Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mission & Four Pillars of Memorial Baptist

Lord willing, tomorrow I will be concluding a short series on the mission and membership of our church. Every year I like to revist this subject (entering year three) so that we are all crystal clear on what our church is really about and what it means to be part of our church. After a process of boiling down these ideas into concise and memorable statements (which included several meetings with various members) we have a mission statement and what we now call the "four pillars of church membership".
  • Our mission statement is... "Memorial Baptist Church seeks to be a family who glorifies Christ through living and proclaiming God's Word."
Why a mission statement? It helps make clear to all of our members that we are not an event, a social club, or a religious duty. We are a community on a very Scriptural and specific mission. There is much more that could be said but simplicity aids in retention.
The "four pillars of church membership" inform every member what is expected. Membership in the local church does not save, but once redeemed in Christ we are made a part of his universal church which is visibly represented through the local church. There are both privileges and responsibilities to membership. We choose to articulate these responsibilities through the "four pillars" which, once again, are simply phrased for retention and application. The four pillars are:
  1. Linking in Fellowship... Every member must be 'linked' to Christ and His Body; we do this through genuine relationships in the church and by gathering weekly for worship.

  2. Learning the Bible... Every member must be committed to 'learn' God's Word through personal and family devotions and through the preaching and teaching ministries of the church.

  3. Leading in Ministry... Every member must seek to 'lead' through the gifts, talents, and personality God gave you for the common good of the church; opportunities to bless others abound!

  4. Living out the Gospel... Every member must 'live out' the good news that has changed you in every area of life; this begins of course with having a Biblical worldview.

So there it is in summary... now let's be who we know God has called us to be!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Johnny Mac

I'll be attending a conference in April called Together for the Gospel. I also attended in '06 and the Lord used this three day event in which I sat under the preaching ministry of seven incredibly godly men to confirm my call to pastor. Well here I am doing just that four years later and I'm once again excited to sit under the ministry of these men (plus others). One of those men is a preaching hero of mine, John MacArthur (aka "Johnny Mac"). Here's an excellent T4G promo video featuring him.

John MacArthur - Study Video from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Does Acts 18:26 contradict 1 Timothy 2:12?

Last Sunday I be preached from Acts 18:22-28. In the text Apollos is presented as a mighty preacher of Scripture but is lacking in his understanding of the gospel. A godly couple, Aquila and his wife Priscilla hear Apollos and pull him aside for discipleship. Verse 26 actually reads, "When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately."

One issue that I did not not have enough time to cover but is a worthy rabbit to chase is whether the presence of a man and woman explaining Scripture to another man violates the principle in 1 Timothy 2:12. In 1 Timothy 2:12 Paul tells Timothy that a woman should not exercise teaching authority over men in the church. So does the actions of this married ministry team go against this text?

No, I do not believe so for two reasons. First, this is a private setting of instruction rather than the corporate gathering of the church that Paul had in mind when instructing Timothy. Second, this is a team effort of husband and wife- not one woman exercising teaching authority over a man- and presumably Priscilla lived in Biblical submission to the headship of her husband. In other words she followed his lead (though she may have been the more talkative person). Therefore I do not believe Priscilla and Aquila's actions contradict Paul's instruction.

God does gift both men and women to teach Scripture in His Church but 1 Timothy 2:8-14 and Titus 2:1-8 clearly show the proper application of that gift. Today more than ever there is a need for men to lead out in the teaching of God's Word in the home and in the church. Such men, like Apollos need discipleship, encouragement, and sometimes a kick in the tail!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Celebrate Life Today

I'm wiping away tears even as I post this (you'll see why after watching the video). Thirty-seven years ago today Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the country. Since that day nearly 50 million future Americans have paid the price by being denied the opportunity to live. It is not a day much for celebrating, but today let us celebrate life. Below is a video called 99 Balloons. You can go HERE for a piece about reversing Roe v. Wade but let us praise the Lord for the miracle and gift of life- even briefly lived ones... check out Eliot's story...

99 Balloons from Igniter Media on Vimeo.

HT: Between Two Worlds

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finding a Good Church

During January I've been re-reading some stuff that I read in preparation for becoming a pastor. It is good to get a refresher from time to time. The past couple days I went back through Mark Dever's little book, What is a Healthy Church? and was encouraged all over again concerning some core principles our church is working towards making stronger. On one page (pg. 79) Mark provides some tips on how to find a good church. He proposes some diagnostic questions that I began answering in my head regarding my own ministry and our church. So what do you think, how does our church (or your church if you're not a member of my church) answer these diagnostic questions?
  1. Would I want to find a spouse who has been brought up under this church's
  2. What picture of Christianity will my children see in this church-- something
    distinct or something a lot like the world?
  3. Would I be happy to invite non-Christians to this church... that is, would
    they clearly hear the gospel and see lives consistent with it?
  4. Does the church have a heart for welcoming and reaching non-Christians?
  5. Is this church a place where I can minister and serve?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sanctity of Life Series, pt. 3

The Southern Baptist Texan published an article recenting called "Being a Pro-Life Church". In the article Karen Cole offers ten suggestions for how a church can be more actively "pro-life". You can read the entire article HERE, but I want to point out three of her suggestions that our church can run with immediately.

>Pray for a pro-life ministry/ support a pregnancy care center: In the Golden Triangle there are several ministry centers which specialize in helping women in crisis pregnancy situations and provide alternatives to abortion...
  • Birthright of Beaumont- (409) 832-6411 or (800) 550-4900
  • Birthright of Orange- (409) 883-2856 or (800) 550-4900
  • Hope Women's Resource Clinic- (409) 898-4005
  • Cradle of Life Adoption Agency- (409) 832-3000
  • Right to Life of Southeast Texas- (409) 866-8652
>Express your opinion: Jesus commanded us to "Let your light shine before men" (Matthew 5:16). We need to be clear and open about our Biblical positions regarding issues such as abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, sex education, marriage, reproductive technology, etc. You can also participate in an awareness march (be discerning that such a march is actually helpful rather than harmful), like the Walk Beaumont for Life on January 24 (begins at St. Anne Catholic Church at 2pm).

>Support foster and adoptive families: James 1:27 says, "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress." Adoption is a Christian responsibility and a wonderful picture of the gospel. Some people are called to adopt and others are called to support adopting families.

There are many ways our church can demonstrate the sanctity of human life- whether those lives are young or old, unborn or dying. These three are just a sample. Pray about how you can make clear Biblical truth regarding this critical and current issue.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sanctity of Life Series, pt. 2

Here is a repost of a piece that Voddie Baucham wrote on his blog,

According to a CNSNews story, “A coalition of pro-life advocates and religious leaders plan to gather in Houston on Jan. 18 to oppose what is expected to be the largest abortion clinic in the country.” I’ve known about this looming atrocity for quite some time. I have been working with the Fifth Ward Pregnancy Help Center for years, and they have worked to oppose this clinic since hearing of Planned Parenthood’s intentions to target our city (and specifically it’s minority community) with its latest and largest abortion mill.

I have been clear in my condemnation of the abortion movement. I have also attempted to expose its commitment to black genocide (see
here, here and here, or do a broader search here). This is another case of Planned Parenthood carrying out the desires of its founder, Margaret Sanger. Since Sanger’s “Negro Project,” there has been a concerted effort to exterminate blacks through abortion with little or no opposition. As a result, black women make up less than 15% of the population, but have some 35% of all abortions. For more on the eugenics/black genocide issue, see Concerned Women for America’s excellent article here. Of course, this issue goes far beyond eugenics. This is also an important part of the radical Feminist agenda (since true egalitarianism can only be achieved when the distinction of bearing children is removed).

While there is much more to say on this issue, I will defer at this time to what I have already written. In the meantime, the battle has come to my town, and I intend to spur it on in whatever way I can. Abortion, contrary to our president’s pleas during his speech at Notre Dame, is not an issue on which we can agree to disagree. We can no more agree to disagree on the abortion issue than we could have on the slavery issue. There is an ethical right and wrong here... there is no middle ground.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sanctity of Life Series, pt. 1

Sanctity of Life Sunday, January 17, 2010 is a day in which many of my fellow evangelical and Catholic friends will honor those little men and women whose lives have been unwillingly and horrifically taken without a freedom to choose. This will also be a day to spread information to those who are unaware of the facts concerning an abhorent practice in our nation of killing unborn children. To help spreading information I'll be posting on this subject exclusively for the next couple weeks. Check out this moving testimony from a woman who provides inside information regarding the continuing effects on women who have an abortion.

HT: John Piper