Sunday, December 6, 2009


After a horrible game... Tim Tebow (knowing this would lift his spirits) stopped by to help Maggie and me out with a Christmas card... enjoy!
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Matt Chandler on His Relationship with Christ.



I have been doing a lot of thinking about restructuring this blog... I am still in the process of thinking through what I want to communicate and what would be the most effective ways to do that. However, Until then ... I found this interesting clip of Matt Chandler being interviewed by Scott Thomas of Acts 29 Network. Enjoy... hopefully I will have a good idea about the future of this blog shortly.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Truth About Youth Ministers...

If you have ever been in a youth group... watch this video... pretty funny stuff.



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Friday, August 14, 2009

What Questions are People ACTUALLY Asking?

The other day I came across some research by Ed Stetzer that was and is fascinating. If you grew up like I did, you know the typical question you are suppose to ask "lost" people... "If you were to die right now, where would you go?" I always thought that this question was obviously permeating the minds of all the sinners walking the streets... why else ask it? However, according to Stetzer's research this question is the wrong question to be asking... simply because people really just don't think about it... let's look at his stats...

Interestingly, "Will I go to heaven when I die?" is not a question most Americans ask themselves with much frequency.

I think it is pretty clear what the results were. There are a good number of people who ask that question and do so frequently, but most do not.

Perhaps in previous generations people were asking questions about life after death, and so evangelistic approaches that focused on that issue were contextually appropriate. But the times - they are a-changing.

It appears that more people are thinking about meaning and purpose than life after death. (And it is important to note that the Bible provides the answers to all these questions.)

More people are thinking about is the purpose of life. People are looking for and thinking about purpose: perhaps one of the reasons that Purpose Driven Life has been such a best seller.

Why are we here? How can my life have meaning, value and significance? Explaining what the gospel says to these questions will more readily demonstrate just how relevant the gospel is to their lives. What happens after death is eternally important, but the world isn't always ready to see that. But they are somewhat prepared to consider that because we are made in God's image we have infinite value and dignity; that sin is what robs us of experiencing the reason for which we have been made - to glorify God and enjoy him forever; that Jesus alone is our only hope of redemption - that in him our sins are forgiven, the image of God is restored in us and by him we can glorify God and enjoy him now and forever.

This is the work of contextualization. Answering the questions the world is asking from God's word, pointing them back to the gospel. This is why I value research (asking questions, and really listening). Let's be about the business of making the gospel clear. To do that you will have to do more than speak. You'll need to do some listening as well.

So... instead of just awkwardly asking someone if they DIE... (a great way to start a question) where would they spend eternity... Let's answer the questions people are actually asking. The Bible has answers for purpose driven questions not just eternal security.

What do you think....

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Monday, August 3, 2009

25 Evangelical Myths


I came across this list on a blog I was reading this morning. I thought it was very interesting. Apparently, these 25 myths come from the #evangelicalmyths trend on Twitter yesterday. Some of these are worth discussing. Add more in the comment section if you think of them...

1. The "victorious Christian life"

2. Biblical principles make things work better

3. Non-Christians are bad

4. Jesus is all about church growth

5. Well known pastors and preachers are telling the truth

6. The Bible exists to help you be successful and happy

7. God will bless America (again) if we'll only get a godly president, put prayer back in schools, repent of homosexuality/abortion, etc.

8. Worship = music

9. We have lots of people, so God must be blessing what we're doing

10. The reason we don't have what we want is because we're not praying hard enough

11. Making "Christian" versions of popular music, games, movies, clothes, etc. is an effective evangelism tool

12. Jesus taught in parables so that everyone would understand what he was saying

13. If you aren't happy, you aren't a good Christian

14. Lost people sense a void in their life

15. Teenagers think youth ministers are cool :-)

16. We will help the poor in our community by spending $25 million on a new building

17. Jesus would vote Republican/Democrat

18. I can't worship if there isn't a rockin' band

19. Asking Jesus into your heart after walking an aisle gets you the insurance so you can go on living any way you please

20. Hurting someone's feelings is a sin

21. Ten alliterative points in a fill-in-the-blank outline is effective for sermon retention

22. Abstinence pledges are an effective means of preventing premarital sex

23. We don't need to pay attention to anything that happened in Christian history before the 19th century. Everything before that was Catholic or something

24. If you make a decision that blows up in your face, you stepped out of God's will for your life

25. Type-A leaders with dynamic speaking abilities make the best pastors

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Repentance


While I walked through my bedroom today I noticed My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers sitting on my wife’s night stand. It has been a long time since I had read anything from that particular book. I opened it up and read a selection on repentance. After reading it I did the hard work of self examination… and it proved to be a great experience. The following is that insert… enjoy

Conviction of sin is best described in the words: My sins, my sins, my Savior, how sad on Thee they fall. Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. It is the beginning of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict people of sin (see John 16:8). And when the Holy Spirit stirs a person’s conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not the person’s relationship with others that bothers him but his relationship with God – “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight…” (Psalms 51:4). The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy. He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously, by the grace of God. Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, “I have sinned.” The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything les is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes – a reflex action caused by self-disgust.

The entrance into the kingdom of God is through the sharp, sudden pains of repentance colliding with man’s respectable “goodness.” Then the Holy Spirit, who produces these struggles, begins the formation of the Son of God in the person’s life (see Galatians 4:19). This new life will reveal itself in conscious repentance followed by unconscious holiness, never the other way around. The foundation of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses – repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for “the gift of tears.” If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

It's Been A Long Time


Well… It has definitely been a while since the last time I posted anything on the ole blog. When the semester was finally over, I was mentally done. The last thing I wanted to do was write anything else… the idea of never opening Word again permeated my mind constantly. However, I never intended to go two months without blogging. Not that anyone lost any sleep over it… I’m sure everyone just kept living their lives.

But… I am back now. I have been thinking recently that I would like to write in a series format. Take a topic and just spend a couple posts developing the arguments/ideas that surround that particular subject. So I am asking YOU… what would be something you would be interested in? I would love to hear some of your ideas concerning topics that could be discussed via this forum.

So… let me know if you having ANY IDEAS… I would really love to hear them

And… if no one says anything… well then I will come up with something myself. Hope you are having a great summer.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Change is Inevitable


Recently, I attended the Gospel Coalition Conference. While I was there, I had an amazing opportunity to attend a lunch hosted by band of bloggers, in which seven fantastic Christian bloggers shared insights on the world of blogging. One of the main things I learned from this lunch… was that I am blogging for the sake of the gospel. I should not be concerned about whether or not people know who I am or like what I write. The only thing that I should care about is if Christ is glorified through what is posted on this site. When I heard this stated from the panel I began to do the hard work of self-examination.

Do I write these posts so that people will know more about Jesus… and seek Him with greater fervency?

Or… Do I write these posts so that people will say… “Great post… Bobby”?

While I was thinking through these questions I decided that in a way I enjoyed the notoriety I received from comments and peoples praise. Although I never set out with that as my goal… I found myself being obsessed with checking google analytics to see how many people visited my blog the previous day. What I am trying to say is… although I really did care about proclaiming the gospel of Jesus… I also found myself falling into the trap of pride.

So… when it came time for me to buy a domain name for http://braulerson.blogspot.com, I naturally decided to register for bobbyraulerson.com (which shows where my priorities were). Of this ridiculous sense of arrogance I repent. I never want anyone reading this blog to think I am after my own gain… I want to exalt Christ through all that I do… even when it comes to blogging.

After being convicted about that issue I started thinking through what domain name I could buy that communicated the point of this blog. In the back of my mind, I just knew that all the good names had to be registered already. However, I tried the one that came to my mind first… http://www.engagechrist.com … and it was available… so needless to say… the new url for this blog will be…

www.engagechrist.com

Because the point of this blog is to let the reader in on the way I and or others engage Christ on a personal and corporate level. Therefore, from now on, if you go to http://braulerson.blogspot.com … you will be redirected to the new url.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and continue to come back and see what the Lord decides to do in and through this medium.

Also… I know many people who have a url that reads theirname.com … I am in no way trying to imply that they are selfish or arrogant. This was just an issue for me… so do not take what I say out of context. For example, my buddy, Nathan Hoag just switched his blog to www.nathanhoag.com … and I know without a doubt that he lives to see Christ glorified. Let me assure you that he in no way wants to exalt himself. This was just something I have been working through lately and needed to do for myself.

Again… thanks for checking out engage

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Life is CRAZY!!


Whoever this guy is... I feel his pain. I just wanted to take a second and tell you why I have failed to post anything for a while now... I am super busy and stressed out with school. It is getting to the crunch time and I am being bombarded with assignments and finals. For example...

Monday - 18 page paper due.
Tuesday - 3 page paper due.
Wednesday - 10 page paper due.
Next week - 20 page paper due.

I am not saying this for pity... this is what grad school is all about, however, this is the reason why the posts have been delayed. My semester ends on the 15th of May... expect more entries at that time.

If you have not had the chance to go back and read some of the earlier posts... I would suggest you do that. Some of them are products of papers I wrote last semester. You can just go to the archives of this blog for more information about those entries.

Well... I hope everyone is doing well... when the 15th rolls around... i will be!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Video's are UP!!!

Here are the links to the video's of the sermons preached at the Gospel Coalition Conference. It was amazing... you should check them out ... especially Tim Keller and John Piper!

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bad News!


Well... I know that all of you were waiting with angst to read all my notes from the conference... however there is only internet at the hotel... and I am not going to be able to do as I advertised. I am sorry for this... all one of you that wanted to read this... haha... there are good summations @ the resurgence website and all the talks are being filmed and will be available for download at the gospel coalition website later next week.

Have a great week!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Gospel Coalition Conference


This Monday my friend Evan Perkins and I will be leaving Denver and flying to Chicago to attend the Gospel Coalition Conference. While we are there I will be posting my notes from all of the speakers on this blog. I also will be providing the website where you can watch the conference live from wherever you happen to be. Just to give you a little taste of the lineup I will show you the schedule so you know when I will be posting what...

THE SCHEDULE...
Tuesday 21 April 2009
10:00 amRegistration Opens
1:30 pmIntroduction, Worship
2:00 pmSession 1: Tim Keller, “The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry” (Acts 19:21-41)
3:00 pmBreak
3:30 pmSung Worship
4:00 pmSession 2: John Piper, “The Promise of Life” (2 Timothy 1:1-12)
5:00 pmDinner
7:00 pmSession 3: Phil Ryken, “The Pattern of Sound Words” (2 Timothy 1:13-2:13)
8:00 pmSession 4: Mark Driscoll, “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:14-26)
Wednesday 22 April 2009
7:30 amInformation Session: Tim Keller and Don Carson explain how to start an official chapter for The Gospel Coalition in your area
9:00 amWorship
9:30 amSession 5: K. Edward Copeland, “Shadowlands: Pitfalls and Parodies of Gospel-Centered Ministry” (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
10:30 amBreak
11:00 amSession 6: Bryan Chapell, “Preach the Word!” (2 Timothy 3:10-4:5)
12:00 pmLunch
Band of Bloggers 2009
2:00 pmWorkshops: Session 1
3:15 pmBreak
3:45 pmWorkshops: Session 2
5:00 pmDinner
7:00 pmSession 7: Ajith Fernando, “Gospel-Faithful Mission in the New Christendom”
8:00 pmSession 8: Panel Discussion: Tim Keller, John Piper, Ligon Duncan and Crawford Loritts (chair: Stephen Um)
Thursday 23 April 2009
9:00 amWorship
9:30 amSession 9: Ligon Duncan, “Finishing Well” (2 Timothy 4:6-22)
10:30 amBreak
11:00 amSession 10: Don Carson, "'That By All Means I Might Win Some': Faithfulness and Flexibility in Gospel Proclamation" (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
So check back here for the notes and live streaming of the event!


Friday, April 17, 2009

John Piper Interviews Matt Chandler

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that I recently introduced Matt Chandler who in my humble yet accurate opinion is the best pure communicator I have ever heard. The following links contain four segments of an interview that John Piper conducted in which Chandler tells his story and expounds on different theological issues. If you liked the clip of Chandler earlier posted you will enjoy these clips.

Enjoy...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Preaching to the Younger Unchurched


Ed Stetzer wrote a great piece about preaching to the younger generation. I think his four points are valid and in need of attention by those proclaiming the gospel.

Enjoy....

Examine Your Approach


Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is not length of life, but depth of life.” Interestingly enough, our research shows that young adults agree. The survey data confirms that the younger unchurched maintain a high level of interest in theology, apologetics, worldview, and other religions.

Many churches have chosen to lessen their emphasis on depth in order to complement their inaccurate stereotypes of this generation. This isn’t working now, and it certainly won’t in the future. In fact, most young adults are turned off by shallowness and are beginning to walk away from environments (including churches) that foster it.

The days of spiritual clich├ęs and cuteness were never wise, but we can afford to engage in superficiality even less today. No matter your worship or preaching style, study the Word deeply and seek to communicate it thoughtfully. We know you’ve heard the common wisdom to “make it simple,” “make the application your points,” and “make it simple to apply” —and these are not necessarily bad approaches—but many young adults are finding simplistic communication less helpful than their Baby Boomer counterparts.

What young adults are interested in, however, is preaching that engages on several levels, provokes deeper thoughts, and reveals complexity. This doesn’t mean watering down the truth; it means teaching the truth in all its challenging fullness. Preaching that engages the younger unchurched is deliberate preaching crafted with depth of thought and delivered with conviction. Think and rethink. Evaluate and reconsider.

Encourage Struggle

Directly connected to the younger unchurched’s aversion to simplistic preaching is their aversion to “tidy” preaching. The Church has somehow forgotten that life is not always about having a neat, pat answer. Almost nobody is living “The Brady Bunch” any more, least of all the unchurched, and as much affection as young adults may have for retro entertainment, they instantly recognize when someone is trying to pass off a sitcom as real life. God gave us Jesus, and He gave us His Word. However, He did not give us all of the answers. Too many sermons imply that God and His plan can be wrapped up with a pretty bow in 30 minutes, just like “Diff’rent Strokes.”

Young adults are looking for something real – something that issues real challenges, reflects real struggles, and prompts real examination. This level of depth, as described by young adults, is characterized by a continual pursuit of knowledge, experience, wisdom, intellect, understanding, and exploratory learning.

This means that the moralizing of our preaching past is out like the 80s. Our preaching should encompass more than do’s and don’ts. It should reach to the why and the how behind our proclamation. Great preaching requires mining truth down to its deepest core and assigning it to resonate within the hearts of our listeners. As a result, our preaching must go beyond appeals to behavior modification, beyond pithy platitudes on being happy and living well. Our preaching must wrestle with the meat and marrow of human existence, because this is what young adults are already doing. Otherwise it becomes like tossing a fortune cookie to a man starving in the desert.

Be Authentic and Transparent

We must remember that preaching is not just about what you say; it’s very much about who you are. One of the reasons so many young adults think negatively about churches is because they see very little authentic struggle from their leadership. Indeed, a large majority of the younger unchurched believe the church is full of hypocrites.

Consider the “foolishness of preaching” from the perspective of an unchurched young adult. They see a pastor standing up and presenting the message in a way that implies the pastor already has everything figured out. When pastors relate no doubt, no struggle, and no experiential element, they just begging to be tuned out. But preaching is not just about the level of intellectual content; it’s also about the teacher’s relationship with that content.

Leaders who know the value of speaking to people, not over people, are leading churches that are reaching young adults. There is no substitute for authenticity. Preaching with transparency has to do with being open and honest with a purpose that is redemptive and developmental. A preacher who is being transparent opens a window for the divine and pure purpose of helping others change in positive ways, without hidden motives or pretense. This is the kind of transparency that will connect with younger adults.

Prepare Effectively

We realize very few Bible teachers set out to provide shallow teaching. No sincere pastor desires to develop biblically ignorant Christ-followers, and none deliberately set out to disseminate false teaching. But it’s happening. Our hunch is that these things aren’t happening because of bad motives but, instead, are the result of weak and inadequate preparation. If this is the case, we each must look long and hard at our approach to studying God’s Word and evaluate our need to improve in this area.

As with most things, great preaching takes commitment, and connecting to the younger generation takes even more. Are you willing to evaluate your methodology and approach in preaching? Are you committed to being authentic and transparent as an example for others? Are you willing to go beyond the surface and challenge your people to do the same? If your answers to these questions are no, then it’s time to start making changes. If you can answer yes, then your preaching is ready to engage this generation.

ROOTED... Read This Blog!


Jonny and Tom are two high school students who I worked with when I was a youth pastor in Oviedo, FL. They both are incredibly bright and have a lot to bring to the table regarding Christianity and what it looks like to live the Christian life in a younger generation. Don't let their age fool you... I have been challenged both spiritually and intellectually by both of these guys. It would be worth your time to check their blog out periodically.... actually just add them to your reader or subscribe to email updates. I am excited about reading their thoughts based on Scripture about Christ and the church. I just thought I would take a post and introduce you to two guys who are doing and will continue to do big things for the Lord...

So go read Jonny's first entry about community... He does an excellent job discussing this term that seems to have so many definitions floating around...

CLICK HERE
... to go to ROOTED!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What Do You Think When You Hear... "Southern Baptist"?


The other day I posted a survey of 801 Southern Baptist pastors. It produced a lot of thoughts and comments... which was very interesting...

Over the weekend, Dr. Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay, conducted an informal survey on Twitter regarding people’s thoughts about the name “Southern Baptist.” Specifically, Rainer asked...

CLICK HERE
... for original article.

What do you think when you hear ‘Southern Baptist’?

The answers were quite telling.... to say the least....

About 60% of the respondents gave a negative association. Another 30% were positive, and 10% were neutral or unclear.

Let’s look at the responses. They are provided in the order they were received....

Legalism, Controlling
Fights, Legalists
Hellfire and brimstone, Pharisees
Fried chicken, Don’t drink
Women who can’t wear pants, Disney boycott
Cooperative Program, Banjos
Adrian Rogers, Fundamentalism
Passion, Missions
Conservative, Conservative
Strategic, Bickering
Disney boycott, Pharisees
Piano, organ, and robes, Irrelevant
Boycotts, Vacation Bible School
Legalism, Becoming more Reformed
Narrow-minded, Fond memories, sad memories
Legalistic, Awesome dinners
Suits and dresses, Old school, traditional worship
Not real, Legalism
Behind the times, Extreme conservatism
Crazy people, Restricted missionaries
Very legalistic, Bible-believing
More about what you’re against, Jesus followers
Southerner, Swiss Army Knife, all blades open
Evangelizing, Loving yet legalistic
Biblical, Welcoming only to some
Socially relevant, Talk, but does not walk missional
Deacon, Legalists
Introduced me to Jesus Christ, Safe
Southern, Don’t understand spiritual gifts
Slavery, Country
Evangelism, Fundamentalist sect
Missions, Tradition
Strength, Legalism
Potential for maximum impact, Small, rural churches
Potential for complete irrelevancy, Easy believism
Inerrancy, Gospel overshadowed by politics
Inerrancy, Fighting
Uptight, Legalistic
Legalism, Passionate about holiness
Staunch, Stuffy holy rollers
Unwavering, Traditionalists
Fundamentalist, Lost the next generation
Hellfire and damnation, Old traditions
Too limited, Close minded
Self-righteous over grace, Hymns, pipe organs, choir
Antiquated, Don’t let God move
Pharisees, Legalism
Name that needs changing, Fights
Missions, Controlling
Baptist from the South, Younger generation desires reform
Relationship with Christ, Cooperation for missions
Baptisms, Missions
Tradition, Cooperative Program
Love, Contrast of old and new
My grandmother, Fried chicken
Solid doctrine, Worldwide missions
Inerrancy, Sunday school
Tradition, Bible
Disney boycott, More negative than positive
Old people, Conservative
Pipe organs, Biblical
In-fighting, Evangelistic
Tradition, Family connections
Legalism, Blind about miracles
Lottie Moon, No drinking
Rich in past, not in future, Don’t know water turned to wine
Fundamentalists, Fellowships
Legalism, Fried chicken and 3 desserts
Men in suspenders, Controlling
Right doctrine, Don’t trust laity
Missionaries, Business meetings
Other Baptists, Legalistic
Name that needs changing, Inefficient

I am in no way bashing the Southern Baptists... I am one... I was raised in this denomination and received Christ in it as well.

So I am not posting this to add to the negative comments... what I want to discuss is...

What do you want people to think when they hear "Southern Baptist"?... and what can we do to change these perspectives?

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Slave to Christ


This morning I started reading Romans. I made it through verse one before I had to stop and meditate on a specific word. Paul uses this term all over the New Testament, primarily when he is introducing himself. He calls himself a "servant of Christ Jesus" (Romans 1:1). For whatever reason this phraseology stuck out to me when my eyes glanced over the text. If we are honest, many of you reading this post have done the same thing.... "Oh yeah... Paul is a servant of Christ... I know that... no big deal." We never stop to consider what that actually means. Well... this morning I set out to understand that particular word in more detail.

I started by looking up the verse @ Blue Letter Bible (fantastic resource that provides the Greek). I found that the word servant is translated from is Doulos. This term can have a wide range of meanings. It is translated slave, bondman, man of servile condition. Basically, this word describes someone who is devoted to another to the disregard of his or hers own interests. John MacArthur provides a great definition when he writes, "It was sometimes used of a person who voluntarily served others, but most commonly it referred to those who were in unwilling and permanent bondage, from which often there was no release but death." Although this sounds extreme to most reading these words it was the reality that Paul lived within. He had given himself wholeheartedly in love to the divine Master who saved him from sin and death. This claim by Paul should not be taken lightly. He considered himself a bond-servant or slave to Christ and the furthering of the Kingdom. It is obvious that if Paul claimed to be a slave that Christ was his life... everything he did was for the advancement of the Gospel... what a radical yet amazing description... to be a slave to Jesus!!

I don't think I am the only one that would say it is hard to find a believer who would describe themselves or be described as a slave of Christ. In an individualistic culture we are not prone to use terminology relating to slavery or being a slave to anything. We want to be in control... not slaves. However, the reality is we will be a servant of something. As humans we are designed to make something ultimate (to worship something). This will happen whether we like it or not. If you are not a bond-servant to Christ you will be a slave to an addiction, your own ego, even sports etc. So.. stop thinking that you are not mastered by anything... you will serve something... I would suggest it be Christ.

Honestly, I often think it would be wonderful in theory to be a bond-servant of Jesus. However, I am still a long ways from describing myself as a slave to my Savior. This truth is evident when I consdier the actions of my life... I often claim that Christ is my ultimate, however, my deeds loudly proclaim something else. My desire is to truly be a slave to Christ... where every aspect of my life is centered on proclaiming the Gospel and Kingdom of Jesus.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday


Understanding sin is a vital element in understanding the Gospel. We cannot understand grace if we do not understand sin. We cannot understand mercy if we do not understand sin. We cannot understand redemption, salvation, or forgiveness if we do not understand sin. A right understanding and application of the Gospel begins with a right understanding of sin. This is why J.C. Ryle said, “He must first dig down very low if he would build high.”

Good Friday is all about knowing Christ to be a great Savior. But we will never know Christ as a Great Savior if we do not first know ourselves to be great sinners. We will never feel conversion if we do not first feel conviction–desperation always precedes deliverance. In other words, we will never own God’s glorious salvation if we do not first own our grievous sin.

If we do not recognize our need for the Gospel we will never tune in to the Gospel. This is why the cross of Christ must be central to our understanding of the Gospel. Because the cross is like a thermometer reminding me of my great sickness, while at the same time it is like a barometer reminding me of God’s great salvation. It shows me my disease and points me to the cure.

Praise God that he sent his Son not just to share in our weaknesses, but to bear our iniquities. Praise God that the Suffering Servant was not just wounded for our identification, but for our transgressions. Praise God that the Son of man came not just be a restoration of our humanity, but a ransom for our sin. Praise God that our Brother shared not just in our humanity, but shared in our humanity that he might become a high priest in the service of God, a high priest who offered himself once for all as our eternal redemption. Because without the shedding of blood there can still be identification with humanity, but there cannot be the remission of sin.

So with these thoughts in mind, find a quiet place to meditate on these glorious words:

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners’ gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.

I wish this was my original piece... however... i enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with those who would have never seen it otherwise... Original Site.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Matt Chandler

Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church in Highlands Village, Texas. How the Lord brought him to this position is a fascinating story. Chandler is by far my favorite communicator. He has a God given ability to proclaim the gospel of Jesus in a very compelling way. I started listening to him because a friend of mine told me I would like a specific message... long story short... I have listened to ever sermon I can get my hands on. I can say that he has challenged me more than any preacher I have consistently listened to. This clip is from when he spoke @ a Desiring God conference. Listen to this snippet and then go to itunes or The Village website and download his sermons... you won't be sorry.

If you want the message notes CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Critical Ministries in the Southern Baptist Convention

LifeWay Research recently finished a survey that reveals the ministry priorities of pastoral leadership in churches of various sizes in the SBC. The study, "Critical Ministries and Their Leadership," surveyed 801 Southern Baptist pastors about what they believed were the most critical ministries in their churches, whether those ministries have effective leadership in place and how they relate to those ministry leaders. Mark Kelly unpacks some of the data in an article written for Lifeway news.

You can obviously go and read this article for yourself... however, I thought the charts were interesting to simply consider...

Based on the stats alone... what concerns you and encourages you about what these leaders consider critical ministries?



Let's discuss this in the comment section of this post...