shepherd. There is a harmony here that can only come from God. Shepherds and sheep need each other. We help one another. We are on the same pilgrimage and headed for the same destination; one is leading and the other following. But, it is a relationship with no equal-a pastor and his sheep. What a beautiful picture, what a beautiful marriage. So again, pray for your pastor as he prays for you.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"John Calvin: The Scholar, Theologian, and Pastor" (pt.3)

Calvin: The Pastor
            Although John Calvin is remembered as a writer, theologian, and professor, what many people fail to remember was that John Calvin, first and foremost, was a pastor. Calvin spent three years in Strasbourg, which proved to be the most formative time of his life when it came to the ministry. It was in Strasbourg that “Calvin was called to pastor the ecclesiola Gallicana.”[1] While Calvin was in Starbourg, he carried out the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and the different duties of the pastoral ministry. The pastorate caused him to consider the seriousness of worship in the church, which led him to translate a large amount of the Psalms into French. Calvin’s heart as a pastor was to lead the people of God into personal, intimate worship through the preaching of God’s Word, the Sacraments, and the congregational singing of the psalms.
            As a pastor, Calvin’s pastoral ministry was largely affected by his belief and trust in the Scriptures as God’s Word. He believed the only way a person could know God was through the testimony of His Word. He argued, “God bestows the actual knowledge of himself upon us only in the Scriptures.”[2] This strong conviction regarding the Scriptures being God’s Word allowed Calvin to have the freedom to preach, teach, and counsel the Word of God as the supreme authority in the life of God’s people.
            Calvin believed without the word of God, man is unable to know God correctly and as He truly is. Calvin believed man is born spiritually separated from God, thus not knowing God correctly, and that man needs to be shown correctly. The only way for man to know God properly was to know Him as He has revealed Himself in Holy Scriptures. Therefore, Calvin held to a high view of Scriptures as God’s revelation of Himself to man. This affected affected Calvin’s pastoral ministry immensely.
            Calvin believed it was the role of the Holy Spirit that testified to the Scriptures being the Word of God. As a pastor, Calvin understood that he could not convince others that the Bible was the Word of God, and that only the Spirit of the living God could do such a work. Some people say that the prophets testified that the Bible was the inspired word of God; however, Calvin argued,
The testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason. For as God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded.[3]

He believed the Spirit is what convinced individuals that the Bible was God’s Word, rather than human reasoning. Calvin’s firm belief in the working of the second Person of the Trinity gave him the assurance in the Word of God as a pastor.
Calvin’s primary goal as a pastor-teacher was to bring people to the knowledge of God through the atoning work of Christ and by the preaching of the Scriptures and trusting the Holy Spirit of God to His Sovereign work. He believed the heart of a pastor theologian was to “not divert the ears with chatter, but to strengthen consciences by teaching things true, sure, and profitable.”[4] He believed the chief end of every person was to know God—this was the only purpose of an individual’s existence. This is why he argued that “If a person had one hundred lives, this one aim, to know God, would be sufficient for them all.”[5]
Calvin believed a person could only come to know God through the hearing of His Word. This conviction is what drove Calvin to be a brilliant pastor-teacher, not only in Strasbourg, but also in Geneva. Calvin’s only weapon during the time of the reformation was his Bible. His deeply rooted conviction that the Bible was the Word of God set him loose on an adventure in preaching and teaching it everyday. James Montgomery Boice submits,
“Calvin preached the Bible everyday, and under the power of that preaching the city (Geneva) began to be transformed. As the people of Geneva acquired knowledge of God’s Word and were changed by it, the city became, as John Knox called it later, a New Jerusalem.”[6]

Calvin’s preaching was motivated by the belief that God’s Word was sufficient. This led him to preach through entire books of the Bible verse by verse. He would preach the New Testament on Sunday mornings, Psalms on Sunday afternoons, and from the Old Testament every morning of the week, every other week. Calvin was a preaching and teaching machine. Calvin’s method of preaching through entire books of the Bible and exposing his people to the different genres of Scripture left no doctrine untaught, no sin unexposed, and no promise undelivered.
Calvin wanted, first of all, to be thought of as a pastor bringing God's Word to God's people in the local church. There was one incident that illustrated his full commitment to the Word of God. In 1538, Calvin was ejected from the pulpit in Geneva. In 1541, Calvin was called back. On that first Sunday back in the pulpit of St. Peter's, on what did Calvin preach? Was it a rebuke to the citizens of Geneva for their fickleness, or a vindication for his previous ministry? No, Calvin began again exactly where he had left off three years before, picking up on the next verses in the text, as if to show that he saw that there was nothing more important than his task of feeding God's flock from the Word of the Lord. Calvin sought to not let his personal feelings shape what texts he chose in preaching, but what edified God's people.
Calvin’s preaching also affected the way he cared for his flock. Although Calvin was deep in his theological writings and teaching, he preached where the common man was able to understand the message. He preached in simple terms. He wanted his people to know and become familiar with the Bible. He wanted it become personal to them. Even though Calvin preached from the Greek and Hebrew Bibles in the pulpit, he would explain the meaning without ever using the Greek or Hebrew words. He was very intentional in wanting his people to come away with a sense of God’s glory, rather than the knowledge of Calvin.
Calvin’s preaching for the common man shows the type of heart he had for his flock and others. His preaching was very pastoral and personal. He never lost his understanding of being a shepherd over God’s flock, and he even implemented the use of the words, “us,” “we,” and “our” during the exhortation to the church. With a shepherd’s heart, he avoided preaching down to his congregation, but at the same time, he would call his congregation to honest self-examination according to the Scriptures. This type of preaching was proof of his loving care as part of his pastoral duty.
The theme of Calvin’s pastoral ministry could be summed up in the fact that His theology affected his mind, heart, and the church. Calvin’s early years of education prepared him for a lifetime of writing and teaching theology, which was God-centered. This had an impact on how he ministered to his flock and lived his life. His faithfulness as a scholar, theologian, and pastor has set a biblical example of what it means to be a faithful servant of Christ.
Calvin’s life testimony was to be used in order to bring great glory to His God. He did this by devoting his life to being a student in God’s school of theology. Not only was he a student of theology, but he was a teacher of theology, as shown through his lifetime of pouring into the students of Geneva. However, perhaps Calvin’s greatest contribution was not in merely reading, writing, and studying theology, but publicly ministering theology to those who sat in the pews every single week. The number of souls who have been convicted, drawn, and graced with salvation through the careful exposition of God’s Word by Calvin will never be known, but his writings and principles are still highly beneficial for the Christian today.

Boice, James Montgomery. Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?: Rediscovering the Doctrines that Shook the World. Wheaton:Crossway, 2001.

Calvin, John. Commentary on the Book of Psalms. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1845.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Philadelphia: Westiminster: John Knox Press, 1975 & 2006).

George, Timothy. Theology of the Reformers. Nashville: B&H Publishers, 2003.

Gordon, Bruce. Calvin. Cornwell: MPG Books, 2009.

Moore, Thomas. Utopia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

Parker, T.H. L. John Calvin: A Biogrpahy. London: Westminister John Knox Press, 1960.

Parsons, Burk. A Heart For Devotion Doctrine & Doxology. Lake City: Reformation Trust, 2008.

[1] George, 188.
[2] Denis R. Janz, A Reformation Reader, (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1999), 223.
[3] Calvin. Institutes, 1.7.4.
[4] George, 206.
[5] Ibid., 206
[6] James Montgomery Boice, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? Rediscovering the Doctrines that Shook the World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001), 83-84.