Monday, July 25, 2011

Nominations for GBC Officers, 2011-2012

Vice Presidential Nominees (in alphabetical order)

Pastor John Darsey
Pastor John Darsey is no stranger to me or my congregation.  I've known John since we attended undergraduate school together at Valdosta State.  Emmanuel Baptist got to know him while he was pastor at First Baptist in Hazlehurst.  Since that time, John has accepted the call to serve as pastor of Centennial Baptist in Rutledge.  He preaches with the zeal of a prophet and the wisdom of a pastor.  His service will be a gift to Georgia Baptists.

It will be my personal privilege to serve as the nominator for my dear friend, Pastor John Darsey.

Pastor Ray Newman
 Pastor Ray Newman needs little introduction to GA Baptists.  Ray has given a lifetime of service to our convention.  He served as specialist in the brotherhood ministry before going to the office of convention planning.  Ray Newman has ably planned the logistical details of our annual meeting for several years.  If you've attended, you've benefited from his skill and his love for GA Baptists.  Brother Ray presently serves as pastor of Macedonia Community Baptist Church in Braselton.  Evangelist Tommy Fountain is the announced nominator.

Pastor and Mrs. Tony Samples
Pastor Tony Samples serves at Pickett's Mill Baptist in Dallas.  Tony is a well-respected leader among GBC pastors.  He has served on a variety of committees in denominational life.  Tony will bring a love for the past and a passion for the future into his position as vice president.  I was glad to learn that Bryan Alexander would be nominating my friend, Tony.

Pastor Terry Trivette
Pastor Terry Trivette rounds out the list of vice-presidential nominees.  Terry is a 33-year old preaching machine.  A published author, he truly is one of the finest young preachers in the state (and beyond).  The son of pastor Ken Trivette, Terry possesses Godly wisdom that far exceeds his years.  He serves the congregation of White Oak Baptist in Trenton.  I am so grateful that our convention leaders desire young pastors like Terry to be involved.  And I am blessed he has agreed to be nominated by Pastor Jeff Daniels.

Our convention elects 4 vice presidents who serve in order (by voting) as 1st VP, 2nd VP, 3rd VP, and 4th VP.  These men represent a great mix of seasoned experience and youthful vigor.  I hope you will support these men with your prayers and presence at the 2011 annual meeting.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Dog-Gone Day at the Office

I spent ALL DAY yesterday in the office with a 2,000 year old Syrophoenecian woman. She simply wouldn't tell me why Jesus seems to have called her a dog in Mark 7. And like a good woman, she pointed out that if I really wanted to communicate with her I should have spent a little more time developing a relationship with her instead of spending 2 days at a Bible conference this week :)

I begged from weary pastoral knees.

I pleaded as frustrated tears poured from my bloodshot eyes.

I explained that I thought I was ready to deal with her 2 weeks ago...before going on vacation. But it seemed that the more time I spent with her the less I understood her. She smiled and made some remark about how I should understand that dilemma after 16 years of marriage.

All I knew to do was to hire a few friends to help question her.

I hired Matthew Henry to begin the inquisition. Honestly, I didn't understand a thing he said to her but I am sure it was accurate. And his books look really good on my shelf.  I nodded as he spoke so I'd at least LOOK semi-intelligent.

John Phillips came back from the dead to "explore" the matter. The blood-bought Brit wrestled, wrangled, and writhed with her. But despite his prodding, poking, and pleading she provided no remark! No reason! No relenting! There was no answer! No admission! No acknowledgement!

Warren Wiersbe's line of questioning was too balanced for such a hard case.

When Jerry Vines raked her over, all she wanted to talk about was her demon-possessed daughter.  Her words provided great "Help for Hurting Parents" but it wasn't the exact information I was seeking.

Dr. Falwell strode in with the Old Time Gospel Hour Bible Commentary.  At the end of his spiel she enrolled in 3 classes at Liberty...but said nothing about the whole "dog" thing.  And the distinct smell of cigarette smoke on the old Baptist reminded me to never buy books from smokers on eBay again!

Calvin said he was predestined to simply smack her with the truth.  If it was the Sovereign will of God for her to speak she would be irresistibly led to do so.  No pragmatic devices would be employed on his part to get her to speak.  If she'd been Baptist he could have threatened her with martyrdom.  But alas, she was a Canaanite.  So having no other choice, he elected to leave.

I thought she would relent when I brought in MacArthur. He got right in her face with a report about a parallel incident from Matthew 15. She mumbled something about Markan priority and clammed up again.

Mark Driscoll got further with her than any of the others...letting loose on her with a string of blistery questions more appropriate to a drunken sailor (OK, not really a drunken sailor because the Bible clearly condemns drunkenness.  Just a sailor that had overextended his use of Christian liberty).  But alas, I couldn't use any of his material in the polite company of the Emmanuel pulpit so in the end it was useless.

Herbert Lockyer did ALL he knew to do before resigning.

David Cloud came in with the Sword of the Lord commentaries.  He dressed her down over her short hair style, her NKJV, and for even being in the office of a compromising Southern Baptist preacher.  It had something to do with Billy Graham talking to the Pope back in the 70's.  I didn't really follow his line of questioning but I do know it had nothing to do with the matter at hand in Mark 7.

Just when I thought I would have to take out the rubber hose and the water board, I remembered something.  This old Syrophoenecian woman was a redeemed slave of Jesus.  Indeed, she was one of a very small number of Gentiles actually saved during Jesus' earthly life.  Some say the only one. 

Maybe if I asked Him, He would tell me why He dealt with her that way.  Yes!  That's it!  Since all the Bible is really about Jesus, why had I been wasting my time asking her?  I needed to ask Him!

And boy, oh boy...when Jesus revealed why He said that thing about dogs eating the kids' food...well, I nearly had revival in my office.

I can hardly wait to spill the beans Sunday morning at 9a and 10:30a.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why Should I Study the Bible?

I had forgotten all about this message until someone emailed me to say it had been a blessing.  Perhaps you will be blessed by it and it will drive you to a place of Bible study.  It's more than a year old.  But truth never changes.

Why Should I Study The Bible? from ebchurch on Vimeo.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Want to be Like Andrew

Last night we went over the devotional for family worship week. It dealt with "serving others."

We spent some time thanking God for the kind acts of others toward us. Then we began to discuss someone that we could encourage through an act of Christian kindness. God laid someone’s name on my heart. When I shared it, the suggestion was warmly embraced by the entire family.

We committed to pray and ask God what he wanted us to give toward a financial need. Each of my 3 kids has multiple “piggy banks” so I thought it would be good to teach them to give some of their own money rather than merely giving a “family gift” from Mom and Dad’s checking account. They were assigned to spend some time praying for the Spirit’s guidance.

Andrew (age 7) woke up this morning and said, "God told me to give everything in my blue piggy bank." I asked, "How much is in it?" He shrugged his shoulders and replied, "I don't know." So we emptied the bank, counted the money, and rolled the coins this morning.

With the final tally, he is going to give $43.24. I don’t know who is more pleased by the gift. Him or me?

Reflecting on this event has brought several things to mind.

1. My son has a heart of compassion. Andrea and I have often commented that we do not know a kinder person in the world than our son. Sure, he has his selfish and sinful moments. But his heart is tender toward the needs of others. I need to be more like Him because he is more like Jesus in this area of his life.

2. We believe in tithing, not out of legalism but out of love. But this was a “special offering” so I told the kids, “Just pray and do what God said to do.” When Andrew was willing to give all the money in his bank without even knowing how much it was, it really pictured this simple truth: If God said “give it all” then it really did not matter how much “all” was. I am challenged by his simple heart of obedience.

3. God has been good to our family. We are not wealthy people (by American standards) but we’ve made some wise decisions that God has honored, in part by blessings we’ve received from others. When my middle child has $43 sitting in one of his several piggy banks, it is a sign that we are a blessed people. This thought does not lead me toward asceticism…to feel guilty about my blessings. Rather, it just makes me feel grateful.

4. I am a blessed man. My wife and my kids love me and they love Jesus.

I am convinced I have the spiritual gift of giving. Nevertheless, God spoke to me this morning through the mouth of a child. I need to be more committed than ever before to using my blessings and my possessions to build the Kingdom and to bless others. I feel like God has allowed us to do that as our regular practice. But we can always do better and we can always do more.

So thanks for being obedient, Andrew. God taught Daddy a lesson through your kind and generous heart. One of the greatest joys of my life is watching you fall more in love with Jesus as you grow in His knowledge and grace.

Daddy wants to be like you.

Monday, July 4, 2011

South Georgia Bible Conference 2011

I am honored to be preaching in a few weeks at the 26th annual South Georgia Bible Conference. Pastor Wayne Robertson and the wonderful family of faith at Morningside in Valdosta have hosted this dynamic conference for more than a quarter of a century. Over the years I have enjoyed attending the conference for a time of renewal and personal refreshing. Now this will be my 5th year on the program. I could not be more humbled.

I dearly love Pastor Wayne.  When people learn that Valdosta is my home they often assume I grew up at Morningside. I am tempted to let their assumption go unaddressed! Of course I am grateful for the Godly men and women that did shape my life in other churches as a young boy. But Brother Wayne Robertson has proven himself to me to be “12 inches to the foot and 3 feet to the yard” as the saying goes.

This year’s program on July 17-20 is a special blessing to me. In addition to the staff evangelists (Sam Cathey and Bill Sturm) and gifted musicians from MBC, Brother Wayne always puts a great program together. Let me introduce my church family to a few of these guest preachers in hopes you will be able to drive over to Valdosta for one or more of the preaching sessions.

Gerald Harris is one of my favorite people on this planet. A scholar’s scholar, he is the editor of The Christian Index. Brother Gerald is a veteran pastor, a former president of the GBC, and unquestionably one of the greatest preachers of our day. The last several times I’ve heard him preach he has demonstrated the passion of a pastor and the power of a prophet. As a footnote, my only hesitation about preaching at this conference is that I share one of the preaching sessions with Dr. Harris…an unenviable position to say the least!

Herman Parker leads the congregation at First Baptist Church in Bremen, GA. The first time I recall hearing him preach was at the annual session of the GBC. If my frail memory is correct, it was the day that Adrian Rogers passed away. Brother Herman’s powerful sermon on the ministry of John the Baptist is still etched in my mind. No place for rivalry! No place for jealousy! No place for sympathy! It really is just the sovereignty of God that every Southern Baptist doesn’t know the name “Herman Parker.” I eagerly await hearing him expound God’s Word.

Clifford Palmer will be with us from Rogers, Arkansas. He is the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Springdale (now Cross Church). I am told that Adrian Rogers once stated that if he could only subscribe to the cassette ministry of one preacher he would choose Clifford Palmer. After hearing Brother Palmer preach last year on “The Doctrine of Imputation” it’s easy to see why that statement could be true!

John Waters has been a friend of mine for over a dozen years. I met him through our mutual friend, Don Hattaway. Brother John has done a superlative job serving as pastor of First Baptist Church in Statesboro. Many of our college students attending Georgia Southern have benefited from the ministry of that wonderful fellowship. Earlier this year it was announced that John would be the conservative candidate for our state convention presidency. As of now no other candidate has been announced but I believe John will do an outstanding job. I look forward to hearing him preach in Valdosta.

Jack Price, David Tew, Martha Sturm and the music ministry from MBC will provide soul-stirring music. It really would be worth the drive to Valdosta if you get a chance to go! The sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are at 9:30am and 7pm. Emmanuel family, if you can’t make it please pray for your pastor that I may preach with boldness and compassion.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Great Prayer from My 7 Year Old

"The Beast" is our president's armored Caddy
Tonight our family was praying for our governmental leaders as part of EBC's Family Worship Week.

My 7yr old was assigned to pray for our president. When he thanked God for the president's "magic car" I started to chasten him. Then I realized he was talking about the president's armored car, "The Beast." You're right, Andrew. We should thank God for protecting our president.

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior." (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

EBC Family Worship Week

For those who are looking for the "EBC Family Worship Week" blog, here it is along with today's devotional.