Archive for May, 2008

29
May
08

I Walked on the Moon

My lazy Memorial Day has already caught up with me.  As you can tell by my lack of blog entries the short work week has squeezed me into a corner with regard to my weekly priorities.  Today is no different.  In just a few minutes I leave my office for a funeral, only to return to hit the road running in my study to finalize my message for Sunday.

For today’s blog I introduce a little levity.

Brian Regan is one of my favorite comedians.  When I saw this clip on another blog recently, I knew I wanted to include it on our JUSTONEMORE lineup.

Enjoy!

27
May
08

Much excitement about doing nothing

It has been a long time since I did nothing all day, but that is exactly what I did on Memorial Day. Actually, the laziness started Sunday afternoon when I broke my fast from television. In 24 hours I have watched more television than I have in the last three months.

Don’t get me wrong. I did not watch any junk. I watched stuff that really matters. Sunday evening I watched the final laps of the Indy 500, the final hole of the Colonial Golf Tournament, and I tried my best to stay awake to watch the finish of the Coca Cola 600.

The story of laziness continued into Memorial Day. After taking our dog Cocoa out for his morning potty break, I fell asleep in my chair for another hour or two of sleep. It has been years since I have done that.

About mid-morning I went for a five-mile run, came home, took a shower and you guessed it: I did nothing the remainder of the day. In fact, I was so lazy that my son, Taylor commented, “Dad, you are really laid back today.”

To say my lazy spell was needed would be an understatement. I guess I did not realize how tired I was. Or, it may be I felt the need to rest up for the next several weeks of activity in which I will be involved.

My Memorial Day ended in sweet bliss, sitting on my back porch listening to the rain for a solid hour.

I thank the Lord for days of rest like I experienced on Memorial Day. We all need them. Sometimes it is good to do nothing. Sometimes it is good to be lazy. On Monday I was lazy. As for Tuesday, it is time to get back into my routine.

26
May
08

If I Die Before You Wake

23
May
08

Preach the Word

A very dear friend of mine gave me the Bible from which I preach each week. If any of you have looked closely at this Bible you know just how much I cherish it. I cherish it so much I did not originally want to preach from it, knowing I will wear it out. Then again, what good is a Bible unless it is used and worn out?

In the front page of the Bible my friend inscribed the following words from Martin Luther:

Beyond all the might and power of the world and of all creatures, Christ proves His ability to draw the hearts of men to Himself through the Word alone.

Luther’s quote motivates me. The Reformer’s words also remind me. They remind me that the power is in God’s word and not in my own.

When I read that quote, and I read it almost every Sunday before I preach, I am reminded of some other quotes. Yet these quotes are different than the one from Luther. These quotes are inspired, Spirit-filled and infallible. These quotes come from the Word of God:

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:1-5

1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:14-17

The call to preach is formidable. Only those who proclaim the truth of God’s Word know the constraints of following God’s summons. And, only those who preach know the pressure that comes with faithfully proclaiming the text. When a preacher tries to fulfill the call in his own strength, ingenuity or ability, he will certainly fail. It is only when the preacher of God’s Word relies on God to empower and enable him that God’s call is fulfilled.

22
May
08

Chronological Bible Reading Plan

I am really enjoying CrossPoint’s Bible reading this year.  For those of you who do not know, CrossPoint reads through the Bible each year.  We practice this discipline because we know the more we go through God’s Word, the more God’s Word will go through us.

Now I know that not every CrossPointer is reading their Bible.  If so, I thoroughly believe more CrossPointers would be living a more devoted life for Christ. That being the case, however, I do know each year more CrossPointers are reading their Bible.  So, that is why I will continue to challenge our family of faith to read and study God’s Word.

I am enjoying this year’s Bible reading plan due its cohesiveness.  This year’s plan is interconnected because it is structured chronologically.  We are reading the Scripture in the order in which it was originally written, or should I say, in the order in which we believe it was written.

For example, for the month of May we have been reading of King David’s life in Samuel, Chronicles and Psalms.  I am particularly drawn to the way you can read of an event in David’s life from Samuel and Chronicles, and then follow up on David’s response in the Psalms.  The Psalms come alive as you realize the correlation.

A great example of the Samuel/Chronicles correlation with the Psalms is when Nathan confronts David about his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba.  In 2 Samuel 11 & 12 we read of the confrontation.  Then, in our reading for the next day, we read of David’s confession in Psalms 32 & 51.  We have similar scenario in our Bible reading when David brings judgment on 70,000 men by ordering a God-forsaken consensus from 1 Chronicles 21-22 & 2 Samuel 24, and then the reading from Psalms 30 records David’s confession.

While reading through David’s life chronologically I have noticed something else that occurred with regularity.  On more than one occasion, David was advised or confronted by a leader or close confidant:

  • In 2 Samuel 12:1-7, Nathan approaches David about Bathsheba.
  • In 2 Samuel 19:5-8, Joab advises David about mourning over the death of his rebellious son, Abaslom.
  • In 1 Chronicles 21:3-4, Joab pleads with David not to conduct the census.

God used these men, and many others in David’s life to guide, instruct and confront him.  While recognizing these accounts and re-reading each episode, I prayed for two things in my own life.  First, I prayed my counselors, the men I trust, would come to me without reservation to ask questions, to raise concern, to provide guidance and to confront my sin.  Second, I prayed I would respond in humility, gentleness, and when necessary, with immediate contrition.

We can learn much from David today.  And that is, that we should have people around us who counsel us; and that when they counsel us we should respond in humility.

21
May
08

Hearing through the word of Christ

I received a phone call Monday evening.   It was one of Taylor’s basketball players from the CrossPoint team he coached last fall. Taylor was at work, so I asked if I could take a message.

The elementary-aged boy on the other end of the line was very concerned about one of his school friends.

His classmate was not a Christian.  With the last day of school approaching, the young CrossPointer wanted to know what he could say to lead his friend to Christ.

Since Taylor was not at home, his mother and I convinced him to spend a few minutes talking with me.

Instead of informing the young evangelist what to say, I asked him what was on his heart and what he thought he should say to his friend.  His message was dead on.  He said, “I would tell him he needed to repent of his sins and ask Jesus to be His Savior.” After further explanation, I said, “You don’t need my help.  Just tell your friend what you told me and you will do fine.”

The youngster’s mother wanted to speak with me as the conversation was ending.  She said, “You may not think we are listening each week when you remind us every CrossPointer is a minister, but my son certainly hears it.  He takes it to heart.”

When I arrived in my office Tuesday morning I received the most incredible email from the young boy’s mother:

First, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with (my son) last night.  I hated to intrude on your off time, but when I tell you what happened after our call I think you might agree it was worth it.  (My son) was so burdened by the fact that his best friend had not accepted Christ into his heart that he could not settle down.  So, I did what any good/bad mom would do and let him break the house rules and call his friend after 9:00 p.m.  He went into his room, closed the door, and called his friend.  He later told me that he just did what you said and said what was in his heart.  He told me that he didn’t even know the exact words he used, and oddly enough he didn’t know where they came from.  I told him I did.

He prayed with his friend and prayed for him to receive Christ.  He accepted the invitation and became a Christian last night.  After that his friend asked (my son) “Okay, now what do I do?”  (My son) told him that he had just taken the first step, that now he was responsible for behaving like a Christian and invited him to church.

To borrow your words can I just say…WOW!

I know that you feel the full burden and hopefully joy of leading us, but it may not be often that you hear of the full impact of how your messages affect our children.  Before Easter you gave us the invitation cards to give out to invite others to Church.  Well, (my son) took your charge very seriously.  His first invitation was to the bully that had terrorized him the first few weeks of the school year.  The other two he gave to teachers at his school.  And yes, one of them accepted his invitation.

I apologize for the length of this e-mail, but I felt moved to share all of this with you so that you could truly know how far reaching the impact of CrossPoint has been on our child.  I am humbled by his obedience and joyful in watching him grow in his walk with Christ.  I thank you for your leadership, and feel truly blessed to be a part of CrossPoint.  I look forward to watching (my son) continue to mature and grow in his faith and am thankful that (my son and daughter) have him as their role model.

Thanks again for your time and your leadership.

She was right, as I would say, “Wow!”

The first thing I thought of when I read this email was what the Bible teaches in Romans 10:14-17:

14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

This is a good story, isn’t it?  I thank the Lord for this young man; his passion for the Lord and his burden for the lost.

20
May
08

The new arabic preachers

Okay, you must take the time to watch this video.  After watching it, I invite you back to read my remarks and to leave your comments.

Take a moment to view the video now: Arabic Preacher Video

Here are a few thoughts that strike me about the news report.

The young Arabic people are searching for hope.

It is obvious these people are searching for answers.  They are hungry for hope.  There is something missing in their lives, and they want to find the solution.

Islam in either form – fundamentalist or moderate – will never quench the desire for hope.  It does not matter how much someone waters down the Muslim message, and that is what these new preachers are doing, Islam is just like every other religion in the world—a religion of works.  Works never satisfy; works only cause more thirst.

The numerical growth of Islamic followers should alarm us.

The single greatest threat to democracy is Islam.  Two generations ago democracy’s greatest threat was Nazism.  A generation ago the grave danger was Communism.  Today, the peril is Islam.  Islam, I am convinced, is an even greater threat than Nazism and Communism since it is rooted in a heretical religious belief system.  The world must prepare for the “new” Muslims.  Their message is spreading, and spreading rapidly.

Who is communicating the truth to these people?

While watching the video I kept asking myself how these people are being exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ.  They are not hearing the truth.  They are hearing lies, hearsay, and falsehood.  Someone needs to be preaching the truth for them, sermons based on the Good News that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.

Finally, some of our gospel messages are not much different than Masoud’s.

There are many so-called “gospel preachers” in America today, and if you listen closely their message is not much different than Masoud’s message.  Change a few words; add God’s name into the mix, and you basically have the same message.  Surely the Christian message is different than Islam.  Surely the proclamation of God’s Word is relevant enough than for man to prop it up with cute stories, interesting facts and emotional anecdotes.

There is so much more that can be said.  Now I want to hear from you.  Let me know what you think.  I am always curious to read your responses.