Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Andy Stanley's "When Gracie Met Truthy"

Here's the full 11-minute video I showed tonight during our mid-week Bible study.  It's from Andy's sermon "When Gracie Met Truthy."

Summertime is for Worship

In the midst of all the summer vacations and family get-a-ways I pray that your house stays connected to the things of the faith this summer.  Here are a few pastoral suggestions to help you make your summer full of both fun and faith:

1. Attend worship services while you are out of town. Often times a family goes on vacation and misses the Sundays on both ends of their vacation week. This is an understandable way to stretch those precious family days. But if the vacationing family skips church while out of town, they’ve missed 2 weeks of corporate worship in a row. This provides a poor spiritual example for your children and establishes the dangerous habit of forsaking the assembly of God’s people.

Last year on summer vacation our family attended First Baptist Church of Fernandina Beach and in the fall we went to First Baptist Church of Ellijay. Not only were we blessed by the wonderful music and messages, but it taught our children some invaluable lessons. From Orlando to Sevierville, I know great churches in lots of prime vacation spots. Let me know if you need a suggestion.

2. Be in your place of service at EBC while you are in town. Summer is full of blessings but it is also filled with distractions. When you are in town, be sure to keep your commitment to Emmanuel. We will still be in need of ushers, greeters, SS teachers, choir members, nursery workers, etc. Lost people will still be dying without Christ in June, July, and August. Since you will be gone a lot, make sure you are serving faithfully when you are at home.

3. Enjoy the time with your family. Don’t feel guilty about taking well-deserved time away with your family. They won’t be around forever! Investing into your children’s lives and your spouse’s life is a Biblical thing. Don’t take it for granted. In a few weeks I intend to do some Biblical parenting…making sand castles with Sarah on Amelia Island, watching Andrew cannonball off the diving board at the pool, and collecting seashells with Michaela!

June marks 10 years I’ve been your pastor. They’ve been 120 of the most blessed months of my life. I intend to celebrate by being here 9 out of 10 Sundays this summer. I hope to see you here!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dead is Dead

No sir, I will not recant. In fact, I shall say it yet again. There are no degrees of deadness.

Dead is dead. Jairus' daughter was still warm and her face was flush with the very fever that had only recently taken her young life. An ignorant passerby might have reckoned her to be sleeping. But she was dead just the same.

The widow's son was deathly cold. His skin was pale with a green hue, blackness had set in around his eye sockets, and his blue lips would betray any false claim to life. He was dead, but no more or less so than the 12 year old girl. The people of Nain wept with his mother and were rightly carrying his body to the sepulchre.

And Lazarus, by now he stinks. Dead for four days, the worm of corruption had begun to gnaw away at his jawbone and the maggot of death was leaving a foul stench in the wake of its gruesome meal. And although the gases of decomposition made his earthly remains a gruesome sight to behold, he was no more or less dead than the beautiful warm damsel lying in her room while the mourners broke the news to her mother.

Dead is dead. Though it manifests itself in varying ways and to different degrees, dead is dead. The warm respectable corpse and the cold skeletal remains are equally dead. And so it is with the unredeemed. Dead is dead.

You sir, in the pew without Christ, seated in your suit piously singing the songs of Zion, you sir, are dead without the touch of grace. And you, ma'm, in the corner of the choir loft, unregenerated and dabbling in sin, secret sins, little-known sins, thought to be dead only by those who know you best, you ma'm are dead to God. And you, grandpa, stumbling from the tavern into the street, unconverted and unmistakably undone, you sir, are very much alive to sin but very much dead to God.

And though the clutch of death manifests his icy grip differently, all are as dead as the subject of last month's obituary.

Dead, dear sir, is dead.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I thoroughly enjoy preaching through books of the Bible.  It is by far my favorite type of preaching/teaching.  I have recently finished a year-long study of Mark's gospel.  Taking 48 lessons, we went straight through this fast-paced gospel account.  The only parts we skipped were passages I'd recently preached before the series began.

On Wednesday nights I am actually in the process of repeating a series through Jude.  Originally presented in 2007, "Contenders" deals with our commandment to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3).  This 9-part series will be taught almost verbatim from its 2007 form.  That's because few things change when it comes to heresy and apostasy.

On Sunday mornings, I am about to begin a thematic series called, "Bad Boys of the Bible."  While each sermon will be an exposition of a text, the common thread is topical in nature.  The characters dealt with in this series are all men who made major spiritual errors in their life.  Titles will include:

Amnon Had a Friend (Amnon and Jonadab)
The Playboy's Payday (Samson)
The Way of Cain (Cain and Abel)
The Family Feud (Jacob and Esau)
Sin in the Camp (Achan)
Thou Art the Man (David)
Three's a Crowd (Lamech)
The First Shriner (Micah)

There may be a few additional sermons in this series.  But I think it will be a compelling and cautionary look at the lives of men who failed the Lord in profound ways.

It's been said that a fool will not learn from his mistakes, a smart man will learn from his mistakes, and a wise man will learn from someone else's mistakes.  Many of the men in this series genuinely loved the Lord.  But they allowed sin to mar their reputation and sully their names.  I pray we can all learn from their mistakes lest we make them ourselves.

I am looking forward to this series of messages.  I pray my EBC family will be present for each and every one.