The Gospel Family

 

AFrica 7

Different languages and accents.  Various colors of skin.  Diverse worship styles. Different college backgrounds.  Varied cultural differences.

Africa 4

That’s what I saw in South Africa and Malawi among the natives, the missionaries, the transplants and the travelers.

Africa 5

Whether it was on a plane, in a mission compound, in a Sunday morning service, at a café for breakfast, in the middle of a bunch of teens, or gathered at a camp, I saw something that touched my heart in some very special ways.  It was a foretaste of Revelation 5:8-9 which reads,

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain,

And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

For sixteen days I had the blessed privilege to experience the multi-faceted family of God all radically changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ; people from varying tribes and tongues and people and nations.

Africa 6  Africa 3

The family of God needs no introductions; our spirit bears witness with each other (Romans 8:16).

The family of God doesn’t see race but grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The family of God loves one another (John 13:35).

The family of God honors one another (Romans 12:10).

The family of God rejoices and weeps together (Romans 12:15).

The family of God serves one another in love (Galatians 5:13).

The family of God encourages each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Why? Because of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!! (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 3:9).  What an awesome family around the world from every tribe, tongue, people and nation that will one day gather around the Throne in Heaven!!

From a Pastor’s Heart,

dale

Let Them Come to Me

kids salvation

This week my wife has written some extremely insightful, practical and helpful posts about the issue of children coming to Christ for salvation at an early age.  These writings would be extremely helpful for parents and anyone who works in children’s ministries.

Having received Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the age of five, this is a subject very dear to my heart.

As a pastor, I have had the joy of seeing many children born again over the years.  How precious is a tender heart coming to Christ in simple faith, taking God at His Word.

Here are the links:

How to Tell If a Child Is Ready to Be Saved

What’s Wrong with Waiting Until a Child Is Older to be Saved

What if Your Child Doubts Their Salvation

Preparing a Child’s Heart to Know Christ

The Message of Good Friday

 

skull-hill-golgotha (2)
Golgotha, the Place of the Skull
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:6-11)

It’s About the Cross

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Want to know more about Christ’s death for you?

To the People in the Pews

As a follow up to yesterday’s messages from Philippians 2:3-4, consider and answer the following:

Quick Review

SS: Unless we live in Christ-centered unity, our gospel testimony is of no effect.

  1. The gospel is effective when we are not selfish (2:3a)
  2. The gospel is effective when we are not conceited (2:3b)
  3. The gospel is effective when we are humble (2:3c)
  4. The gospel is effective when we are focused on others (2:3d-4)

Questions for Application:

  1. List 25 ways you are selfish. How do these areas you listed hinder your gospel witness?  How do they hinder the gospel witness at BCBC?  At work?  At school?  In recreation?

 

  1. As you prepare for your day, what is uppermost in your mind as you choose your clothes, your activities, your goals, your plans—what people think of you or what they learn of Christ from you?

 

  1. How have your pursued Christ this morning? What did He say to you through His Word?  Remember, we do not pursue humility.  We pursue Christ is the definition of humility in bodily form and character.  As we pursue knowing Him, meditating on Him, and learning His Word, humility becomes a part of our life.

 

  1. What individuals will be the focus for prayer and witness today? Will you be ready for a complete stranger that God may send your way?  Remember the word, “look.”

 

  1. What did God say to you at the end of the sermon? What did you put into sentence form?  How will that truth be fleshed out in your life today?

 

Let’s keeping growing and changing!  Be intentional for the gospel today!  And remember, Love Works!!

Fighting for the Forgotten

Basque Shepherd

Upon receiving my latest edition of WORLD magazine, I read the following front-page headline:  DANIEL OF THE YEAR, Frank Wolf, “A career in Congress spent fighting for the forgotten.”  Virginian Congressman Wolf has given the past thirty years plus of his life to travelling to some of the most dangerous places in the world to do something about suffering in seemingly forgotten areas.  As the WORLD article reported, “As part of his work in the House of Representatives, he traveled to hot spots like Cold War-era Romania, oppressed Tibet, communist China, beleaguered Sudan, and war-ravaged Iraq, often focused on the plight of religious minorities persecuted by government officials and extremists.”  Congressman Wolf retires this month, but his work will continue.  When he visited Ethiopia in 1984, he said, “What I saw and experienced in Ethiopia . . . fully awakened me to the suffering of other people.  And as both a U.S. c congressman and a Christian, I knew I had to do something about it.”

December 2-11, my wife and I spent time with other “Daniel’s” like Congressman Frank Wolf.   These are missionaries located in the Basque region of Spain who have given their lives “fighting for the forgotten.” This northern region of Spain bordering the Bay of Biscayne and the Pyrenees Mountains is unique unto itself.  The Basque people are a very proud people holding onto their national traditions and guarded in their approach to other Spaniards and outsiders.

What causes me to consider them “forgotten” is the impact of cold, lifeless religion that has left them suffering in their agnostic, sinful condition in these small mountain villages or large cities.  Many, many Basque people have never heard the gospel, never read a Bible or heard the name “Jesus.”  This land is virgin territory for the Good News.

How my heart was moved by a lone shepherd leaning on his staff as he tended his sheep near the small village of Zegama. He stood all alone, seemingly forgotten, quiet and forlorn. I waved at him as we passed by on our way up the mountain to the Aierdi Farmhouse.  On the third pass, he finally acknowledged my wave.  Here is a man, most likely unsaved, a shepherd in need of hearing the gospel of the Good Shepherd (John 10:10-11).  My heart ached as I realized that I could not speak to him in his own language. Just as quickly, though, I rejoiced because of the dear missionaries who have given their lives to learn his language and “fight for the forgotten;” who live near him and have a burden for him as well.

Truth is, you do not need to travel 5,000 miles to Spain to “fight for the forgotten.”  They live next door to you, work alongside you, ride on the bus with you, attend your school, etc.  They are gripped in the cold clutches of their sin and have never heard the gospel. Many of their children have never heard John 3:16 or the simple children’s Christmas song, “Away in a Manger.”  God has not forgotten those around you in your community, and He has not forgotten these Basque people, and therefore, neither should we.  We must fight for the forgotten.  We must do something about it.  What sacrifices will you make this Christmas?  Where will you go to reach the “forgotten?”

Friday’s Findings

Once again, here are a few links that I believe will be worth looking into.  As we move to the end of this week, and begin the new week on Sunday, prepare your heart through meeting with God in prayer and Bible reading to worship Him in a powerful way on the Lord’s Day!!

Jesus GeniePaul Tripp asks, “When you receive blessing, how do you define blessing? Be honest – what do you want from God? Or maybe this is a more provocative way of saying it: what kind of Messiah do you want Jesus to be?”

My Prayer Journal – My wife has said on numerous occasions, “If the house were on fire, besides my Bible, this is the one item that I would not want to leave behind!”  Here’s a great post on a way to lift the level of your prayer life, your relationship with God!

Earth’s Largest Water Reservoir Found Hidden Under the US  and Water Deep in Earth’s MantleGood information in reference to the Flood (Genesis 7:11).

The Joy of Running a 5K – How much I have missed running due to surgery recovery.  I understand this post completely!  Wearing my running shoes in the house even if I can’t hit the country roads yet!

I Will RiseWhat joy to know that Christ came to be born, to die, and rise from the tomb that we might live!!!  Watch, listen and give thanks with a grateful heart to our Awesome God!!  The best, indeed, is yet to come!!

Trick or Truth

The first time I can remember observing Halloween, I was five years old. How excited I was to wear my Yogi Bear costume, knock on our neighbor’s doors, receive candy, and then go eat candy! To me it was a simple evening of clean enjoyment. My parents made it that way. Instead of making an issue out of it, they just made sure it was an evening given to what was right.

Much has changed in 50 years. That’s why I am sharing two very well-written articles on the subject of Halloween. The balanced approach of John MacArthur’s writing is informative, practical, and spot on. David Mathis’ article adds to the first, but turns our thoughts in a direction that will make us think and hopefully understand, “The gospel changes everything!” Please be sure to read each article in its entirety.

Christians and Halloween – John MacArthur

Sent Into the Harvest – Halloween On Mission – David Mathis

I’m sure you will handle Halloween as you believe is right before the Lord. These two articles say what is in my heart, give the basic reasons for what we do at Boones Creek Bible Church, and why, if I am able (due to recent surgery) will be going door-to-door to GIVE out GOSPEL tracts and a GIFT to my neighbors. Oh, by the way, if you are wondering, I’ve grown out of my Yogi Bear costume. 🙂

 

Friday’s Findings

As we close out this week, I’m sharing some links/blogs that have impacted me this week.  I believe they will be of encouragement to you.

 

Christ’s Body: The Mission of the Church —Watch as Jason Ormiston delivers a message that all believers need to hear.  (Bob Jones University Chapel, September 24, 2014)

  • You would also be greatly edified by listening to Dr. Steve Pettit’s messages on Walking in the Spirit.

How I Learned to Win Souls — You will find this practical post by a dear man of God, Dr. Don Sisk, to be a rich blessing in obedience to the Great Commission.  One other feather in his cap is the fact that he is a UK Wildcat fan! 😉

Parenting – Have We Lost Our Way?— How grateful that we have the blessed opportunity to support this family on the mission field.  Here are some very timely questions that need to be answered in regards to modern-day parenting.  If you are a parent, please read and answer with genuine honesty and transparency.  Here is hope for you.

Are You Leeching the Local Church? — Enough said.

Eliminating and Concentrating — Help for busy ladies!

The Power of the Cross

Yesterday, we saw God work in so many ways throughout our Sunday at church, at home, and in our church’s neighborhood!  The greatest event of the day was a lost soul walking the aisle to receive Christ as her Savior.  The invitation was given prior to observing The Lord’s Supper.  While this dear lady was being shown the gospel from the Word of God and receiving Christ as her personal Savior in a side room of our auditorium, the congregation began to partake of the bread and sing “The Power of the Cross.”  To be singing these words and knowing a soul was being set free from sin, death, and hell by the wonderful work of Christ was a glorious moment indeed!!

So, to begin your Monday, listen to this song and consider the words.  Rejoice in the Lord and share with someone today who has never heard about our wonderful Savior!!  And when you do, make sure your countenance reflects the joy in your heart just as these students are doing.

The Power of the Cross

Gospel Risk-Takers

When I think of someone being a risk taker, immediately my mind goes to Extreme Sports adventures such as BASE jumping, whitewater canoeing, ice climbing, wing suit skydiving,  free running, slacklining, cliff diving, and a many others.  Folks involved in such escapades are risking injury or loss as they seek for the next extreme rush of excitement.

In recent days, I’ve been reading 1 Corinthians and have been stirred by the words of a genuine risk-taker, the Apostle Paul.  He was a gospel risk-taker!  His life, motivated by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14), was lived for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:23).

For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! . . . For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings (1 Corinthians 9:16, 19-23).

Then we read in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 the dangers he endured in his risk-taking adventures of advancing the gospel. With far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;  in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food ,in cold and exposure.  Now that’s extreme adventure, or dare I say, extreme sports?

You want an exciting quest?  You want an emotional rush?  Be a risk-taker for the gospel!  Be willing to really put your life on the line! Forget about what men think of you and consider your character before God and share the gospel with family, workers, strangers and friends.  Join up with a team and go on a mission’s trip to some remote area of the world. Get involved in the lives of those who are forsaken, hurting, abused, trashed, and shackled by the grip of sin.

Jumping off a cliff only gives you a chance to expand your ego.  Being a gospel risk-taker gives you the opportunity for reward in Heaven with eternal ramifications.  Ice climbing may result in a few clapping for you when you reach the summit, but when you have the opportunity to see a lost soul come to Christ, you are privileged to join the saints and angels in the heavenly chorus of rejoicing that once again has eternal significance.

So, what kind of risks will you take today for the gospel’s sake?