Jesus with a whip?!
May 17, 2012
Sometimes in Scripture we get confronted with a shocking image of Jesus. We like the Jesus we hear bringing the children around him, challenging the people to have the faith of a child, “for to such belongs the kingdom of Heaven.” Beautiful. Tender. Compassionate. Seemingly not the same Jesus we encounter in John 2:13-22. Ten verses of zeal and rage and violence…from Jesus. [READ MORE]
"I saw you..."
May 8, 2012
Jesus said, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you (John 1:48).” One sentence. Twelve words. One conversion. Nathanael answered Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel!” One sentence. Twelve words. One attitude reversal. “Nothing good comes out of Nazareth!” had been Nathanael’s initial reaction to Jesus. Why the sudden change? One sentence. Three words…”I saw you.” [READ MORE]
“In the beginning…” John opens his gospel, his unique account of the life of Christ with what may very well be an eighteen verse hymn. The hymn establishes Jesus Christ as the creator of all things, and his home in heaven. The one who sat enthroned in heaven before there ever was an earth to be his footstool is lauded by John with poetic language and high praise for leaving his heavenly home to pitch a tent on the earth and make God known.
How quickly things change in the span of a few verses. [READ MORE]
Receive His Fullness
March 20, 2012
Anybody remember Duff’s Smorgasboard? If you, like me are in your mid-forties and grew up in an “all you can eat family,” you just might. Duff’s was a precursor to Golden Corral or the Asian Mega-Buffets today. And the name captured the idea…SMORGASBOARD. I do not have any idea of the formal definition of smogasboard, but it sounds like a plate full of food. Not only did Duff’s offer all-you-could-eat, but it did so with style. At Duff’s, you did not move through the serving line, the buffet moved past you. You could take a little bit, or a lot, of whatever you wanted. Anything you did not want you simply allowed to move past you untouched on the revolving carousel of culinary delight. For a kid, Duff’s was awesome. [READ MORE]
Proclaiming...the message about God
March 15, 2012
Proclaiming. What does our life say about Jesus Christ? What does our heart say about what it means to be saved? When the overflow of our heart emerges from our mouth, what is it that people hear? [READ MORE]
Proclaiming what gospel?
March 10, 2012
The vision of Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church. The action that flows from our unity in Christ is now being broadcast publicly: “Proclaiming the gospel as we go!”. We are unashamed of it. We are saved by it. We stand in it. We preach it. We hold fast to it. What is it? THE GOSPEL! So what is the Gospel? What is the good news that transforms murderers like Saul into preachers like Paul? What is the good news that we are to take to all nations? [READ MORE]
The Gospel. Literally, “good news.” From the highlights above it is the gospel that takes away our shame. It is the gospel that must be preached and proclaimed to all people. We must believe the gospel. It is the gospel that Jesus preached and the gospel that was preached to Abraham over 1500 years before Jesus was born. It is the gospel that we put on our feet in order to stand ready in spiritual warfare. It is the gospel that sets the standard to which our life in Christ must measure up. It is the gospel that God has entrusted to us, and it is the gospel for which we will be willing to suffer as we strive together to promote it. And this is just scratching the surface of the impact and importance of the gospel. [READ MORE]
Pickled in the Waters of Baptism
February 22, 2012
Leave it to a second century pickle recipe to help us understand the Great Commission. The Great Commission is a call to making disciples. Jesus Christ ascended into heaven on the heels of a command, “make disciples of all nations!” Our mandate for life is to make all peoples full time apprentices of Jesus Christ by being/doing two things: 1. “Being ones who baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 2. “Being ones who teach them to obey everything” that Jesus commanded. Discipleship is given a particular order (baptizing & teaching) in the great commission. But discipleship is not: step one – baptism; and then step two – teaching. Instead, it is a continual cycle of baptism and teaching, a never ending commitment to total immersion through a relentless devotion to learning from Jesus how we ought to live.
To understand baptizing, we need the pickle recipe. [READ MORE]
From Perisson to Perfect...Discipleship!
February 15, 2012
The teaching of Jesus Christ hit the religious establishment of First Century Judaism right between the eyes. The Pharisees were the most righteous group of religious people anyone knew. Their lifestyle set an enviable standard of righteousness that the normal Jew admired, but knew he could never measure up to. And Jesus said that the righteousness of anyone who would want to be his disciple had to exceed (perisson) the righteousness of the Pharisees. Impossible! [READ MORE]
Who Do You Love?!
February 7, 2012
Things I love: Amy, good coffee, Austin, being in shape, Hunter, sunsets, Ellison, and sports, especially when my kids are playing. I also love my parents, water-skiing, Queens, NY, body surfing, my brother Rick and my sister Amy, and barbecue, especially Smithfields. I love Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church, snow skiing, writing, reading the Bible, a good steak cooked medium-rare, the cool side of the pillow, and praying, especially on the 7th @ 7! I love funny movies, popcorn & coke, life-long friends and new friends, nature photography, Silent Night on Christmas Eve, and pancakes, especially the ones I make myself! I love a lot of things and people, and thinking about these things makes me feel good. Experiencing them makes me feel even better. But loving them does not set me apart as a follower of Jesus Christ. Loving those things makes me just like other men who love their wives, their families, their friends, and their preferences.
Jesus Christ said this is incomplete loving. [READ MORE]
So you want to love people?
January 30, 2012
The story of Cain and Abel teaches that our worship of God cannot be separated from our personal relationships. Cain offered God a token of the fruit of his labor. Both Cain and his offering were disregarded by the Lord. Abel offered God a carefully selected sampling of his best, and God accepted Abel by accepting his sacrifice. How did Cain handle God’s correction regarding his worship? [READ MORE]
Spiritual Worship...Reasonable Worship
January 25, 2012
Last week we looked at the posture of worship. Worship is laying ourselves prostrate before the Lord, and the first place we encounter this concept in the Bible is Genesis 22:5, the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. Called by the Lord who promised and provided his son Isaac, Abraham prostrates himself to the wishes of God by obeying his command. “God will provide for himself a lamb,” is Abraham’s response to his inquisitive son as they make their way to the place of sacrifice.
There is something significant about the story that we do not often consider. [READ MORE]
The beginning of worship
January 17, 2012
In the vision statement we have been given as a church, worship is the first expression of our unity in Christ. We are to be a people of worship. So, what is worship? What is the primary activity you associate with worshipping? What is the primary responsibility of a worship-pastor? [READ MORE]
Integrated Living...Unity...It Aint Easy!
January 9, 2012
Unity. What is it? How is it maintained? Why is it important? In Miriam Webster’s dictionary all of the top three definitions define the word unity as a quality/condition. In other words, unity is one of those words that is hard to define, but is easy to recognize, either in its presence or in its absence. We know how to recognize it, but subjective qualities and states of being are very hard to define objectively. Because we can sense unity/integrity, and because we are disturbed in the the absence of it, looking into how to maintain it and why it is so important would be helpful. [READ MORE]
Vision, Restraint, & Freedom
January 7, 2012
Word association: What word would you most closely associate with the word FREEDOM...
PERMISSION or RESTRAINT? [READ MORE]