Tag Archives: Jesus

How To Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

For those of you who might be interested, here is an edited version of last Sunday morning’s church service.

Katie, my daughter, sings “Blessings” right after the opening congregational song.

How we are to love our neighbor is based on the last 6 of the 10 commandments.

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Filed under Preaching

The Emptiness that Leads to Protests Confirms a Greater Need to Share Jesus

Good Wednesday morning, everyone!

I hope this post finds you well, whether it be a Wednesday where you are, or not 😉

This morning I went walking around my neighborhood in order to burn off some ill-gotten calories. While I was walking, a thought came to mind regarding the current social climate of unrest and ever-present protesting. As briefly as possible, I want to share my thought with you and beg your feedback.

Thanks.

By the way, this is a view of my office “work place” this morning.

Why do people protest like they do?

More specifically, why to white people run the streets tearing up stuff in support of Black Lives Matter? Please don’t be triggered – this is not a racial argument that I’m attempting to make. I ask this because the whites are not being treated like the blacks, so why protest and even risk (in a few places) being arrested?

Aside from those who join protests for no other reason than to find an accepted avenue through which to express their hoodlum-istic desires to vandalize something, I believe people join protests because they believe in the cause (whatever that may be).

Now, granted, the “causes” for many protests I’ve seen are weak and unsubstantiated, contrived, or overblown. But for the most part, the people marching, protesting, occupying, vandalizing, and even those who are acting like idiots while standing in front of moving trucks are doing it because they “believe” in something worth acting a fool.

Now, to the point…

I believe that what we are seeing in our nation, even the world, is the outward expression of a deep, inward void … an emptiness of moral value and sense of purpose, which leads a hopeless society to latch on to any cause that may sooth our souls’ desire for the spiritual.

In other words, what we are witnessing is a society, one that has purged itself of transcendent, objective meaning, all of a sudden finding within itself an insatiable hunger for what it refuses to accept, so it feeds on the artificial.

What I see are people who need to feel righteously indignant in order to gloss over the reality of their own unrighteousness.

Are there legitimate reasons for protests? Of course there are – at least in some cases. However, aside from any agenda that might be afoot and seeking to overturn our nation and system of government, what I see are not adults who’ve given a lot of well-informed thought to why they are doing what they are doing, but younger people who need a reason to wake up in the morning.

Black lives matter, so that means they, too, can find meaning – and matter.  Even more, they can be a part of a group, a community of like-minded activists complete with vibrant, charismatic speakers, which will literally walk along side them and encourage them to stay strong.

Therefore, it appears to me that the world STILL needs Christ, whether they want to admit it, or not. As a matter of fact, this modern culture of protest and activism only confirms there’s a greater need than ever to share Jesus.

Your thoughts?

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Filed under America, Christianity, current events

Let’s Talk About Moses and Righteousness

Been Busy

Someone whom you may know as Angel made a keen observation: I haven’t been posting much, lately.

Well, there is a reason why that observation is correct… It’s no more complicated than the fact that I’ve been busy, busy, busy.

And when I’m not busy, I’m usually just too dang tired to get my brain into writing gear. But I’m sure it’s just a phase.

Been Preaching and Teaching

But one thing that hasn’t slacked off is the time I have spent in front of an iPhone camera. Literally, the only time I am not recording and uploading preaching or teaching content is on Saturday. But it’s twice on Sunday, so…

Therefore, even though I’ve not been doing a lot of writing, I have been speaking. And that’s OK! I love it! So, when you have the time, I would encourage you to check out the following two videos. They are the latest that I have edited and uploaded to YouTube (and that’s work, too).

Oh, and I’ve been walking every day and doing my best to lose weight, especially for my daughter Katie’s wedding in October.

Love you guys!

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christianity, Church, ministry, Preaching, self-worth

Time to Exercise My 1st Amendment Right: I Will Tell You What I Believe

Unacceptable Fear

This morning, after I typed the name of the title and the heading just above, I took the picture you see: that of my laptop, a “Keep America Great” hat, and a painting called “Blue Tears” (one I did in honor of fallen police officers – just those who died in the line of duty by gunfire last year).

On this day, the day we celebrate the birth of this great nation, The United States of America, I decided to lay all my patriotic cards on the table, and then some. Hence, the picture of a pro-Trump (and pro-America) hat, along with an artistic statement of support for Law Enforcement (Police).

Unfortunately, because of the incredible threats of intimidation and backlash, along with the literal danger of physical harm, I have never posted a picture of this hat. But today, because I do not want to live in shame or fear, I will claim my right to tell you exactly what I believe with regard to this country.

Fear is unacceptable. Silence in the face of intimidation is cowardice.

What I Believe About . . .

Jesus

He was a literal, historic figure who was God incarnate, yet with a human nature. After being born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life as the “second Adam” and Lamb of God who would be crucified for the sins of mankind.  He is alive, today, after resurrecting from the dead in accordance with prophesy and His own promises. According to John 14:6, there is no other way to eternal life than through Him: the historically verifiable person who walked the shores of Galilee 2000 years ago and shed His own blood as a ransom and for an atonement that no other man past, present, or future could accomplish.

The cross of Christ is the answer for every problem in the world today. The gospel is the most important message we can share with every man, woman, boy, and girl in the world. And it is this gospel of Jesus Christ, as displayed in the inerrant, infallible Word of God, which is the same “good news” to every culture, every tribe, and ever person on earth, regardless of color or country.

But beyond that…

Police

There are far more good cops that bad ones. More people die every day from medical malpractice than all police acts of violence combined. Anyone marching in the streets calling for the end of hospitals? Every man and woman who put on an the uniform and shield (badge) deserve respect and honor until they do something to deserve otherwise. I #backtheblue.

Defunding Police.

I personally think this is one of the most ignorant and stupid suggestions of all time. Those who support this idea are about as bright and mature as the 4-year-old who thinks he’d be better off on his own without parents to keep him out of the cookie jar.

Black Lives Matter

Of course they do! And, to make it clear, I understand that for many what this means is that “black lives matter, TOO,” just as much as everyone else.

But when it comes to the Black Lives Matter organization founded by self-proclaimed “radicals” Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, I believe it is an anti-American, anti-nuclear family, danger to American and Western society, particularly the very freedoms every color of American fought and died for. I also believe the whole premise of this organization is built on the false narrative of “systematic and institutionally-sanctioned racism.”

President Donald J. Trump 

I didn’t vote for him in the primary election – I voted for Ted Cruz. However, I did vote for him over Hillary Clinton in the general election. Faced with the choice between what each promised they would do if elected, I knew I could not support Clinton.

President Donald Trump is NOT the greatest danger to American civilization and the safety of the world. For that honor all you need to do is look at those who topple monuments to historic figures who fought against slavery while supposedly protesting those who supported slavery.

Uninformed fools will cut off the very branch of the tree that supports them.

Hating 45 (Trump Derangement Syndrome)

Let’s be honest, folks. If you hate President Trump, it’s probably because you are either pro-abortion, hate any restriction to your sexual autonomy, want to silence any religious voice who disagrees with your sexual proclivities, or you simply believe the constant twisting by the main-stream media and radical-left celebrities who fear their sexual autonomy might be limited.  On the other hand, maybe you were so invested in electing the first woman president that the shock of losing broke your brain.

Grand Funerals

Being buried in a Bronze Promethean casket from Batesville ($24,000 min.) doesn’t make you a good person or erase the fact that poor decisions can have catastrophic consequences.

Confederate Monuments

Ironically, those who call for the removal of these monument are supported by the very Democrat party to which those who supported segregation and racism belonged. If they insist on tearing down Confederate monuments, then they should certainly include Democrat icons such as Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who interned Japanese Americans in camps), Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson (who used the n-word more often than “Jesus Christ”), and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (form Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan).

But truth be told, it’s not about racism or trying to erase a painful past; it’s about erasing and eradicating who we are as a nation and replacing it with something radical, oppressive, atheistic, and Marxist.

Racism

How do I define racism? Well, I believe racism is the belief that one particular “race” is either superior or inferior to another. What racism is NOT is the preference of one ethnic culture over another. It is NOT racist to be inclined to the characteristics of one ethnicity over another. Racial profiling is NOT racist if it is based on statistics, especially when the overall benefit to the profiling will positively affect every ethnicity.

Racism is sinful, unbiblical, and an affront to the very nature of our Creator God. Having “prejudices” for or against particular cultural norms is NOT being racist; it’s showing preference. However, you can be a racist and be prejudiced at the same time, but it should not be assumed that one is automatically a racist if he/she has certain prejudices. For example, I married a white woman because I am white and preferred (had a prejudice toward) women who have the same skin color and cultural customs as myself. That was not a “racist” choice.

It is NOT racist to note our physical differences, either. Just as long as our physical differences are not used as an argument to suggest that one “race” is inherently better than another. God has designed each of us, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that we are not all physically the same. It is wrong, however, to suggest that one color of human should be subjugated to another, for we are ALL equal before God.

Gun Violence and Guns

The old adage is still true: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Anti-gun laws (which are in opposition to our 2nd amendment to the Constitution) do nothing to change the heart that pulls the trigger. That same heart can thrust a blade or swing a club.

“When was America ever great?”

When it acknowledged the right you have to publicly ask a stupid and uninformed question without fear of government retribution.

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

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Filed under America, community, Culture Wars, current events, politics

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

It’s Time for Boldness

Dear friends, now, maybe more now than ever, it is time for those who know the Truth to be bold as lions.

I will not argue over perspectives, for each has his own. I will not sit here and pontificate over another’s life experiences and what fears they have, for each has their own.

However, it is my RESPONSIBILITY to speak out when doctrine, theology, especially the doctrines of Jesus Christ are being attacked and polluted without rebuttal. Folks, the words of Paul to Timothy are just as true today as they were 2,000 years ago.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” – 1 Timothy 4:16

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – 2 Timothy 4:2

So, when the head of the BLM of Greater New York says on national television that Jesus was “…the most famous black radical revolutionary in history…” and uses that false teaching to justify violence, it’s time we say condemn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead.

Bad Theology/Bad Praxeology 

Praxeology is the “study of human action and conduct.” What we see being carried out in the streets of America is conduct based on bad theology and fueled by bad Christology (theological interpretation of the person and work of Christ).

I am firmly convinced that our actions as humans, especially how we treat others or respond to their actions towards us, can be traced back to our theological, especially our Christological beliefs – whether we think we have any or not.

As pastors, there can be no greater responsibility than to boldly and unapologetically proclaim the biblical and historical Jesus Christ of Nazareth, His true mission, and our dependency on His atoning work on the Cross.

“Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” 

That’s the question asked by Jesus of his disciples. The answer Peter gave was, “Thou are the the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

That is what the following sermon I delivered this past Sunday morning was about. I would encourage you to watch and share.

“Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”

I do apologize for the less-than-HD quality. The internet where we are is so slow that we have to upload at 520p in order to get anything done the same day. We pray for fiber optics!

 

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Filed under America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, General Observations, Jesus, Preaching, Southern Baptist

Racial Reconciliation: It Starts Like This – With Jesus

Today I had a beautiful and powerful conversation with a fellow pastor and fellow TBS (Temple Baptist Seminary) grad, Rev. Kenneth E. Ware of New Sholar Avenue Baptist Church, Chattanooga.

Below is a link to the conversation we had.

Your comments are welcome.

 

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Filed under America, baptist, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christian Unity, Christianity, community, current events, Jesus

No Greater Love

I know I’ve already shared this song. I played it at church, yesterday, and then posted the video on Facebook this morning. However, I thought it would be good to re-post this piece, today, so that new readers might get the whole story.

Unfortunately, I learned just this week that Sgt. Sullivan’s grandmother (Brenda Sullivan, 70) passed away in June of last year, followed by his mother (Debbie Sullivan Beavers, 54) on July 5th.

First Fallen

john-michael-sullivanSeveral years ago, just after the second gulf conflict broke out, the town I was living in lost its first son. On December 30, 2006, Sgt. John Michael Sullivan was killed by a roadside bomb. Only 22, he left behind a wife and baby who was born the day after Sgt. Sullivan died.

I will never forget the visitation at the funeral home. Soldiers stood guard at each end of Sgt. Sullivan’s casket. One soldier was a West Point cadet. Every thirty minutes they would rotate out, similar to the way the guard is changed at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington. The honor and respect was palpable.

“Not Here”

Folks in the southern United States don’t take kindly to disrespect – especially at the funeral of a fallen soldier. Sgt. Sullivan died while taking a friend’s place on patrol, which made him a genuine hero. He was a local boy. So, when it was rumored that protesters from Westboro Baptist Church were going to be protesting, blood began to boil.

patriot guardStanding guard outside the funeral home, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, were motorcyclists (over 200 hundred of them) holding American flags. They lined the street and sidewalks as far as anyone could see. Each one, wearing leather vests,  seemed as tough as the Harleys they rode.

I won’t give names, but I heard a couple of high-ranking officials discussing the protesters. They knew Westboro’s hateful tactics and what typically went on at other funerals. So, in a whisper not meant to be overheard, one official said to another, “If those ———-‘s show up, just turn your back – let the guys outside handle them.”

Westboro never showed up. They must have gotten word.

More than Talk

Some people talk a big talk, but never walk the walk. Some people brag about what they would do in a given situation, such as combat, but never volunteer to prove it. But as Sgt. Sullivan lay there in his casket, no words were needed; his sacrifice proved his courage – and love.

Sgt. SullivanScripture says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Others may say they love their friends, but the silent soldier in front of me didn’t have to say a word.

As I paid my respects, it struck me how this young man had essentially given his life for me, a stranger. Like so many other men and women we remember on Memorial Day, Sgt. Sullivan willingly took another’s place. He did what we could not.

The emotion I felt that day led me to write a song in Sgt. Sullivan’s honor. But it also honors of the One who gave His life so that we could be eternally free.

Here is “No Greater Love” as sung by my daughter, Katie (we just recorded it on the iPhone, so forgive the low quality).

(Note: Unfortunately, when I wrote the song, I didn’t know Sgt. Sullivan was actually 22. However, his mother, after hearing the song, told me it was OK.).

Links

http://www.fallenheroesproject.org/united-states/john-michael-sullivan/
http://freedomremembered.com/index.php/sergeant-john-michael-sullivan/
http://www.stripes.com/news/unit-remembers-dedicated-soldier-who-was-killed-just-before-his-son-s-birth-1.58888

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Filed under America, music

If We Could Only Comprehend!

This morning my prayer for you (and myself) will be the same as what the apostle Paul prayed…

I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19 CSB

Oh, that we might comprehend the width, the length, the height, and the depth of God’s love through Jesus Christ! If we could only even slightly comprehend the vast, expansive spread before us, mercy and grace for every need; the never-ending, eternal, infinite promise of his love and care; the heights to which we are raised, far above the lowly, humble truth of our natural condition and state; and the depths of Christ’s love – humble depths to which the love of God had to reach down in order to pluck us from the pit of sin… If we could only even slightly comprehend them!

Yet, through His strength (v. 16), and being rooted and grounded in His love (v. 17), it is possible! Hallelujah! Because He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us! (v. 20 NKJV)

This morning, and every morning, to God the Father be all glory in the church by Christ Jesus, to all generations, wherever they may be, forever and ever, “world without end” (v. 20).

And all the people said… “AMEN!!” 

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Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Love of God, Preaching, worship

Easter 2020 at Bethlehem Baptist (COVID-19 edition)

If you didn’t get a chance to attend a Resurrection Sunday (Easter) service this morning, we made a video just for you!

I would love to hear from you after you watch and participate in worship – yes, we want you to worship with us!

Christ is risen!

 

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christianity, Church, Easter, Preaching, worship

What Was It Like, The Night Before?

Wells Branch Community Church: Austin, TX > Despair and the Key ...

 

Just imagine … the night before the resurrection.

Tomorrow is Easter, the day that we celebrate the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. But here it is the night before, the night before the celebrations, and few of us have any idea of the sense of total despair the followers of Jesus must have been experiencing on this night – the night before.

For three and a half years his disciples had followed Him around, listening to His stories, His parables, and His prayers. They had witnessed miracle after miracle which should have confirmed to them His claims to be the Messiah. Yet, just two days ago they witnessed the supposed Son of God, the “resurrection and the life” (that’s what he told Mary and Martha, you know, on the day He raised Lazarus from the dead), betrayed, beaten, falsely convicted, and tortuously crucified.

Then, after his tormentors had done all they could do, Jesus died. It was pretty obvious to all who were present.

It grew dark and the earth shook violently, as to add insult to injury, for even creation sensed the tragedy of it all.

They saw Him buried.

Some ran…some huddled as they hid…would they be next?

What of the “Kingdom” the Jesus had spoken of?

What good were the words “he that believeth on me shall not die, but have everlasting life” if the one saying it could be unjustly convicted, abandoned by heaven, and left to die in the most disgraceful and painful way? How could HE make such a promise if HE could die?

It was the night before, just like tonight, yet there was no anticipation of worship services or egg hunts – only the expectation of another sunrise without the Son.

They were afraid…broken…discouraged…faithless…confused…angry…directionless…without hope…

They were totally unprepared for what was about to happen, because the last thing they were thinking of was that this was…

the night before.

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Filed under Easter