Monday, September 29, 2008

ABC News Visits Southern Baptist Seminary

From Al Mohler - "ABC's World News Tonight broadcast a segment from the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on Sunday night, September 28, 2008. The issue was the roles of men and women in church and in society -- the issues raised by some in the wake of the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's running mate."

Al Mohler is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. See the whole story with the video on his blog here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hosea - by Andrew Peterson

We've been preaching through Hosea on Wednesday nights. My son introduced this song about Hosea to me on his blog. The song is by Andrew Peterson and is from the perspective of Gomer. Listen to the song and see the lyrics here.

The Superiority of Christ

Last Sunday, I began a new Sunday night series of messages on the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is a fascinating book. The writer of Hebrews - - of whom there is much debate, but I believe, however undogmatic, is Apollos - - beautifully exalts the person and purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ. A study of Hebrews gives us a better understanding of Christ, especially as it relates to His incarnation, His substitutionary death, and His priesthood.

Hebrews 1:1-4 immediately sets out to establish the superiority of Christ over everything and every religious system.

One way in which the writer demonstrates the Superiority of Christ is in His relationship to the universe.

Hebrews 1:2 "but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe" [NIV].

The Hebrews writer tells us that as the unique Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all things and the creator of all things. He goes on to tell us in verse 3 that Jesus, by His powerful Word, is also sustainer of all things.

Abraham Kuyper, put it this way: “When Jesus looks at his universe from his exalted throne at the right hand of the Father, and he sees the great galaxies whirling in space, the planets and the people upon this planet, and all the minute details of life here including the details of our individual lives, there is nothing that he sees anywhere of which he cannot say, "Mine!"

To personalize this: You and all that is yours belongs to Jesus.

Just a Thought!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

40/40 Prayer Vigil

The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is a call to pray for personal spiritual revival and national renewal. The 40/40 Prayer Vigil consists of 40 days of prayer from September 24 to November 2, 2008, culminating in 40 hours of around the clock intercession during the last 3 days of the Vigil. The Vigil focuses first on personal spiritual revival. It then covers an expanding circle of prayer concerns, from the church to the nation.

The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is co-sponsored by the North American Mission Board and the Ethics and Religous Liberty Commission. Both are entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I hear many people ask, "I am just one person, how can I make a difference in our nation?" Here is the simple answer, pray. "But how should I pray?" you ask. The Bible tells us how to pray for personal revival and national renewal.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
This verse makes it clear that if we are to see national renewal we must first have spiritual revival. God's people, not the unbelieving world, are called to repent of their sin. Repentance is desperately needed in the church today.

So how should we pray? We should humble ourselves before a holy God, earnestly seek His face, and pray for forgiveness. Repentance is not just asking for God's forgiveness. It is God's people turning back to God. Repentance is the condition on which God will hear our prayers and heal our land. And our land is in need of healing.

Would you join with me, my church, and thousands of others in this 40 day prayer vigil for spiritual revival and national renewal. An excellent prayer guide has been produced and can be downloaded in pdf format here. In order to open the files, you will need to Get Adobe Reader.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ray Boltz Comes Out

Like most Christians who grew up on the music of Ray Boltz, I was shocked and saddened to hear of his announcement that he has chosen to live the gay lifestyle. In an interview with the Washington Blade Ray Boltz commented, "If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live...I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself." These words come from a father of four children who was married for 33 years before his divorce became official earlier this year. Ray Boltz is probably best known for his song, "Thank You." He is also well known for his songs, "The Anchor Holds" and "I Pledge Alleigiance to the Lamb."

How are we to respond? We must pray for him. He has chosen to live a life that is outside the will of God. It is a life of disobedience. We should pray that Ray Boltz will repent of his sin and return to a life of obedience to the Lord He claims he follows.

Go here and here for two reactions to the Ray Boltz news.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Pastoral Crisis in America

H.B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, in their book Pastors at Risk, present some statistics on risk factors related to ministers today. Some of these statistics are as follows: Ninety percent of pastors work more than forty-six hours a week. Eighty percent believed that pastoral ministry affected their families negatively. Thirty-three percent said that being in ministry was an outright hazard to their families. Seventy-five percent reported a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. Fifty percent felt unable to meet the needs of the job, ninety percent felt that they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry, and forty percent reported a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.

According to eighty percent of pastors' wives feel their spouse is overworked. Eighty percent of pastors' wives wish their husband would choose another profession. Eighty percent of pastors' wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they are really not. The majority of pastors' wives said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

These statistics and stories should be cause for great concern among evangelicals today. The number of men answering the call to ministry has significantly decreased in recent years. 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month. The number of churches in need of a pastor far outnumber that of available pastors. The problem is epidemic in proportion.

Could the reason be that the stress of being a pastor today is more than what most men are willing to accept for themselves and for their families? Church leaders should take this issue seriously. Church leaders need to seriously evaluate how they treat their church staff. If churches do not, I predict that in the not so distant future, many churches will be burdened with having to go for years without a pastor because there simply will not be enough for every church that is looking.

The blame is not to be placed entirely on the church however. Studies today show that seventy percent of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor. Ninety-five percent of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses. Eighty percent of pastors spend less than fifteen minutes a day in prayer. Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons. Could this be the reason that a significant number of the fifteen hundred pastors who leave the ministry each month leave due to moral failure and spiritual burnout?

The reason these numbers break my heart so much is because I love the church. The church is the greatest organization in the world. I think the greatest privilege any man can have is that of being called into the pastoral ministry. I for one am honored to serve as pastor to some of the greatest people in the world, known as First Baptist Church.

Just a Thought!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


A.W. Tozer wrote, "Revivals come only to those who want them badly enough. The problem is not to persuade God to fill us, but to want God sufficiently to permit him to do so. The average Christian is so cold and so contented with his wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness." - from Born After Midnight

Just a Thought!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin Hits Homerun

Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Wednesday night, and greeted by thunderous applause, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin demonstrated that she is well qualified for the office of Vice President of the United States. Just some thoughts that came to my mind from listening to her speech.

  • She can give a speech as well if not better than Obama.

  • She identified with the average working class American.

  • She demonstrated her knowledge of the major issues including energy and, to a small extent, foreign policy.

  • She demonstrated great compassion for those with special needs.

  • She can stand firm and be tough in facing the enemy.

  • She is not afraid of confronting wrongdoing even in her own party.

  • She understands the principle of servant-leadership.

  • She is for the people.

  • She is not afraid to make decisions.

  • Simply put, Sarah Palin hit a home run on Wednesday night. She energized the convention in a way that few expected the convention could be energized.

    Just a Thought.