Monthly Archives: September 2013

Now THAT’s a Good Question!

I don’t need to take medicine, God will heal me. . .won’t He?

I have been asked this question, or heard similar statements, numerous times.

Others usually go something like this:

  • “I don’t need that. God is going to take care of me.”
  • “I am not going to the doctor. I don’t need him/her. God is my Physician.”
  • “I know my life is in danger if I do/don’t _______. But if God allows it, He will handle the details and take care of _______.”
  • “If you would just join me in having faith in God to heal me, I would already be healed by now!”

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How are Christians supposed to respond to this? Is it true – is God going to heal them? Is it that WE are the ones without enough faith? Are doctors and medicine evil – robbing us of experiencing the power and blessing of God?

While I am a firm believer that God can and still does heal today in remarkable and miraculous and powerful ways without medicine and doctors – I also believe that He heals in remarkable and miraculous and powerful ways USING doctors and medicine.

Let me explain.

Those who make the claims listed above are right – God can heal. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. But what they often miss and/or misunderstand is that the doctor offering the treatment or medicine or surgery or therapy IS God’s means of healing them!!!!!! They think – for some odd reason – that it doesn’t count unless it happens in some huge dramatic fashion.

Consider, however:

Who made the doctor? Ummmmmm God.

Who made the person who invented the medicine? Ummmmmmmm God.

Whose idea was it to take care of others’ physical needs? Ummmmmm, yeah – God (have you read the story of the Good Samaritan lately? Why didn’t Jesus just tell the injured man to pray for a miraculous healing?!?!?!?!?).

Who allowed us to have access to these things? You get the point.

The person refusing the treatment because they are ‘waiting’ on God to heal them is missing the healing that God Himself is providing right in front of their face! What they want is THEIR OWN WAY OF HEALING – not what God has already provided. They are looking for a supernatural sign from God, rather than believing He has already sent one a bit less dramatic (in their estimation). Last I checked, Jesus warned against such things. [See also the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 – He wanted the healing Naaman’s way, not God’s.]

It would be one thing if we lived in the jungles of Ecuador or Brazil or Africa with ZERO access to treatments or doctors or medicines. God often heals in ‘supernatural,’ extraordinary ways in these areas – precisely because He hasn’t yet planted doctors there. But don’t you think those who have gone before us have prayed for healing and cures for things we still get today? And don’t you think God has answered their prayers by sending us those with brilliant minds – that He created – in order to help us heal?

What would have happened to Noah if he had responded by saying, “I am not gonna worry about building the ark. God will provide the boat. I’m just gonna have faith that when it starts raining the boat will come”?

The Apostle Paul himself – one who had seen incredible miracles throughout his ministry – told Timothy to take something for his stomach ache (see 1 Timothy 5:23). Think of it! Paul didn’t tell Timothy to go pray for a healing. He told him to go drink some wine to cure it! Wow Paul – if you would just have more faith – God would have already healed Timmy’s tummy! Paul knew God had already provided for Timothy. He didn’t have to go pray about it. He was to go use what God had provided!!!!!

I hate to say it – because I have been there, expressing similar statements – but refusing treatment or care because you believe God is going to “take care of you” is a masked form of pride.  Too proud to take medicine. Too proud to think God might have a different/better way of healing you than you want. Too proud to admit you need help. Too proud to exercise biblical wisdom. To proud to pay money.

If you’re sick – pray for God to heal you. Then go do what the doctor tells you to do.

The miracle you are waiting for might just be right in front of you.

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Five @ Free Flow Friday!

Football. images

Grand Theft Auto V.

Duck Dynasty.

Have a great weekend . . . and don’t forget to share your thoughts below.

#1. Coach Hugh Freeze: What Matters Most by Marilyn Tinnin

‘I have vowed to God that no player would ever play for me and not hear the gospel,’ Hugh says. He has obviously thought through this whole ‘What’s my legacy’ kind of thing. His thoughts are totally Hugh Freeze. ‘I would love for each one of our players to have a personal relationship with Christ when they leave here. And then I would love for them to say that as they played for me, they played for a man that was consistent in his faith, in his speech, in his actions, and that I loved them and they could trust me.’

I’m not an Ole Miss fan. But reading articles like this makes me want to pull for this coach. Wow. 

 

#2. Three Reasons Why My Sons Aren’t Playing Football (This Year) by Jason Kallen

The point is not cultural isolationism—that never works and isn’t a healthy Christian aspiration. In fact, it is a losing strategy that cuts against the grain of the Great Commission itself. Yet, in a healthier scenario, there is enough ambient morality that you don’t feel like years of parental effort are being undermined daily.

I am not willing to permit such an unhealthy influence over my sons at such an impressionable age. Priority one is to shepherd my children’s hearts. I can live without hearing my 6-year-old son’s name called on the loudspeaker, but I can’t live with myself if I lose his heart along the way.

Very, very, very interesting points to say the least. What do you think?

 

#3. I Sold Too Many Copies of GTA V to Parents. . .  by Kotaku  (*WARNING: This post is from a secular site written by an anonymous ‘veteran’ video game retailer. There are a couple of words I wish were not a part of article or title. I include it here because I think what he says is so important for us parents to consider and heed.)

When I recite the phrases from the ESRB ratings box on the back cover of an M-rated game and it just goes right over your head I feel the need to be more specific. So I mention things like a game having a first-person view of half-naked strippers or that the game has a mission that forces you to torture another human being.

In response, I often hear things like, ‘Oh, it’s for my older son’ or ‘All his friends already have it.’

Then I wonder to myself how often the youngest child watches the ‘older son’ playing and if ‘all his friends’ were to jump off a cliff… I don’t tell you these things because I don’t like your parenting style. It is because, when I look at little Timmy there in my store, I can’t help but picture him as the little boy sitting across the table from my daughter in her first grade class.

#4. The Greatest Entertainment Launch in History by Tim Challies

GTA V is significant in that it shows how many men are playing video games. We hear statistics about the average gamer being in his low to mid-thirties and this week’s sales record backs that up. While children and teens certainly do consume vast quantities of games, the industry is growing in its appeal to older men—men who grew up playing games and who will continue to do so. Video games are not evil in and of themselves. In many cases they can be a very legitimate form of entertainment, just like movies and books and other media. But people who enjoy sex and violence will demand those elements in their games.”

#5. In Defense of Duck Dynasty by Jesse Carey

Duck Dynasty has become America’s most popular show—not because it’s salacious, dramatic or provocative. It’s become so popular because it’s decidedly not any of those things. Sure, the main characters with their burly beards, quotable one-liners and Southern charm have their eccentricities, but the show isn’t successful because of what viewers can’t relate to; it’s popular because it’s so relatable. Most people know what it’s like to joke around with family members, pray before a meal and goof off with co-workers—we relate to what we’re seeing with the Robertsons.

 

Question: Is it weird to you that currently the #1 rated show on cable is Duck Dynasty AND the top selling entertainment resource is Grand Theft Auto V? Opinions on how/why this could be so?

 

Throw It Out There Thursdays!!

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This is a first on the blog.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – for the beloved faithful who take time to read this particular pastor’s thoughts – you will recognize by the title that this is new.

The purpose of the blog – as the title suggests – is to use social media as a small means of intentionally pastoring the incredible FBC El Dorado.

Every Monday I try to answer a ‘pastoral-type’ question I have been asked I think others might be interested in reading (‘Now THAT’s a Good Question!‘).

Tuesdays – Nada.

On Hump Day (what day is it?) I meditate on a Proverb that coincides with that particular date on the calendar (‘Wisdom for Your Wednesdays‘).

Thursdays (before today!) – Nada.

And Fridays I let others do the writing for me – I link some articles of interest that I think might add value to your life (‘Five @ Free Flow Fridays!‘).

Just about every week there is something I want to throw out there to the FBC El Dorado faithful to inform them of things that are going on; or things they might need to be aware of; or things that will help them prepare for the weekend; or really just anything I think FBCers might need to know about church related stuff.

The best way I can think of – at this point – to communicate these random things ‘en masse’ is here on the blog. My hope is that the FBC peeps who currently get the blog would read the things I ‘throw out there’ on Thursdays and spread it to other FBC peeps (tell them how to sign up for this thing via email so it goes straight to their inbox). Since this is particularly for FBCers, the more who know these things, the better.

The first thing I want to Throw Out There on this Thursday is the number 41.

40 + 1.

50 – 9.

123 divided by 3.

Yep. 41.

That’s how many guest cards were turned in this past Sunday morning.

Some were out of towners.

Some were repeats (they have been visiting for a long while but are still not members).

One or two were children.

But a whole bunch of cards were first timers and second timers who didn’t fill out a card the first time they came.

Usually, on a good Sunday, 15-20 cards are turned in. This week? 41.

Why am I ‘throwing it out there’?

Simply to encourage you to:

  • Intentionally meet some new people before and after the service.
  • Keep inviting new people. They’re coming!
  • Scoot in your pew and leave room for others to sit. (Translation: DON’T BE A PEW HOG!)
  • Set up times to meet some new people for coffee or lunch.
  • Follow up with a phone call, a note, or an email.
  • Park far away and walk so they can have a closer spot to the facilities.
  • Help someone you don’t recognize get to where they need to go. (Translation: See a young mom with 4 kids wrapped around her legs while she totes all their Bible’s? Offer to help her!)
  • Remember: this is about spreading the GOSPEL. A number of the cards turned in expressed no membership of any church anywhere. Just like us, they need Jesus. Let’s bend over backwards to help point them to Him.
  • Pray for God to speak to their hearts.
  • Bottom Line: Come intentionally – thinking, “How can I help someone else’s experience here today be ideal?”

Alright – I just ‘threw it out there.’

Now, what will you do with it?

Wisdom for Your Wednesday

13 Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer.
    They revive the spirit of their employer.

14 A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it
    is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.

Proverbs 25:13-14

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Don’t you just love it when it’s been a while since it’s rained, the ground is super dry, everything is dusty – the weather man calls for a 100% chance . . . and he’s wrong?

Doesn’t it just bless your heart when you make plans to have an activity outside, but due to the forecast and the formations of clouds in the sky, you move your event inside. . . and then the sun comes out?

It really makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you cancel your fishing trip because of the wind, only to find it blew in a calming cool front and sunny skies an hour later – doesn’t it?

These things just bring a smile to your face and warmth in your soul don’t they?

Of course not.

These things don’t bless our hearts! We don’t love it when these things happen! We don’t feel all warm and fuzzy! In fact, the very opposite is true.

We feel cheated. Tense. Frustrated. Mad. Incomplete. Like a part of us is empty. In short, we just don’t like it when our expectations are high about something and then have them not be fulfilled. We have to adjust both physically and mentally because what we assumed to be the case actually wasn’t. For me, that’s a recipe for an immediate bad mood.

That feeling – it’s what people feel about you when they rely on you to do something and you don’t come through. It’s worse when you say you will do something – and then don’t do it. You become the ‘wrong weather man’ in their minds and hearts.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

If you say you are going to do something – DO IT!

If you can’t do it – tell ’em you can’t.

Wisdom says that being trustworthy not only gets things done, but refreshes others. Just as unreliable people will emotionally drain you, those who keep their word revive you.

Think about that person you can really rely on. Now think about the person you can’t.

What kind of emotional energy transpired by just thinking about ’em?

What kind of energy do you want to give people when they think of you?

Now THAT’s a Good Question!

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Pastor Matt, do we accept immersion baptism from other denominations?

Translation: Would First Baptist Church of El Dorado receive as new members individuals who come from a different denomination even if they were baptized by immersion (dunked)? Or would they need to be baptized again?

Answer? Yes & No.
 
Let me explain.
 
If someone wants to join FBC and was baptized in another denomination, here is what I would want to know:
1. Were you baptized by immersion AFTER salvation?
2. Was your baptism understood to be symbolic?
3. Did you believe you had to be baptized for your salvation to be complete?
4. Did you believe – when you were baptized – that you could lose your salvation?
 
If they answered #1 with a ‘yes,’ we’re good.
If they answered #2 with a ‘yes,’ we’re good.
If they answered #3 with a ‘no,’ we’re good.
If they answered #4 with a ‘no,’ we’re good.
 
If we were on the same page regarding these questions, then NO I would not require them to be ‘re-baptized’ to join FBC regardless of their denomination. Southern Baptists are NOT the premiere or only biblical denomination out there. To my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters – THERE WILL BE THOSE FROM OTHER DENOMINATIONS IN HEAVEN!!!! 
 
However, if their understanding of baptism was different from the answers I am looking for (which I believe to be biblical), then I would definitely want to talk further.
 
Regarding #1: I believe baptism by immersion must come AFTER salvation. This was by the command of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20) and the practice of the early Christians throughout the book of Acts.
 
Regarding #2: I believe baptism is symbolic in nature. Meaning, it does NOT save a person – only Jesus saves. But it symbolically demonstrates what Jesus has done as well as their own commitment to follow Him (see Romans 6:3-11).
 
Regarding #3: Some denominations teach that one is not totally ‘saved’ until he/she is baptized. In other words, some believe salvation isn’t finished until the ‘believer’ is baptized. I don’t think this to be true at all. For instance, the thief on the cross – Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise that very day – never having an opportunity to be baptized.
 
Regarding #4: I would really want to talk with the individual to see what they believed about salvation when he/she was baptized and what is required of us to be right with God and to live forever with Him in glory. Was their hope in Jesus alone? Do/Did they believe Jesus saved them – not only for then, but forever?
 
Other denominations obviously differ from Southern Baptists regarding the method and meaning and mode of baptism. Others are very similar. So, yes, we accept biblical immersion by baptism from other denominations. If the Apostle Paul or Jesus wanted to join our church – WE WOULD DEFINITELY LET THEM and accept their immersion baptism though neither were Southern Baptist! But, no, we don’t – if their convictions/beliefs about it are foreign to what I believe the Bible teaches.
 
At the end of the day – IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS and faith in His complete and sufficient work on the cross.

 

Now THAT’s a Good Question! Special Friday Edition

A couple of weeks ago, my mom asked (who, if you know her, can testify that she is the QUEEN of QUESTIONS) me this in response a ‘Five @ Free Flow Friday!’ post: “Where DO You Find All These Great Articles?

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Now THAT’s a Good Question!

I am always looking for a good article to read or share. Always.

But the bulk of my ‘findings’ can be found in these 5 places:

#1. Twitter

The reason I tweet is to both give and get information. I don’t care when you go to the bathroom and what you ate for supper last night. I assume you don’t care when I do/what I had either. At least, I hope you don’t care. But I do care to read a good article. When I check my Twitter feed, I am constantly looking for linked articles to send to my Evernote email account to view later.

You can see who I follow here.

By far, this is the primary source I find the most articles of interest.

 

#2. Thom Rainer’s Website. (Follow him on Twitter)

I know of no better website/blog devoted to helping churches get healthy. In particular Southern Baptist churches.

 

#3. Tim Challies’ Blog. (Follow him on Twitter)

Every day he posts what is called ‘A La Carte.’ It includes links to 5-7 articles of interest, primarily for evangelical world.

 

#4. Zach Nielson’s Blog. (Follow him on Twitter)

Random articles of interest posted pretty much all day, every day.

 

#5. Danny Franks’ Blog. (Follow him on Twitter)

Not only is he the funniest man alive – but he is a tremendous writer, ‘First Impressions’ guru, and links to some GREAT stuff every Thursday. Go check it out . . . and tell him Matt Pearson said, “It really is all about the pie!”

 

 

 

Five @ Free Flow Friday!

Confession: I love to sleep.

I am so grateful that our great God designed our bodies to stop and zone out several hours during each 24 hour cycle. And if I could wish for a 10th Fruit of the Spirit I would wish it to be ‘Sleepiness on Sunday Afternoons.’ I would definitely be accused of being filled with the Holy Ghost!!!

Though we are told not to love it too much, we are told that God grants it to those He loves. Thank. You. Lord.

So, before you doze off reading this post, check out the 5 articles linked below on sleep. Then go take a nap.

[FYI: For those of you awake later in the morning, I will post an answer to a question my mom asked a couple of weeks ago: “Where DO you find all these great articles?“]

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#1. The Science Behind What Naps Do For Your Brain and Why You Should Have One Today by Beth Belle Cooper

Better sleeping is known to provide lots of health benefits. These can include better heart function, hormonal maintenance and cell repair as well as boosting memory and improving cognitive function. Basically, sleeping gives your body a chance to deal with everything that happened during the day, repair itself, and reset for tomorrow.

‘Nuff said. Night, night. Zzzzzzzzz

 

#2. Sleep and the Teenage Brain by Maria Popova

Studies of teenagers around the globe have found that adolescent brains do not start releasing melatonin until around eleven o’clock at night and keep pumping out the hormone well past sunrise. Adults, meanwhile, have little-to-no melatonin in their bodies when they wake up. With all that melatonin surging through their bloodstream, teenagers who are forced to be awake before eight in the morning are often barely alert and want nothing more than to give in to their body’s demands and fall back asleep.

Where was this study when I was in high school?

 

#3. Teaching Your Child to Worship by Diana Davis

For the entire hour, he never even looked up. An older girl nearby was sprawled out napping on the pew. Both children’s parents were engaged in worship, yet they missed the opportunity to help their kids worship God. 

Christian parent, are you intentional about engaging your child in true worship? As soon as he’s past nursery age, you have the privilege of training up your child to enjoy worship services.

This one is for parents of children to help them NOT to sleep during church. What do you think? 

 

#4. A Brief Theology of Sleep by John Piper

Why did God design us to need sleep? We sleep a third of our lives. Just think of it: a third of our lives spent like dead men. Just think of everything being left undone that could be done had God not designed us to need sleep. There is surely no doubt that he could have created us with no need for sleep. And just think, everyone could devote himself to two careers, and not feel tired. Everyone could be a ‘full-time Christian worker’ and still keep his job. There is so much of our Father’s business we could be about.

Click on the link above and read the article. Trust me. You will be glad you did. 

 

#5. How Long to Nap for the Biggest Benefits by Melanie Pinola

Finally, the 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity and emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia. . .”

I didn’t see a category for the ‘2 Hour Plus Naps.’ What’s the point of taking one????