Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Pastor's Vital Calling

“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.”- Acts 6:4

     The priorities of a godly pastor are to be prayer and the ministry of the Word of God. In Acts chapter six, the early church was faced with the challenge of a growing ministry which created multiple needs throughout the community of believers. The ministry to feed widows is without question a very important ministry and should not be taken lightly. However, the clear point of this section of Scripture is to communicate that the ministries of prayer and the word are not rightly neglected for even the most commendable causes.
     Much is communicated today about the need for the church to be more missional and justice minded in her ministry. No doubt, this is true. While it is true that the church should be more aware of the needs of the people in and outside of the church, we cannot forget that the greatest need of every human heart is to be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fight to end every social woe cannot interfere with the ministry of prayer and the word. In Romans 1 the Apostle Paul describes a culture far more depraved and unjust than our contemporary culture and his remedy was the unashamed preaching of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). As he approached his final chapter of life and he pens his last words to his protégé Timothy, he is no doubt aware of the plethora of social reforms desperately needed throughout the church and the Roman empire. Yet his dying exhortation to Timothy is to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2).

     If the pastor of any church allows any cause to crowd out the ministries of prayer and the word, he has departed from his most essential and fundamental calling.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why I Not An Atheist. Part 1, by Ravi Zacharias

Proponents of atheism have a more prominent voice than perhaps they would have in years past. Is there any validity to their logic? How can Christians answer the critiques? Ravi Zacharias explains why he is not an atheist to an audience at Princeton University.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Christian Is Not Ordinary

     Saints, you are not ordinary. Nor has God called you to live an ordinary life. When the Apostle Paul writes to the saints at Corinth he is obviously frustrated that they are “behaving only in a human way” or in a way that is “merely human.” By the time of his writing they should be living as spiritual people instead.[1] Saints have been regenerated by the Spirit of God and are called to live by His power. This is not an ordinary life. The Spirit-filled life is an extraordinary life that only a born-again Christian can live. It is a life lived in victory over the penalty, power, and eventually the presence of sin in our lives. Learning to walk in the Spirit elevates us to a life of divine power that overcomes the power of sin in our lives and frees us from the ordinary or “merely human” life of the world around us. Saints, stop settling for an ordinary life and starting living in the newness of life that is yours in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

[1] I Corinthians 3:1-4

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Over 250,000 Children Slaughtered So Far In Trumps First 100 Days

          I believe that life and personhood begins at conception and the responsibility for the life of the conceived child begins then as well. I’m not going to convince those who believe otherwise of the error of their thinking, but I do want to address those who profess to hold my view. If you believe that life begins at conception, then you have only two possible views of abortion. Murdering the child should either be legal or illegal. Period. It is logically inconsistent to hold the “personal” moral conviction that abortion is wrong, but that it should be left up to the choice of the mother. This view is hypocritical and cowardly. It stands for neither and nothing. It is also effectively pro-abortion.
          I remember very clearly how evil I was because I refused to endorse “the lessor of two evils” during this past election. I was apparently evil because I was missing the opportunity to make sure we had conservative judges appointed to the supreme court. I was evil because I didn’t share the view that the Republicans were actually less evil than the Democrats. With all this evil around us, it’s hard to know which evil to combat next. Abortion should be at the front of the line. For the next two years, at least, our government will be led by a professing pro-life President, a professing pro-life Senate, a professing pro-life House, and a professing pro-life Supreme Court. If nothing is done about abortion in the next two years then, let me say this clearly, shut up about being pro-life. It’s irrelevant. I assure you that if anti-abortionists[1] sit on their hands and wait, this regime will do nothing. It is time to rise up.
          The new regime is 82 days into its supposedly critical first 100 days. Over 250,000 infanticides have occurred through abortion since they took office and not a word. We just dropped hundreds of millions of dollars into bombing a country because they used chemical weapons on civilians that resulted in killing fewer than .001 percent of the children that have died by abortion in the United States of America every day since they took office. For the hypocrites who act like they care, I suppose I should offer the obligatory qualifier that I believe the bombing of these children in Syria was atrocious too. Who wouldn’t.[2] That’s not the point. The point is, it is pure hypocrisy to cry over the hand full of children who died in Syria and be completely indifferent to the over 3,000 infanticides a day happening in America.
         Martin Luther said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the Word of God, except precisely that point that the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle field beside is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” What Luther meant was that finding common ground was cowardice when the ground being fought for is being surrendered. Christians are not called to make deals, we are called to make war. We are called to win. I want to charge my fellow saints to avoid the lure of the distractions. The opportunity to stop the barbaric practice of abortion is now. It’s time to move forward. Call and write your representatives now. Demand they fight the battle that needs to be fought. If this “pro-life” regime does nothing about abortion in the next two years, then a politician’s position on abortion won’t ever matter again. In the words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Now is the day for the man, where is the man for the day?”

[1] The labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are political terms intended to civilize and cloud the issue. The issue is between whether killing a child is legal or illegal. The terms pro-abortion, anti-abortion, pro-infanticide and anti-infanticide are more fitting. There is a difference between being pro-life and anti-abortion.
[2] A logically consistent pro-abortionist wouldn’t think so.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Delightful Discipline

     What do a Grammy winning actor, a Fortune 500 CEO, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, a Doctor of Philosophy, a President, a school teacher, and a beggar all have in common? Nothing. They all finish with nothing. Nothing of eternal value. At least nothing related to any of their accomplishments. Excepting the beggar, all these people have devoted countless hours of their lives to successfully reach their accomplishments. Yet, none of these accomplishments will matter in the least, one second after they breath their last breath. As C.T. Studd wrote in his famous poem, “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” It is a sad thing to dedicate your life to a cause that, in and of itself, has no eternal value and leave no room in your life for growth in godliness.
     I have always admired and enjoyed great guitarists. The best musicians seem to play their instruments as if they are an extension of themselves. It comes so easy. They have such freedom when they play. However, the freedom and delight of playing an instrument with exceptional skill comes only after thousands of hours of disciplined practice. A guy like me could learn to play adequately well in about 100 hours of practice. If I wanted to play like Rodrigo Y Gabriela it would take about 10,000 hours. Seriously. Imagine dedicating 10,000 hours to learning to play an instrument. A worthy endeavor if you want to play professionally. However, it is disheartening to realize how little professing Christians are willing to dedicate to growing in godliness. It always surprises me to learn how saints save their greatest discipline and commitment for the things in their life that have no eternal value.
     I’ve come to realize that I will never be a great guitarist. I don’t have the desire or discipline it takes. Similarly, many Christians will never be deeply godly. They don’t have the desire or discipline it takes. Here’s a good spot to throw in your favorite disclaimer to resist the teaching of human responsibility in spiritual growth. We, like the Pharisees, are good at creating biblical arguments for our disobedience and rebellion. You know, like, “it’s all by grace” or “we’re under grace, not the law.” Etc. However, the Bible does teach us to “grow” in grace[1] and to “train” ourselves in godliness[2]. The fact of the matter is that unless you engage in the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life, you will not be godly. That is why I’m recommending this new book to you by David Mathis. He has written an excellent encouragement about the joy that comes from rightly understanding the place of discipline in a godly life. I assure you that reading it and applying it will have much more eternal value than most of what you were planning on spending your time on this week. Read to the glory of God!

[1] 2 Peter 3:18
[2] 1 Timothy 4:7