Thursday, July 26, 2007

Speaking @ Mt. Gilead

I am in Wichita, Kansas. Last night, I preached the first of three nights for Pastor Terrance C. Floyd and the Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church. This is a rather unique meeting for me, in that this is the fifth year in a row I have preached for this congregation, which is only five years old. I was their first evangelist. And I have had the privilege of preaching for them each year, watching the Lord continue to develop this young congregation more and more each year. It is also great to see how the Lord has been developing Pastor Floyd over these years - both as a pastor of God's people and a preacher of God's word.

I am glad and grateful to be here. The Lord blessed the opening night of the meeting. And I trust that the Lord will bless these two remaining nights. Pray for us.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Theology for your Checkbook

I watched portions of the YouTube/CNN Democratic Presidential Debate last night. I kind of watched and channel-surfed at the same time. One of the times I turned back to the debate, Senator Joe Biden was speaking. I don't know what question he was answering, but his line was great. Quoting his father, Biden said, "Don't talk to me about your values. Show me your budget." Amen. May we, as Christ-followers, embrace this principle as a clear way to measure our spiritual values. Indeed, how me manage our money is an objective indicator of our spiritual devotion. Jesus stated it in blunt terms: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt. 6:21) So, where's your heart?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Preaching Five Nights @ Cochran Ave.

Tonight I am beginning five nights of preach here in Los Angeles. This is a joint-session for the New Vision and New District Associations of the Western Baptist State Convention (President J. Benjamin Hardwick). Pastor Marvis Davis is giving leadership to the meeting. The services will be help nightly at the 7 pm at the Cochran Avenue Baptist Church, where Pastor Percy Hill serves. Please remember me and this meeting in your prayers.

All In!

Yesterday, I continued our studies in the book of Joshua. I finished chapter one, challenging the congregation about the matter of spiritual partnership. Here is the sermon skeleton from yesterday's message:

Title: "All In!"

Text: Joshua 1:10-18

Theme: Joshua takes command and gives begins to lead the children of Israel to claim and conquer the promised land of Canaan

Point: Spiritual progress, victory, and rest require partnership


I. Taking new territory involves spiritual partnership with God (1:10-11)
A. We must do for ourselves the things that we are able to do.
B. We must depend on God to do the things that only God is able to do.
II. Taking new territory involves spiritual partnership with God's people (1:12-15)
A. We should go forward together because of the call to remember (1:12-13)
B. We should go forward together because of the call to rest (1:14-15)
III. Taking new territory involves spiritual partnership with godly leadership (1:16-18)
A. You can partner with godly leadership by practicing willing obedience (1:16-17)
B. You can partner with godly leadership by practicing mutual accountability (1:18)
C. You can partner with godly leadership by practicing prayer encouragement (1:7-18)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sunday Morning begins on Saturday Night

Here is a little devotional I wrote for our July church newsletter:

Let’s face it. We’ve all done it. We have all had those times when we participated in corporate worship services without truly worshiping God in spirit and truth. We have all gone through the motions. We have all sat in services with our minds and hearts being at some distant place. Why does this happen? You love God. You have been looking forward to going to church. The worship was uplifting, the music was inspiring, and the sermon was edifying. But, somehow, you missed it all. As the worship flowed, you were fault-finding. As the musical praise was rendered, you thoughtlessly mouthed the words. As the sermon was preached, you were daydreaming. You share Jacob’s sad post-Bethel testimony: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen. 28:16) What happened?

One of the reasons why we “miss” some of the worship services we are in is because we start preparing ourselves way too late. In fact, before I go any further, let me ask you a question. Do you prepare for worship? On Sunday mornings, do you just get up, get dressed, and get going? Or do you take time to get the meditations of your heart (Ps. 19:14) ready to be acceptable to the Lord? If not, I challenge you to make a new commitment today to taking spiritual preparation for corporate worship service more seriously.

You should take the time to ready your heart for corporate worship. And the best time to begin these preparations is Saturday night, not Sunday morning. You can’t rip and run Saturday morning, ignore the Lord Saturday evening, and stay up all Saturday night; then get up on Sunday morning and try to shake all of that off for worship. While you should take advantage of the free time Saturday provides; you should do so without forgetting that you will begin your week in worship and fellowship with the Lord Jesus and his body, the church. Interestingly, many of us do this when the 1st Sunday approaches, knowing that we must examine ourselves before the Lord’s Supper. But this self examination should be a regular part of our preparations for corporate worship. Are you tired of coming to church and neglecting the very one who is the subject and object of our worship? I challenge you to begin your preparations for Sunday morning on Saturday nights.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Starting Joshua - for real, this time!

I finally began the exposition of Joshua I have been planning to do for some months. I have scheduled to begin this study three different times, and have run into roadblocks each time. But I was settled in heart that this was the time to start. And I was really excited about preaching this past Sunday. I was scheduled to be in Detroit last week. But flight cancellations, weather, and providence prevented me from going. However, my bags did make the trip - my bags that I packed with about 15 commentaries to help me in my study. I usually don't carry books on the road. I usually take copied pages for me to mark up. I think I took the books this time because I wanted to read some of the front matter and introductions to Joshua. And I ended up being without them in my study. So that, along with my schedule confusion, put me way behind in my study. And I was not able to write out my message. I just prepared an extended outline, and preached the message extemporaneously, basically. Having said all that, the Lord helped me in preaching Sunday. And I praise him for that.

Here is the sermon skeleton from Sunday's message.

Title: "Safely Crossing the Bridges of Life"

Text: Joshua 1:1-9

Theme: God commissions Joshua to lead the children of Israel to claim and conquer the promised land of Canaan.

Point: You can safely cross the bridges of life by going forward with God.


I. Go forward with obedience to God's commands (1:1-2)
A. God commands you to go forward in spite of the difficulty of the times (v. 2a)
B. God commands you to go forward in spite of the difficultly of the task (v. 2b)
II. Go forward with confidence in God's promises (1:3-6)
A. Trust the promises of God as you face opportunities in life (vv. 3-4)
B. Trust the promises of God as you face opposition in life (vv. 5-6)
1. Trust God's promises when you face external opposition (v. 5)
2. Trust God's promises when you face internal opposition (v. 6)
III. Go forward with devotion to God's word (1:7-8)
A. Submit to the authority of God's word (vv. 7-8)
B. Embrace the truth of God's word (v. 8)
C. Focus on the blessings of God's word (vv. 7-8)
IV. Go forward with assurance of God's presence (1:9)

Special Note: Dr. Reginald Terry of Antioch Baptist Church in Omaha is currently preaching through the book of Joshua. And over the past week he has been extremely helpful to me as I begin this study. Along with my resources, I have had the benefit of him sharing his notes with me and talking me through how he approached his opening expositions of Joshua. His help has been invaluable. And I really appreciate his kindness and friendship.