One of my mentors is known for saying that music is “portable theology. . . it’s theology we carry around with us.” One reason I love this new song is that it exhorts God’s people to preach the gospel to ourselves. And then it goes on to very clearly proclaim the gospel that we need to remember.Continue reading →
Last week, our church allowed the student ministry to take over the Sunday morning worship service. We had a blast. The students did the announcements, the worship, and played a game with the congregation. One of our students gave a wonderful testimony of how the Lord has worked in her life over her first year of loving Jesus. And then I preached from Deuteronomy 6 on the Gospel-Centered Family. I thought I would share the message God gave me for this service. I hope it ministers to you in a big way. I pray that God uses this message to cause your family to become obsessed with the Gospel! Here you go…have a listen and let me hear your feedback!
“I’ve never heard anyone preach the gospel the way you do.”
These were the words that changed the focus of my ministry. As the sentence flowed out of Clayton’s mouth during our lunch together at El Vallarta, my first response was immediate: that can’t be true. Someone had to have presented the gospel to him in a similar manner as I at some point in his lifetime. Or was I taking some innovative approach to the cross? I knew that, in regards to theology or hermeneutics, if you find something in Scripture that no one else in history has found, you are most likely a heretic. Was I leaning toward heresy in my gospel proclamation? Had Clayton really never heard the gospel so explicitly and often stated as he had in the first months of my ministry career?
In writing a research paper on Team Ministry in Church Planting, I spent a few pages defending the biblical foundations for team leadership. I thought that some of you nerdy types like me might enjoy this, so I have posted it below. Fair warning: this one’s boring.
It’s been a while since my last post. Sorry about that. God has been doing some incredible things here in my ministry at North Main Baptist Church. Allow me to recap for you what the past five months have seen:
See, I’ve always had somewhat of a Superman Complex. This has gotten me in trouble for many, many years. At one point, in high school, I allowed myself to become so overwhelmed by my desire to please others that I fell into depression. In fact, it even caused me to write a song called “Superman.” This song illustrated my failures to be everyone’s superhero and declared that I would stop trying so hard and let Jesus try on my behalf. I learned a lot through that season, but for some reason, I periodically forget those lessons and slip back into my sinful superhero mode. This tragic occurrence took place somewhere around a year ago, when I started trying to pull off this ministry by myself. Bad choice.
One of my best friends in the world preached for me last night at Broadcast last night. In what must have seemed like sheer spite, the text I gave him was Philippians 2:1-11, which deals with the humility of Christ. He knocked it out of the park. One of the things he said was this: “Low self-esteem is just the other side of the coin called pride.” He explained that self-hatred and a pitiful me type attitude is strictly a pride issue. This really struck a nerve with my student ministry. See, in our group of only about 35 students, we have a surprising number that deal with the temptation to cut themselves.
“I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who ‘took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.’ At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.” (John Piper, 2007)
People ask me all the time about my favorite worship leader. I will frequently reference modern-day giants such as Steve Fee, Kristian Stanfill, Martin Smith, Matt Redman and others. But none of these are my favorite. See, my favorite is an old-school guy: King David himself.
I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. (Psalm 145:1-3 NLT)
There is a currently a huge lull in corporate, congregational worship. Week after week, we enter into God’s house…bored. The music is stale, the atmosphere is forced, and the people are subdued. WHY?! What about Jesus does NOT excite us?!