I just got home from Phoenix, Arizona where I attended the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention. In a lot of ways Southern Baptists get a bad rap. We’re criticized for fighting with each other about tertiary issues. Many people consider us behind the times on issues such as racial reconciliation and the role of women in ministry among other things.
Some of these criticisms are valid. But sometimes the SBC is just misunderstood.
But despite the legitimate criticisms and the misunderstandings, I still love the SBC. And I’m glad to be a part of it.
Here are four reasons why.
The ocean fascinates me. It’s so big and mysterious. It’s full of life and surprises. Sometimes it’s calm. Sometimes it’s fierce. But it’s always beautiful. Probably what I love most about the ocean is that no matter how many times I visit it, it never ceases to amaze me.
The Bible is a lot like the ocean. Like the ocean, the Bible is big and mysterious. It’s full of life and surprises. You could read the Bible every single day for the rest of your life and still never unveil all of its beauty and mystery. The Bible never ceases to amaze.
And the crazy thing is that we get to plunge its depths.
Here’s four steps you can take to dive deeper into Scripture.
Prayer is powerful because God is powerful. And prayer is effective because God is good. Not only does God hear our prayers. He responds to our prayers. It is an incredible thing to realize that the God of the universe hears and cares and responds to our petitions.
But prayer is challenging. We often need a reminder about the power of prayer to stay disciplined in prayer.
Here are three vital lessons Jesus teaches us about prayer.
Sin is a common theme in the Bible. That’s because sin is the fundamental problem you and I face every single day. And sin is the chief obstacle God is working to overcome through the good news of Jesus Christ.
We have kind of erased sin from our vocabulary in today’s culture. We don’t like the way it reflects badly on us. But if you are sick, ignoring your illness doesn’t lead to your health. It leads to your destruction.
We need to come to grips with our own sin so that we can be delivered from it.
And the Bible talks about two different ways you and I sin.
I have a clock on a shelf in my office that belonged to my great-grand parents. It was their fiftieth wedding anniversary present. It’s not the most expensive clock ever made. It’s not the most ornate or complex clock of its kind. But it’s a special clock to me, and I value it greatly.
This clock fascinates me because it doesn’t use battery or electricity to operate. (Amazing, right?) It has no track pad. No touch screen. No Thunderbolt 3 ports. It cannot connect to wifi.
I guess by today’s standards, it’s a dumb clock. But this dumb clock is a masterpiece.
If you’re a Christian, then you understand the importance of prayer. Jesus expects us to pray. He even teaches us how to pray. The Bible itself is filled with many examples of prayer. There is even a book called Psalms entirely devoted to worship and prayer.
Perhaps you have tried prayer. Maybe even you pray regularly. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably found yourself wondering from time to time whether or not your prayers are effective.
If that’s you, then keep reading.
I didn’t always find the Bible to be remarkable. In fact, for most of my life I found it mysterious and next to impossible to understand. That changed for me around the age of twenty-two when I encountered God in an unmistakable way that left me forever changed. After that, I no longer saw the Bible as an irrelevant, ancient book that could be left confined to a shelf collecting dust.
From that moment forward I just couldn’t put it down. And I didn’t. And I haven’t.
I love the Bible. And I pray to God I continue loving the Bible until the day I die.
Mark Batterson On Why You Should Find The Bible Remarkable
I recently listened to a sermon by Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., and author of several books including New York Times Bestseller The Circle Maker.
In his opening statements he unpacked some of the truths that make the Bible so remarkable–for believers and unbelievers alike.
Here’s what he said,
The last two weeks have been tough. We lost a sweet lady at my church who was an inspiration to many. And my wife’s uncle passed away after a grueling battle with cancer. Being near two deaths in such close proximity to one another really took its toll on me. That’s why I haven’t written in almost two weeks. There has been a lot going on.
But I’ve spent some time reflecting on life and death. And as I have witnessed and walked with others through loss and grief, I am reminded of four gospel truths that shape the way Christians grieve.
I am a Christian. A father to four. And I’m a pastor. As a Christian and as a father, I understand how important it is to disciple my kids. I’m sure you do too. As a pastor, you would think I’m equipped to do this. And in a lot of ways I am. Maybe even more so than a lot of people.
But here’s a fact. I’m human. And I struggle just like you.
From my own experience and from conversations I’ve had with other parents, here are two of the greatest challenges we parents face when it comes to investing spiritually in the hearts and minds of our children.
Every year people celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Usually that involves wearing green, pinching people and consuming massive amounts of alcohol . I’m not really sure how those things fit into celebrating the life of Saint Patrick. It’s kind of like Easter and the Easter Bunny. There is really no correlation.
But we’ve all heard of Saint Patrick.
Unfortunately most people don’t know the first thing about him.
So I wanted to take a moment to share four facts about Saint Patrick you probably didn’t know.