Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Seeing the Gospel

Sunday Karen and I travelled to Louisville for a highly anticipated worship service. I had formerly served as youth pastor at Shively Heights Baptist Church. In June I ran into Mark Payton, the pastor, and he told me about the exciting way God was working. I was excited to hear that Shively Heights Baptist Church and St. Paul's Missionary Baptist Church were merging together. On Sunday, St. Paul's Missionary Baptist Church and Shively Heights Baptist Church celebrated their first gathering in worship as one body. The church merger glorifies God as people unite around His message and His name.

What makes this church merger so noticeable is the make up of the individual churches. Shively Heights Baptist Church was a church of older, white people while St. Paul's was a church of black people. The new assembly of people is now led by Rev. Lincoln Bingham and Rev. Mark Payton. These two men have been friends for over 25 years. Together they have always worked towards racial reconciliation. This merger is a crowning mark of their lives sharing the Gospel and seeing people united in Christ's love.

The two pastors are united in their common mission to share Jesus Christ with people in the community and around the world. "We hope we can get to the point where we no longer say, black church, white church but the church. We’re just fulfilling the prayer of Jesus that we would be one and he and the father are one. He wasn't just talking to his 12 disciples. He was talking to the future church and future different nationalities and races of people, wanting us to be one," said Mark Payton.

"I don't like the term colorblind. I think this diversity of color, variety of color, racial ethnicity is the way God designed it. Respect color but see us as equals," said Pastor Bingham. In the inaugural message of the St. Paul's at Shively Heights, Bingham let people know there would be hurdles to overcome and that things will be done differently. He noted the things that God has blessed the church with in facilities, gifted musicians and talented singers, but the church has to be a church that lifts up Jesus as God and Savior. He encouraged unity around the Gospel message throughout his sermon.

Fifty-five years ago a black family moved into a house in Shively. Shots were fired in the house and a bomb was set off under the home. Racism is still a real thing in the hearts of men and women. Today, however, it is much more subtle and cunning. I thank God for His grace and mercy to reconcile people to Himself. His grace goes out to all people, and we take His message of love to ALL people. Not only do we take the message, but we live in love and unity WITH people. St. Paul's Baptist Church at Shively Heights is a testimony of God's love in a community that has been marked by hatred. When the Gospel is heard this is a picture of what the Gospel looks like.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Name of God

I read on Justin Taylor's blog that Sovereign Grace is releaseing their third album of the summer entitled "Sons & Daughters". Sovereign Grace's album focuses entirely on the grace of adoption. J. I. Packer writes in Knowing God on just how integral understanding adoption is for Christians.

If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. "Father" is the Christian name for God. … Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption. (pp. 201—202)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Giving for the Gospel

My cousin Michael York posted a blog last week about the International Mission Board and our role in giving so that the Gospel can go to people that need Jesus Christ. The Gospel shapes our entire life either we are impacted and changed by it totally or there is simply a cognitive recognition of what the Gospel is. It's easy to have a "relationship with Jesus" when the most pressing worries about our future have to do with the size of our retirement fund. With eternity in view, our treasure will never run dry. Give for the Gospel.

Proverbs 16:18

Inerrancy. Necessary for a believer?