Monday, November 29, 2010

It Is Good to Give Guest Blogger, Bro. Jon Rushing

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;” (Psalm 92:1 ESV)

Thanksgiving can be, as with most holidays in the U.S., a season of very meaningful, God-centered worship, or a season of people-centered sentimentality. I guess I am overly sensitive to this because I am charged (alongside Brother Chad) with leading Trinity to worship Christ corporately, week in and week out. So, when I came across Psalm 92 this week, the Spirit really let me see how this psalm helps us worship through giving thanks.

First, right out of the shoot, the psalmist tells us that this hymn is for our gathered worship times. The heading calls it, “A Song For The Sabbath.” So this is for us, not just for me, as an individual. He wastes no time beating around the bush, but reminds us next, that it is a wonderful thing to “give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises.” (vs. 1)

Then, in vs. 2-3, he gives us some specifics on how this can be accomplished.

“To declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.”

It is God’s “steadfast love” (His character) and His “faithfulness” (His actions) that are declared as reasons to worship God. Also, note that this corporate thanksgiving praise takes place in the morning and at night. Now, I would never try to use this as a proof text saying we should always have A.M. and P.M. worship gatherings, but in the very least, we are reminded that we should meet regularly as a faith family to offer thanksgiving and praise to God. Another thing to notice here, is that although elsewhere in the Psalms, there are commands for fully orchestrated times of praise (Psalm 150), the three instruments listed here are small stringed instruments that would be much more conducive to an intimate, more personal setting. God calls us to both types of gatherings…loud, boisterous praise…and quiet, thoughtful worship.

Vs. 4-5 gives an answer to the question “Why give thanks in this way?”

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by Your work; at the works of Your hands I sing for joy. How great are Your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep.”

I love this truth! When God saves us, joy in Him follows!! Through His Word and by the Holy Spirit we are able to rejoice in His activity and pursue the riches of who He is. (Ephesians 1:17-23)

Here’s where Psalm 92 turns a corner. I am tempted to stop here, but the psalmist doesn’t do that. The rest of the hymn contrasts differences between those who belong to God and those who don’t. These verses speak for themselves.

“The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but You, O LORD, are on high forever. For behold, Your enemies, O LORD, for behold, Your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; You have poured over me fresh oil. My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalm 92:6-15 ESV)

Evil will be present, even when the church gathers to worship. But take heart, evil will be short lived and God’s work among His people is ongoing and everlasting!

As I wrap this up, let me speak personally.  Trinity, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galations 6:9 ESV) What God is building here is eternal. It WILL last and those who stand against Him will not. As me and my family move into this season of Thanksgiving, we are thanking God for what He is doing in our midst and for allowing us to be a part of Trinity Baptist Church.

Just remember, “…It is good to give thanks to the LORD…”

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Joy and Thankfulness...from Bro. John Miller

As we approach this wonderful time of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, it brings to my mind I Thess. 5:18. Do you know what this Scripture says? Stop, take your Bible, and read it. Did you see that thankfulness should characterize the Christian life in every circumstance? Psalms 100:4 - do you know what it says? Stop, take your Bible out and read it. Wow!  We should enter His gates, Trinity Baptist Church, with thanksgiving and joy… why? So, we can praise Him, honor Him, and acknowledge Him as our God.

I thank God that He has allowed me to be admitted into His service for over 30 years and so thankful He has allowed me to serve at Trinity Baptist Church for almost 20 glorious and joyful years. Our Lord has blessed us beyond any measure I could ever expect. What a source of joy and thanksgiving this Body of Believers has been to me, and is for so many others as well!

How could anyone not be full of joy and be very thankful while ministering to the Senior Adults at Trinity? God has blessed us with Senior Adult mentors to look up to, with Senior Adults serving throughout Trinity, willing to do what it takes to glorify Jesus. Thank you for giving unto the Lord!

I’m thankful for the past but, like Paul, “forgetting what lies behind”, we must press on toward the eternal finish line in front of us, and we must refuse to focus on yesterday because today holds out our hope.

Where do we find joy and a thankful heart?

As I was looking at the past and fearing the future. . .
My Lord was speaking:
“My name is I AM,”

“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS.”
“When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there; my name is not I WILL BE.”

“When you live in the moment, it is not hard. I AM here”.
 Bro. John

Monday, November 22, 2010

When the Holiday Season Rolls Guest Blogger, Bro. Brad Walker

When the Holiday Season rolls around, I often reflect on the things in my life for which I am most grateful. I have never gotten over the fact that a sinner like me was met by the saving hand of God and confronted by the truth of the Gospel. It is a divine exchange beyond comprehension: the righteous for the unrighteous, the innocent for the guilty, and Jesus’ perfect record for my filthy rags (II Cor. 5:21). Likewise, my Heavenly Father has called me to be a Pastor, and it is an absolute joy that I get to fulfill my calling at Trinity Baptist Church. I have seen hundreds of churches and hundreds of student ministries, but I have never seen a church with more potential to reach the nations through the caliber of teens and families and the resources that God has blessed us with. The potential for student ministry and the possibility of influencing the future leaders of our world with the Word of God wakes me up in the morning. I love preaching. I love counseling. I love discipling. I love building relationships and having fun with students. I love sharing the gospel and building a ministry team. I love seeing the needs of ministry, identifying an individual’s gifts and helping people connect the two. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fulfill all of these passions.

Also, I am continually overwhelmed by the student ministry team that God has raised up here - they are much more talented than the student pastor! My assistant, Emily Beitz, continually serves with her skill and organization. I am grateful that she often covers up my weaknesses and makes what we do more effective. Our mentors, interns, directors, student leaders, and parent leaders are top notch. While much of the work they do goes unseen by people, it is not unseen by the God of the Universe. The backbone of our ministry is the faithfulness of the humble servants on our team. I am also grateful for the fantastic parents that are trying to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have never been lacking any resource or need in order to fulfill our ministry goals at TBC. What a blessing it is to have the relevant and state of the art facilities in order to minister to students and their families!

I realize that few people on this earth wake up every day excited about their vocation, and I am one that is blessed to have such a job. While there are many challenges, some heartaches, crazy hours and lots of responsibilities of student ministry, we love it! It meets the needs of my family financially and provides me the opportunity to fulfill my calling with joy. This joy is enhanced by the Godly and talented staff team and pastors. The depth of fellowship that we have in the midst of battle is deep and the fun is great. I am also thankful for a senior Pastor that is my pastor, boss and friend. There is no other pastor in the world that I would rather serve with than my Pastor.

Finally, the number of acts of kindness, babysitting, notes of encouragement, cooked meals, and loving gifts for my family are too numerous to mention. Thank you church family for loving me as one of the Pastors of your Church body. Thank you for loving my family and serving us in a way that humbles and edifies us. Thank you for extending grace for my many weaknesses. Thank you for helping us to raise our boys. Thank you for keeping us accountable to God’s Word. Thank you for reminding us often of Jesus Christ and His work. Thank you for being our family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Trinity Family....a Blog from Guest Blogger, Bro. Bubba Crowder

Whitney and I were, just this past week, thinking back upon our first Holiday Season at Trinity. We had only been here a few months and didn't know many people very well. Although we were thankful for where God had us, it made for an unusual first Thanksgiving in Southaven - to not have anyone really treat us like "family".

Three years later it could not be more different. The great people of Trinity have made it a joy to serve, live life, and begin raising a child here. Not only do our members at Trinity do this personally, but they do this in ministry as well. Looking across the ministries I have the pleasure of serving in, from our Adult Bible Fellowship Groups to Recreation, to our Media ministries, one thing remains the same: the people are willing to do whatever it takes to serve. It is such a blessing to know that our faithful members understand their responsibility in ministry as part of being "the Church". Without this kind of service, many of our weekly ministries would not be possible! I'm thankful for a Church that "gets it"!

In every aspect of life and service, it truly is a joy to call Trinity our home!

-Bro. Bubba

Monday, November 15, 2010


1st Thess. 5:18…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.   (ESV)

Over the next several blogs, I will have several of our staff members as “guest bloggers” writing about things they are thankful for in their ministry at Trinity. God has been exceedingly good to us as a Church, and it is good for us to take some time to give thanks to God, and the Body at Trinity, for what is going on. Let me say in advance, that no staff member has looked at the other blogs to get ideas so; if anything is repetitive it is strictly because they have been blessed. As of writing this blog, these men have not shown me or spoken with me about what they are writing. I believe this holiday season will be a sweet time for Trinity and this is a great opportunity for these wonderful, Godly men I serve with to just stop and share their thankfulness. I will begin by saying I am thankful for Trinity in many areas - but for the sake of time and space I will name two.

First, I am thankful for the growth in our families over this past year. It has been overwhelming as I listen to so many of our men that have stepped up and are now leading their homes in family worship. I’m blessed and encouraged by the number of books we have sold that aid in teaching doctrine – and we have had great openness and honesty regarding the struggles we all face in leading in our families as we study together! The number of books that have been purchased and actually being read is nothing short of phenomenal. It has lead to us having more people who think Biblically, who see and understand roles in the family and the ministry of the body. It has led to an increased comprehension of accountability to one another in the church. It has led to open and honest communication of struggles and victories. It has helped marriages, and has given Biblical application in our day to day lives. This statistic is not one that churches make graphs and charts on, but it yields results in the Kingdom of God – and, after all, that is the audience with whom we should be most consumed. I am excited about where this depth of growth and study leads over the next few years as we see what God’s grace produces in this Body of Christ!

Lastly, I am thankful for these men of God that will be writing on this blog for the next few weeks. Their passion for Christ, the accountability we have within our staff, their love and sacrifice for this body – all of this makes it a wonderful honor to serve here. Over the past 17 years, Trinity had watched over 50 staff members come and go, leaving no consistent path of ministry. This is not a knock against a single one of the prior staff members - it just explained a lack of direction in many ministry areas. The top two concerns I had when praying and searching for staff was (1) Doctrine and (2) Commitment. I wanted men who knew the Word of God and who could teach doctrine… but I also wanted men who would be committed to Trinity. We needed men who would make a commitment for the long haul. Over the last two years it has (some times) been humorous to note the number of people who have asked me, and almost every staff member, the question, “You guys aren’t leaving, are you?” Let me state this for the record – we, as a staff, are committed to this body, to carry out the work God has called us to do. We, as a Church, are not what we should be, but praise God, we aren’t what we used to be and, better than that…we aren’t what we are gonna be! Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Pastor and thank you for loving these wonderful men of God that we have serving at Trinity. I hope you enjoy their posts over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Need the Gospel Daily...

I have been writing about the gospel and I know of no one who can articulate the daily need for the Gospel better than John Piper. Take two minutes of your day and let this encourage you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sin Makes Us Stupid

I am amazed at how stupid I am when I sin! I try explaining why I sinned - and I will call it anything but what it is! I will even change terms and soften the sound of my sin...come on, we all have done this, haven’t we? Instead of looking at my wife and being honest -that I am responding this certain way because I am self seeking and unbecoming, I simply tell her that I’m just not in a “good mood.” I have heard men who were under strong Biblical teaching and, at one time would hold to the things of God, debate leaving their family because they were in adultery! They utter such nonsense as “I’m just not happy with my wife, and God wants me happy. I think this may have been His will all along.” Really? I was unaware that God gives us a command in His Word for you to commit adultery and murder your marriage if you are unhappy. I think some of this happens because we don’t really use the names the Bible uses for sin anymore…we “desensitize” ourselves to our sin. We are in a culture that, when we lie or our children lie, we say, “They were not truthful” or “They told a story.” Problem - I am not calling, nor defining things as God has called them or defined them. We allow our culture to define and rename what the Bible clearly calls sin and, in fact, gives it a name. A wonderful book by Jerry Bridges entitled “Respectable Sins” goes in great detail to deal with sins that we gloss over – those that in most churches many people would have difficulty even defining properly. A pastor friend shared with me that he was burdened by this very problem - he had a member that could not define what “gossip” was. Shortly after this, I too had an almost identical conversation with a member of our church and, in truth there have been countless times in counseling sessions that sins like gossip, slander, and even adultery have had to be defined. Below, Jerry Bridges does an outstanding job of giving a Biblical definition to these sins, as well as many others, that we think are “respectable.”

Gossip is the spreading of unfavorable information about someone else, even if that information is true.” (Respectable Sins-Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges)

“Slander is making a false statement or misrepresentation about another person that defames or damages the person’s reputation. We slander when we ascribe wrong motives to people, even though we cannot see their hearts or know their particular circumstances.” (Respectable Sins-Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges.)

I want to encourage us, as believers, that when we talk, rebuke, correct, or teach with one another or with our children, let’s make sure to use Biblical terms and call sinful things by their sinful names. Otherwise, we will simply raise another generation that can’t rightly define sin and that will learn from us, how to tolerate these “respectable” sins!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BIG ME...little we

One of my favorite books is written by Edward Welch entitled, “When People Are Big and God Is Small.” In this book, Dr. Welch talks a great deal about the sinfulness of fearing man and how, in fact, all of us struggle with this in some area of our lives. One of the areas that feeds into this sin is the “me” culture that we have inside and outside the church. He gives a powerful illustration as to how individualistic we are, even when we approach the Word of God. Our tendency is to think about “me” before “us.”

“For example, since our culture has taught us to think individually rather than corporately, we are prone to think about me rather than us. Our interpretation of “do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4:27) is a classic illustration. This passage is consistently applied to the individual. That is, if you are sinfully angry, Satan will have some sort of control in your life. Although this may be true, the passage is speaking in the context of the church. Ephesians is about unity in the church. The foothold refers to Satan’s divisive influence in the body of Christ rather than Satan possessing an individual. The treatment is to hotly pursue unity in the church.”

I write this blog to encourage each of us to remember that this Christian life is not about us, it is about Christ. If you want to know what is on the next rung of the ladder below Christ…it is “others.” This will completely negate the idea of church, ministry, and in fact, life in general, being about me. It is amazing how many times we hear statements within the Body of Christ that actually state or imply “I have a right to say this about this person….” Or “I have a right to feel this way about this person.” Yet they never consider the weaker brother or sister, they never take into account that our rights were purchased at Calvary. The modern “feel good” theology that honors self more than the one true God, sees the unpardonable sin as to “suppress” your emotions. Why? Because emotions point to my need, and my needs are all that matters. If I “need” approval, love or praise to feel good about self, then inevitably I will be controlled by the person who dispenses the approval, love or praise. This will cripple me and force me to rely on someone other than Christ as my provider. I write this as an encouragement for all of us to live out the idea that my life is not MINE, it is His! I am His slave and should glory in that. Ministry, service, witnessing, church, and worship is not about me, it is about Him and then about others. When we believe this, we will behave this: when we behave this, we will find true joy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

One Final Post from My Guest Blogger

From Michele:
Following my first post on how we, as women, have fallen into the trap of this modern culture of climbing the corporate ladder and being all things to all people...I have had a surprising amount of our ladies ask me,"How do I change that? I'm there - and I do feel trapped. So, how do I break free?" One lady summed it up for me... "A few of us recently decided that we have educated ourselves too much for our husbands to allow us to "simply" stay home and be the Proverbs 31 woman. Trap is such a good word for this situation!!" So many others have said, "We bought this house and now, whenever I talk about staying at home, he reminds me that we cannot afford it without my income. I hate this house - I wish we never moved in it." One particular mom this week told me "I would sell anything and everything I had to so that I could stay at home with my kids...the problem is, he thinks we need this stuff." So, the question rings in my ears as I write..."how do we get out of the working-mom, never-at-home, mediocrity trap that we are in now?"

Now men, before I get started in this, realize that this is not a male-bashing fest...we are not about to blame all of this on you, however does the Bible not put the ultimate responsibility for making sure that your family operates according to the Word of God, on you? I believe so. IF your wife has expressed these desires to you, and IF you have had these is time to make a serious plan to change. Not put it off or hope that these "maternal instincts" settle down. It will settle down - into a resentful and miserable wife! Begin taking steps toward helping her to fulfill this calling - talk about what can be "given up" and find where sacrifices can be made. The enemy will ensure that it will not be easy - following Scripture rarely is....but we are called to do it nonetheless. Ok - I'll let my husband speak to that more at another time...but I just wanted you to see that if your wife is ASKING to be at home, to be a helpmate to you and to influence her children for Christ, which is a unique calling for Biblical feminity, why would you see that as an obstacle to overcome rather than as a blessing?

Now ladies, I have been asked "how" - how do we make that happen? How do I get out of the trap? How can I make everyone at work happy AND everyone at home - I feel like I am failing EVERYWHERE! Sadly, I know EXACTLY how you feel! There have been times in our marriage where I have worked outside the home, some before children and even some periods since the boys have come along. There have also been times where my church activities have kept me so busy that I have felt like I was in this "trap" of letting everyone down...We can find ourselves there so easily and for so many reasons - so, some practical pointers:

1. Realize that you are to HONOR GOD in all that you do. Colossians 3:23 is speaking in the context of submission to authority and it says "whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward" It means that whatever situation you find yourself in at this moment, do not allow your circumstances to dictate your behavior! If you are unhappy with the workplace, your boss, the fact that you are not at home, you feel overwhelmed at home...whatever - YOU WORK HEARTILY, AS UNTO THE LORD...He is the one you are serving and you cannot forget that. In answer to some of the ideas I have heard lately - NO, you cannot start letting the chores at home "fall" so he will notice and see that you need to be at home to get them done. NO - that is manipulation and God will not be honored in that. HE knows YOU! He knows your heart even when you are not capable of knowing it yourself (Jeremiah 17:9). You give your all...every moment...for the Lord - He is the one you are serving. Honor and Glorify HIM in all that you do and do it with the attitude of love and service that glorifies Him - trusting that HE will direct you and your family.

2. Pray for your husband! If you have asked him and talked with him about your feelings on this, clearly and openly (NOT just hinting at it) - then HUSH! Proverbs 27:15 says that we can become worse than a "continual dripping" of a leaking roof! Ooohh ladies - let's watch our nagging! We want something so badly and feel justified in it because we can back it with Scripture - but that does NOT give us the right to become quarrelsome or nagging. PRAY for your husband - we show by our nagging that we do not believe that God can change him or change this situation. Do we TRUST God with our life, our home, our career, our husband? GOD can "get hold" of our husband's hearts in ways we cannot with our words....TRUST Him! After all, He can work through this situation to change US!

3. Focus on Priorities - Sometimes what seems urgent in our lives is really not most important! Remember when you feel pressure from all sides - when you have deadlines to meet, when the boss is pulling and home is on priorities. Take a moment and think - in light of eternity, what is my calling and my Biblical mandate to do in this situation? There may be times when submission to the boss takes precedence over soccer practice - you signed on for that job, made a committment and soccer is a game...But, there WILL be other times when you will be faced with saying NO to that promotion or NO to those extra pay hours because neglecting your family's needs is not an option. Your children MUST KNOW cannot become the nanny who tucks them in at night after the mom at daycare wiped their nose all day....THEY NEED YOU to talk with them, open the Word of God with them, to hold them and ask about their day at school...You may be trapped in a job you don't want right now, but you do not have to continue the downward spiral in the quest for more money, more prestige or furthering the career you say you don't want.

4. Set a Schedule - when you are at work - work hard! But, when you are at home, leave work at the office. Your children and your husband MUST know that you are with them...and that they are not "in the way". They are top priority and they have your attention. If you have older kids - they are perfectly capable of doing some of the household chores (and SHOULD BE doing chores). Get done what you can in the evenings, but do not let the chores become the focus of what you do. A family who enjoys being together can even make chores a non-event or even a fun-event if Mom's attitude is right. Remember though ladies, it is OUR responsibility to be over the home - the Bible does not say, "unless you work - then it is 50-50%" is ours - the less we gripe and the more we do, the quicker it gets done and the less we sound like that leaking roof. The more our children see a right attitude and a serving heart that does even chores out of a love for our family. Children SHOULD be doing chores (they are learning how to do things for their future home) - husbands should NOT. If you have a "chore list" for your hubby...(ouch, right?)...we are going too far. It is not wrong to ask for help with something here or there - but if you have a constant list of items that he is supposed to do, you are putting off what God says is yours to carry. We are in danger of trying to be MOM instead of HELPMATE.

5. Remember HELPMATE was our first name (Genesis 2:18). That is our first role. We are to be a helpmate to our husband - saved or unsaved, working or not, agreeable to spiritual roles or not...we are to be a helpmate to him. Let God deal with the heart. HE told us this is our role - we just need to be the best at it we can possibly be, to the glory of God - and trust HIM that He will take care of us in that. There may be times that you feel taken advantage of, or maybe you are the only one working right now and doing housework (in our society, this is happening more and more) - do not give in and reverse roles just because these circumstances allow it...the enemy can make that easy for us to justify or rationalize in our minds - but it is still not right! Before the job, before the kids, before the church...our role is to be a HELPMATE for our hubby. To make it easy for him to be a man of God. To make home a place he wants to be, to be a wife that is easy to lead and looks to him for leadership, and to focus our children (positively) on him as the head of our family and our authority.

6. Be Careful - so many times we focus on only the negatives of our circumstances and we grumble beneath our breath - our own attitude is our downfall. We can never be a helpmate to our hubby, set a good example for our kids, let alone please God if we are grumbling and complaining! Remember our earlier quote "a few of us recently decided..." means that a few of us were talking! Be careful ladies - our conversations with friends can quickly turn to husband bashing or complaining...focusing our energy in this area is never honoring to God and it defeats us in our attitudes. Make sure that we are "doing him good" and making him "known in the gates" for the right reasons (Proverbs 31:12, 23). Watch our words ladies - they are usually our downfall. My mouth is ALWAYS getting me in trouble....let's guard it as the dangerous weapon it can be!

Ladies, there is SOO much more that can be said - Scripture is clear on how we should treat our families and our husbands, even our bosses, if we don't "muck it up" with our "but my husband..." and "if only he would..." rationalizations. Ladies, our enemy will always place before us opportunities to justify our sin - the question is, are we content to do so or are we determined to serve God, regardless of our circumstances, and trust that He has us right where we are for a reason. Your job situation, your home situation - none of it catches God off guard or poses a dilemma for Him...He knows you, He knows your heart and He even knows what direction He is taking you. SERVE HIM where you are by being the Godly wife/helpmate you are called to be first, the Godly mom second and the Godly employee third. THEN, trust HIM to show you the path out of the trap. You may have gotten yourself into this trap (don't we always?), but the grace of God can teach you something in it and, if you are willing to do whatever it takes that God lays out before you when the time comes (even if it means letting go of "stuff"), He can lead you out. For some, this balancing act may be ongoing for a while - determine to be like Paul and Silas in prison, and praise God regardless of your circumstances. Serve with all your heart and remember it is HIM that you are serving.