Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Reformation Day!

On what we know as “All Hallow’s Eve, October 31, 1517 Martin Luther wrote a letter
of protest to Albert of Mainz. Cardinal Albert of Brandenburg was Elector and Archbishop of Mainz from 1514 to 1545, and Archbishop of Magdeburg from 1513 to 1545. Luther wrote to protest the sale of indulgences. Enclosed in this letter was a copy of what he called, “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” which we know as “The Ninety-Five Theses.

Luther’s chief complaint was an objection to a jingle that was attributed to Johann Tetzel which said, “As soon as the coin in the coffers rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” Luther believed that forgiveness belonged to God alone and that no one could offer forgiveness especially and even when coupled with the payment. Luther maintained that those who preached that indulgences would absolve the buyer from any and all punishment, and provided salvation were in error. Luther proclaimed that Christians should not cease following Christ for forgiveness on the basis of these “false promises.”

It was on the day before “All Saints Day, October 31 that Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He also sent a hand-written copy to Cardinal Albert who he believed was responsible for the sale of indulgences in Germany.

Two months later, in January of 1518 Luther’s ninety-five thesis was translated by a Christoph von Scheurl from Latin into German. Some think that when Luther’s ninety-five thesis was translated and printed it became the first “controversy” in history promulgated by the printing press.


The Protestant Reformation was born on this day by this act. The Reformation began the religious, political, intellectual, and cultural fractures in Catholic Europe. The Reformation was used of God to use men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and even Henry VIII to challenge papal authority.

 The Reformation questioned the “right” of the Catholic Church to define Christian practices. The greatest tenant of the Reformation was the clarion call for bibles to be translated into the native tongues of God’s people who then could interpret the Word of God for themselves.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Penitence

Penitence. Among Protestants penitence is considered a synonym for repentance, sorrow for sin, and the turning away from it to lead a new life. It should not be confused with penance, a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church that stresses the performance of ecclesiastically prescribed acts to make satisfaction for postbaptismal sins.

Jesus’ message, as well as that of his immediate disciples, was characterized by the call for men to repent (Mark 1:15; 6:12; Luke 10:13). The Greek term metanoeo holds two ideas: “to change one’s mind” and “to regret or feel remorse.” Thus, repentance is one aspect of conversion, the other being faith. Together they form one experience in which a person turns from sin to Christ.

--B. L. Shelley,
Evangelical Dictionary of Theology,

Second Edition, p. 898

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

homoiousios or homoousios



One of the early and fundamental controversies concerning the church occurred in 319 AD when a man named Arius tried to reason through the mystery of the relationship between Jesus and God. Arius came to believe that a unity between God and Jesus could not exist. His conclusion was that Jesus was a “lesser deity” that was called into existence by God.

Athanasius, pastor in Alexandria taught that Jesus was “homoousian” or of the same essence of God. Arius maintained that Jesus was “homoiousios” or of similar essence to God.

The conflict became so heated that the Emperor Constantine (whom I am the 55th grandson – if my sister’s genealogy research is anywhere near accurate) ordered them to settle the argument.

A council was called in 325 AD which we now know as the Nicaea Council. At this council it was determined that Jesus was in fact homoousian, or of the same essence as God. In other words, Jesus claim of being one with the Father was upheld and Jesus was determined to be equal to God bearing the same divine essence.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Who Would Have Thunk It? (Entry #1)

I love the church! One of the many synonyms for the church is "family." Like most families the church has some members that are harder to love than others. At times there are squabbles and problems similar to everyday families.

The church is special! She is unique! The Church is a mirror that reflects the image of the character and nature of God. The church is the Divine plan to display the character of God to the entire universe.

"...to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places..." (Ephesians 3:10, NKJV)

Do you know what this means? God determined that the church with all of its festers and foibles would be the vehicle that He would use to "show off" His grand and majestic character to the angels, both good and bad. Who would have thunk it?


Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Prologue - Part 2


Christian Living in a World of Chaos
A series on the true faith & life of a Christian

The Prologue:  The Reality of the Incarnation
Part 2 * 1 John 1:2

REVIEW

1A  The Encounter by John  (Vs. 1)

       1B  …that which was from beginning 
       2B  …which we have heard 
       3B  …which we have seen 
       4B  …which we have looked upon &                          
            handled

TRUTH FOR TODAY

2A  The Excursion of John  (Vs. 2)

       1B  Eternal life was revealed

             1C  The declaration

             2C  The distinction

       2B  Eternal life was reported

              1C  The Connection


              2C  The Corroboration


              3C  The Connotation  


              4C  The Confirmation

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Wisdom of our God!

D.A. Carson 

D.A. Carson

“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior. ”

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spurgeon's Quick Wit

Hope you like this little "story" as much as I did.

"My mother said to me one day, 'Ah Charles! I often prayed the Lord to make you a Christian, but I never asked that  you might become a Baptist.' I could not resist the temptation to reply, 'Ah, mother! the Lord has answered your prayer with His usual bounty and given you exceeding abundantly above what you asked or thought.'"

excerpt from C. H. Spurgeon 
Autobiography: Volume 1, p. 45

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Reason I am Behind Writing Posts!


Besides preparing messages and putting finishing touches on my preaching plan for the next 24 months, this is what is keeping me busy!

From The Banner of Truth Trust comes this two volume autobiography by Charles Spurgeon. I can't put it down!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

C. H. Spurgeon: The Early Years * Volume 1

We only use the term "Calvinism" for shortness. That doctrine which is called "Calvinism" did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvin himself derived it mainly from the writings of Augustine. Augustine obtained his views, without doubt, through the Holy Spirit of God, from diligent study of the writings of Paul, and Paul received them from the Holy Ghost and from Jesus Christ, the great founder of the Christian Church. We use the term then, not because we impute an extraordinary importance to Calvin's having taught these doctrines. We would be just as willing to call them by any other name, if we could find one which would be better understood, and which on the whole would be as consistent with the fact

"The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again."

—C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do You Save or Squander Time?


Do we, as blood-bought children of God have a biblical view of time? We are familiar with the Paul's admonition to the Ephesian congregation to "Redeem time wisely." Do we really have a deep sense of the value of time? Listen to these quotes I came across this week on this very subject:

"Give me a Christian that counts his time more precious than gold."  (Joseph Alleine)

When a man left his study after interrupting his study by taking up his time, John Cotton was quoted as saying, "I would rather have given this man a handful of money, than have been kept thus long out of my study."

Melancthon when he had an appointment fixed not only the hour but fixed the exact minute so that no time was lost in the appointment.

Seneca was fond of saying, "Time is the only of which it is a virtue to be covetous."

Charles Bridge wrote, "We should be like the miser with his money. saving it [time] with care and spending it with caution."

"Be careful to make a good improvement of precious time." (David Brainerd)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Prologue - Part 1



Christian Living in a World of Chaos
A series on the true faith & life of a Christian

The Prologue:  The Reality of the Incarnation
Part 1 * 1 John 1:1

Introduction

A.   A Profound Prologue
B.    A Powerful Prologue
C.   A Purposeful Prologue

1A  The Encounter by John  (Vs. 1)

       1B  …that which was from beginning


       2B  …which we have heard



       3B  …which we have seen



       4B  …which we have looked upon &                          
            handled

       

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Art of Contentment

A man who has learned the art of contentment is the most contented with any low condition that he has in the world, and yet he cannot be satisfied with the enjoyment of all the world. . . . A little in the world will content a Christian for his passage, but all the world, and ten thousand times more, will not content a Christian for his portion. . . . A soul that is capable of God can be filled with nothing else but God . . . a gracious heart, being enlarged to be capable of God, and enjoying somewhat of him, can be filled by nothing in the world; it must only be God himself.

--Jeremiah Burroughs

Friday, October 18, 2013

How To Begin Your Day

  1. Begin the day by acknowledging your absolute dependence upon God & your need for God.

  1. Begin the day expressing  your thankfulness to God for all that He is and for all that you are in Christ

  1. Begin the day practicing spiritual disciplines:

        --Prayer
        --Study
        --Worship

  1. Begin the day seizing your "extra-time"

        --memorize scripture
        --meditate upon scripture

  1. Begin the day casting all of your care and concern upon the Lord

  1. Begin the day reflecting on the wonder of the cross and the grace of your salvation 

  1. Begin the day making much of your Supreme and Sovereign God for His glory and your good 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Preaching Plan - Part 4

Well, I hope this little series has been both interesting and beneficial. I wished that I could have attended the last session on Sermon Planning. Seeing the emphasis and the presentation gave me great joy.

The next series that I want to exposit to the greatest number of people on Sunday morning is called 

The Soli Deo Gloria Series

I am most excited about this series! My passion is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the glory of God and the good of all people. I want to excite in God's people the desire to delight in God and to desire to make much of God. This series is dedicated to the absolute sovereignty and glory of God.

It begins with an introduction to the glory of God. Most believers never given any consideration to this aspect of God. Then  want to help people see just how important God's glory is to Him with a message called "The Self-Centeredness of God." I want to follow this with approximately five messages on the various aspects of God's sovereignty. Then three messages on how God's grace is disbursed through His sovereignty. Then naturally we need to exegete and exposit the Doctrines of Grace. Every member needs to fully understand the foundational or seminal truths of their salvation.

The next series is the piece de resistance! This is a 50 + message series called:

The Master's Plan for His Assembly

This series contains seven sub-sections. It contains all that I want our people to know about the church and what the church is and what the church is to be while on this earth. I want to teach:

The Anatomy of the Church
The Thesssalonian Model
The Discipline of the Church
Restoring Broken Brothers
The Importance of the Church
Why the Church Needs to Teach Doctrine
The Hope of the Church

I also want to teach the church how to suffer. For the most parts we as believes are wimps. We really do not appreciation trials or tribulation. We seem to want God to be a gentle, gray-haired old gentleman that is indulgent. We want to live in the sweet by and by in the here and now, but the reality is we live in the nasty now and now while we are here and now.

Suffering Saints

This series would include and exposition of 1 Peter, Job, and Habakkuk. I need to develop this in time to come.  However it is important that we learn to maintain faithfulness and joy in the suffering that comes to us in this life.

Well, now you know my preaching plan. I want, as the Lord wills and directed by the Holy Spirit to teach these foundational truths to God's saints on Sunday morning. 

I want to teach Romans, Luke, Acts, and the Epistles on Thursday or Friday nights during the months of September through June.

In addition, one thing I haven't mentioned in regards to corporate life, although it is embedded in these various series, prayer. We of course will have a corporate prayer meeting.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Preaching Plan - Part 3

Well, I only intended on making a comment on my preaching plan. Somehow that comment turned into a 3 part run-on sentence. Let me say a couple of things about my preaching plan, especially since it runs through the end of 2015 at this time. 

First - my plan, although thought out and developed is subject to the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit. He can, and I am sure He will interrupt and/or make changes to my plan as He sees fit based on circumstances, congregational needs, and current events. From time to time I fully expect to "jetison" the POD (the Plan Of the Day) and be superintended to a much greater or needed divine substitute.

Second - my plan, again although thought out and developed is not a "straight-jacket." It is a plan, a guide, a tool, and/or help. I am not "married" to it or inescapably bound to it. If the eventual Council of Elders, congregational needs, or current conditions demand or deem necessary I will deviate or even re-do portions of the plan.

So, having made these observations, please permit me to share with you the design that I have drafted in hopes of:

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you." (Galatians 4:19, Geneva Bible - emphasis mine)

"Whom we preach, admonishing every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect [mature or complete] in Christ Jesus. Whereunto I also labor and strive, according to his working which worketh in me mightily." (Colossians 1:28-29, Geneva Bible - emphasis mine)

"Go therefore, and teach all nations [Kelso, WA] baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, until the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20, Geneva Bible - emphsis mine)

The Magna Carta Series

I want this series to permeate the thinking of each believer that we are not just a casual after thought in God's mind. We as the church have a tremendous role in the eternal plan of God. This series is named The Magna Carta because it is, behind the Bible, the greatest truth we can be motivated by to wage offensive war against the demonic forces of hell as we witness to the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and as we make known and much of the glorious character of our Sovereign God.

In this foundation series we will establish that we, the church have A Great Commander, A Great Commandment, A Great Commission, and A Great Course, and A Great Consumation

The Foundational Series

 I have come to believe that when a pastor goes to a new church he is automatically prejudiced by two potentially lethal assumptions:

  • That the majority of the members are actually saved
  • That the majority of the members understand the gospel

How does he assume these potentially lethal assumptions? He begins preaching and teaching in the wrong area. Most preachers assuming their membership is converted or regenerated emphasize sanctification. Their messages, lessons, studies, and sermons center on the doctrine of sanctification. 

I believe after studying Scripture, and reading about the life and ministry of Lloyd-Jones, a pastor with a new charge should begin with the emphasis on justification. He should begin by laying a solid foundation of what the gospel really is and what effect justification has on the soul of the redeemed.

So, I want to exposit such topics and doctrines as:

  • The Description of Christianity
  • Called to Be Saints
  • The Infinite Gift of God
  • The Foolishness of Unpreparedness
  • The Brevity of Life
  • God Against You!
  • You Must Be Born Again

I do believe only God knows the heart and I cannot determine who is a believer and who is not a believer. But I want to start on solid and common ground. I want believers to know the seriousness, the sanctity, and the satisfaction of salvation.

Lord, willing tomorrow we will look at two more series that I want to teach the entire congregation. Again, because we have the greatest number of members in attendance on Sunday morning, I want to move the book study to Thursday or Friday night and teach these foundational series to the greatest number of people possible.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Preaching Plan - Part 2

I had said yesterday that I was pretty jazzed up about the workshop on developing and utilizing a preaching plan. I also said that I have been using a preaching plan for a couple of decades. 

I first developed a preaching plan while at Surprise Valley Baptist Church in Cedarville, CA. Then I continued to utilize a preaching plan while I spent six years at Mirror Lake Baptist Church in Federal Way, WA. I have for quite some time seen the value of a preaching plan.



  •  First, because I am wired this way - I love details and organization. 
  • Second, I don't like the feeling I had when I finished a sermon, series, or selected book of the bible and didn't know what I was going to  preach/teach next.
I also mentioned the fact that since the seventies, with the rising star of John MacArthur among a few preachers, expository preaching became the "rage." Expository preaching has unfortunately been elevated at times to an idol and a thing that has been worshipped. At varying times and in varying places a church was not considered "Christ-like" if it didn't purport to preach/teach the Scriptures expositorily, verse by verse.

I also covered some problems with the commitment to expository preaching, i. e. most men can't or don't do it correctly. It might not be the full answer to the age old question or problem of how to minister to, motivate, and mature the saints. We have become adept at warehousing believers in a Seminary like setting giving them a great education. Unfortunately this education often leaves them filled with facts but unable to principalize biblical texts in order to make Christ-like decisions.

I promised to share with you an idea that has been fermenting in my mind for awhile. I too, had been "caught up" in the idea that one must preach expositorily to the congregation from books of the bible. Like many men, I would prayerfully and with consultation or counsel choose books of the bible to teach verse by verse, phrase by phrase, and word by word. I have had the privilege of teaching through such books as Genesis, part of Job, Daniel, Acts, Romans, Ephesians, I Peter, and Revelation and more. I have even been able to do an expostional harmony of the gospels.

I chose to do these expostional studies on Sunday Mornings because the greatest number of member attended the morning service. As in most congregations, we would have the largest number Sunday morning, a smaller number on Sunday night, and an even smaller number on Wednesday night. I am not much on a Sunday night service so I was able to eventually discontinue said service. As a result it made sense to make much of Sunday morning and teach through a book.

I have since rethought this philosophy. I think I am going to change my process. First, I do believe that our largest attendance will most likely continue to be on Sunday morning.  Stop and think about this for a minute. If this is the time I have the largest group of believers, how best can I use this time and opportunity?

If I want the church to understand just what the church is and what it is to be, if I want the church to understand foundational doctrines and truths, if I want the church to know how to suffer biblically, if I want the church to be holy, if I want the church to be equipped to the work of the ministry, if I want the church to know how to properly share the gospel, then why don't I teach these things when I have the greatest amount of the church present at one time?

I also came across Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones commentaries on Romans. I love this set of books! (Careful now don't worship them, OK, I am back under control) What a series of studies on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. I noticed two things about this series:
  • He taught the series from October 1st to the end of May each year for several years.
  • He taught this series, this expositional study through a book of the bible on Friday night.
As a result of this encounter and discovery, and the opportunity to think through what I want to accomplish and how I want to accomplish it, I have determined to teach the truths, principals, subjects, concepts, and doctrines on Sunday morning. 

I will then, when we have a sufficient and committed core group developed, begin teaching expository bible studies through various books of the bible, beginning with Romans, on Thursday or Friday nights, probably beginning the second Sunday of September through the last Sunday in June.

Tomorrow in part 3 I will share my plan for achieving my goal of feeding, teaching, and equipping the congregation.

What Do You Think?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Preaching Plan - Part 1



I for one was "jazzed up" over the workshop on Preaching Plans. I love planning, organization, and administration. God wired me this way! I love details. Although it may not totally true, I live by the axiom, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Having had a time in "the desert" these past few years has given me an extraordinary amount of time to read, reflect, review, and request (pray) about three major concerns:

  • My role as a pastor and/or teacher
  • What I want the congregation to learn and practice
  • How do I actually accomplish # 2

Since the early days in which John MacArthur was "discovered" expository preaching has been steadily gaining popularity in the pulpit. Schools and seminaries have developed extensive courses on expository preaching over the last two or three decades. I for one grew up in an organization or fellowship that was basically committed to "three points and a poem." Expository preaching was unheard of at best and was hated at worst.

Today, the majority of so called "fundamental or evangelical" churches advertise the fact that they teach the Scriptures expositorily. Many churches today have taken to teaching books of the Bible on Sunday morning.

I jumped on the band wagon in the late seventies and early eighties when I began preaching regularly. I developed the idea that the only thing a church should do on Sunday morning was teach through a book of the bible in an expositional manner.

Over the last couple of years of my hiatus from pulpit ministry, I have had some time to visit a number of churches. Unfortunately, I mean a n-u-m-b-e-r of churches. Many of these claimed to be committed to expositional teaching and attempted to teach through various books of the bible on Sunday morning.

I have had time to see four major problems with this process:

  • most preachers are really not expositors
  • the majority of messages leave out a key element
  • the average church member has not profited
  • individual believers are not more mature
First, let's give a simple definition of what expository preaching is or at least must include.

Expository preach must first, explain the text by determining the original intent or meaning of the author of the text. An expositor must bridge the cultural, grammatical, geographical, contextual and historical gaps in order to ascertain the original intent of the biblical writer. Second, expository preaching must include the accurate and appropriate application for the twenty-first century listener. In other words, after the text has been clearly explained it must be accurately applied to today's church member.

Second, most men who claim to be expositors really are providing a running commentary on the text. They are at times adept at explaining words, terms, or even events, but many times they fail at arriving at the original intent of the author. They also either fail to make an accurate application or they don't make an application at all. Many men are good "explainers" but they are poor "appliers."

There is nothing I detest more than after hearing a message, the preacher stops and says, "Let's pray." At best I think he is hoping that the Holy Spirit will finish his job and make application for him. A key element of expository preaching is making applicable application and exhortation once the true meaning of the text has been found.

Third, the average church member does not seem to benefit from this approach. We have become adept at warehousing people on Sunday mornings and teaching facts. I think that is the problem. We have taught a lot of facts. The average church member may have a lot of knowledge but they don't know what to do with that knowledge.

Tomorrow I will share with you, Lord willing, a different approach towards teaching the people of God. Stay tune!




Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Bird's Eye View of 1 John



Christian Living in a World of Chaos
A series on the true faith & life of a Christian

A Bird’s Eye View of 1 John
Selected Scripture

1A  The Invitation to Study this letter

        1B  This letter is loved by the church
        2B  This letter is filled with profound truths
        3B  This letter is reflective & practical
        4B  This letter reassures & develops believers
        5B  This letter begs to be studied
        6B  This letter contains fundamental truths
        7B  This letter is a love letter from a Pastor

2A  The Information Stored in this letter

       1B  A crisis had arisen
       2B  False teachers troubled the churches
       3B  These teachers still troubled the churches
       4B  These teachers challenged the character of Christ
      
3A  The Implications Shared by this letter

       1B  No reference to persecution in this letter
       2B  Marked absence of references to comfort
       3B  Real danger is attitude/actions of the saints
        4B  Prevention against deception by false teachers

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

IFCA Fall Regional - Update # 2

The Conference theme was, "A Heart for Ministry." Our featured speaker was Dr. Rick Gregory from the Grace Bible Church in California.


The theme was divided up into four sessions:





  1. Maintaining Integrity
  2. Shepherding the Congregation
  3. Developing Spiritual Leadership
  4. Working with Spiritual Leadership

Because of my time frame and expenses I was only able to attend the second session, Shepherding the Congregation. I have to admit that I enjoyed that session.

I did find presentation rather basic and elementary. You would think that as the majority of pastors (shepherds) attending the conference have been pastors for quite some time that it wouldn't have bee so basic. However, I will be the first to say that basic refresher courses are valuable at times.

Dr. Gregory's main points were,  Pastors...

Remember it is not our flock - it is God's flock.

God purchased the flock with His own blood. Therefore shepherding the flock of God is both a  privilege and a stewardship. A stewardship which I shall one day give an account before God.

Realize the value of the flock - it is God's figure

God deposited His truth in the church. The church is the most valuable entity on earth. The church is God's means for evangelization and edification of sinners and saints. It is God's plan and design to fulfill His eternal decree.

Remember to engage every believer - it is God's family

Not one sheep is worthy of neglect. All of God's children are to be valued. There is no place for favortism in the body of Christ. Some sheep are cute, warm, fuzzy and cuddly and some sheep are not so cute, cold, rough, and not cuddly. But they are to be engaged and benefited by the shepherd.

Resolve to feed the flock - it is God's food 

Dr. Gregory gave a very interesting and appropriate illustration under this point. He shared with us the opportunity he had to observe Border Collies working a flock of sheep in (I think he said) Scotland. He was amazed at how well the border collies took direction from the shepherd and how well they carried out those instructions. As a result he told us two things:

Be a border collie for Christ!

We are to take direction solely from the Christ of the Bible and not from ourselves or any other source. We are to faithful and respond to every signal that God gives us as shepherds.

Don't be a stupid shepherd

He gave us a number of scriptures (Jere 10:21, 23:2; Isaiah 56:4; Ezekiel 34:1 (?) to warn us against being stupid shepherds.

Ripen leadership (the "R word" is mine, Dr. Gregory used invest in leadership) - it is God's future

He rushed through this point, barely touching on it as he was running out of time. He basically suggested that we need to develop leadership within the body in order to carry out all the neccesary functions of the body and to ensure it carries on in the future.

Rear the spirit of shepherding (the "R" word is mine,[as in rear up or rear children] he used cultivate) - it is God's foster-plan

Dr. Gregory told us to:

  • recognize the privilege of ministry - it is God-given
  • rely on the provision of ministry - the Word of God
  • relinquish the perogatives of ministry - take nothing
  • resort to the power of ministry - Prayer
So, we should always through the word, prayer, reliance on the Holy Spirit, seminars, good books, and other God-given resources develop the spirit of true shepherding of God's people. Regardless of being basic I thought it was a good reminder.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

IFCA Fall Regional - Update # 1

I truly enjoyed the portion of the Pacific Northwest Regional of the IFCA that I was able to attend. It is so good to be around fellow pastors. I was refreshed and revitalized!

The conference theme was Shepherding. It is a tremendous responsibility to shepherd the blood-bought people of God. What a privilege!

One of the workshops centered on a preaching plan. Pastors were encouraged to develop a preaching plan for 24-36 months (subject to change by the Holy Spirit.) The information was very good.

I for one have had a preaching plan for years. I believe in them and use them. It is a lot easier than wondering or fretting over what I am going to preach or teach next.

A good preaching plan includes not just what books or topics to preach, but it includes what you want to teach the church. Teaching is intentional. You must have a plan. 

I have a plan. My preaching plan for North Kelso is developed  from October 2013 through the end of 2015. I will continue developing as time goes on.

The first question I had to ask myself was, what do I want to teach, or what do I want North Kelso to learn? I will develop these points in further posts, but for now, here are the main things I want to teach the folks of North Kelso over the next two years or so:

  • Foundation Truths about God 
  • Foundational Truths about who the "church" is 
  • How to Suffer
  • Holiness
  • Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry
  • How to share the gospel
I have four major series planned that includes these various topics and doctrines:
  • The Magna Cater Series
  • The Foundational Series
  • The Soli Deo Gloria Series
  • The Master's Plan for His Assembly Series
  • Suffering for the Savior Series
Naturally all topics, series, and teaching choices are subject to the control and change by the Holy Spirit. However, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Also, as I have said a number of times, if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Don't touch that dial!

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension of not only doctrinal information and truths, but of the unbalanced mind of the owner of this blog; a journey into a wondrous land who boundaries are that of my warped imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Gospel-driven Disciples Twilight zone.

No, there is nothing wrong with your arrival at this blog. Do not attempt to adjust your blog or your good and sensible choice of coming here. Yes, there is no post for today!

Today's post was interrupted due to poor planning on my part. I did not allow enough time to plan today's blog and attend the  Pacific Northwest IFCA Fall Regional in Edgewood, Washington.

Stay tune for posts regarding this particular conference. We will return to our regularly scheduled posts tomorrow. Please join us

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What's A Christian To Do? Part 2

In yesterday's post, we noted that in our opinion, our government is broken. I also noted that "the who or what" that is actually broken can be up for "debate." You might think the politicians are broken or the political system is broken. Some might argue that the Federal Government itself is broken.

We have seen the debt-ceiling, the Federal budget itself, and Obama-care kicked around like the proverbial hot-potato. Each side is blaming the other side for stone-walling any solution to compromise.

It does not take a rocket scientist to postulate two major observations:

  • There is definitely a problem
  • There does not appear to be a solution

One of our major responsibilities both as Christians and as citizens is to pray for our government. We are to pray for those in authority.

"I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and [for] all that are in authority... (1 Timothy 2:1)

So, how or what should we pray? Why should we pray? Let's address the why first and then look at the how or the what.

Why Should We Pray?

  • In order to live a quiet and peaceful life
  • In order to live a life characterized by godliness
  • In order to freely share the gospel
  • In order to use their God-given authority wisely
  • In order to terrorize the bad and reward the good

What Should We Pray?

  • That they may be drawn to Christ
  • That we would be thankful for God's wisdom and provision of government and government officials 
  • That we would trust God as He works out His will through governments and government officials
  • That the glory of God would be revealed
  • That God would use government to pull down strongholds of darkness
  • That God would raise up intercessors for our nation
  • That God would deliver us from government's destruction
  • That God would soften the heart, grant repentance, and through His Holy Spirit give eternal life
You can always use Clement's prayer as an example if you get stumped:

"Thou, Lord and Master, hast given our rulers and governors the power of sovereignty through thine excellent and unspeakable might, that we, knowing the glory and honor which thou has given them, may submit ourselves unto them, in nothing resisting thy will. Grant them, therefore, O Lord, health, peace, concord, stability, that they may administer the government which thou has given them without failure. For thou, O heavenly Master. King of the Ages, givest to sons of men glory and honor and power over all things hat are done upon the earth. Do thou, Lord, direct their counsel according to that which is good and well-pleasing in thy sight, that administering the power which thou hast given them in peace and gentleness with godliness, they may obtain thy favor. O thou, who are able to do these things and things far more exceeding good than these for us, we praise thee through the High Priest and Guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ through whom be the glory and the majesty unto tee both now and for all generations, and for ever and ever. Amen!" (1 Clement 61)





Monday, October 7, 2013

What Is A Christian To Do? Part 1

Unless you have been living under that proverbial rock, you are well aware of the fiasco that the so-called Obama-care has created. Politicians who promised competent and common sense representation are using this "political football" like children in a  play ground to bring the other-side to its knees by way of the Federal Budget.

There is no doubt that are a lot of things broken in Washington D. C. To say this might be stateing not only the obvious but just might be the understatement of the year. The political system is broken, the budget is broken, morality in politics is  broken, and our country suffers. 

The problem is not the broken political system nor the debt ceiling nor even Obama-care. The Human Race is broken. The problem is actually deeper and more serious than being merely broken. The Human Race [apart from those in Christ] is dead in trespasses and sins. Imperfect, fallible, and fallen men/women are sinners, captivated by darkness, and blind to the true light. And they are in charge!

Whose fault is that? Well, one could make the case that those who voted these sinners into positions of authority are to blame. But let's think about it for a moment.

Proverbs 21:1 reads "The King's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever it pleaseth him." (Prov 21:1, Geneva Bible, 1599)

 Never forget that the Lord God Almighty is in charge. He is absolutely Sovereign. He sets up, or places in power and He tears down those in power as He sees fit. 

Nothing takes Him by surprise. There is nothing nor no one who is greater than Him. There is nothing nor no one who can tharwt His divine decree.

God established government

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." (Romans 13:1)

The Duty of Citizens

"...then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21)

"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work." (Titus 3:1)

"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well." (1 Peter 2:13-14)

"Honor all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King." (1 Peter 2:17)

"Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people." (Exodus 22:28)

And if it needs to be said that I am not advocating blind obedience in every and all things that government dictates then you really don't know me or you have no valid argument and have chosen to stand on a slippery slope attacking a straw man. I should not have to say that we as Christians are not obligated to disobey or disregard the revealed commandments of God.

The Command to Pray for Leaders

"I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For Kings, and [for] all that are in authority..." (1 Timothy 2:1)

It is our duty as citizens to pray for those in government. This includes "those on the other-side." It includes those whom we think are amoral, immoral, imbecilic, dishonest, and or partisan.

Tomorrow in part 2, Lord willing, we shall look at those things that we should pray for and how we are to pray for those who are in authority. Lord willing, see ya then!