Saturday, December 18, 2010
When death comes one is never fully prepared to handle the loss of a loved one. This past week has been a very trying week for me as a pastor. Even for a pastor we are never fully prepared on how to minister to a family. Everyone responds to death in different ways. Whether it be anger, cold-shoulder toward others, or just being quite. No two people that I have ever ministered to handles the death of a loved one the same.
This week the church at Pleasant Hill Baptist lost a dear saint who truly loved the Lord. It was a great joy to be able to pray with her and her husband, Wednesday before her surgery. As a pastor it brings peace to me when the person heading into surgery is trusting in God to bring glory to Himself through the situation, no matter what the turn out.Wednesday's surgery did not prove to be a success, humanly speaking. After complications, the surgeon had to go back in to find an infection that had attacked her body. On Friday at 1:00, we lost a saint of God, but He gained one!
It broke my heart as her husband of 42 years stood and watched his bride leave this walk of life. Nonetheless, as a pastor it was a privilege to be there with him and his family. It was a joy to know he wanted his pastor there at the very moment his wife went to be with the Lord. Even though I did not know what to say, just to be wanted was enough.
I have found it such a blessing to be allowed to shepherd God's people at Pleasant Hill Baptist church. God has been faithful to us at PHBC, pray for us as we continue striving to be a "church glorifying God in the truth."
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Wednesday Word: The Rent Veil
As we grow in grace we will learn to see the gospel in every page of scripture. For example, the pages of the Old Testament are teeming with pictures and types which help us to understand precious gospel truth (1 Corinthians 10:11). Take, for instance, the Jerusalem Temple. If we could have viewed the interior of that Temple, we would have discovered a remarkable piece of material known as the Veil. It was, in effect, a large curtain made of "fine twined linen that separated the holy of holies from the holy place. As long as that curtain remained, there was no entrance into the direct presence of God. While that curtain was hanging, the worshipper was separated from the presence of Yahweh. The veil said to the sinner, "The living God is beyond here, but you are forbidden to enter.
It was only on the Day of Atonement that the people of Israel, in the person of their High Priest, could enter into God's presence. He went alone, behind the veil and offered the blood of the substitute. When Christ died, however, God tore that veil from top to bottom (Matt 27:50-51). This was a declaration that, because of the finished work, the veil of separation that kept us from the presence of God had been forever taken away. There is now no separation for us (Rom 8:34).
The veil of separation has been completely torn and no one can mend it. By Christ's blood we have "boldness to enter" into the real sanctuary (of which the earthly sanctuary was only a picture) "by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil (Heb. 10:19-20). I like that word living- it tells me that Christ is no longer on the cross; it tells me that Christ is no longer in the grave; it tells me that Christ is not the prisoner of history. He is off the cross, risen from the grave and has ascended into heaven where He ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25).
For access to God, we no longer, therefore, have to wait upon some man performing certain rituals on our behalf. We no longer need an earthly priest to give us right of entry to God's presence. The great sacrifice has already been made by our Great High Priest. Because of Him there is now no barrier between us and Heaven. In Christ Jesus, there is now perfect and bold liberty to approach God (Heb 10:19). The veil of separation has been taken away by the Lord Jesus. The sins that separated us from God's presence have been taken away from God's presence by the precious blood. The Father no longer sees our sins. They have been cast behind His back (Isa 38:17); they are remembered no more (Isa 43:25).
This is astonishing! Does it astonish you? Perhaps you have never drawn near to God through Christ. You have trusted Him for your salvation, but you are standing far from Him like an unwelcome servant. Why are you doing that? The veil is rent: There are no obstacles in your way. No law forbids you to come to Him. Infinite grace has brought God to you and you to God. The way into the holiest is fully open and the mercy seat is freely available to all His blood washed saints. Go there boldly and worship through our Great High Priest the Lord Christ.
Someone says, I worship with the Presbyterians, Another says, I worship with the Baptists yet another says, I worship with the Methodists.The gospel driven believer, however, isn't under such restrictions. He indeed will meet with his local church, but because of the gospel He now can say, I worship in the Holy of Holies!
And that's the Gospel Truth
Miles McKee Ministries
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
This morning I was overcome with joy and a heavy burden as I prepared my sermon for this Sunday. I have been lead to preach a series of messages on the "Atonement of Jesus Christ" from the Old Testament through the New Testament. Beginning perhaps in Genesis, with God covering Adam and Eve with a skin from a slain animal to Christ on the cross bleeding and dying. I want our people to see how precious the atonement is and to get real close and personal with the pure hell Christ went through and not to forget it!
I have been meditating for a couple of days on exactly how to introduce the "Atonement of Christ." Well, I thought it would be good to know why we stood in need of an atonement. In other words, was the death of Christ necessary? As I pondered in the scriptures the Lord lead me to His Sermon on the Mount. Here Jesus instructs His disciples on how the Law was misinterpreted in Matthew 5:20-48 by the religious Pharisees. Jesus says, "you have heard it said...but I tell you." Wow! What Holy Spirit conviction.
I was brought to tears sitting in my office studying. Jesus gives 6 illustrations of why the Law can not save nor will it ever save a lost soul. I was overwhelmed of my sinfulness before a holy God who demands perfection because He is perfect. There is not an excuse nor does God lower His standards due to my sin. God broke me about self-righteousness as he does all His children. As I was studying, I was caught back when I thought I was good enough and I had done enough to please a holy God. Matter of fact I thought it was my right for God to accept me, what self-righteousness and pride. Which by the way God hates (Proverbs 8:13).
I was reminded how often we think we have all of this Christianity figured out, when in fact we are so blind. God reminded me again today, I am not accepted by Him through my own merits. I am accepted by a Holy God through the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on my behalf...he was my "penal substitutionary atonement." I rejoice Christ died in my stead...where I should have been nailed to the cross for my sins...there He stood condemned for me...and I say...Hallelujah, what a Savior! That is what makes me "Truly Thankful."
So this Thanksgiving season, be reminded to give thanks for the most important gift..."that Jesus died for our sins in accordance to the scriptures and he was buried and he rose the third day in accordance with the scripture" (1 Cor15:3-4).
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Being a follower of Jesus Christ has some serious expense to it. The verse I have just quoted reminds one of the seriousness of being a follower of Christ. Luke gives a glimpse of what Christ and His disciples discussed as He discipled them.
In chapter 9 of Luke's gospel, Luke gives the narrative of Jesus sending out the disciples to preach the gospel and heal the lame. He tells the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand, then Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ. Jesus then foretells He must suffer many things, be rejected, killed, and rise the third day. Luke also writes the account that Jesus gives His disciples, if they are truly going to follow Him they will have to die as well.
The cost of following Christ is a cost many do not consider. In modern Christianity, the message is, "follow Jesus He will give you a better life now." When in fact, coming to Jesus may cause you much suffering and pain. Luke writes of three necessities in following Christ:
-1- You will have to "deny yourself." This is not the message of the majority of modern day preachers we hear on television.We hear, "Jesus loves you" (and He does), Jesus wants us to be wealthy, He wants to bless you, He wants to have a good life now." The only problem is a person can be healthy, wealthy, and be happy; die and go to hell. This is the opposite of what God's word teaches. When a person is saved by the grace of God, He has been chosen to die to himself. I remind our congregation all the time, this is not about us, it is all about Him! Therefore, we must "deny ourselves."
-2- Notice secondly, Jesus tells His disciples to, "take up their cross." This would be equally known to us, if Jesus said, "take up your electric chair." The cross in Luke's day was an instrument of torture, shame, suffering, and death. Another words Jesus says, "if you want to follow me you are going to have to die to yourself." Again, we hear little of this type of Jesus today.
-3- Thirdly, Luke tells us of how often one must deny himself and die. He says "daily." In order to walk with the Savior one must die to himself daily. One must put the bridle on his fleshly desires and lusts. This is not easy seeing we still carry this sinful flesh around as believers. But it can be achieved as the Holy Spirit lives and dwells in all His children. "...For he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
As you study the deaths of the disciples who followed Jesus it begins to make sense what Jesus was teaching in Luke 9. For all the Apostles died a martyrs death, for being a follower of Christ. What about Jesus Himself? He died a shameful death for sinners. So the next time you here a preacher say, "if you want a better life come to Jesus." Be for certain he say does not understand "the cost of following Jesus." Following Christ requires an awful
more than most would presume! To God Be the Glory!
Friday, November 5, 2010
For many of you who know me and my family, God has gifted us with three beautiful boys. (I know they would not like to be known as beautiful)! Of course, brothers as they grow bigger and stronger they become more competitive against one another. It begins to be personal and they start to become argumentative and physical toward one another. Thus, revealing their sinfulness and their need of forgiveness from their sin toward God and their brother.
My wife and I have been reading together in our devotion time together, the new book by Dr. Stuart Scott and Martha Peace "The Faithful Parent."As we were reading the book the other day I told her I wished we would have known before we became parents of how biblical discipline worked. Their book is a great read and deals with the subject of disciplining your children from the time of birth all the way to adulthood. I truly believe for a parent to love their children there MUST be discipline.
Proverbs 13:24 "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."I am praying and teaching them as a father, to love your brothers and to treat each other with respect for they are your brothers and the bible says, "Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity." I teach them not just because it is the right thing to do, but it brings great glory to the One who created them. Ultimately this is what life is all about, To Bring Glory to God!We have been disciplining our children in the word of God. So when they leave the nest they would make a difference in the world for Christ's sake. But our first desire is for them to come to know Christ. I believe as we plant the gospel seeds in their hearts day after day through family devotions and worship, God is honored and glorified.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This generation that is coming up in our SBC churches are studying God's Word. They are praying for God to reveal Himself to them. God's Word is changing the worldviews of these youths and they will ultimately change the church for the future.
I am grateful as well, for the leadership God has placed in the SBC as well. God is using men such as, Dr. Al Mohler (President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Dr. Danny Akin (President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary), Kevin Ezell (President, North American Mission Board), and my favorite preacher David Miller (President, Line Upon Line Ministries). God has used these men in my life to shape me theologically but God is using them to shape a new generation of preachers and missionaries as well.
I know revival has not fully come but I do see some positives steps in a right direction. We still have those who feel God's Word is not "totally" sufficient for all areas of life. We are still having issues in the SBC whether God saves man or if man has to help God out a little. Nonetheless, I am thankful God is raising up a generation who believes God is Sovereign and has a heart to share Christ with a lost and dying world.I am also posting a link to a dear brother and fellow pastor whose blog I follow.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I started a blog post last week prior to our first annual bible conference at Pleasant Hill Baptist church. I wanted to answer a question many had asked me prior to our bible conference. The question was, "why are you having a bible conference" or "is a bible conference like revival?" I tried by the grace of God to answer these questions as humbly as I knew how.
3. The third reason for having a bible conference was to:
"...build you up..." The Apostle Paul was commending these elders at Ephesus with some great instructions as they were to lead their sheep at this church is Ephesus. He tells them the "word of his grace" (the gospel), is "able to build" them (elders and members of the church) up.
My intentions of having a bible conference was really four fold.
-i- First, it was to bring glory to God. 1 Corinthians 10:31) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Our prayer at PHBC was that God would be greatly glorified through the conference. The scriptures teach we were created to worship the God of the universe and bring Him great glory. Because of our fallen nature and sin we worship everything else and bring glory to these idols as well. This conference was to be God-centered and not man-centered.The bible conference was very simple, we had one song before each message, therefore we were able to focus our attention on the Word of God and not some person singing a special (although God centered specials are o.k. in the right place).
-ii- That God's people at PHBC would be "built up" in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our modern day evangelism teaches us that special meetings "revivals" should only be for the salvation of lost people. This is contrary to the word of God. The church is for God's redeemed and we are "to go out into the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 15:16)." When we gather as the church it is to "build the saints of God up" in the word. As the pastor/elder of PHBC my desire is for God's people would be built up in the "word of his grace."
-iii- Not only was the bible conference to build our people up but it was to be an outreach opportunity. An opportunity for us to reach out to the community to hear the "gospel of God's free grace." We were able to send out over four hundred invitations to people in several states and people within our local community. We had advertisement in two of our local papers as well. God blessed and we had several from all over to visit. We even had some who stayed after services to be counseled. Which this leads me to my fourth reason of why we held a bible conference.
-iv- Fellowship with like minded brothers and sisters. We were blessed to have people from all over who believes in the great doctrines of God's grace. People from Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. We had a great time fellowshipping in the Word of God, meeting new brothers and sister in Christ, and great food as well.
In closing, I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God in allowing us to host such a conference. I am very thankful for God's people at PHBC and how they supported their pastor even though they "never done this before." It says alot about PHBC. I know alot of churches who would have rebelled but our people surely expressed a heart of grace through the entire conference. They cooked, greeted, and attended all the sessions with joy and gladness, this causes a pastor to truly be thankful for God's work in their hearts. To God Be the Glory!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
1. "...commend you to God..." The Apostle Paul was telling the elders from the church at Ephesus he was: (allege, commend, commit (the keeping of), put forth, set before, God almighty. In other words he was telling them they were before God almighty in the work of the ministry as elders to the church at Ephesus. My job as an elder is to feed the sheep of God with sheep food (the word of God). One reason why we are hosting a bible conference is to feed the sheep that God has entrusted, commended to, and put forth before me with (regardless of how many or how few). Gods word in Hebrews 13:17 says, "I will give an account of the souls of men who sits under the word of God."
2. "...to the word of his grace..." The Word of his grace is all we have in this world that will bring hope to a sinner and joy to the saint. If it were not for the word of grace all men everywhere would be condemned. This word of grace is how God graciously deals with man in salvation, namely the gospel. As an elder/pastor my job is to encourage God's people with the "word of his grace." They need not some man to play on peoples emotions and to manipulate them in a so-called "revival meeting." They need their souls comforted and to be strengthened in their walk with Christ by His Word. This is only by "the word of his grace."
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Pastor Kevin DeYoung gives some great practical advice to pastors (whether young or old). Great advice to be considered and meditated upon.
Enjoy and be blessed!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Here in our text, the Lord of glory expounds whom He died for. Jesus Christ reveals a mystery to his people. A mystery that has caused great controversy over the last 2000 years in Christianity. The question is,"for whom did Christ die for."
A popular belief and one that opposes God's word is know as "general atonement." That is Jesus died for everyone. The only problem with this view of the atonement is it is unscriptual. If we use logic, if Christ died for everyone and his death on the cross was for everyone without exception, than everyone would be saved, right. No! Of course not, we know their are multitudes of people in Hell today, whom Christ did not satisfy the wrath of God and settle divine justice for them.
The bible states clearly, that the Father has given the Son (Jesus) a number of people (his elect) to come and die for. He tells us in the gospel of John "all the Father gives me will come to me." There is no question about it. Every person whom Christ died for will come to Him and Christ will raise Him up on the last die.
This gives us security as believers in Christ. This is why Baptist historically believes in "eternal security." Before the world was every formed God had set his affections on His elect. He gave His Son a work to come and accomplish. According to John 17:1-5, he did exactly what the Father sent him to do. Thus, glorifying His Father by completing the work of salvation for the elect. Salvation for God's people was accomplished on the cross of Calvary. It was more than a possibility but it was a surety for all of God's elect.
"For whom did Christ die for?"I believe he died for some!
If Christ died for all, all would be saved:
If Christ died for none, none would be saved:
If Christ died for some, some would be saved:
If Christ died for all, than Judas and Pharaoh is in heaven;
Who do you believe Christ died for?
Thursday, May 6, 2010
The direct command of the Apostle Paul unto the church at Thessolonica. He commanded them to pray always, continually, and without stopping. I am amazed at the number of times I have been apart of a mid week service in a local church, which is traditionally called a "prayer meeting" and there is no time of prayer. For the last few weeks God has truly convicted this young pastor to lead God's church to fall down before Him and to pour our hearts out to Him. If the church is to ever see a true "revival" it will begin with God's people humbling themselves on their knees before the Sovereign God of the universe.
I believe when God's elect assemble together it ought to be for (at least in part) a time of prayer. Last night at PHBC we begin having a true "prayer meeting." After a time of studying God's word together, the woman assembled together to pray, as did the men. I believe not only is this scriptual but it will also unify the body and grow the saints at PHBC in severally ways.
First, it will cause us to be a church that will be intentional when it comes to praying together. Second, when we pray together it will cause barriers to fall down between church members that might have been up for several years (it is hard to pray for someone or with someone and keep hard feelings against them). Third, when we pray together it will allow others to share burdens on their hearts they might not share in a mixed assembly. Forth, when we pray together it will give others opportunities to pray that might not feel comfortable in praying in an assembly as well. Fifth, when we pray together it will allow our children and youth to be apart of a true prayer meeting and to see godly men and woman on their face before God.
What is prayer? I believer I will quote the old Puritan John Bunyan.
"Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to His Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God."It is my prayer God would be pleased to bless His saints at PHBC, as we endeavor to become a biblical N.T. church. for His glory!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
For the last couple of weeks I have had my head buried in the O.T. scriptures trying to finish my reading assignment for O.T.2 at seminary. It has been some kind of undertaken, seeing how I put everything off until the last possible minute. I love the O.T. It is such a great picture of the coming of Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection. Tonight, I have finished the O.T. book of Jeremiah. I wanted to share some interesting facts about the book you might find useful as a student of God's Word.
1. The Book of Jeremiah is the second longest book in the Bible next to Psalms.
2. The copy of the Book of Jeremiah we have in our bibles, church historians say it is the second copy. According to Jere.36:1-26, Baruch had written a copy prior to the second copy.
3. The book of Jeremiah is not arranged in chronological order.
4. The Book of Jeremiah is made up of several different types of confessions made by Jeremiah.
5. Jeremiah stimulates the search for the will of god in moments when all the institutions and religious people normally in charge has been discredited.
Jeremiah is a great picture for the time and day we live in. We need modern day Jeremiah's who would thunder the word of God from the pulpits and God's people to be zealous to preach the gospel of repentance and faith to a dying world.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Last night God's people at PHBC began a study on the doctrine of the church. The age old question for many years is, "one church as good as another?" Is one denomination as good as another? Are we not all on the same mountain trying to get to the same God? Don't all roads lead to Rome anyway?Well the answer is, no! God has one church and it His church. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He died for, according to Eph.5:26. Today we as Baptist has lost the importance of teaching on the local church of the New Testament. We have Baptist who call themselves "protestants" although Baptist never protested against the Catholic harlot (Rev.17:1-8).
One of the greatest Baptist preachers of all times was Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon even knew this grand truth about the Lord's church:
"We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther and Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel under ground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a Government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man..."—Charles H. SpurgeonBy God's grace may the Lord help us to be faithful to teach on the doctrines set forth of scriptures. Even if they are offensive to others. May God be true and all men liars.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The Apostle Paul reminds the church here at Philippi, no matter what he or they might encounter they must "strain" forward. These instructions are easier said than done. As a pastor of a local church, you see people who do things out of habit instead out of "What saith the Lord." We must strain to move forward as God's elect, no matter the pain and suffering. The thought of "straining" is something which is not easy. Today we want relaxation and the easiest route to take.
The church at PHBC is "straining" in the right direction by God's grace. We are getting a website for the church to get the word out that there is still churches in this area who preach and teach God's grace. I know there will be alot of persecution ahead has God's Word goes forth. But as Paul said, "we are straining forward to what lies ahead."
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
In these six verses of scriptures, portrays a beautiful picture for believers today of how the early church functioned. Peter had just finished preaching his sermon at Pentecost, calling for everyone to repent and believe the gospel. At the end of verse 41 there were about 3000 converted on that day.
The Bible however, does not end their. But this group of believers began functioning as a local assembly of Christ believers. In the text mentioned above there are several items mentioned that describes how the church functioned. To my regret, there are few attributes found in the early church that you can find in a church today. For the last few weeks I have been searching the scriptures looking how the early church functioned, operated, and carried out their mission.
In our text, we see about 12 attributes of the early church:
1.They held to the Apostle's teachings
2. They prayed together
3. They fellowshipped together
4. They broke bread together
5. They had a holy fear (reverence) of the Lord
6. The Apostles done wonder and signs
7. They had all things in common
8. They worshiped daily together
9. They had glad and generous hearts
10.They praised God
11. They knew about the grace of God
12. The Lord was adding to their number
May the Lord help us today to function as a N.T. church, to the glory of God.
Friday, March 12, 2010
The Apostle Paul reminds the believers in Philippi, there God giving duty as believers in Him, was"to suffer." Paul's message to the church at Philippi is in opposition to the culture we live in today. Most evangelicial churches today do not view "suffering for Christ" as a gift. Most Christians think if you suffer something must be wrong. We have replaced suffering for "Christ's sake" for the health and wealth gospel. In America today we want to be healthy, wealthy, and retire with a large amount of money so we can be happy. By the way do not forget to tag Jesus on the end, we do not want to go to HELL! (Blasphemy)!
How sad to see people fall for the lies of satan. We need to understand persecution is what fuels the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What happened when the early church was persecuted? The gospel started to spread throughout the world. In order for the church in America today to see true revival it will take soldiers coming in burning down our "pretty church buildings" and "cutting our tongues out" (quote from Paul Washer) so we might depned on the True God to bring life to His people.
As I read Paul's letter to the church at Philippi, I am reminded how weak I am. I get offended when someone rejects me or the gospel. May the Lord grant all of us repentance for being afraid to suffer for "His sake."Friends it should not be a surprise to us that if God has granted us the gift of believing in Him, He might grant us the gift of suffering as well. To God Be the Glory!
Monday, March 8, 2010
Yesterday we feasted at the buffet of God's Word on the doctrine of salvation. Our text was from the gospel of John (2:23-3:16) on Biblical salvation. So many in our day boast they made a decision for Christ. People boast they helped their "poor little god" out by deciding to believe in Him. My friends the true and living "God is in heaven and He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3)." We seem to forget the God who has created us and sustains us day to day, is a Sovereign God. Because He is Sovereign He can do whatever He wants to, whenever He wants to and He needs not to ask permission. Even in salvation! (Romans 9:18-20) "So then He has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, Why have you made me like this?"
Paul's theology was correct. He knew it was all of God and none of man.
Lenoard Ravenhill said it like this, "Nobody else can give you a clean heart but God."
To God Alone Be The Glory!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The apostles had been arrested and beaten for preaching Jesus, it seemed as a small thing to them. For, they had left the council in Jerusalem rejoicing and praising God they were counted worthy for the suffering. So much so, they continued going house to house preaching and teaching Jesus Christ.
This is my main thought, "is it necessary to have big buildings and major financial debt to be considered a church?" Well of course not. The early church meet in houses and was very much persecuted for Christ. I believe this is one reason for such "apathy" in the churches today is because we know little persecution.
Tonight our small group will meet in our home for a time of Christian fellowship. We will reflect on Sunday mornings message and apply practical application to our lives. Following with a time of seeking the Lord (through prayer) to help us in areas of our lives where we fall short.
The early church did not dress up and come to the neatly manicured multi-million dollar building with everything figured out. They were fearful for their lives and come together for edification and exhortation in the Word of God, namely learning about Jesus Christ.
Our direction in doing small groups at home is to be in unity as a church family and apart of one anothers lives. "Sharing our burdens with one another, loving one another, and praying for one another." By the way is all Biblical reasons.
So tonight, I pray our gathering together would not be one of just "fellowshipping." But it would be a honest time of being open with one another and asking the Lord to help us in our day to day lives. By the way the early church did this as well," from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
Saturday, February 27, 2010
This past week has proved itself very edifying. My worship minister and I left for St.Louis this past Tuesday for a two day conference on "Shepherding the Flock of God." The speakers were Tom Ascol (FL), Ray Van Neste (TN), and Phil Newton (from my hometown in AL). All three of these men give great exegesis of the texts and practical applications to carry back with us.
My heart as a pastor has always been the local church and the Lord's people there. But beginning in my new ministry here in TN, this conference remined me to love the people God has entrusted to me. Often times we can become overwhelmed with our daily tasks we forget God's bride the local church. The redeemed of God which makes the local church up. An elder, overseer, or pastor must be willing to learn his people and to know what issues they are dealing with in life. Often we as pastors (including me) want to hide away in the dark recesses of our study were it is nice, quiet, and safe.
As pastors we must get out into our peoples lives and shepherd them all the way to Christ! I pray the Lord will allow me to love the sheep and be personal with them until Christ returns. For their good and for His glory!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
In the world today wisdom is something which is rarely sought after. Wisdom is a gift from that is given to those who ask. I am afraid in the culture we live in, espeacially in the western world, we think we are to use our own wisdom and intellect. The Bible teaches us "God has made foolish the wisdom of the world." We have no wisdom outside of the Lord. It is my prayer the Lord would bless me with Biblical wisdom. What I need as a pastor is the wisdom of the Lord. There are so many decisions in which I stand to make as a pastor. These decisions must be made with wisdom of the Lord. I pray God would grant to each child of God wisdom that leads to eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Our thinking has been on discipleship of lately. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Disciples are people who have a deep, abiding commitment to a person (Jesus Christ), not simply a philosophy. They hold to Jesus' teaching (John 8:31-32); they love one another (John 13:35) and help each other (Matt.10:42); they bear fruit for Christ (John 15:8) and are partners with him in service (Luke 5:1-11).... putting him ahead of all other earthly commitments (Matt.8:21-22) to the extent that they are willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel (Matt.10:17-23)."
May we as a local church pastors, elders, and deacons; "make disciples" of people who the Lord places in our lives. Being a disciple is not an opposition when one is born again. They will follow after their Lord and Savior, they will be willing by the Holy Spirit.
Friday, February 12, 2010
One thing I have noticed in my early journey as a young pastor is the need for discipleship. When I say discipleship, I do not mean another class where we buy more LifeWay material. Discipleship is more than a class it is a life style.
The word disciple is found some 268 times in the scriptures. The Greek word (mathetes) has the meaning of a learner, a pupil, or a disciple. What I see in our churches are not learners or pupils after Christ. We have been programed to come and do our religious duty on Sunday morning and say we have been discipled. Wrong!!! In the Great Commission, Jesus tells His disciples, "to go and make disciples and then baptize them, and then teach them to obey."
I have failed miserably when it comes to disciplining. My heart is for the church to see her need for a heart felt passion in learning after Christ. I realize one must be converted and be drawn by the Holy Spirit to have the desire to learn after Christ. Often I thought if we just had another class for discipleship or another study on discipleship this would answer the question. We can have all the classes one can have but if a person has not "been born from above" (John 3:3) by the Holy Spirit it is all worthless. They will be trying in their own strength, which will only last for a little while.
One item I have learned from the scriptures, Jesus did not disciple the multitude, he discipled the twelve. He poured himself into twelve men who were faithful to go and to teach others. This is what the Lord's churches need today.
"Discipleship is about time more than anything else. How much time did Jesus spend with His disciples?" As born again Christians we must invest time with those God has entrusted us with. Think about it, how much time do we invest into others for the advancement of God's Kingdom and to strengthen His church? I believe this is where real discipleship begins. I pray the Lord will allow me to invest time into others that they will be able to instruct others, for the glory of God.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I have been reading a book for my Christian Missions class called, "Amazing Grace." In the book Dr.Bruce Carlton tells of his experience of being a missionary in Cambodia for twenty years. He speaks of a man who was regenerated by the grace of God and he had a heart for doing construction work and wanted serve God, some how. God used this man to help construct new buildings for the churches in Cambodia as the Lord saw fit to organize them.
The point behind this particular chapter of the book is being available for God to use us. I see so many professing Christians who are on the sidelines and not in the "fight of faith." I believe one of two things has happened, (1) they do not know Christ or (2) they have not been abiding in the vine (John 15:5). I am reminded of Moses in (Exodus 3) as God calls him to lead the children out of Egypt. Moses comes up with various reasons why he can not lead them. God tells him he is not concerned with his capability but his availability.
The Lord is not concern about our capabilities. Because He tells us "apart from me you can do nothing." We are not our own source of strength. We must rely upon the Holy Spirit of God to enable us to serve Him and to honor Him. Are you available for God or are you like Moses with the excuse "I am unable?" What do we spend our energy on, our time, and our money on. As the redeemed of God lets be available to serve Him knowing our capabilities will be given by Him.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
1 Cor.10:31) Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.