Archive for March, 2012

Monday Exposition Idea:
Jesus Christ: The Chief Cornerstone
(Ephesians 2:20)

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Monday Exposition Idea:
Jesus Christ: The Chief Cornerstone
(Ephesians 2:20)


By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.

These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.


Introduction

We gather today to rededicate the cornerstone of the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort located in Spanish Fort, Alabama.

To dedicate means to set something apart for a purpose. In a spiritual sense dedication involves consecration. To consecrate means to set something apart for God’s service.

This sanctuary was dedicated the second Sunday of 1962. Now, fifty years later we come together on this day, March 4, 2012, to rededicate the cornerstone of the sanctuary.

We look back with grateful hearts for the things God has accomplished in this place for His honor and glory. Now we look to the future with a sincere desire to rededicate this cornerstone and the facilities that it symbolically represents. May we continue to look up to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the church for His hedge of protection, hand of provision, and hope of promotion. May our ordered lives confess the beauty of His peace and the benefit of His power. To God alone be the glory!

In a message titled “Cornerstone” based on 1 Peter 2:4-8, Dr. Joel Gregory shares, “Today a cornerstone is merely decorative. In biblical times such a stone was structurally significant. It bound the building together.”[1]

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The Top Blog Posts of the Week


by the Contributing Editors of SBC Today

This is a list of recent blog posts which we found interesting.  That we found them interesting doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with or endorse the ideas presented in the posts, but that we found them to be intriguing and thought-provoking.  (They are listed in no particular order of interest). Please post your comments to discuss  any article that strikes your interest. If you have recent blog posts to nominate, please send the link to sbctoday@gmail.com.


About Theology

  • Baptist Sexuality Conference Is Misguided,” and “How Firm a Foundation,” by Luke Smith in an Associated Baptist Press opinion piece, arguing from within a CBF perspective that this conference represents not merely a discussion about different biblical interpretations, but ultimately challenges the inspiration and authority of Scripture.
  • Calvinism: New Research and a Discussion with Roger Olson and Michael Horton,” by Ed Stetzer in his blog, with statistical evidence (see the link to a January 2011 study summarized in a PowerPoint with more information, hyperlinked with “here,”) that among American evangelicals not only is Reformed theology not on the increase, but overwhelming majorities “strongly disagree” with its key doctrines (i.e., it diminishes God’s sovereignty to invite all persons to repent and believe, God elected people both to heaven and hell, Christ died just for the elect, God loves just the elect, I am a five point Calvinist, etc.). There is a link to a conversation with Against Calvinism author Roger Olson and For Calvinism author Michael Horton.
  • Interpreting the Old Testament,” by Randy Everist in the Possible Worlds blog, with an evaluation of applying a hermeneutic of principlism in interpreting the Old Testament.
  • Old Baptist Evangelistic Methods,” by Stephen Garrett in the Old Baptist blog, noting that public invitations were given in the early 1800s in Baptist churches in North Carolina.
  • Libertarian Free Will Is Biblical,” by Dan Chapa (Godismyjudge) in the Arminian Chronicles blog, presenting the Biblical case for libertarian free will as part of a debate with the blogger who goes by the name Turretinfan.
  • John Piper on God Ordaining All Sin and Evil, Part 1,” by Ben Henshaw in the SEA blog, critiquing Piper’s claim that God deterministically causes and sends all evil and suffering.
  • How New Calvinism Works, Parts 1 and 2,” by Paul in the Paul’s Thoughts blog, with a lengthy explanation and critique of the new Calvinism with audio and charts.

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What Are You Waiting On?




By Joe McKeever, Preacher, Cartoonist, Pastor, and retired Director of Missions at the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.


May I ask you a personal question?

Do you ever plan to humble yourself before Almighty God and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If you do, could I ask one more?

What are you waiting for? What’s keeping you from turning to Him today and giving Him yourself (as much as you know, as fully as you can) right this minute?

People say to me, “Well, I’m going to do that. One of these days.” One of these days.

I have three things to say about that.

“One of these days” is pure self-deception. It’s how we fool ourselves into getting rid of the haunting feeling that we are missing out on what life was really meant to be. It’s how we fool ourselves into thinking we are all right with God in spite of the great guilt which rides on us day and night, because “we intend to get saved.” One of these days. Just not today.

You’re fooling yourself, my friend. And no one else. You’re buying into a lie which you are telling yourself. “One of these days” is the biggest scam in the universe. You may have thought the biggest scam in the world was some woman in Nigeria whose husband died leaving her zillions in some American bank and she needs your help to get it. That’s a big scam, all right.

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What Makes Small Churches Great Churches:
Part 4: Joy

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What Makes Small Churches Great Churches:
Part 4: Joy


Dr. Thomas Douglas
Pastor
Parkway Baptist Church
Kansas City, KS




This is the fifth article in the series on the importance of small churches. The previous articles are:
The Introduction (an overview and rationale for the series)
Part 1: Truth (an overview and rationale for the series)
Part 2: Mature Love (the imperative of having a loving fellowship)
Part 3: Unity (the importance of unity)


To some, visible demonstrations of joy require having contemporary music, praise bands, projection screens, near professional singers, and a sound system that “raises the roof.”  No doubt joy has an outward expression and large congregations have the financial resources to enhance their worship experience to foster a celebrative atmosphere, but joy took place long before praise bands and American Idol.  Small churches make great places to display joy.  We must remember that rejoicing is not confined to a sanctuary during worship service times, but rather is a way of life in response to the love of God.  Paul makes that clear with his exhortation to the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I say rejoice (4:4).”

Small churches are great churches when they rejoice in the Lord and the salvation He provides.  Paul emphasizes the theme of joy throughout his short letter to the Philippians.  Comparing his usage of the terms “joy” and “rejoice” reveals that in Romans the two terms appear seven times in his sixteen chapters and in Philippians they occur eleven times in four chapters.  Paul wanted the Philippians to realize that an attitude of joy overcomes disagreements which allows them to fulfill their mission of advancing the gospel.

Throughout the letter of Philippians, Paul provides five foundations for joy in local congregations.  Churches that rejoice in these foundations let the small irritations slide that come with knowing people for a long period of time.  They allow Christians to unite as ministry partners to advance the gospel.

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Bivocational Ministry, Part 2:
Lay People Are Willing to Help Pastors
But Only If They Are Trained

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Bivocational Ministry, Part 2:
Lay People Are Willing to Help Pastors
But Only If They Are Trained


Dr. Dorsett is a bivocational pastor and church planting missionary in Vermont. He is the author of Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church and Bible Brain Teasers: Fun Adventures through the Bible. He also serves as a church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has a passion for helping the next generation discover a meaningful faith and become leaders in sharing that faith with others.

This is the second article of a series on leadership in local churches. The first article is Part 1: Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry.


H. B. London expresses the feeling of many pastors in his book Your Pastor is an Endangered Species, when he writes, “pastors serve in a me-centered world where church members and attenders are becoming more and more apathetic” (15). Many pastors are frustrated because every year it seems that fewer and fewer lay people are willing to serve on committees or accept volunteer positions in the church. A few days ago I wrote a post about how pastors need to learn to delegate. One pastor posted a response that lamented that “it is difficult to get the church body to do the things that need done.” Most pastors would agree with that statement.

But I wonder sometimes if we pastors have unintentionally taught the people in our congregation to be spectators instead of leaders. One pastor friend of mine insists on printing the bulletin himself. He says this is because no one in the congregation is willing to do it correctly. When I asked if he had ever showed anyone how to do it correctly, he said no. How can we expect a person to serve correctly if we have never trained them? Another pastor friend of mine teaches all the adult Bible studies himself. He says he is the only one who knows the Bible well enough to teach it. While that may have been true when he first went to the church, after more than a decade of service to that congregation, why has no one in his church learned enough yet to be able to teach a Bible study? Why has he trained no one how to teach in a decade?

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