We seek to spread God’s glory from our neighbors to the nations. What will this look like at Boone’s Creek? How will this help us in strengthening our people and sharing His gospel? Take a look!
Posts Tagged ‘church’
I had the privilege of chatting with Terry Willett today. Terry serves as an IMB missionary in Germany (and I’m still amazed that I can have a real-time conversation with someone in another continent, but that’s another topic for another post). Terry and I served together for about six months at First Baptist Church in Clewiston, Florida where he served as Minister of Education and Family Life and I served as Minister of Music and Youth.
During the course of our conversation, he asked me how long I had served at Boone’s Creek (5 years), followed by, “What kind of legacy would you like to leave?” A thought-provoking question indeed! So, in short order, here is the passion that God has given me for this church.
- That our members would love and study the Word of God and not simply love the Bible in theory but also in practice. Therefore, I must train my leaders by giving them tools to study the Word through observation, interpretation, and application. I must also model it through faithful expositional preaching which goes through the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:28) rather than simply giving life lesson principles to meet temporal needs.
- To provide a biblical model of personal and corporate discipleship as we seek to strengthen the people of God in their walk with Christ.
- To provide a paradigm to welcome everyone who walks into our church. Our members have stepped up with a valet service; Welcome Table complete with welcome cards, newsletters, etc.; and ushers to hand out bulletins and seat people who come in. Through some restructuring, I would like to see a time where we would have coffee and donuts for visitors who come so we can get to know them better.
- To continue establishing an Acts 1:8 paradigm through monthly local missions, yearly Samaria missions, and every 2-3 years an overseas missions trip. In this, there would be a continual witnessing training and opportunities given through our missions organizations and our soon-to-be established Team MVP (Missions, Vision, and Prayer).
- To offer special leadership training for our staff, deacons, Sunday School leaders, and other key areas of ministry at our church.
- To have Boone’s Creek be a place for young ministers to intern so they may exercise their gifts.
There will be more, I’m sure. But I’m thankful that God grants this vision. May He continue to mold and make me after His will — and may I be waiting, yielded and still.
I am in the midst of preaching a four-part series of “Getting Our Church in Shape.” The first sermon dealt with the Straight Line of Christianity in that we are to maintain continually our relationship with Christ at all times and at all costs.
This Sunday’s sermon was on the Triangle of Christianity. This sermon explores the reasons why we should join a local church. Here’s an excerpt from the first point dealing with “Growth and Maturity.”
God gives children to families so that we may be instruments of his to help them grow and mature. It’s amazing watching children grow and flourish how curious they get. Sometimes that curiosity is cute, other times that curiosity is quite dangerous. Being curious in watching the parents do something and then imitating them is cute. Being curious to see how a knife works or what happens if you jump from the fifth step of your stairs can be dangerous. Parents are there to help young children grow and mature to stay safe and to set an example.
We join a local church family so we may grow and mature in the faith. That commitment and investment in itself helps develop focus and disciple. We read in the New Testament how God used Paul, Barnabus, Silas, John Mark and others to plant churches all over Asia Minor. He intentionally planted churches in specific locations so people in those communities would have a place to get under the gospel.
Paul told the Colossian church in Colossians 1:28-29:
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
God has placed pastors and churches in specific locations to proclaim Christ. Paul says that I’m there to warn and to teach with all wisdom in order for Christians to grow and mature in Christ. This was where Paul’s struggle was — pouring himself out in local churches so that they would pursue Christ and cast off every other bondage and hindrance.
This is why Mark Dever, an expert on church matters, notes, “The preaching must be faithful to Scripture, personally challenging and central to the congregation’s life. You will only grow spiritually where Scripture is treated as the highest authority.”
In Ephes. 5:31-32, the Apostle Paul
“’Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
We must realize that marriage gives us a portrait of Christ and his bride, the Church. Paul calls it a “mystery,” but not the type that you try to keep a secret for as long as you can, but one that you reveal at just the right time.
Again, you see why God takes this seriously. So what do we see as far as this portrait that a marriage should look like? Well, as we go through these, I pray you will not only reflect on your own personal marriage, but also look to Christ who is the perfect Husband to his bride and rejoice and praise Him for who He is and all He has accomplished.
Going back to Ephesians 5:23, we see that Christ is the head of the church. He is the spiritual authority of his people and we as his bride submit to him. He is perfectly capable of leading his church. As Christ is the head of his house, so Christ must be the head of our house — with each member submitting to him in all things.
Next, Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). This really caught me. Sometimes, the church does not seem all that lovable. All too often, we find ourselves very sporadic in our devotion to God, in our attendance, in actively engaging in our times of worship, or rarely spending time with him. But for whatever reason that I will never fully understand, he loves us. Not only does he love us but He gave himself for us. This was not just a feeling of love, but a sacrificial love that put self aside for his beloved. This is a connection we see all through Scripture: Christ loves, Christ gives (see John 3:16 among others).
Christ also nurtures the church. Verse 26 says that he wishes to sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor without sport or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Christ takes it upon himself to love his bride whom he purchased with his own blood. Verse 29 talks of how he “nourishes and cherishes” the church.
Christ leads, loves, sacrifices, and nurtures his church. In return, the church submits to this— willingly! Dear Christian, does this describe your marriage? Does it describe mine? Do we realize that our marriages, good or bad, are a portrait of Christ and his church? May God continue to open this truth up in our hearts so that our marriages would line up with His will, not with the shifting sands of the culture.
(This sermon, Could You Be Charged With First Degree Anger?, was preached at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY, on Sunday, June 8, 2008. To read through Part I, click here. To listen to other audio sermons, click here.)
What would you do if I stood up here in front of you and gave you a guilt-free reason to miss church? It would serve as one reason to be absent that would excusable. Well, you don’t have to look to your pastor for a reason — look to Jesus. Matthew 5:23-24 says:
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Jesus tells us that reconciling to your brother is more important than even the most important of religious duties. Someone may say, “Well, doesn’t this idea contradict what the writer in Hebrews says about “not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25)? Doesn’t the Spirit say that if we are Christians that we must never miss church? Yes it does, but it also tells us in verses 23-24:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
How can you stir up one another to love and good works if you realize that someone has something against you (or, even more obvious, you have something against someone else that is fracturing that relationship)? You may say, “They are acting that way for no reason.” Are you so sure about that? D.A Carson notes that if we continue to engage in personal or public worship having a fractured relationship and we are not willing to deal with it, worship “becomes a pretence and a sham if the worshiper has behaved so poorly that his brother has something against him.”
What’s the issue? If someone has something against us, we cannot simply shake that off by saying, “Oh, that’s their problem! If they want to fix it, they know where I am.” Yet, according to Jesus, this issue is so serious that there is no rationale for justifying this away and putting it on someone else. Your worship and fellowship with God is on the line. Psalm 66:18 says:
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
1 Samuel 15:22 shows the prophet Samuel saying,
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
Why? Because you have underestimated what God did in taking the first step in reconciling you to himself! Col. 2:13-15 says:
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,  by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.  He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Notice that God didn’t just wipe them away — those trespasses he set aside came at a high cost. He initiated the whole thing. And when we consider that God atoned for our sins by placing their horrific penalty on His own Son so we may have hope of life everlasting in Him, then we turn around and struggle with issues that are trivial.
If you find yourself using church or other religious issues to numb the Holy Spirit’s work in your heart, then you are only deceiving yourself.
Edmund Burke one time noted, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” We are here this morning reminding ourselves of history. Not just any general history, but the 222-year history of Boone’s Creek Baptist Church. When you become as old as our church is, every year is an absolute blessing and every year is always a time to remember and to celebrate.
History teaches us many things for sure — the lessons we learn from them would most certainly suit us quite well. Churches — even old, or should I say “historic,” churches such as ours — will not make a lasting impact for eternity unless we are guided by our Good Shepherd. Our history has raised up some incredible men and women from this church. If I were to give all of you who have spent any time at all here in this church a piece of paper and were to ask you this question, “Name three people that God has used in your life here to help you grow in the faith,” we would have dozens of names. Many would be pastors, wouldn’t they? Absolutely — and that would be expected. Others would be deacons, Sunday School teachers, WMU and Baptist Men leaders. Some didn’t have a “title” or “office,” per se. They may have been just a dear saint how shared and told the love of Christ to you.
I recall a time shortly after I came that a longtime member felt he needed to move on to another church. He was a very faithful member of our church whom I had grown to love and respect greatly. Yet, a couple weeks after he left and word had finally gotten around that he was gone to another church in the area, I overheard one member say, “Did you hear he left? He was the cornerstone of this church!” You see, many times we truly believe, no matter how solid and doctrinally sound the church is, that its success or failure lies ultimately with men. Is that to say that men have no say in the matter? No, because God placed his church where he did in order to have obedient men and women serving as a living witness of God’s grace here and now. But what fuels these faithful men and women? Who would these faithful men and women point to?
The fact is, there is only one Cornerstone to our church — the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Yet, will we simply look at our glorious past and take comfort in how well we have served? The truth is, we must learn from the past but not live in it. What are some lessons we can take from the past that we can apply to the future? Let’s look.
(Tomorrow: We Are Who We Are Because He Is Who He Is)
To listen to this sermon in its entirety, click here.