Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Taz.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Christian Rights

I have seen this quote in a couple of different places. But I am not sure who was the one who first said it. And this may be more of a paraphrase than a true quote but it will get the original point across.

"My Christian rights are to be treated exactly and precisely as the world treated my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ... and nothing else." - Unknown

It makes you think, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Above All ... Have Christ!

I will tell you what bothers me. Paul says in 1 Cor. 4:7 "For who maketh thee to differ [from another]?" The implied answer there is that it is God who makes us to differ, one person from another. Yet there are many people, who by their theology, end up answering that it is they, themselves, that make them to differ. And that bothers me.

Now, if you are a follower of my blog, you will know that I call myself a Calvinist. More accurately, I am a Reformed Baptist within the Southern Baptist Convention. I am SBC because I am convinced that it is the best vehicle available to us for reaching every corner of the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. The missions imperative and the sweet fellowship of like minded brothers and sisters in Christ makes me Southern Baptist.

But my views on God, Christ, salvation, indeed the whole world ... make me Reformed. Mostly, I am reformed because it makes me know who it was that made me to differ from other men. I am no better than anyone and worse than many. On my own I could not, ever, make myself different from the people around me. I know who made me to differ.

But, there are others, people who are NOT reformed, who also know who made them to differ. Now, there are many I have met, that I mentioned in my first paragraph, whose theology makes them answer that they made themselves to differ. But I am not talking about these folks right now. I am talking about those folks, who not being reformed, still know that their salvation is of the Lord, who have no hope of redemption apart from Christ alone. I am talking about those folks who know that faith is a gift from God and that apart from the finished work of Christ on the cross that there is nothing they have to offer towards their salvation. In short, I am talking those non-reformed people whose faith is in Christ alone.

As important as I think Calvinism is, I think it is more important that one be a Christian. What good is correct theology if you are wrong about Christ? What good is it to know all good doctrine about Christ if Christ does not know you? A system of theology, any system of theology, is nothing more than a way to put the doctrines of the Bible into an understandable way of thinking and by doing so, lead us closer to Christ. Any doctrine that does not draw you closer to Jesus is not worth the time it takes to explain it. Beloved friends ... listen to me ... have good doctrine, yes, even the best doctrine ... but have Christ first!

As for me, I am always against those people whose theology causes them to claim for themselves some of the credit for the work of God and thereby robbing God of some of His glory. I am always against those folks who teach heretical doctrines and teachings that lead Christians away from sound doctrine and true piety in Christ. But my hand of Christian fellowship is always extended to those who know who it is that made them to differ. To every person who knows their only hope is in Christ alone, I am a brother and a friend. A brother or sister in Christ is no bother to me at all.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Above All Else

The following is a column I write weekly for our church bulletin. I like doing this. It makes me think about some point of teaching that I want people to think about throughout the week. I wanted to share this one with my readers.

Beloved Friends, I wish sometimes that you could see the Christian faith through the same I eyes I do. I am afraid that many people hold such a low and sub-christian view of the faith that they find their greatest pleasures in other places. Now, when you think through that last sentence I wrote, you will see that ... yes ... I said people find pleasure in places other than the Christian faith.

Let me be more specific. Our greatest treasure (and hence our greatest joy and pleasure) is Jesus Christ. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ! Beloved, I want to teach our church to love Christ above everything else out there. I want us all to learn to love Christ more than sex, more than sports games, more than books, more than our spouses, more than our children, more than sin, more than food .. more than anything that competes in our hearts for our affections.

Jesus Christ is the Lord our God, who left His glory in heaven to become a human being. He lived a sinless life. He died on a cross for our sins. He rose from the dead to validate everything He said and did. He sits today, at the right hand of God the Father, forever making intercession for us. That means He is always talking to the Father on our behalf. He did all this because He loved us, personally, from before the foundation of the world. He sent the Holy Spirit for find us and bring us to him for salvation. He gave us the Holy Spirit to live inside us as a down payment of the glory that will one day be ours when He comes to take us all home to Himself. He did this for us!

He loves us as the most perfect husband loves his perfect and beautiful wife. Friends, are we not the Bride of Christ? He yearns for us. He fawns over us. He showers us with His love day and night. He calls us to return that love. We are to return His love so much that we find living on this earth to be a burden and we wait eagerly for the day when we will be in his presence forever. Just as a young bride waits zealously .. jealously .. for her husband when they are separated, we wait in the same way for the day when Jesus comes to take us home. He is called the "Fairest of Ten Thousand" and "The Bright and Morning Star." He is called the "Altogether Lovely" by the Puritans.

When God opened our hearts and gave us spiritual minds He gave us a hunger and thirst for the presence of Christ in our lives. We need Him, yearn for Him, desire Him ... we must have Him ... our Blessed Christ!

To be a Christian is not only to be a follower of Jesus Christ but also to be a lover of Jesus Christ and of all things connected to Him. We love His word, His people, His works, His Church, His laws, everything! I wish I could make you see Christ like that. As your pastor, that is my deepest heart .. that I could teach us all to be lovers of Jesus above all else. Help me do that. In that day, when we all meet Him face to face, we will be able to hear Him say to us "Well done good and faithful servant. Come and enter into the rest of your Lord." May it be so with all of us. Amen.