Matthew R. Perry

Archive for December, 2005|Monthly archive page

Ten Years Ago This New Year’s Eve

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2005 at 11:07 am

Few memories stick out more than ten years ago this New Year’s Eve. By God’s divine providence, I found myself on a missions trip to the country of Trinidad and Tobago. I went with the Seminary Vocal Ensemble of Southern Seminary to do some music education workshops with the Trinidadian peoples.

As part of the New Year’s Eve festivities, the churches conduct an “Old Year’s Night” Service. Turns out, it was like one of our New Year’s Eve services, but it began at 10:00 p.m. and ended around 3:00 a.m. There was praising, singing, preaching, some more praising and singing, some more preaching … it was a festival to end all festivals. What better way to enter into the New Year!

I’ll be returning to Trinidad in about a week and a half to conduct a leadership workshop among the Trinidadian pastors. I would appreciate your prayers.

Happy New Year.

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Ten Years Ago This New Year’s Eve

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2005 at 11:07 am

Few memories stick out more than ten years ago this New Year’s Eve. By God’s divine providence, I found myself on a missions trip to the country of Trinidad and Tobago. I went with the Seminary Vocal Ensemble of Southern Seminary to do some music education workshops with the Trinidadian peoples.

As part of the New Year’s Eve festivities, the churches conduct an “Old Year’s Night” Service. Turns out, it was like one of our New Year’s Eve services, but it began at 10:00 p.m. and ended around 3:00 a.m. There was praising, singing, preaching, some more praising and singing, some more preaching … it was a festival to end all festivals. What better way to enter into the New Year!

I’ll be returning to Trinidad in about a week and a half to conduct a leadership workshop among the Trinidadian pastors. I would appreciate your prayers.

Happy New Year.

“New Year’s commitments for church growth” by Chuck Lawless

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2005 at 12:01 am

So basic, yet so needed! Whatever happened to these as church growth principles? Solomon was right: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

http://www.churchcentral.com/nw/s/id/23981/template/Article.html.

“New Year’s commitments for church growth” by Chuck Lawless

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2005 at 12:01 am

So basic, yet so needed! Whatever happened to these as church growth principles? Solomon was right: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

http://www.churchcentral.com/nw/s/id/23981/template/Article.html.

Such a simple thing

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2005 at 9:58 am

As you may know, I have three month old twin boys who are unbelievable blessings to our household. And they have acquired a habit, though, that indeed brightens up the house even more.

They have learned to smile!

No, really. These are legitimate responses to whatever ridiculous mannerisms we send their way — and it amazes me how it helps our moods. For instance, I have battled the flu for the last two days and found myself in bed trying to sleep that foul filth off! When I finally emerged from my quarantine, I was needed to hold one of the twins. I noticed that he had seemed to grow in the past two days and had even changed some facial features. Now, when I told him this in that baby talk we parents tend to do, he did it! He smiled — grinning from ear to ear!!!

Now, let’s take the simple principle of a smile and put it to, say, church! When someone new comes to visit, do you greet them with a smile? When your pastor preaches a strong word, do you smile? When you sing a song that blesses your heart or even convicts you, do you smile at God’s working in your life?

Sadly, many of our churches have folks who sit in the pews with such dour looks on their faces, often times we have to check in front of the pulpit to see if there is a coffin!! When we lose the joy in worship and in hearing the Word and in singing His songs and fellowshipping with His people, I fear for our spiritual condition!

Acts 2:42-47
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. [43] And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. [44] And all who believed were together and had all things in common. [45] And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. [46] And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, [47] praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

There is an unspoken joy detailed in the early church of Acts 2. They couldn’t get enough of the Lord nor of helping each other! Their praise was such that it made a racket to all those in the surrounding area — so much so that the authorities tried to stop them! They did not grumble having to come week to week, for they met “day by day!” And God did mighty works among them and “awe came upon every soul.”

But the main issue was that they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). All the other things happened as a result of these things. They listened to the Word, they encouraged one another in fellowship, and they communed with God in prayer! When these things are in place, God moves!

Are they in place in amongst your people? Let us pray that this be the case in 2006!

Are You Afraid of Christmas? (Part I)

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2005 at 9:32 am

(Preached on Christmas morning 2005 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. You can listen to this sermon at http://www.boonescreekchurch.com/sermons — it will be up until Sunday, January 8.)

There seems to be an inordinate emotion that comes with the Christmas season. Joy? Hope? Peace? you may ask. Sadly, the emotion that wracks so many hearts and minds is the emotion of fear. And it’s on so many fronts. From Christmas shoppers shopping in fear of not getting that perfect present, not getting it shipped out on time, wondering if it’s the right size and shape, terrorized by traffic and crazy crowds.

And then there’s the news — and this is most concerning. With all the items in the news about our society wanting to cross out Christ from Christmas, you have to wonder about their rationale. You have advertisers wishing everyone a “Happy Holidays” rather than a Merry Christmas for fear of offending someone not of the Christian faith. You have teachers chastising students for drawing crosses and manger scenes and even disallowing candy canes for fear of offending someone not of the Christian faith — all the while, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a host of other religious practices are allowed. You have the ACLU on the warpath against those dreaded Christmas stars and wise men displays and manger scenes on public property — showing that everyone else has civil liberties in this country except for groups who have any sort of Christian faith.

The motive backing all of this is a fear of offending someone not of the Christian faith — even though 96% of all Americans celebrate Christmas. Some have gotten very proactive in trying to put Christmas back in the public realm. Paul Ponder has a plan for everyone in the stores who wish him a Happy Holidays. He asks, “Now, what holiday is it? Is it Valentine’s Day? St. Patrick’s Day? Which one?” He makes them say “It’s Christmas!” then encourages them to say so up-front.

Now, truth be told, I expect our secular society to be that way, but I want them to be honest. Too many are afraid of Christmas not because it may offend someone, but because they will have to come face-to-face with everything that Christmas means! They will have to look at the significance of that Baby born in that manger in backwoods Bethlehem 2,000 years ago and ask, “Why is this so important and so special? Does this event have anything to do with why there seems to be such a wonderful spirit in the air this time of year?

Indeed it does. Why? I submit to you it is not about bows and candles and wreaths and trees. This season is so special because of one person — God Almighty! Christmas reminds us of all that He is and all that He has done. It must not be missed. And since Christmas Day is here, let’s take a look at God, shall we?

(Tomorrow: Part II — God Over Us!)

It’s OVER!!!

In Uncategorized on December 26, 2005 at 10:52 am

Lynn Johnston, the creator of For Better or For Worse has captured the Blues that hit so many — the end of the Christmas season. I confess, as I shopped at Lifeway Christian Stores this morning in Lexington and saw all the Christmas merchandise be sold at 95% off (give or take a few percentiles), I felt a bit saddened as well. Mix 94.5 was a radio station here in Lexington that carried Christmas music 24 hours a day from the Friday after Thanksgiving until midnight on December 26th.

But if Christmas is about music and lights and bows and wreaths and candles and trees and presents, then YES — it’s over. But if Christmas is about the Incarnation of Christ — that is, God made flesh — and our rejoicing that the Savior of the world came to redeem sinners from their sins (Matthew 1:21-22), then Christmas is NOT over by any stretch!

Take down the trees and the wreaths and all the other decorations, but don’t take down the truth of Christ from your hearts. So even on December 26th, I wish you a “Merry Christmas!”

It’s OVER!!!

In Uncategorized on December 26, 2005 at 10:52 am

Lynn Johnston, the creator of For Better or For Worse has captured the Blues that hit so many — the end of the Christmas season. I confess, as I shopped at Lifeway Christian Stores this morning in Lexington and saw all the Christmas merchandise be sold at 95% off (give or take a few percentiles), I felt a bit saddened as well. Mix 94.5 was a radio station here in Lexington that carried Christmas music 24 hours a day from the Friday after Thanksgiving until midnight on December 26th.

But if Christmas is about music and lights and bows and wreaths and candles and trees and presents, then YES — it’s over. But if Christmas is about the Incarnation of Christ — that is, God made flesh — and our rejoicing that the Savior of the world came to redeem sinners from their sins (Matthew 1:21-22), then Christmas is NOT over by any stretch!

Take down the trees and the wreaths and all the other decorations, but don’t take down the truth of Christ from your hearts. So even on December 26th, I wish you a “Merry Christmas!”

Have a Christ-filled Christmas!

In Uncategorized on December 25, 2005 at 12:01 am

As a pastor, I have a special joy and excitement about today — not only is it Christmas, but it’s the Lord’s Day for our worship time. As I write this, I have no idea how many to expect at my church. We normally have around 150, but we could have 50, we could have 200! But no matter — we celebrate the Incarnation as a people of God. We sing, preach the Word, then partake of the Lord’s Supper to signify why Christ ultimately came — what a blessing it is to worship our Savior on the day commemorating His birth!

You see, I’m convinced that church is not primarily about the people, but about Christ — for the Church is His body, yes (Colossians 1:18)? Our primary concern is about Christ and His truth — for the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). That is why Boone’s Creek Baptist Church is open today — it is for Christ’s sake!

So on this day, have an exceedingly joyous Christmas and a blessed 2006!

P.S. Those of you who regularly read this blog (thank you, btw), what did you do over the Christmas holidays? Share your stories!

The Ultimate Conclusion of Political Correctness on Christmas

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2005 at 9:22 am

I wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday and happy new year – and in today’s “politically correct” way… so I thought I’d speak to a lawyer about the appropriate way to do this, so here goes…(if you are offended please see my attorney):

From me (“the wishor”) to you (“the wishee”), please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2004, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or choice of computer platform of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:

This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.

1) This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.

2) This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement the inferences contained in this correspondence.

3) This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain geographical locations.

4) This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably as may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

5) The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.

Happy Holidays and be safe
(Author Unknown)