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Showing posts from March, 2011

Openly friendly

Titus 3:15 stood out to me this morning. It's the last verse in Titus, and, in Doug-translation, reads like this:"Everyone here says hi. Say hi to everyone there for me."Really. Oh, you want a real translation? Don't trust the RefTagger hover point above? Ok…Titus 3:15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.  (ESV)See? Unlike most of Paul's letters, Titus doesn't end with a list of names to greet or that send greetings. It's a generic "all of us" to "all of you" finish. Why does this matter? Especially, why does this matter to us?Paul had left Titus at Crete. I may be missing it, but I don't see a time in Acts where Paul went to Crete, so it was apparently a quick drop-off that fits into the free time of the Apostle Paul. My assumption is a lack of time to build relationships with the church folks there. So we get this: whoever is there that loves the Lord, we're g…

BookTuesday: Creating your Personal Life Plan

Yep, it's a long title.No, it's not a sponsored book review. From time to time, when I'm caught up on book reviews that I get free books for, I'm going to review other books that I've found useful. While I won't do a lot of the books I read, I'll do a few of the more practical or impactful books.Why won't I do all of them? Do you really want to read a review of The Venerable Bede, The World of Bede, Parochial Vision: The Future of the English Parish, Roman Britain and Early England: 55 B.C. –A.D. 871? I didn't think so.Today I want to point you to an e-book that I got, well, yesterday. It's from Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He titled this book Creating Your Personal Life Plan. I'd like to tell you about it, then tell you how to get it.First of all, this is not a big book. The overall e-document (in PDF format) is 93 pages. That means, if you are so inclined, you can print it out front and back and use 47 pages. You can…

Sermons 3-20

Morning Audio Link HereEvening Audio Link HereMatthew 22:1-14 March 20 2011 AM I. The parable itself: a. A parable of the Kingdom of Godb. Allegorical: this is a description to make a point, not an exact definitionII. The presentation of the parable: a. This is one of manyb. It is also recorded in Luke 22(possibly—a repetition)III. The points of the parable: a. Initially invited guests:i. Those who knew about the banquetii. They were previously awareb. Refusals:i. Some were simply disinterestedii. Some were hostilec. New guests:i. Found from whereverii. CompelledIV. The purpose of the parable: a. Initially invited guests:i. Humanityii. (Remember that Adam and Eve pair?)iii. (And remember that Noah and family bunch?)iv. Those who knew of God—but rejected his invitation b. Slaves:i. Those of his householdii. Those He has boughtiii. _____(Us, got it?)c. Second invitation:i. All who can be foundii. All who will respondiii. All who comeV. The poorly dressed guest a. Not sincereb. No…

Mundane Blessing

I had a conversation with one of the men in my church that struck me yesterday. His wife had brought us a few pieces of cake earlier this week, and Ann had returned their piece of Tupperware with a  loaf of homemade bread in it.He told me that he'd been really enjoying the homemade bread, that it was a welcome blessing. He's been savoring each piece. It kind of stopped me for a moment.You see, I've been eating that homemade bread for a couple of years now. I think in the past 2 years, we've bought maybe 3 loaves of bread at the store, just because we were in a bind. The rest of the time? Ann makes the bread we eat. Not too be snobby or anything, but it's a little more economical, a little healthier, and not unreasonably inconvenient.Now, though, I see a good loaf of home-baked bread as, well, just bread. It's normal. It's a wonderfully tasty normal, but it's normal.What was received as a tremendous blessing by one person is just assumed by another.That …

Go to SBCVoices.com

And read the rest of this post by Dr. Wm. Dwight McKissic Sr., regarding racial division in the Southern Baptist Convention.Seriously. This has been a long-running discussion among various people and various bloggers about where we are as a denomination with our behavior. Most of us don't think about it on a regular basis on Sunday mornings, but we are still in that place where 11 AM Sunday morning remains one of the most segregated places in America.This ought not be. If we're going to survive as Christians and accomplish the purposes that God has for us, we cannot afford to indulge ourselves in petty divisions over non-Biblical issues.So, again, I encourage you to click through and read. And if you disagree, say so. Point out counter-examples. Help be part of the discussion that leads to a solution.Doug

Things we left behind

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For those of you that didn’t realize it, today is St. Patrick’s Day. What does that mean?Well, if you grew up in the Southern US, it means you wear green and maybe pretend you’re Irish. Other places, though, it means other things. For some, it’s a much more important day. Why?Because they know who St. Patrick is.Unfortunately for a lot of us Baptists, we’re not so aware. You see, once upon a time, Christians all fell into one of two groups: Eastern and Western. Really. It was that simple. And that division really only solidified about 1000 years ago, which is 1000 years into the existence of the church. So, anyone from the first 1000 years was a portion of a strong and shared heritage.Then, things within Christianity got a little more complicated. Not everyone who was in charge was worth putting charge, and divisions came into place. First, the East-West split. Then, Western Christianity broke down into a spectrum of groups. One of those groups led to what we call Baptists, and then o…

Deliver it or die trying

“Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. ” (Titus 1:1–4, NAS) I'd like you to take a read at the above passage. Needless to say, though I'll say it anyway, Paul did not record the highlighting on the highlighted portion. To be honest, I'm not sure the blog shows it yet, but the proclamation with which I was entrusted should be highlighted in the passage.This struck me as I read Titus this morning: I need to remember that the Gospel is, really, not mine. In fact, preaching the Gospel is not even my activity. It is, rather, somet…

BookTuesday: The Chasm

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The Chasm: A Journey to the Edge of LifeToday, BookTuesday presents: The Chasm: A Journey to the Edge of Life. This is book is by Randy Alcorn, and is published by Multnomah, a company so gracious they sent me a free book, just for doing this review. My gratitude is strong, but not strong enough to be swayed in my opinions….Several years ago, I read a book by Randy Alcorn titled Edge of Eternity. It was the first book of his I had read, and I didn't quite know what to expect. It was, generally, a good read, though getting into the symbolism was a roadblock for me at the time.Since then, I've read some of Alcorn's non-fiction writing as well as a novel that is more of an anonymized biography of persecuted Christians in China than it is a novel. I've grown more comfortable with his style since then.Now, we come to Randy Alcorn's The Chasm. This is not a long book. While I'm not an expert in literary identification, I'd say it was more of a novella than a full…

Sermons 3-13

Morning Audio Link HereEvening Audio Link HereMorning““For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” ” (Galatians 2:19–21, NAS) We must understand some truths here:I. We do not have a life any longera. Our life was, by law, forfeit for our sinsb. We deserved deathc. When Christ went to the cross, we are supposed to count ourselves as having gone as wellII. The life we have now is not our owna. Christ lives in usb. We live in the fleshc. Yet that life in the flesh is to belong to ChristIII. Why?a. Because He loved usb. He gave Himself up for us---i. (Can give without loving, but not love without giving—Amy Carmichael, missionary)IV. What does our lo…

Learned and Convinced

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. ” (2 Timothy 3:14–15, NAS) Reading 2 Timothy this morning, this jumped out at me. Especially "the things you have learned and become convinced of…." When Paul writes this to Timothy, he speaks of the two facets of discipleship and faith. What are those two facets, you ask? Well, maybe you did…They are both related to knowledge. We need to clear something up about knowledge and Biblical Christianity. The New Testament knows of no Christians that do not act on what they know. Discipleship is the process of learning what is required and acting on what is learned. Christian Discipleship, therefore, is learning what is required by Christ and acting on it.Two facets: intellectual knowledge and experienti…

Organization and Chaos

I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating:It take a lot of effort to get life organized. More than just a little, a lot. For me, I've had to sit down, take a look at what I do with my time, and figure out how much time it should all take.Then, I have to find a way to schedule it. This is difficult, because my weeks range from wide-open to having a lot of outside pressures on them. So, I have to be flexible with when I do, but don't have a great deal of flexibility about what I do.So, for the past several months, I've been living with chaos. I haven't gotten done things that needed to get done, much less made any progress on my 'spare time' projects. This has been a bad thing.So, I've taken the last 3 days of my time, and of Ann's time, and we've worked out the details. Well, at least most of them. She's offered to help me by looking back at the schedule every week. This is going to help.I'm also going to borrow from a few of …

BookTuesday: Game Plan for Life

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Today's book review is Joe Gibbs' Game Plan for Life. Here's the cover: Game Plan for Life: Your Personal Playbook for Success
And indeed, it's a free book review book from Tyndale Publishers. So don't think there's no relationship---although no one at Tyndale could pick me out of a police lineup, they do send me books every now and then!Game Plan for Life is Joe Gibbs' entrance into the world of turning success into publishing. It's become a well-trod path, though a few of the trips down this path have gone off a cliff.Game Plan, though, doesn't go off the cliff. Rather, this book surprised me. I expected references to Gibbs' football experiences and his NASCAR team ownership, and of course those were present. However, this book is more than just an extended sports metaphor.Gibbs has attacked the idea of writing a book to guide you to personal success the same way a head coach builds a winning team: find experts in specific areas and put the…

Sermons—March 6

First of all, I apologize for the lesser audio quality. My digital voice recorder disappeared off of my desk this week, so I had to use my cell phone voice-notes app to record this. So, it's an open microphone on the whole church instead of a clip-on mic. There's a good bit of background that you'd need a professional to filter. Let me know if this qualifies as "better than nothing" or as "don't bother" so I know how to proceed until my voice recorder comes back.Sunday AM Audio LinkSunday PM Audio LinkBut it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to …

Choices

Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense, every act is an act of self-sacrifice. When you choose anything, you reject everything else. —G.K. CHESTERTON, OrthodoxyThis is one of several things I've read lately that has challenged me about my limitations. Specifically, challenged me to acknowledge that I have limitations.First, I read this from Randy Alcorn, about saying no to good things to be able to do other good things. (Yes, it's an older post. Someone must have linked it and I read it recently.)Then there have been various other things I have read, and today the above quote from Chesterton. So I'm contemplating self-limitation.I really and truly can only do a few things with my time. Some things will require more effort than others, and some things just require more time.The hard part is to make the choice to let go of something. For example, I have 3 graduate courses I'm taking, pastor a church, and wr…

BookTuesday: The Jesus Inquest

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Next on the docket (and I use that word advisedly) is The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster. Why docket? Because Foster, while now primarily a writer, started his career as a barrister. For my fellow Americans, barrister is the British word for lawyer who argues in court. They have two kinds of lawyers: solicitors and barristers. Foster is also a part-time judge, an author, and Oxford professor. Enough about him. He's got his own webspace for self-promotion. You're here for my opinion of his bookHis book? It's entitled The Jesus Inquest and it's published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. So, I got one free from Booksneeze in exchange for the review you are about to receive. That's it, though. Free book for a review—no money and no influence.To pick up The Jesus Inquest is to commit yourself to being a little over your head, if you're an average reader. This book is quite detailed, and you may find yourself in need of a legal pad to keep up with it. Why?Foster wrote t…