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Showing posts from November, 2017

The Extraordinary Ordinary Preacher

Though it receives little fanfare, maintaining a consistently faithful preaching ministry over weeks, months, years, and even decades at the same church requires much effort and perseverance. Your local church pastor is willing to expend himself in this labor because he knows that a lifetime of nourishing spiritual meals is essential for the growth and maturity of the people under his care.This age provides the great benefit of being able to listen to talented preachers from around the globe. Distance no longer creates a barrier. We can sit in the confines of our home and download the most recent sermon, conference talk, or keynote speech. This is no small gift, and it’s something we should all take advantage of. Though this gift is great, it should also be accompanied with a warning: this gift becomes a liability when it steers us away from appreciating our local church pastor. Unfortunately, this is a real temptation.The Faithful PreacherYour local church pastor may not be as well r…

Vos Group #41 — The Meaning of Covering

Asking the Right Questions About Suffering, Cancer, and the Gospel

The hard truth is that all of us are under the sentence of death. We’re dying. The root cause of all the hardships in this life is sin. Sin is a departure from God’s will; a rejection of his purpose in creating us that we might glorify him and enjoy him forever. Until this root problem is addressed, every attempt to alleviate the symptoms that follow, in whatever form they come, only mask the real problem, just as pain pills do a disease.My father was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They performed the Whipple procedure in an attempt to cut it out of the pancreas. Nothing has gone well post-surgery and he continues to lose weight, down to a skeletal 120 pounds from a robust 200. We had a list of questions for the doctor as to why this and that is happening and why he is suffering.We were clearly on a different page than the doctor in the way we were evaluating my father’s present condition. The doctor said the following: “I’m giving you the hard truth. In dealing with what w…

Thanksgiving Ingratitude

My departure also prevented my attending the AAR related event that captured the most publicity, which was release of the “Boston Declaration” by liberal theologians to denounce the “corruption of [conservative] Christians in the United States.” The theatrical media event was at historic South Church, where the participants literally donned sackcloth and ashes, like repentant Old Testament prophets and kings. Except in this modern case the wearers of sackcloth and ashes were not repenting their own sins but loudly denouncing the alleged sins of their theological opponents and rivals. They likened themselves to the Confessing Church that challenged German Christian complicity with Naziism.Last week I attended the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). The first, in Providence, Rhode Island, included perhaps a couple thousand conservative Protestants, mostly professors and seminary students. The second, in Boston, incl…

Instilling Gratitude in Your Family

Discontentment is easily triggered in us because we have an underlying sense of entitlement. We believe that we are inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. I deserve that new electronic device, or that vacation, or peace and quiet when I come home after working all day. Entitlement justifies whatever self-focused response pours out of my mouth or actions. With the approach of Thanksgiving, I am often struck with how people—young and old alike—lack an important attribute: gratitude. I’m not looking for a warm fuzzy thank you for a gift, but a deep rich appreciation for life and what we’ve been given. Why is this? What gets in the way of gratitude?Here are two thoughts.First, our society cultivates discontentment. Consistently, we hear a message of want. Mass media, advertising, and holiday seasons all capitalize on the misconception of necessity and the hungering for more. There are quite literally thousands of images, commercials, and marketing ploys that are meant to…

My Biggest Surprise Yet In Reading The Puritans

Why were the Puritans so interested in natural theology? What motivated them. Marshall answers: “Puritans did not simply embrace these rational arguments on a theological level but employed them in a surprising variety of pastoral, evangelical, and polemical contexts.”One of the privileges of working at a place like Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary is getting to know the Puritans and Reformers better and better. They constantly surprise me and frequently demolish the caricatures that have grown up about them over the years. Last week, I experienced perhaps my biggest surprise yet when reading Wallace Marshall’s book on Puritanism and Natural Theology, and especially what I learned about their use of extra-Biblical sources of knowledge in pastoral counseling.Until Marshall’s research into this subject, the general scholarly consensus was that the Puritans weren’t interested in natural theology, evidentialism, science, and reason. No, they were “sufficiency of Scripture” men, men o…

Ignore Spiritual “Get Rich Quick” Schemes: A Call for Patient Evangelism

How does a church get its members invested in the Great Commission like that? It’s a question many church leaders ask themselves. We know Christians are called to take the gospel to the nations, yet often it’s challenging to get people motivated about evangelistic work in faraway places.Almost everyone knows the story of Adoniram Judson. But among the most God-honoring and baffling parts of his story is what happened on his way to the mission field: he broke his ties with the Congregationalist Church because he changed his convictions on baptism. His friend and fellow laborer, Luther Rice, had similarly shifted. Rice returned to the U.S. to raise support from Baptist churches for Judson, who was now a missionary without any sending churches. Under Rice’s initiative, Baptist churches in the U.S. supported Judson for decades—without ever even meeting him. Rice returned home in 1812, but Judson’s first and only visit back wasn’t until 1845, more than 30 years later.In other words, these …

When Marriage Became About Me, Myself, and I

Without God and a thick sense of community and an objective ethical framework, the expectations for romantic love are so high—and our moral foundation so malleable by individual desire—that we end up asking too little of marriage. Even escape valves that erode the commitment necessary for sustaining love, such as living apart and consensual nonmonogamy, receive consideration.Why do we marry today?According to Eli Finkel’s The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work, we get married—and should get married—for our individual wellbeing.Finkel—a professor of psychology at Northwestern University—says we desire more from potential spouses than in previous eras: not just shelter and survival, or love and intimacy; we demand self-actualization, in an “all-or-nothing” paradigm of personal fulfillment. Finkel argues that such lofty expectations lead to more fulfilling marriages, but also with fewer couples able to attain them.The book follows a historical argument to explain how we…

Studying the Confession: The Doctrine of Decree

If there is one doctrine for which Calvinism or Reformed theology is best known, it is election or predestination. That is what this chapter of the WCF is all about. It is included in the confession because, quite frankly, God has included teaching about the eternal decree in his Word.One of the landmark documents of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (1643-1653) is the Confession of Faith. This confession was created to provide a doctrinal basis for unity across the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Although in God’s inscrutable providence the confession did not ultimately achieve this status, at least not permanently, it has become the gold standard for churches within the Presbyterian circle and is widely respected beyond those Reformed denominations that hold to the Westminster Standards.The confession serves to give substance to one’s profession of trust in the Bible as God’s Word. It is absolutely essential that we recognize the Scriptures for what they are: the…

The Holy Spirit Came

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This week begins an important shift in God’s unfolding plan in Scripture. Two weeks ago, we jumped into Acts; and for the next several weeks, we will begin walking through Acts as we witness the start of the church.Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry, He had promised that He would go away and send a Helper. Jesus said this would be to our advantage. Through the Holy Spirit, we see who God is, who we are and what we have done, and how God provided a way for us to be reconciled. Through the Holy Spirit’s power, then, we are made new creations in Christ.It can be hard to teach the Holy Spirit to children, especially young children. It is important, though, to begin teaching preschoolers and kids that our power to live for Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit.When Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He instructed the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon them.After the Holy Spirit came, the disciples told people about God’s pla…

When Do Christians Resist a Government That Kills Its Citizens?

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By default, Christians should submit to public officials. But how should Christians respond to rampant injustice in government?Listen Now

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Foco e Desenvolvimento do Antigo Testamento (Nova Edição)

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Visão Geral Essa obra analisa cada livro do Antigo Testamento, abordando suas principais discussões teológicas, com foco em sua mensagem principal. Auxilia uma interpretação fundamentada no contexto histórico, no estilo literário e apoio exegético de cada um dos livros. Fornece alicerce …

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Foco e desenvolvimento no Novo Testamento (Nova Edição)

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Da mesma maneira que Foco e Desenvolvimento no Antigo Testamento o Dr., Carlos Osvaldo Pinto em Foco e Desenvolvimento no Novo Testamento nos apresenta um livro que acredita no eterno e onde os autores bíblicos são o referencial para a interpretação das Escrituras.Foco e Desenvolvimento …

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Foco e Desenvolvimento do Antigo Testamento (Nova Edição)

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Visão GeralEssa obra analisa cada livro do Antigo Testamento, abordando suas principais discussões teológicas, com foco em sua mensagem principal. Auxilia uma interpretação fundamentada no contexto histórico, no estilo literário e apoio exegético de cada um dos livros. Fornece alicerce sólido a todo que deseja estudar e expor de...

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Foco e desenvolvimento no Novo Testamento (Nova Edição)

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Da mesma maneira que Foco e Desenvolvimento no Antigo Testamento o Dr., Carlos Osvaldo Pinto em Foco e Desenvolvimento no Novo Testamento nos apresenta um livro que acredita no eterno e onde os autores bíblicos são o referencial para a interpretação das Escrituras.Foco e Desenvolvimento no Novo Testamento é uma saudável, coerente e organ...

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Resisting God

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For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God.— John Calvin

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Where Is The Church Heading? (Part 1)

Introduction None of us knows the specifics of the future. There are a few things that every Christian knows from Scripture about the future. We know that Christ shall return (Acts 1:11), that there shall be a bodily resurrection (1 Thess 4:16), . . . Continue reading →

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Ohio Baptists hold to 50-50 SBC distribution

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Copyright (c) 2017 Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The original story can be found at http://ift.tt/2AoC3Kz NEW - an hour agoOhio Baptists hold to 50-50 SBC distributionCHILLICOTHE, Ohio (BP) -- With the sound of the "Ray Roberts Gavel" -- honoring a former State Convention of Baptists in Ohio executive director for whom the state missions offering is named -- SBCO President David Starry called the convention's 64th annual meeting to order Nov. 8.The new slated of officers of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, elected during the Nov. 8 annual meeting, are (from left) Reginald Hayes, second vice president; Ryan Strother, first vice president; David Starry, president; Faye Rodgers, recording secretary; and Annette Dessecker, assistant recording secretary.Photo courtesy of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio The new slated of officers of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, e…

Baptist view of theology to mark new B&H series

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Copyright (c) 2017 Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The original story can be found at http://ift.tt/2Aj1cID NEW - an hour agoBaptist view of theology to mark new B&H seriesNASHVILLE (BP) -- A new series of theology resources conveying a distinctly Baptist perspective has been launched by B&H Academic.The new series, "A Treasury of Baptist Theology," is edited by Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Jason G. Duesing, provost and associate professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary."With plans for over two dozen volumes, this series will feature the work of Baptist theologians and church leaders on a wide range of topics written from a Baptist perspective," Duesing said. "The vision for the series comes from Paige Patterson, and I count it an honor to join him as the 'Treasury of Baptist Theology…

Survey seeks qualities of effective DOMs

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Copyright (c) 2017 Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The original story can be found at http://ift.tt/2AllH5l NEW - an hour agoSurvey seeks qualities of effective DOMsMCDONOUGH, Ga. (BP) -- Opinions of leaders and servants in all areas of Southern Baptist life are solicited in an online survey studying the qualities of effective leadership by directors of missions (DOMs).Image: iStock/license purchase required Image: iStock/license purchase required The Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders (SBCAL) appointed a study group to conduct the survey to help provide a uniform job title and description for the DOM position. The group will submit its report to the SBCAL in June 2018 in advance of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Dallas.Richard Wheeler, lead missional strategist for the Jacksonville Baptist Association in Jacksonville, Fla., chairs the 12-member study group comp…

Bible Study: Dec. 3, 2017

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Copyright (c) 2017 Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The original story can be found at http://ift.tt/2Aj0QBN; NEW - an hour agoBible Study: Dec. 3, 2017byStaff/LifeWay Christian Resources, postedThursday, November 30, 2017 (an hour ago) NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.Bible Passages: Matthew 25:14-19, 24-29Discussion Questions: Have I increased what God has given to me? What steps will you take to increase God's return on His investment He has entrusted to you?Food for Thought:There are stewardship principles that help us honor what God has entrusted to us. After all, everything belongs…

Navajo DR volunteers reach out to Harvey victims

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Copyright (c) 2017 Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The original story can be found at http://ift.tt/2AllBL1 NEW - an hour agoNavajo DR volunteers reach out to Harvey victimsPORT ARTHUR, Texas (BP) -- For generations the Navajo have often been on the receiving end of volunteer mission teams. Buddy Evans chaperoned one such trip in 1985. For two weeks his team led Vacation Bible School in the mornings, revival meetings in the evenings and, in between, explored the desert high country of New Mexico -- a stark contrast to their home in Port Arthur, Texas.A volunteer with the Navajo Nation Christian Response Team (NNCRT) repairs drywall in the flooded coastal area. The NNCRT served with SBTC DR volunteers in the area.Photo by Bonnie Pritchett A volunteer with the Navajo Nation Christian Response Team (NNCRT) repairs drywall in the flooded coastal area. The NNCRT served with SBTC DR volunteers in the area.Pho…

FIRST-PERSON: Obviously God

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Copyright (c) 2017 Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The original story can be found at http://ift.tt/2AlNKSd NEW - an hour agoFIRST-PERSON: Obviously GodCEDARVILLE, Ohio (BP) -- Have you ever looked for your sunglasses only to discover you're still wearing them? Sometimes what you're after is right under your nose, or in the case of your glasses, right above it. We can be experts at missing the obvious.In Romans 1, the apostle Paul explains that God's invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in what God has made. Paul says that's why we have no excuse for rejecting Him. But at times, we can miss what is clearly right in front of us.In Psalm 19 King David said that God's glory is revealed from heaven. In Romans, Paul says God's wrath is revealed from heaven. The heavens aren't sending mixed messages. It's a matter of vantage point. The bel…

Amid RVers in the Ariz. desert, church offers faith

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Copyright (c) 2017 Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The original story can be found at http://ift.tt/2Aj10sT; NEW - an hour agoAmid RVers in the Ariz. desert, church offers faithQUARTZSITE, Ariz. (BP) -- At least 400 vendors for the nation's largest RV show plus nine major rock/gem/mineral shows and 15 general swap meets gather each balmy winter in the Sonora Desert of southwestern Arizona.Desert diehards and winter snowbirds -- through a Baptist church launched by seniors -- take their witness to the nation’s largest gathering of RVers in Quartzsite, Ariz.Photo from quartzsitervshow.com, used by permission Desert diehards and winter snowbirds -- through a Baptist church launched by seniors -- take their witness to the nation’s largest gathering of RVers in Quartzsite, Ariz.Photo from quartzsitervshow.com, used by permission The vendors see more than a million visitors between December and March who p…

The Baby in the Manger Still Upholds the Stars

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The second member of the Trinity is, like the first and third, omnipresent. Wherever you go, he is there. In fact, more than that, the Bible says he sustains all things: he “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3), and “in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:15).The miracle we celebrate each year at Christmas (the incarnation, when the Son of God became a man) raises a question about this. Was he still omnipresent in, say, the year A.D. 10, while walking around Nazareth as a boy? Or what about while he was a baby, nursing at Mary’s breast among the manger animals—can we really imagine that, at the very same time, he filled the entire universe, governing every quark and star?According to the so-called extra Calvinisticum, the answer, amazingly, is yes. God becomes man without ceasing to be God, and thus the incarnate Son of God was not limited to his human flesh, but continued to fill and uphold the universe even while incarnate.The incarnate Son of God was not limi…