Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good News and Some that Are Confused

This weekend Living Hope is participating in "Find It Here." My small group along with Mark Gilliam's group will be going to a trailer park in our city to invite 213 families to join us for worship at one of our four Easter services: Thursday Night at 7 pm or Sunday morning at 8, 9:30 or 11 am.

While we were getting a map so we could outline the houses each team would be visiting, we had the opportunity to share our hope with a lady there.

It is always a blessing to me to get to share the Gospel with another person. I am reminded of the great love of God. As I share Scriptures or my story, the goodness and mercy that God has given me is overwhelming. The questions they ask cause me to reflect more deeply on what I believe and why.

The person we shared with today had a distinct view on salvation that was NOT the Gospel. She understood sin and talked about Jesus, but there was no grace. She even made fun of our church as being liberal. How about that?

I do not know what kinds of opportunities you are going to have tomorrow and that we will have as a church this weekend to share the Gospel, but what we must remember is that people need to hear the Gospel. There are many false Gospels circulating here in the South and people need to know about the unconditional unmerited love that is available in Jesus and the wonderful grace and mercy He has proven and provided in His death, burial and resurrection.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Kids Were Asking...

My children were wondering why we celebrate Easter on a different date each year. I figured others may wonder as well.

Here's a simple history and explanation...

A controversy arose about the dating of Easter, causing Polycarp to visit Rome’s bishop Anicetus. The two were unable to settle the controversy, and it became a hotly debated issue threatening to split the church. Believers in Asia celebrated one day, Christians in Europe another. Books, tracts, sermons, and harangues were devoted to the topic. Synods and councils were called. Tempers flared. Clergy excommunicated one another. Irenaeus wrote, “The apostles ordered that we should judge no one in respect to a feast day or a holy day. Whence then these wars? Whence these schisms?”

The issue came to a vote at the famous Council of Nicaea in 325. Easter, declared the council, should be celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after March 21, the vernal equinox. Easter then is a “movable feast” that may occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25. The matter wasn’t entirely settled, but believers seemed to realize that it wasn’t the date, but the significance, that gave Easter its magnificence.
Morgan, R. J. (2000). On this day : 265 amazing and inspiring stories about saints, martyrs & heroes (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Jehovah's Witness Came By

An older man and his granddaughter stopped by this afternoon to tell me about "the message of Jesus." We exchanged ideas on Scripture and quoted texts back and forth, but in the end what it all comes down to is this man and those of his heresy do not believe in the deity of Christ.

This is nothing new. This kind of evil has been said of Jesus for years. One of the early heretics to teach this was Arius.

It became the first major threat to the views implicitly held by the church regarding Jesus’ deity. Because Arianism arose in a period of serious theological reflection and represented a much more thorough and systematic construction than Ebionism, this movement had a real chance of becoming the official view. Although it was condemned by the church at the Council of Nicea in 325 and at subsequent councils, it lingers on to our day in various forms, most notably the movement known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Erickson, M. J. (1998). Christian theology (2nd ed.) (711–712). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

One thing the man kept saying to me was that Jesus never claimed to be God. That is not true.

John 10:31–33 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

One thing I respect is that this man, although wrong, is concerned about his neighbors and is using his Saturday to tell what he knows.

We orthodox believers need to deny the lie, love the lost and mistaken people of our world, and be challenged by the efforts of those that do not know the truth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Centrality of Scripture

This Thursday at our Men's Bible Doctrine Class we will be talking about the authority of Scripture in Christianity.

The Bible is the primary means God has given to us to understand Him. I tell my church all of the time: we cannot know God's will or God's way until we know God's Word. The Word of God is what determines where we think from and how we understand our world.

I appreciate the words of Michael Horton about how the Bible is central to church life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Can you remember the day you came to receive saving faith in Jesus Christ. Mine was June 28, 1988. I had lived my life with spiritual indifference. I knew how to play the game... go to church to impress the parents, make good grades, be good in athletics, and then when no one was looking live like a moron.

God saved me that night in the middle of my bedroom just before dawn. I asked him to forgive me based on my belief in what Christ had accomplished on the cross. There were still a lot of questions swirling in my mind, but somehow I understood that when Christ died on that cross, He paid the penalty of my sin. The fact that Christ was raised meant I could relate to Him and be guided by Him.

God was good to me. He is good to me. He has promised to be good to me for eternity.

On March 10, 1748 John Newton "began earnestly studying the Bible. He embraced Christ and eventually entered the ministry, becoming one of England’s best-loved preachers and a leader in the fight against slavery. He once recalled, 'That tenth of March is a day much remembered by me; and I have never suffered it to pass unnoticed since the year 1748—the Lord came from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.'"
Morgan, R. J. (2000). On this day : 265 amazing and inspiring stories about saints, martyrs & heroes (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

So what about you... do you have a day or time you can look back on when you began to live under the grace and leadership of Jesus?

If not and you would like to, go here and get more information.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thank You Dr. Rankin

It is clarity, passion and leadership like this that I admire and inspires me to commit more to the SBC to fulfill God's Great Commission. Read Dr. Rankin's thoughts here.

What a Name - Living Hope

I love the name of my church – Living Hope. It comes from 1 Peter 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"

The founders did a great job in naming the church. This designation speaks of a powerful and personal reality that exists for all who believe in Jesus. When we simply believe God by grace through faith in Christ alone, we are given a hope that endures. The nature of the hope does not change, but our experience of it does and it grows in us and through us. Our God is a living God and the hope he gives us is a Living Hope.

MacArthur has some thoughts on this as well that I read this morning.

When God saved you and transformed you, He gave you “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away” (1 Pet. 1:4). As a result, Christians can live in the hope of that eternal inheritance.

Why is this hope important? Unbelievers do not trust Him, so they cannot hope in Him. But as a believer, you have seen that God has been faithful in your past and present and that gives you the hope that He will be faithful in the future. And that gives Him glory.
Simply put, God is glorified when you trust Him. He’s glorified when you believe Him. And He is glorified when you hope in His future promise. The God who has given you such a great salvation is worthy of your hope.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Men's Bible Doctrine Study - Thursday AM

We had an interest meeting this morning for the Bible Doctrine class for men that I am leading. God is calling me to raise up doctrinally sound men that can serve as deacons, elders, and missionaries in God's Kingdom Purpose.

We will be using Wayne Grudem's book Bible Doctrine. You can purchase it here.

Here is the purpose, process, and plan I outlined for the thirty-four week journey. If you are a man God is calling to leadership in His church, you are welcome to come and get equipped theologically for service. We meet Thursday morning from 6-7 am in the fellowship hall at Living Hope.

The purpose of this training is to raise-up doctrinally sound men that can lead more effectively as deacons, elders, and missionaries for the cause of Christ.

The process of this training will be reading, discussion, and teaching. Each man will be required to do the reading and homework. On Thursday mornings a brief explanation will be given as to why the doctrine studied that week is important. The men will then break up in groups and each man will be given the opportunity to lead the group in their discussion. That week each man will be required to teach that doctrine in at least three different venues: personal conversation, a class they are leading or at home.

The Plan:
March 4: Overview of the purpose and process

March 11: Chapter One: Introduction to Systematic Theology

Part I: The Doctrine of the Word of God
March 18: Chapter Two: The Authority and Inerrancy of the Bible

March 25: Chapter Three: The Clarity and Necessity of the Bible

Part II: The Doctrine of God
April 8: Chapter Four: The Character of God “Incommunicable” Attributes

April 15: Chapter Five: The “Communicable” Attributes of God

April 22: Chapter Six: The Trinity

April 29: Chapter Seven: Creation

May 6: Chapter Eight: God’s Providence

May 13: Chapter Nine: Prayer

May 20: Chapter Ten: Angels, Satan, and Demons

Part III: The Doctrine of Man
May 27: Chapter Eleven: The Creation of Man

June 3: Chapter Twelve: Man as Male and Female

June 10: Chapter Thirteen: Sin

Part IV: The Doctrine of Christ
June 17: Chapter Fourteen: The Person of Christ

June 24: Chapter Fifteen: The Atonement

July 8: Chapter Sixteen: Resurrection and Ascension

Part V: The Doctrine of the Application of Redemption
July 15: Chapter Seventeen: Common Grace

July 22: Chapter Eighteen: Election

July 29: Chapter Nineteen: The Gospel Call

August 5: Chapter Twenty: Regeneration

August 12: Chapter Twenty-one: Conversion (Faith and Repentance)

August 19: Chapter Twenty-two: Justification and Adoption

August 26: Chapter Twenty-three: Sanctification (Growth in Likeness to Christ)

September 2: Chapter Twenty-four: The Perseverance of the Saints (Remaining a Christian)

September 9: Chapter Twenty-five: Death, the Incarnation State, and Glorification

Part V: The Doctrine of the Church
September 16: Chapter Twenty-six: The Nature of the Church

September 23: Chapter Twenty-seven: Baptism

September 30: Chapter Twenty-eight: The Lord’s Supper

October 14: Chapter Twenty-nine: Gifts of the Holy Spirit (I): General Questions

October 21: Chapter Thirty: Gifts of the Holy Spirit (II): Special Gifts

Part VI: The Doctrine of the Church
October 28: Chapter Thirty-one: The Return of Christ: When and How?

November 4: Chapter Thirty-two: The Millennium

November 11: Chapter Thirty-three: The Final Judgment and Eternal Punishment

November 18: Chapter Thirty-four: The New Heavens and New Earth

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What Suffering Does for Christians

“Christians are like nails; the harder you hit them, the deeper they go.” -Nijole Sudanaite a Persecuted Christian from Russia

Philippians 1:29 "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,"

The great thing about suffering in Christ is the fruit that it produces. It produces:

1. Perspective: we remember that this world is not our home.
2. Community: we turn to those that can lift us up.
3. Hope: we find strength in the faithfulness of God (Romans 5:3-5).
4. Dependence: we find in Christ our hope and comfort.
5. Discipline: we learn to make better choices.

What else does suffering produce?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Amazing: One Death Gives Others Life

Last night a dear friend of mine went home to be with the Lord. She was a lady of great faith and service. Throughout the past few days as she declined and traveled that painful path toward death, I heard people share story after story of how she had served them with prayer, encouragement, wisdom, compassion, and love.

She was a servant in life and in her death.

Just as she passed from this life to her heavenly home her organs were taken so they could be given to others. There are people right now living because of the last act of service this sweet saint could give.
John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Like our Lord her death has produced life.

These people needed this gift. We all have a terminal disease – sin. Christ gave His life to heal us.

Receive His gift. Find out how by clicking here.