Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Entrusted with the Gospel (2)

Today I want to spend time focusing upon someone else who faithfully entrusted the gospel to me.
When I was saved at the age of sixteen, Bob Cardinal was no more than the father of one of my very good friends. Today, I would describe Bob as my father in the faith. After my conversion Bob was very influential in my life over the next few years as he was responsible for teaching the high school Sunday school class. He, along with a man name David Allred, faithfully taught us week after week about our great God. I still turn back to some of the material they taught in order to give me a fresh perspective on what I am teaching about. After high school, while I was away at ETSU, I guess there were a few years where I did not really grow and did not have much contact with Bob. However, after Elizabeth and I became engaged, I was quickly informed of a newly and nearly married Sunday school class that Bob and his wife Debbie would be teaching. We entered into the class not knowing what to expect, but what we found was two people who genuinely cared for us and cared about our relationship with Christ. Bob and Debbie are the Godliest people I have ever met and their influence in my life and the life of my family is unspeakable. They were more than teachers, they shared life with us, they embodied the true meaning of fellowship. Thank you so much Bob and Debbie, may God bless you forever for your faithfulness to Him. Thank God for those who entrust others with the gospel, may we go and do likewise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Entrusted with the gospel

This week I want to focus on 2 Timothy 2:2, "and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." As a believer, it is not all about us. It is about who we are in Christ and what mission He has given us. There are a lot of things we can do that are good things here that will have little or no eternal impact. Let us live with eternity in mind and be faithful to share the hope that we have and also let us endeavor to entrust what we have been taught to others that they may share. This has happened over and over again in my life and I praise God for that. This week I want to encourage you with the stories of men who have shaped me and then encourage you to be one of those men.

I am so thankful for Tommy Pierce. He was the first pastor I ever had, and he faithfully entrusted the gospel to me. For Tommy, this meant he spent time with me. He made time every Tuesday evening one summer to teach me and a group of my friends about leadership, accountability, and loving the Savior. He encouraged me to go to seminary and receive further training and instruction there. He prayed for me and gave me opportunities to preach. He modeled faithful biblical exposition before me week after week. He loved his wife and his kids. He is a man that has impacted my entire ministry, and I am so thankful for that. He did what Paul instructed Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 2:2. May we go and do likewise.

As you read this today, thank God for men like Tommy Pierce, and resolve to be a man like Tommy Pierce. Entrust what you have been taught to someone else. Pour your life into those who will impact the generations to come.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just Do Something-Review

When a book has a subtitle of, "How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc.", you know it is probably worth a read. This definitely proved to be the case with "Just Do Something" by Kevin DeYoung.
“My goal,” he says, “is not as much to tell you how to hear God’s voice in making decisions as it is to hear God telling you to get off the long road to nowhere and finally make a decision, get a job, and perhaps, get married.” He fears that many Christians, because of their unbliblical understanding of knowing and doing the will of God, are wasting their lives doing nothing when they should just be doing, well, something! “I’d like us to consider that maybe we have difficulty discovering God's wonderful plan for our lives because, if the truth be told, He doesn’t really intend to tell us what it is. And maybe we’re wrong to expect Him to.” We so many times think that every decision in life must come with hand writing on the wall, and that just does not seem to be the biblical mandate. God has revealed his will to us in his word and Deyoung asserts that many decisions such as marriage and vocation that are presented to us are fine to pursue being that they don't contradict God's revealed will for us that we find in scripture.
“Does God have a secret will of direction that He expects us to figure out before we do anything? And the answer is no.” Though we are free to ask for his direction and though we ought to be devoted to prayer in all matters, God does not burden us with seeking his will of direction ahead of our decisions. “God does have a specific plan for our lives, but it is not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision.” “Trusting in God’s will of decree is good. Following his will of desire is obedient. Waiting for God’s will of direction is a mess.” The solution is simple: we are to have confidence in God’s hidden will, we are to search out and believe and obey God’s will, and we are then to use wisdom to make decisions that God will bless. We are to use what Dave Swavely aptly terms “sanctified reasoning.” DeYoung leaves the reader to consider this: “If there really is a perfect will of God we are meant to discover, in which we will find tremendous freedom and fulfillment, why does it seem that everyone looking for God’s will is in such bondage and confusion?”
Here, then, is how we are to live within God’s will: “So go marry someone, provided you’re equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it’s not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God’s sake start making some decisions in your life. Don’t wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God’s will, so just go out and do something.” God’s will for your life is really not as complicated as you may be making it out to be.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

True Lips Wait?

Since Sunday it seems like every blog I read has something to do with the sermon I preached then. It is too bad these guys didn't post this info before last week. It would have made for a much more interesting time for you. Please check out Dr. Mohler's blog today and tell me your reaction to the pledge to save your first kiss for marriage.

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Light of Ephesians 5

Arthur Bennet's "The Valley of Vision" is a continual blessing for me in my prayer and devotional life. The following prayer is simply entitled happiness. Think about the words of this prayer in light of the call for us to redeem the time in Ephesians 5.

O Lord, Help me never to expect any happiness from the world, but only in thee.
Let me not think that I shall be more happy by living to myself, for I can only be happy if employed for thee, and if I desire to live in this world only to do and suffer what thou dost allot me. Teach me that if I do not live a life that satisfies thee, I shall not live a life that will satisfy myself. Help me desire the spirit and temper of angels who willingly come down to this lower world to perform thy will, though their desires are heavenly, and are not set in the least upon earthly things; then I shall be of that temper I ought to have. Help me not to think of living to thee in my own strength, but always to look to and rely on thee for assistance. Teach me that there is no greater truth than this, that I can do nothing for myself. Lord, this is the life that no unconverted man can live, yet it is an end that every godly soul presses after; Let it then be my concern to devote myself and all to thee. Make me more fruitful and more spiritual, for barrenness is my daily affliction and load. How precious is time, and how painful to see it fly with little done to good purpose! I need thy help: O may my soul sensibly depend upon thee for all sanctification, and every accomplishment of thy purposes for me, for the world, and for thy kingdom.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What should a high schooler know about sexual immorality?

It's Saturday night and I am trying to make sure that I am coming at the text in Ephesians 5:1-14 from the right angle. Paul, or I mean God, is saying that because we are beloved children we should live and love in a certain way in the first two verses then he goes on to describe what that looks like for us as believers. The description focuses mainly on our sexuality. No doubt, the relevance of this has not changed since Paul wrote to the Ephesians nearly 2000 years ago.

My main concern tomorrow is those that will be with us that are teens and singles of all ages. One question I remember posing to my youth pastor growing up once I entered into the dating years is how far is too far? He quickly answered that as long as I was not thinking about sex in whatever we were doing I was safe. What a horrible answer. I probably have been guilty of giving that same counsel as a single man because anything else would probably have stepped on my toes. The answer in verse 3 is that there is to be not even a hint of sexual immorality. So, how far is too far? Not even a hint. Not even the slightest lust. I don't know too many people who could take that far beyond a hug or a peck on the cheek.

How about you guys? Did any of you get lame answers like this to this question? How can we answer it from this passage? What would you say to your child if they asked you? Throw these around. I look forward to hearing from you.