Tuesday, June 28, 2011
These are the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ before His ascension into glory to be seated at the Father's right hand. Jesus has been crucified, dead, buried, and raised again to life and now leaves His disciples (His church) with some important instructions. They were to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come and empower them (the church). God has specifically chosen them to carry the news of the gospel to the ends of the earth. Most of all, they were not to do it in their own power but rather in the power of the Holy Spirit.
A couple of Wednesday nights ago I gave a sermon on this particular subject, on mission work in the local church. We live in a day where there are a multitude of different missionary societies, mission boards, and denominational missionaries which one can support for the sake of missions. These can sometimes be beneficial, although I struggle with the lack of accountability the local church has over such boards and missionary societies. What I see in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8, is a commission (not suggestion) for the local church, to go into the world and preach the gospel.
With that said, I want to share with you in how God is using Pleasant Hill Baptist church to reach the world with the gospel.
First, Christ tells the church once, "...the power of the Holy Spirit has come upon you be My witnesses both in Jerusalem..." (local community). In other words these believers were to be witnesses (martyrs) for Christ, right where they lived. I truly believe before a person should go out of state or overseas with the gospel they should be active in their own community in spreading the gospel. God has opened the door for us at PHBC, to go into our Jerusalem with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the privilege and honor to serve the local high school football team as the team chaplain. I get to have devotions with the team and pray with them throughout the week and before their games. Another way we are being witnesses is about three months ago we started going to two different assisted living facilities and doing bible studies with the residents there. We have held bible studies at different times in peoples homes in our community. Also our men had met for four months every Saturday morning to study the book of Romans. We had some guests from our community come and sit in on our study. Our desire is to be witnesses for Christ in our Jerusalem, but at the same time:
Second, "...and in all Judea and Sameria..." This means the regions beyond their local community, perhaps their own country. PHBC had the blessing and honor to be hands on with the tornado relief in Alabama after the disaster took place. PHBC came together to give food, water, toiletries, blankets, pillows, and money. Most of all PHBC was able to send forth the gospel of Jesus Christ as we went to three different towns (Phil Campbell, Mt.Hope, East Franklin) while in Alabama helping. We passed out over 100 tracts of "Why does bad things happen to good people?" PHBC was able to be a blessing to several families in these towns which they may never know about on this side of eternity. PHBC also has the cd ministry. We are up to around 20 cd's a week which gets mailed out to all our shut-ins. But, also we mail them to those who desire to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some cd's gets mailed to Alabama, Arizona, and Washington state. This past week I received phone call from a gentleman who wanted a cd from Indiana.
Lastly, "...and even to the remotest parts of the earth." PHBC launched its internet ministry about a little over a year ago. It has been a great blessing. There are people who listens to our sermons from all over the world. Also, PHBC has been allowed the privilege to help support Miles Mckee (missionary to Ireland, http://www.milesmckee.com/) and Barry Carpenter (missionary to Philippines, www.revivalorruin.com)as they spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. This coming October, I (Pastor Chad) will go to El Tambo, Ecuador for two weeks of preaching and teaching. My main task will be teaching other pastors in Spiritual Disciplines. This will also be an extension of PHBC and our endeavor of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and ultimately being obedient to Christ's "Great Commission" to go into the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ!
So regardless how small or large your church is, you can do great things for Christ and for His glory by being obedient to His Word. I challenge not only our church family in spreading the gospel right where you live but also taking the gospel into the world for God's glory! What will you do, beginning today for the sake of the gospel?
Monday, June 20, 2011
Here is a link to a blog which speaks of Mr. Spurgeons ministry:
Spurgeon: Not a Lazy Preacher
“The Bible is God’s Bible; and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, “I am the book of God; man, read me. I am God’s writing; open my leaf, for I was penned by God; read it, for he is my author, and you will see him visible and manifest everywhere.” – Charles Spurgeon
The preaching ministry is not a career choice, it’s a calling by God. To proclaim God’s Word is a high calling, and it should be approached with a sense of respect and dedication. Unfortunately, many preachers of my generation (born 1977) are “lazy preachers.” It seems that many do not have any real urgency for souls, dedication to Christ, or humility at their responsibility to stand and speak the very Word of God each week. With that being true, the landscape of our culture is not being shaped by Seminaries, Bible colleges, Christian literature and commentaries. The present culture is not witnessing the giants of Church history that once appeared! Where is the faithful pastor-theologian who loves the Word and loves people at the same time? Where is the man who sinks deep into the Word with rigorous study in order to love the people on Sunday by feeding them the truth of God? We are living in a “lazy preacher” generation!
Charles Haddon Spurgeon is a name that is widely known in preaching circles. He was born in 1834 and lived during a theologically liberal era. Spurgeon became the pastor of the famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle.1 Some of Spurgeon’s achievements are:
- He preached 600+ times before he was 20 years old.
- His sermons sold approximately 25,000 copies per week and were translated into 20 languages. NOTE: The collected sermons fill 63 volumes which is equal to the 27 volume ninth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, and is the largest set of books produced by any author in the history of Christianity!
- He read 6 books each week in order to prepare for his sermons and to sharpen his mind.
- He read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times.
- He saw over 14,400 people added to his church during his ministry.
- He founded a pastors’ college.
- He trained approximately 900 men for the ministry.
- He founded an orphanage.
- He produced more than 140 books.
- He edited a magazine.
- He responded to 500+ letters each week.
- He often preached 10+ times each week (combined through guest appearances and through his own church).
- He labored to spare the Baptist name from the liberals of his day. See the Down-Grade Controversy for more information.
- He had two sons who became pastors. When asked by his son to ordain him to the ministry, Spurgeon instructed him to read Matthew Henry’s commentaries in full two times before he would honor his request.
Spurgeon stood on hard issues in his ministry. He fought the battle of the “Downgrade Controversy” and was not popular for taking the stands that he took. He was unashamedly Baptist. He was unashamedly Calvinistic in his theology. Spurgeon once said, “If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, ‘He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord.‘ I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this.”2 However, Spurgeon was a faithful evangelist for Christ who fulfilled his ministry as Paul instructed Timothy in 2 Timothy 4. Spurgeon stood firmly against the hyper-Calvinist movement of his day – a lesson we could learn in our present day! Spurgeon was not afraid of taking unpopular stands for Christ.
Spurgeon understood life and he understood his God! As Spurgeon stood to preach each week, he was aware that people were standing on the precipice of life and eternity. He preached with passion and urgency. He pleaded with the lost to be saved through Christ. He was aware that many marriages were falling apart. He understood that many parents were dealing with wayward children. He knew that some of his members were facing the complications of diseased parents. Spurgeon understood that God’s Word was sufficient and that the Gospel was the answer to mankind’s problems! That is why thousands packed out his church each week to hear a man who pointed them to the truth of God’s Word.The name of Charles Spurgeon rings in our ears like a legend. He burned hot for God’s glory and blazed a trail to the cross of Jesus Christ. Spurgeon accomplished everything in his life and ministry before dying at age 57! It seems almost impossible that half of what he did could be done by 57, but it was. Many men could live to be 99 and not accomplish the totality of what Spurgeon did. That is why his son said the following about his Dad:
There was no one who could preach like my father. In inexhaustible variety, witty wisdom, vigorous proclamation, loving entreaty, and lucid teaching, with a multitude of other qualities, he must, at least in my opinion, ever be regarded as the prince of preachers.3
It seems strange that Spurgeon accomplished so much in so little time, but when the truth of his own health difficulties are known – it makes those accomplishments seem even more staggering. Spurgeon lived a life of severe stress at times. He suffered of gout, rheumatism, and Bright’s disease. It is said that during his last twenty years of ministry he was forced to miss approximately 1/3 of the Sunday sermons.
May God be pleased to burn in our hearts in order that we would change the landscape of our culture for God’s glory. May we see Christ as our treasure in such a way that all of our material possessions would seem as utter boredom in comparison. May we reject the “lazy ministry” mindset that creeps into many hearts in our present day. May God be pleased to raise up other faithful preachers who will stand uncompromisingly upon God’s Word and preach the truth for God’s glory!
For God’s Glory,
Pastor Josh Buice
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
We have considered for the last few posts on the duty of being a bond-servant, according to Paul. We must keep in mind, Paul is writing to a young pastor named Timothy. So as he writes to Timothy and gives him instructions on being a pastor, the Lord reminds us today as pastors/Christians we are going endure some conflict in the ministry. I believe this is one reason Paul wrote to Timothy as well in the earlier part of chapter 2:3 to, "Suffer hardship with me as a soldier of Christ Jesus." The key word is "suffer."
I wish someone would have told me from the beginning of my ministry that it would be difficult. I wish I would have been told that everyone will not agree with you or will they like the way you lead. Perhaps, even some would leave the church where you would come to pastor. You just don't get that type of counsel now a days. The counsel most young pastors receive is, "you just get in there and grow the church, beat the bushes, do all you can, and by the way do not change anything." This to me is terrible counsel. The counsel a young pastor should receive should be there will be people who will disagree with you, some who will be used by satan to bring a host of problems for you as a pastor and for the church.
In the 2nd letter Paul wrote to the church at Corinth Paul states, "God gave me a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor.12:7)." Notice, who gave Paul the thorn, it was God Himself. This would do away with any notion that God only wants what is "best" for us, wouldn't it? So many men I am afraid enters into "vocational" ministry with the preconceived notion they will go to seminary (which nothing is wrong with that), I will get a big church (nothing wrong with that), I will have a good salary and benefits (nothing wrong with that), and when all this falls into place I will have it "made." But in reality everything will not just "fall into place." God often places "thorns in our flesh." Thorns that hurt. The majority of thorns in the flesh is people, perhaps even saved people, whom the devil is using to bring such trials upon a pastor/Christian.
So why the thorn? I am glad you asked. I truly believe Paul sums it up very well in 2 Cor.12:9 when God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." God reminds Paul it is not about his power and ability but the power of God which works through him (Gal. 2:20). God places thorns in our lives (whether they be people or sickness) so God would be greatly glorified in and through the "thorns" affect in His servants life. The thorn is to bring God's bond-servant into a place of humility and submission to Him. Pastors and Christians, I believe it a great gift of God to place a thorn in our flesh and bring us to a place of complete dependence on God.
So pastors/Christians when God sends your "thorn in flesh" it is to bring you to a place of "humility and submission" before a great God. I will close with 1 Peter 4:12 "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you:"
1 Peter 4:19 "Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right."
What is your "thorn?" Or better yet, who is your "thorn?" Often it is God's will for His servants to suffer for Him. Example, our Lord Jesus Christ!
What do you think? Agree or disagree?