The Top 10 Ways to Predict a Problem Marriage

1. Getting married to spite someone else

2. Getting married without listening to the advice of your family and friends

3. Getting married to someone who practices a different faith

4. Getting married with concerns and/or questions you are afraid to discuss with your potential mate

5. Getting married with things you are hiding that you plan to tell your mate after you have tied the knot

6. Getting married on the rebound, within months of a painful breakup in a previous relationship

7. Getting married just because you want to get out of your parents’ house and out on your own

8. Getting married without dating your potential mate for at least twelve months

9. Getting married to someone after a long-distance relationship based primarily on correspondence

10. Getting married out of fear that you may not have another opportunity to get married

What would you add to this list? Join the conversation in the comments section. 

Notes from Sunday – 10/28/12

Saturday morning, we began a new six-week Bible study for our men. 200 men showed up. Praise God!

Worship was great today. The music team did an exceptional job.

I really enjoyed teaching my Bible Study Fellowship group today. I finished my lesson, “A Defense against False Teachers,” from 1 Timothy 1:12-20. God willing, I will teach next week about the prayer ministry of the church from 1 Timothy 2:1-7.

As always, I am grateful for the guests we had in worship today, including two local high school football teams.

I preached from n interesting little passage in Mathew 17:24-27. I called it, “What Jesus Thinks about Religion.”

I love this little passage in which Jesus declares, “The sons are free,” and then performs a miracle by providing Peter’s tax money in the mouth of a fish.

I pressed three major points in the message:

I.     Followers of Christ live with kingdom rights (v. 26).

II.     Followers of Christ live with spiritual responsibilities (v. 27a).

III.     Followers of Christ live with divine resources (v. 27b).

Christians rightly desire to do great things in service to God and in service to the world. But too often Christians think such service must insure the desired outcome. We simply do not believe that we can risk fishing for a fish with a coin in its mouth. Yet no account of the Christian desire to live at peace with our neighbor, who may be also be our enemy, is intelligible if Christians no longer trust that God can and will help us catch fish with coins in their mouths. – Stanley Hauerwas

Praise God for those added to the church today.

I plan to resume my study of 1 John next week.

The USC Trojans let me down this weekend, losing to the Arizona Wildcats, 36-39.

The Dallas Cowboys put a good fight against the New York Giants, at least in the second half. But down goes the Cowboys again. I give up on our chances this season.

The Jaguars put a good fight against the Packers. But down goes the Jags again. Did we ever have a chance this season?

Does anyone – outside of people in San Francisco and Detroit – care about the World Series?

Are you ready to watch the Miami Heat to start the repeat at NBA World Champions?

I am pretty shocked that the OKC Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets this weekend. This only helps ensure that the Miami will repeat!

I haven’t really been paying attention. Can anyone tell me how the old (literally) Los Angeles Lakers did this preseason?

How was your Lord’s Day? How did your teams do this weekend? Join the conversation n the comments section. 

Saturday Shout-Outs: Kansas City, 33, & Ministry Links

Thanks for reading my blog this week.

Let me invite you to subscribe to the blog under the picture to the left to receive email updates of future posts.

Shout-out to the men of the Shiloh Church who joined me this morning for the first session of 33 The Series men’s Bible study.

Shout-out to the Mid-America Pastors and Ministers Institute leaders for the opportunity to minister the word at their conference this week. Like all of the delegates, I was challenged to be a better preacher to the glory of God.

A big shout-out to Tim Challies. I am a regular reader of his blog. In fact, the weekly links I share are modeled by his daily Ala Carte links. I am grateful that he shared my posts of expository preaching and pastoral ministry this week.

Shout-out to Thabiti Anyabwile for sharing my interview with Dr. Lloyd C. Blue on his blog.

I had the opportunity to meet Trip Lee this week. He is a young man the Lord is using in the world of Christian Hip Hop. Check him out.

I am praying for those who are in the pathway of Hurricane Sandy.

The boxing world mourns the death of Hall of Fame trainer and HBO broadcaster, Emanuel Steward, who died on Thursday at 68.

I have been graciously invited to speak at the 2013 FBCJAX Pastors’ Conference. It’s a great event you should consider attending.

My sermon, “God Knows What He’s Doing,” from Romans 11:33-36 is now available on PreachingToday.

Here is a good answer to a big question I am asking as I pastor: What is an Executive Pastor?

Brothers, we are not professors! 

Leading by Word and Deed: 3 ways to move from words to actions.

Do you trust your pilot? 

What do you do when you are criticized? Here are 12 things to do when you’re criticized.

Thou shalt follow these 10 Commandments of the presidential election.

Trevin Wax raises 10 questions a pro-choice candidate is never asked by the media.

Dan Phillips shares 10 ways to profit from an expository sermon.

Why the church? Consider these 40 reasons to be part of a local church.

How to retrieve what you’ve read – almost instantly.

No man can bear witness to Christ and to himself at the same time. No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save. – James Denny

Any shout-outs you want to share? Have you read anything this week worth sharing? Join the conversation in the comments section. 

Every Pastor is a Translator

It was my first extended vacation from the first church I served.

I really didn’t want to take the time off. But, wisely, the men insisted.

With my first Sunday off, I decided to visit Grace Community Church to hear Dr. John MacArthur, Jr. I would often attend the Sunday evening service at Grace. But I had never been there on a Sunday morning.

That morning, Dr. MacArthur was preaching about the family. The conclusions he drew from the scriptures affirmed convictions I already held.

However, for some reason, I became angry as I listened to the message. I felt that Dr. MacArthur, whom I had (have) never met, was being harsh, insensitive, and uncaring.

These feelings startled me. Biblically, he did not say one thing I disagreed with. So why was taking this message the wrong way?

My mind began to drift. Rather than listening, I started looking around.

All of sudden, it seemed that I was surrounded by families. A husband, wife, and children sitting in front of me. Sitting behind me. Sitting on the pew beside me.

I then began to understand what I was feeling.

Dr. MacArthur preached a strong word to challenge the families of his congregation to stay together and be what the Lord orders Christian families to be. I felt he was being insensitive because he was not factoring in the issues represented in my congregation.

But my congregation was not there. His was. And he was doing what he was supposed to do. He was preaching to the congregation the Lord had assigned to him. It was my job to explain the word to congregation and to exhort them to live it out.

John MacArthur was preaching to families that needed to be challenged to stay together. I was preaching to single parents, broken families, and young people who had never met their fathers.

We were both heading for the same destination. But we had to begin at different starting points, considering the different people we shepherded.

That day, as I sat in worship, I learned an important lesson: Every pastor is a translator.

Truth is truth, whether I experience it or not. And we can and should learn from anyone who is teaching the truth.

But all preaching is venue specific. We must interpret, translate, and apply the word for the people the Lord has called us to.

As a result of that experience, I determined to learn everything I could from John MacArthur and his church and then go home and “color” what I was learning to speak directly to my congregation.

This is what every pastor must do, no matter what context in which you minister. Be yourself. Start where you are. Use what you have. Preach with confidence in the sufficiency of the scriptures. And trust God to do what you cannot do.

We do not need to abandon the word of God to meet people where they are. There is no reality our people face that the word of God cannot reach. But we must speak the word to our people where they are, believing that God’s word will never return to him void.

Do you agree? Join the conversations in the comment section. 

SERMON: “Having Possessions and Being Possessed” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Here is the video of the sermon I preached Sunday at the Shiloh Church on Matthew 6:19-21. I called it, “Having Possessions and Being Possessed.”

In the message, I argued that to have possessions without being possessed by them, you must…

I. Be concerned of where your treasure resides (vv. 19-20)

II. Be committed to treasure that remains (vv. 19-20)

III. Be concerned about what your treasure reveals (v. 21)

You can also read the sermon manuscript here.

Join the conversation in the comments section. 

Ten Reasons for Expository Preaching by E.K. Bailey

The late Dr. E.K. Bailey, founding pastor of the Concord Church in Dallas, wrote a booklet, entitled, “Ten Reasons for Expository Preaching.”

In this booklet, Dr. Bailey defines expository preaching:

“An expository sermon is a message that focuses on a portion of scripture so as to clearly establish the precise meaning of the text and to poignantly motivate the hearers to actions or attitudes dictated by that text in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Then Bailey gives ten reasons why the church desperately needs expository preaching:

1. Expository preaching creates a Bible-bringing congregation.

2. Expository preaching creates a Bible loving congregation.

3. Expository preaching a Word-conscious congregation.

4. Expository preaching forces the preacher to proclaim the whole counsel of God.

5. Expository preaching arms the people for spiritual warfare.

6. Expository preaching addresses the needs of people, which never occur to the preacher.

7. Expository preaching engenders tremendous interest in what’s coming next (in the text).

8. Expository preaching challenges the spiritual life of the preacher.

9. Expository preaching allows people to hear God’s word and not the preacher’s thoughts.

10. Expository preaching establishes the absolute authority of God’s Word as opposed to situational ethics.

Amen.

Join the conversation in the comments section. 

Resolutions Concerning Myself

Here are several personal resolutions made by the late Dr. Robert G. Lee (1927-1960) that every minister should consider. For that matter, every Christian should embrace these resolutions.

I will be joyful that life may give me wings.

I will be courageous that there shall be no binding fears.

I will be balanced that neither work, nor play, nor rest, nor worship shall lose its proper share.

I will be self-restraint that thoughts of failure shall not hold me back.

I will be self-controlled that emotions shall not be dominant.

I will be intelligent that straight thinking and knowledge shall direct all actions.

I will be healthy that my body shall not fail to respond.

I will be clean in spirit, mind, and action that there shall be no shame.

I will be good-tempered that annoyance shall not irritate.

I will be patient that discouragement shall not seem final.

I will be persistent that the will may carry throught to completion.

I will be prepared that emergency shall not find me in confusion.

Roger G. Lee, Robert G. Lee’s Sourcebook of 500 Illustrations, p 105

Notes from Sunday – 10/21/12

I love the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church!

We had a good time in my BSF class this morning. I taught from 1 Timothy 1:12-20. I called it, “A Defense against False Teachers.” (In typical H.B. fashion, I did not finish my lesson and will have to pick it up next week.)

As always, I am excited about the guests we had in worship today.

Praise God for those who were baptized today, including a mother and her four children. I can still see the father’s excited face in the hallway before service. Wonderful!

I preached, “Having Possessions and Being Possessed,” from Matthew 6:19-21.

I explained three lessons Jesus teaches in the text about having possessions and being possessed:

I. Be careful of where your treasure resides (vv. 18-19).

II. Be committed to treasure that remains (vv. 18-19).

III. Be concerned about what your treasure reveals (v. 21).

Praise God for those who were saved and added to the church today.

Don’t look now, but the USC Trojans are slowly creeping up the polls. They are now #8.

But will anyone, can anyone, stop Alabama (#1) and Oregon (#2)?

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Carolina Panthers, 19-14.

By the way, what’s wrong with Cam Newton?

The Jacksonville Jaguars snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory, losing to the Oakland Raiders in overtime, 23-26.Quarterback Blaine Gabbert and running back Maurice Jones-Drew both went down with injuries.RG3 is playing this year like Cam Newton played last year. The Jets are the Jets, losing again to the Patriots. We are watching the end of an era with the Ravens.

My New York Yankees were swept out of this playoffs this past week by the Detroit Tigers. As the Yankees went down, Alex Rodriquez rode the bench. I repeat: A-Rod rode the bench! Drew Brees and the Saints looked good today.

In a few weeks, the Miami Heat will begin their campaign to repeat as NBA World Champions! Don’t hate. The Packers are starting to look like the Packers again.

How far do you think the senior citizens (also known as the Los Angeles Lakers) will get this season? First round of the playoffs? No further, right?

On a personal note, thanks for praying for my writing project. I turned in my book manuscript to the publisher last week. I will let you know what’s next in the process.

How was your Lord’s Day? How did your teams do this weekend? Join the conversation in the comments section.

Saturday Shout-Outs: Burlington, Old Books, & Ministry Links

Thanks for reading my blog this week.

Shout-out to my new subscribers. You can sign-up for email updates of new posts under the picture to the left.

A big shout-out to Pastor Reginald Bryant and the volunteers who serve in our new Shiloh Outreach Center. Next week, they will host a graduation for 53 people who have completed their GED through the outreach program. Praise God!

Shout-out to Pastor Larry Covington and the Ebenezer Church of Burlington for the invitation to minister the word in their annual church revival this week.

While in North Carolina, I visited a massive used bookstore, filled with Christian material at bargain prices. If you are ever in Raleigh, check out Stevens Book Shop.

I posted my interview of Dr. Lloyd C. Blue this week. You can see the Lloyd Blue interview here.

Have you downloaded the Shiloh Church App? You can get the Apple version here and the Android version here.

In recognition of Pastor’s Appreciation Month, Tim Challies provides several links to help you pray for your pastor.

Here are 5 great tips for leading through blind spots and lane changes.

Thom S. Rainer lists 10 things pastors don’t like about pastoring.

Phil Johnson wisely warns about The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine.

Bill Mounce explains the clause, “except for adultery,” in Matthew 5:32.

Here is a helpful preaching tip: Create Contextual Connectors.

Are you using that proof text well.. or are you proof-texting?

Billy Graham’s website removes Mormonism from Cult List. 

Modern Reject, Nicole Cottrell, addresses 6 lies we believe about the church.

There are 3 common leadership mistakes made by the new sheriff in town.

Are you an Avis Christian?

Dear Moms, Jesus wants you to chill out!

Although being on television, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, the desire to copy what is seen on television, without any kind of theological filter to separate the wheat from the chaff, can have a deliberating effect on unsuspecting congregations. – Cleophus J. LaRue, I Believe I’ll Testify, p. 39

Any shout-outs? Have you read anything this week worth sharing? Join the conversation in the comments section. 

Lloyd C. Blue Interview

I recently interviewed Dr. Lloyd C. Blue, who lives in Dallas and leads the Lloyd Blue Ministries.

Years ago, I would miss the E.K. Bailey Conference every year, because of scheduling conflicts. My associates pastors would attend and bring me back the recordings.

I was introduced to the ministry of Lloyd Blue through those  recorded lectures.

We connected several years ago, during an event at which we were both scheduled to speak. His fond memories of my father were such an encouragement.

I had the following conversation with Dr. Blue while he was in Jacksonville, minister to the men of our congregation.

Dr. Blue will both challenge and encourage you by the priority he sets of biblical exposition and his emphasis on discipling men.

Did you find this interview helpful? Join the conversation in the comments section.