Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adopting For Life Conference

Man do I wish I was going to be here (or click here for more) this weekend.

Pray for the speakers and pray that an adoption awakening permeate the evangelical church here in North America.

If and when the sessions are up and on-line, I will do what I can to link them here.

Until every child has a home...

Credible Comments Regarding the GCR Task Force Interim Report

I confess, the Interim Report presented to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention by the Great Commission Task Force was a bit daunting and left several questions in my mind...probably because I simply am not smart enough to piece things together and I don't fully understand how different SBC entities relate to another like I should.

However, I do understand that Southern Baptist's see there is a real crisis going on and a real need to refocus efforts toward making disciples of all nations. I am so grateful to God for this Task Force and the 'Task' they are taking on. May God continue to grant them grace and wisdom from heaven as they move forward in this deal.

For those wanting a summary article to help give better understanding to what the Task Force presented Tuesday night, go here for an article by the Florida Baptist Witness.

The six components (summarized) are:

1. a “missional vision” with eight “core values,”
2. a “reinvented” North American Missions Board,
3. the authorization of the International Mission Board to work in North America,
4. movement of the ministry assignment for Cooperative Program promotion and stewardship from the Executive Committee to state conventions,
5. affirmation of the current Cooperative Program definition while creating a new category of “Great Commission Giving,” and
6. increase of the IMB’s CP budget share by one percent by cutting the Executive Committee’s budget by the same percentage.

I encourage you to 'be in the know' about this thing and prayerfully understand what is going on in our convention. In my opinion, MUCH is at stake for the future of our convention and for the sake of the Gospel getting to the nations.

Some credible comments regarding the GCR Task Force and the Southern Baptist Convention that are worth reading are:

1. Douglas Baker, writing for the Baptist Messenger, wrote an article here entitled "Seeking Renewal: Will the GCR Change the SBC?"

The summary of his article:

"State conventions and the Cooperative Program frame the Southern Baptist culture of collective cooperation to fund the very expensive monetary requirements for world ministry outreach. Few Southern Baptists, however, fully understand just how all the components of the proposed changes by the GCR Task Force will be detailed and how they will impact the local congregations who financially enable the Southern Baptist Convention to exist in the first place.

The future is not all together clear, and that could be a good thing. The initial report of the task force might change to look something quite different from the original framework proposed this week. Chairman Ronnie Floyd still maintains that it is a work in progress and desires to hear from Southern Baptists about their initial impressions of the GCR report.

Unlike other formal denominations, the SBC exists more as an informal convention of local congregations who willingly work together to advance the gospel. In SBC life, no one forces anyone to do much of anything. Baptist polity demands that congregations possess ultimate authority over all that transpires beyond their walls.

This is a time for great humility and respect lest what has taken over a century to establish might well collapse under the weight of passionate, yet misguided, individuals on all sides of the issues. Consensus must form.

If the Baptist past is prologue, the SBC abides in a state of a great danger. Yet, even if the SBC disintegrates, the theological conviction of Southern Baptists will remain: Jesus will continue to build His church unhindered by quarrels of men."

2. Click here to find several videos related to the GCR at the Baptist Messenger site.

3. Here, at the Florida Baptist Witness, an article reports on questions asked to and answered from the Task Force.

4. Nick Floyd (son of Ronnie Floyd - chairman of the GCR Task Force) wrote an article entitled "The GCR and Its Call to Young Pastors" here.

He concluded in this way:

"It’s time to risk it all. David Platt said something to the effect of “Let’s risk it all” in his message to the SBC last June. This is really a message for young pastors and all pastors in general related to the GCR. Is the Great Commission Resurgence really worth the risk? Is it really worth spending money to be involved with various meetings and events of the SBC? Is it really worth our time to discuss complex issues within our denomination to try to make us more effective? The answer is yes. The answer is not yes because of the Great Commission Resurgence movement. The answer is yes because I believe the Southern Baptist Convention is the most capable force for missions and the Gospel in the world. More than anything the answer is yes because the Gospel is worth it all. It’s worth the money, it’s worth the inconvenience, it’s worth the time, it’s worth our most valiant efforts. Let’s risk all this for the cause of the Gospel going forth and the nations being brought to Jesus. What if God used a group like us to finish the task? That’s worth the risk."

5. The GCR Report's Reflections by Ronnie Floyd here.

6. Jerry Rankin's article entitled "No Merger of Mission Boards" is found here.

At one place, he writes:

"Having given away and shared most of their personnel, they cannot be expected to fulfill a task that will only be accomplished by grassroots Southern Baptists engaging the lost with a passionate witness. The GCRTF is right on target with recommendations to refocus and empower NAMB to serve Southern Baptists with an effective strategy to reach our nation for Christ, prioritizing the unchurched and unreached areas."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Calling All WBCers: Read or Listen to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Interim Report

As I mentioned yesterday here at my blog, there is much stirring within Southern Baptist life about the future of our convention and its being 'radically intentional' about taking the Gospel of our King to the nations. Last night in Nashville, TN the Great Commission Task Force, headed by Ronnie Floyd, presented their interim report of what they believe needs to happen to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.

From all indications, it looks as if we are headed in a very, very, very good and solid direction.

You can watch the presentation here.

You can download a PDF version of the report here.

Please continue to go here and pray for this Task Force and the future of our convention, SO THAT Jesus will get the glory He so rightly deserves from all the peoples around the world.

Wynne Baptist Church: We MUST be radically intentional about making disciples of all nations to the glory of Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Great (and FREE!) way to Meditate on the Events Surrounding Easter

Justin Taylor pointed me to this resource available on-line.

Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross is a book edited by Nancy Guthrie who put together 25 very potent meditations from some of the greatest evangelicals in evangelical history (outside the Bible!).

Click here to order the book for yourself from Amazon.

Click here and here read the book on-line for free thanks to Crossway.

Evangelical Thoughts on Tiger's Confession

Al Mohler provides some great insight (as always!) on how Christians should view and think through what Tiger Woods said Friday to the public.

Read his comments here.

Mark DeMoss wrote out a 'What Tiger Should Have Said' piece here (found at Tim Challies' blog).

Chris Brauns offers insight into Tiger's confession here (found at Zach Nielson's blog).

Okay, this isn't an evangelical perspective, but here is Newsweek's analysis of Tiger and Buddhism (found via the Gospel Coalition site).

VERY IMPORTANT STUFF: GCR Task Force Report to the SBC Executive Committee

Events that take place tonight in Nashville, TN could potentially effect the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) forever. The Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) Task Force that was appointed by Dr. Johnny Hunt and approved by the SBC last June in Louisville will report to the Executive Committee of the SBC.

Personally, I am very, very, very, very, very hopeful for what I/we will hear from the Task Force. Much is at stake for our convention, but more importantly for the unreached peoples of the world. Below I link to a host of places for you to go and read about it and what it means for the SBC. PLEASE be informed and PLEASE pray for God's sovereign and perfect and glorious will to be done tonight in Nashville.

"Pivotal Night for the GCR" at the Baptist Twenty-One Blog.

Ronnie Floyd's (chairman of the GCR Task Force) call for Southern Baptist's to pray for the meeting in Nashville. Go here to read his call to prayer.

Go here to the "Pray for the GCR" site. This site is all things GCR Task Force.

Jerry Rankin (current President of the IMB) and his anticipation of the GCR meeting tonight.

Click here to watch Dr. Al Jackson preach on how the American Dream is a hindrance to the Great Commission Resurgence from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Tom Ascol (at Founders Ministries) and his thoughts and call for prayer for the GCR Task Force. I would be interested in hearing anyone's thoughts on what Ascol says about why he is hopeful about the GCR Task Force.

Discussion Questions from 02/21/2010 Sermons at WBC

Yesterday, I preached out of Luke 15:17-24 in the morning and Romans 8:26-30 in the evening.
Both are MASSIVELY important texts to say the least. Sometime later today, you should be able to watch, listen, and download the outline here.

I hope yesterday will not be the only day you contemplate the truths we discussed. Here are some discussion questions to take you a bit further in thinking through these things.

From the Sermon from Luke 15:17-24 ("A Scandalous Reception: A Picture of Grace"):

1. Why is it significant that the father ran to embrace his wayward son (see verse 20)?

2. If the father in the story represents God and the younger son represents sinful man, how can God embrace a sinful, disobedient, and rebellious person with no consequences? What about the sin? Did the father just 'brush it under the rug' or was something else going on?

3. What was the father doing when he ordered the robe, the ring, and shoes to be placed on this son?

4. Why did the father order such a huge celebration? What would they have been celebrating? What would have been the cause of celebration?

5. Who should get the credit/glory for what happened to the son? Did the wayward son have anything to do with the status he was given? Is this how you view and understand your salvation experience, or do you give yourself some credit in what happened?

From the Romans 8:26-30 sermon ("God's Commitment to Our Conformity")

1. What do Paul's questions in verse 31 tell us about what he had just written in verses 26-30?

2. According to verse 29, what is the purpose for the believer's existence?

3. How should understanding our purpose change the way we view our lives and God's will for our lives? Does this mean God wills for us to live pain free lives? When bad things happen or when dark seasons occur, what is God doing?

4. In verse 26, Paul writes: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness." "Likewise" connects these verses (vs. 26-30) with the preceding verses (vs. 18-25). "Weakness" means "limited understanding." So, Paul is talking about how humans have a limited perspective of God's purposes when they endure trials and suffering. How does Paul give the believer hope when he or she is suffering but does not understand?

5. What do verses 26-27 tell us about God's commitment to make us more like Jesus?

6. Go ahead and meditate on verses 28-30 of Romans 8. What else does Paul say that can assure the believer of the reality that God will make us more like His Son Jesus?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kevin DeYoung and a Word for Spouses on Valentines Day

DeYoung has a great couple of posts for husbands and wives on Valentine's Day.

Click here if you are a what he says! His insights are straight from Song of Solomon.

Click here if you are a wife...great stuff.

Great Word to Parents About Playing with their Children

Zach Nielson, over at his blog, links to an article by Trevin Wax on playing creatively with your children.

As Nielson adds these VERY helpful words:

"I am continually reminded how much our kids need our undivided attention, on their terms, and not ours. This communicates volumes in terms of humble service which is the essence of the Gospel.

You want your kids to understand the Gospel? Get on the floor and play with them. Then when you speak of God coming down and condescending to our weakness they'll have a picture of loving service to equate it to."

The Big Issues Facing the Western Church

Tim Keller offers some frightening, yet helpful insights on what he believes to be big issues facing the church in the West.

He offers five issues he sees:

1. The opportunity for extensive culture-making in the U.S.

2. The rise of Islam.

3. The new non-western Global Christianity.

4. The growing cultural remoteness of the gospel.

5. The end of prosperity?

Click here to read the whole thing. Very interesting insights.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Watching Super Bowl 44 To the Glory of God

C.J. Mahaney, at Sovereign Grace Ministries, has a remarkable post on how to be intentional while watching the Super Bowl and do so to the glory of God.

I found his post very, very, very insightful and helpful for those who want to be intentional to the glory of God in everything they do.

He offers four suggestions:

1. Strategically Assign the Remote

2. Watch Proactively

3. Foster Fellowship

4. Draw Attentiont to the Eternal

He concludes:

The day before the 1972 Super Bowl, Dallas Cowboy running back Duane Thomas said, “If it’s the ultimate game how come they’re playing it again next year?” Some players seem to get it. Sadly, many fans don’t.

More recently Tom Brady, quarterback of three Super Bowl championships, is quoted in a 60 Minutes interview saying, "Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, “God, it’s got to be more than this.” I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be."

I anticipate that in a week or two, after the Super Bowl has been won, the champions will experience this same dissatisfaction. As Augustine said, “You [God] made us for yourself, and our hearts find no peace till they rest in you.”

We must impart this eternal perspective to our children.


Click here to read his entire post.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tips on Being a Better Reader

I found this post from Trevin Wax very helpful. For anyone who loves to read or enjoys reading and wants to get better at it, I would encourage you to take a look at what he has to say.

He offers and expounds on seven tips to becoming a better reader. Read the whole article, but here are the seven tips:

Set a reasonable goal.
Read everywhere.
Read faster.
Read smarter.
Turn off the TV.
Read what you like.
Stretch yourself.

(I originally found this via Justin Taylor's blog)

One of the Most Powerful Stories I've Read in a While

Today at his blog, Al Mohler writes a riveting account of an adoption that took place in Haiti just days before the earthquake.

It is, as he says, a story that is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. I urge you to read the story for yourself here.

Here is how Mohler concludes:

"Arno Pet began life as an orphan, but he ended life as a son. He was abandoned at his birth, but he died in the arms of his parents. He did not die as Arno, he died as Arno Pet.

"In the rubble of the Hotel Villa Therese the film crew found the bodies of Richard and Rowena and Arno Pet. In that same rubble, we find a picture of the Gospel of Christ. He who has eyes to see, let him see."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tebow and the Task Force: Two MUST READ Articles!

Though they are very different, I found both of these news articles very, very good and very important and insightful.

The first is an article written by a secularist columnist (Sally Jenkins) at the Washington Post.
Though she disagrees with Tebow, is totally in favor of his commercial scheduled to run during the Super Bowl. You can read the entire article here.

At one point she writes:

"Here's what we do need a lot more of: Tebows. Collegians who are selfless enough to choose not to spend summers poolside, but travel to impoverished countries to dispense medical care to children, as Tebow has every summer of his career. Athletes who believe in something other than themselves, and are willing to put their backbone where their mouth is. Celebrities who are self-possessed and self-controlled enough to use their wattage to advertise commitment over decadence."

Amen. I was impressed with what she wrote.

The second article has to do with the Great Commission Task Force and some of the things coming out of their work leading up to the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention this summer in Orlando. The article is written by James Smith over at the Florida Baptist Witness. Click here to read the entire article.

The conclusion of the article:

"(Ronnie) Floyd concluded the panel discussion by saying if he could 'just will something, I would will that the Great Commission would become the thermostat for our churches' so that Southern Baptists would see 'every element of ministry through the lens of the Great Commission.'"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feedback Anyone?

I would LOVE to hear any feedback from WBCers who had a 'family' worship service yesterday due to being 'iced' in.

Please tell about your experiments and what you learned while being at home on Sunday by leaving a comment.

"Is There a Jihadist in Your Church Nursery?" by Russell Moore

I urge you to click here and read this absolutely incredible article by Russell Moore.

A segment:

"I find myself often drawn more to Bible Belt morality than to the gospel. When I go without prayer, I can still recognize the goodness of a just social order, a loving marriage, a stable community. But, when that happens, I don’t see myself as a sinner and, as a result, I don’t see God in Christ. I see God in myself. Unless I see myself in Christ and him crucified, I see God as, at the core, justice, not love, as solitary, not a Trinitarian community of love. When I forget about the gospel, I imagine that God is seeing me in terms of some cosmic scale of my good deeds and sins. That leads me to pride or despair. And it’s crypto-Koranic, not Christian."

Ed Stetzer on the Need for Showing and Sharing the Love of Christ

Ed Stetzer has written a very good and helpful article on the need to win people to Christ, not to a cause. I encourage you to read it in its entirety by clicking here.

A portion to get you started:

"So, my Reformed friends, let's not only read 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John (that is, John Calvin, John MacArthur, and John Piper), let's go plant some more churches. My emerging church friends, let's take a pause from the theological rethink and head into the neighborhood and to tell someone about Jesus. My missional friends, let's speak of justice, but always tell others how God can be both "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." My house church friends, let's have community, but let's be sure it is focused on redemption. My Baptist friends, let's focus more on convincing pagans than Presbyterians. And, my charismatic friends, let's focus less on getting existing believers to speak in tongues and more on using our tongue to tell others about Jesus.

"Now, I know the preceding paragraph will tick some of you off--and, I am trying to be a bit edgy while making a point. But, let me suggest you be less offended at my words and more focused on Jesus' words: Go therefore and make disciples of nations.

"If you are passionate about what you believe you will naturally want others to "get it" as you have. For example, you would not be a very good charismatic if you did not want me to be baptized in the Spirit. However, I think it is unhelpful that so many Reformed, emerging, missional, denominational, Baptist, house church, charismatic, and every other kind of Christian spends more energy persuading other believers than they do reaching non-believers."

Christian Audio (FREE!) Book of the Month

For anyone who is interested, is featuring Mark Driscoll's Religion Saves: And 9 Other Misconceptions as their free book of the month choice for February.

Click here to get the audio version free.

Click here to order from Amazon.

Click here to get it from Driscoll's site, download a free chapter, and/or listen to his sermon series that made the book.

**Please note: Just because I blog about a free book available does NOT mean I agree wholeheartedly with the author or what he writes in his book (I haven't even read it/listened to it yet). There are some things we have to be careful about with any author/teacher/pastor. But I do believe there are some valuable things we can all learn from Driscoll on what the Bible teaches about important issues and doctrines.