“Sound” Check

One of the simplest ways to study the Bible is to see which words are repeated the most often.

In our Men’s & Women’s Bible Studies (Wednesday & Thursday mornings respectively) we are going through the book of TITUS.

Titus is a short book of the Bible. It is only 3 short chapters, only 46 verses total.

But in this brief letter written by the Apostle Paul to a younger fellow minister named Titus, the word Sound is used 5 times.

Titus 1:9“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in SOUND doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

Titus 1:13 “This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be SOUND in the faith.”

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, teach what accords with SOUND doctrine.”

Titus 2:2 “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, SOUND in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”

Titus 2:8 “and SOUND speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”

Being “Sound” means being “healthy.” It is as simple as that. Are you healthy in life? Are you healthy in your faith? Is your Faith a sound faith?

Studying the Bible this way is so simple yet so impactful. Try it out.

Biblical Theology of a 4 year old

We recently started reading the through the Jesus-Storybook Bible again with our boys.

I was curious to see how much J.J. knew, or remembered, from the previous times we have read through it. He is four years old now and beginning to process a lot of the deep truths of the Gospel.

On our 2nd day of reading the Bible, it covered the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden when they disobeyed God and ate the fruit. The JSB (Jesus Storybook Bible) does an excellent job clarifying that God told them what to do and what NOT to do.

As we all know, Adam & Eve did not listen to God. They did not obey God. Instead, they listened to the serpent and disobeyed God. This is wrong and bad.

To a 4 year old, direct disobedience is really wrong and bad. I was encouraged as we were reading as I could see sadness and disappointment on the face of JJ that Adam and Eve did not listen to God.

I asked a few questions to make sure that JJ was understanding what they did; why it was wrong; why it happened; etc. He then asked me some questions about the serpent. Why would the serpent do that? Why did he trick (deceive) them? Why does he oppose God?

After that small discussion, we concluded that the Devil is evil and he hates God and he wants to get other people to hate God. This discussion was a tough one for my 4 year old son. As he was sad & puzzled that anyone would not love God. Because God is great!

However, after this was when JJ really showed me that he is learning a lot and understanding the message of the Bible. As I closed the Bible to begin to pray, JJ said with excitement “Wait, now lets read the passage where Jesus kills the snake!”

I paused for a moment and thought to myself “How do you know about that?” (After all, most adult believers are unfamiliar with the protoevangelion of Genesis 3:15)

I then said, “what are you talking about?” JJ replied “Lets read the story where Jesus kills the snake. The snake is bad. He doesn’t like God, and now I want to read the story where Jesus kills the snake.”

I had forgotten that the JSB covered that part of the Bible. So I let him show me. He turned me to the page that recalls Jesus’ death on the cross as the defeat of sin and death and satan. The JSB has a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross with the crushed snake under his feet. It is a powerful picture of the redemptive history in the Bible. What God promised to Eve in Genesis 3:15 about her offspring crushing the serpent’s head came to fulillment in Jesus when He died on the cross for sin.

Thats incredible! The whole Bible beginning to end is about God’s plan to redeem people from their sins through Jesus. Many adult Christians today still do not understand this.

Praise God that because of the writing and illustrating of the Jesus Storybook Bible my 4 year old already has a healthy Biblical Theology!

We read that part and celebrated together that sin and satan do not have the final say!

FBCF reads at Hazelwood Elementary School

This past Tuesday a small group from our church went to read at Hazelwood Elementary School. We were invited as a part of the “Annual Community Reader Week.”

Mrs. Annette Darnell is the Family Resource Director at Hazelwood, and she is also a member of our church. It was great to see her in her work environment.

Jettie Haines, Tish Hardin, Gail Deaton, T.J. Krages, and I went and spent the afternoon reading to various grade-level classes.

I read three different Dr. Suess books to the Mrs. Chapin’s 2nd Grade class. We had a great time participating in this event.

Thank you to Mrs. Darnell and Hazelwood Elementary for having us!

 

 

“Would it be ok to bend over and kiss her?”

With his right hand leaning on his walking cane and his left hand holding his wife’s hand, he turned to me with tears in his eyes and said with a shaky voice – “would it be ok to bend over and kiss her?”

I answered, “Absolutely!”

Forty-two years ago this gentleman had stood before his wife, a minister, and a small crowd of people and verbally spoke a vow to love his wife “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse.”

Loving your wife is what the Bible says Husbands are supposed to do (Ephesians 5:25).

Today I was the minister at her funeral. This was a funeral I was called to do without knowing the family. For the record, I did not know a single person in the entire chapel. But that did not at all keep God from blessing me so greatly.

The dear lady that passed away was 65 years old and had been married to her husband for 42 years. He got choked up speaking with me about his wife prior to the service. I could sense then that he really loved her.

We live in a day when deeply loving your wife and expressing it is rare. So when I get a chance to observe it, I really watch and learn. I have only been married 7 years. But I love Valeria, and I often tell her that I cannot wait until we are 70 together. I love her so much now and can hardly imagine how deep our love will be then after 45 years together.

But today as the funeral service concluded and the congregation filed out, I was eager to see how this faithful & simple husband would handle saying his “final words” to his wife before the casket was closed.

I was so impacted.

He slowly walked to the casket all by himself. With his right hand he was gripping his walking cane and with his left hand he reached down and grabbed his deceased wife’s hand (like he had done that countless times before). It was then with tears in his eyes, he turned to me and asked “Would it be ok to bend over and kiss her?” My eyes immediately teared up. I quickly responded “Absolutely.”

The gentleman bent over, kissed his bride, and then wept as he slowly exited the chapel.

He loved her! He loved his wife. That is what he was supposed to do. That is what he had vowed to do 42 years ago. And that is what he did. Even as she lay there in the casket with a few people standing around, as a farewell, he wanted to kiss her. awesome!

That moment blessed me so very much today.

As I got in my car to drive to the cemetery, I sent this text to my wife Valeria:

“mi amor, Vale,  I love you so very much. Im yours forever. I mean it. Im never letting go. You are so so so special to me.”

Former Fairdale High Ladies Hoops Star Goes Pro

Yesterday C’eira Ricketts was drafted 12th in the 2nd Round (24th overall) by the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.

Ricketts played her college ball in the SEC for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

C’eira played her High School basketball right here in Fairdale at Fairdale High School where she graduated from in 2008.

Ricketts was an absolute star in high school. I recall watching many of her games and being amazed at how much better she was than every other girl on the court. She also had great success at Arkansas. This article here reviews her college career.

Not only do I remember C’eira being a fantastic ball player, but I also remember her being a great person. Our church often fed the Boys & Girls Basketball teams pre-game meals, so C’eira has been in our church many times. And I recall eating and talking with her. She was a blessing to be around.

As a Fairdale citizen and supporter of Fairdale athletics, I am very proud to see Ricketts fulfilling her dream of playing basketball professionally.

Reflections (quotes) from the T4G Conference

Last week I was blessed to be able to attend the 2012 Together for the Gospel Conference.

This is a biennial Pastor’s conference that meets in downtown Louisville, KY at the KFC Yum Center.

I was so encouraged by going. Here are a few reasons why:

  • I am thankful to my church for sending me to this conference and for seeing it as important for me to continue becoming a better pastor.
  • I am thankful to my wife Valeria for allowing me to be gone all day long for three straight days.
  • At T4G I ran into so many old friends. I was in seminary fro 2003-2006. Many of my seminary friends I have not seen in years, but at this conference I ran into so many of them who are spread out all over the world doing ministry.
  • I was able to take a friend in the ministry who had never attended T4G before. He was so blessed to be a part of the conference.
  • The Preaching was outstanding. I do not recall ever being a part of something where I heard so many outstanding Biblical sermons. My soul was challenged, convicted and stirred.
  • Pastors with years of experience are such a blessing. God gifts many men to preach well. Young guys with little experience can preach great sermons, but there is something extra poweful and mighty about an older man who has served the Lord and His Church for many years who is able to speak with maturity and confidence.

The Conference theme this year was “Together for the Underestimated Gospel.” There were 9 sessions. We heard 9 different preachers preach. I was there for every session except the Wednesday night session when David Platt preached. I will have to watch that sermon online someday this week.

Here are a few quotes from each of the sermons. I hope they bless you as they did me:

C.J. Mahaney-  -“We are not innovators; we are proclaimers.”
-“Paul never got over the mercy he received.”
“When you cannot see God’s hand, you must learn to trust His heart.” -Charles Spurgeon

Albert Mohler- -“St. Francis of Assisi most likely did not say the quote that he is often known for. ‘Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.'”
“Our responsibility is to get the Gospel to their ears, and God will get it from their ears to their hearts.” -Martin Luther
“Romans 10 is the whole machinery of salvation.” -Charles Spurgeon

Mark Dever- –“If you are not willing to wake up an hour early to go and pick up a 90 year old man and give him a ride to church, then I seriously have to              wonder if you are saved.”
-“False conversions can be the suicide of the church.”
-“Pastors should always be evangelizing steadily and well.”

Thabiti Anyabwile- -“The biggest hindrance in the Middle East is Christians lack of confidence in the Gospel.”
-“Be careful with new converts. Most are not like Paul.”
-“Preach the Gospel every sermon. Remember God only has one sermon. Genesis to Revelation God has the same message.” (This was my favorite quote from the entire week.)

Kevin Deyoung- -“The Spirit’s work is to being glory to Christ. (John 16:14)”
-“If you have an anger problem or a bitterness problem, you can be sure what you really have is Gratitude problem.”

David Platt- -(I have not heard this sermon yet, but here are 2 great quotes I’ve heard from it.)
-“There are more believers in some of your Sunday School classes than there are in the whole country of Yemen.”
-“God is not calling you to be involved in His work among the nations because He needs you, but instead because He loves you.”

Ligon Duncan- -“David Platt’s sermon at this year’s T4G is the best sermon I have ever heard on missions.”
-“When the bottom falls out & disappointments come, you will learn what you believe, what you love and what you treasure.”
-“When you start hearing or thinking you can get what you want or you deserve this, then you better believe that voice always comes with a hiss.”

Matt Chandler-

John Piper- -“I am utterly amazed that after all these years, I am still a Christian.”
-“If God called you, you will be kept.”
-“You should be absolutely stunned that you are still a Christian. It takes all of that (Jude 24-25).”
-“Jude is a book about being kept by God’s power.”

 

you don’t need a sign from God

Yesterday morning I preached a sermon called “Something Greater is Here” from Luke 11:29-32 and in this passage Jesus says: “It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given…”

There are many people today looking for “signs” from God that will show them or convince them what is true, or right, or what they should do or believe.

Jesus has answered this desire already. What we need is not signs, we need to see our own inabilities, our faults, our shortcomings, our sins. And when we do, we should turn to God. He is gracious and merciful. He understands us. He forgives people.

You can listen to the whole message here.

Fairdale Community News – Happenings

As a church, we are very interested in what is going on in the community. We love our town and want to see it do well.

Fairdale has such a “small town” feel to it that when anything big or new happens then everyone is talking about and energized together. So I am spreading this news to keep the energy flowing.

And so as a church, we are eager to celebrate with everyone when exciting new things are going on. Our church is happy to recognize anything good and positive that is going in Fairdale.

Here are three pieces of news that I have recently heard about or heard the latest on:

 

  1. March 24.  The new Fairdale Library will host its Grand Opening on March 24th at 1pm. Everyone is invited to this special event. The Library (pictured above) will be over twice as big as the former Fairdale Library. As you drive by, it looks very nice.
  2. End of March/Early April.Fairdale will be getting its first Coffee Shop. Over the years, I have heard so many people say they wished Fairdale had a coffee shop. Well it soon will! Stephanie Lanham’s flower shop, Fairdale Florist, is being re-modeled and will soon be a Florist and a Coffee Shop. I had a great conversation with her today about her new endeavor. Her shop will have a Drive-thru and WI-FI for customers who come inside for a doughnut and coffee. Her Grand Opening date is not set yet, but they hope for it to be open by April.
  3. Mid-April. With the new Library coming to Fairdale, it has left many people wondering what will become of the old library. Well today while in a community meeting, I heard that the Metro Arts Center (a part of Metro Parks) which is currently located on Dixie Highway will be moving into Fairdale’s Playtorium.  Honestly, I do not know a lot about the Metro Arts Center, but I am excited about all of the new things happening in our area.
The next month or so should really bring some positive changes to our community. I look forward to taking advantage of all the good options.
Now if we can just get that roundabout!!!

 

Reading Dr. Seuss books today to a 2nd grade class

Today I had a great opportunity to be at Coral Ridge Elementary School in Fairdale, KY to read books to a 2nd Grade Class. Mrs. Longacre was the teacher, and Mrs. Mantle was the Librarian that invited me.

This event was in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday which is tomorrow, March 2nd.

I spent about 30 minutes in the classroom. We read two of my personal favorite Dr. Seuss books. 1) oh the wonderful sounds of Mr. Brown and 2) the A, B, Cs.

We had a great time laughing together and getting into the books.

The highlight of the day was when a 7 year old, 2nd grader told me that the “sound” book was about “onomatopoeia.” I was very impressed.

Great Job Mrs. Longacre and Coral Ridge for teaching your kids well.

It was a pleasure and an honor to be there and take part in this event.