Tag Archives: Church

I Get Tired of Excuses

“As I get older, as I see more and more, I get less and less patient with whiny excuses from people who have supposedly been bought with the blood of the Lamb who was slain for their sins.” – A. Baker

Today we mourn with our brothers and sisters in Egypt as many were lost to bombings while attending Sunday church services. Yet, because of Jesus Christ, we rejoice in the hope that death is not the end, only the beginning! Now, to our own churches we will go in order to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, for He is worthy to be praised!

One day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but we are going to get a head start on it today. Let’s go to church.

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Filed under Christian Unity, Church

A Question of Dignity

Much is said about how people should dress, like “dressing down” and dressing for success.” But how should a minister, a pastor, a “reverend” dress? For that matter, how should a pastor behave in public? How should his position affect his demeanor? Ever thought about that?

It’s a question regarding the appropriate level of dignity exhibited by those in ministry.

Differences

Some of you may disagree with me on this, but I do believe that there is something to be said about the differences between pastors and the congregation. If you are Catholic or main-line Protestant this is probably a non-issue, but it is an issue in other circles, specifically in evangelical churches.

Many of us are well aware that Scripture teaches that there is no essential difference between one believer and another: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Furthermore, many of us treasure the biblical doctrine of the “priesthood of the believer” that confirms all Christians have equal access to God, not needing the intercession or mediation of an earthly priest (Ephesians 2:18, 3:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 10:19; and 1 Peter 2:5). Some folk, especially many of my Baptist brethren, even refrain from using terms such as “clergy” and “laity” because, in essence, we are all the same.

anthony political

The “official” me.

However, if we are all the same, if there is no difference at all, no difference in expectation or qualification, why then do we have such passages as 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9? Why would Paul have instructed Timothy and Titus to ordain godly men to the work of “bishop” in the first place if there were no need for men of distinction?

The truth is that there is a biblical mandate of conduct for the role and specific offices of pastor, bishop, elder, teacher, and deacon. Those persons should be known as set apart, qualified, mature, devoted, and serious about the work (Titus 2:7).

I Struggle

I will admit, I struggle with this issue from time to time. You may not think it’s a big deal, but I think it is. The thing I don’t want is to be legalistic, prideful, arrogant, or aloof and never fun, accessible, down-to-earth, and humble.

But where does one draw the line? At what point can one say, “That [activity] is not appropriate for a person in that position” without coming across as elitist?

vbs ice cream head

The “ice cream” me.

Let’s face it, when it’s time for a fall festival or children’s activity, every one wants a pastor who is not afraid or too proud to look like a fool for the sake of a smile. It was Jesus who had little children running up to him, sitting on his knee, and enjoying being in his presence. The pastor who never laughs, never takes a shaving cream-pie in the face, or dresses up like a farmer for Vacation Bible School will never win the heart of a child.

On the other hand, the one dying in a hospital (or on the side of the road) wants more than a clown or a hip public speaker to kneel by his side or take her hand.

I struggle with where to draw the line, where being like everybody else must give way to the demeanor of one elected to lead. Sure, context is always going to make a difference, but is there no place for  gravitas in the modern church?

Grace and context. …Grace and context. That’s the only way I know to approach this.

I’d love to read what you think! Where do you see the line between dignity and doofus? 

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Filed under Christian Maturity, clothing, General Observations, legalism, ministry

God and Glory Cast Aside

 

Richard Baxter. “Making Light of Christ and Salvation.” In The World’s Great Sermons: Hooker to South, edited by Grenville Kleiser, 2:60. New York;London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1908.

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What It’s Going to Take

“A church is revitalized by the power of God through the Spirit of God at work through the word of God by means of a faithful shepherd of God.”

– Brian Croft, Biblical Church Revitalization: Solutions for Dying & Divided Churches, p. 24

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Filed under Christian Unity, Christianity, Church, Prayer, Preaching, Theology

“Why in the Church?”

As I Promised

This past Sunday afternoon (March 5, 2017) I promised those watching me on Facebook Live (“Sunday Morning Recap”) that I would post the outline/handout I used and shared Sunday morning in the church service at South Soddy Baptist.

Because I am new at South Soddy Baptist Church, and because we are essentially starting from the ground level, I thought it beneficial to do a Vince Lombardi-like sermon, something like “Gentleman, this is a football.”

The idea was to assume no one knew, or at least they had not recently thought about, some very basic features of the local church. Sort of like asking “What in the world?” I called this message “Why in the Church?”

I might take the points of this little handout and develop them further as individual posts here on the blog. Would that be beneficial or interesting to any of you?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Outline

“Why in the Church?”

Church

  • Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23 and 4:15-16; Rom. 8:9) See also Jesus’ conversation with Paul (Acts 9:4)
  • Ecclesia: defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.”
  • The Universal Church (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • The Local Church (Galatians 1:1-2)

Building

  • We should not neglect gathering together (Hebrew 10:25).
  • Why not just a house, or “home church”?
    • See: Acts 2:46 and 20:20.
    • Accountable leadership (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3).
  • What is to take place, wherever one meets: Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2.

Singing

  • Enter into His presence with thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100:4).
  • Songs should teach, admonish, and ultimately be directed to the Lord (Colossians 3:16-17)

Prayer

  • House of Prayer (See: Luke 19:46 and Isaiah 56:7. Also, Acts 2:42)

Pulpit

  • Bema – possible influence
  • “Pulpit of Ezra” (Nehemiah 8:4-5)
    • מִגְדָּל migdal (Strong’s H4026): a tower, or castle
      • Migdal-eder (mig·dal’·ā’·der) = “tower of the flock”
        • a shepherd’s watchtower near Bethlehem (Micah 4:8)

Altar

  • “Mourner’s bench,” 19th-20th century crusades
  • Place of Sacrifice – pride
  • Place of Commitment; when people ask (Joshua 4:6,21)

Invitation

  • Urgency – Today is the day (2 Corinthians 6:2 and Isaiah 49:8)
  • If you will confess me before men, I will confess you before my Father (Matthew 10:32)

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A Saturday Business Meeting (2-25-17)

First order of business…

Encourage a blogger. Not every blogger get a lot of views on Saturdays. Why not go to a blog or two and find a post, or just the “about” page, and leave a nice word of encouragement? It doesn’t have to be about something they’ve written, just something positive.

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the blogger will do anything to maintain his habit of changing the world one post at a time.

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the blogger will do anything to maintain his habit of changing the world one post at a time.

Believe me, a kind word at the appropriate time can mean more than the world – and you never know what a person is going through.

Second order of business…

Go to church tomorrow (Sunday)!

Yes, I said it. Go where there is a community of Jesus-following believers who study God’s Word and enjoy some real, honest, down-to-earth fellowship.

There are many of you out there (you know who you are) who think church is a thing of the past, or worse, not necessary. Oh, how wrong you are! Not only is it something needed today, but it is something loved by Jesus and commanded by Scripture.

Bass Boat Baptist? Give me a break! Some of you may think that you can worship by yourself, at home, at the lake, in the garage, hung over under a table after a party the night before, etc. Well, with exception of the “under the table” part, maybe; however, there is a big difference between “personal devotions” and corporate worship. Believe it or not, you need more than yourself and a fishing pole to “have church.”

Don’t believe in “organized religion?” Why? Is it because of some bad examples you have witnessed? I hope so, because surely you’re not using Jesus as an excuse, are you? It was Jesus, remember, who came “not to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law.” Jesus wasn’t some unwashed, long-haired, holy man who wandered the streets talking nonsense. Jesus was called “Rabbi.”  He preached in the synagogues and the temple, too; not just house fellowships, or in one-on-one conversations.

Don’t need a preacher? It’s hard to argue there’s no need for a  pastor/teacher when the Holy Spirit thinks he’s needed  (Ephesians 4:11). Are you a loner? A Christian mercenary? Not biblical. Consider the following words from the Apostle Paul to the “pastors” from Ephesus…

(17)And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. (28) “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” – Acts 20:17, 28-29

It’s about others, too. Find a place where God’s word is faithfully taught, without apology, and learn from those whom God has gifted for this holy purpose (1 Timothy 5:12-12; Hebrews 13:17). Then, consider this: by going, you just may encourage someone else in the process.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. – Hbr 10:24-25

P.S. Listen to me on WFLI AM1070 at 5pm Sunday if you’re in the Chattanooga area 🙂

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Filed under Christian Unity, God, Preaching, Uncategorized, worship

How Do You Treat a Gift from God?

Remember, dear believer, if your pastor is a “gift” to your congregation (Ephesians 4:11), how you treat him says a lot about your relationship to the Giver.  – A. Baker

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Filed under Church, ministry