Monthly Archives: May 2009

Redeemer Institute Audio Now Available–Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Session I: Unity and Diversity: Why Has God Made us Different and the Same?

Session II: Recovering A Vision for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Session III: Q & A with the elders at Redeemer

Listen, download and/or podcast this and future messages here.

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Why Southern Baptist? Danny Akin Responds…

Danny Akin:

1) What is the best thing about being a part of the SBC?

The best thing is our phenomenal missions program and our seminaries. Southern Baptists are doing a better job than ever in wedding the head and the heart in fulfilling the Great Commission. That is taking place because of what is happening with the International Mission Board and our seminaries. When people ask me why I should support the SBC, the seminaries and the IMB just jump out.

2) Why do you think young, cross-centered ministers who accept Baptist theology might not want to be a part of the SBC?

Because of our bureaucracy. There is so much red tape in trying to work through the national convention, state conventions, and local associations. There is so much over-lap and duplication it is easy to become frustrated with the bureaucratic machine that too often is only interested in feeding itself. We have got to find a way to streamline and simplify our denominational structures so that we can be more efficient in fulfilling the final command of our Lord.

3) How and why did you come to the SBC?

I was born into and have been breed by it! I grew up a Southern Baptist, and having been involved in it now all of my life, I am committed to it. It has many shortcomings and imperfections, but in my judgment, it is still the best thing going.

4) How can we honor our heritage while continuing to move forward?

We can honor our heritage by standing firmly on the infallible and inerrant Word and embracing a healthy balanced theology reflected in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. We can recognize that the war for the Bible will never end until Jesus comes again. Therefore we will not surrender valuable ground that has been gained by our forefathers, but we will be vigilant to contend earnestly for the faith without compromise.

5) What are the three most important things that need to change, for the SBC to grow in our gospel mission? How would you do them if it were up to you?

I recently addressed this in what I call 12 Axioms for a Great Commission Resurgence. (see those 12 principles below) I actually think that all of them need to be implemented, but if 3 were to stand out it would be the Lordship of Jesus Christ, being gospel centered, and being humble. If we pursue those three things with all of our heart, I am convinced the other 9 will take care of themselves. In other words, our greatest needs are, as they always are, spiritual. We need to be Christ focused, gospel centered, doing all that we do as we bow humbly under the banner of the cross of Jesus Christ.

12 Axioms For A Great Commission Resurgence

I. We must commit ourselves to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives (Col 3:16, 17, 23-24).

II. We must be gospel centered in all our endeavors for the glory of God (Rom 1:16).

III. We must take our stand on the firm foundation of the inerrant and infallible Word of God affirming it’s sufficiency in all matters (Matt 5:17-18; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

IV. We must devote ourselves to a radical pursuit of the Great Commission in the context of obeying the Great Commandments (Matt 28:16-20; 22:37-40).

V. We must affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a healthy and sufficient guide for building a theological consensus for partnership in the gospel, refusing to be sidetracked by theological agendas that distract us from our Lord’s Commission (1 Tim 6:3-4).

VI. We must dedicate ourselves to a passionate pursuit of the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus across our nation and to all nations answering the call to go, disciple, baptize and teach all that the Lord commanded (Matt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; Rom 1:5; 15:20).

VII. We must covenant to build gospel saturated homes that see children as a gift from God and as our first and primary mission field (Deut 6:1-9; Psalm 127; 128; Eph 6:4).

VIII. We must recognize the need to rethink our Convention structure and identity so that we maximize our energy and resources for the fulfilling of the Great Commission (1 Cor 10:31).

IX. We must see the necessity for pastors to be faithful Bible preachers who teach us both the content of the Scriptures and the theology embedded in the Scriptures (2 Tim 4:1-5).

X. We must encourage pastors to see themselves as the head of a gospel missions agency who will lead the way in calling out the called for international assignments but also equip and train all their people to see themselves as missionaries for Jesus regardless of where they live (Eph 4:11-16).

XI. We must pledge ourselves to a renewed cooperation that is gospel centered and built around a biblical and theological core and not methodological consensus or agreement (Phil 2:1-5; 4:2-9).

XII. We must accept our constant need to humble ourselves and repent of pride, arrogance, jealousy, hatred, contentions, lying, selfish ambitions, laziness, complacency, idolatries and other sins of the flesh; pleading with our Lord to do what only He can do in us and through us and all for His glory (Gal 5:22-26; James 4:1-10).

(HT: Baptist 21 and Jim Hamilton)

Redeemer Institute–Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

We live in a time when the biblical picture of biblical manhood and womanhood has been blurred, confused and redefined. It seems taboo to think that there is actually a difference in role and function between males and females, moms and dads, boys and girls. John Piper frames our situation in this way:

“The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this depreciation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or a woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic…the consequences are more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity.”
–Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

How can we make our way forward in such a confusing landscape? What does the Bible teach about gender roles in the home, in the church and in the marketplace? What can parents do to train their children to be successful in marriage, family, and leaving a godly legacy? This session will focus on biblical passages regarding our personhood as males and females. What is a biblical model of manhood and womanhood? What are we training our children to be? How much freedom do you give your adolescent or teen? What limitations must you have? Join us as we delve into these issues and see what the Bible says… and doesn’t say.


Date: Friday, May 22nd

Time: 7:00-9:30pm

Location: First Baptist Church, Missouri City, Family Life Center. Click Here for Directions and a Map to the Seminar.


Session 1: Unity and Diversity: Why Has God Made us Different and the Same?


Session 2: Recovering A Vision for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood


Session 3: Panel Discussion and Q & A

Childcare will be provided–please indicate your need as you register online.


2 Must Reads From Sovereign Grace Ministries

1. The entire collection of C.J.’s series on Biblical Productivity is available here on pdf. This series has had and is continuing to have an impact on my soul as a Christian, husband, father and pastor. Here’s a quote:

Lazy? Not me. I’m busy. Up early, up late. My schedule is filled from beginning to end. I love what I do and I love getting stuff done. I attack a daily to‐do list with the same intensity I play basketball. Me lazy? I don’t think so!

Or at least I didn’t think so. That is, until I read about the difference between busyness and fruitfulness, and realized just how often my busyness was an expression of laziness, not diligence. I forget now who first brought these points to my attention. But the realization that I could be simultaneously busy and lazy, that I could be a hectic sluggard, that my busyness was no immunity from laziness, became a life‐altering and work‐altering insight. What I learned is that:

• Busyness does not mean I am diligent
• Busyness does not mean I am faithful
• Busyness does not mean I am fruitful

2. C.J. is doing a series highlighting the “ordinary” pastor, which I love, since I am one of those “ordinary” pastors. His latest installment involves Grady Van Wright, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Pearland, TX. I know Grady and respect him greatly. Don’t miss this inside look at his devotional and family life that is both encouraging and convicting! Part 1, Part 2.

Thank you SGM for serving us so well once again!


Tim Keller on Discerning, Exposing and Destroying Idols…

The first message at the 2009 Gospel Coalition National Conference was delivered by Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan NY.

Title: The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry
Text: Acts 19:23-41
Video available here

Would Paul go to Hollywood, Harvard and the NY Times to argue for the truth of the gospel? Keller says yes!

Main Points:

1. Discerning Idols–What is an idol? Something you can’t have a meaningful life without. Every place Paul went, he would identify idols an deal with them with the gospel. When people were confronted with their idols and converted, their lives were changed. Is that the case in our church today? Keller argues that this reality is actually the scandal of our church today: namely that we profess Christ and yet are still enslaved to our idols…and we don’t impact the culture for the gospel.

Idols of our day: family, children, career, achievement, romantic relationship, physical beauty, money, political or social cause, moral record, your ministry success, religiosity, popularity…When you lose one of these things and it has become an ultimate thing…you want to throw yourself off a bridge. That’s how you know it’s an idol in your life.

2. Exposing Idols–(Paul said that these “gods” are no gods at all). 3 Kinds of Idols:

*Personal Idols–[Money]–Artemis was the “business idol” or financial prosperity. Child sacrifices would actually take place. Do we practice child sacrifice today when we make our careers our gods? We sacrifice our children on the altar of money. [Romance]–If you look to another person for worth or value (I’m nobody unless this person loves me), they are your idol. There will be no boundaries on your relationship…you are a under the authority of your slavemaster. [Children]–If my children are (fill in the blank),then I know that I’m worth something…living our lives our through our children, they are idols. Beware of bitterness toward God and to your children.

*Religious Idols–[Truth]–Is it possible to say that I’m saved because of the rightness of my belief instead of by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? Are you the “scoffer” in Proverbs. They are always dogmatic and disdainful of opponents. Is this your default mode? [Gifts]–Do you mistake spiritual gifts for spiritual fruit? Do you seek justification by ministry? We can make an idol out of good preaching. [Morality]–I do “x,y,z” and therefore I’m right with God or super spiritual…

*Cultural Idols–Science, Technology, Education will solve everything. There have been devastating results…poverty, racism are still around.

3. Destroying Idols–How do you destroy idols? It is a dangerous business to expose and destroy idols. Paul risked his life everyday, and it absolutely cost Jesus his.

Colossians 2:15: He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

My Takeaways: The Lord revealed certain idols in my own life. I won’t share all of them here, but I will mention one. I think I have made an idol out of wanting to be “a great man,” or “a successful pastor.” I think in some ways I have confused my spiritual gifts for spiritual fruit in my life. The Lord is so good to remind me that He is the one who will build his church, not me! He is the one who ultimately will shepherd the flock. I’m so glad that it’s not up to me to do this! I praise God for his gift of repentance, even to us pastors! May the Lord just give me the grace to be faithful and watch God do this thing at Baptist Church of the Redeemer!

Also, I want to do a better job of discerning idols in my church and in my city. Things that came to mind for me especially were issues of morality. It seems like many in our city/state are focused on their record or “report card.” We are quick to look down our noses on those who have scars in their past. Obviously, money, career, relationships, are active idols as well. How do you de-mythologize things like beauty and money? Only with the gospel! I want to study our idols, expose them and seek to destroy them with the gospel. May the Lord bring it to pass!

What About You? Any thoughts on these things?

What’s Next? John Piper on 2 Timothy 1:1-12.


Monday Morning QB

This past Sunday, I preached a message on Acts 10:44-11:18, entitled “Do We Really Want Revival?” Unfortunately we had a problem with our audio recording, thus this sermon will not be posted online.

The first part of this text outlines a “Spirit Baptism,” as the Gentiles first hear and respond to the gospel. The other spirit baptisms in Acts occur in Acts 2 (The Jerusalem Church), Acts 8 (The Samaritans receive the gospel), Acts 10 (The Gentiles—household of Cornelius) and then in Acts 19 (Followers of John the Baptist). I have been arguing throughout the book of Acts that these Spirit Baptisms represent special moments in salvation history in which God sovereignly chose to pour out his Spirit in order to authenticate the message of the Apostles. They are not meant to be repeated…they represent the moving of salvation history forward.

Clarification on Monday: When I say that Spirit Baptisms are not to be repeated, I am referring to these specific events in salvation history (Acts 2, 8, 10 and 19). I say this because it seems that God is authenticating the movement of the gospel across racial, cultural and religious lines with each of these groups. So, you might say, what about 1 Corinthians 12:13? Paul writes: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” So does this mean that spirit baptisms (i.e. Acts 2, 8, 10 and 19) must occur for one to be saved?

My answer is that in the Spirit Baptisms in Acts, the entire church is representatively baptized into the Spirit. In other words, now, at conversion a person is baptized in the Spirit of Jesus (I think without the visible manifestations of flaming tongues of fire [Acts 2] or speaking in tongues). The Spirit Baptisms in Acts were non-repeatable, special events occurring at significant stages in the gospel’s journey to the ends of the earth.

So, if that was confusing to you, I apologize and I hope that God will continue to prosper His word at Redeemer and beyond.

Other questions or feedback from the sermon?


Serving and Stewarding Through the Blogosphere

In reflection of Tullian Tchividjian’s brief talk at the Band of Bloggers Fellowship, focused on pastoral blogging, I have been inspired to re-focus Mercy Swimming on serving my particular local church. I don’t mean that things around here are going to be exclusively relative to Baptist Church of the Redeemer’s events, sermons or other happenings, but I do want there to be a renewed focus on serving the church through my blog (as much as that is possible). After all this could be a tool for shepherding the flock of God…Now, it is a very small tool, but nonetheless it could be used for God’s glory…So, here are two new aspects of Mercy Swimming to look forward to:

1. A Recap/Reflection on the Gospel Coalition Conference (and other upcoming conferences or events)–Ever experienced a conference or camp high? Most of us can relate to having a mountaintop experience only to come back to reality when we arrive at home. We are met by the same problems, struggles and difficulties that we cheerfully left behind as we boarded that airplane to fly to wherever. So, how do we maintain that “conference high?” How do we seek to cultivate enduring fruit from these gifts of God called conferences? I think the main keys are reflection and application. So, this week I’ll be reflecting on the recent Gospel Coalition National Conference and posting those reflections along with applications to my own ministry at Redeemer.

2. Monday Morning Quarterbacking–You probably know this guy right? He sits around the water cooler talking about “Even he could have done better than (fill in the blank) last Sunday on the football field.” We’ll, this is fairly similar, except I’ll mainly be doing the quarterbacking along with your help. See, it is a regular occurrence for me to be thinking about my sermon from the previous day, only to realize certain things (important things!) that went unsaid…or to realize things that were said that should have remained in my brain, not making the journey to my mouth…We’ll this will be an opportunity for me to identify some of those things, clarify some confusion and/or just apologize for blowing it! I hope that you’ll join in with your own feedback, whether members at Redeemer or those listening online.

I hope these two new aspects of Mercy Swimming will serve it’s readers as we all seek to serve and steward the time that we’ve been given.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!