Thursday, January 31, 2008

Onward!

As you can see I have not blogged in a while. I am busy with a few important projects so my blogging will be light for the next week or so. But I will be checking in from time to time to let you know that I am still alive and in fact better than ever (golf game included). Also, I am always excited to find other African-Americans on the internet who delight in Reformational truth. Thus, I point you to a new blog Forward to the Reformation. According to its self description, "This blog is for the glory of God. Its theology is based upon the Westminster standards as well as the London Baptist Confession of 1689. It is geared to engage in discourse regarding Reformation among traditional African American churches such as National Baptist churches. It invites all to contribute."

It is always encouraging to see another voice for change (Obama withstanding) and reformation on the internet. As ML King, Jr. would say, "Something is happening (in the church); something is happening in our world." Indeed, God continues to raise up in this generation men and women committed to the reclamation of truth and the positing of that truth in the church of Jesus Christ. I, for one, am so happy that God is granting me the blessed privilege of seeing and being a part of His wonderful move among His people. I pray we will be faithful with this stewardship and not have the next generation look back at us and say, "What could have been." Rather, I pray they will hear one generation calling out to the next, "Onward! Continue to believe in the sovereign God of your fathers and mothers. Rise up! Continue to trust that He who began this blessed work will complete it through you."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where Are The Brothers?

A few months ago I had the distinct pleasure of reading the manuscript of a book from my friend and comrade Eric Redmond. I am excited to learn that the book is close to being released. The book is entitled Where Are The Brothers: Straight Answers to Men's Questions About the Church (read more about it). It is available for pre-order from Amazon and we hope to see the release of it from Crossway Books early this Summer. When I read this book I could not help but say what a timely and critical work this is. I immediately envisioning ways in which I was going to put this book to use. As far as I am concerned, June can't get here soon enough. Also, Eric is the thoughtful and passionate pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church . And finally we have the church and Eric's sermon's online. Great!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Georgia or Michigan?

Help! I can't seem to remember if I am driving in Georgia or back in Michigan.


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The kids seem to have found a new friend. Tiger the Snowman! I hear he has a ice cold short game.


A Snow Day in Atlanta

It's snowing in Atlanta this morning!

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I moved to Atlanta from Michigan many moons ago to get away from God's fury of flakes. Once again this morning I am reminded that not only do I not know where the snow is stored (Job 38:22), but I don't know the manner of its falling (Job 37:5-6). I would not pretend to compare this morning in Atlanta, to the many years I spent growing up during the wintry months of Michigan, yet for a now established Southerner who sees no fascination with the so called anomaly of snow in Atlanta, today I would prefer to stay in doors. My children, on the other hand, relish the opportunity to get out in the wintry precipitation. I can only marvel at their excitement and naivete and say to myself, "If they only knew."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Reformed Grows on You

One of the best preachers I have had the pleasure to hear is Crawford Loritts. In fact, someone recently told me, after hearing me preach, that I reminded them of Crawford. Well, if I can communicate the way Crawford has for all these years, then I am more than thankful for God's grace to me. Nevertheless, I have always been encouraged and impressed by Crawford's heart and gifts. He has always been a man who walks what he talks and takes his calling to the gospel ministry seriously.

I recall on one occasion many years ago (let's call it 13 or 14 years ago) having the opportunity to listen as Crawford preached in our church in Atlanta. During the sermon he made a very interesting statement that I have never forgotten. He said, "The older I get the more Reformed I become." I found that interesting because I remember listening to him and wondering if the theology of this preacher is as good as his oratory skills. When he made that statement, I was somewhat comforted, but as you can imagine, still had my questions.

Over the years I have heard him make some statements and have even heard reports of statements made by him (right Lou?) that would seem to suggest that his above statement is true in his life (actually the statement itself is true apart from Crawford, for all those seriously considering the theological truth of the Bible do become more and more Reformed as they embrace more and more of Biblical truth). It would seem that we have been given more evidence of late as none other than John Piper has somewhat confirmed Crawford's reformed theological sympathies (listen here).

If it is true that Crawford identifies himself as reformed, then we can only thank God that He has allowed Crawford to continue to grow older and wiser right before our eyes. I can only pray that I would do the same (and you too).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Change and the Gospel

In every church either people are being changed by the gospel, or the gospel is being changed by the people.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Vision for the Future

Do you have a vision for your children? Whether you realize it or not, you are articulating a vision through your words and actions. The emphases of your life will often become the emphases of theirs and the vision you live will have an enormous impact on them for glory or for shame. With this in mind, our brother Quincy Jones has encouraged us to have a vision for the next generation that God has so graciously placed in our homes. Today I am reminded and encouraged to be ever diligent in making sure that I am passing on Christ to my children and praying that my passion for Him will only be surpassed by theirs.

Thanks Quincy, and may your children grow to faithfully love and serve the Lord you so faithfully love and serve.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On Loving Your Enemies

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. While the nation will commemorate it next Monday with the official national holiday, actually he was born on this day in 1929. I was raised on the speeches of King and learned many of them verbatim from my early childhood. I have read much of his writings and have found them inspiring at many levels. My favorite book from King is Strength to Love. It is a small collection of some of his sermons and speeches on moral authority and Christ-like social actions. Today I want to share an interesting quote from the sermon Loving Your Enemies taken from the text of Matthew 5:43-45. Consider these words from Dr. King:

Now we can see what Jesus meant when he said, "Love your enemies." We should be happy that he did not say, "Like your enemies." It is almost impossible to like some people. "Like" is a sentimental and affectionate word. How can we be affectionate toward a person whose avowed aim is to crush our very being and place immeasurable stumbling blocks in our path? How can we like a person who is threatening our children and bombing our homes? This is impossible. But Jesus recognized that love is greater than like. When Jesus bids us to love our enemies he is speaking neither of eros nor philia; he is speaking of agape, understanding and creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. Only by following this way and responding with this type of love are we able to be children of our Father who is in heaven.

After all these years, I am still wondering if he is right. What do you think?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Is This a New Church?

This church has just started a couple of miles down the road from our home. Check it out. What do you think? Is there something conspicuously missing or is it just me?

Friday, January 11, 2008

One Day at a Time

Have you ever seen the commercials from Nationwide with the tag line, "Life comes at you fast?" Here is one of the more popular ones



Seems lately I have been understanding just what that means when it appears that life is coming at you fast. It seems deadlines and commitments never cease. Yet, yesterday as I was spending time quietly listening to my prayers to God, I was impress with these thoughts. As you go about your time, perhaps you too would find similar words to express to God and find comfort in Him knowing and loving you.

"Thank you Lord for your grace one day at a time. As I try to understand and to accomplish all that is set before me, everyday you desire to bring me to yourself and remind me that yesterday is gone and tomorrow on this earth may never be mine. So here is today and you remind me of your grace one day at a time. Perhaps our lives would be less anxious and indeed more fulfilling if we would take more seriously and believe more earnestly in our Lord's words in Matt 6:34 "Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." And might I add, "Its own grace."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thanking God for Ken

I first met Ken Jones in the 2000. Late in 1999, Sherard Burns and I were working at Ligonier Ministries and thinking seriously about the need to bring a direct assault of Reformed theology upon the predominantly Black church. We discussed ideas of writing, conferences, websites, sermons, church planting, and a wide range of avenues in the pursuit of our vision. Working at Ligonier gave us the opportunity to speak with many African-Americans who appreciated the ministry of Ligonier, but wondered how to get more Reformed teaching into the Black church and who was trying to do it. We also wondered who was out there doing the work we dreamed of doing. Even as we were contemplating these ideas, God brought across our desk an article that changed everything.

The January/February 2000 issue of Modern Reformation came to Ligonier. The theme of the issue was "Wish List for the 21st Century." One article in particular caught our attention. It was written by Ken Jones. It was on, "What We Wish For....The Reformation for the Black Church." We had heard Ken on the White Horse Inn, but had never met him, nor had we heard his heart for Reformation. Yet, when we read this article, our hearts were greatly encouraged and we knew that we had a brother in arms. We decided that we must meet him.

Later that year the National Pastors Conference for Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals was being held in Atlanta GA. Ken Jones was one of the speakers. We knew this was our chance. Sherard contacted Ken to see if we drove to Atlanta would he have time to meet with us. He graciously consented to do so. Six hours on the road from Orlando to Atlanta resulted in us forging a friendship with Ken that I am still thanking God for today. We talked and fellowshipped into the wee hours of the morning, and genuinely enjoyed each others company. We shared ideas and visions, and even laid the foundations for the Miami Pastors Conference that is quickly becoming a must on everyone's calendar.

I mention this because the latest issue of Modern Reformation is available (HT:JT). Ken is in the this issue as well. However, the website is also highlighting the article that first grabbed our attention some 8 years ago. Needless to say, I still have a copy of that issue, but seeing it online again reminded me of how much I appreciate Ken's labor for the gospel. I have done it before, but I want to do it again and thank God for my friend, Ken.
Love you man.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Decline of AA Theology VI

In the chapter on soteriology, Thabiti briefly compares and contrast the theology of popular contemporary preachers Tony Evans and Creflo Dollar. While both basically hold to an Arminian position on the doctrine of salvation, and according to Thabiti,

"both defined justification as 'right standing before God,' Dollar stressed that, 'I am righteous; therefore I can be healed. I am righteous; therefore I have angelic protection. I am righteous; therefore I will always triumph in Christ Jesus.' Dollar continued with the claim that, 'Every promise in the Bible hinges on my acceptance of the righteousness of God. By simply realizing His righteousness in me, the wrong in my life can be fixed. If I am poor, I have the right to prosperity. If I am sick, I have a right to be healed. If I am in bondage, I have a right to be delivered. Everything can be received through God's righteousness in me'" (p. 210).

In reading this section, it would appear that there was some difference between the position of Evans and Dollar. However, according to some recent reports, the difference there was may have only been cosmetic as Evans has now begun to show that he is more Dollarian than even Arminian, much less Biblical.

We should thank Thabiti for his labors in producing this most important book. God has favored our time with this resource. And let us be reminded that only a sound biblical, historical, and accountable theology keeps us from such sloppy and destructive theological teachings.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ken Jones Online

Our brother Ken Jones has finally done us all a gracious favor and placed his weekly sermons online. However, perhaps the thanks should go to Greater Union Baptist Church and the faithful servants there, since we know it was not Ken's computer literacy that made it possible.
Thanks Greater Union for being 21st century computer literate Christians, though your pastor has yet to come. We yet hold out hope!