Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Hope of Christmas in the Psalms

Tonight’s sermon on Psalm 80:1-19 carried the advent theme of HOPE over from this morning.

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The Hope of Christmas

I Wordled (is that a verb?) this morning’s sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:4-9.

Can you guess what the theme was?

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Family Devotional Guide

Starting tomorrow morning, I will be posting a daily entry from the 2008 Mountain State Baptist Association (MSBA) Christmas Family Devotional Guide. These entries will help you and your family prepare yourselves to celebrate the true meaning of Jesus’ first appearance and look forward to His second coming. This year’s theme is “The Titles of Christ”. Each entry looks into one of the biblical titles of Jesus and investigates why Jesus came to fulfill that title.

This devotional guide was put together by Kevin Howerton, the MSBA Director of Family Ministries. Each entry was written by a pastor in our association: Jeff Bailey, James Boyd, Shawn Bragg, Richard Carbaugh, Ronnie Cobb, Sam Cox, Don Deel, David Dockery, Kevin Howerton, Dan Jividen, Emory Marchant, Jim Milam, James Mooney, Ken Owens, Jerry Rice, Craig Stevens and David Trump. Oh yeah… I wrote one too.

I share in Kevin’s prayer that these entries will help you prepare your family spiritually to give honor and glory to God this Christmas.

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Giving or Receiving?

Who said that it’s better to give than receive?

On several occasions over the past few months, I have heard and read about people in the ministry who are nearly panicking over the economic crisis. They see the impending financial doom of our American economy and are feeling the impact in their ministries’ pocketbooks. But why is that? Why do people give less during economic hard times? That question seems self explanatory—and it would be if economic hard times were the cause. But they aren’t. If economic hard times were the cause, it would stand to reason that we would have seen a much more drastic pattern during the Great Depression than we see now, but we don’t.

According to a Christian research group called Empty Tomb, fewer than 5% of Christians today actually tithe 10% of their income. The average churchgoing Christian today gives a paltry 3.4%.

In the 1930s, America was not only experiencing bank failures and unemployment rates of nearly 25%; farmers were suffering because of severe droughts and catastrophic dust storms. Well over half the population of America was living below the minimum subsistence level. No matter how difficult our economic times might seem today, they are overwhelmingly prosperous compared to then.

So then, if we are so much more prosperous than those who were in the throes of the Great Depression, why do we give 21% less per churchgoer than they did?

Who said that it’s better to give than receive? Jesus did. Could it be that we just don’t believe His words any more?

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday

Before you head out the door for your annual “Black Friday” masochistic endeavor, here are some great gift ideas.

The Voice of the Martyrs Bookstore has great gift items for all ages

Look ma! No malls, lines, traffic or obnoxious shoppers!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Be Thankful?

In short, because of Psalm 67:1-7. By merely creating us, God has shown us grace. But in the overflowing beauty and bounty of creation around us, God’s grace is poured out in its magnificent abundance. When we think of the richness of his provision, it is as if the glory of His face is shining on us. And as a matter of fact, it is. The glory of His face shines on us in the person of His Son—that Son who is revealed to us in His Word through the illumination of His Spirit. The richness and abundance of God’s grace toward us is enough to generate an eternity of praise and thanksgiving.

But do we thank God because He somehow needs it? Of course not—God is in need of nothing. In His infinite wisdom, God ordained that the thankful hearts and lives of His people would be a witness to the nations. The bottom line is—thankfulness is evangelism.

To bring it to a personal level, when was the last time you heard someone grumble and complain? I hear it all the time. When you pull through the fast food drive-thru and ask the person at the window how their day is going, how do they respond? Most of the time it’s with a sour comment about how they can’t wait until they get off work. Does that make you want what they have? If you were looking for a job, would that make you want to go work there?

In the same way, Christians who display a grumbly, negative attitude to the world are a terrible witness. It’s no wonder—if that’s what Jesus did for you, I wouldn’t want it either. But when we go through life with an attitude of praise and thankfulness, it’s contagious.

God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us—
That Your way may be known in the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

That’s the way God designed it—now go be a witness….

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sermon Series

Here is a list of my previous sermon series. Some have audio, some don’t. All of the audio files should be available in the player at the bottom of this page.

New Testament complete book series

God’s Love Letter to the Church (Ephesians)

Joyful Test Taking (James)

That You Might Believe (John)

New Testament shorter passage series

7 Weeks of Urgency (Easter season series)

Church Matters (Seven Churches of Asia)

The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached (Sermon on the Mount)

The Model Prayer

Who Is This Child? (Matthew 1—Christmas series)

Old Testament complete book series

Thus Saith the Lord to You (Amos)

Back From Babylon (Ezra)

Old Testament shorter passage series

Genesis 1-3

Old Testament Prophesies of Jesus (Christmas series)

Topical series

Election 2008

Thanksgiving 2007

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Better Find Another Illustration

I remember this past week when my wife...


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Why a New Blog?

Here it is just a few days before Thanksgiving, I have a million things to get done before Thursday, and what am I doing? I’m starting a blog. Now, the question I have to ask myself is why. Is it because my thoughts are so profound that it would be an injustice to keep them to myself? Hardly. Is it because there aren’t enough blogs on the internet that are worth reading? No, there are hundreds of blogs, the quality of which I can never hope to attain. So why do I feel the need to start one?

  1. It’s available
    What a wonderful medium the Lord has given us to use for His glory. If this is a means for me to interact with and encourage others concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then I need to take advantage of it. I see this as one more tool the Lord has given me to glorify Him.
  2. I’m available
    As the full-time pastor of a Southern Baptist church tucked away in the beautiful mountains of Southern West Virginia, God has given me a pulpit to proclaim His Word. He’s also given me more to talk about than can be said in three weekly services and all of the affiliated activities. So, this can be an outlet for the overflow. If He wants to use me in this way, then I intend to be available.
  3. God is good
    There is nothing more important to God than His glory. Nothing pleases Him more than when His Son is made much of. If nothing else, this blog will afford me another opportunity to make much of Jesus. May the richness of His goodness and glory shine through in every posting and comment.

What will the content be?

We shall see. The possibilities are endless, but the postings will undoubtedly follow my interests—and nothing interests me more than the Gospel. I will include links to articles and postings that have impacted me in one way or another. As a bibliophile, one thing I look forward to is sharing what I’m reading in the form of reviews and critiques. I also intend to post links to my latest sermons. Regardless of how the content falls into place over the life of this blog, the central focus will remain the same. All things posted will have to pass the Ephesians 4:29 filter. The only thing I ask of you is that if you leave comments, please use the same filter.

So, with the Lord as our Banner, we will press on by His grace and for His glory!

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