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Grandpa’s Lap December 8, 2008

Posted by pastorsbc1303 in Theology, Uncategorized.
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Had a visit from the family over the weekend.  The girls enjoyed playing with Grandpa, and also enjoyed a nap together.

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What is the Message of the Church? August 2, 2008

Posted by pastorsbc1303 in Theology.
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This morning I stopped in the local barber shop to get my hair cut. As I was waiting my turn I picked up a copy of today’s Springfield News-Leader. As I flipped through the paper I found an article about a new church that is starting in Springfield. The more I read about this church the more aggravated I became.

According to the article the church is going to focus on social justice. Huh? What? Did I just read that right? Why does a church need to focus on this? Here is a quote from the article:

“And the message will always be an unreserved message of advocacy for peace, social justice and the dignity of all people.”

Now what is the problem? What’s wrong with social justice? Nothing is wrong with it, it just is not the message of the church. The message of the church begins and ends with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as the Gospel. Any other message is really no message at all.

Stories like this should make all of us who stop and think hard about the message of our church. Are we truly focused on the Gospel in everything we do?

What is the message of your church?

You can read the article here: New Church to Focus on Social Justice

Evangelism & Goal Setting June 16, 2008

Posted by pastorsbc1303 in Theology.
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Here is a very good article by Dr. Charles Lawless:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–I am the dean of a school that focuses on missions and evangelism, but evangelism does not always come easy to me. That is surprising to me now, as sharing my faith was quite easy when I was a young believer. In fact, evangelism was never difficult until I became a pastor — when the multiple tasks of ministry seemed to get in the way of evangelism. The more involved I was in leading my church, the less involved I seemed to become in evangelism.

I since have realized that I must intentionally plan evangelism into my life. I have also learned that I am not the only pastor who has to work to keep evangelism at the forefront of his ministry. For me, doing so includes setting personal goals about evangelism.

I am well aware that setting goals for evangelism makes some people nervous. Some will fear that I am suggesting manipulating others into a “decision” for Christ simply to increase numbers. Others may be concerned that I am reducing non-believers to a project to be completed. Some will think that my approach is too man-centered.

None of these concerns is legitimate, in my opinion. I know that God alone saves, and I agree that we must be careful not to manipulate others into a false sense of spiritual security. I also realize that setting goals can lead to impersonal evangelism and a man-centered focus, but I am not convinced that establishing goals automatically leads there.

What I am suggesting is that we must so love God, so believe the Gospel, and so grieve over a lost world that we do whatever it takes to be obedient to the Great Commission. Perhaps the goals I am recommending here will prove helpful to others, particularly as the North American Mission Board calls us to emphasize God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS).

For the remainder of the article:  Evangelism & Goal Setting

The MBC & Acts 29 Controversy December 19, 2007

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 Usually The Cave is a place for fun with some sports, politics, pictures and devotional thoughts.   However, the recent action by the Missouri Baptist Executive Board to stop funding church plants that are affliated with the Acts 29 Network has changed that for a a brief moment. 

I simply cannot believe that the Executive Board of our state convention would take such a step to take away vital funding for church plants that are seeking to reach the lost world for Jesus Christ.  My prayer is that this decision would be overturned either by the Executive Board or by a vote of the Missouri Baptist Convention next fall when it meets in St. Louis. 

For further reading on this subject, I would direct your attention to a well-written article by a fellow Missouri Baptist Pastor David Krueger:  http://shepherdswalk.blogspot.com/

Now we return you to normal activities once again in the Cave, thank you for your time! 

The Morning I Heard the Voice of God March 24, 2007

Posted by pastorsbc1303 in Theology.
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Let me tell you about a most wonderful experience I had early Monday morning, March 19, 2007, a little after six o’clock. God actually spoke to me. There is no doubt that it was God. I heard the words in my head just as clearly as when a memory of a conversation passes across your consciousness. The words were in English, but they had about them an absolutely self-authenticating ring of truth. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God still speaks today. 

To read the rest of the story go to:

The Morning I Heard the Voice of God

Pastor and author John Piper writes this interesting and thought provoking article on his website.  I would encourage you to read it and wrestle with what he shares. 

I have often spent time meditating on this topic of God’s voice and how exactly He speaks.  My mom told me of a very powerful event in her life in which she believed without a shadow of a doubt that she heard audibly the voice of God speak to her and comfort her. 

 I have not experienced this type of audible voice.  However, I do believe that God speaks in many different ways.  First, foremost and above all He speaks through His innerant and infallible Word.  But is that the only way that He speaks today?  As I examine the testimony of Scripture and all the many ways that God used to communicate, I have to answer that question no.  I mean for goodness sakes, He used a donkey!  I have never understood why people want to put God in a box and pretend as if they know exactly how He works. 

 I do not claim to completely understand how God speaks nor do I have a complete handle on all the ways that God speaks.  I do know for certain that God speaks.   My daily hope and prayer is that I am walking in close relationship with Him so that I can hear Him speak to me through His Word and through any other means He deems necessary! 

May we all have ears and a heart that is ready to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9)!

Building Bridges February 20, 2007

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Thom Rainer makes some vital points regarding the state and the future of the SBC…

On Building Bridges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–When my three grown sons were small children, we would often play with a wooden train. Because they were so young, the boys would sometimes construct a track that ended up becoming two separate sections. It was at that point that one of them would request with excitement: “Daddy, build me a bridge.”

And so I would. The train could then run smoothly.

I am a part of a denomination that has many tracks but few bridges. And if we don’t start building some bridges quickly, God’s hand of blessing may move beyond us.

Let me share with you an example of recent days. I spoke last week at the Baptist Identity Conference at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. From an outsider’s perspective, one might conclude that the crowd was likeminded. After all, it was a gathering of mostly Southern Baptists.

But I knew better. Present were five-point Calvinists and others who would not affirm all five points. Also in attendance were cessationists and non-cessationists, people with differing views of women in ministry, bloggers and print-media writers. There were some who thought leaving “Baptist” out of a church’s name was wrong; and there were others had already taken the denominational label out of their church’s name. The views on eschatology held by the attendees were many.

It was a diverse group of Southern Baptists indeed.

I spoke to many people before and after my formal presentation. One person commented to me, “Dr. Rainer, I better leave you before people start wondering why we are speaking with each other.” Admittedly, his comment was meant to be humorous. But it did have a sting of truth in it. The labels had already been applied. The sides had been chosen. And you had better be careful about the side you chose or the people with whom you associated.

I reject that line of thinking.

As far as I knew, everyone at that conference was my brother or sister in Christ. As far as I knew, everyone was a Bible believer. I refuse to let labels keep me from building bridges.

My six years as a seminary student were difficult. Though I met many godly men and women and professors, I also witnessed firsthand much aberrant theology. I was and still am a firm supporter of the Conservative Resurgence. I knew we could not continue down the path we were headed.

But it seems as if we just can’t stop fighting even though the battle for the Bible is over and won.

I understand the risk I am taking by writing these words. But silence is not an option. I must be about building bridges.

Please understand that I have no illusion that my words will start a revolution or that many will listen. But I can only be held accountable before God for my own actions.

I choose to build bridges.

Though I am a fallible and sinful person, I will seek God’s power to stay true to the following:

1. I stand firm on the inerrant Word of God. I support without reservation the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

2. Though I may disagree with some on secondary and tertiary issues, I will not let those points of disagreement tear down bridges of relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ.

3. I will seek to join with those who will work together on the common causes of missions, evangelism and the health of the local church.

4. I will seek God’s will in prayer before I write or speak a word of disagreement against another brother or sister in Christ or even a non-Christian. I will seek to see the plank in my own eye before pointing out the splinter in another person’s eye. I will follow the truths of Matthew 18 when I feel that I need to confront a brother or sister in Christ.

5. I will spend more time rejoicing in the Lord (Philippians 4:4).

6. I will seek God’s power to have a more gentle and Christlike spirit (Philippians 4:5).

7. I will pray that the lost and the unchurched world will know me by my Christlike love.

Such is my commitment.

If God so leads, I invite you to join me in building bridges.

Thank You to Pastor’s Wives November 30, 2006

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Interesting article from Newsweek from a Pastor’s wife. 

Thou Shalt Not Turn Me Into a False Idol

Top 10 Reasons to Be Thankful For What I Don’t Like November 29, 2006

Posted by pastorsbc1303 in Theology.
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John Avant has an interesting list of reasons to be thankful for what he doesn’t like about Southern Baptists:

 10. Though I don’t like the theology of every Southern Baptist, all of our seminaries now uphold the inerrancy of Scripture. Thank you Lord!

9. Though I don’t like everything that some contemporary Southern Baptists do, they are reaching and baptizing many people. Thank you Lord!

8. Though I don’t like everything some traditional Southern Baptists do, they are strongly supportive of the denomination that led me to Jesus. Thank you Lord!

7. Though I don’t like the results of every election we have in SBC life, every leader I have seen elected for years is a solid, Bible-believing man. Thank you Lord!

6. Though I don’t like some of the new music I hear in SBC life, I am learning to sing a new song. Thank you Lord!

5. Though I don’t like singing only hymns, churches that do this are keeping a heritage of God’s great music for our future. Thank you Lord!

4. Though I don’t like some of the fights we have over theology, I am being stretched to grow in my own understanding of the greatness and glory of God. Thank you Lord!

3. Though I don’t like the way many good people in the SBC have been criticized and maligned, God is using these times to bring brokenness and a greater dependence on Him. Thank you Lord!

2. Though I don’t like the many church splits resulting from our fights, in God’s mercy, He uses even this to start new churches that reach many people. Thank you Lord!

1. Though I don’t like it when someone criticizes me personally or even treats me as an enemy, when I respond biblically, I become more like Christ. Thank you Lord!

You can find the entire article here: 

Making Evangelism Good News Again