Monthly Archives: April 2007

Is It 2008 Yet?

The Together for the Gospel Conference is coming back! There is a very encouraging video that recaps the previous conference and previews the upcoming ’08 conference.

If you missed last year, begin now to make your plans to attend in 2008. I can’t say I’ve every been more encouraged as a pastor and a Christian as I was at this conference. By the way, bring a friend, intern, seminary student or teenager in your ministry along!

This just in–A NEW SPEAKER this year!!

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Contentment that Money Can’t Buy

It seems that in the overarching flow of 1 Timothy, Paul is concerned about unity for the sake of the gospel. He connects living a “quite and tranquil life” with God’s desire for “all men to be saved (2:2, 4).” He encourages men to “pray…without wrath and dissension,” and for women to “adorn themselves properly,” while “receiving instruction quietly, not teaching or exercising authority over a man (2:8-12).”

Those recognized as elders and deacons must have a “good reputation with outsiders, as not to fall into reproach (3:7, 10).” Those who have been changed by the power of the gospel should “conduct themselves as those in the household of God (3:15).” Believers should relate to people differently based on their situations, with a view towards humility and respect (5:1-2). There should not be unsubstantiated charges leveled against elders without proper evidence (5:19), and when witnesses are present, the elder should be publicly rebuked to keep others from sinning (5:20). Finally, slaves and masters are to live in unity together, under one roof so that God’s name is not dishonored and the gospel is not confused (6:1-2)!

But, is Paul saying that unity translates into an absence of confrontation? Is Paul avoiding a confrontation (with the false teachers) for the sake of a quiet business meeting? The answer to that question comes this week as we consider 1 Timothy 6:3-10 as Paul warns Timothy to Watch out for Wolves! Interestingly enough, these wolves are not content in the goodness of God shining forth in Christ. They want money! Paul addresses the dangers of the love of money and the many branches that can stem from its evil root.

Are you using your money as currency for the expansion of the Christian gospel or are you counting the days until retirement? Are your hands open with respect to your money or tightly clinched? Are you a cheerful giver? Are there symptoms in your life that are pointing to the deeper disease of greed and the attempt to serve two masters? Join us this week as we seek to satisfy our souls on the God that “holds pleasures forever more at his right hand (Psalm 16:11).”

How to Pray for Students at Virginia Tech

The following direction for prayer comes from the BCM Director at Virginia Tech:

*Pray for these early steps of healing for the families and students.

*Pray for the students as they return to classes (today) on Monday.

*Pray for the family of Brian Bluhm (one of our BCM family) as they prepare for his funeral on Tuesday.

*Praise for other opportunities to minister to students at the BCM’s “normal” meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday as well as Monday’s prayer gathering and Friday’s breakfast hosted by BCM alumni.

*Pray for wisdom for President Steger and those in leadership at Virginia Tech as they decide the logistics of how to handle the rest of this academic semester.

*Pray that we would have a vision to minister to people in the media as individuals loved by God. Many students are understandably resenting the actions of some of them right now.

*Continue to pray for wisdom for our staff and student leaders in all the opportunities that will come through relationships on campus. Pray that He will use us to share the light of Christ in the midst of the darkness of last Monday.

(HT:Paul Gulledge)

Thabiti’s Top Ten Tips for Talking About Race

I want to encourage a great blog from a great blogger and pastor. Thabiti’s new blog has been a joy to read.

He has recently posted his top ten tips for talking about race. Here they are in summary:

1. Don’t talk about race.

2. When you do talk about race, don’t tell people you’re “color blind.”

3. When you do talk about race, be sure to empathize wherever you can.

4. When you do talk about race, be sure to call injustice injustice.

5. When you do talk about race, be honest.

6. When you do talk about race, be patient.

7. When you do talk about race, please fight against the tendency to stereotype.

8. When you do talk about race, accept legitimate responsibility but refuse illegitimate guilt.

9. When you do talk about race, go ahead and offend.

10. When you do talk about race, root the conversation in the Gospel.

Read the entire post here.

This is a helpful guide for people like myself who are looking for a sound, gospel connected way to discuss race.
(HT: JT)

Uncomfortable Service

What does true service look like? Usually when we think about service in the context of the local church things like working in the nursery, teaching Sunday school and greeting visitors come to mind. These are all good and necessary things in the church. However, Paul addresses Timothy with another concept of service that is intimately related to the Gospel.

This week at Redeemer, we will be considering Gospel Service from 1 Timothy 6:1-2. Don’t be tricked into thinking that this text has a vague and obsolete application to us because it is addressed to slaves. In fact, the application runs much deeper, parallel with the main point of Paul’s letter to Timothy:

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. –1 Timothy 3:14-15

Apparently there were those in the Ephesian church who were masters and those who were slaves. Some of the slaves were not honoring their non-Christian masters. Some of them were taking advantage of their Christian masters. Why does Paul not simply condemn slavery here? By not condemning slavery, does Paul endorse it?

What is at stake in the way that we interact with our superiors and those who work under us? Do you view your behavior at work as a witness to those around you? Are you known as a Christian because you read your Bible when you should be working, or because you love those around you unconditionally?

The greatest hindrance for people coming to Christ, is not our words, but our lives.

May the Gospel not only sound forth from our lips!

How to Pick a Seminary

Mark Dever recently blogged on this topic. Briefly, his five considerations are:

1) Confession

2) Quality of Education

3) Cost

4) Church

5) Connection for Life

You can read his excellent post here.

For my part, if you are in the greater Houston area, are pursuing a seminary education and perhaps already have a job, I highly recommend The Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston, Texas (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).

The confession is solid, the quality of education is excellent and getting better, the cost is manageable, I know of a good church (also see the local church under links), and the connections for life are irreplaceable. (Warning: I could be biased on this one)

(HT: TFG Blog)

“I Send You…”

“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” — John 20:21

Last week, we were reminded of these words coming from the lips of a resurrected Savior. We are commissioned to go and share the good news of the resurrection with the nations. This week at Redeemer we will be reflecting on Justification by Faith: The Proclamation and Preservation of a Central Missiological Doctrine, as our guest speaker addresses us from Romans, chapters 3 and 10.

Are you sharing the gospel with those around you? Has God opened doors recently for you to build relationships with unbelievers? Are you praying for the lost in your community, your state, the world? Have you considered missions? Are you sacrificially giving to the cause of Christ? Join us this week as we examine God’s appointed means for the spread of the “good news!”

But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? — Romans 10:14

Going to Church this Sunday?

This coming Sunday morning will produce crowds larger than usual in most congregations. Why is that? Most everyone, feels a need to “pay homage” to God for one reason or another. Before I was converted, I made it to most “Easter Sundays” at a local church in my small town. But did those Sundays really have an affect on me? Does it make people feel better to sit through the obligatory Easter message? Perhaps, but is this God’s purposeful design for the death of Christ?

This Sunday at Redeemer, Jim Hamilton will explore What the Resurrection Means for the Church, from John 20:19-23. It’s clear that the death and resurrection of the awaited Messiah ushered in more than a guilt trip for unbelievers. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul reflects on the power and reality of the Resurrection. He admits that without it, “we are of all men most to be pitied (19).” But, Christ HAS been raised from the dead (20), and he will put all enemies under his feet (25), including the last enemy (26), so that God may be all in all (28). But Paul goes on to make application to those who are benefiting from this miraculous event: the Church!

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

The “therefore” in verse 58 is referring to the reality of the resurrection! There is a very real application to the church that cannot be missed. Do you rely upon the power of the resurrection when you serve, teach, share and give? Is your life pointing people to the Cross and the good news? Are you discouraged, feeling that all you do is in vain? Friend, join us this Sunday as we seek encouragement, not from a self-help seminar, but from the power of the resurrected Messiah!

A New Blog from a Faithful Pastor…

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Check out his new blog here.

Thabiti