The Early Bird Gets The Link

MLK, Jackie Robinson, and Us
A few weeks before his assassination, King told black Dodgers pitching great Don Newcombe, “You’ll never know how easy you and Jackie [Robinson] and [Larry] Doby and Campy [Roy Campanella] made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field.” Newcombe later said in a 2009 interview with the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey, “Imagine, here is Martin getting beaten with billy clubs, bitten by dogs and thrown in jail, and he says we made his job easier.”

Mohler on Preaching in a Secular Age

We, above all others, need to realize that the culture no longer shares our worldview and as a result the very language we use may mean something entirely different in the ears of our listeners than what we intend. The meaning of words like morality, personhood, marriage, or virtually any other moral term has radically shifted for many postmodern Americans, making our job as preachers that much more difficult. These challenges are demanding but Scripture is sufficient for the task. Our job as preachers is not to make the message of the gospel palatable to the postmodern mind but to preach in a way that is compelling, clear, and authoritative.

5 Truths About Great Ministry Leaders

Quick, simple and true.

How Prayer Affects Our Spiritual Formation

New Year, new habits. This spiritual habits series by Joe Carter is worth reading. “The goal of this spiritual discipline is to conform our prayer life so that whatever it is we are asking God for is rooted in the same seven words: Not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).”

Meditation Monday: Leave A Legacy


Meditation Monday is where I share my reflections on Sunday’s sermons from my church, Watson Chapel Baptist Church, Pastor Todd Howard.
Currently we are going through Acts and Genesis.

In Genesis 48, Moses pulls back the curtain on a very intimate moment between Jacob, Joseph, and Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. In this intimate occasion we see Jacob leaving a final blessing to Joseph and his two sons. Through Jacob’s intentional and prophetic words Pastor Todd provided three areas we should focus on if we want to leave a lasting legacy.

Focus on God’s Goodness

God is good. Such a simple yet very profound statement. In Genesis 48 we read of Jacob recounting many of the blessings God bestowed on him. He recounts God’s calling and issuing the Patriarchal Blessing upon him.

Genesis 48:3-4 (ESV)
3  And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me,
4  and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’

We also see Jacob describe God leading him like a shepherd and if you know anything about sheep and Jacob, then you know there are many similarities. Out of all of the goodness God has showered on Jacob, there is one that revived his spirit in his old age (Gen. 45:27), the reuniting of father and son. Jacob describes it like this,

Genesis 48:11 (ESV)
11  And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.”

How often do you sit and reflect on the goodness of God? How often do you sit and recount on the goodness of God to your family? God is good and we should recount his goodness to our family over and over again.

Focus on God’s Great Salvation

Genesis 48:15-16a (ESV)
15  And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16  the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, 

Jacob recounts the salvation of God upon his life to Joseph and his sons. When talking about God’s great salvation, there are two areas Jacob describes. One of them is God leading him like a shepherd. How many times do we see God coming to Jacob’s rescue or guiding him out of a mess in Genesis? As Jacob reflects on his life he recognizes God’s salvation in his leading like a shepherd.

The second way Jacob describes God’s salvation is redemption from evil. To be redeemed means for someone else to pay a debt that you cannot pay, in essence buy your freedom. God is Jacobs redeemer.

Here is the awesome news Christ is our Shepherd Redeemer too. For those who place their trust in Christ, he paid your debt. You are free. Jesus is your redeemer. It doesn’t stop there because he promises to be with you always. He is your shepherd too. We have a great Shepherd Redeemer who knows us and can sympathize with us and is our help in time of need (Heb. 4:15).

 

God’s salvation toward us who believe is great, but does your family know its greatness? Do they hear you talking about the greatness of Christ and the Gospel? More importantly, do they see you live it?

Focus on How God Works

Genesis 48:17-19a (ESV)
17  When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
18  And Joseph said to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.”
19  But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know.

When Joseph placed the greater blessing on the younger son, Joseph wasn’t a happy camper. Joseph threw his red flag, he wanted a replay, a booth review. But Jacob’s tender reply says it all, “I know, my son, I know.”In those six words Jacob was telling Joseph,

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Many would like to portray God like a genie from a magic lamp granting your every wish because you know the right formula. But God is not a genie, God is the Sovereign ruler of all and part of the legacy we have to leave our families is, we may not understand all of what God does or allows to happen, but we do know all things work for the good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

There is no such thing as worthless suffering for the believer. I can’t explain why three out of four of my kids were born with clefts and there were times when I was like Joseph wanting to throw my red flag, I wanted a replay, a booth review. But I can tell you this, God has been glorified and God has continued to shepherd our kids, my wife and I through it.

It is never too late to begin to leave a legacy.

As you you go through this life with your family Focus on God’s goodness, Focus on God’s great salvation and Focus on how God works.

until next time

Soli Deo Gloria

 

The Early Bird Gets The Link

I have been away for a few weeks due to work, but I am back and ready for a new year of blogging. Here are some good reads. 

Why Do We Give Up on Bible Reading?

If you’ve experienced either cynicism or self-doubt in Bible reading, take heart. When we understand ourselves and the Bible rightly, we will come to see that there is no such thing as insignificant or worthless Bible time.

Is Dr. King Coming To Dinner?

Perhaps we should let our calendars speak to us: Do we allow our tables to reflect the love of the entire body of Christ as well as our theological convictions? What specific number of people unlike ourselves have come into our homes, and sat at our dinner tables, since we last celebrated King’s influence a year ago?

More than Hashtags: Fight for Human Dignity

So what does faithful action look like? How can God’s people be voices for life in their communities and around the world? I’d like to suggest five things.

A Tale of Two Stories

When the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. preached over the coffins of the four little girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing September 15,1963, he said, “History has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive.” To another community grieving the loss of innocents in a place of worship, King alluded to the one who first made the puzzling suggestion that there might be glory where we can only find grief. To a crowd equally in need of hearing how this might be so, Jesus stopped to explain it using a simple image from every day agrarian life: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

6 Books White Christians Should Read (in Honor of MLK’s Legacy)

In recognition of the Bible’s teaching, therefore, and in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., here are six books that have helped shaped my thinking about race and racism in America. 

Vocation: My Choosing or God’s Calling?

“The heart of a man plans his way,” says Solomon, “but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). We are to plan in the here and now, but we can do so in the confidence that the Lord is acting in our lives and in our circumstances, calling us to His purpose.

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Swim in the Deep End of the Bible

Died: Thomas Oden, Methodist Theologian Who Found Classical Christianity

Oren’s books and articles were very influential in my life when I came to Christ.

Keeping Christ in Xmas

One particular day, many moons ago, I was doing some planning for Christmas with a group of students. I did what I always do—wrote Xmas on the board. I went on my merry way the rest of that evening, preaching Jesus to students, hanging out for a bit, and then going home. Little did I know that I had committed quite the blasphemous act that would label me in the eyes of a couple as a youth pastor who didn’t respect Jesus. 

Parents: It’s Time to Wake Up About Pornography, Sexting, and Your Children

“I was once a seventh grade boy. I’ll tell you right now, you think you’re honoring your son by trusting him, but you are setting him up for a fall. You could hand him a gun, and his life might turn out better than if you just hand him over to the Internet.”

Why This Baptist Really Believes in Believer’s Baptism: A Response to G. Shane Morris

In his recent article, “The Real Reason Evangelicals Don’t Baptist Babies,” Morris, who is not a baptistic evangelical, wants to let those of us who are baptistic evangelicals know what is really going on in our hearts when we deny infant baptism.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

How to Be So Heavenly Minded that You’re of Great Earthly Good
Worth the read.

When Preaching the Gospel to Yourself Becomes Like Brushing Your Teeth with Your Finger

You’ve done that haven’t you? Went on a trip, realized you forgot to pack the toothbrush until it’s too late, and rather than get back in the car and go to the gas station or pay an exorbitant amount at the hotel for a new one, you decide to go primitive and brush your teeth with your finger. If you are really good at it…and make sure to wash your finger first…you can do a somewhat decent job. Or at least make yourself think that you’ve done a decent job covering up your stank. But it doesn’t take long for the deficiency of fingerbrush to manifest.

Six Ways to Love a Wayward Child

The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–32 now has new meaning for me. I don’t focus so much on the son, as I have in past readings. I focus now on the father. Watching him. Studying him. Learning from him.

Why? Because now I am standing in his shoes — worn-through with worry, wondering, and weariness. 
What Jesus Did for Thirty Years

How fascinating would it be to know what life was like for the boy Jesus? Did he plainly outpace his peers in learning? Did his sinlessness infuriate fallen siblings? How skilled was he as a worker? Was his carpentry “perfect,” or did it make good sense around town when he transitioned into public ministry?

Five Keys to Renewing Evangelistic Growth in Your Church

These Rainer articles are packed with useful info and advice. “I am observing carefully churches in North America that are truly making an evangelistic impact. Most of them transitioned from evangelistic apathy to growth. Though there is no formulaic approach or magic-bullet program, here are five common themes I see repeatedly:”

My Top 10 Books of 2016

Here are some book reco’s from  Jared Wilson. 

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Pornography and Masturbation 

Denny Burk shares a couple of great articles on porn and masturbation, worth the read. 

Marriage Is Not About Me

When Paul describes marriage as a “gift” in 1 Corinthians 7:7, he puts the focus off of ourselves, and our small Disneyworld dreams for our marriages, and puts the focus on God and on others. Paul is telling us that marriage is a gift of his grace to us whereby we are empowered by the Spirit to take part in the advancement of his kingdom — for his glory, and to serve the good of others.

Dr. Moore’s Top Books of 2016

Always enjoy reading book recos.

Leadership Training Begins in the Home

Paul makes clear that the family is meant by God to be the first context in which we learn leadership skills.