Thursday, February 28, 2008

God the Gentleman?

Here is a quote I came across today at a blog by a worship leader:

"God is always a gentleman. He never comes into a heart uninvited, and never takes over a life without being asked."

After reading it I could not help but think that someone forgot to tell Jonah this. Also, neither was Apostle Paul reminded of this so-called truth. In fact, when I think of my own life, if God had waited on me, I never would have known who He is. Thank God once again that He is not subject to human sentiments of chivalry.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

War is almost Hell

Someone has said, "War is hell." Well, I don't believe war is hell, but I am convinced that it is darn near to it. On the ground in certain places of Iraq is not a desirable place to be, as seen in this recently declassified footage of a truck bomb. This is a brutal reminder that those in Iraq and Afghanistan who are in harms way are in need of our prayers. I am sure we all know someone. May God bless our troops and the men and women of Iraq and Afghanistan who desire life and peace.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yes We Can!

I am not a supporter of Barack Obama. I most definitely do not support Hillary Clinton. And am not impressed with John McCain. So, my vote this coming November is up in the air at the moment. However, having said all that I would like to give you some food for thought. As you contemplate how you will cast your ballot this fall, don't be fooled by those who say that lofty words and fancy phrases don't make a difference. Don't be fooled into believing that the ability to give an inspiring speech has little to do with being the leader of people. I would argue that one of the most important aspects of leadership is to inspire people to do more than they believe they can. It is calling people to see what they have yet to see is possible. Speeches have done this throughout time. And continue to do it today. Who can forget the words of William Wallace in Braveheart.

We should never underestimate the ability and responsibility of the President of the United States to inspire and encourage people with his presence and his words. Four years is not a long time to really effect significant change, but the ability to inspire a generation with one's words and presence can have lasting effects for years to come. It is no wonder that the greatest and most respected of our presidents have been men who could turn a phrase and give inspiring orations that have continued to inspire generations later. Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan are men who used there presidential pulpit to give some of the most unforgettable words our nation has ever heard from men who have held the office. These men (like them or not) are on any honest man's short list of most inspiring and beloved Presidents. Why? One reason for sure is that they were able to inspire, not only with their presence but with their words.

Today much is being made of Barack Obama's lofty speeches and inspiring oratory. Some say its empty rhetoric. Others say it is just speeches, but no solutions. Yet, I would suggest that at the moment everyone is just giving speeches. And in the history of our nation and world, speeches have made a difference.

Again, I am not a Barack Obama supporter. He and I have serious ideological differences (as well as religious ones). However, I do believe it is refreshing to hear someone who can speak with inspiration once again. We have not had it since Ronald Reagan. It is refreshing to be able to listen to a speech and not be bored two minutes into it. I am not saying that I am going to vote for Obama. But I am saying that it would be nice to have a president once again who could give speeches like Winston Churchill. Now, if we could only have one with Churchill's convictions and leadership. I guess we can't have it all. But then again, if you listen to Obama you might begin to believe "Yes We Can."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Washington Post on Redmond

I have blogged several times on my man Eric Redmond, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church. Those who know Eric know what a wonderful asset he is to the church and to our desire for Reformation among African-Americans. Apparently the Washington Post has discerned this as well. Eric and Hillcrest are featured in today's feature article on faith. Check it out.

The bow tie is not the left over remains of the Nation of Islam, but remnants of an academician turned pastor. We might need to reformed that as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"I'm a Grace Case"

Every year in August people from all around gather at Main Street Baptist Church for the annual Sovereign Grace Bible Conference (to some it is affectionately simply called "The Conference"). The conference has been pioneered these past 25 years by Elder D.J. Ward, pastor of Main Street Baptist Church. The conference features a variety of preachers, most from a movement of Calvinistic baptist churches known as Sovereign Grace Baptist (you can access last year messages here).

If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Elder Ward, then you know what a magnanimous and gracious man he is. He has been in the pulpit ministry for many years and yet his enthusiasm for the truth of the Doctrines of Grace and God's Sovereignty in all things has not waned in the slightest. I have had the honor of sharing the pulpit with Elder Ward on a couple of occasions, and I can honestly say that he has encouraged my heart and ministry in the gospel. And don't let his slow gate and gray beard fool you. There is yet fire in his heart and power in his voice. Here is a small taste of what I mean.

One of his joys is singing of the grace and mercy of God. As you can tell from this video and the fact that he is reminded that he is "a grace case."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bugging for Jesus

This evening during our family worship time we sang Be Thou My Vision (one of my favorites). After the song, my youngest daughter asked me what "be thou my vision" means. I told her that that was a good question. How do you explain to a normal six year old what the words "be thou my vision" means? I tried to explain to her that to have a vision is to have a goal, an ultimate objective and that Christ should be the goal and objective of every Christian. Of course, that did not register. Then suddenly I remembered that all of us have visions, even little children, even my daughter.

You see, last week she had a box of Gobstoppers, which I took her from her because she did not have a clean bill of health at her last visit to the dentist. Since then, everyday she has asked me when she can have those Gobstoppers back. She is quite diligent in this pursuit. She even reminds me when I forget that I took them. Well, tonight I reminded her that she has a vision. I told here that she has a vision for those Gobstoppers. Her desire and delight is to enjoy those Gobstoppers. Everyday she has designs on how she can get me to give her back those Gobstoppers. Those Gobstoppers is her vision. And Christians should desire God even more than you desire those Gobstoppers.

After I finished, I do believe a light went on because she said, "Oh, Christians should bug for Jesus even as I bug you for the Gobstoppers." I laughed and said "Yes, sweetheart, Christians should be bugging for Jesus."

Are you bugging God for more of Jesus? Or do you bug Him for Gobstoppers?

On George Leile

Check out this post on George Leile from my man Gunny. Excellent.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Christ-Centric Life

A few years ago while I was in Maryland preaching at Hillcrest Baptist Church, I had the pleasure of meeting a dear brother whose commitment to theology and family really impressed me and encouraged my heart. I was also taken by his name. His name is Quincy Jones. I am sure when he tells people his name, he has become use to people doing double takes and asking questions about the other Quincy Jones. Yet, once you begin to speak with Q (as he is known), you will begin to see that this is the Quincy Jones you desire to know and meet more than the other guy.

Quincy is a husband, father, budding theologian and pastor, thoughtful blogger at Truth in the Innermost, seminary student, and accomplished hip-hop artist. He has been involved with ChristCentric for years. They have produced some the most biblical/theological hip-hop music in circulation. Their album The Reformation is the epitome of this theological labor.

As a student at Southwestern Bapist Theological Seminary, Quincy has been interviewed for the seminaries online newsletter. He tells part of his story in this video:

Even in the video you can hear a brother whose heart and mind are seeking Christ and his kingdom. Brothers like Quincy remind me and encourage me that God's kingdom is going forth and that He continues to raise up faithful African-American men with a passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Quincy I am reminded that the kingdom is Christ-Centric and so should our lives be.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Courageous Fatherhood and Manhood

"Courage is like a muscle. It only gets stronger when you use it."

There are few people who I desire to hear preach on fatherhood and the courage necessary to faithfully fulfill that call than Crawford Loritts. Here is the message he delivered yesterday at the 2008 Desiring God Conference for Pastors. Listen and be challenged and encouraged. Thanks Crawford, we needed that (at least I did).

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The NFL: No Friend Left?

According to a pastor friend of mine, today the NFL stands for No Friend Left. As you know, today is the annual national holiday known as Superbowl Sunday. People will be scrambling to find a place and a seat to watch the most over-hyped sporting event in the world. And sense it is on a Sunday, churches and Christians will seek to take advantage of the world's preoccupation with "the game." My above-mentioned friend told me that this year his church is calling today NFL Sunday, or as he put it, No Friend Left Sunday. He has instructed his parishioners to invite all their friends and family to church on this Sunday with the service being themed around the Superbowl and with the goal of evangelizing them with the effort. He informed me that he would be preaching a sermon on "The Game of Life."

While I applaud his desire to reach the lost, I fail to see how encouraging the saved to engage in worldly thinking on Sunday morning is a good means of reaching this ends. You see, the challenge for the Christian is not knowing how to think worldly and mundane thoughts. That is easy to do. The challenge is to somehow get our minds trained on things above and not on things below. The church and the preacher is to be a primary instrument in the facilitation of this challenge. For the past two weeks our minds have been bombarded with Superbowl propaganda. When we come to church should we receive more of the same? Or should there be a marked difference between the place where football is king and worshipped (namely the world) and the place where Christ is king and worshipped (namely the church)?

Don't get me wrong. I am not against the Superbowl. Let people have their Superbowl and the propaganda that goes along with it. Let people enjoy the hype and festivities that accompany "the game." And may the game be competitive and entertaining. However, when it comes to Sunday morning as we gather to corporately worship our God and Savior, let us leave the temporal and the mundane and let us set our mind on things above and remind each other that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Let those who come to be with us recognize that our minds are not being conformed to the propaganda, but are being renewed and that there is a distinct, unmistakable difference between the worship in the Kingdom of God and the worship in the kingdom of this world.

All week the world has said this is Superbowl Sunday. When the church of Jesus Christ gathers let us tell the truth. This is a day that the Lord has made. This is the Lord's Day. Let us rejoice and be glad in him.