Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lord's Day Eve

Another week has gone and I have been preserved in my going out and my coming in.
Thine has been the vigilance that has turned threatened evils aside;
Thine the supplies that have nourished me;
Thine the comforts that have indulged me;
Thine the relations and friends that have delighted me;
Thine the means of grace which have edified me;
Thine the book, which, amidst all my enjoyments, has told me that is is not my rest,
    that in all successes one thing alone is needful, to love my Savior.
Nothing can equal the number of thy mercies but my imperfections and sins.

These, O God, I will neither conceal or palliate,
    but confess with a broken heart.
In what condition would secret reviews of my life leave me
    where it not for the assurance that with thee
       there is plenteous redemption
       that thou art a forgiving God,
       that thou mayest be feared!
While I hope for pardon through the blood of the cross,
    I pray to be clothed with humility,
       to be quickened in thy way,
       to be more devoted to thee,
       to keep the end of my life in view,
       to be cured of the folly of delay and indecision,
       to know how frail I am,
       to number my days and apply my heart unto wisdom.

- The Valley of Vision, pp. 352-53

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Heart's Response to God's Word

I plan to begin a new series on sermons this coming Sunday on the Parable of the Sower that I am calling: "The Heart's Response to God's Word." It's recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But I will do my work from Matthew's version - Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.

I find it most difficult and exhilarating to preach the parables of Jesus. They are so simple. And yet the profundity of these simple teachings is staggering. I am looking forward to the plowing through my own soul as I prepare myself to preach these messages.

Amid growing animosity and resistance to his ministry and message, Jesus tells this parable to his disciples to say to them that there is nothing wrong with the good seed of the word. It is alive, powerful, and life-changing. But the soil of the heart is not always good ground for the word to take root and grow and bear fruit.

My intention for this series are pretty similar to what I believe Jesus was up to when he told this parable. I want to encourage the church to have confidence in the power of the word. And I want them to understand that spiritual reasons behind people's response (or lack of response) to the word of God. Ultimately, I want them to know that when the good seed falls on good ground, there is no limit to what God can do.

Here is the schedule for these upcoming message:

3/1 - The Sower, The Seed, and the Soil (Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23)

3/8 - Good Seed Along the Path (Matt. 13:4, 19)

3/15 - Good Seed on Rocky Ground (Matt. 13: 5-6, 20-21)

3/22 - Good Seed Among Thorns (Matt. 13:7, 22)

3/29 - Good Seed on Good Soil (Matt. 13:8, 23)

Please remember this series of messages in your prayers. May the Lord help me to speak his word with faithfulness and clarity. And may the hearts of those who hear these messages be good soil and fertile ground to receive the implanted word that is able to save our souls.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Change of Plans for Tonight's Service

Dr. Ralph Douglas West of the The Church Without Walls of Houston (TX) was scheduled to be the guest speaker for the closing night of Wednesdays in the Word revival here at the Shiloh Church of Jacksonville. Unfortunately, Dr. West will not be able to be with us tonight. There were other matters that he needed to give his attention to. And he asked that we would remember him in our prayers. Of course, we do and will continue to cover in believing prayer. And we look forward to him being with us at some later day in the future, God willing.

But there is a "ram in the bush." My friend and brother, Dr. Maurice Watson of the Beulahland Church of Macon/Warner Robbins (GA) has agreed to "pinch hit" for us tonight. Dr. Watson is one of my favorite preachers. And I deeply appreciate his willingness to step in tonight to be our guest speaker. I am confident that the Lord is going to bless us richly tonight through the ministry of the word.

As always, if your congregation does not have anything scheduled tonight that you should attend, feel free to join us at Shiloh for worship tonight at 7 PM. And if you are not able to attend, you can worship with us through our internet broadcast of tonight's service through our church website or Streaming Faith.

Pray for us.

Monday, February 23, 2009

On the day of judgment preachers will not be asked where they went to seminary or whether they earned any advanced degrees. They will not need to present membership statistics or submit their annual budgets. It will not matter how popular they were or whether they could make people laugh. instead, when they stand before the heavenly tribunal they will be asked, "Did you preach the word?" Those who followed their own agenda - or even worse, the world's agenda - will hang their heads in shame. But many humble preachers, who were held in little esteem, will shine in the brightness of their Father's glory. For in their proclamation of God's Word they were faithful to the very end. Their preaching was evangelical, doctrinal, and practical. Their Lord will say to them, "Well done, good and faithful servant!... Come and share your master's happiness! (Matt. 25:23). - Philip Graham Ryken, City On A Hill, pp. 52-53

An Exhortation to Hope in God

Yesterday I took a shot at one of the great texts of the Bible. In what is arguably the darkest book in the sacred scriptures, there is this great statement of faith and confidence in God.

I know that there are many people in my congregation who are facing various dangers, toils, and snares. And I have been burdened to say something that would be an encouraged over these past several weeks. This text gripped me because it is a "Big-God" text. It doesn't give any answers, explanations, or promises. It just simply points to the goodness, faithfulness, and sufficiency of God and bids us to put all of our confidence in him.

Most preachers know what it's like to have a great time with God in the study. And then to feel like the sermon you presented didn't live up to what you learned from God in private. That's where I was yesterday. But I praise God for the fact that his grace is sufficient and his strength is perfected in our weaknesses.

I cannot wait to have the opportunity to preach this sermon again.

Here is the sermon skeleton.

Title: "The Reason for My Hope"

Text: Lamentations 3:21-24

Theme: Hope in God

Point: Because God is God, there is hope - even in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation.


I. The Lord is good all the time (3:22-23a).

    A. God's steadfast love (v. 22a)

    B. God's compassionate mercies (v. 22b)

    C. God's renewed favor (v. 23a)

       1. The novelty of God's favor: new

       2. The consistency of God's favor: every morning

II. The Lord is worthy to be praised (3:23b).

    A. God is always faithful.

    B. God is more than faithful.

III. The Lord is all you need (3:24).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Notes from Sunday - 2/22/09

Today was a long, blessed day. I thank God for the opportunity to be in worship with God's people today and the privilege of ministering to the wonderful saints of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.

In my New Members Class, we continued discussing "The Bible - The Word of God." This week, I spent most of our time fielding questions. I enjoy discussing the meaning of the scriptures with others. And I am having big fun teaching our new members. I only wish our weekly sessions were longer.

Several children were dedicated to the Lord in our 10 AM service. May the grow as Jesus grew - in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).

The choir was great today, as usual. The music was very uplifting and set my heart on the Lord today.

Our youth choir participated in leading the 10 AM service. They went "old school" on us, singing "Say the Word." It was wonderful. I am always encouraged by the service of our young people.

I preached on Lamentations 3:21-24 - "The Reason for My Hope."

I had been meditating on this text for several weeks. But I found it quite difficult to organize my thoughts for preaching. I skipped it last week. But the Lord would not let me escape it this week, even though I still felt that I was not ready to preach it. But I felt compelled to press on. And the Lord helped me through it.

There is a passage of scripture I intended to quote during the sermon today. But I failed to do it in either service. However, I have been thinking about this passage all evening. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24: "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it." (ESV)

Praise God for the those who were saved and added to the church today.

I am grateful to God for all of the members of SMBC come to worship each week, not just to be ministered to, but also to minister to the saints. Hebrews 6:10.

I think I am going through football withdrawals on Sunday afternoons. How long do we have until pre-season begins?

Heath Ledger won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor tonight for his unforgettable role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Way cool.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesdays in the Word Continues - Dr. Gary Williams

Tonight, we will continue our Wednesdays in the Word Revival at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville.

Dr Reginald Terry and Dr. William Curtis blessed our hearts in a great way the past two weeks.

And we are honored to have Dr. Gray Williams, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Mandarin here in Jacksonville, as our guest speaker tonight.

The service begins at 7 PM (EST). If possible, drop and join us for worship. If not, catch us online through the or Streaming Faith.

Pray for us.

God bless.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesdays in the Word Continues Tonight with Dr. William Curtis

By God's kind providence and gracious favor, our Wednesdays in the Word revival got off to a really good start last week. The Lord used Dr. Reginald Terry in a great way to minister to our congregation. His message was encouraging and faith-building - just what our congregation needed.

Tonight, this special series of services will continue at 7 PM. Our guest speaker tonight will be Dr. William Curtis of the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Curtis, who is also the president of the historic Hampton's Minister's Conference, is a gifted and faithful preacher.

My own faithful walk and ministry work have been greatly blessed through this man of God's ministry. And I am honored and grateful that he will be with us tonight to minister to the SMBC family.

If your are in the Jacksonville area, and your own congregation does not have services scheduled tonight, we invite you to join us for worship tonight. If you are able to attend, you can catch the service online through the Shiloh Church website or through Streaming Faith.

Pray for us.

P.S. - Thanks for all the kind birthday wishes!

God bless.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breaking Free from the Chokehold of Anxiety

Sunday, I took a shot at our temptation to worry. I preached from one of my favorite sections of scripture - the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). My pastoral burden was to challenge and encourage my congregation to trust God and stop worrying.

Here is the sermon skeleton:

Title: ""What Are You Worrying About?"

Text: Matthew 6:25-34

Theme: Overcoming Worry through Faith in God

Point: In order to be a full-devoted follower of Jesus Christ, you must overcome the sinful tendency to worry about the needs in your life.


I. Do not worry about the needs in your life (6:25-30).

    A. Do not worry about what you will eat (vv. 26)

    B. Do not worry about how long you are going to live (v. 27)

    C. Do not worry about what you are going to wear (vv. 28-30)

II. Learn to worry about the things that matter the most (6:31-33).

    A. People who do not know God seek after things (v. 32).

    B. People who know God seek God (v. 33).

III. Wait to worry about tomorrow (6:34).

Monday, February 09, 2009

Notes from Sunday - 2/8/09

Sunday was a really good day of worship and fellowship.

As late as Saturday night, I was not sure if I would be able to preach Sunday morning. I had been suffering with a cold for most of last week. And it seemed to get worse Saturday. I hardly got any sleep. But when it was time for me to get up, I felt that there the Lord was not going to let me off the hook. So I got up and started my Sunday morning preparations. I had a sore throat, a stuffed up nose, congestion... the works. But, amazingly, when I stood up to preach, the Lord gave me strength to carry out my assignment. God is faithful.

Another Sunday, another wonderful session in the New Members Class. I am really enjoying teaching this class.

I preached from the Sermon on the Mount - "What Are You Worried About?" (Matthew 6:25-34).

For the record, this is the second straight week I have took a detour away from the scheduled series of messages that I had planned to preach. But these past two weeks, I have such a heavy burden to preach messages that will encourage the members of SMBC during these difficult times.

The songs of praise our choir sang ministered to me in a great way. It's a joy to partner with them in ministry and to be able to preach after they have ministered in song.

Our children's choir sung during our 10 AM service. What a blessing!

We briefly paid tribute to our Minister of Music, Dr. Roger Sears. This weekend was his birthday and the 25th anniversary of the beginning of his tenure at Shiloh Church. Over the weekend, I was saddened by some of my favorite gospel artists who really seem to be going off the deep end. So it was very encouraging to me to take a moment the highlight the ministry of Christian musician who goes about his work with sincerity, humility, and diligence. Roger Sears and our entire music team are great blessings to our congregation.

Thank God for those who were added to the church this week.

My mom made it to town Saturday night. She is here so that we can spend our birthdays together. I was glad to have her in church with us Sunday. But I was not nearly as glad as she was. She roamed around Shiloh, chatting up folk like she is a fifty-year member of Shiloh. I am glad she feels how loving the congregation is.

We had guests with in worship from the pastor's conference being hosted this week by Dr. Mac Brunson and the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. I was glad to meet several young men who had heard me preach in Tyler, Texas, some years ago. Very encouraging.

After service, there was a reception for Roger Sears. My family and I stayed around for that and enjoyed the fellowship.

By the time I got home, my cold symptoms overtook me again. I quickly got back in the bed. I only moved to pick up medicine and buy myself some comfort food. Let the church say, "Five Guys Burgers!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

SMBC Wednesdays in the Word 2009 Begins

Tonight, we will begin our Wednesdays in the Word (revival) at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. Each Wednesday in the month of February, we will have a guest speaker who will minister the word to us. And we are trusting God to do great things in us, through us, and among us.

Our guest speaker for tonight is the Dr. Reginald D. Terry, who pastors the Antioch Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska,

If possible, join us for this special time of worship. If not, the service will be streamed on the internet. You can find us through the Shiloh Church website or through Streaming Faith.

And please remember this meeting in your prayers. God bless.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Where Does Your Help Come From?

This past Sunday, I preached from one of the great psalms of the Bible - and on of my favorite psalms - Psalm 121. My goal was to challenge the congregation to look to the Lord for help and to encourage them to know that the Lord is looking out for them.

Here is the Sermon Skeleton

Title: "Where Does You Help Come From?"

Text: Psalm 121

Theme: Sovereign help for the journey of life

Point: The Lord is the only who who is able to help you make it through the journey of life.


I. Look to the Lord for help (121:1-2).

    A. The truth you should accept: You need help (v. 1)

    B. the testimony you should adopt: "My help comes from the Lord" (v. 2)

       1. There is sufficient help in the Lord (v. 2a)

       2. There is sovereign help in the Lord (v. 2b)

II. The Lord is looking out for you (121:3-8)

    A. The Lord will keep your feet stable (vv. 3-4)

       1. The Lord watches over you as you travel (v. 3)

       2. The Lord watches over you when you are tired (v. 4)

    B. The Lord will keep your hands strong (vv. 5-6)

       1. The Lord will give you strength at the right place (v. 5)

       2. The Lord will give you strength at the right time (v. 6)

    C. The Lord will keep your life secure (vv. 7-8)

       1. The Lord provides perfect security (v. 7)

       2. The Lord provides perpetual security (v. 8)

          * The Lord will keep you day by day (v 8a)

          * The Lord will keep you for all eternity (v. 8b)