Monthly Archives: May 2007

Why Does God Wish to Guard Our Hearts?

Why does God wish us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23)? 

Why does God oftentimes refer to himself as our fortress (Psalm 46:1)? 

Why does God hem us in (Psalm 139:5)?

Why does Paul tell us not to be anxious but to make our requests known to God for the peace which guards our hearts (Philippians 4:6-7)? 

Why does Paul tell Timothy to watch your life and ministry (1 Timothy 4:16)?

I think that most believe it is to keep the outside enemy out — but I believe he calls us to make sure we stay in-bounds to His will?

We’ve been going through the book of Nehemiah — and as I’ve been studying it, I wonder how much of building that wall was to keep the enemies such as Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the armies of Samaria, and Gesham out — or did he want the walls up to help re-establish the covenant culture and ‘hem in’ God’s people. 

When we look back at Philippians 4:7 in how God guards our hearts and minds with the peace of Christ, he does so with the understanding that our anxiety takes us out-of-bounds.  Trust readily stays on the path of righteousness that God lays out for us.  Worry believes that peace can be found off God’s path.  Worry believes that God’s path is keeping us away from the true solution to our respective issues.  Trust says, “I don’t see the end in sight, but lead me on for Your name’s sake.”

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My Summer Reading List

 

  1. Spirit-Led Preaching by Greg Heisler
  2. Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman
  3. Mek Some Noise: Gospel Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad by Timothy Rommen
  4. Preaching the Parables by Craig L. Blomberg
  5. Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards
  6. Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
  7. With One Voice: Singleness, Dating, and Marriage to the Glory of God by Alex Chediak
  8. God’s Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible—A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal by Brian Moynihan
  9. Worship by the Book, Edited by D.A. Carson

My Amazon.com Wish List

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Conservatism: Ghost of Liberalism Past (Reed Heustis)

rrhpic.jpgUniversity political science classes indoctrinate millions of students every year with the Liberal-versus-Conservative myth that gets perpetuated in establishment American politics at all levels of government. Supposedly, on the “Left” is the ideology of Liberalism, and on the “Right” is Conservatism. All political struggles, the Poli Sci professor instructs, take place upon this continuum.

Although there exist other theories of government, most people subscribe to the above concept. People on the “Right”
smear their liberal counterparts as “liberal lunatics” or “leftist radicals,” whereas those on the “Left” demonize their conservative opponents as “right-wing bigots” or “fascist extremists.”

In a way, both “wings” have a love-hate relationship with one another. Without conservatives to bash, liberals would
have to come up with some other form of ideology. The same goes for conservatives, but even more so. Where would Rush Limbaugh be but for the rants of contemporary liberals?

Ironically though, Conservatism is nothing but the Ghost of Liberalism Past. If anything, Liberalism is master, Conservatism servant. Wherever Liberalism travels, Conservatism follows.

(Click here to read the rest of this really good article.)

© AD 2007 Christian Constitutionalist, accessible on the web at
www.ChristianConstitutionalist.com
. All Rights
Reserved.

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Categories: culture, politics | 3 Comments

My Favorite Preachers

So here in the next installment of my personal favorites are those who are faithful preachers of the Gospel.  Here are my top ten:

  1. Arturo Azurdia, III: Arturo Azurdia is the author of the excellent book ‘Spirit Empowered Preaching‘ published by Mentor. He is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and the Director of Pastoral Mentoring at Western Seminary in Portland Oregon.
  2. Tim Keller:  Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York (for a great collection of Keller’s resources, click here);
  3. John Piper, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN; Founder, Desiring God Ministries
  4. John MacArthur (especially from the 1980s and 1990s), Senior Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA; Founder, Grace To You
  5. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988), longtime leader of Thru the Bible Ministries
  6. D.A. Carson, professor of New Testament at the New Evangelical Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (go to ChristWay Media for some good Carson resources as well as Faith By Hearing)
  7. Stephen Olford (1918-2004):  Founder of Olford Ministries International which helps ministers engage in expositional preaching.  He wrote a book which changed me called Anointed Expository Preaching.
  8. Don Whitney, Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
  9. J. Ligon Duncan, III:  Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi
  10. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) — considered by many to be the greatest preacher of the 20th century. Click on his name to go to the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust and you can actually hear his sermons!

Some preachers whom you have never heard of, but should:

  1. Mark Combs, Pastor, Salem Baptist Church, Salem, KY
  2. Kevin Whitt, Pastor, Harvest Community Church, Eminence, KY
  3. Scott Davis, Pastor, Pitts Baptist Church, Concord, NC
  4. Steve Weaver, Pastor, West Broadway Baptist Church in Lenoir City, TN since April of 2000
  5. Ben Skaug, Pastor, Conway Baptist Church, Colorado
  6. Greg Heisler, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Speech, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC; author, Spirit-Led Preaching (B&H, 2007)

And for your amusement:

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My Favorite Blogs

I have a rather healthy blogroll.  But what if I could only have ten blogs in my blogroll?  Well, here they are:

Top Ten

Honorable mention: Confessions of a Pastor, Expository Preaching, Purgatorio , intersect, Encounters with the Gospel, Reformed Baptist Thinker, Soli Deo Gloria, Bring It, The Dickens Family, This Lamp, Unashamed Workman, Adrian Warnock

What are yours?

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My Favorite Podcasts

Podcasts are an amazing resource. Once you subscribe to them on iTunes, they are automatically downloaded to iTunes upon release. Here are my favorite podcasts:

  • Boone’s CreeKast: the morning sermons of Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY (the church where I pastor — had to put it in … kiddingly, of course) — anyway, onward!
  • Desiring God Podcast with John Piper
  • Capitol Hill Baptist Church Podcast: the church where Dr. Mark Dever (9 Marks) is pastor;
  • The American View: The American View is a weekly one-hour program that addresses current events and issues from the perspective that America’s roots stem from God, the traditional family and a Constitutional Republic.
  • Rhett & Link: If you’re looking for a few minutes of escape from your world of random muggings, over-processed foods, and glacial melting, you’ve definitely come to the right place. A place where Rhett&Link film things, sing things, and say things. Enjoy.
  • The White Horse Inn : The White Horse Inn is a nationally syndicated radio talk show hosted by
    Michael Horton, Rod Rosenbladt, Kim Riddlebarger and Ken Jones. On the air since 1990, the show features a regular roundtable discussion of Christian theology and apologetics.
  • CARM Podcast : CARM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose purpose is to equip Christians and refute error. The faith once for all delivered to the saints is under attack all over the world. More and more we need to know the truth and be able to articulate it.

I’m always looking for others that will feed my heart, mind, and soul. Are there any others you can recommend?

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John Piper: A Challenge for Young People


We had our graduate recognition service yesterday at church. This video really helps capture what I pray will happen with our young people.

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For Political Junkies, YouTube is Where It's At

pic_youtubelogo_123×63.gifConventional wisdom says that preachers who blog about politics are committing vocational suicide. Well, I don’t think this is a dangerous post, so here goes.

I confess that I enjoy politics. Our United States Constitution fascinates me. After the 2004 election, I grew disillusioned — so much so, that I went and registered as an Independent. Not only for the reason I just mentioned, but also for the fact that I am a pastor. Occasionally I preach, and folks from one party or the other accuse me of sounding like someone from their rival party — so I avoid any conflict of interest and say, “I’m not registered either party — I’m just preaching the truth of God’s Word.”

I have very basic cable, so I don’t get C-Span or CNN or FoxNews — so what’s a political junkie to do besides listen to John McLaughlin yell at me and everyone in the McLaughlin Group on PBS?

YouTube, baby!

I have had the chance to watch the debates — most recently the Republican debates in South Carolina back on May 15. You know, the one where Congressman Dr. Ron Paul (R-Tx) and Rudy Guiliani got into it about the causes of 9/11 (then when Ron Paul and Sean Hannidy of Hannidy and Colmes got into it about the same issue).

As I preached on this past Sunday as we looked at Acts 17:16-34, we have to know our culture and know the message of the resurrection so we can bridge the gap with our understanding of both sides of the bridge. Watching the political wranglings in a way help me to do that. But the Internet has brought such drastic changes — even since the 2000 election. Lesser known candidates such as Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter are able to be heard just as clearly as Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain. In fact, Ron Paul now has more subscribers to his YouTube channel than anyone — even Barack Obama.

Who do you like in this election? I will not state my position, but I’ll be happy to let you know off-site and why. Let’s keep it civil — and tell us what you like about the candidate, not what you dislike about another. And no Bush-bashing — he is our President and Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces. God commands us to honor him and pray for him. Any derrogatory comments about any candidate or our President will be quickly removed.

Categories: politics | 3 Comments

Would You Invite People to Your Church? No? Then Why Do You Go There?

If it is documented proof that 5 out of every 6 people in our churches attend because someone invited them, then the question follows: “Why do we not invite more people we know to our church?”

I was confronted with this question after reading David Francis’ booklet, Invite: A Six-Lane Strategy to Sunday School. Here’s the paragraph from Chapter One entitled “Invigorate”:

Sadly, a lot of people faithfully attend churches they would never invited someone else to attend. Why is that? One reason is that they may have invested much treasure into the church and their hearts are there, just like Jesus said (Matthew 6:19-24). Often it is because of family ties. For others, important memories are linked to the church. Still others have moved away from the church, and while they continue to make the drive in on Sundays, they don’t really think others who live around them now would make that sacrifice. Some are loyal to a long-time pastor who has walked with them “in good times and bad.” These folks have decided that the reasons for staying in the church — or class — outweight the effort it would take to find and get involved in a new one. The business term for this is switching cost. It’s why you continue to go to the grocery store that carries your favorite ice cream, or the hardware store with the friendly folks, or the stylyst who has been cutting your hair for years, or the dry cleaner who occasionally messes up your order. You know the people. You know the routine. You know where to find stuff. Maybe a newer store is in town. Maybe the old store looks a little run down or the neighborhood is changing, but the cost of finding a new one — in terms of familiarity, time and relationships — is too high by comparison. At least for now. But do you tell other people about the business like you used to? Maybe you do; maybe you don’t. It doesn’t affect where you spend your money, but it may affect where you encourage others to spend their time. (pp. 7-8)

This struck me because I had one of our older members come up to me and say recently, “I’m so glad you’re here, Bro. Matt — now I feel like I can invite people to our church and know they will hear what they need to hear.”  With the implication being, “I come, yes, but I did not feel comfortable inviting others to come.”  That’s very telling, isn’t it?

What are your thoughts? Would we invite people to our particular churches? Why or why not? If you were a newcomer to your church, would you see things differently that you would in your present situation? In essence, what do you think of this article?

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Taliban Tells Pakistani Christians: Convert or Die (FoxNews.com)

An excerpt from the article:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Christians in a Pakistani town beset by pro-Taliban militants sought government protection Wednesday, the eve of a deadline for them to convert to Islam or face violence.

About 500 Pakistani Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, received letters earlier this month telling them to close their churches and convert by Thursday or be the target of “bomb explosions.”

Several Christians, a tiny minority in the predominantly Muslim country, have fled town and others are living in fear, community leaders said.

Some complained that police were not taking the threat seriously.

“Police say someone is joking with us by writing these letters,” Chaudhry Salim, a Charsadda Christian leader, said during a news conference in Islamabad. “They have deployed only two policemen at our churches … this is the kind of security we are getting now.”

(Click here to read the rest of the article.)

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Categories: politics, Religious Liberties, Religious Organizations | 1 Comment