Category Archives: Life & Ministry

Learning How to Pray, Part III: “Praying for Forgiveness”

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Here we learn from the Lord what it means for believers to pray for forgiveness. This is a continuation of the exposition of Luke 11:1-4.

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“The Sovereignty of God and September 11th”

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This is a message I preached on the 10th anniversary of 09-11-2001 and reflected on God’s goodness, power, love, and control, even in the midst of evil. You can listen to it here:

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Conflict is Necessary

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I have been in Pastoral ministry for almost 8 years and before that I was in a leadership positions in my other non-ministerial positions that I have held, so I have had volumes of experience in the realm of conflict. Some good, some not so good; however, in life, ministry, employment, leadership, marriage, and parenting it is inevitable that you will enter into a time of conflict at some point along the way.

Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword (cf. Mt. 10:34).” Part of the Lord’s ministry meant being embattled in the upheaval of tumult and conflict.

Now I will be honest and tell you that I don’t enjoy conflict, I rather detest it (I’d rather wash a 20 lbs alley Cat), but avoiding conflict has ultimately been the great undoing of leaders and churches. I adopt the line of thinking that says, “I don’t like conflict, but I’m not afraid of conflict.” Why? Because at the end of the day—Conflict is Necessary.

Why is conflict necessary? Many reasons, here are a few:

-conflict is needed to solve problems in relationships

-conflict is needed to confront people for their sin/wrongdoing

-conflict is needed in order to establish priorities within a relationship where there is disagreement

So, here are some principles that I have learned along the way to deal with conflict:

1. Confront Using the Biblical Model (Matthew 18:15-20)

Often times people will come to me and say that they have a problem with “so n so” and I will tell them that they need to address the people that they have an issue with. A lot of people either want you to take their side or want you to fight their battle for you. Direct them to Matthew 18 and let them know that they have been offended by another—they need to deal with it themselves and also deal with it directly.

2. Confront Using some Discretion

I think this hearkens us back to Matthew 18:15 “…between you and him alone.” When we deal with problems that we have with one another, the principle here is that we should try to “conceal” what is going on in order to protect our own integrity and also the integrity of the person we have an issue with.

In marriages, I have counseled couples who having strife and the husband or the wife may try to enlist their family in support over and against their own spouse. There may be certain situations that require more people to be involved, but in a situation like marriage—the couple may have their marriages healed, but other family members may hold longstanding grudges because in the midst of conflict there was no attempt at discretion. Also, if you are having marriage problems you need to get the help of a competent marriage counselor, preferably from a Christian worldview.

3. Confront with Truth and Love

This is a very difficult thing to do. Is it scriptural? Yes, but emotionally very hard to sustain. Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we are to be “…speaking the truth in love.” And that means that we are to be open and honest, but the seat of our emotions needs to be done in the love of God, not in self-righteous vindication. So, how do you do that?

This is one that I am still learning and I hope to grow in how I handle it, but my advice is three fold:

a) Pray for your own heart and for the heart of the person you are confronting.

b) If possible, don’t confront if you are emotionally charged up (so this may mean if you are upset about something or with someone, to delay it a few days 48 to 72 hours—just so you have thought through it and prayed about it).

c) Reaffirm you concern for individual and affirm those things about the person that you admire, but nonetheless be direct and clear about the problems that you are having with this particular individual.

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Sermons that have Changed My Life #2: “You will be Eaten by Cannibals…” by John Piper

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One of the first biographical sermons I had ever heard, but its impact still stays with me today. The life of John G. Patton is thoroughly inspiring. You can find this resource here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/you-will-be-eaten-by-cannibals-lessons-from-the-life-of-john-g-paton

“What is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert

What is the Gospel? It is really the most important question you could ever be asked or answer. Gilbert does a great job of raising the dilemma in the Christian community of knowing aspects and bits of the Gospel, but not giving a comprehensive answer. Gilbert’s book is a help to that end. You can find it here:

515002: What Is the Gospel? What Is the Gospel?
By Greg Gilbert / Crossway Books & Bibles

This newest addition to the IXMarks series presents a clear, straightforward statement of the gospel, the third mark of a healthy church.

What is the gospel? It seems like a simple question, yet it has been known to incite some heated responses, even in the church. How are we to formulate a clear, biblical understanding of the gospel? Tradition, reason, and experience all leave us ultimately disappointed. If we want answers, we must turn to the Word of God.

Greg Gilbert does so in What Is the Gospel? Beginning with Paul’s systematic presentation of the gospel in Romans and moving through the sermons in Acts, Gilbert argues that the central structure of the gospel consists of four main subjects: God, man, Christ, and a response. The book carefully examines each and then explores the effects the gospel can have in individuals, churches, and the world. Both Christian and non-Christian readers will gain a clearer understanding of the gospel in this valuable resource.

From Mormonism to Ministry

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So, here is my story of how I left Mormonism and became a Christian and subsequently went into Christian ministry. Special thanks to my friend Harold Thornbro for inviting me onto his Podcast (http://truckersgospelmission.org/). You can follow the link here:

http://truckersgospelmission.org/?p=349

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Today’s Book Recommendation: Rick Cornish’s Series “5 Minute…”

Listen everyone is a Theologian, but are we any good? Rich Cornish is deliberate in his attempts to help us become better Christian thinkers in shorter burst of time. As a Pastor I recommend this to Men and Women (Teens too) who are on the go. I recommend this link:

834832: 5-Minute Theologian: Maximum Truth in Minimum Time 5-Minute Theologian: Maximum Truth in Minimum Time
By Rick Cornish / NAV Press

What’s your theological IQ? Too embarrassed to say? Don’t feel bad. Millions of Christians are as intimidated by theology as you are.

Divided up into one hundred easy-to-understand readings, 5 Minute Theologian will help you gain a better grasp of God, grace, Satan, sin, election, and many other essential concepts of your faith. In three months, you can become dramatically more informed than the average Sunday churchgoer.

Theology isn’t something for just pastors to study. You also need to understand God’s Word and principles to protect you and your family against a barrage of half-truths and outright lies. This book will give you a maximum amount of truth with a minimum commitment of time.

Learning How to Pray, Part 1: Praying for the Kingdom to Come

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I preached this sermon a couple of years ago and it made a deep impact in my life at the time and I think it had some meaning in the lives of others. Prayer is the language of dependance and humility…. where better to learn than from the Lord Himself.

Find the link here… http://ncmbc.org/Audio/Luke/022711m.mp3

 

Continue to follow R3D and look for a new post tomorrow on Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.”

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The Duty of Christian Parents

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As I continue to give links and brief introduction to each sermon that will be featured here I am reminded of the wonderful support that I have received from Memorial Baptist Church in New Castle, Indiana. MBC has time and again supported me and given me the liberty to receive advanced theological education and the time that it takes to prepare rich, substantive, Gospel centered preaching.

Also, my darling wife (Rachel) has made enormous sacrifices for the Kingdom of God and considers them only slight and momentary in light of the surpassing greatness in service to our King, Jesus.

In this sermon I examine the responsibility of Christian parents to raise their children in accordance to the scriptural precepts. By examining Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Shema) we learn of God’s expectation for Parents, children, and the covenant community. Take a listen and enjoy. Find it here:

http://ncmbc.org/Audio/Deuteronomy/Deuteronomy.htm

The next link share in the R3D preaching series will be examining what the Gospel of Luke has to teach us about the necessity of prayer.