Tag Archives: Christ

Bring Your Wounds to Jesus

We are all wounded to some extent. We are wounded by living in this sinful and fallen world. We are wounded by the sins of others. We even carry wounds as a result of our own sins. All of carry scars, all of us know pain and all of us need healing. All of us. Your pastor, your parents, your spouse, your neighbors? All of them are wounded too.
The question is not really Continue reading

Take Responsibility for your Behavior

   “The healthy way to deal with God’s repentance call is to take personal responsibility.  I’m not responsible for the wrongs of others, but I am responsible for my own choices and decisions.

   I love playing basketball with Milton.  For the past many years, Milton and I have played together.  We’ve been on the same team in our church league basketball and shared many pick-up games.  And we have gotten older and older.

   Milton, like me does not want to lose.  This former college basketball player knows what he is doing on the court and he plays to win.  But, as our ages continue to increase Continue reading

Don’t Negotiate with Terrorists

   Our government policy is “We don’t negotiate with terrorists”- or “We don’t usually negotiate with terrorists” or “We only occasionally negotiate with terrorists” or whatever it is now.  It is hard to keep up with the government sometimes.  Anyway, I want to suggest that there is some benefit to the “we don’t” formula.

   This idea can apply in other areas beyond governments.  It can apply in church life.  Churches don’t usually have real terrorists (that is frowned upon by the Christian faith and tends to be in other religions and philosophies) but they can have people who act terribly.  May I recommend a Continue reading

Not a White Church

I am not a white pastor. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite Caucasian. I’m named Douglas, get sunburned pretty easily and live in suburbia. That sounds pretty Caucasional…Caucasionistic…Caucaustic? But I am not a white pastor. I am a pastor… who wants to be a man of God.
My church is not a white church. While we have a lot of whitish skinned people in our church we are not a white church. We are a church. And, by the way, Continue reading

What a Good Sermon Does

There is some bad preaching out there.  There are sermons that are theological swamp lands and others too boring for the strongest caffeinated drinks.  Some sermons chase rabbits like a hound; others skirt the text like a ballerina.  Preacher, please don’t mislead me or confuse me or, heaven forbid, bore me with this great message.

I’ve been preaching most of my life- 25 years off, 28 years on. At the risk of opening myself to clever comments from amateur comedians who hear my sermons, let me tell you what a good sermon ought to do.

1. A good sermon informs. A good sermon tells us the truth. It teach us God’s word.  That should go unsaid, but because it too often goes undone, it needs saying.  Preacher, tell us what God says, not just what you think.  Tell us what we need, not just what we like or want.  Teach us the bible.  Tell us what God wants us to know.  This is an irreplaceable part of good preaching, but it isn’t enough.

2.  A good sermon inspires.  A good sermon tells us the truth in a way that moves our emotion as well as informs our logic.  It touches our spirit as well as our mind.  Preacher, use a story once in a while.  The bible is full of them.  Use some illustrations.  They grab our attention and they help us to see the truth in a different way.  Preach with some passion and stir us to greater things.

3.  A good sermon implements.  A good sermon applies the text to our lives.  It doesn’t leave us in theory, but connects God’s word to our practical world.  Preacher, answer the question “So what?”  Tell us why we need to know God is the creator.  Tell us why it matters that we understand what grace is.  Move us to action.  Move us to change.  We need to see that God’s word is relevant to our lives.

4.  A good sermon invites.  A good sermon invites us to trust Christ as Savior and to follow Him as Lord.  It invites us on this great journey of faith.  It calls us to decision as it confronts us with the truth.  There is an invitation to something greater and deeper and more real.  Preacher, don’t be satisfied for us to know the truth.  Call us with everything you have to follow the Truth with everything we have.

Excuse me now.  I’ve got to work on my sermon for this weekend.  This needs to be a good one.  Hey, even a pig can grub up a diamond every once in a while!

What Baptists Believe

I’m finishing a biography of John D. Rockefeller.  It is 650 pages long- which is about 450 pages beyond sufficient.  I realized that the author- an otherwise excellent writer- doesn’t seem to understand Baptists much.  (Rockefeller joined a Baptist church when young and stayed a Baptist all of his life- though in the more theologically liberal branch.)  Earlier, I read a biography of Harry Truman. (Truman joined a Baptist church when young- though he didn’t stay very connected or influenced.)  The author told me what he had for breakfast on multiple occasions, but hardly spared a word for what Baptists believed.  I doubted that he knew.

I thought to myself, “If those fellows don’t know what Baptists believe, I’ll bet some others don’t either.”  So, here is a brief synopsis.

A couple of quick disclaimers.  Baptist belief in argumentation seems to be overly developed,  so note that there are some differences of opinions about some issues.  Note that this is my belief about Baptists beliefs (as a Baptist believer) and may not necessarily be matched by everyone using that title.  And, these things are believed by many in the broader conservative, Evangelical world.  Also, I can’t cover everything here, so I’ll just focus on a couple of basics.

1.  Baptists believe that the Bible is God’s word Continue reading

High Dives and Discipleship

   I still remember my first time jumping off the high dive.

   In the summertime I spent a lot of afternoons at the community pool in my small town.  Most of my time was spent in the shallow end, splashing and playing with my brothers and friends.  I watched other kids jumping off the diving boards at the deep end of the pool.  It seemed fun and exciting, but too scary for me.

   As the summer progressed, I thought more and more about what it would be like to overcome my fears and worries and plunge into the deep, blue water of the deep end.  I even walked by that area of the pool a few times to calculate the possibilities.  The deep water was so inviting, yet I was so frightened to plunge in.

   Finally, I could take it no longer. Continue reading