Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day for Baptists

Baptists - as a general rule - don't really know about Reformation Day, but it is a VERY important day in the story of Christianity. In was on this day that Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church on October 31, 1517.

There is too much to tell about Reformation Day or the impact of the Reformation. You can read about it on wikipedia here Reformation Day

So what about today? Is there a need for Baptists (and all people of faith) to consider the Reformation or what happened then? Yes. But I would encourage us not to learn history for the sake of knowing about about it, but as a reason to examine what we do now.

Anytime an emphasis on works replaces the gospel of Grace we need a reformation.

 Anytime we replace the teachings of scripture with popular culture we need a reformation. 2 Timothy 4:3

Anytime we see worship as "that's the kind of music I like best" instead of as a time to come humbly before our great God and King to worship Him we need a reformation.

Anytime we say (or think) "Thank you, God, that I"m not a sinner like that man" see Luke 18 we need a reformation.

This - of course - is not an exhaustive list. Do your own soul searching. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you have need of reformation.

A tradition of Reformation Day is to sing Martin Luther's great hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." Here's a version I think you will enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Checking the MIrror

This is a repost from a post dated in July of 2010. I just saw it again and laughed again. Thought you might enjoy it.

On Tuesdays the pastors go to lunch together. It's always a fun time as we relax a little and just get to spend a little time together talking about the church and our families and a little bit of everything.

This last week we ended up going for breakfast instead of lunch. We went to Shoney's for the breakfast buffet. Yummmm.

While we were sitting there a young couple got out of their car across the parking lot and headed toward the door. About half-way across the parking lot they stopped. The young lady decided that it would probably be a good idea to check and see if they had any money before they ordered - at least that is what I was guessing. She was looking all through her large purse for something.

The young man was a stocky sort of guy in shorts and a muscle shirt. While his wife was looking through her purse he noticed his reflection in the windows of Shoney's. He turned a little bit sideways and flexed his arm. Mmm. Looked good. So he puffed up his chest and flexed a little more.


Meanwhile - oblivious to her husband, the wife kept pilfering through her purse. He didn't mind her taking so long because he was lookin' good!

"Hey look! I said, This guy is checking himself out in the window!" He had a bigger audience now and didn't even know it. Probably wouldn't have cared if he had known.

Another flex of the left bicep, a tilt of the shoulder and that "lookin' fine" look on his face; he could have stayed there all afternoon.

Ah! Found some money. They can go in.

But no! First he had to pull the leg of his shorts up and flex his leg in the mirror window. I'm not sure his wife was as impressed as he had hoped. She's probably seen this routine at home more than she wants. haha.

I told Bro. Tony, "I guess if I had leg muscles like that I'd check myself out in the windows too. haha"

Tony said rather dryly, "No, you wouldn't!"

I suppose he's right.

On our way out the door I decided I needed to check how I looked in the window. Hmmm, just as skinny as I looked that morning at home. I guess my muscles couldn't show through my long-sleeved shirt and dress pants. The other guys wouldn't look at themselves. They said they were afraid they were just as big as they were before - maybe bigger after the breakfast bar.

A little self-inspection and a look in the mirror really isn't a bad thing. After all, you don't want to scare little children as you walk around town.

The same is true for your spirit too. But what do you use as a mirror? Looking in the bathroom mirror or the windows at Shoney's will help you know if your hair is sticking up or not, but to look at your heart you need something other than yourself to compare with. The scriptures say

"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick ; Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 NAS

It is only as we allow God to show us what is in our hearts that we see the true picture. I can compare myself to a lot of different people in the news and think I am doing really awesome. But when I compare myself to what God has asked of me - well, that's different.  Psalm 139 has this prayer from David "23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."

So how do you go about that? You have to spend time each day in the Word. That's where you'll find truth and direction and strength and more. Memorize scripture. Hide it in your heart.

"But it's impossible to live up to a standard like that" you might say. Yep. Impossible. Thankfully God's Spirit works through us and helps us live as new creations.

There's a lot more that could be said here, but I'm late for a meeting and if I don't hit "publish" now it's not going to happen today. Please finish this little sermon on your own. Im guessing that this isn't something you haven't heard before. This was just a little reminder and hopefully an encouragement for you.

See you at Shoney's!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Recording the Congregation

If you haven't heard, our choir is making a CD. Some of the songs are songs you have heard before - either out of the hymnal, a choir number or one of the new songs we sing along with a hymn. Some of the songs we have been singing for a few years here and we decided the choir shouldn't have all of the fun. You should get to be on the CD too!

Bro. Paul will be leading the Pastor's Bible Study on Wednesday night, October 17, since Bro. Larry will be gone with the Sr. Adults . Bro. Paul said we could take a little of the prayer time and a little of the Bible study time to record the congregation so you all can be on the CD too. How fun is that?!

Here are the songs we'll record.

Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Prince of Peace (we sang it this past Sunday, so you should be ready to go)
Resting in Your Love with 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Sing and Rejoice with Rejoice the Lord Is King (we first sang this when Bro. Paul was preaching his series through Philippians)

It looks long, but each song is only 3-4 minutes long.

If you usually miss Wednesday nights for some odd reason, maybe you can join us this one week - October 17, 6:20, Main Campus Worship Center.