Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Insider's Guide to Capitol Hill Baptist Church

I am always fascinated when I visit other churches, especially well-known churches, at the similarities and differences in forms and styles of worship.

While I've never visited Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., David Crowe in his blog post gives an wonderful summary with pictures, notes, and even a copy of the order of worship.

It is a very helpful play-by-play (forgive the metaphor) of what a Sunday service is like.

Christian Cockroaches?

Mark Dever, in a message on politics that some have called the best message on politics and Dever's finest sermon, made an insightful comment regarding the "unhitching" of Christianity from national identity. He argued that Christianity, by definition, is international. In other words, we should use caution in identifying it too closely with a particular nation or people.

To make this point memorable he said the following: "Christians are, by God's grace, like cockroaches; we can survive anything."

To read the rest of the sermon, click here: Mark 12:13-17

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Biographical Sermon on William Carey

This Sunday I'll be launching our Missions Emphasis Month with my annual biographical sermon on a missionary. This year I've chosen to profile the father of modern missions, William Carey.

In 1792, he wrote a stirring challenge to his fellow Baptist pastors to consider the plight of the unreached (called "heathen during his day), and the result was the formation of the first missionary society.

Here's a quote:

"If a holy solicitude had prevailed in all the assemblies of Christians in behalf of their Redeemer's kingdom, we might probably have seen before now, not only an open door for the gospel, but many running to and fro, and knowledge increased; or a diligent use of those means which providence has put in our power, accompanied with a greater blessing than ordinary from heaven."

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Where I'll be in Ukraine

I'm leaving today for a 10 day trip to Ukraine and the Caspian Region to celebrate the 10-year partnership between College Park Church at Ukrainian Evangelical Seminary. I will be ministering along with Dale Shaw and Nate Irwin at UETS in Kiev, Ukraine. We are leading a spiritual emphasis week under the banner of "Beholding the Beauty of Jesus" which will include a Fresh Encounter Prayer Service at the end.

On Saturday, I'll be speaking at the graduation service and in two churches on Sunday: Salvation Church and House of Prayer. (Be sure to use the Google Chrome feature to translate into English - super cool!)

Then we'll be off to the Caspian region to visit some College Park friends.

Pray that God will bless our ministry and that we'll be a great encouragement to the church in Eastern Europe!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Today's Sermon: Defining Greatness

In Matthew 18:1-4, Jesus identifies the definition of greatness. He links true greatness to becoming like a little child - turning from self-sufficiency to dependent, life transforming faith.

Click here to view the manuscript and listen to the audio file.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Prayer Mirrors the Gospel

I found a great quotation of Paul Miller in a recent publication from Life Action Ministries on the connection between prayer and the gospel:

"In the gospel, the Father takes us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of salvation. In prayer, the Father receives us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of help. We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy, meandering prayers."

Great hope for meandering, sloppy, and struggling believers who wrestle not only to pray but to pray well.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Peril of the Corner Office

I was reading an article recently about the amazing number of corporate leaders who had been convicted or fired because of shocking behavior. The piece was entitled “The Corner Office Alters Nice Guys” and it was acknowledging a brutal and scary reality in our power-grabbing world:

“The very traits that helped leaders accumulate control in the first place all but disappear once they rise to power. Once the nice guys reach the top, the headiness of wielding power causes them to morph into a very different kind of beast. They lose their ability to empathize with others, especially lesser mortals and ignore information that doesn’t confirm what they already believe. Most tellingly, perhaps, they learn to excuse faults in themselves that they are quick to condemn in others. Even the most virtuous people can be undone by the corner office.”

Translation? Be sure that you know what true greatness is all about because the world-based, self-focused lure of promotion, advancement, or success can easily destroy you. All you have to do is think like everyone else, live like everyone else, act like everyone else and then think that you did it by yourself, and it will not be long until you are just another body-bag on the road of life. Worse, you could be a personal “train-wreck” with a fish bumper sticker. The gravitational pull of our culture and our flesh is so strong that a follower of Jesus dare not set his or her life on auto pilot. We need a constant re-orientation with the horizon of God’s word.