He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Friday, February 09, 2007 

Gone Til March

Gone to Pattaya, Thailand for the rest of the month. Behave yourselves in the meantime.


True Church Conference

The Reverend Todd "Fireball" Howard introduced me to the ministry of Jeff Noblit almost one year ago during a conversation after a Together for the Gospel session. Recently, one of my favorite missionary organizations, HeartCry Missionary Society, moved from Waldo, Illinois down to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to put itself under the authority of the First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, the church where Pastor Noblit leads and serves. Yesterday in the mail, I received a brochure invitation to the first ever True Church Conference hosted by FBC Muscle Shoals.

After reading the distinctives, the speakers, and the content of this conference, I have to recommend to anybody who will not be getting married, performing a marriage ceremony, or leaving to go out of the country between the days of May 3-6, if you are in ministry or plan to be one day, GO!

The message of the conference is The Miracle of Conversion. They are even inviting the conference participants to join with them on Saturday afternoon for street preaching and door to door evangelism! They then state, "true doctrine never leads to cold intellectualism."

I cannot think of many other men I would rather hear preach or teach than Russell Moore, Voddie Baucham, and Paul Washer, personally. Check it out. Read the distinctives. Register (it's cheap). Go and grow.

Thursday, February 08, 2007 

Join a Church Youngin'

A recent study I read and podcast I listened to from Lifeway Research focuses on the growing exodus of young adults (18-34 yrs old) from the church as they find it more irrelevant in their lives.

The study focuses on the church and some of the ways it can improve on reaching this generation. For example, biblical community, authentic truth from Scripture and an understanding of how it applies in every day life, and making a difference in the world through serving and sharing with others. However, this article and broadcast got me thinking of the other side of the church's responsibility - the Christian's responsibility.

If you are a believer in Christ, you are obligated, not matter how nasty, how dorky, how traditional, how hokey, to join a local body of believers. This is Christianity 101. This is not an option or up for debate as to if you like the style or the colors or the programs. If there is a true church, flawed as it may be, in your community, you must join it and be a part of its life. If there is not one in your community, you should start one.

First, how do you expect the church to reach your generation, your peers, if you believe they are failing, and so in response you just don't associate or cut yourself off? You perpetuate the problem. If you are part of a body, you have a voice, you can be a part of helping the church see where it is failing to meet its biblical obligations. (What Scripture says about this)

Second, loving other Christians is a pretty strong litmus test to see if you yourself are truly regenerate and in the faith. (What Scripture says about this)

Third, to keep from fellowship in the commanded context of the local church is an indication of deep rooted pride. If you do not like the church or those in it, then you are asking Christ to bear patiently in love with you as you mess up, fail, ask for forgiveness, sin, bring reproach to His name, all the while your actions or inaction show that you are not willing to bear patiently with your brothers in Christ, to love them, and to forgive them. (What Scripture says about this)

Fourth, if you dislike the church enough to not be joined to it, you dislike the Bride of Christ, and it is His Church, not a para church ministry, not a small group, not a Christian band, that the gates of Hell will not prevail against - I think it would be in our best interest to be aligned with a local church. (What Scripture says about this)

Believers, it is time you stopped blaming the church and started becoming the church.

good resource: Donald Whitney - Why Join a Church?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 

Ordination of Adoniram

On this day, in 1812, Adoniram Judson was ordained to the Gospel ministry alongside Samuel Nott, Samuel Newell, Gordon Hall, and Luther Rice. It was one of the coldest days of that year, yet 1500 people made their way in the blistering cold to see America's first foreign missionaries.

Because of the nature of the day, travel was slow, medical knowledge was lacking, and it was common for ships to be shipwrecked and pirated in those days, & those who gathered at 11am knew that this may indeed be the last time, as it was the first time, and maybe the only time they would ever lay eyes on these men.

After singing, Dr. Griffin prayed. Dr. Wood was next with the sermon, hoping to see the young men again at "the glorious appearing of the Son of God" when the fruits of their labors would be revealed.

Five ministers put their hands on the heads of the five future missionaries as Dr. Jedidiah Morse consecrated them. People wept during his prayer which expressed a sense of farewell. As Dr. Spring charged the missionaries to do their duty, he noted that it was a new and important work that they were embarking on, "before which every former effort of the American church retired like stars before the rising sun." Samuel Worcester inducted them into the brotherhood of the ministry: "Go carry to the poor heathen the good news of pardon, peace and eternal life. Tell them of the God whom we adore; of the Savior in whom we trust; of the glorious immortality for which we hope..." he said. Dr. Spring gave the closing prayer.

History is the witness that Judson took to heart and filled the charge given by Worcester.

Monday, February 05, 2007 

Adoniram & Ann

During this month, in 1810, Adoniram Judson resolved to be a missionary. On this day in 1812, Adoniram Judson married Ann (Nancy) Hasseltine, one of the most significant marriages in Baptist, missions, and Christian history.


Holding the Rope

Not everybody makes a lot of money. But as it is, the Lord has commanded us to participate in missions and spreading the Gospel, and as such, it is our obligation to give towards international missions and local church planting ventures. God has provided for all our needs - so if you're struggling with how you can give towards missions and church planting on a low budget, here's a few ideas:

1) Fast one meal a week - put that $5 you would have used on McD's towards missions or a church planter. At the end of the year, that's $260 towards Kingdom expansion & growth that would have gone towards waist line expansion and growth.

2) Get rid of TV - use the money you would use towards a cable bill and buy some wholesome dvd's, rabbit ears, and the rest of it towards a missionary, agency, or church planter or agency. That would be hundreds to possibly over a thousand dollars.

3) Get rid of your home phone & get along with just the cell phone - most of us spend nearly or over $30 a month for a home phone line that may get used just 0 - 2 times a month. At the least, this would be over $1500, that would usually be going towards a luxury of having an extra line.

4) Turn your junk into treasure - take some of your rust-gathering material wealth, hold a garage sell, or get together with a Sunday school class and all put your excess junk or material overload and sale it, giving the proceeds towards missions and church planting.

5) Pray. Invest in a few candles, some brief mission biographies, articles, or updates, take the names of missionaries from your churches, gather with your family or even friends, & shut off the lights for an evening - turn off the heat, sleep on the floor under blankets, holding Bible reading and prayer, and softly sing together, to put yourself in the mindset of indigenous missionaries who backpack into the jungles, to villages, in the harshest conditions, threatened by weather, persecution, and harsh enviornment.

Friday, February 02, 2007 

Multi-Site Mullings

A growing trend in the American church is the Multi-site Church. I want to state from the outset that I do not think it is evil or Satanic or that if it is practiced by your church or someone you admire and know's church, that you should cut off fellowship with that brother.

In fact, I preface this entire thing as my opinion alone with something not that I totally reject but as something I am uneasy with. John Piper's church practices a form of it with videos and their 3 campuses in the Minneapolis area. Al Mohler's church (yes, yes I know: by Piper & Mohler's church I do mean God's church) is a multi-site campus too (which I almost joined while living in Louisville for the record), and so please understand that I wish to point the finger at either of these giants theologically or at anyone else. I want to be on complete board with the Regulative Principle, but am not quite there, so...

My question is, "Why not just plant new churches?" First, let me say I think that having multiple sites is better than not planting a church at all and not growing to reach other areas at all. If it is between one church building up in only one part of town, or not growing at all, versus the multi-site model, I'd vote for the multi-site anyday. I think that makes me inconsistent, but I'm comfortable with that in this case.

Now, if a church is a congregation of people who gather together, then by definition, shouldn't each separate location be a separate church? In the videocast churches, usually there is a campus pastor who does not do the preaching who is to shepherd the congregation. But is it not dangerous to divorce the role of the pastor as teacher and shepherd biblically? And what of Baptist churches who follow the New Testament model of congregational rule and pastor lead? If one pastor is pastor of several churches, does he not become bishopesque of that geographical gathering of churches?

My question remains, "Why not plant new churches?" I believe that you could even begin with a muti-site model (I wouldn't argue for it Biblically, but would say it could be a form of church planting), & then phase out the leadership role of the pastor to a congregationally approved and voted for pastor who will then lead the church. Work in close association with that church, guide it, help it, but trust God to grow it and establish it.



Desiring God has started a blog.
Wayne Grudem - 50 free MP3 lectures on the Christian Essentials.
Free online D.A. Carson sermons. thanks to Julian Freeman for this
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