Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's All About the Meet!

Last night a bunch of us guys from Sunday School class got together for one of our regular events, Men's Grub Night. Men's Grub Night or MGN is a chance for the guys to get out and hang with other guys, share a meal, stories and have fun.

The ten of us decended upon Jim & Nicks in Smyrna last night for a time of food, fun and fellowship. It really doesn't matter what we ordered; whether the food was good (or not as was in my case). What mattered is that it's the times like these that are where strong bonds are built and relationships are cultivated.

We talk about jobs, life, families and do "typical guy stuff" like mixing hot sauce with crushed hot peppers and daring each other to eat it (see the picture for proof).

Anyway, for those two and a half hours, we were just at ease doing life together.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Testimony of the Lamb

This morning, I was listening to a man give his testimony. He had come from an abusive home as a boy and had been in prision, had a bad marriage and had taken drugs and drank heavily.

After a near-death-experience, where he says that he died on an operating room table after having been involved in a fight, he claims to have seen a glimpse of hell that scarred him more than anything that this hardened man had ever experienced.

After his experience, his wife accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour and they went to church for the first time.

It was sitting in the back pew that this man heard the preacher talk about Jesus as the Lamb of God who took away our sins. This resonated in him and got his attention.

He continues...

As a lonely 9 year-old boy, he grew up in an abusive home in rural Pennsylvania. One day, while coming home from the school bus stop as was usually the case, he passed through a neighbor's field and the kind lady that lived there called him over and said that she wanted to give him a present. She gave him a baby lamb.

This man, Mr. Reagan, goes on to tell of the lamb and he becoming friends. He said that it was his only friend.

Anyway, the lamb was very curious and would come up to him and follow him whenever he was outside. It would always meet him at the edge of the property when he would come home.

One day when he came home, he saw his father working on an old car that had a flat tire. His dad was angry and was swearing. The boy went out of his way go steer clear of the situation and as he rounded the opposite side of the car that his father was working on, he saw his lamb, his only friend, lying near by.

He screamed and ran up to it and found the pure white lamb dead and covered in blood from being hit by his father with a lug wrench. The image was so vivid.

He ran away screaming and that day scarred him for the rest of his life; until this day, when the Holy Spirit softened his heart. He understood the sacrifice of our Holy God, who sent his only Son, to be the Lamb, the perfect sacrifice for us.

Ron wept for the first time in many years and gave his heart to Christ that day.

Hearing this story weighed so heavy on me. It calls me to remember, that I need to be ever mindful of the mercy, grace and love that our Father has for us.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy 13th Birthday, George!

Today is the day of my son's 13th birthday party. Wow... As I sit here and write
this, my eyes look at the young man that my son has become and against that image is juxtapositioned the images of him, our first child, being born.

The day started out with me not getting as much sleep as I wanted last

Anyway, George invited a couple of the older friends that he knows from school and church to go to the bowling alley with us and then come back for lasagna and cake. Yes, lasagna and cake. We were originally going to do pizza and cake, but George really likes his mom's lasagna (me, too.)

We went bowling for a few hours and then came back to our house. Although the kids wanted to play outside, we didn't let them brcause ther ground is soaked from all of the snow that we've been getting.

All in all, it was a great day. I asked each of the kids if they had fun and they all said yes. BTW, pictures of the day can be seen here.

I thank God for letting us having the privilege of raising our kids for these past 13 years; now I pray that he gives us the strength to survive the teen

Finding the Right Church

What do you look for in a church home? I've struggled with this question as I'm sure that a lot of people have. Finding a Biblically-based, God focused church where you and your family can grow and give back should be a priority for all believers (that is, unless you're already in one).

I remember moving to Tennessee 5 years ago and thinking "Now, what do we do for a church home?"

I recently came across an interesting article that talks about "interviewing" churches by calling the pastor before visiting them, saving you Sundays and heartache.

Below is a lost of 24 questions that I got from CWN:

1. What is man's biggest problem?

Seeker sensitive and felt-needs churches focus on man’s hurts and problems. The Bible says that man’s biggest problem is sin.

2. What must a man do to inherit eternal life?

Repent and trust is the Biblical answer. If the word “repent” is never used, say, “Thank you.”

3. How do you deliver the salvation message?

Ask the pastor to describe specifically what he says. Does he encourage people to simply say a prayer? Does he tell people to ask Jesus into their hearts? The salvation message should include: God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, God’s response (hell), God’s kindness (Jesus on the cross), man’s response (repentance and faith).

4. How hard is it to become a Christian?

The “formula” is simple, doing it is not. It is not easy to believe.

5. How often do you talk about sin, righteousness and judgment?

Balance is key. This should not be the only emphasis, but it should be a regular emphasis.

6. How seeker sensitive is your church?

It is o.k. for a church to be “seeker aware” but seeker sensitive means that they lean toward seekers and not the saved.

7. Who do you do church for, seekers or members?

“Both” is not acceptable. Church should be done for members and the unsaved are welcome to attend.

8. Do you dumb down your sermons?

If he says yes, he is probably not trying to wean his members from milk to meat. Answers like, “We try to make our sermons accessible to everyone” are sermons that are not meaty.

9. What is your mixture of topical vs. expository preaching?

Topical preaching is fine, but if a pastor never or rarely preaches expositionally (verse by verse), then you are going to be learning from the pastor and not God’s Word.

10. Do your sermons emphasize theology or are they relevant?

Everyone should say their sermons are relevant, what you are looking for is if they teach theology.

11. Describe your youth programs.

If fun and games is the major (and usually first) emphasis, you have a youth program that is trying to compete with MTV.

12. Describe your evangelism programs.

Don’t just accept, “We have an evangelism committee.” Dig. Are they serious about saving

13. What church growth model do you follow?

Hopefully they don’t have one. Churches should be reaching out to the lost, but churches that are plugged into new church growth models tend to follow man’s modern ideas rather than the Bible.

14. How much do you give to missions and the hungry?

Again, this reveals the heart of the church. While most churches give to missions, many never consider the poor.

15. Do you believe the Bible contains no errors or contradictions?

No equivocation allowed here.

16. Do you believe in a literal 6 day creation?

Jesus did (Matt.19:4).

17. Do you believe in a literal hell and eternal punishment?

Jesus did (Matt.25).

19. When you distribute the Lord's Supper, do you emphasize the need to examine yourself?

Paul did (I Cor.11:27-32).

20. Can a person who is living in a persistent lifestyle of sin inherit eternal life?

Sinners can certainly be forgiven, but practicing sinners cannot inherit eternal life (I John 3:8,9).

21. Does your church exercise church discipline?

Paul said we should (I Cor.5).

22. Do Sunday school teachers, nursery, and youth volunteers fill out an application to answer questions about their core beliefs, or are all volunteers accepted?

23.What are the essentials of the faith?

Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Salvation through faith alone, the inerrancy of Scripture.

24. Do you have a cross in your sanctuary?

Many remove it because they fear it will turn off seekers. They should glory in the cross. The cross should be the central focus of every church.

I hope this helps!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Emerging Errors

I recently read an article that spoke about someone who was involved with and left the emergent movement/conversation.

These errors include:

  • A highly ambiguous handling of truth.
  • A desire to be so inclusive and tolerant that there is virtually no sense of biblical discernment in terms of recognizing and labeling false beliefs, practices, or lifestyles.
  • A quasi-universalistic view of salvation.
  • A lack of a proper appreciation for biblical authority over and against personal experience or revelation.
  • Openness to pagan religious practices like Hindu Yoga and incorporating them into the Christian life and Christian worship.
  • Openly questioning the relevance of key historical biblical doctrines such as the Trinity.
  • An uncritically open embrace of the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
  • An unbridled cynicism towards conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism.
  • A reading of scripture that is heavily prejudiced towards a social gospel understanding.
  • Little or no talk of evangelism or saving lost souls.
  • A salvation by osmosis mentality, where if you hangout with us long enough you’re in.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just wanted to wish everyone, OK, specifically Diana, a Happy Valentine's Day!
I Love You! You are the most wonderful woman that I know!

Love Always!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Romance & Roses

I wanted to talk about Romance & Roses. It's an event that our church put together and hosts every year. Diana and I have been to it for the past 2 years.

This year's was wonderful! I had an incredible and fun evening with my Sweetie :)

It's such a great time for the both of us to just reconnect and focus on us.

It was also a fun time. There was a comedian, Kenn Kington
who was incredible funny and made us see a lot of ourselves in his routine.

Thanks for going with me, Sweetie! I Love You!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

On the Radar

I recently read an article that said that in a marriage that "the wife" was the radar system of the home. She keeps up with everything at all times and is able to fill "the husband" in on what's going on since he at work all day. She knows about the kids, house, finances, etc. while he is away.

The article went on to say that we, as husbands, should give our wives a bit of a break when we come home and claim to know it all.

Any good pilot/commander/leader would do well to look at the "intelligence information" before going into battle or my sons' room (same thing).

To this, I would like to address to my wonderful wife, a humble, "I'm sorry for not taking the time to pay more attention to what you tell me when I get home."

"Yes, dear. It's rhymes with song."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Prominent Godly Men

After watching the Super Bowl with my kids, I was watching the awarding of the Vince Lombardi trophy and listening to the comments of Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, etc. and was pleasantly surprised at the way that they spoke and gave glory to God.

It was refreshing and gave me something to talk to the kids about later.

Here is a quote from an article that talked about what was said...

Colts' owner Jim Irsay credited God with the victory as he held the sparkling Vince Lombardi trophy in his hands.

"Now there's an awful lot of shining glory, even more than last time up here," Irsay said. "But we're giving it all to God again because that's what got us here ... sticking together and believing that we could, and I know God has looked after us on this journey and bonded us into such a tight family."

Dungy has had a close relationship with Bears' head coach Lovie Smith since 1996, when Dungy hired Smith to coach linebackers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"My relationship, first, is with Jesus Christ, and he is the center of my life," said Smith when asked about his faith earlier this week. "I try to live a Christian life. I would like for players to know my faith based on what they see on a day-to-day basis."

CBS anchor James Brown, himself a strong believer in Jesus Christ, told the Baptist Press this year's Super Bowl could be a welcome change in a sport that hasn't had that many Christian players and announcers in the past.

"Personally, I'm gratified to see that change," Brown said. "I think their faith is a wonderful example to see and I think both men are sterling examples of what character coaches should be. That's what we should be promoting."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Game Day Central

This past Thursday and Friday, we had the honor of going to watch two of our kids perform for a group of churches that came to Lifeway in Nashville to see the 2007 Vacation Bible School program.

On Thursday, the kids performed in front of 450 people. On Friday, the crowd was 650, not including parents.

Wow, they did such an incredible job! I am so proud of them!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Raising A Modern Day Knight

A group of fathers of boys and I have been reading (well, we finished it) Raising A Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis.

It's a book that talks about Biblical manhood and compares it to stages, training and rites of passage that medieval knights once went through to have a definative mark of the stages of life and when they enter manhood.

Today, we took our boys bowling, but unbeknownst to them, we had reserved a room and had decorated it for the occasion. This day would mark their entrance into the process of Biblical manhood by having the process explained to them capping it all off with signed proclamations .

Rather than retype the main gist of the book, here is a quote from an article at Ledership Universtity

Robert Lewis suggests three major ideals for modern-day knights: a vision for manhood, a code of conduct, and a transcendent cause.

A Vision for Manhood - The author states four manhood principles: Real men (1) reject passivity, (2) accept responsibility, (3) lead
courageously, and (4) expect the greater reward. He suggests that though men have a natural inborn aggressiveness, they tend to become passive at home and avoid social responsibility. These principles, if followed, prevent passivity from becoming a significant problem.

A Code of Conduct - The code for modern-day knights comes from the pages of the Bible. Lewis lists 10 ideal characteristics appropriate for modern-day knights taken from the Scriptures: loyalty, kindness, humility, purity, servant- leadership, honesty, self-discipline, excellence, integrity, and perseverance. Modern-day knights must be trained in three important areas. First, the modern-day knight needs to understand that there must be a will to obey (God's will) if there is to be spiritual maturity. The young man must come to know that life is inherently moral and that there is a God who knows everything and who rewards good and punishes evil.

He must know that absolute values exist and that the commandments of God are liberating, not confining. Lewis states "True satisfaction in life is directly proportionate to one's obedience to God. In this context, moral boundaries take on a whole new perspective: they become benefits, not burdens."

Second, the modern-day knight needs to understand that he has a work to do that is in keeping with his inner design. This work is not just his profession or trade, but refers to work in his home, church, and community. Life is certainly more than a job, and your son should hear this from you lest he get the mistaken perception that manhood is just one duty and obligation after another.

A third realm of responsibility for the modern-day knight is a woman to love. The code of chivalry requires that all women be treated with respect and honor. Sons need to see and hear from their fathers the importance of caring for women in general and loving, leading, and honoring their wives in particular.

The knight in training should be taught the value of work, have summer jobs, do chores around the house, and study hard on his school work. The goal here is to establish patterns of industry and avoid sloth so that a solid work ethic is in place as he gets older.

A Transcendent Cause - Life is ultimately unsatisfying if it is lived solely for self. Jesus said if you give up your life you will find it, so if you live for a cause greater than yourself, you'll be happy and fulfilled. A transcendent cause is a cause that a person believes is truly heroic (a noble endeavor calling for bravery and sacrifice), timeless (has significance beyond the moment), and is supremely meaningful (not futile).

The only antidote to the futility of life is a transcendent cause and a vision for life that "integrates the end of life with the beginning," and connects time and eternity. Obviously becoming a Christian, developing a personal relationship with Christ, and living for Him are basic, irreplaceable elements for having a meaningful life.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

13 percent

I recently heard a sermon from Central Christian College of the Bible and it talked about being aware of people around you and how often people die. The statistics given were that 2 people die every second on Earth.

At the end of the day, that is 230,000 people. Of those who pass away, only an estimated 30,000 are Christians and will go to Heaven.

What an alarming statistic that only 13% of the people who die every day go to Heaven.

It certainly makes me feel my calling to ministry even more. I know that I have to proceed according to God's will and timing, but it seems so much more urgent when I'm presented with those numbers.