Monthly Archives: November 2011

Sermon Series for December 2011 at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church: Christmas is All About. . .










December 2011 starts my ministry at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, Colorado.  With that comes the question that arises in the minds of all new pastors: what should I preach on when I first arrive?  With ARBC, not only will we celebrate the Incarnation of Christ (Christ taking on human form) but also have our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.  So with this, I am starting a series entitled, “Christmas is All About … .”  Below is the description on the flyer at ARBC.


Winter wonderlands. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose! And don’t forget about bells jingling, halls being decked, and Santa watching every move you make! This is what Christmas is all about—at least that’s what most of the songs say! We know that Christmas is ultimately not about weather, terrific traffic, or presents under the tree. It’s about Christ coming on a rescue mission to save His people from their sins!

Sunday, December 4: Christmas is About a Rescue Mission by Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25)

Wednesday, December 7: Christmas is About Exposing Rebellion against Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12)

Sunday, December 11: Christmas is About a Relationship with Jesus (Galatians 3:23-4:7)

Wednesday, December 14: Christmas is About Recognizing Christ’s Work (Luke 1:5-38)

Sunday, December 18: Christmas is About Rejoicing in Christ (Luke 2:1-20)

Sunday, December 18 (PM): Christmas is About Receiving Christ (John 1:1-18)

Invite your FRANs (friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors) so they will know what Christmas is all about—it’s all about Jesus!

You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us) (Matthew 1:21-23, ESV).

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How to Have a Prayer Meeting (Kevin DeYoung)

Kevin DeYoung wrote a helpful article on How to Have a Church Prayer Meeting

A little over a year ago our church began devoting one Sunday evening service a month exclusively to prayer. Honestly, I wasn’t sure it would take. But a year into the switch I think our people are growing to appreciate the prayer service more and more. We don’t get everyone to come back for prayer, but it’s roughly the same size we get for our regular Sunday evening service (around 125 people, or about 1/4 the size of Sunday morning).

Here are seven things we’ve learned about having a church prayer meeting.

1. Pray. Don’t make your “prayer meeting” a time for 5 hymns, a short message, sharing requests, and 10 minutes for prayer. Get down to business and pray.

2. Start on time and end on time. This may not be true for every culture, but in America punctuality helps. People know what to expect. We will pray together for one hour.

3. Plan. If you are praying with a few mature, seasoned prayer-ers, you may be able to get by with little preparation. But leading a churchwide prayer meeting takes, well, leadership. You have to think through what you are going to do. Recently I planned the prayer service around the fruit of the spirit. At other times we’ve prayed for different ministries in the church. We’ve used prayerbooks and lots of Scripture. We’ve borrowed from ancient patterns of prayer. We’ve even walked through the building to pray. The point is you can’t wing it with 100 people. You have to prepare.

And once in the meeting, you have to lead there too. Direct people. Get the group back on track. Show your people that this is an important event that has warranted your attention, your passion, and your preparation. If you switch to a prayer meeting because the pastor is tired of preaching every Sunday evening, your people will be able to tell. Make the prayer meeting a priority and plan accordingly.

4. Use variety and break the evening up into smaller chunks. Our prayer services go by quickly because we do several things throughout the evening. We may sing a song (just one or two) as a prayer. We may use a form prayer. We may read a prayer responsively. We may have a time of silence. We may have someone lead in prayer from the front. We may break into small groups for prayer. We do a number of different things over the course of 60 minutes. Usually each piece lasts for 5-10 minutes.

5. Make sure your leaders are there. The prayer meeting won’t fly if the pastor is not behind it. This doesn’t mean the pastor has to be at every gathering for prayer. But if you want to start, prolong, or revive an official prayer meeting people need to see it matters to the pastors and elders. I usually lead our prayer meetings.

6. Keep the kids. I know that keeping kids in the church service, let alone a prayer service, can be challenging. We do have a nursery for infants and toddlers on Sunday night. But one of the best things about our prayer service is that many children are present. They sit in the small group circles (when we break up into groups) and often contribute with the adults. I can’t tell you how pleased I am when one of my kids prays in our circle. I’m just as pleased that they are seeing prayer modeled by believers from outside their family and from every age group. They get to hear confessions, praises, and supplications just like everyone else. We are teaching our children to pray by having a prayer service. We are also demonstrating that prayer really matters.

7. Keep at it. Prayer is hard work. It is a gift, but also a skill to learn and grow in. Don’t give up if it feels awkward at first or if people don’t show. Be faithful and pray continually.

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Joe McKeever on a Veteran Minister’s Regrets

Joe McKeever is a pastor in New Orleans—but I bet you know him better for his illustrations (the drawing kind of illustrations) that you see in many Christian publications.  He has written many helpful articles on pastoral ministry, of which he has decades of experience.  I came across this article, written on September 25, 2011, called “A Veteran Minister’s Regrets (About His Sermons).”  What a great read.  Here’s an excerpt:

I’m a veteran.

A veteran minister. I received the call to preach in April of 1961, which means we have recently passed the half-century mark for that anniversary. I began pastoring in November of 1962, and was ordained on December 2. I served 6 churches as pastor for 39 years and one as a staff minister for 3. Does this qualify me as a veteran?

"Veteran," at least to me, is a better term than what originally came to mind: "old."

I’m not nearly through preaching, although, best as I can tell, I’ve pastored my last church. And that’s just fine. I do not miss the day-to-day grind of the pastoral ministry at all. If I never attend another deacons meeting, never preside over a monthly church business meeting, and never sit in on a finance committee meeting, it will suit me just fine. The preaching part, I love.

So, as the Lord wills and host pastors continue to issue invitations, I’ll keep preaching wherever He sends me.

The other thing we retired veterans do–in addition to trying to stay active and useful–is to look back and rethink what we did. We reflect on what we wish we had done. Not, hopefully, in a morbid sense. No one wants to do an autopsy on himself, to second-guess every decision he ever made. To do so would fill today with all of yesterday’s pains.

But there is value to thinking of the ministry behind. And wondering what we could have done better.

For the purposes of this article, let’s not make this a Joe-confessional. Let’s raise the question and confine ourselves to: what sermonsmost of us veterans wish we had done differently "way back when."

For what it’s worth, this is the list on my mind today. As always, it’s fine to disagree. But it’s never all right to be unChristlike in the way we disagree.

Read the rest of it here.

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on His Call to Preach

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In Honor of Our Veterans: The Vocal Majority—Armed Forces Medley

The Vocal Majority performing Armed Forces Medley arranged by Jim Clancy at the 2009 ACDA National Conference.

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Is the Historical Adam Necessary? SBTS Panel Discussion

Adam and the Gospel: Is a Historical Adam Necessary? from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

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The Main Issue Between Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism

Andy Naselli gave an interview to about whether Mormons are Christians.  This three-minute video crystallizes what the main contention is between evangelical Christianity and Mormonism—the issue of what is authoritative.

Andrew David Naselli is Research Manager for D. A. Carson and Administrator of Themelios. He earned two PhDs before he turned thirty: a PhD in theology from Bob Jones University and a PhD in New Testament Exegesis and Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School under D. A. Carson. He has taught New Testament Greek at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and he currently teaches Bible and theology as adjunct faculty at several colleges and seminaries. He has published nearly twenty articles, forty book reviews, and a few books.

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Backward, Christian Soldiers

Some of you may know the hymn, “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”  It’s a great Christian battle hymn.  Well, someone took that hymn and turned it inside out to depict churches who are moving backward instead of onward.  May this serve as a deterrent—may this not be said of any of us Christians!

Backward, Christian soldiers, Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus, Nearly out of sight.
Christ, our rightful master, Stands against the foe
Onward into battle, we seem afraid to go.

Backward, Christian soldiers, Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus, Nearly out of sight.

Like a might tortoise Moves the church of God.
Brothers we are treading, Where we’ve often trod.
We are much divided, Many bodies we,
Having different doctrines, but Not much charity.

Crowns and thrones may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the cross of Jesus Hidden does remain.
Gates of hell should never ‘gainst the Church prevail,
We have Christ’s own promise, but we think it might fail.

Sit here then ye people, Join our sleeping throng.
Blend with ours, your voices in a feeble song.
Blessings, ease and comfort Ask from Christ the King,
But with our modern thinking, We won’t do a thing.

Source Unknown.

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What Causes Envy?

Paul Tautges writes a helpful article on Thankfulness: the Antidote to Envy—very appropriate as we in the United States enter into the Thanksgiving season.  As the article trucks along defining envy, showing the negative consequences to envy and how to prevent it, I wanted to share the causes of envy. 

  • A heart that is not thankful is perfectly fertilized for the seeds of envy to take root. When we know about God, but fail to honor Him as God, or give thanks, the soil of our hearts is prepared to be full of envy(Rom. 1:21, 29).  When we allow this to happen everyone else’s life appears better than ours.  All of a sudden, everyone else is happier, richer, better looking, and more suitably situated in life.  If not nipped in the bud, we become slaves to comparison.
  • Pride, manifesting itself in selfish ambition, is the perfect breeding ground for envy. Selfish ambition is the drive to be better than others. It is the quest for preeminence (Phil 1:15-17). We must examine our motives because as long as we are energized by the boastful pride of life, our hearts will be filled with envy toward those who “steal our glory.”
  • Envy demonstrates a lack of biblical love. “The Love Chapter” states that love is not envious (1 Cor 13:4). It is impossible to love and envy a person at the very same time. Envy is self-focused while love is others-focused. When we are obeying God’s command to walk in love (Eph 5:2), we will consider others to be more important than ourselves.
  • Those that have what I call a “debate mentality” often struggle with the sin of envy. Paul graphically described the conceited false teacher in Ephesusas one who has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy (1 Tim 6:4). This is a picture of a person who is filled with spiritual pride, a pharisee who needs to be recognized as the most spiritual person and, therefore, envies those who truly possess what he masquerades. As a result, he or she will have a morbid interest in arguments to prove they are “right.”

Read the rest of it here

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Links to Help Your Grip (November 5, 2011)

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