For Such a Time as This

card-frontThere is so much negative in our world these days.

We have seen it so many times before.  Words or actions inflame deeply rooted hostilities and then chaos ensues.  These images create overwhelming anxiety and fuels even greater unrest.  Every night, the headlines are cluttered with violence, insult and corruption.  We are inundated with liberal bias, conservative rants and bleak outlooks which forecast things getting worse before they ever get better.  As a result, we tend to fixate on the disturbing conduct and dysfunctional lifestyle of the few while overlooking or even ignoring the reasonable efforts of the many that seek real peace, liberty and justice for all.

What should be the response of the church?  It is easy to be frustrated by all that we see.  No one likes to see what is happening all around us.  However, the trouble in our world is more than repulsive and repugnant.  The state of our nation is disheartening and terribly sad.  It breaks my heart to see all that I see.

Therefore, the church needs a better response than merely wagging a finger in disapproval at a culture that seems content to wallow in the muck and mire of the world.  Instead, we should be on the front line engaging our culture with the truth of the gospel in the power of His Spirit boldly proclaiming that hope is alive while demonstrating that love works.

Church, it is time we do something about all of this crazy.  Sometimes we are caught up waiting for the movement of God to do something special.  What if we could change our perspective and realized that as “the body of Christ” we are that special movement God.  What would happen in your family, this community and this nation if we properly understood that God has saved us and raised us up for such a time as this?

This Sunday, I plan to roll out a community initiative that will enable our church to be the catalyst of positive change by engaging in random and simple acts of love.  Love is more than an emotion.  Love is action.  Love is being kind.  Love is giving generously.  Love is caring for those in need.  Love works by serving others.  Together we are going to love someone and see just how love works.  Our church has already set the ground work to partner with multiple community organizations and entities in hopes that Fairfield and the surrounding area could once again unite in community by focusing on Christ’s command to love one another.  If there has ever been a time that our world needs real love, it is now.  Join me this Sunday for our fall campaign “Love Works.”  I hope to see you there.

One More

There are moments we encounter that provoke great questions.  In those moments we seek to assess reality in order to identify what is going on in this world and how the circumstances we are experiencing are going to impact us in our own immediate context as well as life’s trajectory in the days to come.

Every week there seems to be a national tragedy that causes us to shake our heads in disbelief.  Terror has crept in and is creating chaos, instilling fear and dividing humanity into polarized factions all over the world.  The political wrangling expends a ton of energy measured in billions of dollars and 24/7 media coverage, but it only seems to achieve greater division and disappointment.

The struggle of raising a family in this environment is real.  Our society seems to be unraveling, our culture is evolving rapidly (almost morphing into something unrecognizable to us) and the hope of this nation to be the United States of America is ever dwindling.  The hostile rhetoric and increasing violence exposes more than a loss of civility, it reveals that we are a fractured people that is spiraling into great brokenness.

It is in these moments.  We ask questions.  It is in these moments we seek to understand what is going on, but ultimately we search in order to define what we believe to be true.  Truth is what sets us free.  This world says strike a pose, play the game, and pretend everything is fine, but posturing will not fix the wrecked or ruined parts of life.   And although this world continues to undermine what is true, we know that in an ever changing world truth is the only thing that is constant.  Is it any wonder then that Christ gave Himself that name.  He is Truth!  We can believe what is true.  If we are to stand in uncertain times and not be swept away by a shifting worldly current, then stand upon what is true.


How West is One


Earlier this year, our partners in missions gathered for a ministry celebration in Seoul Korea.  This gathering was sponsored by Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI), who (if you are not familiar) is one of our strategic partners in world missions.  (We strategically partner with others as well, for example)

  • SBC- largest Baptist mission organization in the world
    • What is it? In essence, 50,000 independent Baptist church network to support nearly 4000 missionaries around the world
    • Currently there are nearly 39,000 SBC churches in other countries
    • 2013- 190,957 were baptized overseas by these SBC churches
    • Excites me to be a part of that effort
  • Manna Worldwide – 160 projects in 40 countries
    • Partners with missionaries on the field to provide gospel centered churches, feeding programs, orphanages, schools, and clean water.
    • I am honored to be serving a 3 year term on the board
    • Our mission trips to the Philippines and Guatemala have been Manna mission trips (By the way, pack your bags, we are going to Philippines in 2017)

However, the majority of our missionaries that we support are BBFI missionaries.  BBFI has about 800 missionaries serving in 89 countries around the world.  The meeting in Korea was intended to measure the global impact of our partnership; and the numbers are staggering.  Just in the last 3 years,

  • 355,470 have come to Christ and made professions of faith
  • 10,616 nationals are training to lead in full-time ministry
  • And 1774 churches have been started.
  • And 6,483 additional missions have been started with intentions to organize into a church.

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The Gospel Change

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The Bible teaches that believers in Christ are actually an altogether new creation.  That is what the bible says.   2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  That means those who have placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and have been justified (declared righteous) by faith in Him are living in a new sphere of life.  Old things have passed away; all things have become new because of this new position in Christ.

Let me say it this way.  There was a time in each and every one of our lives we lived in the womb of our mother.  That was the sphere of our life.  It was a very necessary sphere, but it was limited and narrow.  But now, things have changed.  We are no longer in the womb but are now living in this world.  Our natural birth has brought about an enormous change in our lifestyle.  In fact, we have changed so much, none of us even remember that way of life.  It is foreign to us now.

In the same manner, those that are in Christ have been born again.  There has been this spiritual rebirth and our spiritual rebirth has changed our lives completely and absolutely; once and for all.  Things will never be the same.  We have been made new and, at the same time, are being made new.  We are in Christ.  He covers us and consumes us; so now we live, and move and have our being in Christ.  He eclipses everything this world has to offer.  We have seen His glory and we are now changed.  He has made us new and our lives reflect that transformation.

However, this is where we must be careful.  We must recognize what happens when pledging our faith in Christ.  When embracing faith, the gospel of Jesus Christ changes us.  Therefore, we begin to do different, because we are different.  Our spiritual birth has awakened us to a brand new way of life.  Yet, sometimes it comes off as this religious pressure to perform, when in reality our responsibility in living a Christ centered life has everything to do with the awareness that Christ is changing us.

In essence, our dreams and desires change.  Our passions and priorities change.  Our wants and our wishes change.  We are motivated to do different and to be different because we are different.  We are made new and are being made new.  So then, we are not transitioning in life by implementing change, we are transforming in life evidenced by the change.  Therefore, our doing is not some mechanical prescription to do better, our doing is God’s supernatural power that is making us new.  This is the gospel change and it changes everything about us.

Does it Matter What You Do with Your Life?


Saul was a chosen vessel.  On the road to Damascus to persecute Christians, Christ confronted Saul and revealed Himself.  It was this authentic revelation of Jesus in Saul’s life that caused an immediate revolution in Saul’s heart.  Saul saw the light.  He was forever changed.  The old things had instantly passed away, and everything became new.  Saul was delivered and God had determined to use this man to be the instrument that would, in effect, change the world.

Saul’s previous life had prepared him for this moment.  He was born into a Roman family and thereby a citizen of the most powerful nation of its time.  The Roman Empire was noted for its commerce and trade over land and sea, it provided the best schools and learning institutions of its day and the privileges of society were unmatched and only offered to its citizens.

Specifically, Saul was born into a Jewish family of the Diaspora.  In other words, as a Jew, Paul was familiar and in touch with secular society.  He knew the Greek language, identified Greek logic and understood the influence of Greek culture upon the lives of men.  Saul had a clear perspective of the world.

Being a Jew, Saul had a number of insights into the lifestyle of God’s people.  Saul was brought up in the synagogue.  He had a working knowledge of the Scriptures.  For as long as Saul could remember, he had been taught the traditions of old.  Even though he had a Greek intellect, he had the training of a rabbi and was inducted into the elite Jewish ruling counsel known as the Sanhedrin.

Now everything was different.  Everything was new.  Yet God would use all of these personal experiences of Saul to fulfill His sovereign plan.  Clearly, Saul was chosen by God to do an extraordinary work of ministry.

Much could be said about this man Saul.  I could identify his character and his conduct in order to learn from his example.  Excluding Christ, one could argue that there has been no better man to ever walk this earth than Saul.  Saul has an amazing story; Saul the murderer of the faithful becomes a miracle of faith.  This man that purposely persecuted the church prior to his conversion eventually would proclaim the hope of Christ in like passion.  God ultimately elevated Saul well beyond his own comprehension to a place of legendary status within church history.  Humanly speaking, Saul would author half the New Testament writings.  Therefore, it can be said that no man would make any greater contribution, have any greater influence or be of any greater value to the world than this man Saul.

Clearly Saul was someone special which had something special, but what about the rest of us?  Those of us that will never be center on the world’s stage, do we have anything substantive to offer?  Does it really matter what we do with our life?

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The Church: Making a Difference in Butler County

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This past weekend, an article ran in our local paper regarding the results of the reorganization efforts of Butler County’s Children Services.  The committed personnel and dedicated social workers are working hard to mitigate the difficult circumstances that confront many children in our county.  Of course, these are they that diligently give of themselves everyday and are clearly doing the lion share of the work.  However, I am also grateful for the opportunities that the faith community have been given to invest in the lives of children who are at risk.

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Truth is under attack for it is no longer considered to be absolute within our postmodern society. George Barna reported that only 33 percent of Americans accept the idea of absolute moral truth.[1] Barna’s poll also found that even Christians struggle to accept moral truth as absolute. According to Barna, only 49 percent of those born again believe in absolute moral truth.[2] Postmodernism is stripping away the traditional ideas of truth. Therefore the modern Christian believer is required to accurately understand God’s mission through the study of missiology in order to competently relate God’s message by implementing specific evangelistic methods.

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