Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baptist History

Adoniram & Ann Judson set off for India shortly after their wedding day. What a honeymoon! Once they arrived in India they were going to meet missionaries already working there, specifically William Carey. They knew he was a baptist missionary and expected to be challenged on their baptism views. Both Adoniram & Ann were Congregationalists and did not practice believer's baptism. Those in the baptist church believed baptism was an act only for people who had repented from sin and trusted Jesus for salvation. Only then was a person baptized (immersed) in water.
On their long sea voyage, Adoniram first began to investigate Scripture to determine the appropriate practice and meaning of baptism. Although Ann tried to dissuade him from this investigation, she soon looked to Scripture herself. Before they reached India they had been convinced from their own studies of the biblical practice of believer's baptism. When they were settled in India, they shared their new found conviction with their new friends and fellow missionaries. However, the Judson's also wrote home to their Congregationalists supporters who returned a disheartening letter to inform them they could not in good conscious continue supporting them. Despite the unsettling news, God provided support through new relations found in the Gospel through new Baptist missionary groups formed in the United States.
I pray that GracePointe Baptist Church will be a people who search God's Word and apply it to their lives despite the implications it may have for our social or financial standing. May God be glorified through our lives.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keep on . . .

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

There's nothing like making it to the weekend after a long, hard week. When the alarm goes off in the morning earlier than you'd like to hear it, you automatically look forward to days just ahead of you where no alarms are needed.
We remind ourselves constantly of what we have to look forward to. Paul emphasizes his teaching in Galatians 6:6-10 to walk by the Spirit. Most of us don't come from farming backgrounds. Here in this section Paul uses a farming metaphor to further draw out his instructions for us to live by the Spirit (5:16, 18, & 25). Here is our encouragement for the difficult seasons of our lives, keep going; don't give up. No matter how we're treated or what we're going through, Paul instructs us to continue doing good to others. In due season we will receive our reward; we will receive our prize. Our King is coming back. We need to remind our selves that we have something greater than a weekend awaiting us. Our King is coming for us! Church, be encouraged and continue serving!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

On the Path

Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
Proverbs 4:26-27

My parents came to celebrate my birthday when I lived in Cincinnati. They asked me how I wanted to celebrate. At that point in my early twenties there was no question how to celebrate my birthday - King's Island. My parents lovingly took me to King's Island for a day filled with ups, downs, and loopty-loops. Thankfully I brought plenty of aspirin for our day. Each ride was build with its own maze of twisting, turning lines to herd swarms of people to the final destination. After a few rides into the day, my parents looked at me and told me to look around at everyone in line. They wanted me to notice that they were without question the oldest ones in line. There wasn't any question about it, there weren't any parents fifty year old parents in line with their twenty-one year old sons.
Each ride brought it's own thrill and joy to my heart, but Mom and Dad had a different experience all together. We were in line for the same ride, but looking at the pictures from our day, you can see we're having two totally different experiences. As soon as each ride catapulted us to maximum speed, Mom screamed bloody murder. Despite my enjoyment of Mom's fear, my dad's agony got so fierce I thought he needed medical attention.
The line at each ride wound around and around taking us to our final destination. We knew where we were going, but it led each of us to a different destination. I enjoyed the end of my path, while Mom and Dad came to their end with dread and terror. The book of Proverbs presents us with the idea that we are all on a path. Many spiritual, philosophical, and religious ideas utilize this metaphor. The book of Proverbs, and the Bible overall, gives us a clear picture how to follow the right path and end in the right place. One is either on the path to wisdom or the path to foolishness. The worst scenario we could find ourselves in is to walk the course of our lives thinking we're headed for one destination and at the end of our path find we're in for something far and far worse than we expected. The difference between other religious or philosophical ideas is that wisdom is not abstract. Rather, wisdom is a person. If you want to find wisdom, then pursue Jesus Christ.
Take a moment to read Proverbs 2:1-20 to consider how you are pursuing Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 02, 2011


And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Mark 3:5

Is it possible to be angry and not sin? We are all too familiar with anger. We get angry throughout the day in different degrees from slight agitation to heated fury. Anger does have it's place in our lives. After all Paul says, "be angry and do not sin".

One of the most fascinating places of Scripture for me is Mark 3:5. Reading through the Gospels we are confronted over and over with Jesus' love for people. Despite his compassion for those in need there are still those who are skeptical of him and who hate him. Even when people question him over and over again, he doesn't throw in the towel. His compassion only grows with a loving resolve. Mark records that Jesus was angry with those that stood around him with an accusing eye rather than a believing heart. His anger wasn't seething from a disgust for them. His anger was balanced by their lack of unbelief. Jesus was saddened for them.

Anger is going to flare up in our lives. The litmus test for us is to determine if we're angry because we've been offended or because we're acting out of compassion for others. I encourage you to meditate on Mark 3:1-6 today. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus wasn't deterred whatsoever in loving others in the face of conflict.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Watch Out!

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
Proverbs 29:23

It's tough to consider humility in our culture. Whether it's restaurant choices, self-help books, 500 channels on satellite, or lawyers ready to fight against our injustice, we are surrounded by influences that tell us we are the center of the universe. When we turn to Scripture we're faced with another perspective on life: we're not the center of the universe. Even more specifically, we put others before us. Naturally we put our selves first. We desire to preserve our own interests and our safety. However, we don't live in a closed box. Our Lord has always been lovingly guiding us to the overflowing joy in Him rather than our shortsighted ability to look out for our own interests. Pride creeps in to our lives and relationships to prevent our satisfaction in Christ and peace with others.

Pride argues for self-justification.
Arguments inflame our emotions and drive us away from healthy relationships toward bitterness. You know you don't have a reconciled relationship when you still argue to yourself that you didn't do anything wrong. Statements that rally around your cause like, "It's not my fault." Pride is concerned about maintaining your sense of justice rather than seeking peace with others.

Pride apologizes with excuses.
Even in apologies, it's easy to offer an excuse to make the apology a little easier to say. It seems like we're working for reconciliation when in reality we're telling the other person why it's their fault. A prideful heart doesn't care for true reconciliation only a sense of blame.
A humble heart works for peace even at the expense of taking the blame. Jesus took the blame for us with no offer of self-justification or excuses. Meditate on the humble heart of our Lord and Savior this morning to focus your heart towards humility.