Monday, June 29, 2009
The Bible says that a person ought not think too highly of himself and should consider others first (Romans 12:10 and Philippians 2:3). When a person is so inwardly focused that all he can think about or talk about is himself, his accomplishments, or his ideas, he neglects others. A selfish or prideful spouse neglects the other spouse. The parent neglects the child. A friend neglects another. And so on.
The answer to pride, arrogance, and selfishness is humility. I like to think of humility as having a good understanding of who I am compared to who God is. None of us can get too puffed up when we see that comparison clearly. When I've gotten a little (or a lot) puffed up God has always done something to help me see him more clearly - because I have lost my vision of God's majesty.
When I see God more clearly and I see me more clearly I also will see others and their needs and value more clearly. Some people help others for selfish reasons, but the only motive God approves is that of Christian love expressed in humility. If I think too highly of myself I can't do that.
But I can't think too lowly of myself either. Because God's Spirit dwells within me (and every believer) I have great resource and ability. In fact, I'm able to do beyond my ability because of him. He strengthens me. He applies me - he uses me.
God thinks enough of me to die for me and save me. He thinks enough of me to equip me with gifts. He think enough of me to give me a task. If God thinks that much of me, then I must not thik too lowly of myself.
Jesus, the God-man, said this, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19)
We are not God-men, but we are men and women who have God's Spirit within us. So a healthy, biblical perspective is one of balance.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I'm ready to go home, too. To heaven. But it must not be time because I'm still here waiting. Like Paul, I see my time waiting as time to do something productive for the kingdom.
So while I'm waiting I'll stay busy for the Lord. That's more than Jim's doing here at the hospital..he's just waiting to go home.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I've written a few Christian songs and find it difficult but rewarding to say in three minutes something that is eternally true. Writing the good church signs is even harder. You must be biblically accurate, interesting, and short!
Driving down the road today going into Bryant I saw this:
The Bible is neither ancient nor modern, it is eternal.
Those are a lot of letters up there! Cross Road Baptist Church (CRBC) is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). There is a movement among some leadership to have a Great Commission Resurgence (GCR). I’ve read the document at greatcommissionresurgence.com and have signed on to it because I agree with the tenets laid out in it. Johnny Hunt, SBC president and pastor in the Atlanta area, is one of the main drivers behind GCR. I like Johnny Hunt as a preacher and a person (based on what little, very little, interaction I’ve had with him).
But many do not like his “attack” on the convention bureaucracy and have become very vocal in these days leading up to the annual meeting to be held in Louisville, KY on June 23-24. I’m sorta glad that CRBC scheduled Vacation Bible School (VBS) for that week so I have an excuse not to be there for the fireworks. But I’m sorta gonna miss the fireworks!
Whenever a finger is pointed toward someone with a bit of criticism, people pointed to tend to get defensive. I understand that. What I don’t understand is the tone of the rhetoric being thrown around. The general media will have a heyday with this as they try to find ways to make the social conservatism of the SBC look bad. We (the SBC, generally) think that abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, to name a few issues on the front burners these days, are biblical. And if not biblical, then wrong. So anytime national exposure of problems within the SBC can be overexposed, the media will do it.
Christianity is being marginalized in our society. I read today that North America is the only continent where Christianity is not growing. Why is that? Partly, it is because evangelical denominations, like the SBC, won’t focus on what is most important: spreading the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Another reason for the stagnation of Christianity on our continent is that many formerly-strong denominations are allowing the culture to define their morality/ethic rather than the Bible. This is why the SBC and churches like CRBC take a hit when we speak out for decency and human life and the one-man/one-woman marriage issue.
The GCR is an attempt – a good-faith attempt, I believe – to focus our convention on what really matters. That is not saying that we are completely off focus and that every entity is at fault and that each church is missing the mark. But it is to say that the task of the Great Commission is so important that we should be willing to turn the magnifying glass toward ourselves and change what should be changed and champion what we are doing well.
Let me give you three more letters.
A – admit you are a sinner and repent of your sins.
B – believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and what he did on the cross is the only way you can receive forgiveness for you sins and gain eternal life in heaven.
C – confess that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord and commit to live your life in a way that embodies that confession.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
I spent 10 days on a trip to Talitsa, Sverdlovskaya, Russia. Talitsa is town. Sverdlovskaya is an oblast (state). My wife, Deana, and another couple from our church, Ed and Shirley Meux, went with me.
I had been to Russia last year to lead a pastor’s Bible conference. While I was there, I learned of the need for a Baptist church in Talitsa and of some specific prayer needs of a few believers there. So our church has been praying for over a year for them. Good news! The prayers have been effective as the situations these believers were experiencing have improved. We weren’t even praying for the specific problems because we thought the needs were different. This is just an example of the Holy Spirit taking our earnest prayers and directing his power to the real needs. God is so good!
I’ll post pictures and my journal soon. Til then, just know that God is at work everywhere on the planet. Even in your life. Leave a comment if I can pray with you about something in your life or talk with you about a relationship with Jesus Christ.