Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Kingdoms

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

I worshiped to this song from 7eventh Time Down as I ran this morning. Words of wisdom for today for sure.

“Kingdoms”

How did we get here?
Where did we go wrong?
Yelling at each other
Every time we talk
How come together
We feel so alone?

Picture perfect
Is where we started off
The frame is broken
Somehow our dreams got lost
But it ain’t over
God can restore it all

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

I don’t need to be right
Love is stronger than the fight
We can start all over
And let go of our pride
It’s not too late
For us to change
If we decide

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

We gotta learn to live in grace
Look past each other’s mistakes
Whoa oh
We gotta learn to walk with each other
Together we can weather the storm

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

You decide – and pray that the Spirit rains down! (Is 32:14-20)

Book Review – The Baptist Story

Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement by Tony Chute, Nathan Finn, and Michael Haykin is a concise look at the history of Baptists from 17th century England to the present day. The chronology includes the Baptist movement in England and North America, which is no small task as admitted by the authors:

Our attempt to produce a history of the Baptists has caused us to feel a mountain of weight… Indeed, writing such a history some 200 years after American Baptists first organized an international mission agency (the Triennial Convention) has placed us in the context of writing about more, not fewer, Baptist groups. Consequently our audience includes, but is not limited to, independent Baptists and Cooperative Baptists, Seventh Day Baptists and Southern Baptists, Free Will Baptists and Reformed Baptists, regular principle Baptists and seeker-sensitive Baptists. Among these groups are differing views of biblical inspiration, age of baptismal recipients, elder-led churches, women pastors, sovereign decrees, and the propriety of vacation Bible school – to name only a few! (pp. 1-2)

The authors cover this herculean task of different schisms and doctrinal/practical issues in Baptist life very well. They provide a truthful assessment of the influence that Anabaptists had on English Baptists. They are honest about the effects of slavery in both England and North America amongst Baptists and how that led to a split that led not just to the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention but also to the formation of the National Baptist Convention. Of course, the missions movement in Baptist life was an impetus to these schisms as well, whether it be hyper-Calvinism/Calvinism/Arminianism or whether slave owners should be allowed on the mission field.

One of the benefits of the book is its concise and readable format. It will prove helpful as an introduction to Baptist history and will undoubtedly become a favored textbook in Baptist universities and seminaries. But the layperson will be able to use this as a valuable introduction and resource as well.

Another of the benefits is the recommended “For Further Study” and “Questions for Discussion” at the end of each chapter. Again, this will guide the student in suggested readings to gain a deeper understanding of the time and topic and prove helpful for personal study and/or lesson preparation for a small group study.

A final strength is that each of the author’s writes according to their great knowledge of Baptists in a particular era:

Ours is both an individual and a collaborative effort. We divided this project according to our specialties: Michael Haykin wrote the chapters on the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Baptists, Anthony Chute authored the section on nineteenth-century Baptists, and Nathan Finn concluded with the twentieth century and beyond. However, we have each provided substantive input and editorial oversight regarding the book as a whole. This textbook is a collaborative effort at every level. (p. 2)

I highly recommend this book to student and layperson alike – you will not be disappointed! Its conciseness is its strength. If you want more detail you will want to read Leon McBeth’s The Baptist Heritage and/or Tom Nettles’ 3-volume work, The Baptists..

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Sufficiency of Grace in Salvation

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

The following is from a recent sermon I preached from Galatians 5:1-6. This is taken from verses 5 and 6:

Paul makes four assertions in verses 5-6 concerning true salvation.  First, salvation is through the Spirit.”  True salvation is not a work of man but a work of God’s Spirit.  This is the major point of grace and central to the New Covenant.  Grace emphasizes that God is doing the work.  To say we believe in salvation by grace alone means that we (1) do not believe that we have any capacity for saving ourselves (works) and (2) that the whole work of salvation is according to God’s good pleasure and power (grace).  We cannot boast of our faith or of our repentance.  We cannot up and one day on our own decide to follow Christ.  We can decide on our own apart from grace to give Jesus a try, to follow Him in hopes that He will make our lives better.  But we cannot deny self, take up our cross, and follow Him, i.e. follow Him by faith, apart from grace.  We can only glory in the Lord when the Holy Spirit has worked savingly in our lives, enabling us to see an know God’s marvelous grace.

That is what Paul means in our text. How can a sinner bring himself out of spiritual darkness or lift himself from spiritual blindness or raise himself up from spiritual death?  He has no power to do so.  He must be born again by the Spirit.

This work of the Spirit will accomplish Paul’s second assertion concerning the sufficiency of grace in salvation – a response to Christ alone for salvation, by faith.”  The opposite of “by faith” is ‘by works of the law.” Again, Paul confronts the notion that a person can adhere to the law and be justified before God.  This is not due to the law’s weakness but to the weakness of the flesh to keep the law (Rom. 8:3-4).  We are the problem, not the law.  The law has its purpose to show our inability to keep it and to point us to Christ.  When we come to Christ, we do not gain Him by some act of merit on our part, but only by faith in Christ’s work at Calvary.  Faith comes empty-handed to the Cross, spiritually bankrupt.  The law cannot save you.  Your good-intentioned efforts cannot save you.  Your family’s Christian heritage cannot save you.  Your friends’ impressions of you cannot save you.  Your walking down an aisle cannot save you – not even your prayer can save you!  Your baptism cannot save you.  It is only those who refuse to claim merit before God and who rest totally in Christ that are saved.

Now, in case you haven’t heard me so far, let me again say that salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith alone (that is in receiving and trusting) in Christ alone.  So I think you would agree that it is important to know, “Who is this Christ?”

According to Christian researcher George Barna, the majority of church youth have an unorthodox view about Jesus. Although 87 percent of teens believe that Jesus was a real person who live on earth, and 78 percent believe He was born to a virgin, nearly half (46 percent) believe He committed sins, and more than half (51 percent) say Jesus died but never rose from the dead.

Another survey done a few years later asked teens to affirm the following four statements:

  1. The Bible is completely trustworthy in what it says about Jesus.
  2. Jesus is God.
  3. Jesus physically lived, died, and came back to life.
  4. Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Sadly, only 9 percent of churched youth would consistently express confidence in these doctrines.[1]

His virgin birth; His perfect obedience; His sacrificial death; His glorious resurrection; His ascension to be with the Father; His return to receive those who have received Him).  Christ alone!

If regeneration by the Spirit of God and faith in Christ is true of you, then Paul says there are two other things true of you as well.  The “root” is salvation in Christ alone through faith alone.  The “fruit” is a faith that first has great “hope” (v. 5).  “We ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.”  What happens when the Spirit imparts grace and a sinner believes savingly in Jesus Christ?  What is the result of saving faith?  That person is filled with “hope.”  “Hope” has Christ as its object and with great anticipation looks to the future because “hope” in Christ is confident.  We often use the word “hope” when we lack confidence or are uncertain.  That is not the case when our “hope” is in Christ.  “Hope” in Christ brings assurance of salvation.  “Hope” springs from a resolved mind and a settled heart that Christ is sufficient!

How different this is from those whose confidence is in themselves, in their efforts keep the law by their own works.  The law breeds uncertainty because no man is able to keep it.  That is why I so often remind you that Christianity is the only religion based on grace.  All others are based on works, and there is no hope, no assurance in works because, regardless of your religion, you are always left wondering if you’ve done enough.  It is the gospel alone that brings assurance because it is based on the certainty that Christ, by His perfect life and death, met God’s righteous requirements of the law for you.  It is His work that is accepted, not ours!

This does not mean that we have not yet received righteousness, but instead, it means that the full complement of all that the righteousness of Christ has secured for us will be ours.  The infinite wonder of His grace shown to us will be made known for the ages of eternity.  It is this “hope” that secures the Christian in the difficulties of life.  Hebrews 6:19-20 – 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

What else happens to the person who has received the gracious work of the Spirit, has renounced trust in himself and cast his whole reliance upon Jesus Christ, and who has a new hope assuring him?  In verse 6, Paul again explains that circumcision and uncircumcision are not what counts, but being “in Christ” does.  And, he says, one in Christ will have “faith working through love.”  This is the first occurrence of “love” in the letter and demonstrates that where faith is real and vital it will operate through love.

The Reformation expression applies this truth: the believer is justified by grace alone through faith alone; but not by a faith that remains alone.”  The Greek expresses the idea of faith being “energized” so that it produces love.  Faith is never idle.  It produces love in the believer that shows up in his kindness and acts of charity toward others.  It is a love that is best evidenced not only in his love for God but in his love for others.  We love others not because we find them worthy of being loved but because our lives are now characterized by love. If God has done a saving work in you, then you are a loving person.  Love is not an option.  If you have been set free from the law, you are to love as Christ loved, showing compassion to others.  And this love is not to be in word only, but in deed.  That is the work that matters!  We don’t work to be saved, but because we are saved.  We don’t work for righteousness but our righteousness is demonstrated by our works born out of a love for and the love of Christ.

One of God’s great gifts to the Christian is the church. [The church] is for us, because God is for us too. The worship, though ultimately for God, is meant for our edification—for belivers’ edification, not immediate resonance with nonbelievers (though we want our services to be intelligible to them too). Just as important, think of the one another commands. Church should be a place to bear each others burdens, meet physical needs, express comfort, demonstrate care, exercise hospitality, exchange greetings, offer encouragement, administer rebuke, receive forgiveness—basically faith working itself out in love. And isn’t love for each other the distinguishing mark of the Christian community?[2]

[1] Israel Wayne, Questions Jesus Asks, chapter one, Kindle edition.

[2] Kevin DeYoung, quoted in William Boekestein and Daniel R. Hyde, A Well-Ordered Church, p. 24

Are You on Fire?

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

The following is one of my favorite songs… though one that is eye-opening and humbling to those who seek to be on fire for Christ. Read and examine your heart!

ON FIRE Lyrics
Sanctus Real

Remember when you couldn’t wait
to show up early and find your place.
Cause you didn’t want to miss a thing.
And your heart was open and ready for change.
Oh, those days.
You were never afraid to sing,
never afraid to lift your hands.
Didn’t care what people would think.

You were on fire,
and church was more than a place,
and people were more than faces,
and Jesus was more than a name.

Remember when you weren’t ashamed.
To tell your friends about your faith.
A time when you felt the pain
of just one lost soul that was slipping away.
Your heart was soft, you had radiant eyes,
but slowly the pressures and burdens of life
pulled you into the dark of the night.
But when did you lose your sight?

Cause you were on fire,
and church was more than a place,
and people were more than faces,
and Jesus was more than a name.

Oh you were on fire,
you let life put out the flame.
But he’s still calling out for you
cause he wants to light your heart again.
And set it on fire
Set it on fire.

Turn your eyes, turn your eyes
and don’t forget what it was like
Set me on fire, set me on fire
I wanna hold God’s people close
wanna feel the power of Jesus’ name

Set me on fire
Set me on fire

Thoughtful reflection on T4G from Iain Murray http://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2014/thoughts-together-gospel-conference-2014/

http://thegospelcoalition.org/mobile/article/trevinwax/5-observations-about-younger-southern-baptists // Some very good observations by Trevin Wax on younger SBC preachers – both Calvinist and non-Calvinist. I found it particularly interesting the statement by some non-Calvinist’s that they found Calvinist blogs tend to focus on ministry and missions while non-Calvinist blogs are often about Calvinism. Hmmm…

The Shattering of Jars of Clay

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/43605-the-shattering-of-jars-of-clay

Yet another one bites the dust. Brown’s remarks are spot on. This issue will prove the defining issue of church and culture. Christians, take a stand! Speak the truth – in love. Plead God’s mercy and grace. BUT do not tolerate ignorance like that of Haseltine. Genesis 1 & 2 alone are enough to refute his claims about sexuality and marriage.