Summer Reading Ideas

May 31, 2012

For most families, things slow down a little bit during the summer. The summer is a time for vacations and down time. It’s a great time to enjoy some good books in addition to your regular Bible reading. I thought I would make a few suggestions to get you started.

  • A Praying Life by Paul Miller
This book is one of the most helpful books I’ve read on prayer. Miller is honest and transparent about his own struggles and the struggles his family has gone through. His dependence upon God is compelling. The first part of the book lays a theological foundation for prayer. The last part of the book is really practical. Miller shares with you some helpful tools that can enhance your prayer life. This book is a must read!
 
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
If you want to read a fascinating biography that will stir your soul, this book is for you. You will be challenged as you read about the commitment of this German pastor to follow Christ in Nazi Germany. I especially enjoyed reading about his childhood and about his role in the German resistance.
 
  • Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

Without question, this is the best Christian fiction book I have ever read!  I couldn’t put it down!  It is based on the reality of the underground church in China.  As a matter of fact, the people and the circumstances are based upon real Chinese believers that Alcorn met during his research.  This look at Chinese Christians challenged me greatly.  I woke up one morning at 3:30 hearing Claire sobbing.  She was reading Safely Home and like me, she couldn’t put it down.

There are so many books that I could recommend but I will stop with those three for now. Find a quiet place, get a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea, and enjoy some edifying summer reading!

Blessings,

Pastor Wade

 

 

Partners in the Gospel

May 28, 2012

In a recent message I talked about what it means to be partners in the Gospel. We looked at different passages in Philippians starting with verses 3-5 in chapter 1 where Paul writes, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

I used the following definition of what partnership in the Gospel is:

Partnership in the Gospel happens when you have a group of people that have been captured by the Gospel, bound together in the Spirit, focused on one purpose, that really love each other.

Every part of the definition is important. You have to have a group of people that are Gospel-centered. That means they have been saved by God’s grace and cherish the biblical Gospel. You have to have a group of people bound together in the Spirit. That means they are all in-dwelt, empowered, and directed by the Spirit of God. They have to be focused on one purpose, making disciples. Last but certainly not least they must love each other. Without love there is no real partnership. If we do not desire to see others achieve success we are not ready to be co-laborers.

I hope and pray that our church can live up to that definition. I also look forward to unprecedented days of partnership with other pastors, churches, networks, associations, state conventions, our denomination, and other evangelicals. Time is short, the needs are overwhelming, and it will take real partnership to rapidly advance the Gospel.

Blessings,
Pastor Wade


Friday is for Preachers

May 25, 2012

I love this definition of doctrinal preaching from Robert Smith that comes from his book Doctrine That Dances:

Doctrinal preaching is the escorting of the hearers into the presence of God for the purpose of transformation.

May God help us to escort His people into His presence so that they may be changed for His glory!

 

Blessings,

Wade


Weekend Thoughts for Preachers

May 17, 2012

I want to share a quote that relates to our task of preaching the Word of God. I was blessed by this recent blog. Carl Trueman relays a recent conversation with the great theologian J.I. Packer. Packer had the distinct privilege of sitting under the pulpit ministry of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (one of my heroes) and here’s how Packer described him:

 He took more of God into the pulpit with him than any other preacher I have ever known.

What a quote! How much of God will you take into the pulpit with you this Sunday? May we be so filled with the Spirit of God and our minds so renewed by the Word of God and our hearts so captured by the grace of God that we will give our people a great sense of God as we preach!

Blessings,

Wade


Worship is a Beautiful Thing

May 16, 2012

In John 4:23 Jesus says that the Father is seeking true worshippers. He is on the lookout for people that set their mind’s attention and heart’s affection completely on Him. In the Gospel of Mark there is a poignant illustration of this kind of worship. In chapter 14, verses 3-9 we see the familiar story of the woman who breaks open a jar of perfume and pours it over the head of Jesus as an act of worship. In John 12 this woman is identified as Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. There are several principles we can learn from Mary related to worship.

  • Worship should be consistent.

One thing I appreciate about Mary is that when we see her in the Gospels she is always at the feet of Jesus. In Luke 10:38-42 she is sitting at His feet, listening to Him teach as her sister was busy serving guests. In John 11:32 she falls at Jesus’ feet as she grieves over the loss of her brother Lazarus. Here in this story she anoints the feet of Jesus with the same perfume that she poured over His head (John 12:3). Warren Wiersbe writes, “she found at His feet her blessing, she brought to His feet her burdens, and she gave at His feet her best.” You might say that worship was part of the fabric of her life, not a once-a-week thing. We all need to learn to worship consistently: when times are good and when times are bad; when you’re at church or you’re at home; when you’re around other Christians or when you’re by yourself.

  • Worship should be costly.

The perfume was very expensive. Mark tells us it was worth 300 denarii which was about a year’s wages. Mary’s intention was to honor Jesus in a very extravagant manner. What’s interesting about this is that in the Gospels we see Jesus doing so much for others but we find few occurences of people doing something for Jesus. If we are not careful we can enjoy the blessings of Christ while being stingy with our resources and selfish with our time. But if we want to be true worshippers like Mary, we will hold nothing back in honoring God with our lives. All that we do should point to His limitless glory and make His Name known in a greater and greater way. It’s important to keep in mind that the ways we honor God will be different from person to person. In Mark 14:8 Jesus said that Mary had done what she could. What could you do to glorify God with your life? What could you sacrifice? What could you give? I love how Isaac Watts says it in his hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: “But drops of grief could ne’er repay the debt of love I owe, here Lord I give myself away, tis’ all that I can do.”

  • Worship should be unashamed.
Mary’s primary concern was not what others thought, but what Jesus thought. She wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair. The disciples ridiculed her but Jesus said that her act was beautiful. Think about that. When we worship God with all that we are it is a beautiful thing in God’s eyes. So stop worrying about others thinking you are too passionate or too committed and be concerned only with what Jesus thinks. This mindset will change your Sunday mornings and your weekly living too! Let’s make it our goal that when people watch us live for Jesus, words like unreserved, wholehearted, and unashamed come to their minds. When this happens they will begin to see past our lives to the God that we love.
Blessings,
Pastor Wade

A Tribute to My Mom (and her Savior)

May 10, 2012

As many of you know, my mother passed away last October. There were many things that I wanted to share about her at the funeral but I didn’t think I would be able to make it through. So, with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to her by sharing some precious memories.

Mom was an avid reader. She loved to read. She read all of the time. We all knew not to touch the paper until she had read it first. She would read the paper cover to cover! Every bit of it. News, Sports, Entertainment, etc. She was well-infomed about everything. She read lots of science fiction and mysteries. I think that my brother and I love to read because of mom. I remember her taking me to the library and letting me check out books as she cultivated in me a desire and love for reading.

Mom liked movies. Some of her movie tastes didn’t suit dad (i.e., science fiction) so she would have no problem going to a movie by herself. She would often sneak in a Subway sandwich and eat it during the movie. I always gave mom a hard time about her bootleg subs! She and dad would catch a lot of movies together too.

Mom loved the Seminoles. I remember going to games with her when the Seminoles would be blowing out the opposing team. Dad would want to leave a few minutes early to beat the traffic, but mom always wanted to stay to the very end. She loved the football, the band, Bobby Bowden, and the Tomahawk Chop!

Mom loved to shop. After my brother and I left home, mom’s wardrobe expanded into our closets. She loved clothes and was a classy dresser. She was also shrewd. She would go back to the same store again and again and wait for something to go on sale before she bought it. She also loved to take us school shopping. She would spare no expense. My best-dressed days were definitely in high school when she and dad were footing the bill. We would get home with bags of clothes and dad would ask how much we spent. Her common reply was, “Don’t worry about it!” By the way, before she passed away, she was carrying on the shopping tradition with her three grandsons and two granddaughters. She was constantly buying clothes for them.

Mom was a Home Economist which means she was an expert on many things. She could cook! My favorite things that she made were beef stroganoff and blueberry pie with homemade pie crust! She would always roll out a little extra dough and put cinnamon and sugar on it, bake it and eat it. The only strange thing about her cooking is that she would always serve corn with spaghetti! I guess that goes back to her Iowa roots!

Mom loved church. Some of my fondest memories are from my childhood when we would go to church every Sunday and sit in the same pew. Mom even left a pillow in her spot! On the way to church we would always stop and get mints for the entire family. About midway through the sermon mom would break out the mints and pass them down to us. Mom served in many roles at our church. She taught, ran the nursery for years, and served on the church council among other things. She was a “behind the scenes” person that loved her church. One the hardest things about her most recent illness was that she was not able to attend church and fellowship with her faith family.

I love mom and we all miss her but there’s something you need to know. Mom wasn’t perfect. She needed a Savior. She embraced Jesus as her Savior and because of that we know she is in heaven with Him.

We’re not perfect either. We need a Savior. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He paid the penalty that our sins deserve as He took the wrath of God in our place. After He died, He rose from the dead, defeating death and the grave. He is alive today and He is mighty to save! If you will turn from your sins and embrace Christ by faith, He will forgive you of all of your sins and begin a life transformation process in you. You will have the hope and promise of eternal life in heaven and God’s unfailing presence as you walk through this life.

Mom wasn’t an outwardly emotional person. Two of the only times I saw her cry was when she was saying goodbye. The first was when we went with my brother to the airport as he left home to attend the United States Air Force Academy. The second was when she and dad helped me move into my college dorm and left me there as they returned home. Goodbyes are hard. Saying goodbye to mom this past October was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But because of Jesus, one day we will see Mom again.

Blessings,

Pastor Wade


Weekend Thoughts for Preachers

May 3, 2012

I thought you might be encouraged by these thoughts from John Stott in his classic work Between Two Worlds. They come from chapter 12, “The Call to Study”. These quotes highlight the importance of careful, intensive study of the Bible in preparation for the preaching event:

There is a freshness and a vitality about every sermon which is born of study; without study, however, our eyes become glazed, our breath stale and our touch clumsy.

The higher our view of the Bible, the more painstaking and conscientious our study of it should be. If this book is indeed the Word of God, then away with slovenly, slipshod exegesis!

Blessings,

Wade