Sep 29, 2012

In Christ Alone

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1Corinthians 2:1-5

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.James 1:21-25

What does it mean for us to be “In Christ Alone?”  Paul expressed that he wanted to know nothing ‘except Jesus Christ and Him crucified’ to the Corinthian believers.  He also tells the churches in Galatia that other gospels were being preached, and those who preach them should be cursed.  It is extremely important for us to understand what the gospel is, and preach it properly both for Christians and unbelievers alike.  We should find also that the gospel remains the most important of things in our lives in thought and action.

The gospel as expressed in 1 Corinthians 15 (an early creed) concisely states the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Often we find it easier to see how this relates to our unbelieving brothers, being dead in sins, and condemned to hell.  Yet it was not us that discovered the gospel, in effect saving ourselves, but it was God who brought it to us, sovereignly.  We cannot get to a point in our minds, intellectually, that we let the gospel become a one hit wonder.  The same song over and over everyone knowing what comes next, losing all meaning. 

Christian living is a chance to show the gospel every day.  What constitutes ‘Christian living?’  We are called to follow him, and sin no more, or be righteous.  We were unable to be perfect before, we are still not; we lean on Christ’s sacrifice, and realize it is sufficient to cover all our faults.  It then can spur us on to glorify Him even more.  We are told to forgive others, and be kind to our enemies; because that is what He did.  Each situation we come to offers another opportunity to glorify Him.  Take a moment and reflect how can I show the gospel in this? 

Sep 22, 2012

Do a Great Work

“Now it happened when . . . the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it . . .  So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.” Nehemiah 6:1-4

“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” Hebrews 12:1-2a

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.” Revelation 2:4-5

During our homecoming service we were challenged to leave a legacy, as a part of the great “cloud of witnesses” referred to in Hebrews 12.  Each of those Old Testament heroes in Hebrews 11 accomplished great things through God’s Spirit.  Their stories are recorded in order to give us hope that great things can be accomplished by God even with sinners/ mistake-makers.

Approximately 80% of Hart County residents do not attend church on any given Sunday.  Since we love to hang out with our Christian brothers and sisters, it is easy to look over the lostness even here in Kentucky.  We as a group have a great work that needs to happen; we need to reach as many of these people as we can. 

Yet, in each of our lives there is likely at least one thing which is hindering our growth.  You know what this ‘thing’ is, because it has already come to your mind as an excuse as to why you can’t do anything about the lostness of Hart County.  We must take care of it now, and go to work.

In the book of Nehemiah, Jerusalem has been destroyed, the people are exiled into foreign countries, and it made them mad and embarrassed as a prideful people.  Nehemiah knew the unfortunate situations, and he decided to do something about it.  Nehemiah had to rebuild the walls before the rest of the work could begin, what do we need to do?  There were obstacles, setbacks, and discouragements thrown in Nehemiah’s direction but he refused to quit and answered what is shown above.

There are opportunities ahead of us which demand our attention and we desire to press forward.  In order for this to happen there is likely one obstacle we need to clear, maybe a couple.  It could be a sin you need to stop, or a ministry we need to start.  What is your ‘great work?’
I love to listen to Andy Stanley, this is partially derived from a message of his called, "This One Thing"

Sep 8, 2012

Value Voting 2012

God, give Your justice to the king and Your righteousness to the king’s son. He will judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted ones with justice. May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, and the hills, righteousness.  May he vindicate the afflicted among the people, help the poor, and crush the oppressor.” Psalms 72:1-4

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise Wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

   What is values-based voting?  Values-based voting is simply choosing which issues, or concerns, you care the most about and voting on a candidate based on those issues.  A voter choosing this method of voting stands in direct contrast to party-based voting, or name-based voting which involve no work.   Sometimes it may take a lot of work in order to find differences between the candidates, but in this presidential election that is not the case. On most of the issues there are no similarities in the approach of the two candidates; they are standing as far apart as possible.  A line from President Obama’s acceptance speech explains our situation well, “On every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”

   As Christians it is our responsibility as the salt of the world, to choose leaders who hold our views and values.  For a Christian to not vote is a failure to accept their responsibility to choose Godly Leaders.  Please search in your Bible and find out what God has to say, and then choose the candidate which most clearly follows those values.  The issues which are most a matter of conscience, morals, and religion are probably a definition of marriage, homosexuality, and abortion.  While some issues surrounding hate crimes, and equality have moral decisions also.  You can examine the party platforms/positions at their websites.    

   Do not take your opportunity to vote lightly.  Examine the issues, pray for direction, and read the Bible to see what it says on the issues.  For a prayer guide you can download, “40/40 prayer vigil for Spiritual Revival and National Renewal” from the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission website ( .  There are other resources available on the site also.  (The ERLC is the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.)  We do not live in the days of the Davidic Covenant, where God blessed the nation if it had a Godly leader, but our president certainly influences the direction of the nation and its laws and policies.  Let’s seek to have a God fearing leader.

Sep 1, 2012

Developing a Biblical Worldview

Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalms 119:133

He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord!” Psalms 147:19-20

Be diligent (study in KJV) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

Are Christians really a people of the Book? To what extent do they orient their thinking by, take their cues from, establish their priorities on the basis of, subject the entirety of their experience to, and seek ever deepening understanding of the teachings of Scripture? To what extent can we say that Christians are people of the Book? (T.M. Moore on Breakpoint 5-23-07)

The concept of having “rose-colored glasses” generally comes with a negative connotation.  Those seeing through the glasses do not see a true picture, everything having a reddish tint from the glasses.  Despite this concept, it would be best if all Christians would look at the world through the “blood-stained glasses” of the Bible. In other words having a Christian worldview; by running every decision, action, or attitude through the filter of the Bible.

In order for us to do this, we must know what the Bible teaches on a subject.  As part of our inerrant view of the Bible, we believe that the Bible addresses every necessary subject for our Christian living.  While some topics or words are not directly mentioned in the Bible, we can take what it does say about a related subject and apply it appropriately.  For example the word abortion is not found in the Bible however child sacrifice and the destruction of life are condemned; so this is where we form our basis against the practice. 

So as we seek to develop a life directed by the Bible we must study the doctrines it teaches.  Certainly this involves lots of study in the Bible itself.  Another helpful starting place are resources such as catechisms and systematic theologies.  These are collections of teachings or statements developed by many Bible scholars in one volume.  The catechism is especially popular in the Catholic church to ground their children in solid Bible principles, having classes revolved around these teachings.  As Southern Baptist another resource we have is the Baptist Faith and Message, specifically the year 2000 revision.  Each of these resources pairs a theological statement with a listing of scriptures used to develop it.  By studying the resource and the scripture list, it will help the student heed the exhortation of 1 Peter 3:15.