Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Urgent Truth: Here’s Your Sign (Mark 8:11-13)

Many times we as followers of Jesus spend more time looking for signs rather than being obedient to what Jesus has already revealed. This message is a challenge for us to stop reading the “tea leaves” and to get busy on doing what God has commanded we should do.

Urgent Truth: Here’s Your Sign

A Great Commission Resurgence

Today is the day that I have been waiting for as a Southern Baptist. Today is the day where a line in the sand has clearly been drawn. Either we are going to be a Convention that is about sharing the gospel with a lost world or we are not. Therefore, I will not be shy about saying that I am truly excited about the new direction of our Convention that is being laid forth by such men as Danny Akin, Alvin Reid, and now the President of the SBC, Johnny Hunt. This morning a new website went live that explains in detail what these men, and others, have been calling for, namely a Great Commission Resurgence (GCR). You can read the document and sign it at www.greatcommissionresurgence.com. What can you do to get involved? Let me share a few ideas.

Pray – Sometimes this is the “drip pan” answer when presented with a challenge and sometimes we really don’t mean it, but in this case we must pray. Pray for the leaders of our Convention. Pray for the Convention to catch the vision of the importance of sharing the Gospel. Pray for our churches. Pray for our pastors. Pray for the members of our churches. Pray that the Enemy will not creep in and to distort and destroy. Pray. 

Go – Plan on going this year to the SBC Convention in Louisville, KY. If you are a younger leader/pastor in the Convention let me say this clearly, you must be there. An article was released today by Baptist Press explaining the theme of the annual meeting and from an initial reading it is apparent that there are two areas that will be focusedemphasized. One, the GCR and secondly, younger leaders being given a voice. Three out of five of the main speakers at the Convention are younger leaders/pastors in the SBC. Hunt is quoted in the article as follows, “We come across to the younger generation that we know they are there and we’re glad to hear what they are doing, but I’m not sure we have allowed them to speak into our life as a convention,” Hunt said. “We need to hear what they can bring to the table, what we can learn from them. Some may say, ‘This younger generation is so different. They are our problem.’ But if they are our problem, Southern Baptists have no future. We better come to the table of reasoning.” These are bold words and represent a statement that is long overdue. Thank you Dr. Hunt!

There will be much more that you can do and should do in the coming weeks and months. I truly believe that this is a movement worth getting behind. It is time for our Convention and the churches that make it up to get back to basics and make the main thing the main thing once again. This can only be achieved through a renewed commitment to the Great Commission. I am on board. How about you?

Urgent Truth: Enemies No More (Mark 8:1-10)

The message here is about the feeding of the 4,000. Jesus miraculously, once again, feeds a multitude. Yet, this time the multitude is a made up of Gentiles rather than Jews. What this feeding reveals is that God does not abandon His enemies, He pursues and apprehends them with compassion. Even when we turn our backs on our enemies, God does not.

Urgent Truth: Enemies No More

Easter 2009

Entering into the Empty TombEaster 2009 was by far the best worship service we have had in a long time. Even now I am having a difficult time putting into words just how awesome it was to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with such an amazing and wonderful church family. The following links are the two messages from our services. I pray that you enjoy listening to them. The picture above is the empty tomb at Gordon’s Calvary in Jerusalem where Steph and I visited last October. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Easter Sunrise 09: He is Risen

Easter 09: For You

Sunday Sermon: All Things Well (Mark 7:31-37)

The message Sunday exposed a truth that Jesus’ hearers needed to wrestle with and that we need to wrestle with as well, namely, that no matter how far away a person is from God, the touch of Jesus can bring them back. Jesus encounters a deaf man in the region of the Decapolis and through this encounter we see once again that the touch of the Savior is sufficient. Here is the link:

Urgent Truth: All Things Well

Once Again, Not God’s Best…

While perusing the morning news this morning, I came across on article about Joel Osteen’s recent appearance on Larry King Live. As a conservative evangelical pastor, the title of the piece, “Osteens: ‘God’s best is a male and a female‘” caught my eye. In the words of Paul Harvey, I had to know the “rest of the story.” The heart of the interview is about Larry King pressing them on the issue of how marriage should be defined. Certainly, this topic is one that presses upon us as evangelicals for an answer considering recent rulings in Massachusetts, Iowa, and Vermont.  

Since Joel Osteen considers himself an evangelical and apparently CNN considers him the only evangelical who deserves the spotlight, let us examine his response. Osteen says in the interview, “I’d love to see it [marriage] stay between a male and a female, not knocking anybody else.” Later he comments, “I think that, again, it’s best for a male and a female. I’m not saying that gay people aren’t good people…” What is wrong with his comments from an evangelical perspective? On the surface, they appear to be appropriate and he seems to be clear about where he stands. But, let us consider that once again, Osteen does not go far enough. At best, his comments are politically and culturally compromising rather than Biblically appropriate. As a side note, the main reason the Osteens were on LKL was to promote the Hope for Today Bible, a paraphrase not a translation of the word of God accompanied by study notes they themselves contributed. So, if Osteen is a man who stands on God’s word and is promoting God’s word, do his comments match up with God’s word? The answer is no. Here is why.

The Bible makes it perfectly clear that marriage is exclusively between a male and a female. I would offer, for the sake of brevity, the following passages as an example: Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33. According to these Scriptures, Osteen’s logic is flawed. Marriage between a male and female is not God’s best plan, it is God’s only plan. When Joel uses this well-known catch phrase what he is really offering is a pluralistic, culturally relevant olive branch to those who vehemently disagree with the word of God. If marriage between a man and a woman is simply just “God’s best,” then what follows is an open door for someone to say, “We will settle for less than God’s best because God is okay with such a compromise.”  The exculvisity of marriage must never be compromised or watered down either from the pulpit, in print, or in front of the pundits. Secondly, Osteen’s argument about “not knocking anyone else… ” and him “not saying gay people aren’t good people…” is flawed as well. Once again, the word of God makes it clear that there are no good people in the world. We are sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:10 says, “there is none righteous, not even one.” God’s word makes it clear as well that homosexuality is a sin, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Now,  just to be clear and so that I am not misunderstood, the Bible also says that coveting, pride, gluttony, drunkenness, adultery, lying, and hatred are all sins as well.

Here is the problem with Joel’s comments. They do not go far enough. When given an opportunity to take a stand against sin, by all means take a stand. Some might say from the argument that I just made that no one is qualified to marry or adopt children because we are sinners. That is not what I am saying at all.  I am saying that to justify a person’s immoral behavior by calling them “a good person” is Biblically incorrect and ultimately a tacit denial of the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My advice to Joel Osteen? Preach the gospel. Talk about sin. Encourage repentance. Study the word. Maybe then he would go far enough and be one of God’s best.

Sunday Sermon: Bread for All (Mark 7:24-30)

The message this week centered on one truth that followers of Jesus should embrace, namely, salvation is available to all people regardless of status. We see this truth revealed through an encounter Jesus has with a woman from the region of Syrophoenicia. This encounter presses upon us and challenges us to ask if we are willing to go where sinners are. Here is the link, hope that you enjoy listening.

Urgent Truth: Bread for All

The Real Deal

st_louis_cardinals_1998-present_logoBaseball season is almost upon us, five days to be exact. Although I am not sure what the season will bring for the St. Louis Cardinals, there is one reality of which I am certain. Albert Pujols is one the greatest players ever to play the game. Most baseball fans would agree with that statement, but here is the follow up that some will disagree with. Albert Pujol’s greatness has nothing to do with his stats. If you try to define Albert’s career by home runs, RBI’s, batting average, or even gold gloves you will have missed the point entirely. Rather than trying to explain here, allow me to offer you a look at a Sports Illustrated article that surfaced recently. Please take the time to read the article and then I believe you will understand why I can make such a statement. Here is the link: The Power to Believe