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Saturday, January 30, 2016

David's Life In Danger - True Story

I was reading recently about a man named David who went to his friend Jonathan to tell him that Jonathan's father (Saul - a king) was threatening David's life - AGAIN!
David and Jonathan were very close friends, and David was married to Jonathan's sister Michal who was also King Saul's daughter.

At first, Jonathan didn't seem to want to believe his friend David (likely due to the fact that King Saul had earlier promised not to take David's life), but then Jonathan tests his father as David suggested.
He finds out that David is right.

Saul is angry with David.  In fact, Saul is so angry and wanting David dead, that he almost kills his own son Jonathan for not cooperating - taking David's side.
So, Jonathan lets David know the outcome of the testing in a way that he had secretly planned with David ahead of time (involving a lad and the shooting of an arrow).

God had planned for David to be the next king, and it's quite obvious that King Saul did not want this (though he had been told that he would have the kingdom torn away from him due to his disobedience to God earlier).

It takes a long time before it happens, but eventually David does become a king.
Although David had previously showed faith in God, he makes some wrong choices as well as right ones along the way.
His life is in grave danger while Saul is still king, and some thoughts during the time of waiting are written down for us to read today.

If you want to learn more of this true story about David, it's in 1 Samuel of the Bible!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Prayer Requests From A Pastor - Guest Blogger Jeff Wright - MBC Ministry

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)

I’m sure I’m not the only pastor who sees the verse above as giving breadth and scope to the aims of pastoral ministry and the work of the church I serve.  Nonetheless, the text addresses what I and the members of Midway Baptist Church are praying and working for together.

The congregation of Midway gathers in the small college town of Cookeville, TN.  Our city is home to Tennessee Tech University which brings not only a fresh wave of young men and women into our community every Fall but also a robust representation of natives from countries with various levels of exposure to the gospel of Christ.  Furthermore, Cookeville functions as an economic hub for several smaller communities surrounding the county seat.  The Lord has given us a fertile field to labor in.

We are part of an association of Southern Baptist Churches with which we enjoy much fellowship and significant partnership in the gospel through the Cooperative Program.  One of the distinctions of Midway is that we are intentionally walking in the Reformed tradition.  While not the only Southern Baptist congregation drawing on this rich theological well we are most explicated about our relationship to that confessional tradition.

As pastor of Midway I have inherited a long-standing commitment to expository preaching.  In my years here we have walked verse-by-verse through 1 Corinthians, Luke, 1 Timothy, Judges, and Ruth.  We’re currently working through Ephesians and Hebrews.  We are also trying to be intentional about emphasizing congregational singing of theologically rich texts, particularly hymns that have been serving the church for centuries before our own lives.  As Gordon Fee has said, you come to know a church’s theology largely through knowing what they sing.  We’re trying to leverage that to sing the truth into our hearts and be faithful to our calling to serve each other through singing together (Ephesians 5:18-21, Colossians 3:16)

Midway is growing in our commitment to age-integrated fellowship and committed discipleship relationships.  We are two years in to encouraging families to worship and study together.  That means that we have lots of little ones in our Lord’s Day Corporate Worship and we are thankful for the way the Lord has blessed our congregation with lots of babies.  Our congregation is thankful for the chance to serve these families as they raise their children to love the Lord.   God has granted us to see a number of individuals to consciously pursue discipling relationships and by this I am greatly encouraged.

In my ministry I am focused on preaching the full counsel of Scripture, believing that God accomplishes His purpose through His Word.  I make it my ambition to present the glory of Christ plainly as well as remind believers of the gospel that saves them and call unbelievers to repentance and faith in Jesus.  I’m praying that our church would grow in understanding the importance of being members of the congregation at Midway and our role in the Lord’s purpose to bring us to maturity.  Right now an idea I first heard from Mark Dever – that we overestimate what can be accomplished in five years but underestimate what can be accomplished in ten – is a guiding principle as I seek the Lord’s guidance for our congregation.  My prayer is that we would hold our confession firm to the end even as we trust the one who began our faith to bring it to completion in Christ.  To anyone reading this I ask that, if you are willing, you pray for us to honor Christ and become increasingly mature in Him.

Thank you to my guest blogger Pastor Jeff Wright for writing this post for me.
I visited Midway Baptist Church once in 2015 with my family, as we were on our way to a surgery follow-up appointment in Nashville, Tennessee.
We had listened to a message by him online previously, and the church is listed on the 9 Marks site.
An interesting side note is that someone else I met in a Cross Encounters Radio chat room recommended the church not knowing that we had already discovered it ourselves.

Friday, January 22, 2016

43 Years of Legalized Murder & Gospel Warriors

Today (January 22, 2016) the United States of America marks 43 years of legalized murder due to a U.S. Supreme Court decision and the hardened hearts of Americans.
Millions of babies have lost their lives, and their lives have been devalued simply because they are at the earliest stages of growth and unable to fight back.

The U.S. Congress is more concerned about political clout, expediency, and the public opinion of some, but yet they ignore God and the thousands that die each day.  Sometimes they play lip service, but then they  go ahead and vote to fund Planned "Parenthood" when the president balks when they first voted to defund PP.  
Planned "Parenthood" is one of the greatest abusers of human life, and they are so calloused against life that they not only have babies butchered, but they harvest their organs.
This torture of human babies in the womb (and sometimes out of) is no better than what ISIS does, what Hitler did, or any other heinous sadistic criminal does.  
Human beings are not animals, no matter the lies that phony "scientists"  tell us.
Human beings have a God-given conscience, & they know this murder is wrong.
Why?  Because God created us that way, but people suppress truth and are given over to all kinds of sinful acts.  People worship self and pleasure and ease of life.  They will be held responsible for their actions by God, because even when human governments fail, there will be justice meted out by God.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Genesis 1:27 NASB

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm 139:16 NASB

The only forgiveness those who are a party to murder can have is when people repent of their sins and believe the Gospel.

I realize there are a lot of other articles out there, and good resources like "180" Movie & Babies Are Murdered Here, etc., but today I want to highlight again some people and ministries you can pray for and even give to if you desire.  There are so many ways to get involved, and far too few go to the front line.  These are just a few of many Gospel warriors involved in a spiritual battle for souls and lives.

John Barros - For many years John has gone to abortion clinics proclaiming to people the Law and the Gospel.  Many women have chosen life over the years.  A number of people have gone to learn from him about abortion evangelism ministry.  Though he has struggled with serious physical issues, he continues to serve.

Chuck O'Neal - Pastor Chuck is someone I have gotten acquainted with online.  He is passionate in evangelism and about the lives of babies.  He exudes genuine love for people.

There are many faithful people out there pleading, praying, and some preaching, and though we can pray and vote for political change, the real hope of this nation is the Gospel.   We can't minimize or sanitize the unjust killings of little humans being made in God's image.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Is It Unity or Heresy?

True Christians should never accept heresy for the sake of unity.
This was something that I posted on Twitter, as my mind often catapults from something I hear or read earlier in the day.
Sometimes I don't know if it's a critical spirit, or if it's wise discernment.
Still, I do know we need to be Bereans, and my red flags of caution go up when I feel someone may cross the line.

There is more than one kind of unity found in the Scripture.
One is the unity that is bound up in the Trinity, and then there is the unity of believers in the Church.
The unity of believers is very important, but the unity of believers should never be at the expense of salvific and Biblical truth.
There are some important doctrines that we may disagree on (eg. baptism & eschatology) and still be within the true church of God, but some doctrines should necessarily separate.

The Reformers clearly saw the need for holding Biblical truth as more important than unity at all costs....even to being willing to die for Scriptural truth.
Nathan Busenitz of the Master's Seminary said something like this:
What started the Reformation is the question of who is the head of the church and the Scriptures themselves.
Also, he spoke of the Reformation in its being the recovery of the true Gospel.

So, yes, we do need to remember that when unity itself is everything, denominations and churches become corrupt when the leadership strays from the truth.
On the other side there is also a great danger when you say the Bible is the standard, and then don't expositionally teach it.

So, how do we know what we should be unified over or avoid?
Here are a couple of articles that explain some of these:

What are Gospel essentials?

What are fundamental doctrines?

Now, as Christians, we do realize that people are at many levels in the sanctification process, and that some people have not had the advantage of solid Biblical food being taught.
Even good teaching isn't a guarantee of good behavior.
God has to continue to chasten and prune us, until we long for Him more desperately and hate our sin more.
Then, when we see the flippant way people treat God and His Word, we cringe.
When we see our own sinfulness, we cringe.

We do need to have love for the weak, and to desire growth for the immature - realizing we have a long ways yet to go ourselves.
It is easy to look down our noses at those who have less knowledge, but we know this is wrong.
God could be wanting us to be instruments of grace, and to help encourage growth.
Sometimes it seems the more we want to grow, the further away we see the mark of the goal.
Yet, we must keep on pressing towards it in the power of the Spirit.

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  
1 Thessalonians 5:14 NASB

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pro-Life Baby Showers

I have a number of online friends who are or have been very involved in pro-life activities.
Some go on the front lines of evangelizing and pleading at abortion clinics.
Lives have been saved, and the Gospel proclaimed.
More people are needed to participate in these things on a regular basis.
If you are unable to physically get involved, you can give (if you are able) and pray for those who do go.

Many people could be doing something, and yet they go no further than simply voting pro-life.

Some people accuse those who are pro-life of not caring about babies once they are born.
This is a false charge.

Sometimes women get ultrasounds, counseling, and the Gospel as well as further help at Christian women centers, though this is becoming more difficult in places that want the pregnancy resource centers to give murder options, etc.
Some of these pro-life places give help with clothes and other items which can be donated - along with the giving of referrals for community help.

Many pro-life people have adopted kids.
I have seen a video where a gift bag was given to someone who chose life.
I'm sure there is so much more that goes on than I even know about.
Pro-life people give to organizations that provide food for the needy, etc.

Love is also shown to those who have had abortions by proclaiming the Gospel to them and by the counseling of repentant women who still struggle.

Yet it is true that more could be done, but accusers are really only looking for a reason to excuse the murdering of helpless babies.

This brings me to why I'm writing this:
Have you ever thought about having a baby shower for someone who has chosen to keep their baby?
One of my online friends is helping with one, and I think it's a great idea!

Having babies and providing for them is costly.  While adopting a child out can sometimes be a wise choice, I believe in most cases it is emotionally difficult.
I think it's a wonderful thing to go a step further in showing love in a special way by helping with the early needs of those who have chosen to keep their babies to raise.
If you haven't thought about it before, then I hope this will encourage and challenge you to think of more ways that you might be active in helping the helpless and those in need that others may reject.

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.  
Galatians 6:10

This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Obama Has Done It Again!

President Obama has done it again.  He has decided that he has the right to make laws, though legally he has no right.  Congress was the one designated to make laws last I checked, but presidents seem to think they can rewrite and edit laws at will. 

Emotional speeches meant to stir people up do not give Obama the authority to change the law. If Congress & the Court do not act to stop this (and it seems they often don't have the gumption to do it), then our rights & the Constitution are not only out the window...they are down the street.  

President Obama thinks he can save a life...well, what he is doing could also do the opposite. Someone who could have saved a life may not have access to a gun.  Christians and others could be labeled unqualified to own a gun in the future by anti-Christian people. All people could be given some kind of label by doctors and social engineering liberal leaders.  

The right to bear arms was so that we in America could take arms against a corrupt government. There are too many restrictions already which would stop this ability.  People would need missiles and nuclear weapon capability these days.  
More illegally created laws don't change sinful hearts. Sinful people will always find a way to sin.  Criminals will always find a way to get weapons to hurt or kill people.  When laws are desired or needed, they should be passed by Congress first... Congress isn't meant to be appealed to as an afterthought.

I believe as Christians, we should submit to authority. 
also believe that the President of the United States should submit to authority.  
Sadly, the current president seems to believe he is above the law and the constitution.  He isn't the first one who has gotten away with ignoring the limits to his authority, and until Congress & SCOTUS stop them, we will continue to have presidents ignore these limits.