Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What If Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, And All The Rest Don't Have The Answer?



What if no one running for office really has the answer for the disrespect, hatred, and violence that fills the twenty-four hour news cycle? What if there is an answer, and the one who has it isn't running for office? And, what if the people who know Him would proclaim the answer as loudly as the politicians proclaim their own worth?

Jesus came to preach the good news of His kingdom, to die to take away the sin that keeps all people from it, to rise again to prove His deity (his ability to fulfill His message), and to offer this kingdom to anyone who would hear His good news and believe.

In His kingdom the poor are made rich, captives are delivered from captivity, the blind see, the oppressed are released from oppression, and all debts are cancelled (Luke 4:18-19). In His kingdom there is no poverty, no blindness, no lostness, no hopelessness, no worry, no fear. In His kingdom there is no injustice, no offenders, no drug dealers, no addicts, no cop killers nor killer cops, no black nor white nor brown. In His kingdom there are no criminals, no victims, no enslavers nor slaves. In His kingdom there is no confusion over gender, no betrayal from adultery, nor emptiness from sexual immorality of any kind. In His kingdom there are no orphans, no abandoned, no abused, no neglected.  In His kingdom there are no walls, no wars, nor even rumors of wars. In His kingdom there is no sickness of any kind, and so there are no graves because there is no death.

All of this is true in His kingdom for one reason. It is HIS kingdom. His kingdom is ruled by the Prince of Peace who is also the Lord of lords. His kingdom is not an unattainable city on a hill. He brought it near when He came near. His kingdom is closed to no one, no race, no sinner of any kind, but it may only be entered through a single door - that door is Him.

He did not come to win an election, but to proclaim His Lordship over all the problems all our politicians claim to be able to overcome. He came to preach the good news that, while the kingdom is closed to all because of all of our sin, He had opened it up. He not only came to preach, but to die to buy us out of the kingdom of darkness in which we all now live. He rose from the grave and ascended back to Heaven to prove He is not running for office, but rather runs the universe.

He left His children behind for awhile, not because He is in any way a bad Father, but because He is a also the King of a kingdom that is not yet full. He left them to act like citizens of His kingdom and proclaim the Good News of their King, so that anyone who was willing to believe and follow that King could also enter that kingdom freely. 

I do not know who will win in November. I know that they have great plans, and offer great solutions, but I know who has the answers to all the solutions and consider it the greatest privilege to know that King and make Him known. That is the Good News of the kingdom of God. That is the Gospel that saved us, and the Gospel we now have the privilege to proclaim. Know Him and make Him known.

Monday, August 29, 2016

As You Go Today

You're already taking the first step to follow Jesus. "Go, therefore, and make disciples..." (Matt.28) You're already going to school, to work, to the coffee shop, and to a dozen other places. Make a list of all the places you go in a week. You will be amazed at how many people you encounter. How many need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  After Jesus commanded His disciples to "pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9), He sent out His 12 into the Harvest. As they went, He told them to go and as they went they were to simply go house to house greeting people. If a person welcomed them, they were to stay and share the Gospel. If a person rejected them, they were to go on, shaking the dust off their feet to the next village, the next home.  Stop worrying so much about "who" you will talk to about Jesus. Just go, ask the Lord to keep your eyes and ears open to those He has prepared for you to meet, and then share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them.

(If you're not part of Praying For Every Home yet, click on Pray 4 Every Home, follow the signup procedures. He sure and select Calvary Baptist Church, Peterson, Many, LA as your church, and be sure and check the box that will show you as a Praying Neighbor. You will receive your customized list of 100 neighbors to pray for - 5 a day for 20 days. If you have any questions, email us at calvarymany@gmail.com and we'll help you sign up.)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Calvary Response To The Louisiana Flood


The floods in our state are historic. We are all impacted. Many of the families in our church are directly effected as their family members have been flooded. At least a dozen churches in our area and other groups are gathering supplies and taking them to the floods. I want to encourage you to help in any way you can, but after talking to people involved in the efforts I want to make some recommendations. These efforts are significant and will make a direct impact in the lives of our fellow Louisianians now and in the coming days, weeks, and months as our state rebuilds.

PRAY . . . THEN CLICK ON: 

1st - GIVE MONEY - CLICK THE DONATE BUTTON 
There are thousands of Louisiana Baptists already on the ground doing mud-out, clean-up, feeding, and helping in hundreds of ways. These men and women are already there doing the work and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. THEY ARE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY VOLUNTEERS and our donations take care of the things they need to purchase, food, water, etc.

2nd - GIVE SUPPLIES 

READ THE LIST ON THE LBC DISASTER RELIEF SITE 
BRING YOUR SUPPLIES to Calvary during regular office hours (M-F, 9-12, 1-4).
or BRING YOUR SUPPLIES SUNDAY 
We will put supplies in the fellowship hall.

DO NOT BRING ANY FOOD AT THIS TIME

3rd - VOLUNTEER FOR MUDOUT

Click on Training (Mudout & Assessment) on the LBC site to find out how you can be trained so that you can help in the floods.








Monday, August 1, 2016

Baptisms, Guns, And Miller Beer


Disclaimer: I'm chasing bunny trails with this post, but they are all connected, if only in my own mind.

It was wonderful to baptize two girls yesterday. Both had heard the Gospel in church and through their families, had believed, and stood with us and with Christ in the public proclamation of their faith through baptism. My thoughts . . . baptisms are always good.

Those baptisms, the first in our newly remodeled worship center, made me think about many more baptisms. The last two years have been pretty sparse, and the vast majority of those we have baptized in the last several years have been our own. In other words, they were people who were already part of the social network of our church - family, kids, etc.  So, why am I pointing this out?  I had a friend who used to say, "We need to quit fishing in the livewell." What he meant was, we mostly share the Gospel with our own and we mostly try to grow by getting members from other churches to come to our church. My thoughts . . . I do my very best not to seek the members of other churches, and I have no respect for pastors or parishioners in any church who do that. If we are not systematically preaching the Gospel to the lost out in the world, our church will die.

A priest in Normandy, France, had his throat cut by a terrorist last week. Last year a person filled with evil entered a prayer meeting in Charleston and murdered the Senior Pastor and eight others. Several years ago we were working with a couple who had a bad marriage. The husband went to his car to get a gun to come back in for his wife. I stood in the doorway stopping him, not because I was brave, but just because. He backed down, the police had already been called, and all went down with no one getting hurt. Violent crimes at church are increasing, and usually it's the pastor who gets shot. (No jokes, please.) I can honestly say I'm not really worried about getting killed in church. I can't think of a much better place to die, but I do think about my parishioners - especially the children and senior citizens. So, we are developing a security plan for our church that may (I repeat, "may") include armed internal security. Should we have armed security at church? The elders, deacons, and our church will receive wisdom from God and decide what to do about our safety.

This morning when I drove by the church on the way to a prayer breakfast for pastors, the beer truck was out front getting ready to unload something in a business across the street. Does a beer truck in front of the church fire you up? I'm sure some would love it if we served free beer. Others think it's disrespectful that the delivery man would think it fine to park his truck there. The street isn't ours, by the way. It belongs to the city. We resurface it, stripe it, and I get frustrated that delivery trucks keep tearing it up, but what's a preacher to do?

My thoughts . . .

I wish all the trucks would stop tearing up our front parking, but that's just small stuff. We're working on a security plan. That's not small stuff, but it's still not the most important stuff. If we're failing to preach the Gospel to the lost in our world . . . that is the big stuff. If we are failing to do so (we being you and me individually) then we are failing as followers of Christ. 

So, for the next several weeks, I'm going to focus on the most important things.

     First, I'm meeting with the elders and deacons to discuss all of this, including the development of a security plan for our church.
     Second, I will be leading us to utilize a ministry call pray4everyhome.com. It is a tool we will use to help us pray for our 100 closest neighbors - that's our mission field. We're to be a house of prayer for all nations.
     Third, I will provide equipping opportunities for every person in our church to learn how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We're to make disciples of all nations by preaching the Gospel.
     Fourth, we will work together to develop plans to share the Gospel with our mission field - our neighborhoods and our parish.

Look, Hell is horrible, Heaven is glorious, and Jesus is the only way. Hearing the Gospel is the only way to believe in Jesus. So, let's get it done till Jesus comes.










Baptisms, Guns, And Miller Beer


Disclaimer: I'm chasing bunny trails with this post, but they are all connected, if only in my own mind.

It was wonderful to baptize two girls yesterday. Both had heard the Gospel in church and through their families, had believed, and stood with us and with Christ in the public proclamation of their faith through baptism. My thoughts . . . baptisms are always good.

Those baptisms, the first in our newly remodeled worship center, made me think about many more baptisms. The last two years have been pretty sparse, and the vast majority of those we have baptized in the last several years have been our own. In other words, they were people who were already part of the social network of our church - family, kids, etc.  So, why am I pointing this out?  I had a friend who used to say, "We need to quit fishing in the livewell." What he meant was, we mostly share the Gospel with our own and we mostly try to grow by getting members from other churches to come to our church. My thoughts . . . I do my very best not to seek the members of other churches, and I have no respect for pastors or parishioners in any church who do that. If we are not systematically preaching the Gospel to the lost out in the world our church will die if we don't.

A priest in Normandy, France, had his throat cut by a terrorist last week. Last year a person filled with evil entered a prayer meeting in Charleston and murdered the Senior Pastor and eight others. Several years ago we were working with a couple who had a bad marriage. The husband went to his car to get a gun to come back in for his wife. I stood in the doorway stopping him, not because I was brave, but just because. He backed down, the police had already been called, and all went down with no one getting hurt. Violent crimes at church are increasing, and usually it's the pastor who gets shot. (No jokes, please.) I can honestly say I'm not really worried about getting killed in church. I can't think of a much better place to die, but I do think about my parishioners - especially the children and senior citizens. So, we are developing a security plan for our church that may (I repeat, "may") include armed internal security. Should we have armed security at church? The elders, deacons, and our church will receive wisdom from God and decide what to do about our safety.

This morning when I drove by the church on the way to a prayer breakfast for pastors, the beer truck was out front getting ready to unload something in a business across the street. Does a beer truck in front of the church fire you up? I'm sure some would love it if we served free beer. Others think it's disrespectful that the delivery man would think it fine to park his truck there. The street isn't ours, by the way. It belongs to the city. We resurface it, stripe it, and I get frustrated that delivery trucks keep tearing it up, but what's a preacher to do?

My thoughts . . .

I wish all the trucks would stop tearing up our front parking, but that's just small stuff. We're working on a security plan. That's not small stuff, but it's still not the most important stuff. If we're failing to preach the Gospel to the lost in our world . . . that is the big stuff. If we are failing to do so (we being you and me individually) then we are failing as followers of Christ. 

So, for the next several weeks, I'm going to focus on the most important things.

     First, I'm meeting with the elders and deacons to discuss all of this, including the development of a security plan for our church.
     Second, I will be leading us to utilize a ministry call pray4everyhome.com. It is a tool we will use to help us pray for our 100 closest neighbors - that's our mission field. We're to be a house of prayer for all nations.
     Third, I will provide equipping opportunities for every person in our church to learn how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We're to make disciples of all nations by preaching the Gospel.
     Fourth, we will work together to develop plans to share the Gospel with our mission field - our neighborhoods and our parish.

Look, Hell is horrible, Heaven is glorious, and Jesus is the only way. Hearing the Gospel is the only way to believe in Jesus. So, let's get it done till Jesus comes.