Matthew R. Perry

Posts Tagged ‘church’

BCBC VisionCast #1: God’s Vision for Boone’s Creek Baptist Church in 2009

In Church Life, Culture, Evangelism on January 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm

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!

Advertisements

What Kind of Legacy Do I Wish To Leave At My Church?

In Church Life on September 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

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.

  1. 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.
  2. To provide a biblical model of personal and corporate discipleship as we seek to strengthen the people of God in their walk with Christ.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. To offer special leadership training for our staff, deacons, Sunday School leaders, and other key areas of ministry at our church.
  6. 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.

The Pentagon of Christianity: The Defense Department For Our Souls

In Church Life, Sermons on September 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm

On September 11, 2001, that tragic day in our recent history, four planes were hijacked, three of which flew into very prominent buildings. Two of those buildings were the Twin Towers in New York. What may have been forgotten was the third building: the Pentagon. This was no accident on the part of the terrorists: for the Pentagon serves as our country’s Department of Defense.

Some have asked if there is any symbolic significance to a five-sided building. The answer is, not really. When the building was originally constructed, it was on a piece of property that went up against a highway and a bridge that were at a 108-degree angle, which forced them to build it with five sides instead of four.

What we Christians must do is realize that there exists a Department of Defense for our Christian life God constructed in His Word. This defense helps protect the borders of our hearts from the enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. These are the true enemies of the state, which is the Kingdom of God.

As we close out this series, it would benefit us to see what the five sides of this Pentagon.

1. Attend faithfully.

Attending times of corporate worship at your local church is crucial for maintaining a good defense system. We have already seen what Hebrews 10:23-25 says about not neglecting to meet together but to encourage one another. In Acts 2:42-44, Luke records the activities of the fledgling church:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

While it would be easy to focus on the particulars of what they did: listening to the teaching, fellowship, prayers, God’s power on the move, and genuine compassion for one another. And if you recall back in April, I passed out a list of what our worship services consist of, and the biblical basis behind those elements we have.

But the key word here is “And they devoted themselves.” It is difficult to be devoted to something or someone when you are chronically absent from that thing or person! How can someone be devoted to their spouse, their children, their work, their hobbies if there is not a decided diligence to spend time with those things?

2. Pray continually.

This coming Wednesday, we will have a special prayer meeting for lost unbelievers called “With One Voice” and in October, we will spend all four weeks looking at the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-15. But it’s not enough for us to think highly of prayer, to simply read about prayer, or even to preach about prayer.

James Montgomery in 1818 penned a hymn about prayer. My favorite verse is the sixth one which says, “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native air.” We should feel at home with prayer as we do with breathing—it’s just part and parcel of the holy oxygen we need. So when Paul says, “Pray without ceasing” (2 Thessalonians 5:17), “Continue steadfastly in prayer” (Colossians 4:2), and to “Pray at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18), what does he mean?

He means that we are to live in constant communion and sensitivity to God’s Spirit at work in our lives. While you may not continually stay having your eyes closed or spend your entire day in your prayer closet, you as Christians have the Holy Spirit who gives us a direct connection and communion. In his wonderful little book entitled “Prayer,” John R. Rice starts off his book with this verse from Psalm 65:2: “O you who hears prayer, to you shall all flesh come.” He then said simply, “It is God’s nature to hear and answer prayer.” As a Christian, we have that connection.

3. Give graciously.

Here is another that we have spent some time on over the last few months, but one more word concerning this will do us well. This past Wednesday, we looked at Genesis 4 with the issue of Cain and Abel. We know how this relationship turned out, usually summed up with three words: “Cain killed Abel.” But it would be helpful to see where all this came from. In reading Genesis 4:1-7

In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Did you notice that Cain was ultimately angry not at Abel, but at God! But it all stemmed from his lack of willingness to give and offer rightly. Abel gave the firstfruits (or, as many say, “Off the top!”). He gave God the choicest of offerings. Cain just gave the leftovers. Paul echoes this in 2 Cor. 9:6-7:

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

We can round up a number of reasons for not giving: economy, bills and other debts. Some have hobbies and fetishes that take up a great amount of money. I one time belonged to a CD club while I was in college and seminary (before I got married). Before I knew it, I catalogued 200+ CDs … at $12-15 a pop. And I honestly wondered where my money was going. It was going to my idol!

But what we give to God and how we give to Him is a direct reflection of what we think of Him and what His Son accomplished. We tie up our money in other things necessary and unnecessary—yet so many who claim they are Christians give so little. Are you sowing so little because you think so little of what he gave to you?

4. Study diligently.

If we long to take God seriously and to build a great defense system for our souls, we cannot avoid this portion: you must study God’s Word diligently. I believe many of us see the necessity for this, but sadly many do not for whatever reason.

· Some say it is irrelevant: we have jobs to work, classes to attend, bills to pay, children to raise—this old Book doesn’t speak to today. It’s irrelevant, they say.

· Some say it makes no sense and they don’t know how to go to it.

· Some say, “I’m not seminary-trained, I’m just a lay-person.”

· Some say, “I just don’t have time.”

· Some say, “I have some doubts as to whether it’s really reliable.”

· Some say, “It’s just plain boring.”

This is not just those who are outside of Christ who say this—these are the opinions and feelings of many Christians as well! Yet, what made David say in Psalm 119:15-16, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” What made Paul say in 2 Tim. 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” What made Paul, who was in jail, alone, desolate, and understanding that death awaited, ask Timothy to bring “the books and above all the parchments” so he could continue his study?

For one, Paul wanted to know Him. Paul said in Philip. 3:10-12 that he desired to “know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” He wanted to know his splendor, his majesty, hiw power, but also his attributes. He wanted to identify with Christ. Ezra the priest echoes this: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”

Secondly, Paul wanted to grow in Him. Paul in this very familiar verse found in 2 Tim. 3:16-17, says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Paul wanted to grow and that is only found through growing in God’s Word. Peter was the same: 1 Peter 2:2-3 says, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Lastly, Paul wanted to serve Him. We find out what God has in mind as far as service to Him, don’t we? Mark 10:42-45 says:

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. [43] But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [44] and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. [45] For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

5. Serve willingly.

Psalm 100:1-5

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

[2] Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

[3] Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

[4] Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

[5] For the Lord is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

Did you notice verse 2? Serve the Lord with gladness. These two cannot be disconnected. We cannot serve or worship the Lord simply out of a sense of duty! We must serve him with gladness! Why? Because it all comes down to the gospel. Huh? Yes! When we consider how Christ came to serve humanity through his death on the cross, we gladly serve our Savior and Lord who served us so!

Service entails action. Look at this Psalm again. Look at all the commands: make a joyful noise, serve the Lord, Know that the Lord, he is God, enter, give, bless! Service entails an action propelled by the love and longing for Christ!

In what ways will you serve? Some of you may be longing to serve, but do not know how. To you, I suggest that you let me know and we can talk about what gifts and talents God has given to you. Yet, some of you know there is a place where you need to serve. You see the choir sing and you know that God is calling you there. Consider what is stopping you. Some of you have a longing to serve with our children. Consider what is stopping you! Would it be that Christ is stopping you? Or Satan? Or self?

You say, “Well, Bro. Matt, God has been leading me to start something up, but it’s not on the committees lists, choir, children, or anything along that line.” Come talk to me—God has not called us to bow the knee to committees, but to the leading of His Spirit!

So let’s come to church, pray, give, study, and serve the Lord out of a grateful heart for all He has accomplished through Christ.

“The Triangle of Christianity” Sermon Is Now Posted

In church, Church Life, church membership, Sermons on August 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm

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.”

Why God Gave Us Marriage, Part III: A Portrait of Christ and His Church

In Church Life, Culture, Family on July 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm

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.

Reconciling To Your Brother Is More Important Than Religious Duty

In Sermons on June 10, 2008 at 4:11 pm

(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, [14] by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. [15] 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.

Guided By Our Good Shepherd for 222 Years (Introduction)

In Church Life on October 1, 2007 at 6:48 am

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.