Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blogscoop on October 2, 2014

The Meaning of Love - Very good video.

Healthy Structure - Good article on how churches should have healthy structures that support the "vine" work. If you haven't read it yet, read "The Trellis and The Vine" by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. Get it here.

Habits of Daily Discipleship - This is pretty good for some personal discipleship ideas.

10 Dangerous Paradigms of Church

6 ways to make you life have a greater impact - Some good encouragement in this article

22 Problems with Multi-site churches - Excellent article. He makes some good points.

How to Get Things Done - I'm looking forward to this whole series.

3 Things to Remember When you Read the Bible

Making Gay Okay - Interesting read

Spiritual Gifts - a simple look at spiritual gifts

9 Things to Know about Pregnancy Centers


Friday, September 19, 2014

Blogscoop on September 19, 2014

6 Strangleholds that could have a death grip on your ministry

Reaching and Retaining Millennials

Pastoral Responsibility to Rebuke False Teachers

5 Questions for a Good Bible Study - These are some good basic questions when reading your bible. Also, another good resource is a book by Howard Hendricks entitled Living by the Book.

A Real Man - Guys, let's pay attention to these truths so that God's glory will be displayed in our manhood.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blogscoop on September 9, 2014

The Church and Violence Against Women - Russell Moore is a gifted writer. Great article!

9 Things to Know About Intimate Partner Violence - Continuing with the above theme, Here are some shocking stats about IPV.

Insufficient Help, part 1 - I thought this was an interesting article from John MacArthur. It is definitely something to think about.

Personal Bible Study - A call for all believers (Colossians 2:6-8)

Worship Wars - Interesting thoughts from Dr. Rainer on the issue of the worship wars.

Oprah Edited - Kudos for trying to turn terrible theology into better theology.

Christlike Headship in the Home - While each of these may not fix your exact context in marriage, guys, we can all learn something from each of these. So, pay attention!

The abomination of desolation - Looking for something to whet your appetite of the end times, here you go.

The Real Reason you feel overwhelmed - This is an interesting article, especially when you break it down like that in the pie chart. Now, what will we learn from it and put into practice.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blogscoop on September 5, 2014

The Secret Pain of Pastors - I realize that we pastors can be "whiners" sometimes (I mean, hey, we only work two hours a week), but the "secret pains" that many pastors feel at times is real.

The Marriage Bed for the Exhausted Wife - Married guys, pay attention to this article. Yes, that means read it!

6 Reasons People are Leaving Churches in America - Some good food for thought

How to pray without praying - Somewhat tongue-in-cheek here, but something to think about

Is it sinful for un-married couples to make out? - Agree or disagree, he has a valid point. Not to mention, the pursuit of holiness that Jesus calls all Christians to.

The Osteen Predicament

5 Things To Not Do in Your Marriage

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blogscoop, August 18, 2014

Using Social Media - Wise words for all Christians who use social media, especially when we are tempted to slander, vent, degrade, etc. (Ephesians 4:25-32)

10 priorities of a pastor

The Spasmodic Hercules - this is a very good reminder

The spirit is willing but the schedule is tight

The Perfect Paper Airplane - Here's something fun for you to try on your next break since you're reading about it on this break.

Do we live in the Matrix? - I have read part of this. Pretty deep stuff.

No sea in the new heaven and the new earth


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Running into the Sun

Today was a great morning for a run. I even thought I should have put on a long sleeve shirt...in August! Crazy stuff. As I was running down the road on my return to the house, I found myself running basically toward the sun. It had risen a little bit already, so I wasn't directly running east, but still "into the sun."

And, I thought about the many metaphors in the NT about the Christian life being like a race, a marathon. I thought about 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Hebrews 12:1-2. And, who could forget Hebrews 11 and the "hall of faith" runners.

Then, I thought about the phrase running (ha, ha) through my head: "into the sun". Isn't the Christian life about "running into the son" and following the lead runner, Jesus? I pretty much think so. How's your running these days? Are you running into the Son?

Monday, August 11, 2014

A New Chapter

Yesterday our family began a new chapter in our lives. We began serving with Beulah Baptist Church in Benson, NC. We were welcomed with warm handshakes and hugs and all kinds of balloons floating in my study at the church building. I think it was the youth group's idea with a little help from some "adult" friends. Ha, ha.

While we will treasure the times and friendships from the previous chapter of our life journey with First Baptist Church, Thomasville, we are looking forward to what God is going to do as we partner together in the gospel and for the gospel mission with Beulah Baptist Church.

It is time of "new beginnings" for the next leg of our Christian journey.

Let's do this...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Late Night Rain, Morning Run, a Sunrise, and 3 Rescues

I went out for a longer run this morning. I knew it was going to be a better run today because I remember waking up to some sprinkling of rain drops once during the night. That meant cooler temperatures for the run, and I was right, a cool breeze all along the flat road.

And, then came the sunrise. I was listening to Pandora on my run, and just as soon as I turned off Lyman Rd. onto Fountaintown Rd, over my shoulder I could see the sunrise. And, at that moment, the first verse of 10,000 Reasons began to play: "The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning, it's time to sing your song again."

Lamentations 3:21-26 has come to mind in the moments since the run.

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

The "salvation" of the Lord, the rescue of our souls from the wrath that is to come. There were two rescues along the run today. Two turtles would have most certainly found death, but I helped them get to the other side of the road. But, the greatest rescue was my own salvation when Jesus died on a cross in my place and for my sins. That's the third rescue and the most important. While that rescue took place over 30 years ago, the reality of its truth is new every morning, especially this morning.

That is the "faithfulness of God"---"it's time to sing his song again."

As mama would often say, "Praise the Lord and bless his good name".

Monday, April 21, 2014

What's the Blog Scoop on 4/21/14

A Cost to all this Preaching? - This is a good article reminding us about the power of God's Word.

Almost all pastors quit on Monday

Why Homosexuality is not like other sins - This is a very good article. Read all the way through.

Even Atheistic Morality is "derived from Christianity" - This is an interesting article, a little deep, but worth the read.

A Faith that Fights - A helpful article on fighting the good fight of faith

I pray that you all had a great Resurrection Celebration yesterday and are ready to do it again today, tomorrow, the next day...you get the picture! Jesus is still alive!

For your encourgement today


Friday, April 11, 2014

What's the Blog Scoop for April 11, 2014

How a man loves a woman - good words here guys

Bible-balance in Christian Ministry - This is a great article, not just for pastors either.

Making Disciples like a Soldier, Athlete...Mom - Ladies, some great encouragement here for you.

9 Things You Should Know About the Rwandan Genocide

A cultural analysis - This is interesting if you this clicks with you.

A Glorious Expedition  - This is another good one guys. Pay attention.

10 Key Events in the Fundamentalist-Evangelicalism History - If you are interested in the history of this movement, this is really good.

The Scopes Monkey Trial - This is a follow-up to the previous article because of this role this trial played in the history of Fundamentalism

My so-called opionion? - This article is a little weighty, but if you can wade through it, there are some good thoughts about the consequences of embracing a "pluralistic" worldview hook, line, and sinker.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's the Blog Scoop for April 9, 2014

Moralism is not the Gospel - this is a very good article, especially for people who think they were "raised right"

Grumbling or Complaining

When the Gospel Transforms your 9-5 - this is a great article, especially if you work a "regular" job

When You're Waiting in the Wilderness

Inerrancy - This is a new website on the subject of, you guessed it, inerrancy. Looking forward to diving into the content

Please stop forgiving those who don't want forgiveness - This is an interesting article on forgiveness.

9 Things You Should know about the Chronicles of Narnia


Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's on the Blog Scoop for April 3, 2014

A Conscience Captive to the Word of God

When scripture is the controversy - This is a very good post.

Do Your Duty - This gave me a better perspective on "duty" as it relates to everyday Christian life. Very helpful.

When Vision Stops

Grammar Goofs - We are teaching these in schools now, right?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spiritual Babies in the Church

One of the most glaring realities in many churches in the lack of spiritual maturity among many long-time members. There are many Christians who have been Christians for many years, yet they are still spiritual infants. They have never grown up in the faith. This is a real problem in the church. I would even venture to say that spiritual immaturity is one of the primary reasons why many churches are dying and so many churches remain in a cycle of conflict: no one wants to grow up spiritually. This is a great danger to the church and the mission of the church. Lest some think I'm being too harsh: all members, including spiritual babies, are in need of shepherding. However, the refusal of some to grow up spiritually when all the resources are available to them can cause harm to the church body and can be a detriment to the mission. Some might say, "they" are part of the mission. To that, I agree. However, the constant clamoring of the spiritual babies can be draining on the church and can keep a church from actually advancing the kingdom of God.

Infants are always thinking about themselves, always clamoring for attention, always making sure their needs are met without any consideration for others. Spiritual infants, those who should not be spiritual infants, can be the same way. They refuse to take responsibility for their spiritual growth. They expect pastors to spoon feed them all the time and to respond to their every whine and whimper. They expect other church members to "serve" them constantly. And, let's be clear, spiritual immaturity doesn't have as much to do with chronological age as sometimes people often think. And, it seems to me, at least through observation and experience (no stats to back this up), the ones who are whining and complaining the most are the least spiritually mature and least spiritually attuned to what the Lord is doing.

To be sure, sometimes within a church's culture, there is no expectation of the members to grow up spiritually. This is certainly true of many churches. Many churches have determined by their practice that being a "good church member" is serving on committees, giving money to the organization (not necessarily the same as the mission by the way), and making our voice heard when we don't like something. We have inadvertently (hopefully, it was inadvertently) told people that "growing up spiritually" is not necessary.

Well, it is necessary. In fact, it is so important and necessary that the writer of Hebrews warns about the danger of not progressing in the faith in Hebrews 5:11-6:2. He also, in this passage, exhorts his audience to progress in maturity, not to stay spiritual babies. Jesus has so much for his children. Remaining a spiritual baby keeps people from attaining to and accomplishing all that Jesus has for them to accomplish. Let us move on to spiritual maturity. Let us not let people remain spiritual babies.

To some, this may not sound very "loving". However, is it very loving to let your 15 year old child drink out of sippy cup or continue to feed him with a baby spoon?

What's the Blog Scoop on March 22, 2014

How the coming baby boomer retirement will affect your church

10 Signals to say to Newcomers They aren't Welcome Here

5 Ways to Protect Your Church from Dying - This is basic stuff, but more important than some people think.

10 Ways to Kill Your Church

You're preaching Sunday - I know this one is for pastors primarily, but please read the first two or three paragraphs. Then, you will have some idea that pastors don't just work on Sundays. Ha, ha.


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Danger of Drifting



As we gathered yesterday with the church, the text we were diving into was Hebrews 2:1-4. This particular text is an exhortation and a warning to us about the danger of drifting away from the gospel, drifting away from Christ. The danger of drifting is a real temptation for every Christian. It is a danger to be avoided at all costs. It is a temptation that is to be expected from all directions. Drifting is the natural result of neglect. The reality of drifting can happen to individuals, and it can happen to churches.

Here are some symptoms that a personal spiritual drift is in progress: (compiled from various sources)
  • when Jesus isn’t as great as he used to be
  • when the cross of Christ is no longer amazing
  • when the songs we sing are just routine
  • when we just go through the motions of religious activity
  • when we no longer desire the word of God
  • when we really don’t pray in the Spirit
  • when we have little concern that we might actually be drifting
  • when we are chasing the glitz of the world
Here are some symptoms that a church-wide spiritual drift is in progress: (compiled from various sources)
  • when a church becomes more focused on the organization rather than the people
  • when a church becomes inwardly focused
  • when pleasing the members becomes more important than the people the church wants to reach
  • when appearances become more important than reality
  • when traditions and programs become more important than seeing lives changed by Jesus
  • when budgets & buildings become the mission rather than tools to accomplish the mission
From a devotional our church is using right now, Arise, there was this quote that connects drifting with apathy & complacency: "When apathy and complacency are present, our love for spiritual things wanes and our desire to walk in Christ's mission subsides."

Now, what do you do when you recognize the drift is taking place?

First, Return. Return to your first love (Revelation 2:1-7). Returning requires repentance. 

Second, Renew. Renew your covenant commitment to Jesus as Lord.

Third, Refocus. Refocus your attention on the kingdom of God as your #1 priority.

Have you begun to drift? Has your church begun to drift? Are you in the midst of a spiritual drift?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Love God

I thought this was very good from Matthew Henry this morning commenting on Luke 10:27

"We must love God with all our hearts, must look upon him as the best of beings, in himself most amiable, and infinitely perfect and excellent; as one whom we lie under the greatest obligations to, both in gratitude and interest. We must prize him, and value ourselves by our elation to him; must please ourselves in him, and devote ourselves entirely to him. Our love to him must be sincere, hearty, and fervent; it must be a superlative love, a love that is as strong as death, but an intelligent love, and such as we can give a good account of the grounds and reasons of. It must be an entire love; he must have our whole souls, and must be served with all that is within us. We must love nothing besides him, but what we love for him and in subordination to him."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's the Blog Scoop - February 20, 2014

Executive Pastor role - this is a great book review and some very helpful thoughts

Finding the Point of the Passage - good article for bible study

Thinking about Inerrancy - thought this was a good article about the subject of inerrancy

3 Questions to Ask Before Watching a Movie

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy

Psalm 1:1-2 reveals the pathway to true happiness. The HCSB translates the first part this way: "how happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked..." The ESV translates it this way: "blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked..."

But, who are "the wicked"? We normally think of wicked people as those who commit terrible acts of cruelty and are barbaric in nature like murderers, pedophiles, etc. And, while wicked can refer to those types of things, it refers primarily to those who stand in opposition to God and his truth. It refers to those who disregard God and his truth, to those who seek to live autonomously apart from God (i.e., Genesis 3:1-8), to those who have a worldview that is man-centered rather than God-centered.

The antidote for following the advice or counsel of the wicked is to delight in the "instruction" or "law" of the Lord. By extension, this refers to all of God's revealed truth about Himself, his purposes, his ways, his decrees, commands, and statutes.

The "happiness" promised by the world (cf. 1 John 2:15-17) will never be lasting. It will always be short-lived. Nothing this world offers will satisfy the depths of our soul. Only Jesus can.

Monday, January 13, 2014

What's the Blog Scoop - January 13, 2014

Reasons we get angry - this is very good

Don't Pray in Circles  - I had my suspicions about this book when I received it in the mail. This article at least confirms some of those suspicions.

Sleep Deprivation - really good stuff

Satanic statue - interesting

10 Things you could have done if you got up early

Roe v. Wade

Small Groups and Sermons


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What's the blog scoop - January 7, 2014

How am I to love God by loving his Word?

Remembering Jesus in the Lord's Supper

Marijuana and the Christian - this is a pretty good article

"Taken God Seriously" - excellent and so very true!

Songs to Sing in 2014 - good reminders

Tough and Tender - yes, that's the kind of pastor I'd like to be someday

Dude plays the piano backward - very cool


Cold

Yep, it's cold outside where I live today...really cold. And, for the record, all you folks out there that like cold weather, you can have it. I love you, but bring on the summer time! Anyway, it being so cold outside reminded me of something Jesus said: "because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12). I realize that this statement is in the midst of one of Jesus' end times discussions. But, don't we see this happening before our very eyes? Aren't we all susceptible to this reality? That unless we keep the fire of our passion for Christ stirred up, we could all have our love grow cold?

Our love can grow cold toward the Lord. Our love can grow cold toward our neighbor. And, according to Jesus (Matthew 22:34-40), isn't that the "center of the mark"?

So, how do we keep the fire stoked and burning? It will sound simplistic and basic, but haven't we tried to complicate things enough in the Christian life?

Here you go:

  • Read, study, and obey the bible
  • Pray consistently
  • Worship daily at work and at play
  • Gather with God's people consistently
  • Fellowship with God's people regularly
  • Love other people with the love of Christ
So, there you go. Do you find that your love is "growing cold"? Maybe it's time to invest some time this new year in building these godly habits into your life. We certainly don't want to end up like the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Relationship

John 15:1-8

One of the critical pieces missing from many people's Christianity, I believe, is the absence of the truth that Christianity is about "relationship" with God through Jesus. Yes, we participate in religious activities. Yet, even in participating in religious activities on a regular basis, it is possible to go through the motions of religious activity w/o any awareness of a daily, on-going relationship with God. Many Christians even think that the "essence" of being a Christians is what they "do" on Sunday morning with very little thought given to the other six days of the week. Yet, God wants to have a daily relationship with us through Jesus.

Religious activity without relationship leads to ruin.

Duty without delight leads to drudgery. (Donald Whitney)

We often call this truth "walking with God". It is possible for every Christian to walk with God daily. Because of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, every Christian has the capacity to "walk with God" in a personal relationship through Jesus. We have the capacity to hear, obey, and please God.

I believe that one of the benefits of Henry Blackaby's study "Experiencing God" is that it helps show us ordinary people that we can have this kind of relationship and "walk with God" and we can make a difference for his kingdom as we obey him on a daily basis. Just as the disciples walked with Jesus physically on this earth, you and I can walk with God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

Let 2014 be the year we re-prioritize our relationship with the Lord as we build into our lives godly habits of prayer, bible reading, and regular gathering with other believers. Let 2014 be the year we give our spiritual lives the attention it deserves.