Monthly Archives: October 2006

Sermons in honor of Reformation Day

Today is not Halloween — at least not in my house. Tomorrow is Reformation Day. And in honor of the 489th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses on the door of the Church at Wittenburg in Germany, I would like to direct your attention to two sermons I preached in honor of Reformation Day:

Rejoice that the truth of the Gospel was recovered — grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone as revealed in the Scriptures alone. Soli Deo gloria — to the glory of God alone!

Categories: Theology | Leave a comment

"I'd like a Dr. Pepper!" No problem, Dad! (An update)

drpepper.jpgI went to North Carolina to see my dad who is recuperating from his devastating injuries (click here to read if you’re not up to speed). He was having some complications while I was down there, and when we kept asking him how he was doing, he would say repeatedly, “I’d like a Dr. Pepper.”

Today, he passed his swallowing test and had … you guessed it … a Dr. Pepper and ate a meal for the first time since September 18. I talked to him earlier and asked him how he liked his Dr. P, he told me he was “disappointed.” It was too strong! Well, when going from feeding tubes to Dr. Peppers is like going from zero to light speed in a nanosecond. In time, though — in time!

So on the “Dad front,” life is very, very good. More later as events warrant. Thanks for your prayers.

dad-and-me-going-to-trinidad.JPG

Dad and I at the Newark International Airport in New Jersey on our way to Trinidad & Tobago, February 18, 2005 (Photo courtesy of Paul “Rainman” Rainey)

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Top Reasons for Staff Termination in Churches

Chris Turner of LifeWay has posted a new article regarding the top reasons for staff termination in churches. And sadly, each of them deal with relationship issues — issues that have not changed since 1996.

The general inability to “get along” is again at the root of the top five reasons staff members in Southern Baptist churches are terminated from their positions, according to a recently completed study by LifeWay Christian Resources’ department of pastoral ministries.

Relational issues top the list for the 10th consecutive year, according to Bob Sheffield, pastoral ministries specialist. The top five are

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Categories: Church Life, For Preachers/Pastors, For Seminary Students, leadership | 5 Comments

Update on Books Received for Trinidadian Pastors

As mentioned in a previous post, I have set up an Amazon wishlist of books I would like to take for the Trinidadian pastors when I go there in January. So far, three books have been purchased for them:

  • Exegetical Fallacies by D.A. Carson
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
  • The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper

Thanks to all of you who have passed along this wishlist. Be in prayer than many books will come in for the Kingdom!

Categories: missions, Trinidad & Tobago | 2 Comments

"Then They Came Together": Unity Out of Hostility

During World War II, Hitler commanded all religious groups to unite so that he could control them. Among the Brethren assemblies, half complied and half refused. Those who went along with the order had a much easier time. Those who did not, faced harsh persecution. In almost every family of those who resisted, someone died in a concentration camp.

When the war was over, feelings of bitterness ran deep between the groups and there was much tension. Finally they decided that the situation had to be healed. Leaders from each group met at a quiet retreat. For several days, each person spent time in prayer, examining his own heart in the light of Christ’s commands. Then they came together.  Francis Schaeffer, who told of the incident, asked a friend who was there, “What did you do then?” “We were just one,” he replied. As they confessed their hostility and bitterness to God and yielded to His control, the Holy Spirit created a spirit of unity among them. Love filled their hearts and dissolved their hatred.

When love prevails among believers, especially in times of strong disagreement, it presents to the world an indisputable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ.

Our Daily Bread, October 4, 1992.

Categories: Church Life | Leave a comment

Tim Keller's Defeater Beliefs

tim-keller2.gifDaily, I am gaining more and more respect for Tim Keller, who serves as pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City. Notice the vision:

Redeemer’s vision is to spread the gospel, first through ourselves and then through the city by word, deed, and community; To bring about personal changes, social healing, and cultural renewal through a movement of churches and ministries that change New York City and through it, the world.

He has an excellent article dealing with what he calls “Defeater Beliefs” which expresses and answers many of the doubts about Christianity that arise specifically in our culture. He incorporated that in a lecture he gave at Covenant Seminary not long ago about Preaching to Believers and Unbelievers (this is an mp3). I listened to this as I traveled to see my dad in North Carolina on Thursday — and I felt it was one of the most revolutionary sermons I’d heard dealing with preaching. But the article will be helpful — a bit technical but worth the read for preacher and layperson alike.

Steve McCoy at Reformissionary has a host of resources from Tim Keller (click here). . More and more, I’m becoming convinced how important it is for a visible presence to be made in the community and how we are to be missionaries where we are.

Categories: Church Life, culture, For Preachers/Pastors, leadership, missions | 3 Comments

Pray as I speak at the EKU CCC

This coming Thursday (November 2nd), I will be preaching at the weekly service of the Campus Crusade for Christ at Eastern Kentucky University. They gave me two options on a text, and I chose John 17. I covet your prayers. I have a deep burden for college students, so pray that God would give me the words to demonstrate the power of the Gospel through Jesus’ high priestly prayer.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

State Preambles (They Must Have Missed the 'No-God' Memo)

one-nation-under-god.jpegAlabama 1901 , Preamble . We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.

Alaska 1956, Preamble . We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

Arizona 1911, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution…

Arkansas 1874, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government…

California 1879, Preamble . We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom.

Colorado 1876, Preamble . We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.

Connecticut1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Delaware 1897, Preamble . Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.

Florida 1885, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution…

Georgia1777, Preamble . We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution…

Hawaii 1959, Preamble . We , the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance … Establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

Illinois 1870, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil l, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble . We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings establish this Constitution.

Kansas 1859, Preamble . We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties…

Louisiana 1921, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity … And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble . We…the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe .. In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction ..

Michigan 1908, Preamble le. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.

Minnesota, 1857, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:

Mississippi 1890, Preamble . We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Al mighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble . We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness .. Establish this Constitution .

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution …

Nebraska 1875, Preamble . We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. Establish this Constitution.

Nevada 1864, Preamble . We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution

New Hampshire1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V . Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

New Jersey1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

New Mexico1911, Preamble . We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty

New York 1846, Preamble . We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina 1868, Preamble . We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those

North Dakota 1889, Preamble . We , the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain…

Ohio 1852, Preamble . We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble . Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty … establish this .

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble . We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preamble . We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…

Texas 1845, Preamble . We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble . Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.

Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man .

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other

Washington 1889, Preamble . We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution

West Virginia 1872, Preamble . Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ..

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble . We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility

Wyoming 1890, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties .. establish this Constitution.

(HT: Paul Rainey)

Categories: politics, Religious Liberties | 1 Comment

"What Is a Missionary?" (Oswald Chambers)

(One of the great devotionals on a missionary I’ve read! — MRP)

As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” John 20:21

A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in work for God is behind, not before. The tendency to-day is to put the inspiration ahead, to sweep everything in front of us and bring it all out to our conception of success. In the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, the Lord Jesus. The ideal is to be true to Him, to carry out His enterprises.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and His point of view is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary enterprise the great danger is that God’s call is effaced by the needs of the people until human sympathy absolutely overwhelms the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind falters and fails. We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people, nor the education of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.”

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God the tendency is to say – What wonderfully astute wisdom they had! How perfectly they understood all God wanted! The astute mind behind is the Mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough to trust God’s wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God.

(Go to http://www.myutmost.org to read this wonderful devotional each day.)

Categories: missions | 1 Comment

Ignoring that Three-Letter Word (Heustis)

Reed Heustis has written a terrific article entitled “Ignoring That Three-Letter Word” in response to all the political scandals and prevalent corruption found in our political parties. He rightly notes where the true trouble lies.

Very much is said about political corruption these days. Virtually nothing is said about the corruption of Man and that dirty three-letter word, S-I-N.

Die-hard Democrats rant and rave about how corrupt the Republican Party is. True-blue Republicans rant and rave about how corrupt the Democratic Party is. Both point fingers at each other’s corruption. Both are convinced the other party is corrupt to its core.

With elections looming, Democrats are giddy over the possibility of “voting the rascals out” after Republican scandals and corruption have plagued the GOP, which is led by two-term President George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Republicans warn of the many Democratic corruptions of yesteryear, and point to the specter of a return to more Clintonian shenanigans.

Disgusted independents and third party activists are not immune from this finger-pointing game. Independents rail against the whole “corrupt system,” while third party activists rail against the “corrupt two-party system.”

Everybody screams, Corruption! Nobody remembers the three-letter word.

(Click here to read the rest of this rather compelling article.)

Categories: culture, politics, Religious Liberties | Leave a comment