Monday, April 26, 2010

Video Monday- Mark Dever

Here is Mark Dever's address at T4G on the subject "The Church: The Gospel Made Visible". I'd like every member of my church to watch this. Mark Dever is the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC and has been a great blessing to our church through the Nine Marks Ministries. If you'd like to listen to some of his preaching go HERE.

T4G 2010 -- Session 1 -- Mark Dever from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back home/ Catching up

It is good to be back in Port Arthur/ Groves though I had an incredible time at T4G. Even better was getting a few days to spend alone with my wife. We feel physically drained after the long car ride back (crying baby and two whining dogs do not make for a leisurely drive), but we feel mentally and spiritually recharged. The physical strength will catch up after a couple more nights in our own bed.

Now concerning the conference. You can go HERE to download or listen to audio or you can watch the video of each main session. It was truly a blessing to hear these godly men challenge us to be faithful to preaching the true gospel and warning us against the dangers of "adjusting" the gospel. It was also a kick to hang out with two of my longtime friends, John Denby and Paul Lyle. These are two faithful preachers and iron sharpened iron through our fellowship over the week.

I'm back in full swing this week. Tonight in fact I'll be preaching at Lamar University's Baptist Student Ministry. If you are in or around Beaumont tonight (or next Tuesday night) around 7pm (ish) pop in to the BSM building on campus. You can call 409-880-2276 for details.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Video Monday- Matt Chandler

I'm in an airplane flying to Kentucky and waving to you all. Not really, this is actually my Friday afternoon and doing the last of a couple scheduled posts. I won't be blogging, facebook-ing, or answering my phone (much) until next Monday. Until I'm back enjoy this sermon jam of Matt Chandler. I actually preached this text on Easter but this guy shows me up and makes an incredible point that didn't make it into my sermon. Be edified!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Kind of Preacher I Aim to Be

George Whitefield on the kind of preachers he prayed God would raise up,

Yea…that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more . . . raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labor and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.

HT: John Piper

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Preparation


I'm trying to broaden my reading to include more than just theology books, commentaries, and church-related reading. Those will always be my bread-n-butter but sometimes I need a good fun escape and usually reading is better for that than plopping down in front of the TV. Generally I'm not a good fiction reader but I'm trying. Right now I've been reading a non-fiction sports book called More Than A Game by former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick. I love to read and I love football, so...

This is not a book review- I'm not even done with the thing. I got this book for some mental escape time... just for fun and darn if I haven't already found some application for ministry! Billick spends a chapter on the job of the head coach and details the average in-season work week. These guys are freaks. After reading about the 16+ hour days these guys put in with no days off I'm surprised more of them don't drop dead of a heart attack. I'm really amazed that any of these guys have families and that those who do even remember their kids' names. It doesn't border on work-a-holic, it takes it to a whole new obsessive level. That said, football is a billion dollar business and these head coaches know it. There are only 32 of these jobs on the planet with only 16 games a season to prove that you should keep that job.

They spend hours upon hours in preparation to be excellent on Sunday... and this is just for a football game! If football goes away tomorrow I'd be sad, a lot of people are out of work, and a few millionaires will have to find a new line of work (sniff sniff tear), but the world isn't doomed if the games aren't played. Yet how much preparation goes into the weekly preaching of the Word in Christian pulpits, how much preparation (by the average congregant) goes into the congregational worship? I'm not advocating working 16+ hour days for preachers. However I am challenged every week to spend more time in preparation not just for the preaching but for the worship of my holy God. What will you do this week to have your heart prepared for worship? How will you prepare your mind to receive His Word and put it into action? We're talking about something much more valuable and much more weighty than a game.


[P.S. I was having a problem with some comments coming from Spammers so I set up a filter whereby I have to approve the comment through email. Since I probably won't be checking email for a few days I'm disabling the comment feature for upcoming posts.]

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Hodge Podge

  • I've added a new link to a blog called Practical Shepherding. It has great counsel on pastoral care and ministry. This is a helpful resource whether you are a pastor or deacon. It is also sound advice for every church member regarding ministering to one another.
  • Even the Christian Science Monitor has taken notice of a growing return to Calvinistic doctrine. Here is a great article that gives special attention to Capitol Hill Baptist Church- a Southern Baptist Church in Washington DC.
  • The issue of homosexuality and the tolerance of some churches not to treat those engaged in it as habitual sinners in need of repentance (and the gospel) is not one we can ignore. Here is an article from the Dallas Morning News regarding a church in our state (that we are affiliated with through the BGCT) that is being called to reevaluate its poor position.
  • One more thing... as I said yesterday, I will be attending T4G next week. If you'd like to track along Tim Challies will be "lobby blogging" from the conference. If you'd like the audio of any of the sessions let me know once I get back and I can get you a CD.

I will not be blogging next week (unless I squeek in a scheduled post or two before I leave). Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What will I be doing for 8 days in April?

This Sunday I'll be preaching from Matthew 24:1-14 as we begin the final five chapters of Matthew's Gospel (a series I began in July '08). On Sunday evening I'll begin a series on the Book of Job entitled Suffering & the Sovereignty of God. This week we will outline the book itself and I'll present twelve reasons I'm doing this series. Monday morning I will begin some much appreciated enrichment/ vacation time. I'm so thankful the church allows me time during the year for vacation and for enrichment through conferences. For accountability purposes I wanted to share how I'll be spending these days.

Monday through Thursday I will be attending the Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Here are the speakers and topics they will address:
  1. Mark Dever (pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in DC) will speak on "The Church is the Gospel made Visible".
  2. R.C. Sproul (pastor, author and theologian extraordinaire) will speak on "The Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel".
  3. Al Mohler (president of Southern Seminary) will speak on "How does it happen? Trajectories toward an Adjusted Gospel".
  4. Thabiti Anyabwile (pastor and author of What is a Healthy Church Member?) will speak on "How wrongly 'Engaging the Culture' adjusts the Gospel".
  5. John MacArthur (pastor-teacher and author) will speak on "The Theology of Sleep from Mark 4".
  6. David Platt (SBC pastor) will speak in a breakout session I'm attending on "Connecting Gospel Theology with Urgent Missiology".
  7. John Piper (pastor and author) will speak on "Did Jesus preach the Gospel of Evangelicalism?"
  8. Ligon Duncan (PCA pastor) will speak on "Did the [Patristic] Fathers know the Gospel?"
  9. Matt Chandler (pastor) will share testimony about his ministry and his cancer.
  10. C.J. Mahaney (director of Sovereign Grace Ministries) will speak on "Expository Faithfulness from 2 Timothy 4:1-5".

That's just the first four days! After flying back to Houston on Thursday I will be meeting my wife to spend a few precious days with her at a Bed & Breakfast in central Texas (while her parents babysit for us). Lord willing, I plan to be back in full swing by April 20. In my absence Kyle Campise of Ridgewood Church will faithfully fill the pulpit for our Lord's Day worship and evening Nightlight Service. Please pray for travelling mercies... pray that the Lord would further equip me for more fruitful ministry... and pray that Blair and I would be further strengthened in our covenant.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Biblical Office of "Shock Absorber"


The Lord has raised up some good men at Memorial over the past fifty years to serve as deacons and I am blessed to serve alongside some of these men. Our guys are nose-to-the-grind workers and even those who physically can not do as much as when they were younger exemplify integrity and godliness with their behavior. In a few weeks we will be doing deacon training- not for future deacons but for the current ones. This is not suggest that they've not received training in the past but does show their willingness to keep sharpening their minds and hearts for more ministry. In the past on this blog I've posted on deacon qualifications- HERE, HERE, and HERE. There is another resource out there now I want to draw my congregation's attention to and perhaps it will be a resource for others who read this blog as well. Nine Marks ministries has just released their latest e-Journal on the topic of deacons. The title is "Deacons are Shock Absorbers". That's a great title! The deacons that serve alongside me have certainly exemplified servanthood and are definitely "shock absorbers".

There is so much I am not gifted at doing or that would take me away from the ministry of the Word that these men gladly take on. When an A/C goes out I never blink because I know Don Chapman will have it taken care of. When one of our widows has a problem at her home I usually find out after the fact because a deacon like Norman Russell or Bunky Stephens has already fixed it. Our music ministry is handled by a deacon, our benevolence ministry is administered by a deacon, and the nuts and bolts of observing the Lord's Supper or baptism is managed by a deacon. Those are just a few things they help with and take off my plate. It is an integral office in the church which was established to help the other office in the church- elder/ pastor focus on the teaching the Word and being an overseer to the congregation. Make sure the next time you see one of the deacons you throw a word of encouragement their way. We are blessed to have such men!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why the NASB?

As my congregation knows I preach from the New American Standard Version ('97 update). I've found it to be the closest to the original languages since it is a "no frills" word for word translation (formal equivalence as opposed to dynamic equivalence). I prefer to do the work of studying, interpreting, and preaching the text rather than letting a translation do it for me (like paraphrastic versions do- ex. The Message). Where the NASB is strong in its faithfulness to the original languages, it is weak in literary quality. The sentence structures are often clunky. It doesn't flow as well which makes it more challenging to read.

The English Standard Version... an ancestor of the King James Version and Revised Standard Version is much more readable and still a word for word translation. The ESV is my favorite translation to read for personal study and devotion. Why then do I preach from the NASB? For one, I'm a creature of habit. Two, many of my congregation have purchased an NASB to follow along with the sermon better (which is awesome!) so I don't want to force everyone to run out an buy another Bible. Three, a few generous souls replaced all the old NIV pew Bibles with NASB large print pew Bibles. I recommend folks have both on their shelf if possible for study and devotional purposes. Two of my favorite study Bibles are the ESV Study Bible and the MacArthur Study Bible. I'd recommend purchasing these as well (the link for the MacArthur SB is for the large print 37% off on Amazon.com). The main thing is that whatever version you have-- read it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Video Monday- Conrad Mbewe

Raise your hand if you've heard of Conrad Mbewe? Until recently I would count myself in the number of those who had not heard about the ministry God is doing through this brother. He is being called the "African Spurgeon". Here is an interview with Pastor Mbewe by Mark Dever. Here is a Banner of Truth article on Mbewe and below are a couple of video clips (the first, some preaching and the second, more informative concerning his ministry).



Sunday, April 4, 2010

3rd Easter at Memorial

The day is nearing an end as I write this and the third Easter Sunday I've celebrated with my Memorial Baptist church family has come to a close. I love Easter Sunday. Actually we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord every Sunday (hence, the Lord's Day) but this one Sunday of the year just seems to be a special time of celebration and remembrance. It is also a day when many people feel obliged for whatever reason to attend worship for their one day a year. On one hand I'm saddened that people do this but on the other hand I rejoice knowing more lost people will have the opportunity to hear the gospel. Today I preached from Luke 24:13-35. Two drifters on a road from one middle eastern town to the next. They were first confused about Jesus (being blinded by sin). Then they were confronted by Jesus (who now resurrected explained to them about the God's redemptive plan from all the Scriptures). Finally they were converted by Jesus (given regenerate hearts to believe). I was these drifters! No more though, to the praise of God's sovereign and merciful grace. I hope those of you in this reading were able to congregate with a local church where God's Word was preached. There is not creative bone in my body or bells-and-whistles program that can do what the Scriptures can accomplish!

[For my flock... back in our series through Matthew's Gospel next Sunday. We're picking up in chapter 24. Then on Sunday night at 6pm I'll do the introduction to a new series in the Book of Job]
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