Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ordinary Pastor

www.ordinarypastor.blogspot.com

Check out this blog.

Looking Back

The past 8 months were really hard on my family as we made the difficult decision to leave a church we loved. Sparing the details of the situation, I can write honestly that there were many nights without sleep, much prayer, and the decision was not made lightly. During the trial it seemed that the events that led up to the exit couldn't have happened... like a fluke. Though there were wrongs on both sides, only one side was seen. People who had been by my side for years suddenly turned their backs under political pressure (or divine pressure), and biblically, the actions didn't square with what I knew my accusers believed.
I only knew of one Baptist church within 32 miles that preached from a Reformed perspective. We visited and eventually joined the church. Long story short, there have been many confirmations that we made the right decision, and I will go so far as to say that I believe God orchestrated the events that led to my family being ushered out of a church we loved, but were not welcomed. Moving from a place where our gifts were stifled to a place where our gifts can flourish has been a blessing. People will always fail, and even sincere followers of Christ continue to sin. Understanding this concept, giving grace and mercy when needed, following a biblical pattern of church discipline, and loving and growing together is part of what makes a new testament church. I am content in Christ and where He has placed me.

Philippians 3:14 (English Standard Version)

14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Others May, You Cannot

The evangelist at Gatlin Baptist Church last week read a Christian tract he found from the 1800s. It was so good I want to quote part of it here.

Others May, You Cannot

If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. God’s call will put such demands of obedience on you that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians. At times, He will let other

people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians who seem very religious will push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans. You cannot, and if you attempt it, you will meet with failure and rebuke from the Lord.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you to despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor. God wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may demonstrate His faithful love for you in supplying your needs day by day.

God may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity in order to produce some fragrant fruit for His coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it now. The reward for your work is held in the hands of Jesus and you will not see it until He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you with a jealous love. He will rebuke you for the little words and feelings or for wasting your time. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He does not owe you an explanation of these mysteries. But if you give yourself to be His child, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and give you the precious blessings for those who belong, heart and soul, to Him.

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit. It is His option to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. And when you are so possessed by the living God that your heart delights over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

It is Well with my Soul

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/americancolony/amcolony-family.html

I was reminded of a 135 year old song recently that I had forgotten along with so many other hymns. The song "It is well with my soul" struck a passion in me that seldom comes out with modern songs. The story behind the song (see above link) is amazing. To summarize, Horatio Spafford was a successful Chicago Lawyer in the 1870s who lost his only son, his business, and his four daughters from different tragedies over about two years. His daughters drowned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in route to Europe. As his boat passed over the spot where his daughters died, he penned the words to this song. The truly amazing thing is that in the midst of such tradgedy he could write those words. Only a regenerated follower of Christ can sing this song and comprehend the meaning. What a blessing it is to be able to sing this song that has survived for 135 years and no doubt will ring through eternity.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford