Saturday, December 30, 2006

Thought I would share some pictures of my family this week.





























Tuesday, December 19, 2006



Pour Thyself Through Me

Spirit of the Living God, pray Thy mind through me.
Nothing less than Spirit-power do I ask of Thee.
Purge me, urge me, guide me, hide me.
Spirit of the living God, pray Thy mind through me.


Power of the eternal God, flow Thy power through me.
Holy, Pentecostal power do I seek of Thee.
Lowly, holy, for Thy glory -
Power of the eternal God, flow Thy power through me.

Mercy of the living God, channel love through me.
Nothing less than Calvary love meets the need for me.
Love that's burning, love that's yearning-
Mercy of the living God, channel love through me.

Grace of God, eternal grace, reach the lost through me.
Tenderness for every race do I ask of Thee.
Love them, lift them, reach them, teach them;
Grace of God, eternal grace, reach the lost through me.

Life of God, eternal life, pour thyself through me.
Nothing less than Thine own life do I ask of Thee.
Life compelling, life that's telling-
Life of God, eternal life, pour thyself though me.

Leonard Ravenhill, taken from Revival, God's Way.

Amen!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED!

Tonight Gina and I watched a few moments of "The year's most fascinating people" hosted by Barbara Walters. Over the years I have watched quite a few of her interviews and rarely found myself agreeing with her conclusions. But tonight was an exception. One of her most fascinating people was Joel Olsteen. Now, I do take exception with her calling him an evangelical. His theology is more akin to the self-help thinking that pervades our American society, than to Biblical doctrine. But in introducing him she said that his preaching is absent of sin, sacrifice and suffering. She even pointed out that many of his critics call his teaching 'Gospel light." She was right on target. He defended his practice of not preaching on social sins such as homosexuality, abortion, and gay marriage by claiming he was not called to address such controversial subjects. That is why I have trouble calling Olsteen an evangelical. Without the Biblical doctrine of sin, the substitutionary death of Christ, and the suffering of Christ and his followers, the Gospel is gutted. Olsten my 'pastor' (using the term loosely) the largest church in America, but his teaching is dangerous. The Church in America is overrun with apostate preachers teaching a so-called prosperity Gospel. Men like Olsteen may gain the accolades of the world, but only the Spirit anointed preaching of the Word of God will gain the Savior's thumbs up!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


WHERE ARE THE PROPHETS OF GOD?

Just this week a pastor friend (Stuart) and I had a conversation that has really spurred my thinking. We were both remembering great preachers that have made an impact in our lives and ministries. Great men of God like Ron Dunn, Manly Beasley, and Stephen Olford quickly came to mind. These men called the Church to repentance, prayer and revival. They preached the Bible without apology or fear. God used these men to shape the lives of countless pastors and laymen. Two thoughts have been banging about in my mind ever since.
First, all pastors owe a debt of gratitude to the Lord for such men as these. They were gifts of God to his Church. Their holiness of life, passion for Christ, love for the Word and humility were tremendous examples of Christ-like ministry. Although I never met Ron Dunn or Manly Beasley, and Dr. Olford only twice; these men were mentors to me. I thank God for them.
Secondly, who will take up their mantles of ministry? Where are the John the Baptists and Isaiahs of the early 21st century? Preaching today is too often a warmed-over version of secular psychology. It is much easier to preach topical messages filled with heart-warming stories designed to make everyone feel good, than it is to exposit scripture word by word and line by line. The Biblical call to repentance and discipleship is being replaced by sermons designed to fill a building rather than convert the heart. The office of pastor and shepherd is being jettisoned for a secular CEO model.
Pastors, its time we step up to the plate and once again deliver solid, Spirit-empowered expositions of truth. As Dr. Olford once stated, "if you commit to expositional preaching you'll never lack for an audience." People may clamor to the latest 'hot' preacher who tickles their itching ears with non-offensive, non-confrontational, and non-Biblical sermons. But they will only be converted, changed, and challenged when a holy man of God, anointed of the Holy Spirit, holding the inerrant and perfect Word of God, preaches that Word in Spirit and Truth.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Thanksgiving post

I can't believe that the holidays are here! It seems the days and months fly by faster with each year. I can't help but remember that the Bible teaches us that our days are like grass or a puff of smoke. We here today and then gone tomorrow. My greatest goal in life is to make the greatest possible impact for the glory of God with the time and talents that God has given to me.

I truly have much to be thankful for. A wonderful wife, the love of my life, and the most beautiful women in the world. Eight great kids. A beautiful home to live in. Food on the table and clothes on my back. I have been blessed with a great church to pastor. The people are so gracious to me and my family. Most of all, I am thankful for the glorious grace of Jesus Christ that has saved a sinner like me. That God could love me is beyond my ability to comprehend. He has blessed me with every blessing in the heavenly places, adopted me into his forever family, and is even now designing a heavenly home for me. On top of all that God has called me to preach the Gospel. There is no greater priviledge given to a man. I am thankful for the men who have mentored me, for the churches that have put up with me, and the friends that have encouraged me.

Thank you God, for a wonderful life!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

PICTURES OF APOSTASY

Jude 12-13
CIT – Jude describes apostates.
Proposition – Christians today must be aware of and avoid apostate teachers
11-08-06wed
First Swartz
INTRODUCTION:
An apostate is one who rejects the truth. It is rebellion or abandonment of the faith.
I) HIDDEN REEFS – THEY ARE DANGEROUS - Vs. 12 – spots in your love feasts
First, what is a love feast? A full meal followed by communion. Believers brought food and shared a meal together. Everyone brought what they could. The churches were house churches at this time, there were no formal buildings such as the one we meet in – these would have been illegal. This was one time in which the people all sat down together and fellowshipped over food. Note: Fellowship meals have been a part of Christian history from the beginning. We joke about his today, but there is a bond of fellowship that can be enjoyed around a meal that is unique.
For some of the slaves and poorer people, this may have been the only decent meal they ever ate.

There was trouble in these meals from the beginning. In Corinth there was division, unfairness between the rich and the poor, and even drunkenness.

“spots in your love feasts” The NAS rightly translates this “hidden reefs in your love feasts.” The noun is commonly used in Greek to describe rocks in the sea, close to the shore. They were mostly submerged, and dangerous to ships.

Apostates often hide in the fellowship of the church or Christian university. Their teaching is like hidden rocks or submerged ice-bergs just waiting to wreck and sink the faith of God’s people. ILLUS: Values class at LC – lead many to embrace a universalistic view of salvation.

A) THEY ARE WITHOUT CONSCIENCE – feast with you without fear – Literally this means without inhibition. They teach false doctrine, divide the church, and destroy the faith of many, without the slightest qualm.
ILLUS: Listening to Jimmy Swaggert yesterday – I don’t agree with him on everything – I did on this. He stated that the most dangerous false teachers are the one who really believed what they teach. Using Health and Wealth preachers as an example. Some know that what they are teaching is bunk. They’re just trying to make a dollar. Others really believe this garbage and they are the most dangerous.

There are people who will rip a church apart, and never lose a moment’s sleep in doing so. Some will do and feel they done the right thing – these are the most dangerous.

B) THEY ARE SELFISH – serving only themselves – Literally they are shepherds shepherding only themselves. They were arrogant. They were there for the food and the prestige.
Ezekiel 34:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? [1]
II) WATERLESS CLOUDS – THEY ARE DECEPTIVE “They are clouds without water.”
The traveler in Syria and Jordan is often exasperated by heavy clouds that promise rain, but bring none. In fact, as they pass they only increase the heat and humidity.

ILLUS: My grandfather was a farmer, and two of his sons became farmers. I worked for one of them. The summer I did it was dry. Every time a cloud passed over that looked promising – he would get his hopes up. Sometimes, it the clouds would go black, the wind would blow, maybe even some lightening, but no rain.

These apostates are just windbags. All heat and no light, all smoke and no fire. They all show and no substance. They promise rain, but they only bring drought.

"WHOEVER FALSELY BOASTS OF GIVING IS
LIKE CLOUDS AND WIND WITHOUT RAIN." (PROV 25:14)

They have no water for thirsty souls, they only pretend to.


The Word of God is often compared to rain and dew.
Deuteronomy 32:2 “Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, As the droplets on the fresh grass And as the showers on the herb. [2]
Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; [3]
ILLUS: I HEARD ABOUT A MAN WHO HAD NOT BEEN TO CHURCH IN A WHILE. HIS PASTOR SAW HIM WALKING DOWN THE STREET ONE DAY, AND HE SAID, "SAM, I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN CHURCH FOR A WHILE." HE SAID, "WELL, YOU KNOW PASTOR, THE LAST SEVERAL SUNDAYS IT'S BEEN RAINING." THE PREACHER SAID, "WELL, IT'S DRY DOWN AT THE CHURCH." THE MAN SAID, "YES, AND THAT'S ANOTHER REASON WHY I DON'T COME."
There are many churches where dry preachers are serving up sawdust sermons to people with parched GodÂ’s people need the clear living water from the Word of God. They need hot bread fresh from the oven of GodÂ’s word.
They are carried about by the wind- they have no sure foundation. They are double-minded.
III) FRUITLESS TREES – THEY ARE DESOLATE – Late Autumn trees without fruit.
Autumn is the time of the year for harvest. The farmer expects fruit, but these trees are dead, they bear no fruit.

One of the evidences of salvation is spiritual fruit. IE – Parable of the soils – Matthew 13:1-9 the good soil, the saved person, appetite fruit. The apostate has no appitite for the Word, no desire to pray, no interest in witnessing. They are no concerned much about their attendance, or their quiet time. They are concerned about power, position, and prestige.

-A true teacher produces fruit in his preaching and teaching. You will not find souls saved by the preaching of the apostate. They do build great churches, they cannot, they are unconverted.

Twice dead – They are spiritually dead in their sins and trespasses, they are also bound to a devil’s hell.

IV) RAGING WAVES – THEY ARE DISOBEDIENT -Vs. 13 image deals with morality.

A) THEY ARE DEPRAVED – unclean and immoral. ILLUS: Walkng along the beach after a storm. All kinds of debri has been tossed up by the sea.
“Scraps of filth and debri collect in the water and foam and spill over on to the shore. In the same way, these false teachers spread everywhere traces of their corruption and impurity.” JND Kelly
B) THEY ARE DRIVEN - Waves are produced by wind. The faster the wind, the longer it blows, and the larger the area in which it blows, the bigger the waves.
They are driven by their restless passions and lusts. Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. [4]
V) WANDERING STARS – THEY ARE DAMNED
Shooting stars, meteors blazing across the sky briefly and then they are gone.
ILLUS: One night coming home from church – spotted a shooting star. It almost made me drive off the road! That is what an apostate is like – here today and gone tomorrow. They leave nothing lasting because it is never built upon truth.
They will therefore be swallowed up into the blackest darkness forever; eternal judgment is certain for them.
These apostates were not unfruitful believers, who would not receive rewards in heaven at the judgment seat of Christ. Instead they were impostors who would be judged according to their evil deeds. [5] “To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” This refers to hell. One symbol of hell is fire, and the other is blackness of darkness. The great emphasis has been placed upon the symbol of fire. Hell is literal, of course, but to say it is literal fire isnÂ’t quite adequate for this reason: there will be spiritual creatures there as well as man—and the worst sins of man are spiritual sins such as unbelief. Therefore, physical punishment wouldnÂ’t be quite adequate. My feeling is that man will wish it were literal fire because it will be so much worse than fire. The other symbol, “blackness of darkness,” is to me far more frightening. And I believe that a lost man carries his darkness with him—not only physical darkness but spiritual darkness.
My feeling is that the horrors of hell will be increased by those who go there. For instance, there is a place on earth called HellÂ’s Kitchen. Is the difference in the kind of real estate that is there? No, the difference is in the people who are there. This, together with the concept of physical darkness, is to me frightful beyond words. If you have ever been down in Carlsbad Caverns when the lights are turned out, you know what real darkness is. IÂ’d hate to be down there forever, my friend! [6]
CONCLUSION:
6. YOU KNOW A SAINT IS TO BE OPPOSITE IN EVERY WAY FROM AN APOSTATE. INSTEAD OF BEING HIDDEN ROCKS, I PET. 2:5 SAYS WE ARE TO BE LIVING STONES. INSTEAD OF BEING WATERLESS CLOUDS, JOHN 7:38 SAYS WE ARE TO BE BUBBLING SPRINGS. INSTEAD OF BEING DEAD TREES, JOHN 15:3 SAYS WE ARE TO BE FRUITFUL BRANCHES. INSTEAD OF BEING RAGING WAVES, IS. 48:18 SAYS WE ARE TO BE PEACEFUL RIVERS. INSTEAD OF BEING DARKENED STARS, DAN. 12:3 SAYS WE ARE TO BE GLISTENING LUMINARIES.
SEVERAL YEARS AGO, GEORGE BUSH SPOKE AT A PRAYER BREAKFAST WHEN HE WAS THE VICE PRESIDENT. HE TOLD OF A TRIP HE TOOK TO RUSSIA TO REPRESENT THE UNITED STATES AT THE FUNERAL OF LEONID BREZHNEV. THE FUNERAL WAS VERY PRECISE, VERY STOIC, EXTREMELY COMMUNISTIC. NO TEARS WERE SHED, NO EMOTION WAS DISPLAYED WITH ONE EXCEPTION. MR. BUSH TOLD HOW BREZHNEV'S WIDOW WAS THE LAST PERSON TO WITNESS THE BODY BEFORE THE COFFIN WAS CLOSED. FOR SEVERAL SECONDS SHE STOOD AT HIS SIDE AND THEN REACHED DOWN AND PERFORMED THE SIGN OF THE CROSS ON HER HUSBAND'S CHEST.
IN THE HOUR OF HER HUSBAND'S DEATH, WITH THE ENTIRE COMMUNISTIC WORLD WATCHING, SHE DID NOT TURN TO LENIN, TO KARL MARX, TO JOSEPH STALIN, OR TO KHRUSHCHEV. INSTEAD SHE TURNED TO A NAZARENE CARPENTER, WHO HAD LIVED 2,000 YEARS AGO, AND WHO SAID, "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD."2

10. SATAN CAN COUNTERFEIT PREACHERS, BUT HE CANNOT COUNTERFEIT THE GOSPEL. HE CAN COUNTERFEIT THEOLOGY, BUT HE CANNOT COUNTERFEIT TRUTH. HE CAN EVEN COUNTERFEIT CHURCHES, BUT HE CANNOT COUNTERFEIT JESUS. FOR HE IS THE REAL THING.







[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA
[2] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA
[3] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA
[4] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA
[5]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Victor Books: Wheaton, IL
[6]McGee, J. V. 1997, c1981. Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.). Thomas Nelson: Nashville

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Excuse me while I open this up!

Just the other day I read an interesting article on birthrates and Baptists. The article states that as the affluence of Southern Baptists goes up, the birth rates go down. Many couples now are opting to wait longer and have fewer children than previous generations. Why? As a father of eight I am probably a little biased on this subject, but it seems we are allowing our culture to dictate how we think about children rather than the Bible. God's Word states that "children are a blessing from the Lord" and "blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Children are not distractions from our careers or hindrances to having fun. Children are God's gift to a family. They ought to be highly prized and valued. Young couples should begin early to have children, not wait until they have "had some time together." Since when have children become a detriment to marriage or intimacy? In reality, children strengthen a marriage. Some couples wait because they want to have more "things" or "toys." Why in the world should we invest in worldly, materialistic junk that will only be destroyed at the day of judgment; when we could be investing ourselves in little souls that will bring glory to God for eternity!

Here's what I think. Christians ought to joyfully, gladly, and worshipfully have a housefull of children - to the glory of and honor of Jesus! Quit letting economics and culture shape our thinking. Let the word of God determine our beliefs - even when it comes to children!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dreamers, Blasphemers, and Schemers

Jude 8-11
CIT – Jude describes the apostates that are infiltrating the church.
10-25-06am
First Swartz
INTRODUCTION:
Dreams can be good or bad –
Think about the sewing machine. Elias Howe had just about given up on the whole project. He just could not decide where to put the eye of the needle. He had a dream one night that he was being lead to execution for failing to design a sewing machine for the king of a strange country.
He was surrounded by guards who carried unusual spears, they were spears that were pierced through the head. He woke up, realizing instantly that this was the solution to his problem. By morning he had completed the design of the first sewing machine.

Another dream – this one was disturbing. Just a week before he was assassinated, Abraham Lincoln had a dream that he was walking through a silent white house toward the sound of someone sobbing. When he entered the east room he was confronted by the sight of a coffin covered in black. He asked the guard on duty there who was dead, and the soldier said, “The president of the United States.”

We read tonight about some dreamers – very dangerous dreamers. Apostates and false prophets who were infiltrating the church. Notice what Jude says about them.

I) THEY WERE DREAMERS – vs. 8
“likewise” In spite of the three examples of apostasy mentioned in vs. 5-7, they persist in their sin. In spite of the warnings and the destruction of those who turned from God, they persist.

These dreamers – KJV – filthy dreamers or dirty dreamers.
These false prophets claimed prophetic revelations. They claimed that God spoke to them in their dreams. They claimed that these dreams were reliable and trustworthy.

God has spoken at times through dreams –
OT – Joel 2:28 –
NT Matthew 1:20 – God spoke to Joseph in a dream.

Most often this refers to false prophets.
Jer. 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in my name, saying “I had a dream, I had a dream.”

“a confused state of the soul or abnormal imagination, producing delusions and sensual confusion. These men’s minds were numb to the truth. . . they fantasized wicked perversions, being blind and deaf to reality and truth. Perhaps they falsely claimed these dreams were from God.”
J. McArthur

APOSTATES ARE DREAMERS WHO CONJURE UP THEIR OWN THEOLOGY. THEY JUST DREAM UP WHAT THEY BELIEVE. THEIR THEOLOGY IS JUST A FIGMENT OF THEIR IMAGINATION. THEY BASE WHAT THEY BELIEVE ON
SUBJECTIVE OPINION RATHER THAN OBJECTIVE REVELATION.
IN OTHER WORDS, THEY BASE WHAT THEY BELIEVE ON WHAT
THEY THINK, RATHER THAN WHAT GOD SAYS.- James Merritt.

The end result of their apostasy is alarming. Jude lists three.
A) THEY DEFILE THEIR FLESH – Literally they pollute their own bodies. Perhaps in their dreams they believed that God was telling them it was okay to commit sexual sins. The word describes an infection or a contamination. They are unclean because of their sin. They claim to know God, yet they live ungodly and immoral lives.

The apostate kills his conscience. He sins so often that he no longer feels any guilt or conviction. ILLUS: David Berg the founder of the family or the Children of God – Many of his beliefs sound biblical. Until you get to this - . IL In a lengthy and sexually explicit series of missives claiming that God had now sanctified extra-marital sex and prostitution as long as they were "done in love" and "for the glory of God."

They become unfit for worship and for service.
They become dangerous to those around them. They become deviant and warped – sin leading to sin.

B) THEY REJECT SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY – This authority is the authority of Christ. They reject the inspiration and the inerrancy of Scripture. ILLUS: Baptist college president who stated that calling the Bible infallible is wrong.
LISTEN AGAIN TO WHAT THIS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT SAYS ABOUT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST: "THE VIRGIN BIRTH IS MORE TRUTH THAN FACT. FACTS ARE HISTORICAL AND MUNDANE. TRUTH TRANSCENDS THE AGES...ITS STATUS AS AN ACTUAL HISTORICAL FACT IS
UNIMPORTANT.
LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT THE DEATH OF CHRIST: "JESUS DID NOT DIE TO SATISFY SOME
ABSTRACT PENALTY FOR SIN. GOD IS NOT A BOOKKEEPER. JESUS DIED BECAUSE PEOPLE CHOSE TO KILL HIM.
LISTEN TO WHAT THIS MAN SAID ABOUT THE SALVATION OF CHRIST: "JESUS DID NOT COME
TO TELL US HOW TO BE SAVED. JESUS CAME TO TELL US THAT WE ARE SAVED." – Quoted from James Merrit – originally from KIRBY GODSEY, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT GOD, LET'S BE HONEST (MACON, GEORGIA: SMYTH & HELWYS PUBLISHING INC., 1996), PP. 50, 51, 53.
C) THEY REVILE HEAVENLY DIGNITARIES – They are irreverent of spiritual powers and speak evil of angels.
Vs. 9 is very difficult –it seems to have been taken from a Jewish writing called the Assumption of Moses. Moses died on Mt. Nebo and Deut. 34:5-6 says that God buried him and no one knows the place. The Assumption states that God sent the archangel Michael to bury Moses. Satan argued with him saying the body belonged to him. Apparently he wanted it for some diabolical purpose. Michael did not accuse him, but said –“let the Lord rebuke you.”
Michael, through powerful and authoritative did not dispute with Satan.
What about these documents? Jude was inspired by the Holy Spirit. What he quotes is inerrant and inspired.
However, these apostates have no respect for spiritual realities. Today’s apostates do not even believe in Satan. They scoff at the idea of angels and demons. ILLUS: Professor in class– Did not believe in a personal devil.
II) THEY ARE BLASPHEMERS – VS. 10
To speak evil is to blaspheme – to speak irreverently.
A) THEY CRITICIZE WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW - What they do not know. These apostates claim to know God, claim to understand the Bible, but in reality they are ignorant. They are theological egg-heads. They arrogant, but ignorant.
Why? They are spiritually blind. They claim to be saved, but in reality they are lost.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. [1]
ILLUS: One of the reasons the Pharisees had so much trouble with Jesus was that they just did not get it. They could not understand his teaching or believe it. They were spiritually blind. They did not believe in Jesus, would not believe in Jesus. Although they claimed to be teachers and theologians – they lacked spiritual understanding.
B) THEY ARE CORRUPTED BY WHAT THEY DO KNOW – They operate in the natural, there is nothing spiritual about them. They claim to be spiritual, but they are not. They are like unreasoning animals.
They are like two legged idiots. They will destroy themselves. It might be by drinking poison Koolaid in the jungle, or in a hail of bullets and fire in Texas. But apostates will corrupt themselves.
III) THEY ARE SCHEMERS – vs. 11
Jude now describes the ways of an apostates – they are dreamers – false dreamers, they are blasphemers, but also they are schemers!
“Woe to them” Severe Judgment is on the way.
A) CAIN – FALSE RELIGION – He openly rebelled against God’s will. Gen. 4:1-15 – He added to his rebellion as air of religion.
Think about those two offerings – there was really only one difference – the blood. The Bible states that without blood there is no remission or forgiveness of sin. Cain rejected that. He had no altar, no blood. He brought what he had planted, what he had produced. He brought his own good works.
We are not saved by works, lest any man should boast. There are only two ways to approach God – the way of Cain – in your own good works – which leads to death and Hell. Or the way of the cross – relying on the death of Christ for our sins – this leads to eternal life. There is a movement today away from the cross of Christ. It is a demonic scheme – those who promote it are apostates!
B) BAALAM – DECIETFUL RICHES – The story is found in Numbers 22-25 . The King of Moab brings in Baalam, offers to pay him if He will curse the Israelites. He cannot, so he comes up with an even more diabolical scheme. He plans a feast and brings in all the prettiest of the Moabite women. He tells the King that if he can get the Israelites to commit fornication with the Moabite women – God will kill. It works and God kills 40,000 in a plague. All because of a bought and paid for prophet.
Apostates are driven by money and greed. Watch out for these TV preachers and their prayer cloths and books. They want your money to finance their millionaire lifestyles. Watch out for preachers who won’t preach the truth because they don’t want to offend or lose their jobs. The only preacher worth his salt is the man who will stand and preach the truth no matter what the cost. If a man won’t preach for free – he ought not to preach at all. I believe that a church ought to pay its staff well – Timothy states they are worthy of double honor. But that staff better not ever do or not do something just because they are paid!
C) KORAH – REBELLION – They rebelled against the God- give authority of Moses and Aaron. Apostates will always rebel against the truth and against authority.
CONCLUSION:
HE WAS OBSESSED WITH JESUS, SO MUCH SO THAT HE FINALLY CLAIMED THAT HE HIMSELF WAS THE MESSIAH. WHENEVER SOMEONE WOULD JOIN HIS GROUP THEY WERE RELIEVED OF THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS AND PERSONAL POSSESSIONS. WHILE THE MEN WERE FORCED INTO CELIBACY, HE TOOK THEIR WIVES AND DAUGHTERS AS HIS CONCUBINES. HE CLAIMED TO BE JESUS CHRIST IN SINFUL FORM. HE DEFIED AUTHORITY, DEFILED THE FLESH, SPOKE AGAINST SPIRITUAL GLORIES. HE EVEN SAID THAT HE WAS MORE VIRTUOUS THAN THE FIRST MESSIAH, AND ONE OF HIS FAVORITE SAYINGS WAS, "WHAT BETTER SINNER CAN KNOW A SINNER THAN A GODLY SINNER?" WHILE EVERY ONE ELSE HAD TO WALK, HE DROVE A BEAUTIFUL BLACK CAMARO. AT LENGTHY SESSIONS OF BIBLICAL PREACHING, THAT EMBERS WERE REQUIRED TO ATTEND TWICE A DAY, HE UNDERLINED HIS AUTHORITY BY IMPRESSING UPON THEM THAT HE ALONE UNDERSTOOD THE SCRIPTURES. HE BEDDED THE WIVES AND DAUGHTERS OF THE MEN, SOME AS YOUNG AS ELEVEN YEARS OF AGE, AND DIED IN AN EXPLOSIVE FIRE AND A HAIL OF BULLETS. HIS NAME: DAVID KORESH. HE WAS A DREAMER, BLASPHEMER AND A SCHEMER- IF YOU DENY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND REFUSE TO GIVE YOUR HEART AND LIFE TO HIM, YOUR DESTINIY WILL BE THE SAME.
:


[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The past few months have left me with no time to sit down and blog. I’ve been in Russia for a mission trip, working hard at preaching and leading the church, and neck deep in family affairs. My goal is to blog at least once a week, but with eight kids and a busy church, that can be daunting task!

I’ve been reading an excellent book by Derek Prime and Alister Begg entitled On Being a Pastor. Over the years I’ve read quite a few good books on pastoral ministry, but few that equaled this one. On Being a Pastor is a wonderful mix of pastoral theology and practical application. Perhaps the best chapter is chapter three titled, the Goals and priorities of pastoral ministry. The thrust of the chapter is that the Church is first and foremost Christ’s church. He owns the church by right of creation and redemption. Therefore success must be measured by God’s standard, which of course, is Scripture. This is a much needed correction in our day of church growth conferences and strategies. Pastors must measure success by church health, not necessarily attendance. Don’t get wrong, numbers are meaningful. Each number represents a soul. But what we do with the number of people that God entrusts us with is the measure of success. The authors provide six goals or priorities for pastor who intends to be faithful to God’s calling on his life.

First he must feed the flock. Through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God every pastor is called by God to provide solid Biblical nourishment for the congregation. Second, he must preach the whole counsel of God by faithfully expounding Scripture in its fullness. Both the Old and New Testaments provide truth that our people need in order to be healthy. Third our goal is to present everyone perfect in Christ. What matters most is not the number of people sitting in our pews, but the character and maturity of those people. Fourth, preachers are to prepare God’s people for works of service. Good preaching equips folk for the work of the ministry. No member should be left behind as we help them find and utilize their giftedness. Fifth, we must equip people to be fishers of men. A church that is zealous for God’s glory is zealous for evangelism. Every church should provide its members with training in evangelism. Finally, pastors are to keep watch over themselves and their people. The pastor must guard his own life and keep careful watch for false teaching and unrepentant sin. God help all pastors to be faithful to his goals and priorities.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Simple Church

I'm reading a book by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger called "Simple Church." It's really gotten me to thinking. The gist of the book is that churches need to simply their ministries in order to effectively do what God has called us to do. Our job? Simple, make disciples.

How are measuring up to this task at FBC Swartz? To be honest, we could do a lot better. A disciple is someone who walks in the footsteps of Christ. Discipleship means to live a life of obedience and devotion to the Lord. However, all the stuff we do at church has a tendency to get in the way of simply being disciples and developing disciples. Honestly, I'm afraid we create workaholic Christians. People who are so busy serving on committees and attending events that actually growing in grace and sharing Jesus with others gets put on the back burner. Numbers, buildings, and budgets get the lion shares of our efforts, when Christ is much more concerned with the quality of the people we are building.

As pastor I'm guilty of getting my priorities out of wack. I find I have little time to develop relationships with lost people in order to share Christ with them. I have spent too much time in meetings and planning the next event to spend quality time discipling myself, my family, and the church that God has charged me with. Having said all that, I find that my burden for discipling people is increasing every day as I study the Word, prepare messages for God's people and pray.

So what do we do? We have to clarify our mission. Get it in our minds that we are here to develop devoted disciples, and then get on with the business of simply doing it. My next few posts are going to center on the Lord's call to discipleship, what a disciple looks like, and how we as a Church are to develop people into fully devoted followers of Christ. This won't solve everything, but it will make for a good start in simplifying in order to be obedient.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

What I'm reading -

In case you every wonder what kind of books I'm currently reading I plan to list them every month or so. You might want to check out a few of these books.
FYI - I like to have several books going at once. This helps broaden my reading and fights off boredom in case I get into a book that I really feel I need to read, but don't really enjoy reading that much.

Jonathan Edwards, a new biography by Iain H. Murray. Highly recommended. A good read.

9 Marks of a healthy church by Mark Dever. One of the best books on Church life I've ever read. While we may not come to the same conclusions on every matter, this book is top shelf.

Above all Earthly Pow'rs by David F. Wells - Excellent book, a times it can be hard to read. This is one of those books that I need to read, but just haven't enjoyed as much as others. Still, all in all, I recommend this to anyone wanting a solid evangelical perspective on postmodernism.

An Unstoppable Force by Erwin Raphael McManus - This book has some good thoughts.

Finally, The Sigma protocol by Robert Ludlum - A great novel by the master of espionage novels. The language is a little too salty for my taste at times, but the plot and stoyline are the work of a master novelist.

What I'm studying in the Scriptures - Still reading through the Bible in a year. Also, doing some serious study on the New man/Old man theme in Paul's epistles.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Labels and Name Calling

I've noticed over the past few months that many folks want to put a 'label' on me theologically. They want to know if I'm conservative (I am), if I am an inerrantist (I am), if I am an expositor (definitely), or if I am a Calvinist. The first three are easy. Each represents a specific theological position that is understood by most people. But it seems everybody has their own definition of Calvinist. What the person asking the question means may be different than what I mean when I answer. So, I always ask "What do you mean by Calvinist?

If you are asking if I hold to the five points of Calvinism, then the answer is no. I am not a five-point Calvinist. If you are asking if I believe that God is absolutely sovereign and rules over the affairs of this universe, then my answer is yes. I believe that. Do I believe that God arbitrarily picked some to save and damned others to hell, then no I don't believe that. If you are asking if I believe that humanity is hopelessly lost in sin, needing a savior, and that God must draw them to Christ before they can be saved, then yes I believe that. Do I believe that the atonement is so limited that Christ's death was solely for the sake of the elect, no I do not believe that. Do I believe that Christ died for the sins of the world, that his atonement was sufficient for all, but only effectual to those who received him by faith, yes I believe that. Do I believe that election simply means that God knew in advance who would be saved, no I do not believe that. Do I believe that election is God's sovereign display of His glory whereby he regenerates, justifies, and sanctified, and glorifies sinners, but is in no way inconsistent with the free agency of man, O yes I believe that.
Do I believe that all true believers endure to the end? You bet I do.

Some people have claimed that my theology is a hodge-podge. I disagree. I believe it is Biblical. I preach and hold to the truth that God is sovereign, not man. Yet, the Bible is clear that our choice about salvation matters. I like what Macarthur stated about election and human responsibility. They are like twin tracks on a railroad. They run side by side throughout eternity.

Finally, I am not a big "systems" man. My goal is to have a Biblical theology. That, friend, is why I do label myself a Baptist, not a Calvinist or a covenant theological or a dispensationalist - I am Baptist. To me that simply means "Biblical.

Collin

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Theological Clarity and expository preaching

One of my great concerns in preaching is to present the truths of Scripture in a clear and accurate manner. I cannot say that I always succeed. But theologically "fuzzy" sermons often do more harm than good. Here are some thoughts on theological clarity in preaching.

1) Preach expositonally. Topical preaching does have its place. I usually preach one or two topical sermons a year (and then immediately repent!) However, there is a great danger of imposing our own presuppositions on to the texts of Scripture. Of course, I am referring to topical preaching that actually uses Scripture in a responsible manner! Exposition forces the preacher to take into account the context of the passage and its place in redemptive revelation.

2) Don't shy away from theological language. God's people need to hear and learn words like justification, substitution, propitiation, and sanctification. There is a danger to avoiding the "language of Zion" in preaching. The pastor becomes a "communicator", or "facilitator", rather than a preacher of God's Word. If we are not careful our preaching can become so caught up in modern vernacular that doctrine becomes weak and tepid. We must take great care to explain and apply these words and the great doctrines they describe in such a way that our people grasp the glorious truths that have been entrusted to the Church through Scripture.

3) Work hard at application- I once read a paper by Haddon Robinson on preaching which stated that more heresy is preached during the application of a sermon than at any other time. Apply the meaning of the text. Don't say more than Scripture says, or less! Application is necessary. But be careful.

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Living between Eternities

Just the other night Gina and I were watching "Broken Trail," a western on the AMC channel. During the show the two leading cowboys had to perform a funeral for a young oriental girl. The main character's words caught my interest. He said, "We live between eternities." I told my wife, that would make a great sermon illustration. Now, I don't want anyone to think that I believe in some kind of pre-existence. We live this life only once, and then we face judgment. The reality is that we only have a little while. I Peter states that we are like grass, green today and gone tomorrow! James tells us that our lives are like a puff of steam or a cloud that quickly disappears in the heat of the sun. All of us will die, and most of us will die sooner than we realized or even wanted to!

So we must live our lives in view of eternity. What awaits us is far greater than what we experience today. Yet, how we live today can have a profound impact upon the eternal. Refusing to accept Christ as Lord and Savior is short-sited and deadly. Failing to live fully for Christ will be a cause for shame and loss at the Judgment seat. Our lives are quickly passing us by. Let us all live for his glory!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Here's something I keep in my sermon folder, and that I read over just before I preach (usually during the special music, sorry Gary!).

IMPACT PREACHING

Always preach to make an eternal IMPACT!

I - I preach an Inspired Text
2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
16alll Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every
good work.

M - I preach to Magnify Christ
1 Corinthians 1:23 (NKJV)
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and
to the Greeks foolishness,

P - I must preach from a Pure heart
Psalm 24:3-4 (NKJV)
Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord? He who has clean hands
and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn
deceitfully.

A - I must preach under the Anointing of the Spirit
Ephesians 5:17-18 (NKJV)
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the
Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but
be filled with the Spirit,

C - I must preach with a Crucified Life
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but
Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

T - I must preach Trusting God for the Results
Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not
return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall
prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Preach as a dying man to dying men! Preach as if this were the last sermon
I will ever preach, because it just might be!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Every good blog needs some Spurgeon. So, I blatantly pulled this off the pyro-maniacs site.
Really, this is great. We need to hear a little more about the wrath of God from time to time.

IF THE SINNER turn not, God will whet his sword." So, then, God has a sword, and he will punish man on account of his iniquity. This evil generation hath laboured to take away from God the sword of his justice; they have endeavoured to prove themselves that God will "clear the guilty," and will by no means "punish iniquity, transgression and sin." Two hundred years ago the predominant strain of the pulpit was one of terror: it was like Mount Sinai, it thundered forth the dreadful wrath of God, and from the lips of a Baxter or a Bunyan, you heard most terrible sermons, full to the brim with warnings of judgment to come. Perhaps some of the Puritanic fathers may have gone too far, and have given too great a prominence to the terrors of the Lord in their ministry: but the age in which we live has sought to forget those terrors altogether, and if we dare to tell men that God will punish them for their sins, it is charged upon us that want to bully them into religion, and if we faithfully and honestly tell our hearers that sin must bring after it certain destruction, it is said that we are attempting to frighten them into goodness. Now we care not what men mockingly impute to us; we feel it our duty, when men sin, to tell them they shall be punished, and so long as the world will not give up its sin we feel we must not cease our warnings. But the cry of the age is, that God is merciful, that God is love. Ay; who said he was not? But remember, it is equally true, God is just, severely and inflexibly just. He were not God, if he were not just; he could not be merciful if he were not just, for punishment of the wicked is demanded by the highest mercy to the rest of mankind. Rest assured, however, that he is just, and that the words I am about to read you from God's Word are true—"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God;' "God is angry with the wicked every day;" "If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors." Forsooth, because this age is wicked it is to have no hell; and because it is hypocritical it would have but feigned punishment. This doctrine is so prevalent as to make even the ministers of the gospel flinch from their duty in declaring the day of wrath. How few there are who will solemnly tell us of the judgment to come. They preach of God's love and mercy as they ought to do, and as God has commanded them; but of what avail is it to preach mercy unless they preach also the doom of the wicked? And how shall we hope to effect the purpose of preaching unless we warn men that if they "turn not, he will whet his sword?"

I want to preach like this when I grow up.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Christ in me - the hope of glory

I spent the day preparing Sunday's sermon on Colossians 1:24-29. Paul's main thrust in this passage is that the presence of Christ in the lives of God's people is a mystery that was only revealed in this present age or dispensation. It's easy for great doctrines like this one to pass over our heads. We're so used to speaking of "Jesus in my heart" that we miss how massive this thought was to Paul and the early Christians. Christ, the Lord of glory, the creator of the universe, the sustainor of all things, the savior of the world through is death on the cross, actually takes up residence in the hearts of his people. Wow!

Collin

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Power in the Pulpit.

Paul wrote in the opening of the first epistle to the Thessalonians that the Gospel came to them with power. Apparently there was something about the preaching of the apostle Paul that made an impact. People's lives were changed, eternity was altered all because of the preaching of the Gospel.
Yet, so many times I feel that my preaching is rather tepid, dry, and dead. What was the difference? I preach expositionally. At the moment I am moving vs. by vs. through the book of Colossians. We didn't even stop for Mother's Day! But still, Sunday felt dry. Where is the power that Paul spoke of in his preaching.
Could it be that such power has ceased today? I don't think so. The Word of God is still as powerful, as fresh, and as relevant as ever. The problem I think is two-fold. One, too many of us are relying on feelings and equating that with unction and the filling of the Spirit. I don't want to advocate some cold and intellectual approach to preaching. Preaching the word demands passion. How can we present the love story of the Gospel with cold hearts? Yet, sometimes I don't feel much when I preach. It seems that in times of dryness and coldness we have to preach in faith. Faith that God honors his Word. Faith that preaching is God's means of evangelizing the world. Faith that his word will not return void, but will bear fruit and multiply - regardless of how I feel as I preach. Power in the pulpit is not an emotional delivery, or even "getting under a burden" to preach. Power in the pulpit is the sovereign work of God through the inerrant Word of God. It's interesting that some of the most fruitful services are those that really didn't seem to be "on" to me. Yet, the Gospel goes out in power, and lives are changed.

On the other hand, dryness can also be a sign of sin or prayerlessness. The only antidote to that is repentance.

Collin

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The rule of Scripture

Something has been on my mind lately. ( I know that's hard to believe!) I've been wondering just what is the place of scripture in the life of the 21st century church. Most of us would respond that the Bible is the authority of the Church, the life of the Church, the one true source of doctrine for the church; for most of us, we would say all the right things. But do our actions live up to our words? If Scripture is inspired and inerrent should it not rule how the church conducts itself? The whole issue of Church polity comes to mind. Where in scripture do we find the concept of a 'business meeting?' Especially one where the most carnal and unfaithful members of the church have the same voting power as the most godly and Spirit-filled. It seems evident to me that New Testament churches were governed not by the whims of the congregation, but by a group of faithful elders. Granted, there were issues that were decided by the congregation, the election of the first deacons in Acts 6 is a good example. Issues such as an annual budget, called staff, debt, or buildings probably should be handled in a large forum, with congregational input. Yet, the daily business of the church would best be handled by a godly group of elders. The elders would be charged with keeping the church doctrinally faithful, spiritually revived, and morally pure through the careful and biblical administration of church discipline.
However, mentioning elder governance in a Baptist church is almost grounds for dismissal! I go back to my original question. What happened to the rule of Scripture? Elders and elder rule are clearly taught, but we don't practice it. My opinion is that we love tradition more than we do scriptural clarity. As a Baptist pastor, the most frustrating aspect of ministry is our tendency to treat the Bible like an all you can eat buffet at Ryan's. We'll take a little of this, and some of that please, but no, not that - I don't care for any of that! I think it's high time for us to get back to the Bible!
Okay, I'll get off my soap-box now!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Together for the Gospel Conference

Beginning this Wed. I have had the privilege of attending the T4G Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. In fact, I'm writing this post from a coffee shop just outside of the conference. I will write in depth about what I've learned in the coming weeks; but let me say now that this is by far the best conference I have ever attended. Why? Because this is not another conference on methodology. I'm weary of how-to, copy-me conferences by the latest fad church. More often than not those conferences leave me discouraged and disappointed. Discouraged because so little of what they give is applicable in my church and disappointed because so much of it is built on such poor theology. This conference has been about one thing - the Gospel. Can you believer it? A entire conference whose aim is to promote good theology! What is even more encouraging are the people I have met here. There are very few gray heads at this conference! Young men in their 20's and early 30's make up the bulk of those attending. However, I am somewhat disappointed that I have met so few Southern Baptists.

My favorite speaker so far would have to be RC Sproul. However, my time is up. I have to get to the next session. In the coming weeks I'll give you an outline of some of the good stuff we have learned!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Biblical Incorporation

What is the purpose of expository preaching? Is it simply knowledge of Scripture? Certainly knowing facts and truths about the Word is good, and is one of the results of exposition, but it is not the goal of biblical preaching. Is the purpose of preaching church growth? We would hope that our congregations would grow as we expound the truth, but the goal of biblical preaching is not numerical. Well, surely the purpose of Biblical preaching is evangelism. Without a doubt, one of the results of preaching the Word is that the lost will be saved. However, evangelism is the not the ONLY purpose of Gospel preaching. So what is it?

The purpose of expository preaching is that God might be glorified through the incorporation of Biblical truth. Biblical expositon strives, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, to encourage the listener to not only hear the truth, but to believe the truth, act upon the truth and to incorporate the truth into every aspect of life. In this sense, expositon is a very invasive method of preaching. It touches every part of a person's life. Biblical exposition will produce evangelism, it will also produce Christians who are radically in love with Jesus. That, really is what it's all about, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Is Expository preaching really a need?

Yesterday I read an article by Preaching magazine endorsing what the author called "topical exposition." In effect, he found verse by verse expositional preaching to be lacking in his own personal experience. Specifically he noted that such areas of doctrine as baptism, the Lord's supper, etc. need to be treated topically, or the congregation will suffer. His definition of topical exposition is, well, just topical preaching with a new name. Understand, I have no real problem with the occasional topical sermon, in fact I preach one every now and then myself (and then repent, immediately!). But a steady diet of topical messages will not develop a healthy church. Christians need to be exposed to the Word in its context. They need to understand the apostle's argument in the epistles as he moves from one paragraph to another. They need to grasp the larger themes of the NT books and how each paragraph and sentence fits into those themes.

Much of the superficiality and ineffectiveness of the modern (or postmodern if you wish) church can be blamed on the weak topical talks that pass for preaching. Most pastors justify this approach by claiming they are meeting the felt needs of the people. That if we can meet those needs then we can bring them to faith in Christ. I commend any effort to bring lost people to Christ. It's just that preaching to felt needs is to miss the mark. People who are lost, and even carnal Christians, have a convoluted understanding of what their needs truly are. They think their problems lie in their marriages, their jobs, their finances, or whatever; but in reality what they need is repentance and forgiveness. Preaching the Word of God in its context, line by line and verse by verse exposes our real problems and dispenses real help from the Gospel. Much of the amateur psychology that passes for preaching today is like putting a bandaide on a gunshot wound. It just doesn't help.

I hope that pastors will reclaim our grand duty to preach the Word. This involves a tremendous amount of hard work, prayer, and personal holiness; but it is the hope of the Word.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Influencing the Future

About 6 months ago God called home Dr. Dana Mathewson. Dana was without a doubt one of the most profound influences of my life. Dana was a man who loved God passionately. He was man of integrity, honor and joy. Everytime I talked with Dana I spent half of the conversation laughing. And you know what, that was exactly what I needed. The kingdom of God needs a lot more men like Dana. Men who take the time to influence younger men, guide them in ministry and their relationship to the Lord.
Dana now resides in glory. I cannot begin to imagine the joy and the fellowship he experiences with Christ right now. Just thinking of it makes me long for the serious pleasures of heaven. And to think that my friend is there, now - well - Wow! That's all I know to say. Dana's presence in glory adds another voice to the great cloud of witnesses that spurs me on to be faithful to Christ.
I also know that God is sovereign and put Dana Mathewson in my life at just the time he did for a reason. Dana influenced the future through me and many other young men just like me.
Isn't that what Paul meant when he commanded Timothy to pass along the faith to others who would be faithful to do the same. Dana's life and example challenges me to impact the future by influencing others. Some of you should do the same. First Swartz needs leadership, across the board we need leadership. Why not contribute to the solution of this problem by mentoring a young Christian? You never know what God can do with someone like you!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


A FULL QUIVER!

Here are few more Pictures of Steven Austin Wimberly, the six million dollar baby! Next is Daniel (13) and Steven, and finally, Seth, Leah Carrie, and Steven.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they will not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Blessing of God's Providence

Sorry that I have not posted in a few weeks. Gina and I are trying to get a handle on having eight children. I honestly never imagined that I would be father to eight kids. God is always jumping into life and changing my plans. Thank God for that! I mean I have great kids, a great wife, a great church to minister in, a great life. And believe me, I cannot take credit. God has given me all that I have.

This morning I read Ps. 31:15 "My times are in your hand" God is providentially in control of every moment of my existence. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing causes Him to wring his hands or mumble, "What to do, what to do!" I thank God that all the seasons and moments of my days are in His sovereign control. No chance occurrences. No coincidences. Everything, the good and the bad comes from his righteous hand.

This kind of thinking gives a person's life real meaning and direction. God's providence is the reason Paul exhorts us to "be anxious about nothing." After all, God is in control - so why worry? This doesn't mean that my decisions and will have no real significance. They do. But God is God and that is a blessing to me!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Spiritual Warfare

My next series of messages will be "The Invisible War." For six weeks we will take a close look at what the Bible teaches about spiritual conflict. Most of our study will center around the sixth chapter of Ephesians, but we will use several other passages to give us some light on this difficult topic.

People tend to go one of two ways with this topic. They go overboard, or they ignore it. Both are wrong. Our purpose will be to find the clear teaching of Scripture on this matter. Here's my projected sermon titles and a few books I have found helpful.

The invisible war sermon series

Soldiers of the Cross
Dressed for Battle
Battlefield: the mind
Exercising Kingdom Authority
Standing firm in prayer
Fighting for your family


Books
When the Enemy strikes - Charles Stanley
Kingdom Authority - Adrian Rodgers
The Invisible War - Chuck Ingram
Spiritual warfare in a believers life - Charles Spurgeon
Commentary on Ephesians - John McArthur

I've noticed quite a bit of spiritual resistance as I've studied and prayed for this sermon series. At times I've had trouble concentrating, the phone rings at inopportune times, people distract me, there are truths in these messages that Satan does not want to get out!

Monday, February 20, 2006


Steven Austin Wimberly








The two or three of you out there who actually waste your time reading this blog might have noticed that I have not posted lately . . . well here's why.

Steven Austin Wimberly was born Feb. 7. He weighed 7.7 pounds and was 20 inches long. In case your wondering, he is the eighth wimberlite!Of course, you need a few more pictures of the family, then - back to the business!
Bald is beautiful baby!







Here's the rest of the kids before Steven A. burst onto th scene. (the cat and I have an agreement, she doesn't bother me, I don't step on her head!)

Monday, February 06, 2006

BLUE LIKE JAZZ

A few months back I picked up Blue Like Jazz at the Christian book store. The book has been taking college campuses by storm. In fact, the young lady working the register said that all her friends at the university had read it, and that she fully intended to. To be honest, I wish I could go back and tell her not to waste her time.

Blue like Jazz was a total let down. Donald Miller seems to have a hard time understanding the concept of biblical holiness. Was it sinful for him to get drunk and smoke pot while leading a church youth group? He never admits that it was. Was it sinful to drink and curse at your roommates while playing video games? Apparently not. Donald Miller's Christianity is way cool, too cool for the Bible if you ask me.

What ever happened to taking up one's cross and following Christ? What about the Biblical admonitions to speak only that which is good and helpful to your brother? Being a Christian is and has always has been countercultural. Jesus was not and is not "cool." I agree with Shane Walker of 9 marks ministries, "The only antidote seems to be twofold. The first is to reintroduce young Christians to the biblical Jesus: the person who died an agonizing death for their sins, who will tread the winepress of the wrath of God, and who listens to their prayers. The second is to begin the battle against the cool. The godly must begin to prove in the pulpit, in writing, and in their lives that Christianity is the deadly enemy of the cool. And the cool is the Western postmodern entertainment driven culture that has tutored our children and ourselves for the last fifty years."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Brokebake Mountain, Pt 2

I hope you will take a minute to read Casey's Tripp's rather eloquent rantings in the comments section. What do you think a Christian response to such movies should be? How do we as Christians fight this culture war? Let me know what you think.

Collin
Brokeback Mountain, Pt 2

I hope you will take a minute to read Casey's Tripp's rather eloquent rantings in the comments section. What do you think a Christian response to such movies should be? How do we as Christians fight this culture war? Let me know what you think.

Collin
Brokeback Mountain
I have to admit that I have not seen this movie, nor do I ever intend to. I have read editorials and commentaries from every point of view of possible, and what I have found is disturbing. Film makers are doing their best to disguise this movie as a epic romance. The reality? Brokeback mountain is just another attempt by the radical left to mainstream their favorite perversion. The homosexual community hopes this movies will gain public support for their cause, possibly influencing future legislation aimed at granting minority status to gays and lesbians. Brokeback mountain is just another propaganda piece in the ongoing culture war that eats at our nations soul.
How should we as Christians respond? Most should not see the movie. The R rating is for graphic language, nudity, and sex scenes. We can should speak about our Scriptural convictions. We must pray for our nation and for those trapped in a lifestyle of homosexuality. Above all, we must put on love, which is the perfect bond of peace. Harsh judgmentalism is never the answer. We must stand for the truth, but do so with humility and compassion. I like the way Phil Boatwright states this in his Baptist Press article: "Scriptures say homosexuality is an abomination (Romans 1:26, 1 Corinthians 6:9). But we must guard against false superiority. Upon reexamination of those verses, it becomes apparent homosexuality is not all that's abhorrent to the Heavenly Father. In fact, we are all blameworthy of some infraction. However, those developing a spiritual awareness soon find themselves ashamed of the natural man's disobedience to God. We don't parade our peccadilloes. We are not proud of our transgressions, nor do we try to convince society to accept them. With God's help we will conquer these faults. With His mercy, we will be forgiven."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Elvis impersonators, preachers, and teachers of the Gospel
I have to admit, Elvis impersonators really get on my nerves. Admittedly, many of them do what they do to honor the king. After all, imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery isn't it? To me, most of them just come off as cheesy and clumsy imitations of the real thing. They lack authenticity. They lack substance.
Isn't it easy for preachers and teachers of the Gospel to fall into the same trap? Preaching and teaching that lacks heart and authenticity will never impress or impact a lost world. Our message has to grow out of a heart that is devoted to Christ. Personal disciplines such as prayer, bible study, and meditation are the catalysts for authentic teaching. As God changes our heart and transforms us more and more into the image of Christ, our message and ministry deepens and matures. In fact, the most powerful aspect of any sermon or teaching session isn't necessarily what is being said, but the holiness and devotion of the speaker.
I like what Paul writes in I Thessalonians 2:10, "Vs. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe."
Paul was a man of integrity. No Elvis impersonater preacher, he was real. Authentic. The genuine article. My prayer is that my ministry and the ministry of our Church would model Paul's ministry of simple devotion to Christ. I think the world will sit up and listen to the real thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Books for God Seekers

Sunday's sermon is on seeking after God. My prayer is that our congregation would hunger and thirst to know God. My desire as a husband, father and pastor is that first and foremost people know me as a God-seeker.

Over the years several books have been a great help to me in my pursuit of God.

The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald S. Whitney
Desiring God, John Piper (any book by Piper is a good book!)
The Wonderful Spirit-filled Life, Charles Stanley
Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan
The Holiness of God, RC Sproul
Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire , Jim Cymbala
Prayer-Finding the heart's true home - Richard J. Foster

I hope that these books can be a blessing to you. They have been to me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Romans 12:3

Here is today's question. This grows out of Sunday's Bible study lesson. "In Romans 12:3,"God hath dealt to every man a measure of faith". Does he give different measures of faith to different people and why? Does that measure change as we need it ? Does it grow as our faith and trust grow? "

First, we need to define what is meant by a measure of faith. Paul is not referring to saving faith. Believers have already exercised that faith by trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior. He could possibly be referring to faith in the sense of trust and reliance upon God. However, it seems clear that Paul is referring to spiritual gifts and their operation within the body of Christ. Every believer has been given a spiritual gift and is required to use that gift within the context of a local church. Each person's giftedness is unique. Our gift mix is like a spiritual fingerprint or DNA sample, No two are exactly alike. Paul's main application in this passage is to admonish us to be humble. There is no room for arrogance because of great gifts or discouragement because of more common ones. We are what we are by the grace of God. Each of us has a vital role to play in the advance of God's kingdom.

Do our gifts change? I think that as we grow and mature in our faith, our gifts become more evident. This was definitely true in my life. As a minister of music I did not utilize my gifts of teaching and preaching as I do now. But as I grew, it became apparent that my abilities and my passion were in the studying and preaching of God's Word. My gifts didn't really change, they just came to light with maturity.

This brings us to an important point. We must offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to him, before we can know and utilize our spiritual gifts. As we surrender ourselves to God it becomes more and more natural to serve Him in certain areas, and in certain ways. This is a pretty good way to find our giftedness. Be right with God and do what you love to do for His glory.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Quite a few people have come to me lately wanting the name of a good systematic theology text. They requested a book that was readable, affordable, and doctrinally sound. I do have a few suggestions.

J.I. Packer. God's Words. Studies in Key Bible Themes. Baker Book House, 1981.
God's Words is a study of 17 key bible themes. This books is written for the layperson. Packer is one of the pre-eminent theologians of our day. His works are always well-written and grounded in reformed theology. My favorite chapter is on the mortification of sin. I have never read anyone else write so well on this subject.

Charles C. Ryrie. Basic Theology. Moody Press, 1999.
Basic Theology is a good introduction to systematic theology that is both concise and affordable. Section I, Prolegomena is almost worth the price of the book. He is at times too dispensational for me, and I strongly disagree with his contention that repentance is not necessary for salvation. However, the book is a good overview of systematic theology.

Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology. Zondervan Publishing house, 1994.
This is my favorite. I use this book more in sermon preparation than any other systematic. Gurdem is conservative, reformed, and baptistic (all of which are close to my heart). His book is easy to read but still fairly comprehensive. The end of each chapter includes a bibliography, a list of other helpful works, scripture to memorize, and a hymn or praise song that emphasizes the doctrines covered in that chapter. This is a must have book.

Millard Erickson. Christian Theology. Baker Book House.
Christian theology is one of the best baptistic, and calvinistic theologies available today. Erickson presents several different sides to many theological issues, and then provides possible solutions. I also enjoy his sections on the implications of various doctrines. He is the most technical of all the suggested books, but well worth the time.