Monday, October 25, 2010

Books Recommended Last Night

During the welcome of the evening service last night, I recommended two books to aid in preparation for our annual GIC.

The first book recommended was written by Thabiti Anyabwile. He, a former Muslim, wrote The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence.

The second book recommended was written by Thom Rainer, current President and CEO of LifeWay. He authored the Unexpected Journey: Conversations with People who Turned from Other Beliefs to Jesus.

I plan to have these, along with numerous other titles, available at our GIC bookstore this year.

Discussion Questions from 10/24/2010 Sermons at WBC

In preparation for our annual Global Impact Conference, I preached out of John 12:20-26. The title of the sermon was, "Global Impact 2010, Reflecting Christ, and Revealing Ourselves." Click here to watch or listen to the message later today.

Some questions related to the message:

1. In your own words, how did Philip and Andrews question break open the heart and agenda of Christ? How will our GIC 2010 enable us to reveal the heart of Christ?

2. How will GIC 2010 afford us the opportunity to reveal our own hearts as they relate to the Gospel of Christ?

3. Have you pursued any of the 10 actions presented at the end of the message? Which ones? Which action do you most need to pursue?

They are:

1. Make it a point to be here Saturday night and Sunday – November 6th and 7th.
2. Ask the Lord to equip you to better understand and share with lost internationals.
3. Pray for the Lord to reveal to you ways you can be ‘radically intentional’ about sharing with lost internationals in the future.
4. Beg God to give you a deep, deep burden (His burden) for the lost.
5. Ask the Lord to show you exactly if/where He wants you to go on a short-term trip in 2011.
6. Ask the Lord if He wants you and your family to go overseas long-term.
7. Ask the Lord to direct you in how much money you will give so the Gospel can continue around the world.
8. Pray that God would send His Holy Spirit to work in us and in our hearts during GIC.
9. Pray for those coming to equip us to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
10. Be ready and willing to repent of any sin the Lord brings to the surface of your heart AND to embrace any new ‘missional’ direction He places in your path.

Last night, I preached from Isaiah 53:10-12. The title was "Why the Christian is NEVER Without Cause for Celebration." Click here to watch or listen later today.

Some questions for your application and/or celebration:

1. Who is ultimately responsible for killing Jesus and why is it important?

2. Of the 6 'implications' of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection mentioned from the text, which was your favorite? Why?

3. Which of the 6 do you most need to contemplate and pursue a deeper understanding of?

The six 'implications' are:

1. The resurrection guaranteed your becoming His child (10).

2. The LORD and His will ALWAYS Prospers (10).

3. No more sacrifice for sin is EVER needed (11).

4. Hearing and believing makes one righteous, period (11).

5. Satan and his demonic forces have been, are, and will always be defeated (12).

6. The resurrected Christ always intercedes for us sinners (12).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Russell Moore on "Is the Orphan My Neighbor?"

Great article here from Dr. Russell Moore on the call of God on believers to care for orphans.

An excerpt:

"Right now, there is a crisis of fatherlessness all around the world. Chances are, in your community, the foster care system is bulging with children, moving from home to home to home, with no rootedness or permanence in sight. Right now, as you read this, children are “aging out” of orphanages around the world. Many of them will spiral downward into the hopelessness of drug addiction, prostitution, or suicide. Children in the Third World are languishing in group-homes, because both parents have died from disease or have been slaughtered in war. The curse is afoot, and it leaves orphans in its wake.

"Not every Christian is called to adopt or to foster children. And not every family is equipped to serve every possible scenario of special needs that come along with particular children. Orphan care isn’t easy. Families who care for the least of these must count the cost, and be willing to offer up whatever sacrifice is needed to carry through with their commitments to the children who enter into their lives.

"But, while not all of us are called to adopt, the Christian Scriptures tell us that all of us are called to care “widows and orphans in their distress” (Jas. 1:27). All of us are to be conformed to the mission of our Father God, a mission that includes justice for the fatherless (Exod. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; Ps. 10:18; Prov. 23:10-11; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 7:6; Zech. 7:10). As we are conformed to the image of Christ, we share with him his welcoming of the oppressed, the abandoned, the marginalized; we recognize his face in the “least of these,” his little brother and sisters (Matt. 25:40)."

Oh may Dr. Moore's tribe increase!!!

If you haven't read his book Adopted for Life, I recommend it highly whether or not you are pursuing adoption. A GREAT read!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Interview with New NAMB President, Kevin Ezell

Baptist Twenty One recently conducted an interview with the newly elected President of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), Kevin Ezell.

You can listen to the interview here. I strongly encourage you to hear what he has to say and learn as much as you can about the direction of this Board and the future of our convention's involvement in intentional evangelism and church growth in our country.

Calling All Married Men!!!!

Brian Croft has an excellent post on how a married man can disciple his wife. Granted, the post is specifically for newly married men, but I think it is excellent for ANY married man nevertheless.

Click here to go straight to the post and to his blog. He writes specifically for pastors, but I believe this post in particular is helpful for all married men.

The post is copied below. I would love to hear how any guys out there disciple their wives in addition or in other ways than mentioned here. We can definitely be 'iron sharpening iron' together on this deal!

"I had a very encouraging meeting with a newly married man recently who was seeking counsel on how to faithfully disciple his new wife. We must as pastors get our newly married men in the church to see the spiritual care of their wives as their primary responsibility to establish patterns in their family that will last. So, here are a few things we talked about in our meeting that helped this newly married man know some practical ways how spiritually to care for his wife:

Pray with her for her out loud. Shockingly, one of the most difficult things for a man to do with his wife is pray with her, for her out loud. I still know pastors who struggle with this. A man will pray for his wife, but often not with her for her. An essential way to help married men spiritually care for their wives, which result in their wives feeling cared for is if we train them to pray, not just for their wives, but with them, for them, out loud for them to hear.

Read the passage preached last Sunday. Spend Monday and Tuesday with your wife reflecting back on the word that was preached the previous Sunday by reading the passage and talking about the sermon you both heard. It helps to be reminded of the truth preached and aids in the application of those truths throughout the week.

Read the passage being preached this Sunday. Starting mid-week, beginning to read together the passage that will be preached the upcoming Sunday. Read with your wife, have her ask questions, discuss the details of the text. It will better prepare you both to hear the word preached on Sunday.

Pray with her for others. Men will better spiritually care for their wives if they don’t just pray for their wives, but teach them how to pray for others. We best accomplish this in our church through our membership prayer guides which is a daily schedule to which every member gets prayed for in a month. Take a day in that schedule and each of you pray for those on that particular day. It will cultivate a meaningful prayer time together and remind you both of your responsibility to pray for others besides yourself.

Pastors, be deliberate to equip the men in your church how most effectively to shepherd their wives and children. It will be the start of a long-term agenda to create a discipleship culture that will spread to the entire congregation."

Quotes from Platt and Alcorn from Yesterday's AM Message

David Platt from Radical (by the way, not sure for how long, but this book is on sale at Amazon for $5.51):

“The gift of grace (at salvation) involves the gift of a new heart. New desires. New longings. For the first time, we want God. We see our need for Him, and we love Him. We seek after Him, and we find Him, and we discover that He is indeed the great reward of our salvation. We realize that we are saved not just to be forgiven of our sins or to be assured of our eternity in heaven, but we are saved to know God. So we yearn for Him. We want Him so much that we abandon everything else to experience Him. This is the only proper response to the revelation of God in the gospel.” (parenthesis mine)

Randy Alcorn from his chapter (chapter 16 - "Dethroning Money to Treasure Christ Above All) in For the Fame of God's Name.

“What will happen to the affluent person or society that doesn’t rectify its materialism? Physics tells us the answer. The greater the mass, the greater its gravitational pull. The more things we own – the greater their total mass – the more they grip us, hold us, set us in orbit around them. Finally, like a black hole, they mercilessly suck us into themselves, until we become indistinguishable from our things, surrendering ourselves to the gods we’ve idolized….

“When we gaze upon Christ and see Him as He is, and allow ourselves to be transformed into His image, we automatically adopt a giving mindset. Through generous giving, we establish a new orbit around Christ, our primary treasure, who promises us heaven’s secondary treasures of eternal reward. Only as we give can we escape the gravitational hold of money and possessions.”

(By the way: Alcorn's chapter on money is worth the price of the book in and of itself!)

Discussion Questions from 10/17/2010 Sermons at WBC

Yesterday I preached from Luke 20:45-47; 21:1-4 in the morning and Isaiah 53:7-9 in the evening. Later today, you can watch and/or listen to the messages here.

Sunday morning's message was entitled "Why Are You A Christian?" Below are some discussion questions to further your thinking on the text.

1. The message opened with a clip of President Barack Obama answering why he is a Christian. You can watch the clip here. What is your opinion of his answer? Would you add anything to it? Would you take anything away from his answer?

2. Write out or share with someone why you are a Christian?

3. I said in the message that, based on the text, there seem to be three ways we can evaluate ourselves to see if we are indeed authentic believers. What were they?

4. What evidence is there in your life that you have a new, genuine affection for God?

5. What evidence is there in your life that you have a new, genuine love for people and a desire for serving them?

6. What evidence is there in your life that you see money as something God has given you in order to be a blessing to others and something to give away so you can enjoy more of the presence of God?

7. How can the upcoming Christmas season and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering be a means by which you demonstrate your affections for money have shifted?

Sunday evening's message was entitled "Philip's Gospel Tract." Discussion questions for this message are below:

1. Read Acts 8:26-39. According to Luke, Philip used Isaiah 53:7-8 to present the good news to the Ethiopian eunuch. Write out how you might have taken the same verses to present the Gospel to an unbeliever.

2. How is it loving that Jesus never opened His mouth while He was being led to the cross?

3. What can the last two phrases in Isaiah 53:9 teach us about Jesus' perfect righteousness? Why is this so important?

4. In verse 8, Isaiah says that Jesus' generation didn't understand what was going on. What was it that didn't understand? How is it that understanding what was actually happening is actually the good news of the Gospel for us?

5. Do you believe that Jesus was silent on His way to the cross? (See Matthew 27:11-14) Do you believe the people present really did not understand what they were doing? (See Luke 23:34) Do you believe Jesus really was buried in a rich man's tomb? (See Matthew 27:57-61) Do you believe these things even though Isaiah prophesied about them 700 years before they actually happened?

6. If everything mentioned in #5 actually happened, could it be true that Jesus really did bear the sin and guilt and punishment we deserved for our sins?

7. How does this reality change your life? Your marriage? Your parenting? Your work ethic? Your passion? Your desires? Your life pursuits?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stop What You're Doing....

....and watch this video RIGHT NOW!

Click here.


Together for Adoption Conference Summary Notes

The Together for Adoption Web-Site has put together summaries of all the talks at the recent Together for Adoption conference.

Click here for a list and links of all the talks.

One of the messages, by J.D. Greear, spoke on "The Gospel and Church-Centered Orphan Care."

The summary notes of his message are below:

Think about all the stats about adoption and foster kids that we hear all the time. That is not a number. It is a number of individuals who are created in the image of God who have the same needs that we do. When we reduce it to numbers we grow numb to what is really is.

These are real people. We can’t forget that. It is easy for our churches to be social clubs and be served. It is easy for us to gather around those who are just like us with our same interests.

Why is that our churches are known more for political posturing than for laying down our lives for those who are broken and in need?If we understand our liberation we will pursue those who have not been liberated. We will lay down our “rights” and our lives for those who are needy and have not heard about this Jesus. Once you get this you will naturally pour our your life for those in need. This will be your trajectory.

Our lives are not our own. We have been rescued, thus we rescue. The sign of our message for Jesus is our laying down our lives for those in need who don’t know him yet. When was the last time you amazed someone who doesn’t know Jesus with your generosity? This is how the world will learn that we are for real. It’s all talk until we act. What makes the church grow? What makes a cynical society look with wonder at the church? Love on display is the ultimate apologetic. Adoption is different than going to the soup kitchen.

This is a life for lifelong. Only God can sustain you when you take on another’s life. God has placed in the church the power to rescue the fatherless.

The apostles saw Jesus feed the five thousand. Bible says he did this to test them to see if they knew what he would do. They failed the test. Jesus takes the bread and fish and makes a “Hebrew Happy Meal”. (Direct quote). This scene would be burned in their minds and they would have to know that they can’t handle all those situations they would face, but they would know that God takes what they give and does more than they ever thought possible.

It will be the same for us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Connie's (My Mom) Blog

Okay, so I am not supposed to call my mom "Connie," but I wanted anyone who was interested to be aware of my mom's new blog.

It is called "The Proverbs 32 Woman" (you can read why on her blog) and if you click here it will take you right to it. Or, type

She really does a great job writing her thoughts of present and reflecting on her time while her and my dad served as IMB missionaries in Ecuador.

Fair warning: She is retired now, has some extra time to type, and thinks alot about her kids.

Discussion Questions from 10/10/2010 Sermons at WBC

Okay, so yesterday I just plain had fun preaching at WBC. I am so grateful to God for Him allowing me the privilege of preaching to such an incredible and hungry group of people. Thank you Lord for Your Word and for WBC!

I am going to take a bit different approach to the discussion questions today and (Lord willing) in the weeks ahead. Instead of asking various questions about the sermon itself, I am going to ask questions to better help you apply the truth(s) mentioned from the sermon. My goal is to help you better think through what was discussed and take the truth(s) a step farther rather than rehash what was already communicated. For the one or two of you who look at these (okay, maybe that number is a bit high!), let me know what you think.

Yesterday morning, I preached from Luke 20:27-44. The title of the message was "Knowing the Scriptures, Yet Limiting God." You can watch and/or listen to the message here.

Here are some discussion questions based on the message's truths and implications:

1. Can you identify a doctrine you believed to be true at one time, only to find out later how unbiblical it was? What was it? How did it impact (negatively) your life? How has the truth impacted (positively) your life?

2. What is your normal pattern/routine for personal Bible reading/study?

3. What are your goals as you go to a text of Scripture to read or study it?

4. How would the Sadduccees' and scribes' lives have been negatively impacted by not 'seeing' the truth in the Scriptures?

5. What are some practical things you can do to better comprehend the Scriptures?

6. How can one be considered worthy to attain the age of the resurrection of the dead?

7. Are you considered worthy? Why or why not?

Sunday night, I preached on one of the most beautiful passages throughout Scripture: Isaiah 53:4-6. The title of the message was, "Was Jesus Afflicted By God Or Not?" Again, you can watch and/or listen to it here.

A few discussion questions to aid your application and understanding:

1. Was Jesus afflicted by God or not?

2. Sunday night, I read this quote from Steve Chalke and Alan Mann's The Lost Message of Jesus:

"The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse—a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement: ‘God is love.’ If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil (pages 182-183)."

According to Isaiah 53:4-6, what is wrong with this way of thinking?

3. Can you know for certain that you can be at peace with God because of this text in Isaiah 53? Are you at peace with God? If not, why not? If so, how do you know?

4. According to Isaiah 53:5, how is one healed from sin and its affects? Are you being healed of sin and its affects now? If not, why not? If so, how do you know?

5. How can the truths presented in this passage aid in your love towards your enemies? Is there anyone in your life you need to forgive? If so, why haven't you forgiven them yet?

6. Do you find hope in the fact that for those who are 'in Christ' (trust that Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection accomplished everything necessary for salvation, having endured all the punishment for sin), God is totally and completely for them? How does this truth change the way you view hardships? How does this truth change the way you view uncontrollable circumstances to your life?

7. How is it that the fact that God did afflict His Son is a demonstration of His love?

Monday, October 4, 2010

"THINK" - Desiring God National Conference

I am grateful for the ministry of Desiring God for numerous reasons. One being that they provide video and audio of their conferences almost immediately after each speaker has presented his material. Being that it is difficult for me to get to Minnesota every time they hold a conference, I am especially thankful that they post these things FOR FREE on their web-site.

Their National Conference was this past weekend and included some remarkable and anointed speakers. The title of the conference was "Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God."

You can click here to listen, watch, or download the audio to your Ipod. So far, I have listened to Rick Warren's message on the "Battle for the Mind" and John Piper's message on "The Love of God and the Life of the Mind." I commend them both to you VERY highly.

Piper also wrote a book that was released just prior to the conference entitled Think. You can get it here or here.


Discussion Questions from 10/03/2010 Sermons at WBC

Yesterday morning I preached from Luke 20:19-26. You can watch and/or listen to the message here later today. Below are a few discussion questions to aid in further understanding and application (assuming you have heard or listened to the message):

1. What made the spies' question so tricky?

2. Why was Jesus' response so brilliant?

3. Rewrite verse 25 in your own words?

4. Read Genesis 1:26, 28; Romans 13:1-7; and 1 Peter 2:13-17. What are some things that come to your mind as you read through these texts?

5. Personally, how does your submission to earthly authorities reflect your submission to God's authority? How are you doing at paying taxes with integrity? How are you doing at honoring the President of the United States? How are you doing at obeying the speed limit? How are you doing at submitting to your authority at work? At home? At school? Would the lost world get a glimpse of how submission to God looks if they were to watch how you submit to earthly authorities?

6. What does it reveal about your heart if you get upset about paying taxes, or look for ways to sinfully avoid paying taxes?

7. What did Jesus mean when He said, "Give to God what is God's"? Have you done that? Are you doing it now? How can you give to God what is His?

8. If, in the future, Christians are required to pay taxes to the U.S. government to fund abortions, what should we do?

Sunday night, I had the incredible privilege of preaching from Isaiah 53:1-3. Again, later today, you should be able to watch or listen to the message here. Assuming you have watched or listened to the message, below are discussion questions to further help you think through the truths presented:

1. Why does Isaiah ask the two questions he poses in verse 1?

2. Can you identify at least 10 'Awkward' descriptions of Jesus from verses 2-3? How do these descriptions make you feel? Does it help make more sense of His being treated the way He was treated when He walked the earth over 2,000 years ago?

3. What did Isaiah mean by 'believed' from verse 1? What did he mean by 'arm of the LORD'? What did he mean by 'reveal'?

4. Is it possible to see Jesus as the power of God for salvation on your own intellect? Why or why not (see Matthew 16:16-17; John 6:44, 66-70; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 6)?

5. How will the unregenerate world respond to this message (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5)?

6. How do you explain the fact that Jesus was a "man of sorrows" and "acquainted with grief" (see Isaiah 53:3) and yet is full of joy (see John 15:11 and 17:13)?

7. What is the ultimate reason Jesus was despised, rejected, and hated? Why is this good news?