A few years ago we tried something new that just didn’t work out. I have decided to spare you the details but we made a few slideshow presentation videos and since I never throw anything away the ones we produced still exist on YouTube.
As we begin Holy Week here is a sermon titled “The Gospel Changes Things” with scripture texts and images. To share the Gospel is why Jesus came into the world. The Church has the potential to do a lot of good in the world but above all else sharing this message is what we are called to.
I was listening to the Jimmy’s Table podcast this morning as he interviewed a local Charlotte, NC pastor. They discussed the recent wave of Facebook Live and other video/streaming church services and that brought up a few questions. Will church members go back to church when this is all over? Why send tithes to a church in your city when you could watch a live stream or listen to a podcast from a pastor anywhere?
Whether you believe in a literal six day creation week 6,000 years ago or evolutionary processes that took eons, conservative Christians and anthropologists agree that before societies developed humans were hunter-gatherers. During times of plenty the human body stores extra in fat cells, using those reserves in times that are lean. Evolution at work or God’s providence? Since you’re reading a religious blog, and I’m a Baptist preacher, we’re probably on the same page. We probably agree on what happened next. Technology improved, life got easier, and since none of us have to spend the majority of time making sure we have enough to eat we have to go jogging or walk a treadmill to stave off morbid obesity. We are designed for the struggle. When we are provided an abundance, with no hard labor required, we get fat. Continue reading →
Anson Hugh Laytner is a retired Jewish rabbi. One’s initial reaction might be “This is not Christian theology.” Firstly, Laytner anticipates a Jewish and Christian audience. He describes himself as a skeptical but spiritual person thus the intended audience may go beyond Christian or Jewish to include anyone struggling with questions and looking for answers. More to the point in this context, Christian theology grew out of Hebrew history, ritual, literature and Jewish theology in the first century. Laytner is aware of the relationship. As he begins a section describing Radical Monotheism he mentions the Tanakh and then inserts in parenthesis “the Jewish Bible, similar to the Christian Old Testament.” The search for meaning and understanding is practically universal among people everywhere and Laytner’s process may benefit any reader wrestling with the same issues. Continue reading →
A short Facebook exchange this morning led me to search The Master’s Table for references to hell. The only post with hell in the title was a link to a sermon on the Unity website. Here is the full text of that sermon, preached at Unity Baptist Church on October 4, 2015. The scripture text is Isaiah 11:1-10. Continue reading →
Hopefully the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral is not news to anyone. I don’t try to cover breaking news and share you heard it hear first stories because many times the first things you hear are wrong. Now that everyone has had a chance to hear and digest the facts, and many people have shared their opinion, I would like to reflect on a few things. Continue reading →
In my own denomination 75 churches each week close for good. The attrition rate among pastors is staggering. According to LifeWay research (link) it may not be 1,500 a month walking away from the ministry but on average 250 each month do. The culture we live in has changed. Just a generation or two ago a local politician, think city council or school board member, was expected to be active in a local church in order to be considered a member of the community. Church attendance is no longer looked to as a metric and being outspoken about one’s faith may be a strike against a candidate. The rights to religious expression are challenged with increasing frequency, not just in the public arena but in homes and other private property.
If you’re thinking “Wow, this guy hasn’t written an actual blog post in a while” you’re right. The weekly Happy Monday posts will turn 5 this summer but I spend a lot more time now on social media (lots of Facebook, little bit of Twitter) than I do blogging. I’m pastoring a church and maintaining the church website, hopefully some readers are following that as well. There is an RSS feed in the left-hand sidebar, most of the posts are Sunday sermons.
The title of this post is not “Expository vs. Topical Preaching.” I’m not doing a straight compare and contrast of the two forms, but kind of hoping you know at least a little something about them. What I want to do is explain why I prefer one to the other without avoiding the other completely. Continue reading →
Love the sinner but hate the sin, or as Gandhi wrote in his autobiography “hate the sin and not the sinner.” It has become an overused and sometimes debated cliche but where did it come from? According to Fr. Vincent Serpa at Catholic Answers it was Saint Augustine. In 424 he wrote Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” But a common response these days is that Christ never said those words or that it’s not in the Bible. That response is the topic I wish to take up.
There is no single verse of scripture that we can site by chapter and verse number that says love the sinner, hate the sin. You will also not find the word trinity in the Bible yet most Christians believe in it. We use the word trinity to describe the triune nature of God who manifests himself in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is no verse of scripture that says abortion is morally wrong but when seeking the counsel of God’s Word we find many references to the value of human life, that we are made in God’s image, and commandments to not commit murder. The Bible does not say, in so many words, to not look at internet porn but imagine someone arguing with their pastor or Sunday School teacher that it’s okay because the Bible doesn’t say anything about it.