Thursday, July 19, 2007

What Do You Think?

I have been doing some thinking. Going out and sharing the Gospel in various ways during Mission-Wynne has prompted a number of discussions with church goers, non church goers, lost people, saved people, people who think that they are saved people, etc.
I have two questions I want to pose to anyone who reads this blog (my mom and perhaps one or two others...that is, if my mom even reads it!) and encourage you to comment on what you think. Here goes...

I have asked a question similar to this one several times this week: "What do you think is required for someone to enter into heaven?" The responses have been varied. One that I have heard more than I thought I would have is the "good works" answer. In other words, many have responded by saying "be good" or "read your Bible" or "pray alot" or "go to church" or "love people." Later on in the conversation, however, when Jesus is mentioned and what He did on the cross for our sins, the response shifts to something like, "Oh yeah, well I've done that!" In other words, when the conversation moves to Jesus, something triggers their memory about a prayer they have prayed or an experience they had in the past.

Question #1: What does a response like this say about their salvation? What does it say about evangelism? Can you get the wrong answer about what it takes to get into heaven and be saved? I would love anyone's feedback. (I know, I know, that's more than one question!)

Question #2: Can a person be saved yet be living in unrepentant sin? Or, to say it another way, can you truly be a Christian and be living in a sinful and immoral lifestyle? Again, I would love your feedback.

**Any Bible verses you can provide to strengthen your answer would be appreciated.

What It's All About!

This week is "Mission-Wynne" at Wynne Baptist Church. Our goal has been to love on this city and to spread the Gospel as efficiently and effectively as humanly possible. It has been a wonderful week. The following is an e-mail I received this morning. It is reference to our church-wide outreach dinner that was encouraged for last night (July 18th). The purpose was to intentionally invite a lost person/family over for dinner with the aim of starting a spiritual conversation with them. Of course, the goal is to see them ultimately respond to the Gospel and embrace Christ as their Lord. In the copied e-mail I am going to paste here, I have eliminated the names, for, I know the intent is not to be known but to share what God is doing. I share it with you simply because it blessed me to see creativity used to share the Gospel and how urgent some of our people are to make Christ known. Enjoy!

Dear Bro. Matt,

Just wanted to share briefly about how ______ and I shared the gospel tonight. We both realized that our husbands would not be available to have another couple in our home ... her husband, ______, is in (Texas), and my husband, _______, had to work (his) shift tonight. So we decided to have a "Neighbor Ladies Night Out" at ______ house. (She) made up an invitation and went to her neighbors Monday. She invited twelve. Three came for a delicious dinner of taco salad and pecan pie.

After our meal and a relaxed time of getting to know one another we made a gospel bracelet. My part was to share the meaning of each color in the bracelet and to share my testimony. No, it was not share perfectly and yes, I probably forgot a scripture or two, but the Holy Spirit was there and He blessed me with a calm spirit, and my confidence was 100 percent in Him and not me. What a blessing to share the good news with these ladies. I do not think that they are believers, and as far as I know they did not accept Jesus tonight, but God is working in their hearts. They came, because, I believe, that they know they have a need that they cannot meet. We did not hide the fact that we would be sharing the gospel in the invitation that was given to them.

Now we need to be faithful in praying for them. They need Jesus ... just as you and I do! Everyday of my life I realize that I need Him more and more.

(We) are going to do the same thing at my house with my neighbors in September. We had a blast! There is nothing better than serving our Great God.

I have no doubt that Mission Wynne will be a great success. Monday I was able to share with a young mother looking for a church home. I followed up with her on Tuesday and hopefully, she and her family will be in church Sunday.

Bless you, Pastor ... have a great day!

Jesus is LORD!!!

Now that, my friends, is "What It's All About!" May these ladies who heard the Gospel come to know Christ and may a passion for sharing Him spread across our church and town!
If you have seen God work and want to share it with me and anyone else who may be reading this blog, publish a comment and I will have it posted as soon as I get it. Let's be busy sharing what all God is doing!

Friday, July 13, 2007

God Stuff

No, I didn't mispell "Good Stuff." The title is intentionally called "God Stuff." It implies good stuff with a God-centered perspective.

I try to run 3 miles or so several times a week in effort to keep off the "Baptist Belly." I like to eat, I am surrounded by good cooks, and I don't want to be a heavy preacher. So, I have to run in effort to keep it off. While I run, I usually listen to a sermon that I have downloaded to my MP3 player. Doing so keeps my attention off what I am doing (running!) and it helps challenge and encourage me in my daily walk with the Lord.
Over the past several days I have listened to some incredible messages/radio broadcasts. I am going to include links to them here so that you may also listen for your own growth in the Lord.

One message is on the importance of the church by Voddie Baucham. This was delivered at the Southern Baptist Convention during the Founders organization breakfast.
Listen carefully to what he says. I think he is right on in many ways.
Listen to it by clicking here and scrolling down until you see the phrase "listen to Voddie Baucham's excellent message." Click on that highlighted phrase and it will take you right to the message.

Another message is by pastor John Piper. It is one of the best sermons on the "divorce passages" I have ever heard. If you have ever wondered what those passages meant, this is a good place to start.
Read, listen, and/or watch the message by clicking here.

The third message I am including here is a radio broadcast from the Al Mohler program. This was a broadcast devoted to discussing how to best reach children with the Gospel. It offers some tremendous insight.
You can listen by clicking here.

Please note that simply because I encourage listening to these messages does not necessarily mean I wholeheartedly agree with EVERYTHING these individuals say. On a whole, I think they are very good resources for God's people and helpful for those longing to be true to the Word of God and honor our Lord in all we do and say.
Please enjoy this "God Stuff." I pray your soul is as enriched as mine was/is.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Deacon Election at WBC - Part III

Two Sundays down, two Sundays to go for WBC to make deacon nominations. So far we have had a flood of names turned in. Actually, I am being very sarcastic. We have had one name turned in to the "Deacon Nomination Review Committee."
This is due to one or more of the following reasons:
(1) You are still diligently praying about who to nominate and you haven't heard from God yet.
(2) You have forgotten.
(3) You asked one of the men in our church and he was not willing to serve.
(4) You thought someone else would make the nomination.
(5) You assume it will just work itself out without your help.
(6). You thought someone else nominated the man you wanted to nominate.

Whatever the reason for not turning in a nomination, don't worry about it and do it! If you are reading this and are a member of our great church, do the following four steps please: (a). Scan the qualifications of a God-called man to serve as deacon at WBC; (b). Ask God whom he wants you to nominate; (c). Ask the man whether or not he is willing to serve; (d). Turn in the nomination form in the offering bucket, welcome center, church office, or the boxes outside sanctuary.

If you are reading this and have been approached by a member whom God has led to talk to you, please do the following two steps: (a). Ask God (not your emotions or your circumstances) if this is His will; (b). According to what the Lord says, tell the individual "YES!"

Bottom line: get busy doing this Wynne Baptist! Hearing from God and electing men whom God has brought to the surface to serve as deacon will keep us in the center of His perfect will. It will also move us all one step closer toward being the healthy church that loves Christ and loves people with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

"As Iron Sharpens Iron..."

" one man sharpens the other" This is according to Proverbs 27:17. The point? We need each other so we can sharpen each other. Yesterday morning in my message to husbands, I feel as if I left out a very important practice that all men need to be participating in: accountability groups. I believe a major benefit to all of our marriages is having another male ask us the hard and difficult questions. It may be just you and one other guy. It may be you and two or three other guys. The size of the group isn't all that important (though I wouldn't exceed over five in number). What's important is that you place yourself in an environment where you are held to the fire about your personal life, your family life, your thought life, your growth in godliness, etc. This "holds us accountable" to being the men we are called to be. It keeps us out of the rut of thinking "I'll do that another day" and helps prevent us from committing a gross and heinous sin that could cost us our families. We need to heed this verse and sharpen one another
What follows are some questions to get you started. These questions are not original with me. They are a compilation of questions I have come across from various sources in recent years. Read through them and evaluate yourself with them. Then, find someone you trust who will ask you these same questions every week. I believe doing this will remove us another step away from divorce and a step closer toward our wives and families.

Accountability Questions:

What has been dominating your thoughts this week?

Have you put yourself in a compromising position with another woman this past week?

How are you handling the finances God has given you?

Have you been in the Word with protected and unhurried time?

What issues are you and your wife dealing with this week?

Describe your relationship with each of your kids this week.

Are you in their lives?

What is happening at work that excites you? Frustrates you? Tempts you?

Have you shared the Gospel with anyone this week? If not, why?

What verses have you memorized this week?

Are you getting that much-needed exercise or blowing it off?

Are you having any fun?

What is your personal risk area right now in your life?

Are you shooting straight with me or did you just blow me smoke?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Deacon Election at WBC - Part II

Why make such a big deal about deacon qualifications? Is it really that important that a man meet certain criteria prior to being nominated and/or elected as a deacon of a local church? At Wynne Baptist Church, we believe it most certainly is.
There are two main reasons why:

(1). The Bible sees it as important.
The Holy Spirit inspired Luke and Paul to mention qualifications for the deacon in their writings. Luke recorded the apostles saying that deacons must be men "full of the Spirit and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). Paul wrote to Timothy that "Deacons...must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well" (1 Timothy 3:8-12).
So, the very fact that the Holy Spirit inspired both Luke and Paul to include qualifications for deacons informs us that we too must see it as vitally important.

(2). Qualifications identify both a calling and a seriousness from the man elected deacon.
What I mean is this. I believe God calls certain men to be deacons at a church. Deacons aren't better than any other man, just like pastors aren't better than any other man. They are men called of God to serve a vital position (see Part I). In addition, men that meet these qualifications demonstrate a seriousness about their Christian walk and a serious love for the church of Jesus Christ. The office of deacon is a serious position. As Paul said in 1 Timothy 3:15 (three verses after the list of qualifications), the church is "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth." What results when the "household of God" is operating the way God intended with God called, qualified pastors and deacons? A corporate confession of the majesty of Jesus Christ (see 1 Timothy 3:16).

Qualifications are important for deacons. The following is a list of qualifications a man must meet prior to being elected as deacon at Wynne Baptist Church:

Shall be a Spirit-filled man.

Shall set a high standard of separated Christian living.

Shall be active and faithful to all major areas of church life.

Shall not be a gossiper.

Shall believe in and practice Christian stewardship by tithing.

Shall have compassion for the lost, and seek in his living and speech to win them to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Shall be a single man or the husband of one living wife, having never been divorced.

Must believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, without error, the source of authority for precept and practice.

Must believe in salvation by grace, through faith, on the basis of the substitutionary death of Christ for sinners.

Must rule his children and own house well.

Shall do all in his power to create and preserve harmony in the church.

Shall be able to keep, and have the reputation for keeping, in confidence those things which should not be discussed with others.

Shall recognize the God-given spiritual leadership that is incumbent upon the office of a pastor and seek to serve under that leadership.

Shall seek to minimize the murmuring to the maximum.

Shall support by faith and action The Church Covenant and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000).

Pray through these, asking God to reveal to you whom He perhaps has called to serve as deacon. Go tell him that God has led you to him. Ask him if he is willing. If so, nominate him by turning in a form to the church office. May God keep His hand on our church by taking serious what He takes serious for the glory of His name.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Lawn Mower Theology

Have you ever noticed you have a lot of time to do nothing but think while mowing the grass?

Have you ever wondered why God created wasps (or "ouchy bugs" as my son calls them) and mosquitoes? While I was mowing this past weekend (and dodging the wasps and scratching the bites on my body), I had some time to ponder why God created these terrorizing creatures.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." That includes mowing the grass.
Here are some thoughts that came to my mind while I mowed...

1. To give us a longing for heaven.
I don't believe there will be wasps or mosquitoes in heaven. No pain. No suffering. Oh how wonderful it will be to sit outside beholding the glory of the Lord with people from every nation, tribe, and language without having to swat or duck! No distractions from the adoration of the King of all kings!

2. To make us hate sin.
After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, God told Adam: "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you...cursed is the ground because of you...thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you..." (See Genesis 3:17-18) I cannot help but think that one of the reasons wasps have stingers and mosquitoes have "whatever-it-is-that-cause-us-to-itch" is due to the sin of Adam. Oh how I hate sin and the effects of it everywhere around us. Sin destroys. Sin corrupts. Oh how I hate sin!

3. To remind us that we humans ain't much.
This past weekend I have allowed tiny little mosquitoes and tiny little wasps (not to mention tiny little flies!) bother me and annoy me to no end. Those little bitty creatures messing with six foot four, two hundred and fifteen pound me! How dare they! Yet they did. Wasps scare me. Mosquitoes make a buffet out of my ankle. I ain't much. In the grand scheme of things, this human can be beat up by a bug! Why? So this little human can spend his life making much a big God! I can be brought down by a little insect. NOTHING, however, can bring down God. He is a Rock. He is a Fortress. He is an EVER-PRESENT Help in Trouble! My life is to be spent, not making much of measly little me, but exalting the great and majestic God of the universe!

4. To give us a taste of the love and protection of our heavenly Father.
When an "ouchy bug" (wasp) gets close to my boys Luke and Seth I go on an all out attack to take crush the bug and dispatch it into eternity! I do NOT want them to get stung. Likewise, when mosquitoes have supper on Luke's legs, I hurt for him because I see the misery he is in scratching and scratching and scratching! Thus, the first order of business is to get to the store and get the ointment that relieves the constant itching! I hate seeing them hurt or oppressed in any way. They are so helpless!
Ponder this from Jesus in Matthew 7:11 - "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Breathtaking. Overwhelming. What a heavenly Father we believers have in Christ.

5. To be consumed with the blood of the Lamb.
This may be a stretch, but hang with me, okay? I pondered what drove mosquitoes. I mean they flock to human flesh in a matter of milliseconds! Why? Blood. They are consumed with blood. They long for the blood to fill them.
There is a blood that must drive us believers as well. Not just any human blood of course. We aren't vampires or mosquitoes. We are to be consumed with the blood of our precious Savior, Jesus Christ, that is the punishment we deserve for our sins.
Remember what Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16 when He was reflecting on His upcoming suffering and death? Peter told him it would never happen to Him. Jesus called him Satan and said that he wasn't thinking on the things of God, but on the things of man. In other words, "the things of God" are the slaughter, death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The bloody cross must be a consuming passion of ours.
Or consider these words from Jesus in John 6:53-54 - "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
Oh how wonderful is the blood that was shed for the forgiveness of sins! May I ever rejoice in what Christ did to accomplish salvation for this desperate soul.

A few reasons, perhaps, why God created wasps and mosquitoes. I know, I know...too much time on the lawnmower.