Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Obey & WHAT?

Over the past few weeks we've been looking at Baptist distinctives. We've looked at the role of biblical authority, the importance of believer's baptism, and our cooperation with other Southern Baptist Churches for the purpose of missions. We are Southern Baptist because we participate with other churches financially to send missionaries around the world to share the name of Jesus with those who have never heard it. This Sunday we looked at our church polity. We are Southern Baptist, but there is no authoritarian Southern Baptist hierarchy that tells GracePointe what to do. We have a plurality of pastors (elders) that lead the church in sharing Jesus and building up believers to maturity in Christ.

If our church is going to function like a healthy church should, we have to heed the call of Hebrews 13:17, Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17 ESV

The church is here to make disciples. Jesus reassured us that He has authority over all things in heaven and on earth. Through His command and encouragement to us, we get to tell others what they were created to be - disciples of Jesus. However, when we hear obey and submit to our leaders, for most of us, caution flags spring up. Remember the entire point the church exists – to do what Jesus has set us here to do. In our church culture it’s easy to become distracted into thinking the church is here to meet your needs, sing the songs you like, or listen to a soothing word from the preacher. You are here to share the Gospel and meet others needs. It’s not about you being served it’s about you serving. It's easy to miss our purpose and assume the church is designed to meet our needs. If you believe in Jesus, you are called to serve others and meet their needs. Be a servant rather than one demanding to have your needs met. When we hear the Gospel, we hear the call to serve with our brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It’s no question what GracePointe Church is. We’re Baptist. No one walks into our building wondering if we’re Presbyterian, Catholic, or Unitarian. Our name clearly states what we are. The reason we’re Baptist is because we follow to the best of our ability what Scripture lays out for us to do and practice. In our worship services the past few weeks, I’ve preached from Scripture certain distinctives that make up our Baptist identity: Scripture as our authority, sharing the Gospel individually and cooperating with other like minded churches financially to send missionaries, and baptism. There has been much disagreement over the past 1800 years what baptism does, how it’s done, and what it means. Many people have a hard time giving a clear biblical definition of baptism, but through the Scriptures we can understand the right teaching and practice of baptism.

Baptism is more than getting wet. Although that is important. Baptism is more than a ritual that we invite all our family members and friends to watch us go under the water. Although showing our baptism to the church is important. It’s more than an experience that gives us meaning. Although that is important. Baptism follows belief in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It’s not an addition or requirement to salvation but a picture of the new reality of union with Christ our Savior. Baptism shows your death with Jesus and your new life in Him. Baptism is a one time event that represents our entire Christian life. Everyday we die to sin and believe the Gospel because we know and experience the grace of God in our lives. We’re forgiven! We have mercy! We are saved from the judgment of God’s wrath because of Jesus death and resurrection. Take some today to meditate on the mercies of God in your life.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Let's Go!

Lottie Moon was a missionary to the Chinese people for over forty years. This woman was one of the pioneer missionaries for Southern Baptists. Through her efforts of reaching the lost Miss Moon spurred Southern Baptists onto making missions a continual priority for the cooperation of churches. However, during her lifetime she was grieved with the lack of missionaries. She knows the great calling of God to His church and wrote to encourage Baptists to fulfill this calling:

I have seen the husbandman go forth in the autumn to plow the fields; later, I have seen him scatter the seed broadcast; anon, the tiny green shoots came up scarcely visible at first; then the snows of winter fell concealing them for weeks; spring brought its fructifying rains, its genial sunshine, & lo! in June the golden harvest. WE are now, a very, very few feeble workers, scattering the grain broadcast according as time & strength permit. God will give the harvest; doubt it not. But the laborers are so few. Where we have four, we should have not less than one hundred. Are these wild words? They would not seem so were the church of God awake to her high privileges & her weighty responsibilities.

Despite the lack of workers in the field, she worshiped God for His faithfulness:

In no country have I seen Christian women of sweeter or lovelier spirit, nowhere have I seen men more heartily consecrated to God's service. Their one chief, absorbing thought seems to be the glory of God, and the salvation of souls.

May we be motivated for by God's glory to see people led out of darkness into light. There are people around us and around the world that need a Savior. May God use GracePointe Baptist Church to shine His light for the lost to see.

(quotes from The Baptists, Vol. Two, Tom Nettles, 2005)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Baptist for Missions not for Religion

Due to God's grace and millions of humble men and women over the past 167 years, God has used the Southern Baptist denomination to propel the Gospel into places where Jesus has never been mentioned. Through the work of missionaries who are sent through the International Mission Board with Southern Baptist gifts, churches are planted and leaders are trained to continue to share the Gospel in unreached areas.

GracePointe Baptist Church is a member of the Southern Baptist denomination for the sake of missions, not for the sake of religion. We are called by God to share the Gospel in our community, in our community, and around the world. I pray that we will be a church on the go taking the Gospel with us to our neighbors and to those across the ocean. This morning take some time to meditate on Matt. 28:18-20. Ask yourself how you are fulfilling the Jesus commission to you. Pray that GracePointe Baptist Church will be filled with people consumed with a desire to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.