At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They?

What is going on in the larger Baptist world? We have talked much about Southern Baptists, but what about American Baptists? What about Independent Baptists? Let’s talk about some news involving the larger Baptist world.

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They? At Calvary!

What is going on in the larger Baptist world? We have talked much about Southern Baptists, but what about American Baptists? What about Independent Baptists? Let’s talk about some news involving the larger Baptist world. Looking for more? You can … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They?
  2. At Calvary – Episode 46 – Small Government? Big Government?
  3. At Calvary – Episode 45 – Questions Asked of Google
  4. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  5. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out

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Is It Time to Jump?

I think of myself, even to this day, frozen on that diving board. I was taking swimming lessons, and it was my turn to jump. I had seen others jump. I had heard how to jump. I had even practiced on the side of the pool. Yet, there was something about going from theory to practice that I struggled with. Instead of trying to jump into the water, I just froze on the board. In the end, I jumped off the board more like a tear drop. I was frozen in that position, and that is how I landed.

There comes a time when we need to move from thinking about something to doing something. A time to move from considering action to acting. A time to face fears, try something new, and step out. When it comes to following God, there is always that moment of truth. It is the moment that we embrace God’s call.

11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12  The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Romans 13:11-12

As we think about reaching out to others with the gospel, it is time to do more that just think. It is time to do. How will we do it? We will start by asking who… With whom will I begin to share the message of Jesus? Start by praying. Pray, asking God to open your eyes to a person in your life that would be open to hearing about Jesus.

Next, plant seeds. Don’t see yourself as an evangelist or someone who has to deliver a whole message. See yourself as a seed planter. Plant a seed a day or a seed a week. Scripture teaches many lessons through many examples. All of those lessons are seeds. They teach us. Those seeds use time and patience to change our lives. God can use us to do the same thing.

Third, we can challenge others to do something with the truth they hear from us. We don’t have to be obnoxious, but we can ask them to wrestle with the truth of Jesus.

The process above is not complicated, nor does it take great training. However, it is a lot like jumping off a diving board. Talking about it is not the same as doing it. Will we do it? Will you move from thinking to doing?

Whatever the issue is for which God is asking you to make a leap, isn’t it time? What Paul said in Romans 13 certainly applies. It is time to wake up. The day is here. Are we awake? Are we acting on what we know God wants us to do? Let’s do it! All we have to do is jump.

Something to act on,

Pastor John

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Which Came First, Discipleship or Evangelism?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Have you heard that question before? Usually, we hear that as a funny saying that seeks to illustrate that sometimes it is difficult to figure out what the true cause is of a particular problem or event. Today, I want us to think about which came first – evangelism or investing in the life of another.

Last week we thought about Jesus helping us see our lives in a new light. This week, let us look to Him to see reaching others for Him in a new light. When we think about evangelism, do we focus on a product (getting someone saved) or do we focus on a process (introducing someone to Jesus).

Think for a moment how you generally assume people get into the family of God.

Is this the way you think of people getting into the family of God:

  • Start lost, get evangelized (by a professional), get saved, follow in discipleship
    • Need: an event or an evangelist
    • Problem: We assume that this is THE way

Now, there is nothing wrong with the above process. However, the problem is that we ASSUME it is the only way people come to Jesus! This locks us in, doesn’t it? It makes it very difficult (even impossible) for us to see a way that people could get saved without a special person (a minister, evangelist) in their lives. How is that special person supposed to get into the lost person’s life?!

Perhaps looking at how Jesus led the disciples to Himself might help us troubleshoot this challenge. Jesus didn’t save the disciples and then disciple them. Jesus invited the disciples to join Him in life. Then, He taught and lived with them. We might not call that technically discipleship because we don’t know exactly when the disciples became believers – for example, Judas NEVER became one! However, what Jesus did with the disciples sure looked like discipleship, didn’t it? For Jesus, the process was:

  • Start lost, receive teaching and life with Jesus, get challenged, get saved, and continue in discipleship
    • Need: time, love, and an intentional investment of God’s truth both declared and lived out
    • Problem: obedience

Now that is a new way to look at evangelism – living intentionally with lost people! Jesus shared with and expected a response from people who had yet to declare a clear commitment to Him. He still shared with (taught/discipled) and still challenged (sent them on assignments) those who had yet to give their lives to Him. Did it require Him to have a degree? Did it require Jesus to be gifted in public speaking? Sure, Jesus did have a degree of sorts (He knows everything) AND He was gifted in public speaking (He is all powerful, after all). However, neither of things were required for Jesus to live with and share with the ones He called His disciples. What it did require was His time and His love and a consistent message. Isn’t that something we all could give?

19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus told His followers that they were equipped to disciple others. He didn’t just pull aside the remaining disciples and give them some secret instructions about discipling the world. No, He told the eleven that they were equipped to lead others to Him, and then they told us that we were equipped also. The promises Jesus made were not just to the ones we call apostles. The call to disciple others was not just to them either. The call is to all of us.

So when we think about reaching the lost, do we just have ‘professional’ evangelism in mind? Are we really only thinking about tracts, presentations, concerts, and preachers? Is it time to step back and look again? Is it time for us to invest anew in the life of another? Maybe we will see that instead of wanting some ‘professional’ to reach our friends and family, who Jesus wants to use is us! How will you and I be used in the life of another?

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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At Calvary – Episode 46 – Small Government? Big Government?

We were going to talk about history a bit. But instead, I want to share some thoughts about our preoccupation with what goes on in the halls of government. I want to think about how big the government has become to us.

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They? At Calvary!

What is going on in the larger Baptist world? We have talked much about Southern Baptists, but what about American Baptists? What about Independent Baptists? Let’s talk about some news involving the larger Baptist world. Looking for more? You can … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They?
  2. At Calvary – Episode 46 – Small Government? Big Government?
  3. At Calvary – Episode 45 – Questions Asked of Google
  4. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  5. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out

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Troubleshooting with God

When I was a kid, I did a lot of troubleshooting. No, I didn’t call it that back then, but I did it. When I was faced with a problem like a ball stuck on a roof, I would think through possible solutions until one presented itself. Sometimes, I would do foolish things to solve the problem. Usually, those foolish things included throwing other things on the roof to get the ball down. I would through other balls, bats, gloves, and bases hoping that something would tap the ball. However, this usually meant that I still had something on the roof that I had to get down!

Most of the time, the answer for such problems didn’t come to me when I was frustrated and filled with thoughts of the problem. The answer came when I stepped back and took a new look with fresh eyes.

God invites us to look at our lives with fresh eyes. He says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) In Christ, there is hope. In Christ, we discover that God is doing new things in our lives. He invites us to see those new things that He is doing.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19

What about your life? Can you see the new thing God is doing in your life through Jesus? Troubleshooting involves finding new ways to see old problems. It requires fresh eyes. Sometimes, we just can’t see what needs to be done because we are too close to the situation. We need Christ’s view. Does this describe you? Is it time to look at the struggles of your life with some fresh eyes? That is one of the things that Jesus does. He takes us a step away from our struggles so that we can see them clearly. He takes us a step away from our struggles so that we can see hope – so we can see His answers.

Do you need to step back today? Let Jesus show you from a different point of view those struggles that have you discouraged. Let Him, through His Word, speak a fresh perspective regarding your life. There is hope. We find it as we see through His eyes.

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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At Calvary – Episode 45 – Questions Asked of Google

Folks just keep asking Google questions about God. This time we are going to look at those second-tier questions. These are questions that are asked by 1/2 to 1 million people! (That’s the 2nd tier of questions!)

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They? At Calvary!

What is going on in the larger Baptist world? We have talked much about Southern Baptists, but what about American Baptists? What about Independent Baptists? Let’s talk about some news involving the larger Baptist world. Looking for more? You can … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They?
  2. At Calvary – Episode 46 – Small Government? Big Government?
  3. At Calvary – Episode 45 – Questions Asked of Google
  4. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  5. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out

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In Good – Be Excellent

I find getting lost to be easy for me. I am very good at it. It isn’t being lost that I have trouble with. I have trouble with finding my way. If someone wants directions, I will use Google or have them talk with my wife. I will have to find them directions from another source. To help people find their way, they don’t need my great ability to be lost. They need someone who knows the way!

I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.

Romans 16:19

Paul declares in Romans 16 that he wants the Romans to be wise in what is good and innocent of evil. He declares that they will not be better ministers by being more lost. Paul challenges them to be the best ministers they can be by being wise in what is good AND innocent in what is evil. In other words, help the lost by being able to show them how to be found.

If we desire to be useful to God and reach those we love, we must be able to share with them life, not death. We must share with them how to find hope, not how to lose it. We do that by knowing well what it means to do and be truly good. We also do that by becoming more and more personally innocent of evil. God is not saying that if we have made mistakes in the past then we should try to act as if we never made them. God wants us, instead, to simply pay attention to what God has taught us on our personal road to redemption. Those lessons teach us (along with God’s Word) what it means to be wise in what is good. Then, as we fill our mind with the things of the Spirit rather than the flesh we become more and more innocent of evil. This combination is what God uses to bless us and the others in our lives.

May you be excellent in what is good. Be innocent of evil.

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast

Let’s take a look at recent developments in the Southern Baptist world. I had hoped that we might talk about the larger Baptist witness this time, but there is just so much going on! So, join us next time to talk about Southern Baptist news of all types.

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They? At Calvary!

What is going on in the larger Baptist world? We have talked much about Southern Baptists, but what about American Baptists? What about Independent Baptists? Let’s talk about some news involving the larger Baptist world. Looking for more? You can … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They?
  2. At Calvary – Episode 46 – Small Government? Big Government?
  3. At Calvary – Episode 45 – Questions Asked of Google
  4. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  5. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out

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The Mystery of the Resurrection

As we think this week about the resurrection of Jesus, consider that the resurrection is God’s declaration of approval of the cross. It is the declaration that the cross is not a failure. It is not a loss. It is victory.

Empty tomb with three crosses on a hill side.

First, it is a victory of mystery. What is that mystery? It is the mystery of Jesus. What makes Him special? Why do people need Him? Why would He come to save us? All of those questions swirl around the cross. These questions and more faced the apostles after the death of Jesus. The resurrection answers those questions – Jesus is the One that God has approved to save! Jesus is the One who has found victory over death! Jesus is the One worth listening to.

“He has fixed a day in which He will judge  the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Second, it is a victory over death. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that Christ’s victory in the resurrection is the proof that our victory over death is also assured. Death is the great enemy of our life. We hate it. We fear it. In the resurrection of Jesus, death is defeated!

What a Savior! What a mystery! But, to be honest, the most profound mystery is the mystery of love. It is the mystery that keeps God reaching out to us. Love redeems. Love saves. This love reveals another profound mystery – why would anyone would wait to say yes to the love of Jesus?!

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out

We have been studying the book of James on Sunday mornings. We have been learning about being ready to receive the blessing of God and living out our faith. James has specific suggestions on how we can do that.

Looking for more? You can always find all of the episodes right here…

At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They? At Calvary!

What is going on in the larger Baptist world? We have talked much about Southern Baptists, but what about American Baptists? What about Independent Baptists? Let’s talk about some news involving the larger Baptist world. Looking for more? You can … Continue reading →
  1. At Calvary – Episode 47 – The Larger Baptist Family. Who are They?
  2. At Calvary – Episode 46 – Small Government? Big Government?
  3. At Calvary – Episode 45 – Questions Asked of Google
  4. At Calvary – Episode 44 – The Baptist News Podcast
  5. At Calvary – Episode 43 – James – Faith is Lived Out

Posted in podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment