Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blog Posts By Others That I Thought Some of You Might Be Interested In

So I know I haven't blogged in a while, but I have come across some very good and insightful blog posts over the past day or two that I thought some of you might be interested in. Below are their links and a brief description or phrase concerning what they contain:

Dr. Al Mohler on Missions. On this blog, Dr. Mohler addresses international missions for the present and the future. Very insightful and I recommend it to every believer who is serious about fulfilling the Great Commissoin.

Thom Rainer on Why Great Churches Fall into Mediocrity. Dr. Rainer (President of LifeWay Christian Resources) has written numerous books on how some churches go from being good churches to great churches. But this blog article was written after reflecting on why some of the great churches he had written about fell into mediocrity.'s Girl's Guide to Marrying Well. I found this at Justin Taylor's blog (Between Two Worlds) and thought it might be helpful for a number of you. Might be a good resource for both girls and guys. Girls, for obvious reasons. Guys, for goal and accountability purposes.

More Insights on how to Build Relationships for Gospel Purposes. Again, I came across this post via Justin Taylor's blog. Here, Steve McCoy offers some helpful tips on how to even better build relationships with the lost for the purpose of sharing Christ with them.

Sports Illustrated's recent article on Tim Tebow. In my opinion, very well done. It is always refreshing to read the Gospel in a secular magazine. I do not subscribe to Sports Illustrated for a number of reasons, but this article is worth the one time magazine purchase.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

E-Family Series Session #5: What is the 'Age of Accountability' and 'How Can I Know For Sure My Child is Saved?'

Many, many resources were used for tonight's E-family session. Please note below the links to various books, audio messages, and Study Bibles. I am grateful to God for good, godly wisdom and urge you to surround yourself (and your personal library!) with many godly sources to aid you in your walk of faith.

1. Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. If you do not have this yet, PLEASE get a copy and have it on your shelf at home. It is well worth it. If you are a diligent student of the Word and/or a teacher of the Word on any level, this work will come in handy over and over and over again. FYI: I used this source more than any of the others for tonight's talk.

2. David Michael's audio message from Children Desiring God's 2007 National Conference.

Click here for the entire conference download. The message I listened to for this talk is the sixth message under the conference electives (title: Are They "In The Faith"? Helping Young People to "Test" and "See")

3. Jim Elliff on Family Life today with Dennis Rainey. You can download an entire series on children and salvation by clicking here (via the Between Two Worlds blog) I listened to "Observing Salvation in Your Child: What Does It Look Like?" (number 5 in the series) for the E-family message tonight.

4. The John MacArthur New American Standard Study Bible. Enough said. Great resource to have on your personal shelf. The section in the packet tonight was taken from the first page in the Appendix in the study Bible.

5. A sermon by John Piper on 1 John. Dr. Piper did an overview of this book, providing the 11 tests of salvation from this epistle. Click here and it will take you directly to the message. You can read it, download for audio, or watch him preach the message.

6. Finally Alive by John Piper. Though I did not consult this book for tonight's message, it is an excellent work on the doctrine of regeneration (or "the new birth"). You can also download the entire book on your PC (PDF file) for free by clicking here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Resource Used for "Beatitudes for the Betrothed" Series

During this morning's message, I shared with the WBC flock that I found D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' commentary on the Sermon on the Mount to be extremely helpful in understanding Jesus' Beatitudes.

Being that I was asked where one might find a copy of the book, I thought I would link it to for anyone who might be interested in owning a copy. I do highly recommend the book and think it would be a very worthy addition to any Bible student's library.

Click here and it will take you the resource on Amazon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Call for WBC to be "Radically Intentional" with the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Sunday night, I addressed the congregation of Wynne Baptist and pleaded with them/us to adopt a phrase and a lifestyle as a church: "Radically Intentional."

Together, we read some passages out Luke as to how Jesus was radically intentional: Luke 2:49; 9:44-45; 9:51; 18:31-34; 24:44-49 (See also John 5:19 and John 14:10).

We also looked at some passages together pertaining to how churches are to be radically intentional: Romans 12:1-2, 9-21; Titus 3:4-8; 1 Peter 2:9-12; Hebrews 13:12-16

Next, by looking at Hebrews 13:20-21, we answered the question of "how?" The conclusion was that if we are genuinely born again, and the radically intentional Jesus lives inside of us, then it will follow that His followers will be radically intentional about the things of the Gospel.
I want Wynne Baptist Church to adopt a phrase tonight: I am calling all of us to be intentional in our efforts for the sake of the Gospel. I am calling us to be “Radically Intentional” with what we do with the Gospel.

So, I called WBC to be "Radically Intentional" in at least the following 10 Ways:

1. To be radically intentional about making disciples of all nations – Matthew 28:18-20

2. To be radically intentional about sharing the Gospel in Wynne and Cross County – Acts 1:8

3. To be radically intentional about having God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered homes.

4. To be radically intentional about our daily times with the Lord.

5. To be radically intentional about our approach to Sunday morning worship.

6. To be radically intentional about running from and avoiding sin at all costs, instead of allowing it in our lives nonchalantly thinking it is no big deal.

7. To be radically intentional about how we love one another as brothers and sisters…

8. To be as radically intentional about serving in the body as we are about being served and fed the word of God.

9. To be radically intentional about discipling and raising up new generations of leaders who can pass the things of the Lord on to the next generation and the next and the next…

10. To be radically intentional about being thrilled with the Lord Jesus Christ and the glorious good news of the Gospel.

May God grant us to the grace and strength and mercy and vitality we need to be radically intentional in these areas for His glory, the hope of the nations, and for the joy of our souls.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Great Commission Resurgence - Reflection on Axiom #4

IV. A Commitment to Biblical Inerrancy and Sufficiency. We call upon all Southern Baptists to unite around a firm conviction in the full truthfulness and complete sufficiency of Christian Scripture in all matters of faith and practice. (Matt 5:17-18; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

Through the Conservative Resurgence Southern Baptists reaffirmed their historic belief that the Bible is God’s written revelation to humanity and is “truth without any mixture of error.” By God’s grace, what some have called the “Battle for the Bible” that began in the SBC 1979 has been won. However, we believe the “War for the Bible” began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent first questioned the truthfulness of God’s words and will continue until all things are made new in Christ. Southern Baptists must not retreat one inch from the non-negotiable doctrine that the Bible is without error, lest we squander the gains of recent years. Furthermore, we must recommit ourselves to the full sufficiency of Scripture. It is not enough to believe that the Bible is inerrant; we must also be willing to submit to all of its teachings, even if that means we must relinquish our own preferences or human traditions.

One of the main reasons I love being a Southern Baptist is its commitment to the Bible. One cannot be a Southern Baptist and not declare wholeheartedly that the Bible is the perfect, inspired, inerrant, sufficient Word of the Living God. For this I am grateful to God. For what took place in the late 70's and early 80's over the "Battle for the Bible" I am forever grateful. This reputation among Southern Baptists of being a "Bible-believing" people is a major reason why I am so proud to be a part of this denomination.

A statement in the above paragraph, however catches my attention that I believes demands focus for a few moments: "It is not enough to believe that the Bible is inerrant; we must also be willing to submit to all of its teachings, even if that means we must relinquish our own preferences or human traditions." It is easy to declare that I believe the Bible is without error. It is easy to wave a banner that I believe the Bible to be totally sufficient for life and ministry. But it is a completely different animal when it comes to actually submitting to ALL of its teachings. This is huge! This fourth axiom is a call for Southern Baptist's to not just be proud that the "Battle for the Bible" was won (as remarkable and wonderful as that was/is!), but to diligently and intentionally and wholeheartedly ACTUALLY PUT IT'S TEACHINGS INTO PRACTICE!!!!! If the Bible is sufficient, as we say it is, then we must go to it first. If the Bible is sufficient, then we must seek it's demands and it's leadings and it's directives before we go to the way we have always done things or the way other churches are doing things or the programs that seem to be having 'success.' I love this axiom because it is a call for Southern Baptist's to 'put their money where their mouth is' so to speak and actually apply and demonstrate through our lives what we say the Bible is and can do.
Help us, Lord! Help us!

More Helps for Studying Proverbs

For anyone who is interested, I came across this helpful and very informative post on some other solid resources to use when studying Proverbs.

If you click here, you will be directed to a post by Michael Mckinley from the 9marks blog. He provides links to helpful commentaries, books, and other thoughts by various scholars and pastors on the subject.

If you click here, you will be directed to the same 9marks blog, but a post by Thabiti Anabwile that will link you to some sermons on Proverbs by Mark Dever.

Again, for anyone who is interested in digging deeper into this massively important OT biblical book, I would encourage you to consider the sources these men advise us to look into.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Great Commission Resurgence - Reflection on Axiom #3

III. A Commitment to the Great Commandments. We call upon all Southern Baptists to recommit to the priority of the Great Commandments in every aspect of our lives and every priority we embrace as a network of local Baptist churches. (Matt. 22:37-40)

Every Christian is called first and foremost to love God and secondly to love others. Greater love for God will always lead to greater love for people created in His image. The Great Commission flows from the Great Commandments.

We believe too many of us have lost some of our love for God and others somewhere along the way. This has devastated our witness. If we love Jesus as we should, we will love sinners as we ought and pursue them as He did. Though we believe that God calls believers to speak out against moral ills, this must not be done in a way that is hateful toward unbelievers or trades gospel priorities for political influence. We must not condemn those who are already under the just wrath of God, but must seek to serve them and proclaim Christ to them with the hope that God will save them.

Loving God and loving others means our churches must become more diverse. Southern Baptists were born, in part, out of a racist context and for over a century embraced systemic racism. For far too much of our history we failed to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that will forever be to our shame. By God’s grace and the Spirit’s conviction, we publically repented of this in 1995 on our 150th anniversary, but there is still much work to be done. Until our churches better reflect the diversity we look forward to in heaven, we must labor at gospel-centered racial reconciliation.

Furthermore, loving God and loving others means each of us must be watchful in our relationships with others in our churches and our Convention. We must accept our constant need to humble ourselves and repent of pride, arrogance, jealousy, hatred, contentions, lying, selfish ambitions, laziness, complacency, idolatries and every other sin of the flesh that leads to broken relationships and harms our witness before the watching world.

As with the previous two axioms, though everything said is important, a few statements catch my attention to a greater degree.

First, "The Great Commission flows from the Great Commandments." What a remarkable and true statement. If one does not love God and does not love people, he or she will definitely not seek to fulfill the Great Commission. On the most obvious level, if one does not love people, they will be indiferent as to whether or not people around the world are saved from the wrath of God in hell. In addition, however, is the reality that if love for God is not there, then there will be careless spirit as to whether or not God is glorified among the nations. One who has a passionate love for God is one who longs for Him to get the glory He deserves from all the peoples of the world. Thus, the primary basis for missions is the glory of God. He is worthy to be praised. He will be exalted on the earth. He will not give His glory to another. A heart in love with that 'glory-seeking' God will pursue Him being glorified through others responding to the message of His grace in the Gospel.

Second, "Loving God and loving others means our churches must be more diverse." This is a very bold and challenging statement, but a real and true one nonetheless. Obeying the Great Commandment means to love all people and love the God who made all the people. We are never called to love those who are just like us. We are called to love all. We will be worshipping in heaven, not with just Southern Baptists...not even just white Southern Baptists. But from people from every language, tribe, and tongue (Revelation 5).

Thus, some questions to ponder:

  • Do I truly have a love for the Lord God, or do I love the idea of being known as one who loves God?

  • Is my love for people evident?

  • How has my knowing of Christ's Great Commission changed my view towards people of other nationalities and races?

  • What kind of people go to my church? Is their diversity, or is a bunch of "birds of the same feather flocking together"?

  • Do I care if God is glorified in other continents? If so, what am I doing about it? If not, why not?

  • What does loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength look like for me?

David Platt's Message at the SBC 2009 Pastor's Conference

Sorry this took so long, but I was able to track down (via @timmybrister) a video of David Platt's message at the 2009 SBC Pastor's Conference.

If you click here, it will take you directly to the video by way of Keith Sewell's blog. You will also find Francis Chan's message at the conference posted at this same site. Chan also preached a very, very good message that I would urge anyone interested to listen to/watch.

[For anyone who is interested, Chan's book Crazy Love is available (audio version) for free during the month of July at]

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Great Commission Resurgence - Reflection on Axiom #2

II. A Commitment to Gospel-Centeredness. We call upon all Southern Baptists to make the gospel of Jesus Christ central in our lives, our churches, and our convention ministries. (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:17-21)

The gospel is the good news of all that God has done on behalf of sinners through the perfect life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus. As individual Southern Baptists, we must be gospel-centered from first to last. Gospel-centered living will promote a grace-filled salvation from beginning to end by putting on display the beauty of the gospel in every aspect of our lives. It will remind us that we do not obey in order to be accepted, but rather we obey because we are accepted by God in Christ. Gospel-centered living will help ensure that the bloody cross of a crucified King is the offense to non-believers rather than our styles, traditions, legalisms, moralisms, personal preferences, or unhelpful attitudes.
The gospel must also guide and saturate our local churches and convention ministries. Too many of our pulpits have jettisoned the pure proclamation of the gospel, which has resulted in many of our people losing the full meaning and wonder of the gospel. Too often our convention programs and agendas have been crafted without a close tethering to the gospel. If we assume the gospel, we will lose the gospel. If we are to experience a Great Commission Resurgence, we must get the gospel right and proclaim it with clarity and boldness.

All of the above comment on Axiom #2 is worthy to be shouted to all Southern Baptists. Howeve,r the last two statements strike me extra hard.

First, "If we assume the gospel, we will lose the gospel." What a statement! How true is this? I take this to mean that it is not enough to simply say "we are a Gospel-driven church" or that "our church is founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." No. That is mere assumption. The Gospel must be heard and applied and explained and commented on and sung about and declared and lived out over and over and over and over again. The Gospel is NOT something that one embraces at the beginning of their journey with Christ and then moves on to something more important. NO! It is something that literally transforms a person and grips them totally for the rest of their lives.

Second, "If we are to experience a Great Commission Resurgence, we must get the gospel right and proclaim it with clarity and boldness." YES! YES! YES! Not only can the gospel not just be made an assumption in our churches, but it must be declared rightly in our churches. If we don't get this right, then our witnessing will be futile because we will be winning them to something other than the true Jesus and the true God and the true Gospel. We must be bold in it because of the day and the times in which we live. We are declaring that Jesus is the ONLY way to be right with God. Not Buddha. Not Allah. Not anything or anyone else can get one to God. ONLY JESUS CHRIST. We must be lovingly and compassionately bold in our declaration.

Ask yourself...

  • Can I explain the Gospel to a child?

  • Can I tell the Gospel in 60 seconds or less?

  • Do I know all the components of the Gospel?

  • Could I explain the Gospel with these four "prompting words"? "GOD," "MAN," "SIN," "JESUS."

  • Do I delight in the Gospel?

  • Do I treasure the Gospel?

  • Is it constantly something I run to for hope and worship?

  • Does my church sing about the Gospel?

  • Does my pastor always talk about the Gospel? Does he always explain components of the Gospel?

Thank You God for sending Jesus to take our place by dying on the cross for our sins, having Him be buried for three days, and then raising Him from the dead so that we who put all hope in Him and what He did might live forever with You!

Helpful Resources for Understanding and Preaching/Teaching Proverbs

Thanks to Justin Taylor at his blog, I came across two resources on the book of Proverbs that I thought might be helpful for anyone interested.

The first is a post by C.J. Mahaney on how to preach the book of Proverbs. You can go there directly by clicking here. Note the other Proverbs recources available (for free via the web) as you read through his article.

The other is an appendix in a commentary that answers this question: "What does the book of Proverbs teach us about wisdom and folly?" You can read the entire appendix by clicking here.

As many of you know, I love the book of Proverbs and am thankful to God for the wisdom and advice I got in the 7th grade to read a Proverb every day. Doing so will allow you to read the entire book all the way through every month of the year. Praise God for wisdom!