Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Just a Reminder

As a pastor I, unfortunately, have times in my life when difficulties arise in my church and ministry. Problems are never fun or easy and often they are very painful. When I find myself in circumstances of this nature I often turn to the words of Paul as he wrote to his young preacher boys. In 1 Timothy 3:1 I find great encouragement, "This is a faithful saying, If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work." It is a good work that God has called me to. He never said it would be easy. The ministry is often like a rose garden, it is very beautiful, but it does have thorns. God bless you.

Serving Him,

Thursday, November 02, 2006

NBC Feels the Pressure

I have just finished reading the article in the Florida Baptist Witness which shares the some of the details related to NBC's decision to delete the scene of Madonna hanging from a cross while singing the song "Live to Tell." (NBC axes Madonna's crucifixion scene)

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, states in the article, "NBC did the right thing, but the fact that it did not say why the offensive part of Madonna's concert was cut shows cowardise." He went on to say, "What NBC should have done is to admit that since it refused to air the Danish cartoons that Muslims objected to earlier this year, it felt obligated not to treat Christians i a discriminatory manner."

The article goes on to say that some 750,000 people contacted NBC to state their disapproval of the networks decision to air the blasphemous scenes from the concert.

Madonna is quoted in the article as saying the scene "is not a mocking of the church" and "is neither anti-christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous."

I applaud NBC for yielding to the majority position on this issue. Whether Madonna says so or not, the scene would have been, and as a matter of fact is, offensive, blasphemous, and sacrireligious in nature and character. This is the mentality that we as Christians face, and I feel, IMHO, will continue to become even worse in this post-modern world in which we live. The cry for tolerance in this country and around the world needs to come with a warning label that reads, "Tolerance is given to any and all, excluding those who would call themselves 'Christian'." The most noticeable discrimination seen, through my eyes, is that which is "lavished" on the Church today.

In Florida this discrimination was felt in the lawsuit brought against the "Church" by the Wiccan movement, asking that tax-exempt status be taken away from Churches because it breaks the Constitutions "Separation of Church and State" clause. Thankfully the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the Wiccan suit. But I wonder if people really understand what the writers of the Constitution meant when they penned those words. History seems to imply that those men wrote that portion of the Constitution to keep the State out of the Churches business rather than the Church out of the State's. The Founding Father's implored the Church to be actively involved in engaging culture, just as I feel it imperative that we who make up the church today be actively involved in the joy and stress of engaging our culture with the "Good News" of Jesus Christ.

If we fail in this matter, then there is no hope for this country and the world. See you on the front line.

Serving Him,

Thursday, October 19, 2006

PPL (Private Prayer Language) & Tongues

I have spent some time today reading through some of the blogs that I visit on occassion. One of the hot topics is still PPL and tongues. I began to think of this subject and have an observation that I want to make.

Tongues is a legitimate gift of the spirit, according to I Corinthians 12. But what position should it take in Christian life, and what position does it take in some Christians lives? In this passage of Scripture Paul gives a list of spiritual gifts, it is not the only list in Scripture, but it is one of the most clearly stated. In it Paul states that the first (and therefore the greatest gift, the first item listed in such a manner in the Greek always demonstrates importance as to order given) gift is apostles, the second greatest gift to church, in the context of these gifts, is prophets, third is teachers, fourth is miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administration, varieties of tongues (v. 28).

One of the problems that I see with charismatic tendencies is the idea that, especially with tongues, that everyone should manifest this gift of the Spirit if he is a true believer/saved. And yet Paul says very clearly, in my opinion, in verses 29-30 that everyone will not receive all the gifts. "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have the gifts of healings? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?" These are questions that he is asking in which he knows and assumes that the reader already knows the answer, which is NO, not everyone has all or some of these gifts. You may only possess one or even none.

This is where, IMHO, it gets very interesting indeed. When the reader of I Corinthians 12 comes to verse 31 he see something that is very important. This verse says, "But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I will show you a more excellent way." The list has been given. The gifts are listed in order of importance. And Paul says that if you are going to desire or persue any of the gifts listed; persue or desire the most important ones.

I too do not believe that there is biblical support for what McKennsic and others are defending in the SBC concerning ppl. I base this belief on Paul's statements in I Corinthians 13:8-11. It seems to me to be very clear that these things, although biblical, should not be given a greater emphasis or focus. Elsewhere Paul says that he too spoke in tongues, but he said that he would rather say 5 words the encouraged and strengthened the body of Christ than a thousand words in tongues that did not strengthen and edify.

As I stated in a previous blog, as Christians, we sometimes get so caught up defending a personal preference or belief that we lose sight of the task at hand. Our "enemy" is very crafty and cunning. I believe that many times he "helps" us focus on the minor so that we will forget about the major. The major is fulfilling the Great Commission, "...making disciples of all men..." As we continue to discuss the minusha, may we be ever mindful of the main thing.

Serving Him,

Friday, October 06, 2006

NBC and the Abomination of Madonna and the Cross

I will admit from the start that I do not all that is entailed in what is taking place with the TV version of Madonna's concert. I do not know all that is taking place with NBC and the Veggie Tales on Saturday morning. But what I do know is that there is a noticable and terrible intolerance of Christianity while an absolute tolerance of everything apposed to and in contradiction with Christianity is allowed and encouraged. (I do know that during the concert Madonna sings a song while hanging from a cross.)

As I was trying to find out some of what is taking place I was reminded of what is taking place in the blog world concerning the SBC, the IMB, the Memphis "boys," and the Joshua Convergence. The world is going to "hell in a handbasket" and we are allowing it to happen. I wonder what Jesus thinks of all this? I know that His name is being damaged rather than glorified by the conflict that is taking place. (Please understand that I am firmly committed to ensuring that the Conservative Resurgence and the "Battle for the Bible" is continued on for future generations.)

I wonder what would happen if all our brothers and sisters in Christ spent as much time battling our enemy in the world as we do fighting each other? I wonder if NBC would even dare to air the Madonna tragedy while forcing the Veggie Tales cartoon to alter its message for public airing? I would venture to say that if Christians had been paying attention that there would still be prayer in schools, that the Ten Commandments would be treasured by all, and TV would be an OK distraction in the evening for a family to relax with.

Again I want to reiterate my support of the Joshua Convergence and the Conservative Resurgence, but my heart breaks that we are having to continue to fight this fight. But I am sure that as long as there are sinners on earth, there will always be a need for a defense of the TRUTH. I want to encourage the readers of this blog to contact their local NBC affiliate to protest the Madonna concert as well as speaking in favor of allowing the Veggie Tales series to air in its original format. God bless you.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Vision for HGBC

As I said in my profile, I am the pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church (HGBC). I came to be the pastor here in November of 2005. This past Sunday night I had every intention of continuing with my exposition of the Gospel of Mark, specifically Mark 8:11-21. As I took my place behind the podium I wanted to share with the people some specifics concerning our new outreach program that we will be training in during the month of November so that we can be in full swing beginning in January. As I was talking to the folks I began to share some of the "vision" that God has laid on my heart for our church as we begin to step out in faith to accomplish the task at hand.

As I stated I began by speaking of GROW. It stands for God Rewards Our Work. It is a very simple yet seemingly effective way to incorporate all of the body in outreach. I told the people that we at HGBC want to create and cultivate an environment of excellence that will draw people to Christ. We will be doing 4 weeks of training, at 6pm each Sunday night in November.
We invite anyone and everyone to participate.

I then began to share some specifics about the Upward Basketball and Cheerleading ministry that we are in the process of starting. I encouraged them to first and foremost be involved in the prayer ministry of Upward. But I also encouraged them to get involved in the other areas of the ministry. We need coaches, referees, crowd control, etc... There is something that every person can do, the question of the day is "Will you do what you can?" I believe with all my heart that God is going to change this world with the gospel, beginning right here in Green Cove Springs, Florida.

I spoke for a few moments on the need to start a program to help erase the debt of the church so that we can be better stewards of all that God has blessed us with. As the Lord Jesus grows this local body of believers, we are going to need more buildings, more staff, more of everything. These were all needs that I addressed.

I just finished reading the second article on the Joshua Convergence posted at As I thought back on that meeting I was again encouraged to take a stand for a biblical worldview. But I was also reminded that as Jesus so must I "Be about my Father's business." I was reminded of what the Book of Proverbs tells me, "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

I pray that God fills my heart and mind with a fresh vision. I pray that He gives me and I live in the strength of Christ so that "I can do all things through Christ..." I pray that He uses this body to reach the whole world.

You can see more about our church at God bless you.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Joshua Convergence

I am sitting here in my recliner at home after having returned from the Joshua Convergence. It was a spirit filled conference and personal experience. I had been told about the meeting of pastor's who wanted to speak for themselves rather than to have a small minority of people to misrepresent the vast majority of "young southern baptist" preachers. My good friend Jeremy Green, a church planter in Waco, TX. invited me to come be apart of what was going to happen. Before the meeting even began on Monday night, we were already being labeled a "political" movement strategizing against our "enemy" within the SBC. This could not be further from the truth. Those persons who gathered at Aloma Baptist Church gathered for a time of worship on Monday night as well as a "Round Table" discussion on Tuesday morning.

We spent time praying for our convention. We discussed the past, present and future direction of the SBC. We thank God for the leaders of the Conservative Resurgence and the stand that they took concerning the Word of God. We have a strong desire to honor the Lord Jesus Christ in the way in which we conduct ourselves in the present so that in the future God will be honored in our SBC just as I believe He was in the past.

You see, our concern as those who signed the "Principles of Affirmation" is not political in nature, although we know that there will be political ramifications, but our motivation is theological. We stand on the inerrant, infallible Word of God. We believe that the "Battle for the Bible" is not over. The Word of God had been under attack since the Garden of Eden and will not cease to be under attack until Jesus comes again. We made it very clear that the enemy we are fighting is not physical in nature but spiritual (Eph. 6). Some in the blog world will disagree with this statement but it doesn't change the fact of the matter. We as the Joshua Convergence do not have a political agenda. We are willing to serve if needed, but all agree that God has given us an awesome responsibility in the areas of ministry in which He has already placed us. Our primary responsibility is to serve as the Lord gives us opportunity. Pray for us, that we will never lose sight of the calling God has placed on our lives.

One last comment concerning the Joshua Convergence, it is not an "insider thing." We welcome any person who can gather with us under the banner of the cross, standing on the Word of God, affirming those principles listed at Our agenda is all about position, and the position we affirm is servanthood. is the site where you can watch the Monday evening service.

Serving Him,

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dr. Eitel's Second White Paper

I read Dr. Eitel's second white paper late last night on Dr. Brad Reynold's blog. You can find my comments and both of Dr. Eitel's white papers on Brad's blog. I would encourage anyone intersted to log on to it and read them both. These are the documents that some disgruntled Southern Baptist are using as a launching point to attack what has happened in the SBC concerning the conservative resurgence and those leaders which initiatied and led the movement of "Back to the Bible" (my definition). I pray you find these papers informative and useful. God bless you.

Serving Him,

I decided to place what I wrote in the comment section of Dr. Brad Reynolds blog in this post. I pray that God will use it to help us as Southern Baptist readjust our focus to where it ought to be.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to read Dr. Eitel's two white papers. I have only been aware of these issues within the SBC since March. I am overwhelmed at the attacks that are being made. It is so very ungodly and anti-Christ. As I finished reading the second paper my thoughts were drawn to the Matthew 28:18-20. This passage of Scripture is known by Christendom as the Great Commission. It is the marching orders from Christ to his disciples (it was given before the church was formed, therefore it is a commission given to every individual christian). There is one central idea in the Great Commission, and that is to make disciples-followers of Christ. This process of discipleship includes but is not limited to evangelism. Jesus said, "Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..." This command is not only for the US pastor, seminary professor, Sunday School teacher, but it is for the IMB appointed missionairy as well. I know that it is of utmost importance that all IMB missionairies have indepth theological training. With this training they will have the background to know what the BF&M 2000 is actual saying, and be able to discern heresy when they encounter it on the field. It is imperative that we as Southern Baptist keep a clear and undistracted focus on what God has called us to do, both individually and corprately.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Perspective is Everything

I have been hearing for several weeks now about how Dr. Patterson and Dr. Eitel have been manipulating the IMB and the SBC through these "white" papers. I read for the first time Dr. Patterson's cover letter and Dr. Eitel's first "white"paper concerning the IMB. It is amazing at the difference between what some have been implying was argued and what actually was stated in the both of the aformentioned documents. I was reminded of what I have learned many times over during my experience in the ministry, in marriage and in life in general, the perspectice of a person is that person's reality. The way a person looks at any given situation or circumstance is vital in what that person sees. This is extremely obvious in the current situation with those blogging about the SBC and IMB. I have also learned that in between two sides is the truth. I have been pondering the lense through which the participants of the debate are looking, the filter through which they process the information and reach their own "logical" conclusion. It is very obvious that what they see or perceive they hold dearly to; they defend it with a voraciousness that is extraordinary. But what is the truth? I believe, as I attempt to look through the filter/lense of Scripture, that the truth is that God placed men such as Adrian Rogers, Jerry Vines, Judge Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, and others in leadership in "such a time as this" because they were and are men who led and are leading God's people in the way He wanted and wants us as Southern Baptist to go. They took steps to turn the tide of the SBC based on a holy perspective of the Word of God. I believe they took the action they did based on verses such as Proverbs 29:18. This verse says "Where there is no vision/revelation, the people perish..." I would encourage you to take a few moments to study the types of vision that are inferred in the passage and also study the types of death/perishing that takes place with a lack of vision on the part of God's people. I believe that if it were not for men like those mentioned earlier that there would no longer be a Southern Baptist Convention, or at least not one that I would choose to be apart of. I am proud today to be known as a Southern Baptist preacher, I am proud today to be the pastor of a Southern Baptist Church, but I can say that I am what I am because of the stance that these great men have led us in concerning the inerrant, infallible Word of God. WE must be careful not to lose the perspective/vision. It is first and foremost theological then missional. If we do not have the correct theology, how can we DO mission in the way God has dictated in the Great Commission. The verses that comprise the Great Commission are the only marching orders Christ gave to you and me. I pray that your perspective allows you to SEE clearly so that others may SEE Jesus in you in everything you do, say, and type. They are watching, but what are they seeing?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

With a Vexed Heart

I am extremely concerned about all that is going on within the SBC. I think that we have all been drawn into a fight that is, from the vantage point of heaven, eternally useless. I wonder what Christ thinks of the fighting and discent that is taking place. As I sat in my office today, having had to come back from vacation early because of a death in my church, I was reminded of the words of Paul in Ephesians 6. I was reading the blog of Wade Burleson, Ben Cole and others, and my heart was broken because we have all failed to see the big picture. God wants our total vision outwardly, while we seem to have it focused continually inwardly. There seems to be great concern over the IMB and the Conservative Resurgence and all that has taken place in the SBC in the last 30 years. And so our focus seems to be directed on a "fleshly enemy" yet Ephesians 6 tells me that my enemy is not flesh and bone but spiritual in nature. Our enemy is very smart and crafty by nature; he did convince one-third of the angels in heaven to follow him rather than God. He continually seeks to drive us to settle for Satan's substitute rather than the Savior's strategy (Herb Hodges). I am not arguing that these issues do not need to be addressed; I am saying that using a means by which all the world may see is not very wise and most definitely not honoring to our Lord and Savior. Most who are blogging about these devisive issues within the SBC are airing dirty laundry that the lost world is using to reject the faith that we are so adimate about defending, yet are we damaging our witness in this manner. I believe that God has given us a means of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world by means of the internet and yet we seem more intent on damaging His name instead. Let me state once again that I believe we need to debate these issues and determine what the Word of God says, keeping in mind that Peter said in II Peter 1:20-21. God's Word says what it says, not what you and I think it says. It is the responsibility of the exegete to determine through study what God says, it is not about what he thinks. God also tells us to respect our elders and learn from them, yet there are some in our convention who seem intent on tearing down those whom God has used, in spite of faults and sins, to accomplish great things for the Kindgom. The last time I checked we have all fallen short of God's glorious standard (Rom. 3:23, NLT). Jesus told me to remove the plank from my eye before I worry about the speck in the eye of my brother (Matt. 7:1-5) I pray that we will all prayerfully consider how we portray ourselves and more importantly the Lord Jesus Christ. We are his ambassador's, His representatives. He has left us here to re-present Him to a lost and dying world.

I want to encourage those who might stumble on this blog to know that Jesus loves you no matter who you are or what you have done. You are worth more than anything to God. Your value is determined by the price that was paid for you. The price that was paid for you was the life of Jesus Christ, God the Son. He took your place and stood judged before God so that you would not have to be judged by God for your sin. Jesus died on the cross and endured God's total wrath for the sin of every person so that you could receive a gift from the heart of God. That gift is life everlasting in heaven. The only way to receive this gift is to give your life to Jesus Christ. He said in John 14:6 that He is the only way to get to heaven. Receiving this gift is a matter of believing on Jesus Christ. If you want more information contact me. I would love to talk with you.