Saturday, October 14, 2006

IBC Session 4: Mark Dever "Worship in the New Testament"

Mark introduced 9Marks ministries.

One of the longest sustained treatments of worship is in Romans 12 and following. This presents the gospel in action… practical issues of living the Christian life.

The key issue of worship is not drums or stained glass, etc. [Mark read Romans 12]

To worship God correctly is what starts off this chapter. The nature of worship is offering your whole self to God as a living sacrifice. That may be the most important point in this message – the offering of your self. When we restrict worship to church buildings and singing songs then we miss the point. The NT does not use the word worship the way we do in English. You can avoid a lot of trouble in your church if you define worship for your people the way the bible does – offering yourself as a sacrifice.

It is our “self” that is to be offered. The whole of us being offered always and continually. We are called to gather publicly – and we can call that worship (although the NT never does). Our public worship (in this sense) includes all kinds of things like singing, giving, preaching, etc.

Worship as it is described in the NT is the whole of life. You cannot limit worship to one event on one day of the week. It encompasses everywhere we are, every day of the week, everything we do with everyone we know. That is the nature of worship.

Why do we worship? “Therefore,” said Paul, “in view of God’s mercies…” chapters 1-11 are about divine initiative and human response. Worship should be a delightful activity because we delight in the God that we worship! Consider how this God has loved us! Consider the songs we have sung today!

There can be some worship that is not holy and pleasing to God – otherwise Paul’s instruction is pointless. Cain’s offering was not acceptable. The Golden Calf was an idol of YHWH – a visual image of the real God. They did not worship God as He had revealed they should.

How do we know we are worshiping God correctly?

Do you worship God?

Let’s look at these features in Romans 12 as a test of our worship.

Ten questions to test for true NT worship of God:

1. Are you being transformed?

12:2 – Paul specifically cautions Christians from being conformed to the pattern of this world because we are no longer of this age. “Be transformed.” To reflect more and more the Lord’s glory and likeness. It happens by mind-renewal – God’s supernatural work through the Word of God as worked by the Holy Spirit. True worship is the furthest thing from being a mindless activity. Every part of us is to be affected, so that we may know how to please God. We need humility in discerning God’s will… not just what we feel is right. Preachers – teach your congregation that humility is a fundamental part of following God!

2. Are you thinking about yourself soberly?

12:3 – Paul exhorts us to not think too highly of ourselves. We have a tendency to think too highly of ourselves. Do not be greater than you are – a Christian. It recognizes what you have in common and what is the special gifting of you – God gets all the credit for both. There is nothing to boast of. “What do you have that you did not receive?”

Peg our value by God’s own standard – the gift given us in Christ. Your status in Christ is so much more important than any status in this world. The world will never tell you that!

Like the Iraqi information minister during the American invasion – we deny what is real and around us. It is not our wisdom and diligence that brought about blessing in yoru life!

3. Are you using your gifts?

12:4-8 – If you have a singing-only concept of worship, this will sound strange to you. True biblical worship is not demanding to have gifts that you do not already have. You fail to worship God biblically if you fail to use the gifts God gave you to build up His body.

:4-6 – There is an analogy of the one body with many different contributing members. Paul assumes the people he is writing to are converted. When some people’s preferences are violated, they go their own way, not God’s. Yet God, in His incredible love, He took on flesh, lived a perfect life, died the death we deserved, and God raised Him from the dead to show to all that His sacrifice was accepted. God calls on all men to call on this Jesus to be saved. People who have done this are converted. That is to whom paul writes.

For example, there is teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy, etc.

And these things in God’s way – we are not to be mercy-martyrs… “this is costing me something!” – rather, generously! It all goes back to the gospel.

The best way to identify your gifts is to serve in your church in a way to meet needs. Gifts are so you can bless others, not so you can experience release! 1 Corinthians 13 makes clear that the gifts from the Spirit are all about love and the building up the body.

“The worship was good today” – do you mean you were tickled or do you mean you were inconvenienced by loving another.

Your gifts are not a heavenly identity card – they are to serve others.

4. Are you loving others?

12:9-10 – So many conversations about worship are so Satanically-ironic. The talk is all about me and what I want. Do not mistake that I am saying intense personal godliness is bad. I am saying that true worship necessarily includes love for others. The quality, direction and nature of love.

Quality – real and sincere. From the heart. A community of mutual love is the goal. Folks have come to CHBC and been converted by seeing love in action there. The love of the church is strange in this world and is a powerful call to God.

Direction – a love for the good, not evil. Do people around you think of you as being attached to what is good? Are you inseparable from good?

Practice – by a devotion to honour others more than yourself. 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 is not a rhetorical trick. Paul is identifying evidences of God’s grace in their church – then came a lot of chapters of blistering correction! But the love he shows there is genuine, not fake. I pray we would become better students of God’s grace in each others lives. Let it be your strategy to find good in your fellow church members.

5. Are you persevering?

12:11 – the kind of Christian life that only includes occasional prayer and assumes a pass on suffering is really no Christian life at all. It is not that you have a higher Christian life and normal Christian life. You have Christians and not-Christians. God brings us to the boiling point spiritually. It is a steady boiling enthusiasm.

We need to persevere in joy and hope (:12).

We persevere in tribulation. You cannot endure around suffering – you must endure through suffering.

We may hear stirring stories of God’s grace, but they do not eliminate the need of any one of us from having to suffer.

We persevere in faithfulness in prayer. Perseverance is the grand mark of real believing. It is not just about having our emotional senses pleased.

6. Are you sharing?

12:13 – This is not hard theology. If you want to be a Christian this basic impulse to share should be typical of you. Why would you not share when God has given you so much? Share with God’s people who are needy (1 John 3). We have a special obligation to one another in Christ. You share the burdens of others in your church.

We are also to share with strangers – to pursue loving strangers.

7. Are you blessing?

12:14 – Bless those who persecutor you. God’s charity is to be reflected in our blessing of those who are our enemies. We pray for and say good things of them. This is not a natural response. Isn’t this what Jesus said? Isn’t it the way God has treated us in Christ?

8. Are you sympathizing?

12:15 – We are to care about the success and trials of others.

9. Are you being humble?

12:16 – No pride or conceit. Be of the same mind toward one another. (Philippians 2). It is not so much me agreeing with you as us agreeing with Christ. That brings harmony. Have you ever noticed how much harmony comes from humility.

We are not to be proudfully standoffish. The Roman church had members of Caesar’s household and slaves in it. But this is profound! It means, don’t stick with those that you feel most comfortable with.

The whole concept of a Saddleback Sam goes against this. It may be okay as an in-between evangelism strategy, but that cannot be the goal of the church.

God associates with the humble – so must we.

What kind of Christianity is it that befriends people on a worldly status. Canadians have a kind of genetic humility, I know. But apply this to your own hearts. “Do not be conceited.” Twice he has said essentially this.

10. Are you overcoming evil with good?

12:17 – Taking revenge is being overcome by evil. As far as it is possible and as far as you can, make peace. We live in a moral universe and justice can be left for God. Deuteronomy 32 says God will take care of revenge. Besides this, there are benefits of not taking revenge. This quotes Proverbs 25 – treat your enemy as someone in need. Cause your enemy to blush, shame him by giving him food and drink.

The summary command: Overcome evil with good. Do not be overcome by evil.

There is worship.

It is a lot more than getting into a song or two. Living sacrifices have one problem – they often crawl off the altar. There is no passivity in the Christian life. You cannot claim inaction as the golden key to living the Christian life and pietize it by calling it “abiding in Christ.”

Isn’t this chapter a great prayer list for you yourself and for other members of your congregation? We are worshippers by nature – who are you worshipping this evening? Have you been shown that you worship your comfort, your ideas, yourself? Or are you worshiping the God of the Bible?

I pray we all worship Him in a way that truly brings Him pleasure.


IBC Session 3: Roger Bergs "Choosing Music for Corporate Worship"

Note: I was absent for the first half of this lecture.

We can’t navigate a music and text without some form of meter. Catholics, and other ancient religions use chanting – but it flat-lines emotions and makes it nearly impossible for the congregation to join in.

Metrical Psalms

You might sacrifice the sense of the text if all you do is try to sing the English words. To put them into metrical sense like Isaac Watts. Watts was the inventor and perfector of English language Psalter. He gave a NT sense to the Psalms. But now you are in the realm of interpretation… and that means error might creep in.

Other Hymns

These are based on specific texts, without using the exact language. Colossians 1:15-20 is a prime example of this as it is then put into hymn form as “Come, Let us Worship the Christ of Creation.”

Corporate Singing: Word of the Father Everlasting

Narrative passages into versified form: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night (Luke 2). Romans 10:14-17 is versified into How Shall They Hear the Word of God (sung to the tune Huron Carol – Canada’s great hymn contribution!).

Hymns of Human Composition

They deliver biblical truth, or response to God, or build up the faith. An example, “All My Hope on god is Founded.” All the lines justify themselves by using many different Scriptures and putting them together thematically. Systematizing Truth, you might say.

Take various threads of Scripture

It used to be that the ministers of the Word wrote the texts of hymn. They chose the hymns. Then musicians set these things to music! We need a return to this.

A Well-Written Tune

Peruse the composer index of any hymnal and see great composers, but they had their works used in part only. They did not write hymn tunes. There were men like Lowell Mason who wrote lots of tunes that we sing. Townend, Getty, and the like are men like this – writing singable tunes. Must respect the limits of congregational range.

Choosing Music

One hymnal. A hymnal and another book or two. Or limitless on powerpoint or bulletin. You must still use discernment in choosing what is sung.

Discussion of types of prayer in worship. Every prayer has a form and content that is appropriate for where it falls into the service. The same is true with songs. We need to think through these choices carefully. If you would not be speaking what the hymn says at this point in the service, then don’t sing it!

Order of Worship

Revivalism worked like this: music was the opening act for the main guy. Music is not a warm-up act to get people into the frame of mind. Choice then, is all boiled down to personal preference. If your content of singing is optional, why would anyone listen to the preaching?

Identify the principle theme of the sermon. A theological angle and an anthropocentric angle.

Limit new tunes to one per service at most. Resist the standard to equivocate to sub-standard hymns. “If I Were a Butterfly!”

People need to understand what they are singing. Introduce a song, but you have to know it and understand it first to do this correctly.

People have to sing. The musical accompaniment must not be so loud that you cannot hear voices around you.

All of this takes time and a degree of talent.

We finished with “Crown Him with Many Crowns!”

Friday, October 13, 2006

IBC Session 2: David Barker "Worship in the Psalms"

Bono said, “To kiss the heavens, you have to learn to kneel…”

This presentation is a summary of a couple of decades of thought. Petersons says, “Worship must come under the criticism and control of the revelation on which the Church is founded.

For several decades worship has been the divisive mantra of the church. People have been trying to find “meaningful worship.” The theologian of the community must guide public worship. Pastor dons the mantle of priest, prophet and sage in the New Covenant context. Too often we have passed off this responsibility to musicians who may or may not be theologically informed.

Col 3:15

The reference to “Songs” at least included the OT Psalter. New Covenant church worship needs the Psalms for it brings order to the chaos and trouble in our churches.

Who is God?

Who are the worshipers?

A Whisper of caution in our worship.

Some preliminary suggestions.

1. Who is God in the Psalms?

God is King – this is the clearest picture of God in the Psalms. Other metaphors include, shepherd, judge, warrior, lord – all the royal functions of ancient Near Eastern kings. YHWH’s kingship pervades the Psalter. At the literary centre of the book, 7 Psalms (enthronement Psalms) all point to YHWH as King. This is a providential and deliberate design on the book (93-99). Further, 7 are there – a number of totality and completion. This is followed by the doxology of Psalm 100 – enter His royal gates and courts with thanksgiving and praise.

Worship, therefore, is entering the throne room of God. We approach the “throne of grace…” When we engage in worship, we learn who we are, where we are and who God is as we open the Psalms.

2. How do we respond?

The Psalms are a unique Biblical genre. The Psalms speak for us, whereas most of the Scriptures speak to us. This does not lessen the authority or the inspiration of the Psalms. The Psalms are answering God (Peterson). They give us our words when entering the throne room. It gives the church a common form of prayer.

3. What are the voices in the book of Psalms?

We often fail by spending too much time on our awe and wonder of God. Complaint, praise, petition all are spoken in Psalms. Brueggemann’s model is that of orientation-disorientation-re-orientation sequence.

a) The voice of Orientation

Hymns of praise form the core of this grouping. Doxology, praise – these are the response of a well-ordered world. (33:1; 113). There is no tension to resolve according to Brueggemann! But praise to God places us totally outside of ourselves. We dismiss other gods as nothing. We evangelize when we doxologize. The praise of God brings order out of chaos in creation. Praise must correspond to praxis, so there is an ethical dimension to this.

Praise is an act of audacity and implicit trust; we address the Creator and we abandon ourselves to His way.

It is doubtful when we gather to worship that we are orientated correctly.

b) The voice of disorientation

The lament songs, form the largest category of the Psalms! In my own life, the lament songs became real to me while my life lay in a coma and near death. Most heard voice of the Psalmist is not the voice of praise, but the voice of lament. These voices are real. “How long…?” The words of lament would certainly catch people’s attention.

In our worship, we need to be truthful about our lives and sufferings. We need to bring the voice of lament into public worship. These lament Psalms were not meant for some kind of private piety. Why don’t we sing them now?

These Psalams are religious: not in the polite sense, but in the real sense. They lament, but they are not Psalms of resignation! They end with a vow to praise, a confidence in worship of God. These are authentic voices – they make us uncomfortable. As Baptists who have abandoned liturgy, what do we do with Psalm 88:18? But the reality is we gather as disoriented people, who need to express this to God. These are living realities.

c) The voice of re-orientation.

Christians have hope! Primarily these are thanksgiving songs. (105, 106) Songs of trust, the celebration of YHWH as king, royal Psalms, wisdom Psalms, etc. These Psalms are less declarative of God and more descriptive.

These Psalms take us into disorientation, then bring us out. They articulate the most critical voice of worship for the church.

Our worship leaders assume we are ready to worship – while we are not! All of life needs to be brought into the throne room in all of its facets.

4. Entering the throne room with courage and care.

Do we come with impunity or petulance? We need to recall Psalms 1 and 2 – they are the gateposts to get into the Psalter. All of the Psalms except these two have an introduction. “Blessed” starts Psalm 1 and ends Psalm 2.

Psalm 1 brings us to attention, and Psalm 2 calls us to adoration of the “anointed one.” This is not to dull the impact of passion and pathos in worship (see Psalms 3-7 which are all lament Psalms). We come boldly to God by bringing all of life into the presence of God.

5. Concluding with a new tehilllim (ending).

The Psalter has 5 endings or five doxologies. The final expression of Torah is always hallelujah!

6. Some suggested responses

a) Bring the Psalms back into the worship life of the community of faith. Not lines, phrases and ideas that are there, but all the words as they are. We need new music to get these ageless voices of the Psalms into the church in new and fresh ways.

b) Lets come to a new and better understanding of what it is to bring all of life into the worship of God. That ACTS prayer formula is not sufficient. Read those lament Psalms with the passion with which they were meant to be read.

c) Understand that the task of worship is to bring a new orientation – a reorientation! People are saying, “Give us some hope.” So we need to begin where they are.


Bonhoeffer said: “Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power.”

Lets revel in the unsuspected power that comes when we speak to one another in PSALMS.


1. The Scottish Psalter – do we need it? How do you pray or sing imprecatory songs?

The Psalter is a stylistic thing – use it if you your people are good with it. “New song” means that it reaches the community. Maybe drums or Bono are needed?

Imprecatory Psalms: the most difficult part of the discussion. Calling for curse is rooted deeply in the Abrahamic covenant. This is the foundation of the discussion. While it was the voice of the people to sing these songs, but it was often the anointed king or priest of God that sang the imprecatory Psalms. As far as we embrace the Abrahamic covenant we can embrace these Psalms. We can sing these against those who are arrayed against God… but understanding the move into the New Covenant.

2. The difference between expressing lament, then accusing God.

We need to be very careful of using the Psalms our final statements of theology. Psalms are full of metaphor, hyperbole, etc. Words like “abandon, forsake” etc – this is the stock and trade of lyric. These words are not intended to be calculated systematic declarations.

3. There is a distinction between Israel and the church. Israel was a mixed multitude, but the church is made up of Christians alone.

IBC Session 1: What is worship? (Rev. Joe Boot – Director of Ravi Zacharias Ministries – Canada)

Roger Bergs began with a conference introduction and an explanation of worship. Worship is first of all to honor God by speaking of who He is, or what He has done (or doing). How we feel about these attributes is secondary to their Truth.

Glendon Thompson welcomed all and stressed that part of the purpose of the IBC is to bring Baptists together of different persuasions, so we can learn from one another and grow in our fellowship.

Dr. Haykin introduced Joe Boot, and noted two books authored by the speaker.

Rev. Boot:

My goal in ministry is to direct people to Christ and I want to direct them to God. Tozer once said, “Christians don’t speak lies; they sing them!” What we express outwardly often varies from our external experience.

Amos 5:21-24

What comes to mind when you hear the word “worship?” We often think we know what it means but find it hard to define. The music time. A band. Whole service. Songs from the Psalter. Romans 12:1. Diverse results even within evangelicalism. But so often it is confused with music and singing. Posturing and celebrity-ism often follow.

Labels help us fight each other – and often they are defined by our worship style. The more innovation that is pursued, the more we cater to a fussy generation of church shoppers! Too often we do not define things and just run to what we like.

What Amos says raises a certain rebuke, whomever we are. Worship is a contraction of the old Anglosaxon “worthship.” To love, admire or idolize. When the world looks at the church they should be able to see something of the God we love and adore. They should perceive what is worth most to us?

Gibben described worship in ancient pagan Rome: no one took anyone else seriously. No one form was distinct from another in justice and love. They all looked the same and ignored one another. In Canada today, people look at all religion as the same way. Politics uses religion when expedient. What sets Christian worship apart in Canada? Music style, festivals, meetings? Are we just another demographic?

What is worth most to you and how do you express that order of worth in your life? Singing, prayer, sacraments, special days, reciting of Scripture, giving our money – are all forms of public worship. But do these constitute worship? Amos says they do not.

Just being solemn is not what God desires! Just singing does not work either! Offerings don’t cut it either! Is there something wrong with these things? No. Israel’s problem was a disjunction between what they expressed and how they lived. This grieved God’s heart. True worship is a life of justice and righteousness. Jesus spoke in John 4 that worship is a matter of “spirit and truth.” The mountain, the soft chair, the pew – they don’t matter. A just heart and life – the right value structure: love to God and men.

Israel obsessed over forms of worship even in the times of our Lord. It was this that brought so much division between them and Jesus. To worship is about obedience to God. We know God if we keep His commandments.

The greater our love for God, the clearer our understanding of worship as justice. Pascal said, “Unless you love the truth, you cannot know it.” Our prayer should be for an increase in love for God so that our worship would grow. So, worship is love. We cannot be worshippers in name only – otherwise it is pure theatre. A person’s ultimate love directs their lives and highlights their value structure. What kind of love you have distinguishes the kind of person you are – you become like what you worship.

I was a major Elvis fan as a youth. I conformed myself to all things Elvis! You become like what you worship. We conform ourselves to the object of worship. Love unites us with the object of our love.

Augustine: Love God means a mutual indwelling – God in us and we in God (with a big difference!). No one can love God while not loving their neighbour that disagrees with them about worship in the pew beside them.

We worship God alone since only God can make us truly happy. True worship is the one vocation that is everlasting. We all worship something and we will be conformed to it. True rest is in worship of God.

Power of Worship (and its public perception)

When we meet together to worship and mouths are reflecting the reality of what is true in your life. David danced before the Lord. So our whole self might engage in worship. We might listen, sing, bow down, light a candle or two, and give of our money. Public confessional worship has an enormous impact on the unbeliever. Paul desired orderliness in worship so it was recognized that God is amongst us.

In the early church, hymn-singing was often a crucial part of teaching the people. It was a means of passing on Christian truth. Ambrose led his people in Trinitarian hymns to teach this faith. There was a reciprocal relationship between hymns and theology.

Many illiterate meant there was a need to get Scriptural truth into the hearts of the people. The sound flowed into their hearts and the Truth was distilled into their hearts. Every time we sing we join the angels and all the saints through the ages.

Psalms were the first hymn book, but very soon (even in Scripture) there were other words being written to communicate truth.

God, Creator of All Things Ambrose (quoted).

Note that there is not only theological truth, but expressed love for the Lord as well.

Here is a good place to start in our current worship wars. What are we doing when we come together to worship? Just because something is from the 19th century does not mean it is good. Some of it is rationalistic. We need to ask what Truth is being distilled into our hearts.

We are not the first to struggle with music, truth content and … Is it entertainment to enjoy the music in worship? Augustine could speak of “enjoying the musical element in song. I can give more affection to some truth when it is sung, rather than just spoken. Sometimes this feeling leads to a kind of soulishness that runs in front of my thinking. But a seriousness may distract from our heart worship – our minds cannot keep up with our worship.” Doesn’t the Spirit pray through us?

Augustine continues: “When I recall the tears I shed at the songs that are sung… I vacillate between dangerous pleasure and helpful exercise.” “Heal me, O God.” Perhaps if we had this attitude we would avoid some of the conflict.

Worship is God’s gift to us, not the other way around. He does not lack anything in Himself. He needs nothing. Will we possess God or will we be His possession?

God demands, commands and implores us to worship so that we might discover to be truly human. No one knows what it is to be truly human until lost in wonder and praise. Do not squander this gift.

God is worthy of our worthship.

Questions and Answers:

1. What is the biblical defense for an inflow of Truth as being a part of worship?

The Psalms are just this.

2. Corporate worship. How should leaders in worship deal with those who have different tastes in style and instrumentation?

I am bound to upset somebody this answer. I do not think there is a blueprint on how to deal with this. If leadership asks for some to lead, their priority is to express biblical worship. The task is not to cater.

I love choral music, but I was also part of a contemporary music band that evangelized in prisons.

My difficulty is with splitting services to cater to worship preferences. The critical issue is content. Is there a demonic b-flat, a demonic drum beat? I don’t think so. Extremes do not work because they do not bring to God.

Singing about me all the time is a problem. We need to sing of God.

We can become overly divisive over instrumentation. Are we caught up in wonder, love and praise? That is what matters. Content-less songs have no purpose.

Some contemporary expressions of song do have excellent content. That is the issue – not entertainment.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

International Baptist Conference

The IBC begins tomorrow morning with Joe Boot. I hope to blog a bit about it... not sure that I can keep up the Challified Liveblogging pace... but you can check in here through the day and perhaps find a few things.
I will definitely work to get Dever's evening message summarized and posted.
I may even have one other surprise for you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bested: Beaten Soundly by Nelson the Jehovah's Witness

Yesterday I received a phone call from a fellow who said he had found our website “while on his lunch break” and had a few questions about the Bible. He wondered if I would talk to him.

I was happy to oblige and he started out by asking me how Jesus could be God based on his grasp of John 17:3. This was not a text I had heard used before to debunk the deity of Christ, so it took a few minutes for me to get my head around what he was saying. Eventually, it became clear and I started to answer.

Within a few seconds he was cutting me off, getting ever more aggressive and displaying the fact that these were not honest questions – he was out for blood.

And I took the bait.

At one point I uttered the phrase, “Well, having studied Greek for 7 years in college and seminary...” I recall thinking that such a profound fact would back him down in a hurry. What a fool was I.

That phrase came back over and again as he, quite honestly, ran circles around me in the Greek text.

Now, it is not that he was right. He was quite wrong. But he was an excellent debater and having gained the upper hand he was not going to let go. I was red meat in a lion’s cage. I wilted. He won.

This surprising event taught me two things: First, I was brought to face the massive amount of pride that still resides in my heart. Second, I am still very weak and cowardly when going toe-to-toe with a spiritual interlocutor.

If he had taped our conversation, you would have heard my voice begin to shake a little and my arguments get increasingly fuzzy and bland. I was no Luther! I am glad the Lord brought this event into my life... but it has not been easy to bounce back. I got off the phone a whipped puppy.

I tried to move the “conversation” another direction, inviting “Nelson” from “somewhere in America” to send me an email with his questions to which I would respond later. Strangely, even though he “found me on the internet” he did not have email.

My guess is that Nelson is a kind of web-prowling Jehovah’s Witness. He has his ducks in order and he likes to stick it to Trinitarians. That is fine. Well, it is not very loving, but I get the picture.

One thing it made me consider was my own evangelism methods. Do the folks I speak to of Christ feel my genuine love for them? Or, do they feel like I am out to score a few points for my side? I know what I want them to feel.

Anyway, Nelson, should you be flipping through the internet today and stumble across my account of our phone meeting, you are more than welcome to fill in any blanks and carry on with your questions here. Like I said to you on the phone, I think all your statements are answerable, but I am just not very good at answering them off the cuff. It seems reasonable to expect that you might read this, since you were on our church website and that links here... so my offer is a real and genuine one!

To the rest of you, I suppose my purpose in blogging this has been to remind us all to not rely on our own strength and wisdom. We can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ, the all-glorious second member of the Tri-une Godhead, who strengthens us.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What should a pastor do when everything is going wrong?

I checked my blogflux page today and found this search phrase googled that brought a visitor to this site: "Google - what should a pastor do when everything is going wrong"

My heart ached when I read that. Unfortunately, whoever googled it ended up on one of my posts on Joel Osteen! Not sure how google formulated those search results.

If a pastor asked me that question, though, here is how I would respond:

1. Rejoice - these trials are going to prove God's work in you and increase your hope in Him (Romans 5:3-5).

2. Repent
- of all the sin you are shown in your heart through the refining fire of trials and beg God's Holy Spirit to kill every last ounce of sin outposted in your soul (Romans 8:13)

3. Remember - the only thing to fear in this life is fear itself. There is an inheritance reserved in heaven for you that far outweighs the worst this world can throw at you. Even death is nothing once we are in Christ! (1 Peter 1).

4. Read - the letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus. Then just do what they say - even if it feels like death to do so.

5. Remain calm - chuch problems are hardly ever as big as they feel. Stay your path. Walk close to God. Puruse humility. Trust in sovereignty. Wait expectantly to see what God is going to do. Keep your repose, comfort your family and love the sheep - even the biting ones. (Ecclesiastes 10:4)

6. Pray.

If you are the brother who queried the phrase, I have been praying for you. And I know many of my readers will be praying for you, too.

International Baptist Conference: Worship Examined

Toronto Baptist Seminary is hosting their semi-annual International Baptist Conference this week. Speakers include, Mark Dever, Joe Boot, Daniel Akin, David Barker, Roger Bergs and Fred Serjeant. I have posted a scan of the brochure here which includes the schedule.
The conference begins with an open session Thursday night which is also the TBS Convocation.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Morris Canadian

It's not every day you can get a southerner to don a Team Canada cap. I thought I should show the world!

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