Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It is a good sign when I walk into a church on a Sunday morning and see several people who are NOT wearing suits, ties, and knee-length dresses. When I see this, I can pretty much surmise that I am in a church that is reaching out to people; and that is a great thing. On the same token, I become a bit concerned when I enter a church on a Sunday morning and EVERYONE is dressed perfectly. Obviously, the reason for my concern is that this is a sign that the church is content with its current status, and perhaps even views unchurched visitors as a burden rather than a blessing.
I was in a church on a Sunday morning in which everyone was in their Sunday best. The pastor preached for about an hour on several hot-button issues, all issues that the average unchurched person in America would not understand. In all of his ranting and raving on issues, I don't remember hearing a clear presentation of the Gospel. Had I brought a first-time visitor to church that Sunday morning, I would have been grossly disappointed.
I believe in the biblical teaching of modesty; but the most important thing an unsaved woman needs to hear when visiting an Independent Baptist church is NOT a fifteen minute temper tantrum against women wearing pants. I believe that the King James Version is the correct English translation; but going on a ten minute "face-ripping" session about the corruption of the other versions on a Sunday morning is NOT the first and most important thing a lost visitor needs to hear. The FIRST thing a lost visitor needs to sense and hear preached is the amazing love of Christ. Not only do they need to hear that message preached, but they need to sense the love of Christ in our spirit when we preach it. I believe the best way to help an unsaved person understand issues of personal separation is to first see them saved, and then to help them through personal discipleship. (Of course, it is absolutely necessary for a pastor to preach the whole counsel of God; and I believe that Sunday and Wednesday nights are wonderful opportunities for a pastor to deal with issues of personal separation, reasons for why we use the King James Version, etc. But when dealing with these issues, I believe we should remember that we not only need to speak the truth, but we need to speak the truth in love.)
With all that being said, I would like to share the lyrics of a wonderful song written by Bro. Cary Schmidt, one of the assistant pastors at Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, California. The song is entitled, "This Must Be the Place." I believe this should be the anthem of every Independent, Fundamental Baptist church.
Souls on the street, addicted to sin
Selling themselves to survive
Not understanding the love they could find
In a place where God's love is alive.
They doubt that they could meet the standards necessary,
And fear that they'd find judgment
Rather than a sanctuary.
The neighbor next door keeps the house looking good,
But the home is collapsing within.
Pressures of life pull a family apart,
And temptation's destruction begins.
They doubt the church could have the answers necessary
And fear they'd find rejection rather than a sanctuary.
This must be a place where a broken heart can mend
This must be a place where the outcast finds a friend.
For we cannot lift the fallen if our hand still holds a stone,
And their sin that seems so great to us is no greater than our own.
There must be a point where shame meets grace,
And the church must be the place.
Monday, November 22, 2010
What would cause us to leave our family, our friends, and our comforts and move to a country like Cambodia? What would motivate me to learn a language like Khmer? Why would we go to a predominantly Buddhist country and tell them of Jesus Christ, knowing that if they accept this Jesus they will be ostracized from their families and ridiculed by their countrymen?
Here are a few answers that have given assurance to my sometimes frail heart.
1. Because of the command of Christ. In all of the Gospels and in the Book of Acts, Christ issues the command to His church to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. I like the words of Jim Elliot: "Why are you waiting on a voice when you already have a verse?"
2. Because of the constraining love of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:14 states, "For the love of Christ constraineth us..." Praise the Lord, I am a recipient of God's love; and it is that very love that has compelled me to go to such a spiritually dark place like Cambodia, where most of them know nothing of the love of God. The verse goes on to say, "because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again." Christ's love constrains us, it compels us, to carry the light of the Gospel to Cambodia.
3. Because of the cry of the Christless. Most people in Cambodia are not waiting with open arms for us to arrive with the message of the Gospel. Many of them are angry that we preach a message that is in direct conflict with their religion. But they are crying. While many will not admit it, they are crying for truth. They are crying for love. Their religion and superstitions have left them spiritually, emotionally, and even physically empty. I believe that the only true answer to their spiritual plight is salvation in Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tonight, the during the last service of the missions conference at Harvest Baptist Church in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania, I had the privilege to sing "A Passion for Thee" for the offertory.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Psalm 74:20- "Have respect unto the covenant; for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."