Archive for April, 2012

Monday Exposition Idea:
The Saint’s Highest Calling
(Isaiah 66:1-6)

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Monday Exposition Idea:
The Saint’s Highest Calling
(Isaiah 66:1-6)


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

The saint’s highest calling is suffering and death. Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) explains, “Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will-even if it means you will suffer-is something very different.”[1]

We read in Isaiah 66:1-6,

Thus says the Lord:
1 “Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
2 For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.
3 “He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck;
He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood;
He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.
Just as they have chosen their own ways,
And their soul delights in their abominations,
4 So will I choose their delusions,
And bring their fears on them;
Because, when I called, no one answered,
When I spoke they did not hear;
But they did evil before My eyes,
And chose that in which I do not delight.”
5 Hear the word of the Lord,
You who tremble at His word:
“Your brethren who hated you,
Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said,
‘Let the Lord be glorified,
That we may see your joy.’
But they shall be ashamed.”
6 The sound of noise from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the Lord,
Who fully repays His enemies!

 

From our passage we will note several things about God’s people.

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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.


App of the Week

  • The SBC Annual Meeting app – This is a free application for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry users. It has helpful information about New Orleans and the convention. Download it at http://m.core-apps.com/sbc2012am from a smartphone or type “SBC Annual Meeting 2012″ in the smartphone’s app store.

About Theology

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Some Churches Need to Quit Doing Evangelism




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


Evangelism and spiritual harvesting are not for everyone calling themselves followers of Jesus. Fruitbearing is for the obedient. Believers aiming to obey the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-10) should not miss one huge fact: No one not living as a faithful disciple himself can make someone else a disciple of Jesus Christ. Only disciples make disciples. Only the faithful can bear fruit. Put another way: No one can teach others to “obey all the things I have commanded you” who is not obeying those things himself.

The church which is rebellious or wayward or chronically immature or systemically sick has no business trying to convert outsiders to what they are doing and how they are living. (Note: “Systemically” is not “systematically.” When the sickness is throughout the body, we say it is “systemic.” The problem is not with one person or two, but throughout the body.)

The sick church should get well first and then it will be able to help others.

Here are several churches that have no business sending soul-winning/visitation teams into their community or hosting evangelistic crusades.

1. Until Clearview Church leaders and members stop fighting and learn to love one another, they need to cancel all outreach.

I saw Clearview Church run off a pastor and half its members. They then proceeded to call a new preacher who walked in, saw all those empty pews and announced, “We need an evangelism program around here.” They scheduled a meeting, brought in an evangelist, papered the town with posters, and held their gatherings. All to no avail. Even if the new preacher did not know the character of his congregation, the community did. They wanted none of what that bunch had to offer.

Jesus prayed, “I pray not for these (disciples) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I in You; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).

The Savior who redeemed us and reigns now as Lord has laid down a fundamental law here: if we expect people to believe in Him, we must live in love and unity.

No wonder our efforts fall pitifully short.

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THE “NEW METHODISTS,” Part 3:
What Has Gone Wrong?

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THE “NEW METHODISTS,” Part 3:
What Has Gone Wrong?



Dr. Chuck Kelley is President and Professor of Evangelism at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary




This is the third of a four part series of articles taken from Dr. Kelley’s presentation on the New Methodists. In part one, he walked us through the history of evangelism in the SBC. In part two, he examined our current state of evangelism. In this third part, he explains where we’ve gone wrong. And in the final installment, Dr. Kelley will present a way to fix the problem.


Part 3: What Has Gone Wrong?

Discipleship is the crucial issue. The spiritual state of the farmer (our churches and leadership), not the abundance of the harvest is the root of problems in SBC evangelism. At the end of the day, this is the hard truth staring at me. The best question then, is: What is wrong with us?

First, We are not anointed. The conversion of a soul to Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit. The stirring of a church and community in revival and awakening is a work of the Holy Spirit. Neither of these works of the Spirit are typical in SBC churches today. We are not anointed – that “we” would be you, me and all of us at work in places with little evidence of the activity of the Holy Spirit. We are so not anointed we have come to accept not being anointed as normal.

Second, we have been “atom”ized. Scientists tell us that what looks like a solid wood pulpit is actually a composition of small particles called atoms. Those atoms are actually composed of even smaller particles, which are composed of even smaller particles. Thinking about atomic particles can make one forget that whatever its composition, this pulpit does function as a single large and rather solid-feeling piece of wood. At the end of the day it is a pulpit, after all.

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THE “NEW METHODISTS,” Part 2:
The Current State of Evangelism in the SBC

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THE “NEW METHODISTS,” Part 2:
The Current State of Evangelism in the SBC



Dr. Chuck Kelley is President and Professor of Evangelism at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary




This is the second of a four part series of articles taken from Dr. Kelley’s presentation on the New Methodists. In part one, he walked us through the history of evangelism in the SBC. In this second part, he examines our current state of evangelism. In the third part, he will explain where we’ve gone wrong. And in the final installment, Dr. Kelley will present a way to fix the problem.


Part 2: The Current State of Evangelism in the SBC

It is important that we understand the true nature of the genius of Southern Baptist evangelism.

It was not the individual methods used that produced such an incredible harvest. Rather, the interaction of those methods with each other created an integrated process described in the New Testament as sowing and reaping. Wheels alone can generate power. But if you add cogs to those wheels so that they form a gear, you multiply the power those wheels produce.

The SBC way of doing church embodied the biblical process of sowing and reaping (see for example 1 Cor. 3:6 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”), but these particular interactive methods were not the result of a search for a way to embody that process in churches. The lack of comment on the way these individual methods became an integrated process characteristic of SBC churches is one of the more astounding discoveries of my research. We will come back to this later.

Let’s go back to those baptism statistics that I mentioned in part 1. In 1945 the SBC baptized about 257,000 people. In 1955 the SBC baptized about 417,000 people. But since 1955 the SBC never yet reached the mark of 450,000 baptisms. We doubled in baptisms in ten years, but then could not increase 35,000 in more than 50 years. What happened to the harvest? What happened to the farm?

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