Monthly Archives: April 2007

New Look to

I have given the website a new look, thanks to the numerous templates offered by WordPress.  The picture in the header is a picture of the flags of various nations which are displayed in our sanctuary during the month of December for our Lottie Moon Emphasis.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

John Stott Announces Retirement

John Stott (photo by Corey Widmer)John Stott, one of the 20th century’s leading evangelical theologians announced his retirement (click here to read the article). (HT: Derick Dickens)

Stott’s commentary on Romans, his work on The Cross of Christ as well as his marvelous work on preaching (Between Two Worlds) have made me rather indebted to helping me think through the atonement as well as expositional preaching. I grew disturbed over the years hearing of him embracing the doctrine of annihilationism (there is no eternal hell), theistic evolution, and inclusivism (click here to read more).

What about you? What has John Stott’s ministry meant to you?

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Categories: Biography | 4 Comments

I've Been Tagged — Thanks to Steven Newell

Steven Newell of The Silent Holocron has tagged me. I now have to list off six weird things about myself. So, here they are:

  1. In my 7th grade year, I lived in three different states:  Michigan, Virginia, and Florida.  Needless to say, that year was just ducky!
  2. I believe I am the only Florida Marlins fan in the state of Kentucky (I would love for someone to prove me wrong).
  3. When the entire congregation interviewed me at the church where I serve as pastor, the fourth question they asked me was, “So, are you a University of Kentucky or a University of Louisville fan?”  (Keep in mind, the church where I serve is in Lexington, KY — home of the University of Kentucky!)  I just answered them, “You’ll just have to pray for me!”  I’m a huge U of L fan.
  4. I can listen to Bach, then Weird Al, then Bob Marley, then Frank Sinatra, then Elvis.  Needless to say, I have rather eclectic tastes.
  5. I am one of the two people on earth who simply does not like American Idol.
  6. My favorite snack is a Hardee’s chocolate shake and their Chili-Cheese Fries.  And boy do I pay for that one!

OK — my turn.  Time to tag five people.  Here they are:

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A Blog Full of Great Listening Resources: Faith By Hearing

My friend Mark Combs, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Salem, KY, often makes me aware of great blogs and other sites on the internet. He didn’t let me down on this one.

The blog is called “Faith By Hearing” operated by Todd Shaffer of Montreal. Here’s the description from the blog:

Faith by Hearing is designed to collect and categorize the ever-growing availabilty of great Reformed and conservative evangelical audio sermons, lectures and training. This is not a machine gun listing of sermons and lectures. It is a personal project to encourage others to be blessed by the preaching and teaching of godly men who are faithful to the all-powerful Word of God.

He claims that “next to the Bible, my iPod is my most treasured possession.” You can read more about Todd’s church plant in Montreal at .

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Olford Ministries to Merge with Union University

I just received this e-mail from Olford Ministries which helps men in the work of expository preaching — they are now merging with Union University. Here’s the letter:

Dear Friend of Olford Ministries International, Inc.,

We have very important and “extremely exciting” news to share with you. The press release below will give you some of the details. This is just a personal word to let you know of our sincere appreciation for your continued interest and involvement in the ministry of OMI, Inc.

Olford Ministries International, Inc. will be partnering with Union University to further our ministry goals. This relationship with Union started in a remarkable way. The decision to move forward in a strategic and organic relationship is taking place after much prayer, counsel, and discussion. We believe that God is in this, and “to God be the Glory.”

The Olford family and the Board of Directors have unanimously approved this merger, Lord willing on May 31st, which will open up new opportunities for teaching and training. On behalf of my wife, Ellen, and my mother, Mrs. Heather Olford, thank you for being a friend of this ministry.

We value your continued involvement in the future as we move into this new day of ministry. Keep in touch to find out more about what is taking place, and how we may be able to serve you better.

In Christ,

David L. Olford

I think this is an excellent move and will give the Olford Ministries some more exposure. What think ye?

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How Old Are Most Southern Baptist Pastors?


Tony Kummer brought this to my attention. I, too, was surprised to see that over half of all SBC senior pastors are 50 years of age or older.

No wonder when I attend the Southern Baptist Convention that most people look at me with shock when I tell them I’m a pastor (I’m 35, by the way). I notice that my age bracket only represents 14% of all SBC pastors.

I’ll ask the same questions Tony did:

  • Does this surprise you like it did me?
  • What significance does this have on the churches?

(You can feel free to leave a comment on Tony’s blog entry as well — I know he’d appreciate hearing from you.)

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Categories: Church Life, SBC | 6 Comments

"Our Party Has To Get Beyond Issues Like That," Says Guiliani

Rudy Guiliani, one of the Republican frontrunners for the presidential election in 2008 said recently that the Republican Party has “to get beyond issues like that.”

He continued:

“Our party is going to grow, and we are going to win in 2008 if we are a party characterized by what we’re for, not if we’re a party that’s known for what we’re against.”

What’s the issue?  Abortion.  Steven Ertelt of noted:

the GOP has nominated pro-life presidential candidates in every race since 1980 and it has won five of the seven contests — all against pro-abortion Democrats.

Pro-abortion Republican President Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976 in part because Carter was seen as more conservative on abortion and other social issues.

Polls have also shown that abortion is a winning issue for GOP presidential candidates.

Post-election polling after the 2004 presidential elections found that President Bush’s pro-life stance gave him an edge over pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry.

A 2004 Wirthlin Worldwide post-election poll found that 42 percent of voters said abortion affected the way they voted for president. Twenty-four percent of voters cast their ballots for President Bush while 15% voted for Kerry, giving Bush a 9 percent advantage on the issue of abortion. (April 16, 2007 — full article here)

Well, with all due respect to Rudy Guiliani, I do believe that we as conservatives can say what exactly we are for — life. I doubt Guiliani will get far — though he may with his stance on being strong on war and other domestic issues. As for me, my main concern is not about economics or even the war on terror. My issue is, “What value does life hold for you?” If a candidate is soft on protecting the innocent and unborn, then no thank you.

What do you think? Do we need to get beyond this issue? Should it be a deal-breaker?

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Categories: culture, politics | 3 Comments

So What Do We Thank God For? (D.A. Carson)

“So what do we thank God for?  Elsewhere, Paul tells us to set our hearts on things above (Colossians 3:1).  If what we highly cherish belongs to the realm of heaven, our hearts and minds will incline to heaven and all its values; but if what we highly cherish belongs to the realm of earth and the merely transitory, our hearts and minds will incline to the merely transitory.  After all, the Master himself taught us that our hearts will run to where our treasure lies (Matthew 6:19-21).

“So what does this have to do with our praying?

“If in our prayers we are to develop a mental framework analogous to Paul’s , we must look for signs of grace in the lives of Christians, and give God thanks for them. It is not simply that Paul gives thanks for whatever measure of maturity some groups of Christians has achieved, before he goes on to ask for yet more maturity (though in part that is what he is doing).  Rather, the specific elements in his thanksgiving show the framework of values he brings to his intercession — and we urgently need to develop the same framework.

For what have we thank God recently?  Have we gone over a list of members at our local church, say, or over a list of Christian workers, and quietly thanked God for signs of grace in their lives?  Do we make it a matter of praise to God when we observe evidence in one another of growing conformity to Christ, exemplified in trust, reliability, love and genuine stamina?”

(D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1992, p. 45.)

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Categories: Devotional | 1 Comment

Theologically-Driven Preaching (Daniel Akin)

Dr. Daniel Akin, President of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, has written a very helpful pamphlet on the necessity of theologically-driven preaching for the church.

(HT: Thabati Anyabwile

By: Daniel L. Akin

The Conservative Resurgence gave Southern Baptist a second chance but it did not secure our future. Has there been a Resurgence? Yes. Has there been a Restoration? Doubtful. Have we experienced genuine Revival? Clearly the answer is no.

Eight Theological Essentials for Southern Baptists in the 21st Century
1) The non-negotiable of a regenerate Church (John 3; Rom. 3; 2 Cor. 5; Gal. 3)

  • First, we need to make it clear that church membership is a privilege, not a right.
  • Second, we must preach against easy believism and reject any form of a compromised gospel.
  • Third, we must be careful with respect to our own theological integrity concerning infant or early adolescent baptism that lacks a clear understanding and confession of the gospel.

2) The essential nature of believers baptism by immersion with a biblical appreciation for its significance. (Matt. 28; Acts, Rom. 6)

That baptism involved a particular member (a believer), mode (immersion) and meaning (public identification with Christ and the believing community) is grounded in New Testament witness and has been a hallmark of Baptists throughout their history.

We must see evidence of regeneration for those we baptize. The baptism of young children must be administered with the greatest possible care.

Baptism should be viewed and emphasized as a first and necessary step of discipleship and obedience to Christ. We will reject as inconceivable the idea of admitting anyone into our membership without believer’s baptism by immersion.

3) The recovery of the lost jewels of church discipline and genuine disciple-making as essential marks of the Church.

Church discipline is clearly and repeatedly taught in the New Testament, yet most do not preach on it or practice it. Jesus addresses it in Matt. 18:15-20 and Paul does so several times in 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; Gal. 6:1-2; and Titus 3:9-11.

Theologically it is to disobey the plain teachings of Scripture and ignore the necessity of church discipline in maintaining the purity of the church.

  • First, we must preach and teach our people what the Bible says about church discipline.
  • Second, we must begin to implement church discipline lovingly, wisely, gently, carefully and slowly.
  • Third, we must apply discipline to areas like absentee membership as well as the specific list provided by Paul in 1 Cor. 5.

4) The emphasis and practice of a genuinely Word-based ministry (2 Tim. 4:1-5)For those of us who profess to believe in both the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, there must be in our churches what I call “engaging exposition.”We must advocate an expositional method with a theological mindset under an evangelical mandate. It is preaching that models for our people how they should study, interpret and teach the Bible.

5) The vision for a faithful and authentic biblical ecclesiology (Acts. 2; Eph. 4; Pastorals)

  • First, there must be the 4 marks of 1) a regenerate Church membership, 2) the Word, 3) the Ordinances and 4) Church Discipline.
  • Second the local church should be elder/pastor led and congregationally governed. Here, in my judgment, there is room for flexibility in terms of patterns, structure and implementation.

As we move forward in this century, Pastors will need to give particular attention to a theology of stewardship and discipleship.

The members of our churches must move from being shoppers to buyers to investors.

6) The continued nurturing of a fervent missionary and evangelistic passion that is wedded to a healthy and robust theology (1 Thess. 1; Eph. 4:11-16; Jude 3-4; Rev. 5)

No church will be evangelistic by accident.
First, there are multiple ways churches can do missions and evangelism. That we do it is the key.

Marketplace evangelism which can reach into the workplace is an area needing attention, strategizing and training.

Youth and student evangelism needs renewed emphasis.

Theologically and biblically, we must challenge our people to evangelize without bias or prejudice, loving and going after the exploding ethnic and minority groups where we live.

7) The teaching and preaching of a 1st century biblical model for church planting (Acts 17)
The 21st century is more like the 1st century than has ever been the case in our Western culture.

We are losing America and the West because we are losing the great metropolitan areas where there is a concentration of people.

  • First, explore creative methods, but make sure that they are faithfully filtered through the purifying waters of Holy Scripture.
  • Second, be wise fishers of men.
  • Third, we must ask God to raise a new generation of godly and gifted church planters and missionaries.

8) The wisdom to look back and remember who we were so that as we move forward we will not forget who we are

The Southern Baptist Convention today is not the Southern Baptist Convention of your parents, and certainly not your grandparents.

We now have several generations who know almost nothing of William Carey and Adoniram Judson, Bill Wallace, Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. They do know nothing of Boyce, Broadus, and Manly; Carroll, Robertson, Frost, Mullins and Truett.

They have never heard Criswell, Rogers or Vines preach, and they are not really sure who they are.

In creative and dynamic avenues fitting a 21st century context, we need to retell the Baptist History story in a way that will grab the attention and stir the hearts of our people. And we need to do it, at least in part, from the pulpit.

The North Carolina evangelist Vance Havner said, “What we live is what we really believe.”

Categories: Church Life, For Preachers/Pastors, For Seminary Students, leadership, preaching | Leave a comment

Brian Lara Retires from International Cricket

When I first went to Trinidad and Tobago in 1995, it was then I first heard of Brian Lara.  In downtown Port of Spain, their entire center of town was named Brian Lara Promenade.  He holds many records in international cricket play — and is the face of Trinidad in many ways.

West Indies captain Brian Lara has announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket.

“On Saturday I’ll be bidding farewell to international cricket as a player,” he told a news conference after the West Indies beat Bangladesh in Barbados

“I’ve already spoken to the board and my players,” Lara said.

The next Super 8 game against England on Saturday will be the last time Lara wears the West Indies colours.

The West Indies selectors have nominated Ramnaresh Sarwan as Lara’s replacement for the upcoming tour of England but this is still to be formally ratified by the WICB directors. (

Here are some of his records (HT: Wikipedia — take time to read all about about him):

  • He has the highest individual score in both first-class cricket (501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994) and Test cricket (400 not out for the West Indies against England in 2004).
  • Brian Lara amassed his world record 501 in 474 minutes off only 427 balls. He hit 308 in boundaries (10 sixes and 62 fours). His partners were Roger Twose (115 partnership – 2nd wicket), Trevor Penney (314 – 3rd), Paul Smith (51 – 4th) and Keith Piper (322 unbroken – 5th).
  • He also holds the record for the highest total number of runs in a Test career, after overtaking Allan Border in November 2005. He is the only man to have reclaimed the Test record score, having scored 375 against England in 1994, a record that stood until Matthew Hayden’s 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. His 400 not out also made him the second player after Don Bradman to score two Test triple-centuries, and the second after Bill Ponsford to score two first-class quadruple-centuries. He has scored nine double centuries in Test cricket, second only to Bradman’s twelve.

As someone who has been to Trinidad a number of times and who realizes in some small manner how much of a hero Brian Lara is, I cannot help but think that this is a big moment in West Indies Cricket as well as on the international scene.

My pastor friend, Roddie Taylor, gave me a Brian Lara jersey during one of my missions trips to Trinidad — I may just have to pull it out and wear during his last match against England. It’s been a great run!

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