Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Convicting Quote I Read Today

"On your first day on the other side of the grave, do you think you’ll look back on this life and be flooded with gratitude for hours spent watching episodes of American Idol and Lost? Do you think you’ll look back fondly on the effort and money spent remodeling the kitchen? Do you think you’ll be glad you were up-to-date on the juicy details of celebrity lives? Will you be thankful for the hours, days, weeks, years you lived feeling victimized and sorry for yourself? Will you regret not spending more time at the office? Will you wish you had been more of a people pleaser? Will you miss your caffeine....or Facebook?

Me neither."

(Found this quote on a blog post by Zach Nielson)

Slain Pastor's Wife Interviewed by CBS

Click here and then click play on Justin Taylor's post. Watch. Weep. Rejoice. Pray.

True Christianity

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" (Luke 9:23-25)

In another place He said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-27)

Jesus demands radical allegiance. Jesus demands everything. When one surrenders to follow Christ, he or she must be willing to leave everything if Jesus so calls. The world and everything it has to offer must pale in comparison to the joy that is found in knowing, loving, obeying, and following Jesus Christ. Jesus demands everything from us because He is better than anything else. Him being known by all the peoples of the earth is a way of loving others, for knowing Him is the greatest thing for any human being. Being willing to leave all for the sake of making His name known MUST be the priority and agenda of every single believer.

Remarkably, Jesus said these words after His resurrection and just before His ascension: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

The call is radical. The promise of His presence is remarkable. He has ALL the authority. He WILL be with His followers who are making disciples. Everything the believer does must have as its ultimate aim the glory of Jesus by making Him known and treasured above all things throughout the whole world.

I am writing this just minutes after a family of five just pulled out of our church parking lot to serve as IMB missionaries in Zambia, Africa. James, Marci, Taylor, Emily, and Micah Langston just left everything behind in Wynne, AR (friends, family, job, school, church, etc.) to obey the call of Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. Praying with them before they left and then seeing the van pull away was a picture of true Christianity. When one surrenders their life to Jesus, he or she surrenders everything.

It is a reminder to me today that, though I have not been called to go overseas (yet!), I am to constantly be making disciples of all nations where He has me. I am to always to strategize and be intentional and be busy declaring the good news. If that is in Wynne, so be it. If it is in Zambia, so be it. True Christianity is a willingness to go wherever He leads and wherever He calls. When He does call, His followers will go because He is greater than any other thing. Thank you, Langston family, for giving me a taste of True Christianity today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Kind of Woman I Pray My Sons Meet and Marry

Sermon Outline From Yesterday...

1. Is genuinely and authentically a ‘born again’ follower of Christ Jesus.

Acts 16:11-15
Matthew 13:44

2. Is a bold, courageous risk-taker for others who embraces the complete sovereignty of God in all things.

Esther 4:12-17

3. Is drop dead gorgeous due to being biblically beautiful.

1 Timothy 2:9-10
Proverbs 31:30

4. Sees marriage and motherhood as a calling from God for God, not a “love game” determined by emotions.

Ephesians 5:22-33

5. Loves Jesus more than self, sex, shopping, sports, reputation, money, family, luxury and life.

Luke 7:36-50
Luke 14:26-27

Here's a link to the article by Dr. Al Mohler that I quoted from yesterday.

Here's a link to the book by Voddie Baucham I mentioned yesterday.

A few other sites you might be interested in regarding biblical and godly womanhood are:


**Please note that just because I recommend a site does not mean that I endorse every word on that particular site. I recommend them because I believe they would be helpful in your walk with Christ and your journey to grow toward a more complete biblical woman.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pray for First Baptist Church of Maryville, Ill.

Justin Taylor posts a bit of information, a picture, a link to the church, and a challenge to pray for the church and families of all involved in the tragedy that took place yesterday in Maryville.

Click here to read his post.

Al Mohler Comments on the President's Reversal of Stem Cell Research Restrictions

Click here to read what Mohler has to say about this and what it means for the days ahead.

Quote from a Current Read for PhD

Currently, I am reading The Evangelism Mandate: Recovering the Centrality of Gospel Preaching by David Larsen. So far I have been really impressed with what Larsen brings to the table. He presents a very balanced approach to evangelism and preaching.

The following are some good quotes I have come across so far:

"Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." D. T. Niles

"The Great Commission is unavoidably the primary responsibility for the Christian church in this age." David Larsen

"One of the most fruitful fields in which to work evangelistically is that of unsaved church members." David Larsen

"The following dictum remains: sound, Biblically based theology is the sine non qua of evangelism and conversion." David Larsen

"Conversion is the beginning of real Christian life. Christian nurture, education and worship may be valuable preparations. But no one is or should be called a Christian until he has personally encountered God in Jesus Christ, until he has personally repented, until he has personally accepted God's gift of salvation through faith in Christ, until by his faith he has individually been born again. The reality of the Church in the world depends on there being enough people who have passed through this experience and through whom it can be passed on to others."

Bishop Stephen Neil

Friday, March 6, 2009

Christian Dating Book Recommendation

This past Wednesday I recommended a new book by Voddie Baucham. Click here to go to my post and click here to read an excerpt at Founders Ministries blog. I just noticed another post about the book at the Founders site here.

A comment I received from a reader of my blog was a request for a book recommendation on Christian dating. To be honest, in my opinion, there are not a whole lot of solid, biblical perspectives out there. One, however, that has been recommended to me from those I respect is Holding Hands Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating by Richard D. and Sharon L. Phillips. As with the other, I have not read this book. From what I hear from those I trust and from what I observe from the book, it should point parents, teens, and singles in a biblical direction on the issue. For those who have read it, or do order it and read it, please let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Justin Taylor Identifies Where All the Free ESV Bible Resources Are


Very Insightful Post About Adoption from Desiring God Ministries

Below is a blogpost posted yesterday (03/04/2009) at Desiring God. Not only was this helpful for me as a pastor, but could be very beneficial for those considering adoption and/or know someone they can help counsel as they think through and/or go through the adoption process.

10 Ways to Pastor Adoptive Parents and Those Considering AdoptionMarch 4, 2009 By: Jason Kovacs Category: Commentary
There are many ways that you can express your pastoral care for those considering adoption and those who have adopted already. As an adoptive father and former pastor, I offer a few thoughts on how to help adoption become a biblically based, heart-led, missional movement in your church and not merely another program on your church’s list.

1. Develop your own heart for the fatherless.
God calls Himself a “father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) and emphasizes throughout Scripture his special care for orphans. In fact, the very heart of the gospel is God’s passion to not only redeem sinners but to adopt them as his very sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:4-5).
Many adoptive parents and those pursuing adoption feel alone in their churches because it seems like no one understands. By communicating that adoption is fundamentally connected to the gospel and the nature of God you will challenge the view that adoption is a “plan B” if a couple cannot have children biologically.

2. Do a biblical study on God’s perspective on orphans.
As you develop your heart for adoption, pass this on to your people in your preaching. You can start by simply looking up all the instances in the Bible to the “fatherless.”

3. Educate yourself on basic facts about adoption and orphan care.
Did you know there are roughly 129,000 children waiting to be adopted today in the US and over 132 million orphans worldwide? That is a starting point to stir your heart to pray and cry to God for his justice and grace to be poured out on their behalf.
Some websites I've found helpful in keeping me aware of these issues are...
Cry of the Orphan
Joint Council of International Children's Services
US State Department Office of Children's Issues
US Department of Health and Human Services
Your awareness of these kinds of things will speak volumes to the church you lead. Whether it is through your preaching, teaching, or just regular conversation, your church will begin to hear this and will gain God’s heart and perspective on adoption.
Your understanding will also touch those who have adopted and who are considering it.

4. Ask questions.
Listening is one of the most powerful expressions of your care. Learn to ask the right questions. Here are a few good ones to ask:
Why are you considering adoption? Are you both on the same page? If not, where do you differ?
Do you both have the faith for adoption?
Are you aware of the risks, ups, downs, and unknowns of adoption?
Have you talked to other adoptive families about their experience?
Have you been praying together about this?
Where do you feel called to adopt from?
What kind of support do you have in place?

Are you aware of the cost of adoption? How will you pay for it? Will you need help?
5. Remind them that they desire a good and God-magnifying thing.
Encourage those pursuing adoption with God’s heart for the fatherless. Encourage them with God’s promises to direct their steps (Prov 16:9). Encourage them with God’s faithfulness to provide.

6. Keep on encouraging them.
Those who step out in faith to adopt enter a journey filled with many ups and downs. Keep supporting them throughout the process. Ideally, they will have a care group or some close friends that will be able to do this as well.

7. Provide financial counsel and help.
The majority of couples adopting are challenged by the high costs. Any ways that you can provide encouragement and help financially will express love in a very tangible way.
One way you can do this is by establishing a church adoption fund to offer grants and loans to members. You can visit Hope for 100 for an example of what one church in Texas is doing.

8. Cry with them and celebrate with them.
The majority of adoptions are filled with great highs and great lows.
There are often many tears shed due to failed placements and other setbacks. There is also unparalleled joy in being matched with your child and bringing them home.
Do what you can to enter into their experience. Embody the compassion and empathy of Christ in the hard times and magnify the joy of the Father in the celebration.

9. Celebrate adoptions publicly in services.
Give time during worship services not only to teach on God’s heart for orphans, but also to celebrate specific adoptions. You can perhaps do this as part of Sanctity of Life Sunday or in conjunction with another special day such as Mothers’ or Fathers’ Day. Also, November is National Adoption Awareness Month.
There are many ways you can publicly celebrate adoption during the service such having an adoptive family share their story, honoring adoptive parents in the congregation, or taking a special offering for your church adoption fund. Be creative!

10. Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers.
Use the wisdom and experience of the Christian adoption community. There are a growing number of resources available, including many churches that have ministries aimed at promoting and supporting adoption.

Encourage those in your church who have a passion for adoption to lead the church in caring for the fatherless and supporting adoption. And remember you are not alone! There is a community of others to support you and above all, God, the Father of the fatherless, is with you to provide all that is needed to follow his call to care for the “least of these.”

Southern Seminary Interviews David Platt

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has done the church a great favor by posting an interview with Dr. David Platt. The interview is broken up into various topics that were discussed. It would be well worth your time to listen to what he has to say about the church, preaching, discipleship, etc. I am so looking forward to him being with us this October 2009 for our annual Global Impact Conference!
Click here to go to the interview videos provided by Southern.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In Pursuit of a PhD!!!!

Many of you are asking, praying, and diligently holding me accountable to finish work on my PhD from Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary. I am grateful to you for doing so. Though some of you drive me crazy, at the end of the day I am thankful. Really.

Having said that and at the same time acknowledging my own desire and need to "hurry up and finish," I have an idea. In order to fulfill all requirements AND write a dissertation, I am going to ahve to read a host of books, ranging from preaching to counseling to first century Christianity. I thought it would be a good idea to include on this blog some good and meaty quotes that I read along with the titles to the books that I am currently reading. This will do several things: (1) Let you know that I am busy reading/researching/studying, etc; (2) Allow your soul to (hopefully) be blessed with a good quote from godly men and women; (3) Turn your attention to some quality books you might know existed; and (4) Give you the opportunity to hold me accountable if you don't see a new quote in a couple of days. So, I will try it and see what happens.

I am about to finish Effective Evangelistic Preaching by V.L. Stanfield. You can order it from Amazon by clicking here.

The second part of the book contains evangelistic sermons from evangelists. The first sermon provided is by Billy Graham. Here is a quote from a sermon he preached called "Freedom Through Truth" from John 8:31-36:

"And Jesus told the truth about conversion. He said, 'Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven' Now is that true enough? Think of it now--except you be converted and become as little children ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Psychiatrists have told me that they are converting people, pschologically speaking. But Jesus talked about something more profound and total. You must turn from your way of living to a new way of living. You must turn from sin as the road that leads to destruction, to the narrow road that leads to eternal life. This is conversion; it is a change, it is a turnaround."

Fifty Evidences of the Need for Revival

A dear sister in Lord sent me an attachment this week from Revive Our Hearts ministries. The attachment was an article I suppose was written by Nancy Leigh Demoss. The title of the article is "When Do We Need Revival? Fifty Evidences of the Need for a Fresh Visitation of the Spirit in Revival." The evidences listed are posted below. You can straight to the article by clicking here. Very compelling. Very intriguing. Very convicting. Prayerfully read through and seek the Lord in what He wants you to do as a result...

We Need Revival . . .
. . . when we do not love Him as we once did.
. . . when earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal
. . . when we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines
than read the Bible and pray.
. . . when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.
. . . when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings.
. . . when we have little or no desire for prayer.
. . . when we would rather make money than give money.
. . . when we put people into leadership positions in our churches
who do not meet scriptural qualifications.
. . . when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.

. . . when we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.
. . . when we make little effort to witness to the lost.
. . . when we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible
study and prayer.
. . . when we do not tremble at the Word of God.
. . . when preaching lacks conviction, confrontation, and divine fire and anointing.
. . . when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.
. . . when God's people are more concerned about their jobs and their careers
than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salvation of the lost.
. . . when God's people get together with other believers and the conversation is
about the news, weather, and sports, rather than the Lord.
. . . when church services are predictable and "business as usual."
. . . when believers can be at odds with each other and not feel compelled to
pursue reconciliation.
. . . when Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.
. . . when our marriages are co-existing rather than full of the love of Christ.
. . . when our children are growing up to adopt worldly values, secular
and ungodly lifestyles.
. . . when we are more concerned about our children's education and their
athletic activities
than about the condition of their souls.
. . . when sin in the church is pushed under the carpet.
. . . when known sin is not dealt with through the biblical process of discipline and
. . . when we tolerate "little" sins of gossip, a critical spirit, and lack of love.
. . . when we will watch things on television and movies that are not holy.

. . . when our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.
. . . when our prayers are empty words designed to impress others.
. . . when our prayers lack fervency.
. . . when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
. . . when we aren't seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God.
. . . when we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our own sin and
the sin of others.
. . . when we are content to live with explainable, ordinary Christianity and church
. . . when we are bored with worship.
. . . when people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.
. . . when our music and dress become patterned after the world.
. . . when we start fitting into and adapting to the world, rather than calling the
to adapt to God's standards of holiness.
. . . when we don’t long for the company and fellowship of God's people.
. . . when people have to be begged to give and to serve in the church.
. . . when our giving is measured and calculated, rather than extravagant and
. . . when we aren't seeing lost people drawn to Jesus on a regular basis.
. . . when we aren't exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.
. . . when we are more concerned about what others think about us than what
God thinks about us.
. . . when we are unmoved by the fact that 2.5 billion people in this world
have never heard the name of Jesus.
. . . when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors, business associates, and
acquaintances who are lost and without Christ.

. . . when the lost world around us doesn't know or care that we exist.
. . . when we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.
. . . when the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages, and the church.
. . . when we are blind to the extent of our need and don't think we need revival.

ESV On-line Study Bible Free During March!

Justin Taylor announced yesterday of Crossway's decision to offer the ESV Study Bible (On-line edition) for free during the month of March. Click here to read more and to link directly to the site. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Book Recommendation

I confess, I have not read this book. I confess, I did not even know it existed until yesterday. Therefore, I cannot vouch for everything written in it. However, I am willing to take a risk and recommend to you this work regardless. Voddie Baucham has recently written a book about what kind of man a young man must be if he wants to marry Voddie's daughter. The title of the book is What He Must Be. I am linking you to a brief description of the book from Founder's Ministries' Tom Ascol. Click here to read more about it. Sounds like it would be a good read, not only for fathers with daughters; but for fathers with sons who desire to raise boys who know and love God.

Found the Link!

If you would like to read the entire article/message/treatise on being a Genuine Follower of Christ, click here and it will take you right to it. Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The REAL Article

Lately I have been extremely burdened and interested in what the phrase being "born again" really means and how many so called "Christians" are truly and genuinely "born again." I have thousands of thoughts on it and am still burdened/wrestling/struggling/rejoicing in it all at the same time. That being said, a brother sent me a link to a manuscript message by John MacArthur, who preached what he did based off a treatise written by Jonathan Edwards in 1746. The treatise was titled "A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections." Using Edwards' work, MacArthur lists 11 questions one must ask him or herself to evaluate whether or not they are genuinely saved. I thought the questions were helpful and right on target. I will include the questions and a few key passages used to defend the questions asked. If I can chase down the link to the entire message, I will post it ASAP. Note that all the Scripture texts provided are from 1 John. The entire letter was written so "that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). So, in addition to this, I encourage you to read over and meditate on John's 1st epistle.

11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation:

1. Have you enjoyed fellowship with Christ and the Father?
1 John 1:2-3; 5:1

2. Are you sensitive to sin?
1 John 1:5-10

3. Do you obey God's Word?
1 John 2:3-5

4. Do you reject this evil world?
1 John 2:15; 5:19

5. Do you eagerly await Christ's return?
1 John 3:2-3

6. Do you see a deacreasing pattern of sin in your life?
1 John 3:4-10

7. Do you love other Christians?
1 John 2:9-11; 3:10

8. Do you experience answered prayer?
1 John 3:22; 5:13-15

9. Do you experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
1 John 4:13-14

10. Can you discern between spiritual truth and error?
1 John 4:1-6

11. Have you suffered rejection because of your faith?
1 John 3:13