Friday, September 24, 2010

Am I Really Cut Out For This?

Here I sit on Friday with my DMin workshop looming on Monday. Have I mentioned lately that I am a procrastinator? Once again, deadlines near and I have much to do.

Got some disappointing news last night but have to get past that. Dealing with a hurdle today but can’t let it take too much attention.

Lots of people told me the DMin would be time-consuming. I’m OK with that when I can take care of other stuff in a timely manner. But I don’t do that very well.

Pray for me. Pray that I’ll stay on top of everything – the DMin project, the church/job, and especially the family.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today I met with pastors from three other churches – all within 5 miles of Cross Road Baptist Church. We talked about working together to make sure every household in our communities received a gospel message. I have not seen any demographical data, but I’m guessing that could be 10,000 people or more. That’s three times as many people as lived in my hometown when I was in high school.

An undertaking of this size requires cooperation. Southern Baptists are known for cooperation. We claim to be cooperative. We named our missions funding mechanism the Cooperative Program. We are all autonomous, independently organized churches, but we do best when we work together.

Our rural area is home to folks who grew up here and have lived here all their lives or have returned here after some years away. The area is also home to former city-dwellers who have built our bought homes as an escape or retreat from the city hassles. A wide diversity lives here. Not so much ethnic diversity as socio-economic diversity. Our churches are charged (by the Lord) to minister to all of them and reach them all with the gospel.

Cross Road may need to re-tool. The church was started in the early ‘70s but this is 40 years later. The gospel is the same but the people who need it are different. How can we take the same gospel to people in ways that are relevant to them. Don’t misunderstand: the gospel is always relevant but the method of delivery can become outdated. Just like milk is still milk, but the horse-drawn wagon has been replaced with the diesel tractor-trailer.

Even with the most relevant method of delivery, CRBC can’t reach everyone without working together with sister churches. I imagine those 10,000+ people who receive a gospel message from our churches will either reject the message or accept it and find meaningful worship and opportunities to grow and serve in one of our churches.

God will get the glory when we live out our Christianity in effective cooperation with one another.

Friday, September 17, 2010

River Market

Little Rock has a trended night spot called the River Market. It’s full of restaurants (bars with food, really) and other cultural grabs. The Clinton Presidential Library is not too far away. I guess it’s been good for Little Rock’s economy, especially the downtown area.

We are headed there tonight. Deana’s boss gave her a gift certificate to one of the restaurants and we don’t like to let free food escape! We’re going early, though. Maybe we’ll miss most of the bar-hopping and general indecency. Hope I don’t show up on the 10 o’clock news.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Christians are not perfect people, just forgiven people. That should be a comforting thought to us but many can’t grasp the depth of the truth. They continue to live with the burden of sin weighing on their lives. And it’s not necessary.

Two issues are at play here. One is that the Christian can’t accept that God has forgiven him. He prays asking the Lord to forgive him and “leaves it all on the altar.” But when he gets up from the altar he gathers up everything he just laid out on the altar and takes it back with him. All the guilt that should be released through forgiveness, he still carries. All the disappointment. All the shame. Yes, Christians should feel guilty, disappointed, and ashamed – before forgiveness. But once forgiven, he should take the same position God takes: that is, God forgives and no longer holds the sin against the sinner. Jesus died for this.

The second issue concerns unconfessed sin. It’s one thing to feel guilty, disappointed, and ashamed after you have confessed your sin – it’s unnecessary and unhealthy. But those feelings are completely appropriate when you have not confessed your sin. The Holy Spirit works in your life to convict you of sin, this leads to those feelings. Forgiveness is designed to alleviate those feelings and return the sinner to right standing with God. The solution is simple: confess your sin and God will forgive you.

But we don’t confess our sins because we would have to admit we’ve been wrong in our relationships, attitudes, actions, etc. Confession implies falling short of expectations. Confession indicates weakness – and it should! Our sin nature is a chink in the armor. We are not perfect, just forgiven…when we confess our sins.

Many dangers exist with unconfessed sin, but one ties these two issues together. The response  you may have when you can’t accept God’s forgiveness may begin to look and feel just like the conviction of unconfessed sin. So the two completely separate issues blur into one. In other words, you begin to think you have not really confessed or God has not really forgiven because you still feel guilty, disappointed, and ashamed. Or, even worse, you think you don’t have to confess because not confessing feels just like confessing – the stench of sin loses its fowl odor.

Listen to the truth of scripture. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Can you believe that? If you can, you can live as a forgiven Christian. God is faithful: he will do what he says. God is just: he will do what is right.

Will you confess your sins? If you need to talk, please send me a message.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I love preaching. I love to do it and I love to hear others do it. In person, on TV, on the radio, and now on podcasts. Technology is wonderful!

As I ran errands today I listened to a couple of sermon podcasts that I pickup on iTunes. Driving to and from revival services (about 40 minutes each way) I listened to a couple more. For me, the key is to pick speakers you really like and listen to just about everything they do. I like to listen to Ed Stetzer, Al Mohler, Bruce Chesser, and a few others. Seems like their podcasts are always helpful.

Now I need a GMC pickup with an MP3 input. My Chevy Classic doesn’t have one. That’s a good enough reason to buy a truck, isn’t it?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Revival at Ironton

I have the special privilege to preach for revival services at Ironton Baptist Church beginning Sunday. Pastor Sidney Thompson has led the church in growth and construction. I’m looking forward to these meetings.

Revival is the spiritual stirring in the heart of a believer toward deeper commitment and greater action. So I’ll speak about the marks of a revived Christian, knowing God, pressing on to Christlikeness, and following the Spirit.

Pray for Ironton, Cross Road, and me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Emphasizing Evangelism

I’ve been thinking. That could lead to trouble! But maybe not; let’s see how this goes.

What if every Christian would have a meaningful gospel conversation with an unbeliever this week? What would happen? Can you imagine the impact that would have?

I’ve read articles citing studies indicating that fewer than 5% of believers ever have such a conversation. And we wonder why the church is not keeping pace with population growth in Arkansas? Five people are doing the work for themselves and nineteen other people when it comes to sharing their faith. And every believe is called by God to do it. It certainly is not the 5% who are at fault.

Churches work like this (at least the churches I’ve been involved with): any person who shows any interest in do anything in/for/through the church is allowed to do it asked to do more. This enables the people who show no interest or little interest to be spectators when Christianity is really an all-involved undertaking.

So I’m guessing that if this holds true with most situations in churches it holds true in evangelism, too. If a person shows interest in sharing the gospel, then those who have little or no interest in it sit back and let them do it.

Maybe the 5% has some responsibility for the problem. Not in the fact that they are sharing, because we are all supposed to share. But in the fact that they probably gladly accept the extra responsibility placed upon them by those with little or no interest. Anyone who is carrying the load for someone else, when the other person can and should be carrying their own load, is hurting the spread of the gospel. How can this be? Well, it seems obvious to me that more people can win more people to Christ. One person can lead a few more to Christ – all of us could. But many more people involved in sharing their faith will result in multiplication or exponential growth.

I’m taking an honest look at my evangelistic activity to see where I can do more – not more than I should, but as much as I should. Will you join me in that pursuit? Maybe you can do better; I think I can.

I’m also evaluating my leadership. I should be leading the people whom I pastor to share their faith. I can do better at that, too. And I will when evangelism becomes a priority in reality for me.

And I’m going to pray for evangelism more than I have before. I will pray for the lost to be saved and for the saved to reach out to the lost.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Labor Day

Labor Day weekend marks the end of Summer for many people. For me, it marks the beginning of Fall. Yes, I am aware that Fall doesn’t officially come til September 21, but the Summer routines are behind us and the Fall routines are here. Personally, I’m glad.

I don’t do well in hot weather. I sweat too much. “Not much for a fat guy” is what a friend actually told me once. Too much for anybody, I think.

I prefer lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s. Perfect weather! Too bad I can’t order up a perfect day every day.

One day everything will be perfect…every day. I’m looking forward to Fall and Winter but not as much as I’m looking forward to Heaven. The Bible tells us a little about it but only a little. Folks like to speculate but nobody really knows. It is beyond our imagination. I had a fortune cookie that told me I have an active mind and a keen imagination. Still, I can’t imagine what Heaven will be like. But I’m looking forward to it. And I’m ready for it.

I hope you are, too. Getting ready for Heaven requires accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

Do you know that you are a sinner? We all are so you might as well admit it. More importantly, God knows.

And God did something about you sin (which would keep you away from God). Jesus Christ – God’s son, God himself – died on the cross paying the penalty for your sins. Do you believe that? I mean believe it so that it drives who you are?

If you will confess (or proclaim) that Jesus is your Lord and commit to live your life his way and for his glory, you’ll be ready for Heaven.

In Christian-ese, we call that “being saved.” I hope you are ready for Heaven. Let me know if you’d like to talk about it.