If you are well acquainted with The Master’s Table then you probably don’t need the tutorial. I’m not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence but new subscribers still trickle in from time to time and search engines bring visitors daily. After blogging these many years I decided a tutorial for first time visitors might be a good place to start. Continue reading
I read a lot of stuff. Each week I check out most of the links on Paul Wilkinson’s Wednesday Link List and Daniel Jepsen’s Saturday Ramblings. I visit Church Leaders .com several times frequently as well as subscribe to several WordPress blogs via their built-in reader. Baptist Press is the newsletter of the Southern Baptist Convention and it comes to my email inbox daily. I share relatively few of the many news articles and blog posts I read each day. Most of what I publish is my own stuff, the Master’s Table is more than an aggregator. My readers know how to find the Internet, duh. But every now and then I find something particular enjoyable, very informative or rather important and pass those things along in a bit I like to call The Read & Share File.
Ronnie Floyd has been the president of the Southern Baptist Convention for less than one year but has observed a few things. He also has a few concerns:
Lesson #1: Change is in the air
While many imagine that our convention never changes, this is just not the case. Churches, associations, state conventions and Southern Baptist entities are changing. Are they all changing? Probably not, but I would say many are changing because they know they must change to stay or become relevant. Some are changing rapidly, but most change is incremental.
Whatever level or pace, there is definitely a spirit of change in our convention. This is tremendous and highly commendable. Just a couple of years ago, resistance to change was probably more embraced than friendliness to change.
Let’s pray for one another to be so open to God’s leadership that we will change as He wills and directs.
Read the full article via Baptist Press. Floyd’s concern for the growth of healthy churches and the priority of evangelism are not unique to Southern Baptists.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan. The goal of A Christian Survival Guide: A Lifeline to Faith and Growth by Ed Cyzewski is to help Christian believers make a plan.
Cyzewski points out in the introduction that former Christians that have left the faith are often most aware of the serious issues Christianity presents. The last book I reviewed by Mike Hamel asks serious questions that the author doesn’t have good answers for; while he hasn’t left the faith he is no longer as certain as he used to be about the tenets of the Christian faith. A Christian Survival Guide wants readers to anticipates issues that will arise and be prepared ahead of time. From the introduction: This book aims to help the saints persevere, and so we’ll focus on answering that last question—what will help you survive as a follower of Jesus? Surviving as a Christian depends on having the right beliefs, putting them into practice in community with other Christians, and most importantly, meeting with God regularly. If we fail to address basic survival matters such as understanding God’s story from Scripture, defeating sin, or living in step with the Holy Spirit, we run the risk of missing out on the abundant life Jesus promised us, if not losing our intimacy with Jesus and leaving the faith altogether. Continue reading
Begin by reading Exodus 32:1-6. The Hebrews demanded that Aaron make gods for them to worship and remarkably Aaron did so. Up until this point of the Exodus narrative Aaron had been as the spoken voice of God to the people of Israel. God would instruct Moses, Moses would share the commands with Aaron, and Aaron would in turn relay all that God had said to the people. They had all witnessed the plagues in Egypt, miraculously crossed the Red Sea, and trembled in fear as smoke and fire descended onto Mount Sinai. They had not yet received the written tablets but the words of the Ten Commandments had been spoken by God in Exodus 20. Before and after the commandments were listed all the congregation of Israel said together “All that you say we will do.” So why after all that would they risk provoking the anger of God by making an idol to worship? Continue reading
A very vocal critic of Ergun Caner once wrote to me via social media “If you are Caner’s friend you must be a liar too.” He further suggested I re-examine whether or not I am truly a born-again believer. Such is the foolishness that Ergun Caner has dealt with for many years.
I am going to politely suggest reading two pieces and strongly suggest, rather implore, that my Christian brothers and sisters pray for Caner and his family. The first is an article appearing yesterday in Baptist Press. This story not only provides background of the particular issues in an objective manner but attempts to set the record straight concerning conspiracies and cover ups. The second is a highly emotional plea from Bucky Kennedy to please put the issue to rest. Kennedy currently pastors First Baptist Church of Vidalia, GA and has previously served as President of the Georgia Baptist Convention and Chairman of the Board at Brewton-Parker.
Please read the linked articles. Please thoughtfully and prayfully consider how you will respond when you hear gossip and criticism. Please pray for Ergun Caner and his family. Thank you.
Last week I tried to answer the question Why Do We Pray in Jesus’ Name? Paul Wilkinson combined that post with another from the All About Prayer blog for this 2-for-1 special at Christianity 201. When I preached this sermon on Sunday morning I expounded on the name of Jesus by including two other scripture references: Acts 4:12 (And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved) and Philippians 2:9-11 (Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father). emphasis added Continue reading