Tag Archives: gospel

Manhood and Theology | The Cross (A Guest Article)

cbmw-logo
The Official Logo of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Back in September, I was offered an opportunity to be a part of a series titled “Manhood & Theology” which the MANual section of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) was going to be running over the next few weeks. The offer came from a fellow blogger named Mathew Sims. Mathew runs a blog called “Grace for Sinners”, and back in Feb 14, he published one of my articles on it.

Mathew contacted me via twitter and asked if I wanted to be a part of the series. I said yes, and a little over two months later, I submitted my article for his review and approval. Thankfully, he accepted it as a part of the series.

The CBMW is a site that I have visited a numerous amount of times over the past months. Their content is excellent! The articles are God-glorifying, and so encouraging in matters of faith, adulthood, marriage, and fatherhood – among other things. I never thought I would have an opportunity to write anything for this site, let alone an article for a series they would one day run.

Here is a short piece from the article:

As men, we all wear a variety of hats and titles in life. Many of us are husbands and fathers, church members and church leaders, and various other titles that we hold within our respective lives. Regardless of your title or position, what must be understood, is that the way we perform in our title and position is defined by the cross.

The cross, by means of the Holy Spirit, presses in, convicts our heart, and empowers us in every regard for living as Christian men. It is in the cross that we find our purpose and our reason, our motivation and our encouragement, for living our lives to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). It is in the cross that we see the supreme example of humility in the Lord Jesus Christ, who “did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

I invite you to read the rest of the article here: Manhood & Theology | The Cross. I pray you enjoy it and that you find something edifying within it. Thank you.

Grace and Peace,
John

She Has Value

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – Psalm 139:13-14

I pray for the day to come when we hear about actions like Kim Kardashian’s, and our first inclination is to pray that she soon realizes how greatly she is valued in the eyes of Christ, instead of our first inclination being to condemn and ridicule when her actions reflect how she doesn’t realize it now.

#BreakTheInternet…#PrayForKim

Apologetics

AZ Sunrise

“The so-called argument from design by well-meaning “Apologists” has, we believe, done much more harm than good, for it has attempted to bring down the great God to the level of finite comprehension, and thereby has lost sight of His solitary excellence. Analogy has been drawn between a savage finding a watch upon the sands, and from a close examination of it he infers a watch-maker. So far so good. But attempt to go further: suppose that savage sits down on the sand and endeavors to form to himself a conception of this watch-maker, his personal affections and manners; his disposition, acquirements, and moral character-all that goes to make up a personality; could he ever think or reason out a real man-the man who made the watch, so that he could say, “I am acquainted with him?” It seems trifling to ask such questions, but is the eternal and infinite God so much more within the grasp of human reason? No, indeed. The God of Scripture can only be known by those whom he makes Himself known.”

“The Attributes of God”
Arthur W. Pink

The 2014 Baptist21 Discussion Panel

On, Tuesday, 10 Jun 14, Baptist 21 held a luncheon during the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting. As it says on their website, Baptist 21…

…exists to contend for ‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3).We embrace our past, believing this faith has been proclaimed in our Southern Baptist heritage. We work in the present, believing the Kingdom effectiveness of Southern Baptists will be in proportion to our fidelity to the Gospel. We cooperate for the future, believing the only hope for the people of the world is the Gospel of King Jesus.

I was fortunate to attend this luncheon and witness the discussion between the guest panel of speakers first hand. The panel was pretty amazing; an almost “who’s who” in the SBC, and there was no doubt that they kept the attention of all those in attendance. I won’t list their names here because Pastor Jonathan Akin introduces them on the video, but believe that the hour spent watching the video and listening to these gentlemen is an hour spent well.

Enjoy!

There’s An App For That!

IMG20145272753HI (1)If you attend a church that is in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention, then you are already aware that the 2014 Annual Meeting is next week here in Baltimore, MD. From what I understand, this is the first time in decades that it has been held here. At my church, First Baptist Church of Brooklyn, we are pretty excited to see it happening in our neck of the woods this year.

There have been a flurry of comments and discussion in various articles over the past few weeks about the meeting. Some were on the SBC website, some were in the various posts of the many dedicated blogger in the cyber world, even some select news sites offered updates and feedback about the event.

Well, add to these outlets one more resource – the SBC Annual Meeting App. It makes total sense for a resource like this to be offered. The influence of technology is massive…huge. It’s to the point that to not have an app for something is counterproductive in many cases. An organization’s sphere of influence is greatly decreased without an online presence, let alone without having their an app.

The Baptist Press provides an overview of the app here, so I won’t give an overview. However, since I’ve downloaded the app and played around with it a bit, I will provide some user feedback on a few features. First off, the app is available on both the iOS and Android platforms (thank you! – I’ve seen more than a few times the android version of an app be released significantly later than the iOS version – sometimes not at all!), so I will be speaking from the perspective of using the Android version. I wouldn’t think the iOS version is too much different.

A few features of the app that I enjoy include –

The schedule embedded within it. As I was planning for this meeting, I was wondering how I was going to keep track of what seminars/ workshops/luncheons I planned to attend. However, I didn’t want to populate my personal everyday calendar with this information. I guess I could have hand-written a schedule, but who does that today. I could have typed it out on Evernote as well. But, with the built-in calendar, keeping track of my events is a non-issue.

I like the “Attendee Resources” link. These resources include the SBC Pastor’s Conference Program, a Prayer Guide, the 2014 Annual Meeting Program, and many other documents – all of which are available for download in PDF format, so they can be kept for later reading if you so choose.

There is a “Local Churches” directory. This section of the app lists churches located in one of two areas: 1) Inside Interstate 695 Baltimore Parkway and 2) Outside Interstate 695 Baltimore Beltway. My home church is listed in area number two. I like this part of the app because it gives people who are new to the area an idea of what churches are available for them to attend.

A few more features of the app include a link for YouTube videos of some of the speakers encouraging people to attend the meeting and workshops, there is a list of those organizations and ministries who are sponsoring workshops, there is a link to a “database” of attendees (provided the attendee took the time to complete their profile), and many other resources.

So, if you attend a Southern Baptist church or not, whether you are able to attend the annual meeting or not – It wouldn’t be a bad idea to download the app and take a look through it. I’m sure you will find it interesting in some way; either by watching the videos or reading the PDF resources contained or reading a bit about the Pastors and speakers who will be in attendance. Take some time to get the app. I think it’s pretty good – maybe you’ll agree.

Grace and peace to you always.

If you’ve attend annual meetings of your denomination in the past, was there a similar resource for use? Is so, was it useful? If not, do you think it would have made your experience better?

Weekend Reading #2 – 5/23/14

Here are some articles I’ve enjoyed over the past week or so. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as well.

1. Jon Bloom – Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible

To be honest, I have never thought about memorizing large portions of the Bible. I’ve heard it done, but only by Pastors/Elders. Not to say that no one else was memorizing “big chunks”, I just had not seen it. This article is encouraging as to why it’s important.

2. David Mathis – Kindle the Fire in Corporate Worship

Phenomenal perspective on the importance of corporate worship. Read this article more than once.

3. Dave Dunham – Ask Pastor Dave: Which Translation of the Bible Should I Use?

Pastor Dave provides a new and refreshing answer to a common question. He goes quite in depth with this response and it is good. I especially appreciate the focus on choosing a Bible from a ministerial perspective.

4. Dave Bruskas – 3 Ways A Man Should Lead His Home

It is important for men to lead their families. The Resurgence has been consistent in their encouragement on how to do so. I enjoy reading articles like this because they give me new ideas on how I can go about leading my family. This information never gets old.

5. Trevin Wax – 5 Things Romanian Believers Taught Me About Prayer

I have been blessed to witness this first hand. For three consecutive summers (many years ago), I was fortunate to spend some time in Romania. During my third and final trip, I visited a church and the worship was wonderful! Even though the singing was in Romanian and I couldn’t understand it,  my emotions ran high that day.

6. H.B. Charles Jr. – Building An Preacher’s Library

As a young minister, I try to read plenty of articles that offer advice and recommendations on preaching and being a preacher. Granted, not everything written is worth taking in. But, there are some Pastor’s who cannot and should not be ignored – Pastor Charles is one of them.

7. *Cult of Android – Pushbullet Now Mirrors Notifications Across All Your Androids

*I am not a “tech head” by any means, but lately I have been looking into new ideas of integrating my phone/tablet into my life in more ways than just playing games and surfing the internet and reading. Basically, I’m looking to be more productive. Every now and then, I will add an link or two to these posts showcasing an article I found to be interesting. Although I use (and prefer) Android to iOS, I will include iOS article here and there. 😉

What have you read this week that sparked your interest?

“The Dude’s Guide to Manhood” by Darren Patrick (Book Review)

DudesGuide-Header-TallFADE

With a society that targets whomever will listen to it’s humanistic rhetoric, now more than ever, we (as believers) need to be chest deep in resources that speak against the culture. When society says “me, me, me”, we have to say “God, God, God”. Society’s message isn’t for the faithful – it’s for the faithless. However, the believer’s message is for the faithless – to show them to whom we must be faithful. 

Fortunately, there are counterweights that give men a picture of to whom we are called to be faithful. I would wholeheartedly include Pastor Darren Patrick’s book, “The Dude’s Guide to Manhood”, on the list of resources that should be used as a counterweight.

When I started the book, I did not immediately like it. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t think the book was bad. It’s not slow moving by any means – with 12 short chapters, the book can be read in a decent amount of time with a bit of effort. And it’s not hard to read – it’s written in a very down to earth and accessible way. I think I was just expecting more out the gate. Looking back, I think was looking for some scripture-saturated, theologically sound advice on how to be a “dude” after God. I mean, the book is written by a Pastor – how else would he present the material.

I was wrong.

Yes, the book is theologically sound, but it’s not saturated (read: dripping) with scripture. And I think that’s by design. I think Darren purposely wrote this book to appeal, not only to believers, but primarily to those who don’t have an interest in being “preached to” in every other sentence. As it turns out, that is one of the reasons I find this book so appealing.

If I’m honest, this book snuck up on me. As I said, I was looking for one thing, but I was taken in another direction. Darren doesn’t beat the reader over the head with scripture. He doesn’t show you how theologically astute he is in matters of the faith. I honestly can’t remember a time that he referred to himself as “Pastor”. He really just comes across as one of the guys. Someone from the block that’s just cool to hang out with.

For the believing man: if you’re someone who has studied scripture for many years and you feel you know your way around the Bible pretty well – this book is for you. Or – if you’re someone who is new to the faith and you’re still learning how to pronounce certain books in the Old Testament and names of some of the characters mentioned in it – this book is for you.

For the unbelieving man: if you don’t like church, don’t think you ever will and you much prefer to relax on the couch as watch ever sports game that is televised on Sunday – this book is for you. Or – if you’ve somehow lost your faith and find yourself returning to the question of what “all this” means – this book is for you.

Additionally, this book meets the reader exactly where he is – as broken man who is trying to do right, but just doesn’t know how. As a man who feels he has it all together, but can’t shake the feeling there is something more. And, the man in the middle who knows there is someone he is called to be and something he is called to do, but can’t figure out how to discover either one.  Darren helps the reader with these uncertainties. And in identifying these uncertainties, Darren graciously tells to reader that it’s not just them. It’s all of us. We all need Jesus to know what is right, to realize how much more is out there, and to discover our calling!

Each chapter contains example after example of everyday situations that all men can relate to. Darren uses everything from sports metaphors to movie references to “water cooler” office talks. Although, I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite chapter, as I probably have at least three or four that I can see myself returning to at a later time for refreshment, I’ll mention two.

Chapter 3, “Train, Don’t Just Try: Become a Disciplined Man” – phenomenal chapter. This chapter was quite an eye opener. It addressed issues I was familiar with, but did so in a refreshing way. A few topics include 1) how pornagraphy is so detrimental to manhood, 2) why we should avoid procrastination, and 3) how being disciplined should “bleed out into every area” of your life, and much more. Here’s a small quote –

“Most men would rather be entertained than be a part of transforming the world, and that erodes manliness and undercuts our confidence. If we can’t control ourselves, then we will be  controlled by everything else.”
Yeah…take some time to let that sink in.

A second chapter I enjoyed was chapter 5, “Get Satisfaction: Become a Content Man”. This chapter is excellent in encouraging the reader regarding what true contentment looks like. I think when we, as men, are truly content in what’s important – namely the glory of Christ – then that contentment will blend into other areas of our life. Here’s one quote from this chapter – 

“At the heart of contentment is an embrace of the present and a willingness to enjoy the good things we have right now. Contentment is freedom from the cares of the past and concerns of the future.”
As the book comes to a close, Darren sums up everything he’s written, and explains how everything he wrote is on display in Jesus Christ – the ultimate “Dude”. This is yet another reason I like the book and would recommend it for man’s unbelieving friends. The unbelieving reader isn’t “pounded” with the Bible as soon as he opens the book. There’s no talk or tone that would lead him to feel as though he is being talked down to for not believing in Christ. There is such grace in this book, that by the time the reader reaches the end of it, there is no doubt about a man seeing his need to stop trying to go it alone…and go with Christ.

Pick this book up – for you and the brothers in your church’s men’s ministry. Use it in a men’s book study. Pick it up and give it to unbelieving family and friends. If you can afford it, hand some out at your next cookout. Whatever way you decide to use it, just make sure you use it for the glory of God and the edification of your fellow men, because I truly believe that is why Darren wrote it.

Grace and Peace,

John 

Belief and Faith

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“The command to believe is central to the Bible. Christianity is founded upon certain nonnegotiable truths, and these truths, once known, are translated into beliefs. The beliefs that anchor our faith are those to which we are most passionately and personally committed, and these are our convictions. We do not believe in belief any more than we have faith in faith. We believe the gospel, and we have faith in Christ. Our beliefs have substance and our faith has an object.”

“The Conviction to Lead”
Dr. Albert R. Mohler
President
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Weekend Reading #1 – 5/9/14

Here are some articles I’ve enjoyed over the past few days. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as well.

1. Tim Challies – The False Teachers: T.D. Jakes

Take a look at the other articles Challies has written in his “False Teachers” series here.

T.D. Jakes is associated with several troublesome teachings including the prosperity gospel and positive thinking. For our purposes, though, we will look at his teaching on the Trinity. Jakes has long been associated with Oneness Pentecostalism which holds to an unorthodox position on the Trinity. This position is known as Modalism or, historically, as Sabellianism.

You taught me from the word go that I’m not the center of your world, because I’m not the center of the world. And you told me who does have that position—the Lord Jesus. I was never allowed to rule our house, and you always made it clear that my opinions and preferences, though important, are not authoritative. Thank you for the times you were not able to spend time with me because you were ministering to someone else.

3. Hank Hanegraaff – Osteenification and What It Portends

Because Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation. And while a host of pretenders (including Prince) follow in his train, Osteen is clearly the biggest of the bunch—according to People magazine, “twice as big as the nearest competitor.”

Go here to purchase the book for a donation of any amount.

4. John Zmirak – Why Young Christians Really Need to See the Film “Persecuted”

That gripping film depicts a time in the near American future when the state finally tires of having to accommodate the eccentric moral and doctrinal teachings that Christians hold dear. Those teachings prove “divisive,” and because they make claims of absolute truth they are hostile to “diversity.” So secular elites decide to bring the Christians into line—not with an iron fist, but a velvet glove. A glove full of money, a glove that pats believers gently on the head and shoos them into the background.

5. Raymond Bechard – Why Do Some Girls Matter More Than Others?

The girls woke suddenly to sharp sounds of the windows being broken, men shouting, and then…fire. Just as their confusion turned to panic the masked men burst into their dormitory, forced them from their beds and herded them into trucks. The trucks drove unopposed into the nearby forest holding 243 girls between 16 and 18 years old.

6. Chelsea Vicari – To My Fellow Millennials: Christian Persecution is a Social Issue

Among Millennials, the term “persecution” is a dirty word when applied to Christians. Society continues to paint Christians as “clamoring and crying” over nothing when we decry discrimination targeted our way.

7. This is a video my daughter had to watch and write an essay on for homework. It’s good. I appreciate her teacher assigning something like this.