Month: January 2011

A Band of Brothers–Week 2

1 Samuel 17: The Battle with Giants in Your Life

Festering Trouble (1 Samuel 17:1-15)

Situation from the Text:

The Battlefield (1 Samuel 17:1-3)

The Giant (1 Samuel 17: 4-11)

The Shepherd (1 Samuel 17: 12-15)

Application to your life:

  • What Giants are you facing that question your God?
  • Are you faithful to do the little things that no one sees?

Four Traits (1 Samuel 17: 20-50)

L.E.A.D.

Thoughts from the Text:

L Little things make the difference so be faithful (1 Sam 17:20; 34-37)

E Expect criticism and Evoke your past successes(Criticism: 1 Sam 17:28, 33; Past success 1 Sam 17:34-37)

A Always be Yourself and do not wear someone else’s armor(1 Sam 17:38-39)

D Declare that the Battle is the Lord’s and give him the glory(1 Sam 17:37, 45-47)

Application to your life:

  • Name the little things that can make a difference in your life. Spiritual, financial, relationships with others?
  • What are you doing right now that is so radical others are criticizing you for it? If nothing, then is that a good thing or are you wasting your life?
  • Write down some past successes that you can always look back to where God was faithful.
  • What are the gifts that God has given you? Are you trying to be someone else instead of God’s unique masterpiece?
  • What areas of your life do you need to turn over to the Lord and give him the glory for overcoming?

Final Triumph (1 Samuel 17:50-57)

Thoughts from the Text:

The battles of our life are not really about us. They are about God. In fact all of our lives should   not point to us but should point to God.

Application to your life:

  • What do you need to change in your life so that it points more to God and less to you?
  • Name the first giant in your life that you are giving over to God this week.
  • If you have already conquered a giant or after you conquer one, who will you tell so that your life points to God and what He has done in and through you?

Sex Trafficking–Not in Our House!

With the Superbowl coming to town, it is estimated that pimps will bring 12,000 minors into the area for forced prostitution. Some of our own neighborhoods may find rented homes turned into makeshift brothels.

Several Southwestern Seminary students are trying to raise awareness to this problem. They have started a website called “lose the chains” and have organized a discussion on the subject of sex trafficking. The open forum will feature Southwestern PhD student Mindy may and Deena Graves from Traffick 911. Traffick911’s “I’m not buying it” campaign also seeks to raise awareness about the problem and rescue as many girls as possible.

The Southern Baptist of Texas recently wrote an article on the subject which you can find here. In addition to the article, I was privileged to serve as chairman of the resolutions committee for the 2010 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas. One of the five resolutions we presented to the convention spoke to the issue of sex trafficking. The convention overwhelmingly demonstrated its opposition to the crime.

I want to commend the SBTC for writing on article and passing a resolution on the matter, and also the Southwestern Seminary students trying to raise awareness for this issue. Will you help by passing the word? Can you imagine if all Christians in the Dallas/Fort Worth area did what we could?  Thousands of extra eyes watching for trafficking and forced prostitution. That would send a message to the criminals. Sex trafficking is not welcome–not in our house!

If you see something, please call the national hotline at 1-888-3737-888. The text of the SBTC resolution clearly demonstrates the horror of this tragedy and our responsibility to do what we can.

On Sex-Trafficking

WHEREAS, sex-trafficking is the act of defrauding, coercing and deceiving victims into acts of sexual depravity and slavery; and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice predicts that each year more than 293,000 minors are at risk of ending up in childhood sexual exploitation in the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, twenty percent of these victims are brought illegally to the United States; and

WHEREAS, the average entry age of these children into sexual exploitation is between eleven and fourteen; and

WHEREAS, these criminal acts incapacitate victims by permanently scarring them physically and emotionally–and also result in the deaths of thousands; and

WHEREAS, the ever-expanding and increasingly mainstream pornography industry–which seeks ever- younger children for its lucrative films, videos and printed materials–drives the demand for child sexual exploitation; and

WHEREAS, this brutal sex-trafficking industry generates more than $32 billion dollars each year for pimps and madams who serve as slave masters and repeatedly sell the bodies of children for personal enrichment; and

WHEREAS, this crime, typically committed out of the sight of caring people, goes largely unrecognized and unreported by our communities; and

WHEREAS, Proverbs 24:11-12 says, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”; now, therefore, let it be

RESOLVED, we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, assembled in Corpus Christi, Texas, November 15-16, 2010, call on churches to make available church ministry programs that educate members about this insidious problem–including awareness of the vulnerability of some children, the recruiting methods of these criminals, and the best policies for crime prevention, protection of vulnerable children and the prosecution of the perpetrators (Luke 17:2); and be it further

RESOLVED, we advertise the national sex-trafficking hotline reporting number: 1-888-3737-888; and be it finally

RESOLVED, we encourage churches to support victim rescue and restoration ministries, demonstrating the spirit of Psalm 82:3-4, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless: maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Revive this Nation

Yesterday, Monday January 24th, marked the first class for our Spring Revival Evangelism Program called “Revive this Nation.” I have never been as nervous in the classroom. The potential impact of this class on our nation and the responsibility of guiding many students who have never preached a sermon in preparation for their first five sermons weighed heavy on me.

The class began with Dan Crawford, a long time professor at Southwestern and former director of the program, providing the history of the revivals. It began over 50 years ago when a group of students gathered for prayer in the basement of a local church to pray for revival. Those students didn’t have a spring break, but they determined to miss a week of classes to drive together to Ohio at their own expense to hold a revival meetings.

We don’t know much about that first group of preachers, and it should be that way. After all, preaching should focus on Jesus Christ and not the preacher anyway.

Dr. Crawford began this class just as the program began–with prayer. The entire class packed full of students to the point that we brought in metal chairs got down on their knees before the Lord asking him to send revival to our nation. I have to admit as the class continued the students amazed me with their answers, their passion, and their excitement to preach the Word and reach the world.

Let me ask you to pray for us and with us. Please pray that God will use this weak vessel to equip these students in the classroom with whatever knowledge they need. Pray that God will protect every preacher, give him the message he needs, and the freedom to deliver it with passion. Pray that every church will experience a revival and Christ will awaken the lost to follow Him.

At the end of the class, I still felt just as nervous as I did at the beginning. Perhaps that’s a good thing because no human can bring revival without the power of the Holy Spirit. Only God can change lives and Revive this Nation. Pray with me that God would do something so big that only He gets the glory for it.

Abortion: A Violation of our Constitution

Many things happen within the walls of congress that I do not support, but occasions do arise when elected officials stand to do the right thing. I commend Rep. James Lankford for standing to do the right thing. I do not know all of his positions or his life story, but on the issue of abortion violating the self-evident right to life granted by our constitution and our creator, he is on the money.

In my lifetime, our nation has murdered over 50 million babies. I do not see how almighty God can bless a nation that uses words to remove the personhood of babies to justify killing them. We have fought wars against others who did a very similar thing…the only difference is the people they killed were a little older.

We need to repent of our national sins and ask for forgiveness and mercy of God on our nation!

Week 1: The Battleplans: God’s Design for Biblical Manhood

Gen 2-3: The Battleplan for Biblical Manhood

The Absentee Male Leader (Gen. 3:1-7)

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Thoughts from the text:

  • Where was Adam while the Serpent tempted Eve?
  • Why did Adam not speak-up and prevent her from making a mistake?
  • While Eve was deceived, Adam consciously chose to follow Eve over following God.

Application to your life:

  • Where are you when your family is tempted by the Devil?
  • Are you actively leading your family or are you an absentee leader?
  • Have you made a conscious choice to follow something other than God? Materialism, power, pride, pornography?

The Abusive Male Leader (Gen. 3:16-19)

Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Thoughts from the text:

  • The fall creates punishment in each person’s assignment. For the woman, pain in childbirth and for the man toil in labor.
  • The fall distorts proper gender roles: The woman’s “desire” is to control her husband. The man may rule harshly over the wife.[1]
  • Our sin has an affect on everything around us.

Application to your life:

  • Do you rule over your wife or love her as Christ loved the church?
  • What effect has your sin had on those around you?

The Appropriate Male Leader (Gen 2)

Before the Fall, God ordained male leadership which is referred to in the New Testament. The man is called to be the provider, the protector, and the priest or spiritual leader of his home.

Thoughts from the text:

1.              The order: Adam was created first and the story of Genesis centers on Adam. Adam being the first-born would have precedence over Eve. Eve     was later formed, but not as central to the story. (Note the sequence in Genesis 2:7; and 2:18-23; 1 Timothy 2:13)

2.              The Source: Woman was created from man and not man from woman (1 Cor. 11:8, 12; cf Gen. 2:22).

3.              The naming of woman: Adam named Eve; Eve did not name Adam (Genesis 2:23).

4.              The purpose: Eve was created as a helper for Adam, not Adam as a helper for Eve (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:9).

5.              The representation: Adam, not Eve, had a special role in representing the human race (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-49; Romans 5:12-21).

6.              The naming of the human race: God named the human race “Man,” not “Woman” (Genesis 5:2).

7.              The restoration: Salvation in Christ in the New Testament reaffirms the Creation order (Colossians 3:18-19). Jesus is listed as the second Adam and not the second Eve.  (1 Cor. 15:45; Rom 5:17-21).

8.              The primary accountability: God called Adam to account first after the Fall  (Genesis 3:9). In addition, it is not until Gen. 3:7 after Adam eats of the fruit that both of their eyes were open.

9.              The conflict: The curse brought a distortion of previous roles, not the introduction of new roles (Genesis 3:16).[2]

Proper male leadership in the home carries over into the church and into all levels of society.

Application to your life:

  • Which type leader are you? Absentee, Abusive, or Appropriate?
  • What simple step can you take to be a better spiritual leader of your home? Family prayer time, Bible reading, etc.
  • Are you ready to be a better leader at home, in the church, and in society?

Don’t be a thermometer. Be a thermostat!

Thermometers adjust to the climate around them whereas thermostats control the climate around them. Being a godly man means not being conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of your mind and influencing what’s around you.


[1] Gen 4:7 uses the same word “desire” when it says sin’s “desire” is for you. This establishes an unhealthy desire to control.

[2] This list borrows heavily but is not identical to the one in Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth (Sisters, OR: Multnomah 2004), 109.

Men’s Bible Study Starts Tonight

Wednesday, Jan. 19, we start the eight week Bible study at Hallmark tonight at 7:00 pm. I have titled the study, “A Band of Brothers.” Playing off the military theme from Mash. For those who remember the show Mash, it was the hospital for the battlefield. I hope that our men’s ministry will act as a spiritual hospital reaching out those who are hurting in the battlefield of life offering them the healing hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Each lesson deals with a battle that men face. I would love to have to come join us for a fun time of Bible study focused on being the man God has called us to be. I will post the handout for each week so if you miss one, don’t let that prevent you from coming to the others. Here is the schedule:

January 19:  The Battleplans (Gen 2-3)
January 26:  The Battle with Giants in your life (1 Sam 17)
February 2:  The Battle of Building (Psalm 127)
February 9:  The Battle of Lust; or Every Man’s Battle (Prov 7)
February 16:  The Battle against Materialism (Luke 16)
February 23:  The Battle for your Marriage (Eph 5)
March 2:  no meeting: Missions Conference
March 9:  The Battle of Fatherhood (Eph 6)

Today I had a meeting with a remarkable student from the College at Southwestern. His name is David Pomerantz, and when he came into my office I am ashamed to say that I didn’t remember him. Now, I will never forget him. He had previously sat in one of my classes at Word of Life Bible Institute in NY. Apparently God used something I said to encourage David to come to the College at Southwestern. Well, today, God used everything that David had to say to encourage me. He is one of the reasons that I am so excited about the generation God is raising up.

His God-sized vision includes having a bus outside of every abortion clinic in America that provides free ultra-sounds to ladies who are considering having an abortion. My first son is due on May the 20th, and I know the power of the ultra-sound. Everytime, I see his tiny heart beat on the screen, my heart leaps for joy and then melts with love for a person whom I have yet to meet face to face. Imagine the difference this would make…the ultimate stand for the sanctity of human life. And, he is doing it in a way that does not offend the ladies by criticizing or cursing at them as they enter the abortion clinic. Instead this provides them with a free service so they can make an informed decision. He provides a voice for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves.

One thing David said that stuck with me was, “We tell these ladies that they are trying to cover their sin by shedding the blood of this baby, but they don’t need to do that because we have a Savior who has shed his blood to cover all of our sins.” Maybe that’s not exactly the way he said it, but the concept is certainly there. You get the point–don’t you. This bus will not only fight for the sanctity of human life, but it will also spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A bus of hope fighting for the lives of the unborn and the eternal destiny of lost souls.

I wish I had time to tell you about all the other ways that David encouraged me today, but instead, I want to leave you with a challenge. I would like for you all to pray for this effort. They have a website that you can visit to learn more www.savethestorks.com I also hope that some of you will come alongside and contribute financially to help purchase these buses. It’s time that we did more than just talk about the issue.

What “God” do you think of?

Here is the latest video we shot for my online Systematic Theology classes at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Our photo and video guys rock. If they only had something decent to work with…oh well. In addition to videos going over the class notes, each week a video like this is connected to the online discussion board. It’s exciting to use cutting edge technology to tell the old, old story.

The Group at Westboro

If I told you that I was a bird, you might have your doubts. After all, I don’t look anything like a bird. I can’t fly. I don’t have wings. In fact, I have very little resemblance to a bird unless you want to count my bird legs as evidence.

Well, as a third generation Southern Baptist preacher and a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I teach about the church, I think know what makes a Baptist church. According to the Bible, a church is a gathering, but a gathering with a purpose…an ecclesia. This Greek word is a compound word from ek and kaleo meaning the “called” “out” ones. The church is made up of those called out for God’s purposes. There are other assemblies in the New Testament. People called out and gathered for political reasons which may form assemblies but not churches. You see, a church has a special mission, which is the mission of Christ. Christ came to offer love and hope, and saving grace to those who were hopeless, unloved, and sinners.

So it really upsets me when a group calls themselves a Baptist church and then conducts themselves disgracefully. As a member of a Baptist church, I want to go on record as saying that the group calling themselves “Westboro” is neither Baptist nor a church. They do not follow the New Testament or the commands of Christ. They act nothing like a church should and do not demonstrate the characteristics of a true church. They should do everyone a favor and change their name to reflect reality. They appear to me as nothing more than a hate group with a extreme agenda. God will set things right on judgment day, and I would not want to be in their shoes.

So why do they call themselves a Baptist church? Well, of course I cannot know for sure, but I suspect that it is because the Devil would love for the public to think all Baptist churches act like Westboro. In reality, nothing could be farther from truth. So when you hear about the group at Westboro that spews hatred across the land, recognize them for what they are–not what they call themselves.  And please don’t mistake them for a Baptist church no matter what the sign may say.

New Beginnings

It is that time of year. The time of year when I think it would be a good idea to do more writing and less emails. The time of year when I have enough free time to think about my next writing project but not quite enough time to start that project. The time of year when I make a decision to focus on the important and not just the urgent. I do this about every six month, and so far, I have yet to succeed. So I thought about it this morning and decided that even though I may fail again, the effort should still be made.

So with that, I am going to make an concerted effort to memorize more Scripture, to share the Gospel more often than I do know, to spend more quality time with my family, to start another major writing project, to get back in shape (a shape other than round), and to minimize all the busy work that keeps me from focusing on the most important things.

Hopefully, I will be able to look back at the end of the year and see that I have been successful. If not, then at least I am going to try. Part of my trying will include writing about various things here. The one I am most excited about is called “Revive This Nation.” More on that soon…

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