The Cooperative Program Rediscovered

One of the the things I want to do in my time of service with the Southern Baptist Convention is to encourage greater support for the cooperative program (CP). Oddly enough, more attention than ever has been paid to the CP through some recent dust ups with churches and the ERLC- one of our SBC agencies. Perhaps the CP is being rediscovered.

Every church in the SBC can decide how much- if any- they give to missions through the cooperative program. Every state convention can decide how much they forward on to national agencies. Every convention can debate the percentages that each agency should receive. But, I contend, the CP remains a marvel of opportunity. Here are some of the blessings of this method of mission giving.

First, the CP has been remarkably Continue reading

Flavors of Evangelism

I like ice cream. Who doesn’t? Ice cream comes in all kinds of different flavors from vanilla to chocolate to pistachio. The basics of ice cream- dairy and sugar- remain the same whatever the flavor, but there are lots of different types.

Evangelistic methods come in different flavors. The basics of evangelism are always the same. Evangelism is the sharing of the message of the gospel with those who are lost. The message of the gospel is the same that it has been for the last two thousand years. (I Corinthians 15:1-8 provides a great summary of that message.) The necessary response to the gospel remains unchanged. We are separated from God by our sins. We need to repent of sin and place our faith in the Lord Jesus who died for our sin and rose from the dead in order to be saved. This is the basic message of evangelism.

But, like varieties of ice cream, there are varieties of ways- what we might call evangelistic methods- by which we do the work of evangelism. Let’s talk about Continue reading

Changing How You Think

Good word from my sweet wife.

wateringcanblog

The seasons are changing, and after weeks of unseasonably warm weather, the daffodils have bloomed and the landscape is changing.

All to be covered in a fresh blanket of snow.

Because I love the warmer weather, it would be easy for me to start whining about the sudden change of temperature–

–if it wasn’t so beautiful.

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A Determined Heart

“Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra 7:10

This verse first jumped out at me while in college. I underlined it in my devotional reading (A habit I still employ) and used it to teach children’s church (I still apply my  sermons to children- and to immature adults). It has been meaningful to me and perhaps you will find it to be that for you.

Note that Ezra “determined in his heart” to do three things. That is, these are the commitments that Ezra made and actions he vowed to take. Perhaps you might make the same determination in  your heart.

First, Ezra determined Continue reading

Less Whining, More Praying

It is a simple goal boiled down to a sound bite. Simple, but profound. “Less whining, more praying.”

I want my future to have less and more. I want less whining, less complaining and less caterwauling. I want less grumpiness, irritability and fussiness. But, I want my future to have more and more of one thing: prayer.

Here are three reasons to join me in this goal.

Praying is more Christlike than whining. We are not very Christlike when we whine. Complaining is not a spiritual gift. (I just checked again. It isn’t in the list of spiritual gifts. Really, I checked this quite thoroughly!) Continue reading

Old Pastors and Those Who Will Be

I saw an old pastor friend recently. I don’t know exactly when you should start calling a pastor “old” but he was well past his 80th birthday, so I guess he qualifies. He retired from the full-time pastorate some years ago due to health but remains busy as an interim pastor and preaches frequently in those in between times. And he is doing great work for the kingdom.

I want to suggest that our old pastors have great value for our generation. And, I suggest that our younger pastors would do well to get to know, love and appreciate some older pastors–before they get there themselves!

Here are some reasons young ministers- and the church as a whole- should value our older ministers and Continue reading

Learning from the Past

Our church just recognized our sesquicentennial. That is a dandy of a word that means we were formed 150 years ago. By the standards of Europe it isn’t so much, but Illinois isn’t Europe. So, a sesquicentennial (that really is a dandy of a word!) is not as common here.

150 years ago, First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, IL was formed at what was then just a small railroad stop. Over the years we have had some ups and downs. The church nearly closed in 1973. But for the last 40 plus years the church has grown steadily and has become a rather large congregation.

We aren’t perfect as we are made up of people. We have had imperfect leaders as they, too, have been people. But God has had his hand on this congregation and has blessed the church in ways that are difficult to explain apart from God.

Since I’ve been more immersed in our history than usual, I want to reflect on some lessons we have learned Continue reading