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Posts from April 2006

Being Baptist - What Are You For?

One of my good friends, a leader of Southern Baptists, shared with me his concerns about the future of the denomination.  Interesting.  I wondered what he meant and as we talked it became clear that his concerns weren't centered on the old "conservative v. liberal" battles of the past.  His statement was that we were becoming the denomination known for "being against."  You know, we're against different things.  Therefore, we protest, sign petitions, boycott, etc.

I believe there are things that we must take stands against.  Let me rephrase that.  There are things we need to take stands for.  What do we stand for?  If we don't know, we'll become a people that stand for nothing.

There are some things that we must stay strong on:  inerrancy of the Bible, the deity of God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit,) the Great Commission to share Christ and make disciples, the role of men and women in the church (i.e. We believe it's biblical to only ordain godly men as deacons and pastors,) etc.

As a pastor I am intrigued by how many good, Christian, church folk are confused about the basic doctrines.  Who are you and what do you stand for?  Be wise.  Trust God.  Be discerning.

Why Be Baptized?

Why should a person be baptized?  That's a question I'm asked often.  This coming Sunday, I'm looking to Scripture to answer this question.  I believe baptism is very important.  It's the first testimony that many of us ever give.

We are Baptists, so we obviously deem baptism as important.  Ever wonder why?  Also, have you ever wondered why John the Baptist was baptizing?  Our baptism is a symbol of our new life in Christ.  John was baptizing before Jesus had even begun his earthly ministry.  Obviously, his baptism was different.

Be sure to be here Sunday as we look to God's Word for the answer of "Why be baptized?"

Life. . .Abundant & Full

What an Easter weekend this has been.  We held our first satellite worship service at Orange Park Junior High.  There were about 100 in attendance.  Somewhere around 15 of these folks were coming from the community.  It's exciting to see where God is going to move and how He is going to work through this ministry. 

Our Sunday services were full.  What an energy in the place as we met and worshipped this weekend.

I must say that the worship leaders were excellent this weekend.  Brian and his team led us Saturday and Shelvin with the choir, orchestra and praise team raised the roof Sunday.

Why do we do this?  Because we worship a living Savior.  He's worthy of our praise.  He alone

I Think They're the Same People

Here's today's totally random thought.  Have you ever noticed that country music duo Brooks & Dunn are very similar to 80s pop duo Hall & Oates. 

Large_Brooks and Dunn

Think about it.

  • Both are very successful, award-winning musical duos.
  • Both have one person in the duo that does most of the lead singing.
  • John Oates and Kix Brooks both have dark hair and moustaches.
  • Oates & Brooks both play guitar and when performing just kind of roam around on the stage dancing, playing guitar and occassionally harmonizing.
  • Ronnie Dunn and Darryl Hall are both blond, big-haired, tall men.
  • Dunn and Hall are the lead singers of their respective duos and are considered the ones with the better voices.

I'm sure there are other similarities.  Of course there are differences.  Ones a country music duo and the other is a pop music duo, but the way musical genres cross over nowadays, that's pretty minor.

Didn't know if anyone had ever noticed the similarities before.

Rooting Out Bitterness

I talked Sunday about the dangers of bitterness in a person's life.  It was about four years ago when I was eating lunch with a youth pastor friend of mine from Winter Garden that this discussion about bitterness and the "bitter root" came up.  I discovered that God is very clear when it comes to attitude and allowing bitterness to grow.

Look what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:15:  "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."  There are many "spiritual laws" that apply to us whether we know it or not.  Many of these laws are seen demonstrated as "physical laws."  The "Law of the Harvest"  indicates in the physical realm that you will reap what you sow.  In the spiritual realm, we experience the same thing.  See Galatians 6:7.

Sowing unforgiveness reaps bitterness and the consequence of the sin of bitterness is missing the grace of God in our lives.  Bitterness always results from improperly dealt with hurt in one's life.

All of us have been wounded.  Many of us carry that wound with us throughout our lives.  You may even be a Christian, but there are some who still choose to "live in the wound."  Don't do this.  Give that wound over to God.  Allow Him to enter deep into the wound and heal you.  If you don't, you run the risk of allowing a bitter root to grow.  In so doing, you miss the wonderful life and grace of God.  That's reality.

To understand the wound and how to invite God into it, I recommend you read the following books:

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge (for men)

Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul

Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge (for women)

Captivating : Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

Waking the Dead by John Eldredge (for all)

Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive

Eldredge's books deal with this wound and the lies the Enemy tells God's children.  It's been eye-opening for many and healing as well.

Read the following Bible verses to find how serious God is about forgiving others:  Matthew 6:14-15, Colossians 3:13, Mark 11:25

Remember why Jesus came - to set free the prisoners, give sight to the blind, proclaim the good news.

Good news!  You don't have to remain a prisoner of bitterness and unforgiveness.  He has set you free!  Just believe.