Thursday, October 30, 2008
I then had a private pity party (Aren’t you glad you were not invited!) and when I was done childishly lamenting to the Lord the many, many “hurts” I feel and the stress I am under, I remembered the Apostle Paul and his words in 2 Corinthians 11:16 - 33
I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
Wow… Paul, in defending his Apostleship and right to write boasts about his weaknesses. After meditating on that for a while, my sorrow for myself took on a new shape:
“Father, forgive me for I know not of your surpassing mercy. Teach me to look to you and not to myself or my circumstance. Teach me trust you and to trust you fully with every aspect of my being. In Jesus’ name.”
Let us boldly proclaim the grace and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Several people have been asking about the Cen-Pac conference (NAB regional) this last weekend. Well, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that I haven’t had a chance to get the delegates’ input yet. The good news is three-fold:
- The Lord Jesus Christ is still saving people.
- The churches in the conference are passionate about seeing the Lord save more people.
- Bethany Baptist is also passionate about the salvation of souls.
And there you have it. That is my “pre-preliminary report”. The whole church will get an update ASAP. Until then, tell everyone you meet the GOOD NEWS that Jesus Christ saves.
- The Music ministry moved my spirit. (I always feel strange saying things like that, but you know what? I was moved by the passion of the musicians and the truth of the lyrics.)
- The media booth is complete, so the balcony was opened up again.
- This morning we studies plagues 4 – 9 in the Book of the Exodus. WOW!!!
- The Adult Sunday School 2 went very, very well. We are developing a nice and intimate group.
- What can I say about the message this morning…? I’m a little biased.
Get ready for a few surprises!
Friday, October 24, 2008
- It has been a hectic joy so far in Portland. Family, church, repentance… a hectic joy.
- I have been told that Bethany and I are still in the “honeymoon” phase. If it is anything like my real honeymoon then you are about to find out that I snore.... LOUD!
Blessings to you and tell someone about the matchless grace of the Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am looking forward to this Sunday's teaching in Exodus... plagues!!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I had the honor of having lunch with my wife, my youngest daughter, and Dr. Earl Radmacher. At the end of our time together I asked him if he had any advice for a young pastor. What he said blew me away. Here is a paraphrase:
Ephesians 4:15 says, “speak the truth in love”. That is where doctrine and experience meet. The truth of doctrine is worthless without the experience of love. The experience of love is empty without the truth of doctrine. That is the balance… truth AND love.
Praise the Lord for Godly men who have wrestled with the text and are willing to share with those who need it. Sure, he has a ton of accomplishments and degrees. He knows people that some of us only read and read about. But that is not what impressed me about the man. He is a great student of the Bible and proof that the Word of God is powerful. Truly we stand on the shoulders of giants that came before us.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
***WARNING: SHAMELESS PLUG AHEAD***
I have spent the better part of the day thinking through and preparing for the Hermeneutics Class (Bible Study Methodology) I will be teaching this coming Sunday. Not only am I pumped, but I’m also a bit nervous at the thought of teaching it. There is only one surefire way to properly teach Bible Study Methodology and that is to study the Bible in-front of folks. So the question becomes, “Which passage do we study?” I think, instead of skimping out on the meat and tough issues addressed in Scripture, we will tackle a few “tough texts”. Which ones? Ah… you’ll just have to come and see won’t you?
Monday, October 20, 2008
- I started a new Sunday school class yesterday. It was small, but intimate, had a great time too.
- I got rave reviews from my red-heads that their children’s church was down right awesome.
- What can I say about the music today? I don’t want to get mushy or anything, but I was truly moved by the power of God.
- While the preacher may not have been at his prime, the Holy Spirit most certainly was. Jesus Christ is STILL changing lives. Amen.
- The Sound/Video/Lighting booth is almost remodeled. It is amazing what a few guys can do in such short time! It looks great, and more importantly, it is more functional where it is now.
(By way of caveat, I am getting both excited and nervous about playing for the worship team.)
Thanks to everyone who had their hand in the service.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Maybe you have heard this expression; maybe you have even used it. Let me be the first to say that if we were to be able to look at the residents of hell we would see, first hand, that no news is NOT good news. Now, the Gospel is good news. In fact, that is what the word "gospel" means, good news.
In fact, the gospel is such good news that it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes it! Imagine that, news that has the power to change lives.
Brethren, are we proclaiming the good news that Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners so God can make them His children?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
1. The Creator is still the Lord over His creation.
2. God passionately and lovingly seeks to defend and save His people.
3. Those who oppose the Lord do not know Who they are up against.
This is one of the biggest lessons I take home from the passage:
Every leader’s actions and reactions have deep impact on the people and / or organization they are in charge of.
Pharaoh’s hard heart cost him more than food and comfort… it cost him life. It wasn’t until his firstborn was taken that it really hit home (pun intended).
Let’s learn this lesson and learn it quickWHEN THE LORD TELLS US TO DO SOMETHING, DO IT.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Parents, we need to be dating our spouses and regularly, but never at the expense of our children. Men, we need to be providing for our families as the Lord has commanded, but never neglecting the children that call us "dad". Ladies, never forget those precious souls the Lord has entrusted to your care. I am so blessed to have four beautiful kids. I am so thankful that the Lord cares for, provides for, and loves His kids too.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
“The Church gathers for edification and scatters for evangelism.”
I have heard this many times over the years and several variations on that theme. What does it mean to be THE CHURCH? As I reflected on this morning’s events I can’t but help rejoice over what the Lord is doing!
- We have a solid group of men and women that want to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We have talented musicians who are not just “putting on a show”, but seeking to lead us in our devotion to the Lord in song.
- From the little tikes to the adults, the Sunday school teachers are top-notch.
- Children’s church is interactive and fun (so my 5 year old tells me)
- We continue to have quite a few visitors.
- The potluck was great. (Man! Bethany Folks can sure cook!!!)
- The business meeting went well.
Brethren, we need to reach out into our community and the neighborhoods we live in. The Lord Jesus Christ calls us to a radical mission, TAKING THE GOSPEL TO A LOST AND DYING WORLD. I am reminded of that every Sunday evening. We do not meet every Sunday night and let me tell you, the parking lot is empty. Wow… just a few hours prior it was near full. What an awesome picture of what the church is supposed to do. We meet to edify and scatter to evangelize.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Fridays are days that I normally take off and believe me, this week I feel like I need about 6 Fridays in a row. But instead of sleeping in or snuggling with the kids, I had a meeting with the leader of one of the area Bible studies that meets at the church. I am so glad that the Lord arranged for us to meet when we did. I had such a profound time of prayer before our meeting. Talking and coordinating with the Bible study leader was simply a joy. I am so thankful that the Lord knows what He is doing.
Oh, that we would follow His leading… even when we can’t see where to.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
(Proverbs 3:5-7 ESV)
Monday, October 6, 2008