Monday, March 24, 2008

A Sermon 15 years in the Making

On Sunday I preached from Acts 2:22-24. I waited fifteen years to preach that sermon. Well maybe not that particular sermon, but fifteen years ago God put a call on an insecure, naïve, and completely trusting fifteen year old boy. I had no idea where that call would lead me, no idea how that call would bless me, and certainly no idea how much that call would cost me. Over the last ten plus years God has seen fit to train me up at Memorial Baptist of Houston, TX, Woodridge Baptist of Kingwood, TX, and most recently at First Baptist of Groves, TX while serving as the youth minister (among other tasks). On March 23 the Lord graciously opened the door for me to be the pastor at one of His churches. So it was with joy that I officially became the pastor at Memorial Baptist of Port Arthur, TX on Easter Sunday.

The message the Lord laid on my heart was from Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. I understand that text to proclaim the supremacy of Christ. Peter proved that Jesus of Nazareth was and is both Christ and Lord. Jesus demonstrated His power over nature through the miracles (v. 22), over sin through the cross (v. 23), and over death through the resurrection (v. 24). The invitation to every person is to see, savor, and submit to the supremacy of Christ. Have you truly submitted to His supremacy by repentance and faith? Are you living out His supremacy on a daily basis or does some other thing or person function as your lord? Are you savoring or enjoying His supremacy over your life? It is not my will or mind that gives me security, comfort, and joy in this life… it is knowing that I belong to Jesus. He is the mighty and trustworthy Lord. Now let’s make sure we go out and proclaim that in our words and lifestyles!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Run for your lives!! Change is Coming!

Change can be exciting and it can be scary, but the truth is most change invites some of both in our lives. Blair and I are undergoing a lot of life changes in a very short time. Over the last year and a half we have gotten married, I will soon go from being the youth minister at First Baptist Groves to the pastor at Memorial Baptist Port Arthur, and we will be buying a house in the very near future. Our parents would probably like to see another change (aka grandkids), but they’re still going to have to wait a bit for that. We can only handle so many waves of change at once.

This has got me thinking and praying a lot about my new church family at Memorial. They are probably wondering what kind of changes this new young pastor is going to bring and what I have in mind. For the record ‘change’ isn’t my motive or my goal. That is not to say changes won’t come, but my goal is to simply preach the Word, live the Word, and guide others to live the Word (that in itself will evoke change… more on that in a minute). Of course I don’t want people to fear change and I certainly don’t want people to fear me. I think the fear sentiment is common from people when you propose change or when you radically change things but I don't believe people are really that adverse to it if it is handled properly. I've always held that people don't have a problem with change... it is just the rate of change that scares them. It is important to really evaluate the current state of something to see what it means to people and how it is perceived before changing it. There also needs to be a strong effort to communicate the reasoning for the change as much and as often as possible. Change for the sake of change is never a good thing and good leadership remembers that while you have marinated on a decision for weeks or months, your people will not be able to be where you are in a matter of a few minutes.

Patience and humility are the best things to consider when deciding what changes need to be made. If I am patient I'll have time to see if the change I want is truly the Lord's leading or by my own ambition. If I am humble I will better see the value of the opinions and feelings of those around me. Change won’t be as fearful and really won’t be as much a concern if we keep the main thing the main thing and that is trusting in the Lord. Going back to the kind of change that walking in God’s Word evokes… its called sanctification. God is always changing us- molding us to be a better reflection of His likeness. So the key to embracing the excitement of change rather than the scary elements of it is remembering that we are in the trustworthy grip of God.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.”
–Psalm 46:1-2

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Tribute to Godly Fatherhood

John Piper, one of my earthly preaching heroes of the faith has made a 10-minute biography video about his dad. This tribute is moving and challenging for every believer to not waste his or her life. It is also one example of godly fatherhood and the legacy that leaves behind. Ephesians 6:4 gives every father a command to follow and a target to aim for, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Read this short article first about Bill Piper’s death and then watch the video.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Vote... Pray... Submit

Wouldn't it be great to know that our next President will reflect this kind of submission to our Lord? Tomorrow our state will hold primary elections to contribute to the process that will culminate in the November Presidential elections. We should pray for each of these candidates regardless of who we vote for and according to Scripture we are commanded to submit to whoever gets elected (regardless of whether it is "our candidate")... Romans 13:1-7. Remember that no matter how the elections turn out there is still one Lord who reigns over all.