Saturday, December 11, 2010
I would say some general things about Christmas and would say some specific things about Christmas. The general things would include: its a special time of year (duh), it's a time of family and friends, it's a time of spending (sometimes more than we should to give people things they don't need or want), it's a time of receiving (see previous thought), it's a time of traveling and hurry (I'm listening to Silent Night), it's a time for parties and services. I wonder how many people see only this part of Christmas or this type of Christmas?
The specific things I would say about Christmas are: it is the time when Christians celebrate the birth of the Messiah, the Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I would it is the time when Christians have the perfect opportunity to share what Christmas is really all about to a lot of people who would be willing to listen because it's Christmas and they like Christmas too. (But how many Christians get so caught up in the general things of Christmas that we forget the specific things of Christmas?) It is a time of celebrating and rejoicing and joy. It is a time to remember the whole story of Christmas; Jesus wasn't born to be born, he was born to die on the cross for the sin of the world and rise again from the dead providing salvation for all who believe. It is a time to give gifts to those we love. If you love Jesus, what will you give him this year?
Enjoy the holiday season and Merry Christmas.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
One of the things they sell in the temple is little birds. I took a picture of one of the cages as a reminder. The purpose of the birds is to be bought and set free by the worshiper. In buying the bird and setting it free you earn favor with the gods and spirit world, basically it is to "ensure" good luck. I was reminded over and over on this trip that people are people no matter where they live. Every person has a "God shaped" hole inside, and we instinctively know its there. We all try to fill it so we will be complete. We try to fill it with good deeds, like the bird, we try to fill it with relationships, money, you name it has been used, but it all fails to satisfy. There is only one thing/person who can do the job, and his name is Jesus the Christ.
This is my last post from Vietnam. We leave the hotel at 3:30 AM Vietnam time and we are headed home. I'm suppose to be in Jacksonville by 5 PM Tuesday afternoon EST. I can't wait to see my girls, the big one too. I love you Melissa, Morgan and Mya.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
We had a great meeting Friday afternoon with three experts in the field. I was able to ask them some questions, but to honest I am dealing with an overload of information and I don't think I took advantage of them the way I should have. I do have their contact information and will be able to continue the conversation over the next year. I know that after being here these days, I have a lot more to pray about. I know have names and faces to remember of our brothers and sisters in Christ who face great difficulties and uncertainties as they stand for King Jesus. I encourage you to pray for your spiritual family; lift them up to the Father. He is all they have and He is all they need.
Today Dr. Ewart is doing a training session with the local leadership. I'm sitting here typing this while he is teaching. This afternoon I will be able to complete my second book review for the week. I will then settle down for some reading until about 4 PM, and then we will go do some shopping and eat supper.
We will be home Tuesday and I can't wait to hold my girls. I love you Melissa, Morgan and Mya. I can't wait to see you.
Friday, November 19, 2010
I took some things from Dr. Ewarts powerpoint and jumped in. The subject was "the Biblical Perspective of Leadership." We looked at and gleaned leadership principles and characteristics by looking at OT and NT leaders. We studied Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David. In the NT we studied the lives of Jesus, Peter in Acts 10 and the relationship between Paul and Timothy. I had a blast. I am looking forward to having an opportunity to teach again in the future.
We had a great meal last night with some great leaders here, and then we walked down to see the Siagon River. This is an amazing city, over 10 million people. I want to give you two amazing statistics: 1) 75% of the population of the country is under 35 years old, 2) over 60% of the population is under 25. These number represent a multitude of lost young people. I pray that God will use us to help lead/train in the reaching of them. Will you pray with me for the lostness of these people?
The weekend is here and we fly home Tuesday. I can't wait to see my girls.
One of the best experiences of the week was this morning. Through Skype technology I was able to have our family prayer time with my girls before they went to bed. That was awesome!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
We looked at Isaiah 62:10 as we began Wednesday morning. This verse is a great foundation for leaders. It says, "Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples."
In this verse, Isaiah is looking into the future prophecying of what will happen at the end of the Babylonian captivity. He forsees the work of Ezra and Nehemiah. He sees that the walls of Jerusalem and the Temple have been torn down and destoyed. The work will be to rebuild, clear the way, and let the people know where the clear paths into the city are. These things had to be done duirng that time and they still need to be done today.
Three quick ideas for the leader in you: 1) a leader builds or rebuilds what has been torn down, 2) a leader clears the path or highway for the people to be able to travel easily, and 3) a leader raises a banner or flag over the cleared pathway to let the people know the path has been cleared. Are there new things in your life and ministry that need to be built or made stronger? Are there things that have been torn down which need to be rebuilt? Are there things in your life and ministry that need to be cleared away so that traveling into the city of God is made easy? How are you signaling to the people around you that there is a clear pathway into the city of God?
You may here a sermon on this before too long.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I have been apart of two very important conversations today. One was with some organizational leaders, and another was with a company man. My eyes are being opened and my mind is racing with thoughts and ideas. The problem is that all of them are too broad for the scope of my project. I guess I will have to make many more trips to this amazing place to complete all that is welling up in my heart. (I will have to wait until I'm home to be able to more easily express these things.) I appreciate the people I am with who continue to bring me back into focus.
On a different note, we went out this afternoon and did a little site seeing. One of the most interesting things we saw was the building that housed the government of South Vietnam before it was "liberated." It housed the President's office and living quarters, the government offices, and the military operations center during the war. There is some fascinating history in Vietnam. There are two sides to the story, and they are very different perspectives. I was able to take some pictures that I will post when I return to the States. We also took an unfinished tour of a Buddist temple. Hopefully we will finish touring it at weeks end.
Pray for us as we begin the deal in the morning. Pray especially for Dr. Ewart.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
It is obvious that our Heavenly Father has blessed these believers. They have planted other churches. They are a mother church. They must have planted healthy churches because those churches have planted other churches. It is a grandmother. But it doesn't stop there; it's like the energizer bunny, they just keep going and going and going. I pray that HGBC will take on the challenge to be a healthy producer of reproducing churches. Reproduction is an indication that a body is healthy; sickness leads to infertility. Heavenly Father make us fruitful; help us to reproduce.
They have many of the same struggles the American church has, but they have a hunger to learn and obey that is uncommon back in the States. As I am hear I pray that I can learn some things that will help our church to grow more spiritually mature through obedience, as I am here for my other assignments. I greatly appreciate your prayers over the next 8 days.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Siagon is a city alive. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for Dr. Ewart and I over the next week. We are going to a church in the morning that is celebrating 48+ years of ministry. We were told that in last weeks service it was standing room only. They have SS at 7AM and worship at 8. I am excited about being able to worship the one true God with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I'll try to keep the posts coming. Pray for us.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I just returned from the Florida Baptist Convention in Brandon, Florida. While I was there, the messengers of the convention voted overwhelmingly to adopt the six recommendations of the Imagine If Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. I'm pumped to know that as Southern Baptists, we are refocusing on our Lord's command to make disciples to the ends of earth til the end of time. These recommendations came on the heels of the SBC doing the same thing in Orlando back in June during the annual meeting. I pray that Florida Baptists everywhere will allow the Holy Spirit to teach them and guide them into a proper understanding of what the Great Commission is all about. I pray that Florida Baptists will faithfully lead their churches to increase CP giving so that we might send more missionaries into the field considering there are over 1.6 BILLION people who have never heard the name of Jesus redemptively. It is a sad but motivating fact that there are over 6,400 people groups with no gospel witness. We Florida Baptists and children of the most high God must take his message and his son to the nations.
With that in mind, I ask you to pray for me as I leave for Vietnam Friday. I will be gone until the 23rd. Pray for my family as we are apart. Pray that our Heavenly Father will give me an effective time of study and ministry while I am there. And pray that the Lord Jesus will give me an opportunity to begin the disciple making process with my brothers and sisters in Christ in Vietnam. Thank you for your support and prayers.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!
10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (ESV)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Summer time is here. There is no doubt about it. One of the things I love about summer is VBS. VBS is still one of the greatest outreach and evangelistic ministries in the Southern Baptist Convention. It has been amazing to look at our campus these last few days and see the kids running around here. It’s a great week to be involved in. Each child present represents a home, they represent a family who may or may not know of the salvation Christ offers through his blood. Tonight (Wednesday night) the gospel will be shared with 100+ kids, and I’m praying that many of them will open their hearts and lives to Christ and be eternally changed. I am praying that we will take advantage of the opportunities Christ Jesus is giving us, HIS church, to Be the Church to our neighbors. I am praying that many of these homes will be answers to our prayer of seeing 50 new families come into our family this year. I pray that we have to keep our baptistery full because we begin to see a great harvest from the seeds being sown in VBS and as you take the opportunity to Be the Church to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. I pray that God gives you an overwhelming passion for those around you who are lost without Christ. May you be the vehicle by which they hear, believe and accept the good news (the gospel) of Jesus Christ. A friend of mine, David Burton, says, “Remember, It’s only good news if they hear it in time.”
I find myself praying more for you and your families these days. I was overwhelmed by your response a few Sundays ago during my message. I believe every person in the auditorium raised your hand that you have family members and friends who are lost or don’t attend church. I find myself praying that you will have the courage to do whatever it takes to make sure that they hear how Christ has changed you. They need to hear how Christ has given you life, and that you now are able to truly live. They need to hear your story. Don’t assume they know, make sure they know. Leave no doubt. My desire is that HGBC becomes a place they want to be. But it is very obvious that they will not want to be here unless their lives are changed through a personal relationship with Christ. If this is true, I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt it is, then it is your responsibility to take the gospel to them (Mark 16:15, John 20:21). I pray you experience the joy of seeing those you love turn to Christ and experience the salvation he has extended to us through his finished work on Calvary. I love you and am praying for you as you determine to Be the Church for the glory of God.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
I just got back from 8 days with my "Band of Brothers." There are six original members of my doctoral cohort at SEBTS, and we added four others. We are bound together significantly in several areas of life: our Savior, our family (the body of Christ), our ministry calling, and our educational calling. I am glad to call them brothers and I am glad to call them friends. They are a great encouragement and accountability to me. Thank you my friends. We are a "Band of Brothers." I solute you!
Monday, May 17, 2010
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle, face it, 'tis God's gift.
It matters not how deep intrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day, how long,
Faint not; fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.
Taken from Betty Lee Skinner's book Daws, page 145.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Why Attend the Southern Baptist Convention?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
God has a step he wants you to take today. He wants to walk with you and talk with you. He wants to be considered as you make decisions. He wants you to dream the dreams that he has dreamed for you. He wants you to live out the plans he has made for you. He has a goal he has for you to reach.
Take your steps with him.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
God honored himself, even in this difficult economic times, yesterday at HGBC. In February 2007 we launched phase one of our "Rebuilding the Walls" campaign. We launched this campaign because we believed then, and still do, that God wants to do something amazing in and through HGBC. Phase one was to eliminate the debt still remaining on our family life center. At that time we still owed about $254,000.00. We took pledges and began the journey to eliminate the debt as quickly as possible. I challenged the church to pay it off in 52 weeks (it took Nehemiah 52 days to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem). Although we didn't accomplish that goal we did pay it off this past week. I praise the Lord that he has blessed us so much in this area.
HGBC, I am so proud of you for keeping to the task and not stopping until we reached the goal. WAY TO GO!
Now it is time to move forward with phases 2 and 3 of our "Rebuilding the Wall" campaign. Phase 2 will be to continue giving so that we can set aside about $30,000.00 for maintenance purposes. We must be good stewards of the facilities God has blessed us with. This money will be used only for the purpose of upkeep and repairs that need to be taken care of. The building and grounds committee along with the Steward committee are preparing a list and schedule to follow.
Phase 3 in the campaign will be to raise about $300,000.00 to renovate the old sanctuary so that we can move our worship service back over there. This will allow us to use the family life center on a more consistent basis for what it was built for. I am so excited that God has done what he has done for HGBC. I am even more excited about what God is doing and the things on the horizon. Let's commit to keeping our eyes on Jesus and following to the end.
Monday, March 01, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
We accomplish this through discipling others, evangelizing others, worshiping God with others, fellowshipping with others, and doing ministry or serving others. Did you pick up on anything right there? Fulfilling the purpose of the church, fulfilling the mission of the church means that we must have a "vision" which allows us too. God wants us to have to people captivate our vision and focus. 1) The Lord Jesus Christ must captivate our vision, if we see anyone or anything else before Him we will have missed it completely. 2) We must be captured by "others." Our vision will always be upside down and blurry if we look inwardly (look at a spoon), but if our vision has an outward focus we will see everything right-side-up and crystal clear.
HGBC BE THE CHURCH 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Subject: The Miracle of Multiplication
The Biblical miracle of the fishes and loaves had a modern day twist for the Florida Baptist Convention when it made an initial purchase of 21 tons of rice for use in Haiti relief efforts. An Arkansas Baptist church's matching gift of rice has multiplied the initial commitment into a total 84 tons of rice being earmarked for Haiti.
This miracle of multiplication started on Friday, January 15, when Executive Director John Sullivan negotiated to purchase 42,000 pounds of rice from a grain distributor in Stuttgart, Arkansas. Sullivan negotiated for a low price of $20 per hundred pound bag. With the deal confirmed, the Convention arranged to send one of its disaster relief semi-trailer units to Stuttgart to take delivery of the rice. On Monday, January 18, a second order was placed for another 21 tons of rice for delivery at the end of February.
On Tuesday, January 19, Sullivan received a call from Pastor Sam Roberts of the First Baptist Church, Stuttgart, Arkansas, who had learned of the Convention's purchase and planned use of the rice. He told of the church's mission committee authorization to purchase 42 tons of rice to supplement the Convention's commitment to feed Haitians. The combined purchase and donation brings the total commitment to 84 tons or 168,000 pounds of rice which will be distributed in Haiti as soon as possible.
Sullivan noted that the average Haitian subsists on a quarter cup of rice each day. He went on to observe that every Baptist can be a part of the Haiti relief effort by sending $20 to buy a one hundred pound bag of rice. "That one bag of rice will feed a family of four for a long time in Haiti," he explained.
Once the grain is delivered in Haiti, distribution of the rice will occur from the many Haitian Baptist churches in and around Port au Prince. Florida Baptists' 15 years of partnership and assistance provided to Haitian Baptists has resulted in a model effort to distribute food and clothing without the chaos experienced at government-controlled food distribution points.
On another developing front in the effort to aid Haitians, the U. S. government is preparing to airlift orphans and other Haitian refugees from Port au Prince to Miami. According to the Miami Herald, federal agencies are gearing up under an existing crisis plan called "Operation Vigilant Sentry," drawn up in 2003 to help prepare for any mass migration from the Caribbean. Miami-Dade officials are looking at housing the refugees in the currently closed Krome Detention Center in West Miami-Dade and the old Baptist hospital facility in Kendall.
The influx of refugees will present a unique ministry opportunity for Florida Baptists in South Florida. As a result, the Convention has directed its Church and Community Ministries personnel, led by Marc Johnston, to begin developing action plans to assist in receiving, processing and re-settlement of these Haitian refugees.
Details are few given that the situation is very fluid. However, additional information on the Convention's response will be posted on the Convention's website http://www.flbaptist.org/.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Posted on Jan 7, 2010 by Erin Roach
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Fox News contributor Brit Hume continues to face sharp criticism for remarks he made about Christianity offering Tiger Woods an opportunity for redemption, but a Southern Baptist leader has expressed support for Hume's comments."In a land that supposedly cherishes freedom of speech, it is interesting to me to see how strongly persons have objected to Brit Hume's comments regarding Tiger Woods and his faith," Frank Page, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told Baptist Press."Not only is it ironic that those same persons who trumpet free speech are so soundly criticizing Brit Hume, I want to go on record as saying I am proud of him for speaking the truth of his heart. I am applauding him and agreeing with him," Page, vice president of evangelization at the North American Mission Board, said."I am thankful he had the courage to do what he knew would be politically incorrect, but I also want to say that he spoke the truth and our prayers are with and for Tiger Woods and his family during this very difficult time. In Christ, Tiger Woods can find true redemption, forgiveness and restoration if he and his wife would seek the restoration that Christ can give."During a panel segment on "Fox News Sunday" Jan. 3, Hume said the extent to which Woods can recover personally from revelations of adultery largely depends on his faith."He's said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith," Hume said, "so my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"Various members of the mainstream media quickly rebuked Hume, with one comparing him to an Islamic extremist who violently believes everyone must convert to his specific religion. In an appearance on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" Jan. 4, Hume elaborated on his initial comments, saying Woods is a person he has long supported as a golfer and as a man."I've greatly admired him over the years, and I always have said to people that it was the content of his character that made him -- beyond his extraordinary golf skills -- so admirable. Now we know that the content of his character was not what we thought it was," Hume said.Though Woods has lost significant endorsement deals since the infidelity news surfaced, Hume said he suspects that pales in comparison to the price Woods has paid personally, especially in the loss of his family."My sense about Tiger is that he needs something that Christianity especially provides and gives and offers, and that is redemption and forgiveness. I was really meaning to say in those comments yesterday more about Christianity than anything else," Hume said."I mentioned the Buddhism only because his mother is a Buddhist and he has apparently said he is a Buddhist. I'm not sure how seriously he practices that, but I think Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something that Tiger Woods badly needs."His point, Hume said, was that if Woods were to make a true conversion to faith in Christ, everyone would know it."It would show through in his being, and he would know it above all. He would feel the extraordinary blessing that that would be, and it would shine because he is so prominent," Hume told Bill O'Reilly. "It would be a shining light, and I think it would be a magnificent thing to witness."In the aftermath of sharing his opinion on the Sunday talk show, Hume said he received correspondence from fellow believers who expressed support, but he also received a significant amount of criticism."I've heard a lot of unfavorable comments from people who claim that I was a pompous jerk who had no business mouthing off on this subject and that I shouldn't have belittled the Buddhist faith and so on," Hume said.When O'Reilly asked why Christianity seems to draw such ire, Hume said it has always puzzled him, but "the Bible even speaks of it, that if you speak the name Jesus Christ -- and I don't mean to make a pun here -- all hell breaks loose.""It is explosive. I didn't even say the name in that way. I simply spoke of the Christian faith, but that was enough to trigger this reaction. It triggers a very powerful reaction in people who do not share the faith and who do not believe in it," Hume said.Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said Christianity is "the one belief the tolerant cannot tolerate."Hume "pointed out how Tiger Woods, whose sexual sins have damaged his marriage, family and career, can recover," Wright said. "It is a tried-and-true method with centuries of evidence to back it up. From Saul of Tarsus, who was intent on murdering Christians, to John Newton, captain of a slave ship, to Chuck Colson, Nixon's notorious 'hatchet man,' to millions of others who have committed less egregious transgressions.""Jesus Christ transforms people's lives," Wright said Jan. 5. "Saul became the Apostle Paul. John Newton became a pastor, penned the song 'Amazing Grace' and influenced William Wilberforce to end the slave trade. Chuck Colson went from prisoner to founder of Prison Fellowship, a ministry to the imprisoned."Wright surmised that Hume would not be so viciously criticized if he had claimed the benefits of any other religion or non-religion."It's only when a Christian speaks of the advantages of Christianity that the modern secularist goes into orbit," she said. "No Christian should silence himself from a truth known deep in his soul. Brit Hume is to be commended for his courage to speak up and take the heat. All for a very simple idea -- that God loves us and can turn our broken lives into something better, something we could never have imagined."For those interested in allowing God to turn their lives around, Baptist Press provides information on receiving redemption through Jesus Christ. Just click on the icon in the top left corner of the Baptist Press homepage, bpnews.net. Additional resources are available through the North American Mission Board's website, namb.net, by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on "Tell Me About Jesus."--30--Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.