Monday, May 30, 2011

The End of Another Month!

This year is flying by! It is hard to believe that we are heading into the half way point of 2011, isn’t it? As we close out May 2011, I wanted to just highlight some things that occurred this month that may have been overlooked by many, but we should give thanks for:

• I finished our second New Member’s Class of the year and it was culminated by a fellowship on May 15th where we had 25 New Families invited after our evening service!

• Our AWANA Awards night was a huge success - we had so many adults work so faithfully to help our children hide the Word of God in their hearts at an early age! Thank you AWANA workers who love and serve our children with such faithfulness.

• As you are reading this, we have a Mission Team in Arizona, another one preparing for Paraguay, and another one getting ready to head to Vancouver to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

• We completed our PG Class as we, as parents, walked through the amazing book The Heart Of Anger by Lou Priolo. We had several visiting families that attended this once a month, for three months!

• We completed our first quarter of Men’s Fraternity where we had around 50 men each Thursday morning, who gathered around the Word of God to discuss what Biblical Manhood looks like. (By the way we will begin our next session of Men’s Fraternity August 11th).

All this in May!  Not to mention that we have no new members who have come to join Trinity that are still “in waiting” because they have not attended the New Member’s Class - all of them are coming in and getting faithful immediately! We have a new Prayer Ministry that is up and running and several new ministries starting. We have new families, and families that have been here, who have shown incredible commitment to this body for the long haul! I love you and I am honored that we have continued this journey together. We have summer upon us with Kid’s Camp, VBS and wonderful mission opportunities in our Jerusalem and in the utter most parts of the Earth! Let’s not take our hand off the plow!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Great Website - and an Even Greater App!

There are incredible resources in the world today! I thank God for the men and women God has raised up to equip others in the work of the Kingdom. Several years ago, I came across a wonderful website that served as a great resource for any believer. Through the years, I have referred many people to this site that had 263 Theological Questions. While I may not agree with the answer to every one of the 263 questions, it gives more than one view and does so in a balanced way. I referred someone to this website some time ago and neither he nor I could find the questions. To my sadness it had been taken down. But I have once again found the questions - but better than the web site, they now have an app for it! Please take a look at this site… you will be a more equipped leader because of this!

Web site: This is worthy of looking at each day!

The App and all that it offers!

60 Hours of Theological Training Now Available in One APP for just $6.99!

Yes, you heard it correctly. We’re putting more than $699 worth of theological training into one app for 1% of the regular price!

The Theology Program has been used in more than 1,000 churches. We’re now excited to see this training utilized in coffee shops, living rooms and ahem… offices all over the world

The App Includes:

1. All 60 Video sessions covering our 6 courses (Introduction to Theology; Bibliology & Hermeneutics; Trinitarianism; Soteriology; Humanity & Sin; Ecclesiology & Eschatology)

2. More than 2,000 powerpoint slides that can be flipped through while watching the videos.

3. All 6 Workbooks. More than 1,200 pages of workbooks that can be flipped through while also watching the videos and slides.

4. A "More" section with updating articles that add to your learning experience.

The best app a believer can buy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What is this Gospel Wrapped in?

Please watch this short video of a will explain so much!

So, as long as I wrap the Gospel in “crap” (his words - not mine) it is still the Gospel? Again, I would encourage you to watch the video first to understand this question. The passage that should run through our mind is:

2 Corinthians 4:1-6:
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

I have a better idea, why don’t we just make it a policy that everyone that comes to church each and every Sunday, we give them a crisp $50 bill instead of a bulletin? Did you notice the news anchor at the end - he seemed to approve of such creativity? That is reassuring. I do not doubt, and in fact I am forbidden to doubt the motivation of these people. I will choose to believe the best and that their desire is simply to get people in their building to hopefully give them the Gospel message. But, what is it that will make the Gospel appealing to the human soul? Slick marketing? Prizes? Do we have to cover the Gospel in “crap”? Do we have to pull the "bait and switch" and try to trick someone to come to church? I know this is a crazy idea, but how about we tell people the truth? How about we present an unaltered Gospel? How about we build a relationship with our neighbors? Is Christ so unattractive that we need to wrap Him in a Wii or 3D TV? Do I have to give the old “spoon full of sugar” to help the medicine of the Gospel go down? The truth is, the Gospel embarrasses many believers - so many are ashamed of it. May God raise up churches, preachers, and fellow saints who just tell the truth, proclaim the Gospel correctly and not base success on how many we can pull a bait and switch on. He mentioned they had given away cars before, so we must ask at what point does this become sheer manipulation?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Wonderful Help in our Day...

Below you will find the link and the entire post from a blog dealing with pornography. In our society today, the average age a child has his first encounter with pornography is about 9 to 10 years old. The number of men and women today that are enslaved by this sin, even in our churches, would astound us if we actually knew. On a conservative estimate, I would say that I do not have a month that goes by that I do not walk through the Word with someone who has been touched by this sin. There is wonderful software today that can provide accountability, but there is no software for the human heart. Only Christ can do the work needed for that. I hope this blog encourages you to guard your eyes and heart, and will help many to be set free from this death trap.

From Bruce Roeder:


Just me typing this word in this blog may mean comments and messages from unsolicited sources encouraging me to whatever. Fortunately, the blog filter catches them all and off they go without my readers being exposed. Nevertheless, the temptation arrives to me uninvited and I have to deal with it.

And so do millions of Christian men, most of whom wish they didn't have to. Contrary to some popular notions many men do see porn as the poison it is but on the other hand feel powerless in its grip.

It's war. It's slavery. And it's everywhere. If you want to go to war start here.

Over my years of biblical counseling I've read not a few books and articles on the subject of pornography. Here I present to you three of the most useful and inexpensive tools of war that are based on Scripture.

The first is Mark Driscoll's Porn-Again Christian.

It's a free ebook. It's typical Driscoll. It does not pull any punches. Read it. Follow the directions. Young man, this means you because you were his original target given that much of the younger generation is given over to porn as "normal" including many young women. That's a shift and not a good one.

The second is Tim Challies Sexual Detox.

This one is free too in ebook form. It can also be purchased from Cruciform Press. It's cheap, well written and designed for guys "who are sick of porn." Think about that. Think about the title, Sexual Detox. It's an apt description. Pornography feels like an addiction. Detox is a necessary part of going to war.

The third is Delivered by Desire by Daryl Wingerd. This one is available through Christian Communicator's Worldwide. It's not free or cheap at around $15.00 but it's worth every cent. Daryl works hard to help men with the "how" of breaking through to liberty. That's the problem isn't it guys? I want to, but do not know how. Daryl shows how to fight.

Consider this from Daryl's first page:

Face Reality

You probably experience pornographic temptation almost every day and the Internet is not the only source. Try walking through a video store without being tempted to lust. Watch primetime TV without your conscience often telling you to look away. Find a grocery store where you can check out without standing next to a display of sexually provocative photographs.

The truth is, you live in a pornographic culture.

The world, the flesh, and the devil have all combined to give men a horrible theology of sex. In many ways it could be described as an anti-theology since God the creator of sex is not considered.

These three books discuss the horribleness of the anti-theology but more importantly the beauty of a God-centered theology of sex. To Him be the glory.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Folk Theology

Being raised in the ministry, I have had the opportunity to meet many great men from our Baptist leadership and pastors. There have been many that I have been blessed by, and others that I wish I would have only known them from the pulpit. I guess watching a “hero,” verses meeting a hero can sometimes be a blessing and other times, it can be a let down. All that to say, a couple of weeks ago I received a phone call from a pastor whom I have long admired; one by whom I have been blessed by both his preaching and many of his books. I had been familiar with him for some time and the highs and lows of his ministry are well known to most in Southern Baptist Life. This man of God is in the Bible belt and was at one of the SBC’s “flagship” churches – but when he began to focus on the health of the church and sound doctrine, he went through great difficulties there. Today, he has a church, ministry and testimony that are stellar to say the least.  He is truly a man who is willing to stand on the Word, despite some difficult consequences.  A man I have been blessed to have spoken with personally and thankful to have had the opportunity to meet. 

After my conversation with this pastor, I spoke with a friend from another part of the country – he had listened to Pastor David Platt’s “Secret Church” simulcast and he had an interesting question for me. I had shared with him about this pastor who called me and my friend asked me a question (I will summarize it). “Why do you have such doctrinal churches and preachers in areas like California, Minnesota, Washington D.C., but men like this pastor in Bible Belt go through such difficulty when they preach doctrinal truth?” Great Question! I think the answer lies in the title of this blog…Folk Theology. We have had the opportunity to discuss this a little bit in our Men’s Fraternity Class on Thursdays, but in short, Folk Theology is not a biblical theology but a theology that has been handed down from Paw Paw, Maw Maw, Dad, Mom or their favorite preacher.

You can tell people who have been strongly influenced by “Folk Theology” because they are the ones who “know it is in the Bible, but just can’t find it.” They will tell you what Baptist people believe, but refuse to discuss Scripture. You tend to see more of this in our area of the country because all of us have been taught some form of Folk Theology - the question is, have we found it to be Scriptural or familial?

I remember hearing a Sunday School teacher telling me that God created man because He was lonely. Really? The God of the Universe had a need that could not be met without me? The supposition that God had a need should send red flags up - but not so much among our folk theologians. I have said many times that when it comes to doctrine, if it is new, it is wrong! We stand on the shoulders of men like Paul, Timothy, James, John, Hosea, Moses. Then we can look to the early church and see what great theologians thought - while the early Church Fathers certainly weren’t inerrant, our theology should be able to be traced back from generation to generation. We should know what Augustine, Luther, Calvin and so many other theologians thought, right or wrong, we should know something about their beliefs. We should know how men like Spurgeon, Hodge and Edwards viewed passages of Scripture. This is not simply the call of a Pastor; this is the call of a Christian. Sadly, many in our churches today only know the theology they were handed down…they have never bothered to dig into the Word and know why they believe what they believe. Therefore, we have built a culture in our Bible belt that when you challenge many of them to think through their theology and it comes up different than what they have “heard,” it is very difficult for them to swallow. When you see how the church should look in the Word of God and you compare it to what we see today, there is a clash. However, if I ask them to reject today’s norm in favor of following the Word of God, I am also asking them to reject Paw Paw, Dad or Bro. “Insert favorite preacher’s name here.” The result? You get rejection, anger, frustration – but, not because of theology…most never knew that in the first place. The anger is because there has been an attack on what their grandparents believed and taught them - so that means war! My grandparents or mom could never have been wrong! It is the notion that “If you continue to teach this doctrine – then you are saying my teaching I have received from loved ones, or what I have known from experience, was wrong” and that evokes a strong anger. So, you have people who have never contemplated any theology, thinking they are ready to battle over theology… but, they are really ready to battle over the emotional response to challenging their familial upbringing or experiences.

The results? You still have preachers reading Prov. 29:18 to deliver their personal “I Have a Dream Speech” to the church rather than properly dealing with the text. You still have preachers quoting Revelation 3:20 as if Jesus is knocking at the heart and no one will answer the door. Want more proof?  If you get a bit offended at me speaking against using these passages this way, the basic reason is…FOLK THEOLOGY.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Blessing in my Life!

I have said many times that one of the greatest blessings in my life as Pastor of Trinity is that I get to serve with not only a great staff, but also great friends. One of the greatest blessings I received was coming on a staff and having Bro. John Miller already in place. To say he has been an invaluable resource, a wonderful encourager, and outstanding historian would be an understatement. For 20 years Bro. John and his sweet wife Rosemary have ministered to the people of Trinity Baptist. He has been under 3 different Pastors during his tenure and worked with close to 60 staff members! He has shared with me wonderful insight as to where Trinity has been and why she responds the way she responds. I have never been part of a staff where I walked in to such love for a church and wisdom about a church, from one man. I have watched him face frustration, heartache and countless other emotions with a faith that never appeared to waiver. He has loved me as his Pastor, and these men who serve with him, in a way that pictures Christ. I love the Miller family; I respect his stand and loyalty to this Church and this staff, and most importantly to our Lord. In a day when you have Pastors and staff come and go almost yearly, Bro. John has illustrated to me personally the importance of planting one’s life and family in a place and serving.

There are things Bro. John has taught us by his actions and responses that could never been taught by lecture or even correction. The one word I would use to describe him is FAITHFUL! I can’t think of a better word for any Minister of the Gospel! 20 years - That should not only be celebrated, but that should be admired by everyone at Trinity. Bro. John and Mrs. Rosemary, “Thank you” for all that you do, for the incredible grace that you show and for the inspiration you are to each of us that serve with you. You encourage us to stay the course. I am honored and will be forever grateful to our Lord that He has seen fit for the two of us to serve Him side by side. Looking forward to the next 20 alongside you!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Praise and "Thanks" from Your Pastor!

I am so excited to see what God has done at Trinity. I want to just express my gratitude to our Lord, and this body of Trinity Baptist Church, at the way God is working among us! On May 15th we will complete our New Member’s Class (I will write more about this at the end of the month), and on that evening our Children will bless us with their end of the year program. We have such diligent faithful workers who teach our children not only music, but the truth of the gospel. We will welcome about 25 FAMILIES on this night and have a fellowship in their honor - this will give us a chance to meet them and welcome them into our Trinity family. Most, if not all of these families, are already setting up to serve in some ministry.

I also just want to take a moment and share the overwhelming joy I had when I inquired about our VBS. Typically, it is very difficult to find enough workers for our Vacation Bible School and there are several reasons for this: (1) Many people are on vacation (2) Our VBS is during the day and we have many people that are working during this time (3) Summer is just a busy time because of ball and other kinds of events. I had intended to speak for a brief moment on Sunday to do a push for more help - only to discover that for the first time in recent history, we already had two front and back pages filled up with volunteers! Last year we had a very difficult time getting everyone to come in to do training but, as of the time I am writing this, I was told we may not need to have any additional training times because so many have already gone through the training. Now obviously, with so many boys and girls we can always use more help, but it is astounding at the progress we have made since last year! Thank you for the passion you have to minister to children in our county - thank you in advance for the hours you will spend teaching these children the basics of the gospel! There are many in our church family that will take vacation during this time in order to serve, there are others who volunteer hours setting things up for this event but will never see the children enjoy it because they will be working… I am overwhelmed at the sweet spirit that is going on in our fellowship now. Thank you for focusing on the Kingdom, thank you for loving these boys and girls, and thank you for allowing me to serve beside you - each day it is becoming sweeter!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Believer's Response to Osama Bin Laden's Death

We were sitting at the table on Monday night after our family worship and we began discussing a subject I had been pondering all day! What should our feelings be about the death of Osama Bin Laden? Sunday night when word was coming over the news channels, there was excitement that our American Soldiers carried out a wonderfully executed plan and took out a very wretched mass murderer. I remembered back on September 11th, where I was when America was attacked - I remember seeing people dancing in the streets in foreign countries, and I wondered how anyone (outside of psychotic maniacs) could take any joy in the death of thousands of people. I believe, as believers we must think about this event first, not as Americans, but as Christians. After all, that is where our loyalty should lie - at the cross above all else. So, as believers, I think there should be a few specific considerations for us regarding this event:

1. We should rejoice that there is some justice in our world today, which God allows proper authorities to deliver:

Rm. 13:2-4
Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

There are some atrocities that are so vile that the only proper punishment is death. Bin Laden’s crimes against not only the United States, but against humanity in general, deserved punishment.

2. We should guard against vindictive hatred, even towards Bin Laden:

Romans 12:19-21
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I am to love and pray for my enemies as a believer. I must be honest, I struggle with this towards such a wicked man… but in my admission of that, (in light of Scripture) I must also confess that this is sin in my life – sin that I must be repenting of as God works His will in me.

3. While justice is done, I am not sure how I feel about dancing in the streets and outright celebration for us as believers. While justice was done, and we can rejoice that it was carried out - that this mad man suffered his due reward for such wickedness, I don’t think we can carry on without pondering the following verses:

Proverbs 24:17 "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, & let not your heart be glad when he stumbles."

Ezek. 33:11 "As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways"

4. We should be in prayer for all of those that have such weighty decisions regarding this world and our country; as well as praying for the families who lost loved ones during 9/11, who are continuing to grieve today. While I am not a supporter of our President in his policies, I am to be in prayer for him, along with the other leaders that have to make incredibly difficult decisions everyday.

1st Tim. 2:8

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying— a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Ultimately, it would have been wonderful to see Bin Laden repent of his sins and turn to Christ. His heart was just as wicked as mine was prior to Christ, and I deserve the same Hell Bin Laden is in today. I want to close with a wonderful quote from Joshua Harris’s blog. It is from a man named Christopher Morgan who has another take on this that is very good:

“I tend to think that we can rightly grieve that Osama bin Laden opposed the true and living God and will be punished accordingly. But we also can rightly rejoice in the defeat and judgment upon people who are evil-and he was clearly evil and deserving of every punishment earth can give. The dancing in the streets may not merely be American nationalism, but an appropriate response to the partial display of human justice as we await the final and perfect display of divine justice in the coming age."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Living Out Forgiveness

In our Parental Guidance (PG) class we have been reading an outstanding book by Lou Priolo, entitled The Heart Of Anger and to simply say it is highly recommended would be an understatement! This Friday night we will be wrapping up the study of this book with our final PG class until the fall, so make your plans to “finish well” if you have been a part of this study with us!

So many times, in reading a book we will skip the appendix…but, in the appendix of this wonderful book we see the following verses: (don’t skip it!)

Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Jeremiah 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

We can know for a fact that God doesn’t have amnesia! As we have seen through our “Wonderful Words” series, God imputed our sin to Christ and imputes His righteousness to us because he was our substitute on Calvary. All of God’s wrath that should have fallen on me, fell on Him. What a glorious truth. So, when the Father sees me, He sees me in the righteousness of Christ and I am truly forgiven. But, the question I am faced with now is, “How do I forgive as Christ has forgiven me?” In light of Priolo’s book, I want to offer you three promises that must be included to forgive biblically:

1. Forgiveness is a promise not to hold the offense against the other: The tendency when one is hurt is to lash out and utter such words as: “You always do this” or “You said you were sorry the last time.” Forgiveness states that you are releasing them from “last time.” You will not use past sins against the person. The issue is “off limits” and will not be brought up again. You must capture those thoughts and remind yourself that you have forgiven that sin; that it is over.

2. You promise that you will not discuss the past offense with another: People love gossip - our deceitful hearts love negativity and slander. If we have been offended or sinned against and have not truly forgiven the other, we love to tell others. Our sinful minds can justify anything we want to do. So, if I have been hurt, I need to make sure I just “share my heart” or “release my pain.” Ahhh…but God still calls that gossip.

3. You promise that you will not dwell on the offense of the other: You may be one of those VERY rare people who won’t gossip about the hurt, but you will dwell on it. You can act like everything is okay on the outside but you hold it and replay it in your mind… and convince yourself you have a right to do so. The only problem is we have no rights - they were purchased at the cross! This dwelling on it, replaying it – only leads to anger and bitterness. Eventually you will resent the person or, the next time they do something, your emotional response to them will be so “snowballed” that it is overwhelming to you and them. Bottom line, forgiveness is choosing not to hold on to that offense or that sin. You have to stop those thoughts and remind yourself that you have chosen to forgive.

So remember our passion should be to love like Christ and forgive like Christ - and if you have lived any time at all, you know that takes a constant work of grace, and we still fall short all too often. There have been wonderful books written on this very subject, but one of my favorites is The Freedom And Power Of Forgiveness, by John MacArthur. It is a wonderful book that will be a great asset to you as you seek to grow in this area! Forgiveness is a concept we speak of so casually on the outside, but very few of us truly deal with at the heart level – so we harm ourselves and others in our relationships by not truly forgiving.