Notes from Sunday | Memorial Day Weekend 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

SHILOH_Final_white bk_no circle_4Today is an anniversary, of sorts, for me. I first preached at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church the last weekend of May, six years ago.

Unfortunately, I did not get to worship with my congregation today, as I was away on assignment. But I heard it was a great day of worship. Thanks to our pastors, staff, and volunteers for carrying on in my absence. You make it happen!

I preached today at the Parkside Church in Cleveland, where Alistair Begg is Pastor-Teacher. I have read Alistair Begg’s books and listened to his Truth For Life messages for many years. And I was honored to preach the three morning services at Parkside for him today. What a church!

Last Fall, I preached with Alistair Begg at The Expositors Summit at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. During our time together, Begg told me it wasn’t fair that I was stuck with just initials. So he named me, “Henry Billingsworth.” And he told me I could call him, “A.B.”

My friend, Keelan Atkinson, preached in my absence at Shiloh today.

I blame Keelan for me being at Shiloh. Six years ago, Keelan persistently gave the Shiloh’s deacon chairman my name, until he called and invited me to preach. But he made it clear that it was just an invitation to preach, which was fine by me. I was content where I was and had no desire to leave Mt. Sinai Church in Los Angeles.

I preached at Shiloh for the first time Memorial Day weekend, 2008.

The week before my visit, a pulpit committee member called me to say there was some who thought I should be seriously considered for their pastoral opening. And they asked me to meet with the committee, deacons, and trustees over the weekend. I did. And it was the worst “candidate” interviews in church history!

THEM: So what is your vision for Shiloh?

ME: I don’t have a vision for Shiloh? I have a vision for Mt. Sinai.

THEM: How would you handle counseling situations here?

ME: I don’t know. This is how I do it at Mt. Sinai. How do you handle it here?

THEM: What would yo do to minister to the youth?

ME: I have absolutely no idea.

You get the picture.

At the end of the meeting with the deacons, one of the young deacons bluntly asked, “Why are you here? Why did they bring you here? Can you even preach? (This young man would later drive me to my room. Awkward ride. Sorry, Patrick. LOL).

When I made it to the room, I was beat. I prepared for bed and called Crystal before I turned in. “How did it go?” she asked. I told her that I had two sermons to preach in the morning and then I would be on the first plane back to Los Angeles to get back to my life and ministry.

WRONG!

I preached Sunday morning and returned home to get back to business. Less than three months later, I was ending my ministry in Los Angeles and packing up my family to move to Jacksonville.

The Lord dragged me to Jacksonville kicking and screaming. But I am so glad the Lord knows better than I do and that the Lord has the last word.

I am blessed to serve a wonderful congregation where the Lord is doing great things. And I pray the Lord will give us many more years of fruitful labor as partners in the gospel to the glory of God!

Notes from Sunday | Easter 2014

1484743_10203480466672679_8709149951894082292_nWe had a wonderful celebration of Easter at Shiloh Church yesterday!

A big shout-out to our Pastor of Worship & Arts, Joe Pace, planned and led our Holy Week observances. And he went all out for Easter. Thanks Pastor Joe for your wise planning, hard work, and spiritual leadership!

A very special thanks to all the Shiloh volunteers for your labor of love this week. Your service enabled many to worship freely, hear the gospel, and meet Jesus for the first time! I am very proud of you and grateful of your partnership in the gospel. You make it happen!

10154188_10202531053855027_3034840195855947470_nOur worship team and music department were stellar! Thanks to our children, youth, adult choirs, and dance team for leading in worship with such excellence!

It was very moving to see my two daughters singing in the children and youth choirs yesterday.

We were honored to have many guests in worship with us in our two services. Inevitably, our guests have to pass churches to get to Shiloh. It was a joy to have them with join us.

My family had a very special guest in worship with us. My niece, Harriette, came to town over the weekend to spend Easter with us. Way cool!

10264485_10203486225736652_8671244956134996297_nI preached a first-person dramatic monologue as Thomas. I called it, “He Made a Believer Out of Me!” (John 20:24-29).

This was the first time I have preached a first-person sermon on a Sunday morning at Shiloh. I have done one before on Thanksgiving a few years ago. This first-person stuff is high-wire walking without a net!

Praise God for those saved and added to the church yesterday!

One of my favorite Easter quotations…

Anyone can be sentimental about the Nativity. Any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. But Easter is the main event; if you don’t believe in the resurrection you’re not a believer. – John Irving

How was your Easter Sunday? What did you preach? What was the sermon about? Join the conversation in the comments section. 

Thank God for Dr. A. Louis Patterson Jr.

photoI heard Dr. A. Louis Patterson Jr. preach for the first time in the late-night service at the National Baptist Convention in Los Angeles in 1990. These services are typically when the major whoopers preach. But Dr. Patterson simply stood and explained the story of the woman with the issue of blood and sat down. It left a deep impression on me.

I later visited a church and stopped by their tape booth after the service. There was a tape by A. Louis Patterson. I bought it and listened to it. From that moment, Dr. Patterson became my mentor from afar.

I was content to be his anonymous pupil – that way I could more easily steal his sermons! But upon meeting him, he warmly embraced me. My father had been a blessing to Dr. Patterson. And he determined to be a blessing to me. (My real name is Mephibosheth.) But I am not special in this regard. Dr. Patterson was an encourager. He was always lifting others up.

At some point, I started noting the preachers who point to Dr. Patterson as their introduction to expository preaching. It’s a really long list. Dr. Patterson is the “Godfather” of expository preaching in African-American circles.

His sermons were ruggedly biblical yet crystal clear and immensely practical. To listen to was like standing under a refreshing waterfall of biblical wisdom. Beyond the faithful and clear content of his sermons, Dr. Patterson’s presentation of the word was unique. His obvious mastery of his material, without a manuscript before him, helped lead me to note-free preaching. He was a wordsmith who could turn the ear into the eye. His winsome personality shined in the pulpit. And all of this was bathed in true reverence, spiritual passion, and pulpit gravitas.

Dr. A. Louis Patterson was a man of God in every sense of the term.

Dr. Patterson became my hero as I heard him preach in revivals, conferences, and conventions over the years. But my respect for him grew exponentially when I met Pastor Patterson.

I thought I had arrived when churches began to send a car service to pick me up from the airport. But the first time I preached for Dr. Patterson, he picked me up. And he personally cared for me the entire trip.

There are many great preachers who don’t seem to have a heart for the pastorate. But you have not seen Dr. Patterson at his best if you have not seen him loving lead the Mt. Corinth Missionary Baptist Church of Houston, where he served for more than 40 years. It is truly a church that is Bible-regulated, Christ-centered, and prayer-minded.

Over lunch, Dr. Patterson told me about his weekly preaching and teaching schedule at Mt. Corinth. I couldn’t believe he wrote the Sunday School lesson each week. So I went home and declared I was going to write our lessons. The work almost killed me! I wasn’t that crazy, however. I wrote lessons long enough that it would take the teachers two weeks to get through them.

I invited Dr. Patterson to preach my pastoral anniversary celebration in Los Angeles. And he graciously consented. In 18 years of leading that congregation, I was never more honored to have a man stand in my pulpit. We wrote the largest check our check had ever wrote for a guest preacher. But Dr. Patterson refused to accept it!

As I was praying about transitioning to Jacksonville, I consulted Dr. Patterson for advice. I gave him all of my objections to moving. In typically Patterson fashion, he responded with biblical principles.In that conversation, Dr. Patterson told me he believed God’s blessings would be on my ministry if I stayed in Los Angeles or moved to Jacksonville. I can’t describe what that vote of confidence meant to me.

We have a series of guest speakers in February each year at the Shiloh Church. And I was determined to have Dr. Patterson. Again, he graciously consented. Then I received the even greater news that Sister Patterson would accompany him.

When Dr. Patterson arrived to Jacksonville, he did not have much time before the service. Yet he permitted me to interview him for my blog site. Then he stood full of energy and preached the word. In my years in Jacksonville, I have not been more honored to have a man stand in my pulpit.

It was not until his sermon that it dawned on me that it was the anniversary of the death of his son, my friend, A. Louis Patterson III.

After the service, I told Dr. Patterson about a little book on preaching I wrote. I nervously asked him to endorse it. And, once more, he graciously consented. We printed him a draft to read on his way home. He sent back the following endorsement:

From teen preaching to preeminent pulpiteer, Dr. H.B. Charles, Jr. has again demonstrated through pen and paper what he so effectively and efficiently does through his pulpit proclamation, resulting from his prior preparation. Acts 1:11: “All that Jesus began to do (example) and teach (explanation).” Read this book On Preaching and practice it with great profit.

A little more than a month later, Dr. Patterson quietly made his transition from earth to heaven, faith to sight, labor to refreshment.

Thank God for Dr. A. Louis Patterson Jr.

Click here for more information about the life and ministry of Dr. A. Louis Patterson Jr.  

God Within You: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

I want to learn photography. I also want to create and edit videos. So I started investigating cameras.

I asked our church’s media director for advice, who recommended several camera options. I was grateful for his help. But I left his office thinking this was a major investment I should make carefully.

About twenty minutes later, Marcellus walked into my study with his iPhone in hand, attached to a small tripod to show me how my iPhone could do what I wanted without me spending any money.

I was prepared to spend hundreds of dollars for functionality I had in my pocket! Many Christians make the same mistake. We search about for resources that we already have in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Indwelling is the ministry of the Holy Spirit coming to permanently live in the body of each Christian. God lives in us!

Here are five spiritual dynamics of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

It is Christian.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is uniquely Christian. No Old Testament believer had such a relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is the Lord’s promise to the church. The Holy Spirit indwells Christians exclusively. The Spirit has taken up residence in all and only those who have saving-faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is essential.

“Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9). This is a definitive statement. Either you have the Spirit or you don’t. And if you do not have the Spirit, you are not a Christian. To ask if a person has the Spirit is to ask if that person is saved. Unsaved people are “devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 19).

It is universal.

The significance of Pentecost is not in the supernatural phenomena that took place. It is the fact that these phenomenal experiences took place to all the believers (Acts 2:1-4). Before Pentecost, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was selective and temporary. But the Holy Spirit now permanently resides in all Christians. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

It is permanent.

David prayed, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). This is not a prayer a Christian ever needs to pray. God the Holy Spirit permanently indwells all Christians. How does sin in the life of a Christian affect indwelling? When a Christian sins, it grieves the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). But the Spirit, by whom we are sealed for the day of redemption, does not move out!

It is foundational.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the foundation for other ministries of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

The assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation is rooted in the word of God, the work of Christ, and the witness of the Spirit. Paul wrote, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6).

Eternal security. Salvation is forever. Eternal life is eternal life (John 10:28-30; Romans 8:31-39). And the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is proof of our eternal security. “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Paul asked (Galatians 3:3). God finishes what he starts (Philippians 1:6).

Spiritual empowerment. God’s strength is perfected in our weakness by the indwelling of the Spirit. We are “strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16). The power of God to do immeasurably beyond all we ask or imagine is at work in us by the Spirit’s presence (Ephesians 3:20).

Christian unity. Jesus prayed for his future disciples “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). This prayer of Christ is answered by the unity of the Spirit: “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). By the indwelling Spirit, we are one!

The motivation for holiness. Christian holiness is not obedience to the law (Galatians 5:22-23). It is submission to the indwelling Spirit. “Do you now know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) “Or do you now know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Hope in suffering. Christianity does not guarantee a trouble-free life. But it does offer true hope in the midst of suffering, which is a ministry of the indwelling Spirit. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

A Christian worldview. Christians should not be shaped by the world’s way of thinking (Romans 12:2). We are to live in the world without being of the world. A Christian worldview happens by the truth and wisdom of scripture, which the indwelling Spirit helps us to understand, apply, and obey (1 Corinthians 2:9-12).

Related Resources:

Who is the Holy Spirit?

What is Spirit Baptism? 

What is Spirit Baptism?

After teaching on this subject in Bible Study, a member asked me about the term “Bapticostal” – a Baptist and Pentecostal mixed.

I acknowledged the term is often a tongue-in-cheek description of a doctrinal conservative who embraces a passionate worship style. But I added that any Christian with integrity might claim to be one or the other – Baptist or Pentecostal – but not both.

Baptists and Pentecostals that have saving-faith are brothers and sisters in Christ. But we believe different things about the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit that are not compatible. Just ask a conscious Baptist or Pentecostal this question: What is Spirit-baptism?

The Misunderstanding of Spirit Baptism

Why is there so much confusion about Spirit-baptism?

A main problem is experienced-based theology. Too many Christians have an experience and then proof-text scripture to validate it, rather than letting the word of God govern their experiences. This only betrays a lack of faith in the sufficiency of scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Another issue is the misinterpretation of the book of Acts. Acts is historical and transitional. The Gospels record the life and work of Jesus. Acts tells of the establishment and development of the church. The epistles are the commentaries on the Gospels and Acts, in which we learn what is normative in the life of the church.

And we stumble over terminology. It is baptism in or with or by the Spirit? But the same Greek preposition is used in all instances.

We also confuse water baptism and Spirit baptism. Water baptism is an external symbol of the internal reality of Spirit baptism.

We have a low view of Pentecost. Pentecost was the birthday of the church. This watershed event is foundational to understanding the nature of the church. It is not an experience we should seek.

Spirit baptism is also misunderstood because we do not distinguish it from Spirit-indwelling (Rom. 8:9b; 1 Cor. 6:19) and Spirit-infilling (Eph. 5:18).

Then there’s the whole issue of speaking in tongues (Stay tuned for a full article on this subject).

The Meaning of Spiritual Baptism

Faithful Bible interpretation must keep subjects in proportion. Simply put, we must not major in minors and minor in majors. I am convinced this principle would clear up a lot of confusion about the work of the Holy Spirit.

As much as some emphasize Spirit-baptism, it is not discussed much in the New Testament (neither is speaking in tongues, for that matter).

There are only seven direct references to Spirit-baptism in the New Testament;  five are prophetic, one is historical, and the last is explanatory.

The Gospels record parallel instances in which John the Baptist announced that he came to baptize with water for repentance. But there was one coming who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8: Luke 3:16; John 1:33).

There are two direct references to Spirit-baptism in Acts.

Before his Ascension, Jesus told his disciples that John Baptized them with water, but they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days (Acts 1:5-6). The day of Pentecost was ten days later (Acts 2).

Peter reported to the church at Jerusalem about his experience at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:44-48). The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just as it did on the Jewish Christians at the beginning. And he remembered how the Lord said that John baptized them with water, but they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:15-16).

Paul wrote, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). This is the only doctrinal statement about the baptism of the Spirit. It is Paul’s explanation for how the church is like a body (1 Cor. 12:12). It has many members. Yet it is one body. This is true because in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free. The church is one in Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:3-6).

The Marks of Spirit-Baptism

So what’s the bottom-line? There are seven biblical characteristics of Spirit-baptism.

It is Christian. There is no reference to Spirit-baptism in the Old Testament. It is predicted in the Gospels. And it does not take place until after Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father.

It is redemptive. Spirit-baptism is a work of salvation, not a work of sanctification. It marks our new life in Christ. It is not a second or third blessing that nurtures that new life.

It is unifying. Spirit-baptism is a work of the Holy Spirit by which he makes all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).

It is universal. Every Christian is baptized in the Spirit. If you are not baptized in the Spirit you are not a Christian.

It is immediate. There are no exhortations to be Spirit-baptized in the New Testament or any methods for it, because every believer is baptized at conversion.

It is unrepeated. Spirit-baptism is once-and-for-all.

It is non-experiential. There is no emotional experience associated with Spirit-baptism, outside of the conviction, joy, and hope one feels at conversion.

Spirit baptism is a non-experiential, redemptive work of God the Holy Spirit in which we are placed into the body of Christ the moment we trust in the Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Related Resources:

Who is the Holy Spirit? 

On Generational Curses 

I’m Taking Back What the Devil Stole From me! 

Who is the Holy Spirit?

As he passed through Ephesus, the Apostle Paul met several believers. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed. “No,” they replied, “we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2).

In a real sense, this was my testimony for many years.

Sure, I had heard of the Holy Spirit. And I believed in the Holy Spirit. But I did not know who the Holy Spirit was.

There was not much talk about the Holy Spirit in the church I grew up in. But there was a lot of talk after services. If someone “shouted” in the service, people said that he or she “got the Holy Ghost.”

And that was another issue for me. The Spirit was called the “Holy Ghost,” when I was a boy. A ghost was definitely not a good thing to me. And putting the word “holy” before it didn’t make it better!

I walked home from school with an “Apostolic” boy. And at least once a week, he would try to win me to Christ. He knew that I was not saved because I had not experienced the baptism of the Holy Ghost. And he knew that I did not have the baptism because I did not speak in tongues.

Later, in the early years of my first pastorate, Charismatic phenomena began to break out in the services, after a group read a best-selling but doctrinally empty book on the Holy Spirit. This was a turning point for me. I had to get to know the Holy Spirit for myself. And I wanted to teach my people how to relate to the Holy Spirit.

I started a process of getting to know the Holy Spirit. I did not pray for an experience. I studied the scriptures. My first goal was to understand who the Holy Spirit is. And I discovered that the Bible teaches two essential facts about the Person of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a Real Person

The Holy Spirit is not it. The Holy Spirit is who. He is a person. Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he speaks he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13, emphasis added). There are two basic reasons why we believe the Holy Spirit is a real person:

The Holy Spirit has the attributes of personality. The Spirit thinks (Acts 15:28; Romans 8:27). The Holy Spirit chooses or decides (Acts 16:6-7; 1 Corinthians 12:11). And the Holy Spirit feels (Romans 15:30; Galatians 5:17; Ephesians 4:30).

The Holy Spirit performs the actions of a person. The Holy Spirit does things that persons do. The Holy Spirit teaches (John 14:26), leads (Romans 8:14), prays (Romans 8:26-27), commands or directs (Acts 8:29), and chooses (Acts 13:2). An impersonal force or representation of the power of God or higher power cannot do these things.

The Holy Spirit is the Living God

There are four reasons why we believe the Holy Spirit is God.

The Holy Spirit is called God. In the early days of the Christian church, there were believers who sold their possessions and brought the money to the apostles to distribute to meet the needs of their fellow-believers. But there was a couple that wanted the credit without the sacrifice of generosity. They only gave a portion of the proceeds and lied about it. Peter rebuked the husband for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3), which Ananias could not do if the Spirit is not a person. And Peter said to him, “You have not lied to man but to God” (Acts 5:4).

The Holy Spirit is associated with God. In the Great Commission, Jesus commands that disciples be baptized in the name of each member of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Likewise, the Hymn of Grace (Ephesians 1:3-14) praises the redemptive work of God the Father (vv. 3-6), God the Son (vv. 7-12), and God the Holy Spirit (vv. 13-14). And Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians concludes with a benediction that appeals to each member of the Trinity: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).

The Holy Spirit has divine attributes. The Holy Spirit is omnipotent – all-powerful, which is demonstrated by his participation in creation (Genesis 1:1-2; Job 33:4). The Holy Spirit omnipresent – fully-present everywhere (Psalm 139:7). The Holy Spirit is omniscient – all-knowing (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). And the Holy Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14).

The Holy Spirit performs divine acts. The Holy Spirit was at work in creation (Genesis 1:1-2; Psalm 104:30). The Holy Spirit was at work in the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:34-35) and the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 1:4). The Holy Spirit was at work in the revelation and writing of scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21). And the Holy Spirit is at work in salvation (John 3:5-8).

Whatever else you learn about the Holy Spirit should start here. The Holy Spirit is a divine person. The Holy Spirit is a real person who is to be worshiped as a member of the eternal and undivided Godhead.

Did you find this article helpful? What scripture passages or books have you found helpful in understanding the Holy Spirit? Feel free to comment. 

Saturday Shout-Outs: B. Loritts, Real Evangelism, & Ministry Links

1962668_10203187751154974_1741295289_nThanks for reading my blog! Saturday Shout-Outs is my weekly bulletin board. Hope you find something useful here.

Shout-out to Bailey Smith for the opportunity to speak a the Real Evangelism Conference this week in Charlotte. It was a great experience!

It was way cool to host Youth Quake Live at the Shiloh Church this weekend.

Check out my interviews Bryan Loritts and Phillip Pointer.

Read my new post: “In Praise of Long Pastorates”

Thabiti Anyabwile: Why We Should Reject Queen Bey’s Depiction of Black Womanhood

R. Albert Mohler: Inerrancy: a modern definition of an historic view

John Piper: Some Historical Roots of African American Big God Theology

Biblical Spirituality: 15 Pointers for Preachers

Ryan Huguley: Five Realities Ruining Your Prayer Life

Matthew Westerholm: Why Do We Have To Go To Church Again?

Katelyn Beaty: An Open Apology to the Local Church

Denny Burk: 5 Evidences of Complementarian Gender Roles in Genesis 1-2

Sutton Turner: How an Executive Pastor Frees the Lead Pastor to Do What Only He Can Do

Sarah Pulliam Bailey: John Ortberg’s Menlo Park Presbyterian votes to lead PCUSA despite $8 million fee

Skye Jethani: The Evangelical Industrial Complex & the Rise of Celebrity Pastors 

 After all, prayer is the thermometer of the soul. If you want to know what someone believes, don’t tell me what he says; tell me what he prays. A person may say many things, but when he prays, his heart is fully revealed. – Ray Pritchard

Do you have any shout-outs or ministry links to share? Join the conversation in the comments section.  

Bryan Crawford Loritts Interview

Bryan Crawford Loritts is the Lead-Pastor of Fellowship Memphis. This multicultural congregation, which a little more than ten years old, is a model of the unity in Christ.

Bryan Loritts is also an author of several books. He has recently edited a important book entitled, Letters to a Birmingham Jail.

I had the opportunity to talk to this much sought-after preacher about his life, fait,h and ministry. I truly enjoyed the conversation and hope that it will lead to future conversations about more theological topics.

I trust you, too, will enjoy this conversation.


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

Related Resources

Bryan Carter Interview 

Phillip L. Pointer Sr. Interview 

Romell Williams Jr. Interview

Notes from Sunday – 02/16/14

IMG_0553Happy Presidents’ Day!

We had a blessed day of worship yesterday at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.

During our 10:30 service, we had Parent-Child Dedications for six families. Always a joy!

As always, I am grateful for our guests who joined us in worship.

I preached from Ephesians 1:7-10. I called the message, “The Blessing of Redemption in Christ.”

The point of the message was this: Praise God for blessing us with redemption in Christ.

There were two major sections to the message:

  1. The present blessings of redemption in Christ (1:7-8)
  2. The future blessings of redemption in Christ (1:9-10)

Redemption is an important and precious Christian term that deserves more attention!

I am really struggling not to go slower in my study of the Hymn of Grace (Eph. 1:3-14). There is really a message in verse 7 alone. However, I don’t to micro-analyze this passage. But this is a great passage that is worthy of close examination.

In other news… I tried out an over-the-ear microphone. Butt would not stay on my ear right. I’m sure it looked like I was shooing away a fly during the sermon!

My friend, Charlie Dates, who serves the Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, dropped in on our first service. And I drafted him to preach the second service. His message, “Hallelujah, Anyhow” (Psalm 146) was both challenging and encouraging.

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

I led the special music with the choir yesterday. We did on of Pastor Joe Pace’s number, “So Good.” I will have to wait until staff meeting this week to find out if I have been permanently fired from the music department.

HBC3 and I took Hailey to see the Lego moving last night. Hailey really enjoyed the meeting. H.B. and I got a really good nap.

I did not see one moment of the NBC All-Star Game. Did I miss anything?

How was your Sunday? 

Saturday Shout-Outs: Midwestern, Hicks Retirement & Ministry Links

Thanks to all of you who offered me birthday wishes this week. Very kind. Truly encouraging. Thanks again.

Suzy Keith, a longtime member of the Shiloh Church church, passed away this week. She was 96-years-old. Her service, kindness, and faithfulness will long be remembered.

Pray for my Pops, Dr. John A. Reed, Jr., his family, and the Fairview Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. This week, Pastor Reed’s wife of 52 years, Patricia Reed, transitioned from earth to glory.

My friend, Joe A. Carter, who serves the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, was to be our guest speaker this week. He was not able to be with us, as he went to be with his pastor, Dr. Reed. But Phillip Pointer, Pastor of the St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock filled in last-minute and blessed us richly!

Shout-out to Dr. Jason Allen for the opportunity to speak during chapel at the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this week.

The Washington Post: H. Beecher Hicks, longtime pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, to retire

Joe Carter: From Street Preacher to SBC President: An Interview with Fred Luter

Tim Challies: R.C. Sproul – The Happy Birthday Infographic

C. Michael Patton: Six Factors that Do Not Affect Inerrancy

ProPreacher: If You Aren’t Preaching Jesus, You Aren’t Done Preaching

Eric Davis: How to Recognize a Spirit-Filled Church

Thom Rainer: Seven Problems with an Activity-Driven Church

Dave Bruskas: 10 Bad Reasons to Be a Pastor

Ron Edmondson: 7 Lies Pastors Often Believe 

Eric Geiger: Delegating or Dumping? 

TheBlazingCenter: Is Your Humility Real? 

Keri Seavey: Your Spouse Is Not Jesus

Rick Thomas: 5 Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Your Son to Use Pornography

Thomas Kidd: How to Stop Fiddling Around and Start Writing

Megan McArdle: Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators

 Redemption is not a peripheral matter, rather it cuts to the very core of Divine activity. From the foundation of the world God has determined to bring about redemption in Christ. – R.C. Sproul

Do you have any shout-outs to share? Join the conversation in the comments section.