Friday, November 22, 2013

How Far Are We Willing To Go?

And after this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, "Follow me." And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at the table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. - Luke 5:27-32 ESV

We find something absolutely amazing in Jesus' calling of Levi to be one of His disciples.  Jesus was willing to go where He was most needed.  Jesus saw the value of a soul, no matter what walk of life that soul came from.  This leads us to a very important question that we must ask ourselves.  How far are we willing to go to share Jesus with someone else?

Levi was a tax collector, and they were considered the scum of the earth by the Jewish people.  Those that were religious would have definitely looked down on them.  However, when Jesus saw Levi, He didn't see scum, but rather He saw a soul.  When you and I pass by those that our society looks down on, what do we see?  Do we see inconveniences?  Do we see problems?  We should see people that Jesus loves just as much as he loves us.  We should see that people in our culture are hurting and desperately wanting someone to love them unconditionally.

Unfortunately, too many in our churches today are not willing to go very far to share Jesus with those in their community.  We have our Christian friends, our Christian music, our Christian outings, and a host of other things that keep us isolated from the very people we are supposed to be sharing Jesus with.  How many friendships do you have with those that are non-believers?  How much time to do you spend around other Christians versus the amount of time that you spend with those that are non-believers?  I can't help but wonder how Jesus would be received, if at all, by many of our churches today because of the company that He kept.

I truly believe that our community, and our entire culture, is starving for the Body of Christ to rise up and show them the unconditional love of Jesus.  God as really dealt with my heart that I want to go as far as necessary to share the love of Jesus with others in our community.  What about you?  How far are you willing to go?

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. - 1 John 4:11 ESV

Friday, December 21, 2012

We're Not The Enemy

I want to address something that has been heavy on my heart the last couple of years, and has been even heavier over the last several weeks.  I am very disturbed by what see by many of my Independent Baptist brethren and other Fundamentalists concerning those that aren't Independent Baptist, or those that don't hold to the same convictions and preferences.  I am seeing Christians treating other Christians like they are an enemy rather than their brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are supposed to be in the same family; we are going to spend all of eternity together with each other and with Christ.  So, why then do we see Christians treating other Christians like they are the enemy?

I would like share my own personal experience concerning this very subject.  I was saved, baptized, married, called to preach, and called to the mission field in the same Independent Baptist church.  Until 2008, I had only known this one church.  I had several big name IFB pastors on my ordination council like Dr. Bobby Roberson and Dr. Melvin Aiken.  In 2010, God called me to be the Pastor of Fairystone Baptist Church, which is a Southern Baptist church.  It was interesting how much things with "the brethren" changed, even though my doctrine had NOT changed, simply because I was now the Pastor of a Southern Baptist church.

Over the last several weeks I have seen many Christians criticizing and blasting other Christians simply because they do not have the same preferences that many have elevated to the level of doctrine.  I have seen Christians having a self-righteous attitude like the Pharisee from Luke 18 instead of having the attitude of the Publican.  It grieves my heart to see Christians condemning other Christians just because they don't have the same preferences or convictions.  Even more, how it must grieve the heart of Christ and please Satan, that the Body of Christ is so divided.

I would love nothing more than to be able to fellowship with many of my IFB and other Fundamentalist brethren, but I have found that they don't want to fellowship with me.  I am not living in sin or out of fellowship with God; I just happen to have different preferences and convictions.  I am not your enemy; we are supposed to be on the same side in this battle.  As a Southern Baptist Pastor, I would like to say that it is very hurtful that many of our IFB brethren look at us and treat us like we are the enemy, even though doctrinally we are no different on the fundamentals of the faith.

I asked the question earlier, why do we see Christians treating other Christians like the enemy?  The only answer that I can come up with is that their heart is not right.  God help us and forgive us!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Making Some Changes

Changes!  Changes!  Changes!

I wanted to take some time and let everyone know about some of the changes that I am making concerning my blog.  I am really excited about these changes!

Vantage Point

The first change that you will notice is the name of the blog.  I have changed the name of this blog to Vantage Point.  The posts here will be devoted to seeing the world through the lens of Scripture and developing a Biblical worldview.  I will be dealing with the issues that Christians are facing in our culture and world today and sharing thoughts on them through the lens of God's Word to help us develop a Biblical worldview.

What Happened To The Pastor's Perspective?

I have created another blog for The Pastor's Perspective @ where I will still be posting a daily devotional as time allows.  Please go by and visit the new address for The Pastor's Perspective so you can still follow it!  I am also working on a website for The Pastor's Perspective @ where you will be able to follow both blogs as well as the radio program that is hosted on Blog Talk Radio.  The new blog is already up and running, but it will be another couple of weeks before the new website is completely finished.

Why The Change?

You might be asking why I am making these changes.  My new blog Vantage Point will be totally devoted to writing about current events and issues that Christians are facing in our culture and examining those events through the lens of God's Word.  The Pastor's Perspective Blog will be totally devoted to devotionals and thoughts that will encourage and help you grow in your walk with Christ.  I want to keep the blogs separate because I don't like to mix politics with preaching God's Word.

Please be sure to update your bookmarks with the updated addresses for both blogs.

The Pastor's Perspective Blog

Vantage Point Blog

The Pastor's Perspective Website

Note:  Both blogs will be available on the new website along with the radio program

Friday, July 20, 2012

Power Of Prayer

"...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." - James 5:16

I would like to take a little time this week to talk about the most important thing in the life of the Christian, but it is also the most neglected, and that is prayer.  Here is what E.M. Bounds had to say about prayer: "We can do nothing without prayer. All things can be done by importunate prayer. It surmounts or removes all obstacles, overcomes every resisting force and gains its ends in the face of invincible hindrances."

You might be asking yourself right now how I can be so sure that there is power, when those that have been born again, begin to pray.  I know that there is power in prayer because of what our family has experienced over the last several weeks.

Many of you know that our youngest son, Brayden, was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago due to the fact that he had been vomiting for over a week with no end in sight.  I will never forget how I felt on Wednesday July 4, 2012; I literally felt like I was watching my little boy slowly die.  I will also never forget that day for another reason, because that is when God's people began to pray for Brayden.  First, we sent out a message to the prayer chain at our church and asked them to pray for Brayden and for wisdom for the doctors that were treating him .  Then we began to post on Facebook about the situation and asked our brothers and sisters in Christ to please pray for Brayden.  It was so amazing how quickly the Lord began to put things together and answer the many prayers that were being made for Brayden.

The next day, on Thursday July 5, Brayden was transferred to a Roanoke hospital and their pediatric unit.  We could not begin to imagine how tremendously the Lord had blessed us with this move until we talked with one of Brayden's doctors on Saturday.  On Saturday morning as the doctor came by to talk with us the conversation turned to spiritual things.  We found out that this doctor was a Christian as we talked with him, but I must admit that I was not expecting what he said to us.  Once the doctor found out that we were Christians, he asked us to pray for him because his knowledge was limited.  He went on to tell us about how that he would pray over his patients and ask the Lord to show him what to do.  When I heard this, it literally brought tears to my eyes.  God in His sovereignty and divine providence had given us a doctor that was a Christian!

On Sunday July 8 they did a endoscopy and colonoscopy on Brayden so they could see what was going on with him on the inside.  Again, we sent out something on our prayer chain at church and began to ask our pastor friends to have their churches pray too.  We also put out a request for prayer to our brothers and sisters in Christ on Facebook.  We could not begin to imagine how many people were praying for our little boy and how far this prayer request had traveled.  After the procedure we finally had a diagnosis of what was happening and what was causing Brayden to be sick.  It wasn't what we were expecting or even what we wanted to hear, but it definitely wasn't the worst that we could have heard.  Even with hearing this bad news, God wasn't done working in the situation.  The next day as Brayden's doctor came by to talk with us more about the diagnosis, we were totally in awe at what happened next.  As the doctor finished talking with us, he went over and closed the door and had prayer with us all.

Through everything that has happened to Brayden over the last several weeks, the only thing that I can say about it all is that Jesus Christ has been so good to us and that our family stands in awe of our Savior!  My mind cannot even begin to comprehend how good God has been to us through everything.  The Lord has been so gracious and merciful to us through all of this and it has been an amazing blessing how He has shown His sovereignty and divine providence in this situation.  It is our prayer that Jesus Christ has been glorified through all of this and that He will continue to be glorified as our family moves forward.  Words cannot express how much we appreciate all of our brothers and sisters in Christ praying for our little boy.  We stand in awe at how the Body of Christ has responded to us over the past several weeks. It is our prayer that this situation can be used to show our family and friends that are lost without Christ their need for Him before it is eternally too late.  Again, thank you all so much for the prayers, first and foremost, and the cards, visits, calls, and gifts that were sent to Brayden!  We have been humbled by the tremendous show of prayer and support from the Body of Christ!!!

How do I know that there is power in prayer and that prayer really works?  I have experienced firsthand the results when Christ's people get on their knees and intercede to Him for another family in Christ!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Is Christ Central?

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." - Ephesians 1:7

‎"If the Lord Jesus Christ is not crucial, central, vital, and occupying the very center of our meditation and our living, thinking, and praying, we have no right to look for revival." - Martin Lloyd-Jones

Here is a question for us to ponder today: Is the Lord Jesus Christ really central in our lives?  It is amazing how many people you can talk to that profess to be Christians but yet you never hear them mention the name of Christ.

Is Christ crucial, vital, and central to your life?  Is Christ at the center of your meditation, living, praying, and worship?  I know that many times I fail to make Christ central in my life.  I might say that He is with my words, but I deny it with my actions.  Could it be that the reason we are not seeing revival in our churches and in our own personal lives is because Christ is not central?  When you and I make Christ central in our lives it will make a difference!

There is a great deal of so-called Christianity that is quite Christ-less.  We must remember that it is all about Jesus Christ, and Him alone!

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, may I remember and never forget the centrality of Christ in all things!  Forgive me for denying Your centrality in all things by my actions.  May You occupy my every thought, meditation, and prayer.  Help me to see that You are crucial, vital, and central to my life.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

God's Not Fair

"He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." - Psalm 103:10

Have you ever heard someone make the statement that God is not fair?  I have often heard people ask questions about why God has allowed something to happen in their lives or why God did not stop something from happening.  I have even heard people make the statement that they were not getting what they deserved, and they were not happy about it.  

"Those who would like the God of Scripture to be more purely ethical, do not know what they ask." - C.S. Lewis

I don't know about you, but I am so thankful that God is not fair!  I am also thankful that God does not give me what I deserve!  If God was fair and gave us what we deserved, we ALL would be Hell in this very moment because of our sin and rebellion against Him.  You and I deserved the judgment and wrath of God, but instead He gave us forgiveness, redemption, and sanctification when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation.  I am so thankful that God gave me what I DID NOT deserve, mercy and grace!

The reason why most people think that God is not fair is because they start with a false premise; they naturally assume that they are a good person.  Have you ever heard someone ask the question of why bad things happen to good people?  The truth is, according to God's Word, there are NO good people (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10,23).  A better way of stating it would be that good things happen to bad people.  When we look at it that way, it will change everything!  

We are so quick to ask why something bad happens, but we hardly ever stop and ask why God might bless us with something good.

"Fairness is an excellent principle when we're good, but an unfortunate principle when we're not so good.  And when it comes to God, we are pretty much always going to be on the no-so-good side of the fairness equation. But we can be glad that God is not fair; we don't get what we deserve.  Instead of punishment we get death-defying grace.  And we get God with us, especially in the midst of life's most difficult and painful experiences." - Craig Groeschel

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that You are not fair!  Thank You for not giving me what I deserved, but instead You gave me mercy and grace.  Father, help me to remember that You are good all the time!  In Jesus name, Amen!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shedding Of Blood

"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." - Hebrews 9:22

Since today is Memorial Day, I would like to share a quick thought about the shedding of blood.  First, I would like say thank you to all of our veterans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country!  It is only because they were willing to shed their blood that we can be free!

Today, as we reflect on the sacrifices made by so many people sown through the history of our country, let us not forget the One who made the supreme sacrifice for ALL of mankind!  Without the shedding of blood we would have no freedom in this country, but more importantly, without Jesus Christ shedding His blood on the Cross we would have no hope of eternal life.  It is only because of the blood that Christ shed on the Cross and His finished work of redemption that we even have the possibility of eternal life.  If Christ had not willingly sacrificed His life on the Cross for our sins, everything would be in vain and we would utterly be without hope.

However, I am so thankful today that Christ did go to the Cross and that He willingly shed His blood for my sins because of his love for me.  I am so thankful that He took the punishment that I deserved and gave me what I did not deserve; mercy and grace.  So today as you celebrate Memorial Day and reflect on the sacrifices that our veterans have made for this country, do not forget the sacrifice that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords made for you on the Cross.

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for our country and the men and women who have given their blood to protect us and keep us free.  More importantly, thank You for coming to this earth in the form of Jesus Christ and taking my sin upon You on that Cross.  You took the punishment that I deserved by taking my place.  Thank You Lord for making that sacrifice so that I might be saved and have eternal life all because of Your love for me!  In Jesus name, Amen!