Friday, April 25, 2014

#FollowFriday 4.25.14

Here are a few blogs to follow for your Friday:

Johnny Helms at Amazed In His Presence

Candace Tyler at The Herstorian

The International Mission Board at their blog

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"The Imitation of God:" It Can Be Done. Ephesians 4:32-5:2

This past Sunday, taking a break from my series through Romans, I presented to my congregation two observations on Paul's imperative, "be imitators of God" and how we can indeed imitate Him.

In 4:32 and again in 5:1 Paul employs the language of imitation, "even as God in Christ forgave you;" and "as Christ also has loved us..."

Paul's use of the imperative, "be" imitators, is what I refer to as "the imperative of faith," or, "the mood of faith," meaning that if we are told to do something such as imitating God, it can be done.

First Observation: "We can imitate God by loving as He loved us." And how did He love us?
        He loved us first: 1 John 4:19
        He loved us sacrificially: Eph. 5:2
        He loved us with an everlasting love: Jer. 31:3; John 3:16

Second Observation: "We can imitate God by forgiving others as He forgave us."
        He forgave us graciously: 4:32 (the word "forgiving" comes from the same Greek word where we get "grace," etc.).

"Who are we not to forgive anyone anything when God has forgiven us everything."

I had a third observation but didn't get to it this Sunday:

"We can imitate God by being holy as He is holy." 5:3-7

Essential Doctrines

I was recently asked by a church what doctrines I considered essential and would not compromise about a great question! Here was my list:

1) Jesus alone saves

2) the Bible's infallibility and inerrancy

3) the bodliy resurrection of Jesus

4) the virgin birth

5) the second coming

6) tbe substitutionary death of Christ on the cross

What would you add?

Waiting and Praying

So here I am, finally seeking a new pastorate.  Waiting...Praying...waiting...Praying.  This time is both difficult and exciting.  A few churches have expressee an initial interest. I really hope to be posting soon as Pastor Scott Welch again.  I have missed preaching these last seven months. I have missed shepherding God's people.

Only time will tell where we will end up. God's got this,  like He has everything else. Jesus alone saves, believe in Him!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Trial Sermons

Trial Sermon. Sounds so scary. But that's what I will be doing this Sunday at Victory Community Church in Carthage,  NC. No vote is happening that I know off, but I appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"I have hope: The Biblical Kind"

        You no doubt have seen the Chevrolet commercials where someone says while driving a Chevy, "This is not your daddy's chevy," meaning it is better, ultramodern, sleeker, fancier, etc., etc.. Well, that can be applied to the kind of hope I have; it's not your president's hope, President Obama that is.

        When most of us use the word "hope," we use it to express a wish, "I hope I get a nice raise this year. I hope the economy gets stronger. I hope conservatives win in November." This kind of hope can't be sure of anything; we just hope things get better (and we "vote!"). Biblical hope is a totally different animal.
        There is a lot of hope in the Bible, 153 occurences at least ... of the wishing kind and the biblical kind. For instance, in Luke's gospel we find the account of the two brothers walking to Emmaus who are joined by the resurrected Lord. They don't recognize Him and He asks them why they're so down and despondent. And after telling Jesus about what had happened to Him in the last three days, they said, "We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel." Their spent hope was of the wishing kind.
        But then there is the biblical kind of hope, the "living hope." Paul wrote to the Romans, chapter 5 and verse 5, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." This kind of hope "does not disappoint" like the wishing kind of hope can. It is a God-kind of hope; it is a sure hope; it is a hope sealed in the heart of every believer by the Holy Spirit. It is called hope only because of the future sense necessarily employed in the idea. But it is a sure hope because we know that what God has promised He will fulfill. And in this sense it stands more in company with the concept of faith.
        Paul wrote of the faith of Abraham, "and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." (Roms. 4:21. Read 4:16-25 to get the full power of faith and fulfilled promises). Faith in the promises of God and in His ability to do what He has promised is what gives the believer living hope. It's not that we hope God will do what He has promised to do or that God is able to do what He has promised to do, it's that we know He can and He will. Hope is future because it has not been completed; but we know it will be.
        Speaking of the troubles in this life in this mortal body and the coming sure change to our bodies, Paul wrote, "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance" (8:18-25).
        And finally, the apostle Peter wrote this, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you..." (emphasis mine).
        That's the kind of hope I have; that's the kind of hope every believer posessess. Do you have it?

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Crossway Book Review: Taking God Seriously By J.I. Packer

Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to KnowTaking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know by J.I. Packer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A friend of mine asked, "Dude, are you really going to critique J.I. Packer?" He has a point. J.I. Packer is a giant of our time when it comes to Christian theology. His masterpiece Knowing God was one of the first books I read as a new believer in 1994 and shaped my faith immensely in those early years and impacts me today. There is no way that I am qualified to offer criticism to Packer's latest work Taking God Seriously but thankfully, unless him being Anglican bothers you, there isn't much I could say negatively about the book anyway. It is a must read for any Christian who is concerned at all with the current state of things in the worldwide church. Taking God Seriously is TIMELY, it is THEOLOGICAL, and it is THOROUGH.

First, it is timely. J.I. Packer has a lifetime of experience studying the Bible and theology as well as a vast knowledge of the trajectory of the church. His book hits the nail on the head and deals with the most current issues boiling over in most denominations in the 21st century. Taking God Seriously is a voice that the church needs right now. It's an important call and an urgent plea for the church to swim upstream instead of coasting downstream in the current of postmodern thought.

Second, it is theological. All you have to do is take one look at the chapter headings and it is clear what Dr. Packer has in mind when he says that we need to take God seriously. Taking God Seriously is deep but brief in it's approach and is broken down into the following eight chapters:

Taking Faith Seriously

Taking Doctrine Seriously

Taking Christian Unity Seriously

Taking Repentance Seriously

Taking the Church Seriously

Taking the Holy Spirit Seriously

Taking Baptism Seriously

Taking the Lord's Supper Seriously

Packer makes no bones about it, how seriously we take God in our lives is connected intricately to how seriously we take our own theology. We cannot please God and ignore theology. That is not an option.

Third, it is thorough. Packer leaves no stone unturned as he deals with everything from homosexual marriage to the way we view or own baptism personally. Although this book is a short book by theology standards, it covers everything it needs to cover and is very accessible to laymen as well as clergy.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels that they need to take God more seriously. I know that I need help constantly in this area and am sure I will refer back to this book for that guidance.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time Flies...

I don't know if time flies when your having fun or not...but time has certainly seemed to fly for me in ministry. It seems like yesterday that I wrote THIS piece upon reaching three years serving as the pastor of North Fork Baptist Church. This week will mark four and a half years in that same position. It's hard to believe in many ways. I wasn't raised in church and came to know Christ after high school (read that story HERE). I was 21 when I headed to Bible College in SC and I ended up attending two different seminaries in two different cities of NC. That being said, I never had the blessing of a long term experience with a church family. I was part of a church for five years at one point, but that was interrupted with being away at school. That means that my time at North Fork represents the longest CONSECUTIVE time I have been able to spend at any church in my entire life. I am very happy about that!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Prayer of Faith

James writes about the "prayer of faith" for the sick in James 5. This past Sunday, Mrs. Holly Oliver shared her story at our church, North Fork Baptist in Virgilina, VA. Holly was diagnosed with brain tumors about four years ago. She has undergone several brain surgeries. Listen to Holly share her story and the journey God has taken her on with regards to prayer. She is a living example of "the prayer of faith". We can all be encouraged and learn to pray like this.