Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Inspiring True Story

I just read one of the most inspiring stories I've ever read from the Associated Press at (Thanks to Mark Driscoll's link on Twitter.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Devoted to Doing Good

While the apostle Paul makes it clear throughout his letter to Titus that Christians are saved from the consequences of their sins by God's grace and mercy rather than "because of works done by us in righteousness" (Titus 3:5), he makes it equally clear that followers of Jesus Christ should be people who are consumed with doing good in this world. We should be characterized as people who are "zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14). After all, we have been changed by the grace of God. We now care increasingly about the things that concern him.

So, what can we do? The possibilities are nearly limitless.

We can...

*shovel the snow from the driveway of a neighbor
*mentor a child who has no mother or no father
*call someone who is lonely
*pray for a customer who is going through difficult times
*let someone know that the Lord cares about him
*give a ride to someone who doesn't have a car
*take a meal to someone who has been ill or injured
*babysit a single mother's children for an evening
*mow the yard of someone in need
*play ball with some boys who don't have active fathers in their lives

The list could go on and on.

The point is to keep our eyes open for opportunities to do good for others in the name of Christ.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who Does God Want to be Elders?

"This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you--if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 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 1:5-9).

God is looking for men who are above reproach to serve as overseers and pastors in his church. In other words, God insists that a leader in his churches be...

*the husband of one wife. He must be a man who is faithful to his wife. His relationship with his wife will be a model of how Christ loves his church.

*a father whose children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. He must be one who can lead his children in the right way. (I have read commentaries that downplay this quality in a pastor; but as a father, I have some understanding of why God requires this now. Children do not grow up naturally to be faithful and decent human beings. Fathers need to work to ensure that this happens. Such experience is absolutely required for the work of an overseer.)

*a man who is not arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain. He cannot be one who thinks he knows everything. He cannot walk around with a chip on his shoulder, looking for an argument or a fight. He cannot allow drugs or alcohol to gain control over him. He cannot beat up his wife, his children, or others under his care. He cannot be a man who would cheat or steal or lie in order to get what he wants from another. Such characteristics will destroy a man and the church he is called to care for.

*a man who is hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He needs to be a friendly and generous man, a man who will share his time and his resources to benefit another. He must love the good things in life...things like honor, kindness, justice, and purity. He needs to be in control of his actions and reactions. He needs to be stable and reliable. He must be the point that others would say that there is something different about him. His honesty should never be questioned by any rational person.

*a man who holds firm to the trustworthy word as taught by the apostles and prophets. He needs to be able to teach healthy doctrine that conforms with the will of God, doctrine that accurately conveys God's message for people within the church and beyond. He will need to be able to handle the word of God with enough expertise to defend it against those who would deny it or try to change it. (An elder may need to challenge a preacher with a doctorate in theology if that preacher is denying such fundamental teachings as the inerrancy of Scripture, the need for faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved, or the omniscience of God. He needs to be prepared to recognize sound doctrine from unhealthy faith-destroying doctrine; and he needs to have the courage to defend the good and to challenge the bad...even when he must take on a popular false teacher within his congregation.)

Such elders will serve churches well.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Forgiveness After an Abortion

"For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

"I acknowledged my sin to you,
and did not cover my iniquity;
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,'
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin" (Psalm 32:3-5).

Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion throughout the nation. Nearly 50 million legal abortions have taken place since this day in 1973.

I have been thinking about the women (and men) who are living with the guilt of taking the lives of their children before birth. Millions of people have been living with the need for forgiveness.

For anyone in this situation, Randy Alcorn has a helpful piece dealing with the subject at

Also, you may find some helpful Scriptures dealing with sin, grace, forgiveness, and a new life at

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Christopher

I posted this 3 years ago on the day before Christopher's 4th birthday. I am re-posting it today, a few days before his 7th birthday. I have changed it in order to reflect his 7th birthday instead of his 4th.

Thursday will mark your 7th birthday, Christopher. With that in mind, I would like to share a few thoughts about your birth and adoption. You will not be able to understand everything that I am writing today, but someday you will.

First, I want you to know that God answers prayers. Your birth and adoption were the answer to 9 years of prayer by your mother and myself. We had hoped and prayed for a long time for your arrival. God was preparing us to become your parents, while teaching us patience and perseverance during those years of waiting. Then God answered our prayers with the son of our dreams.

Second, your birth and adoption crossed racial barriers. You were born on the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2003 to a young black woman who chose a childless white husband and wife to be your parents. It was appropriate that you came into our lives on the day after a day set apart in our country to honor the memory of the man who had dreamed of racial barriers being broken.

Third, your birth and adoption signified the value of choosing life over abortion. You were born the day before the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing all abortions in the United States. Your birthmother made a brave decision in choosing adoption over abortion in her situation. We were honored to be entrusted with protecting, nurturing, and helping to shape your life ever since.

Finally, I want you to know that Christopher means Christ-bearer. We were unaware of the meaning of your name when we chose it, but we look forward to seeing how you will live out its meaning. We pray that you will follow Christ closely all the days of your life, and take him with you wherever you go.

Christopher, you are a special child. You are loved. You are blessed and a blessing.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ, and the Dream

This is my planned communion meditation for the Contact Church on Sunday, January 17, 2010.

Nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these words:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood...

"I have a dream that one Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

Nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ spoke these words:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:18-19).

When Christ told his apostles to "make disciples of all nations," he was instructing them to welcome people from all ethnic groups into his band of disciples. In fact, the original Greek word for nations could be translated ethnic groups.

Before his death and resurrection, Jesus had said, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (John 12:32). He knew that his death on the cross would bring all kinds of people--Jewish people and Gentile people-- to his side.

Jesus Christ had a dream of bringing together people from a variety of ethnic groups as brothers and sisters in his Father's family.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate the memory of Dr. King, the man who changed America with his message of racial harmony and justice.

But today, as we observe the Lord's Supper, we can look around and see the impact that Jesus Christ has had on our lives. As black people, white people, Latinos, Creeks, and Cherokees, we celebrate the memory of the man who died and was resurrected in order to reconcile us to God and to each other.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Adoption and Manhood

Last week, I read a great post about adopting children even when you already have biological children. It may be found at I have made most of the same points before on my blog, but the author presented one that I had not considered:

"We are committed to biblical manhood. Men are called to lead, provide, and protect (Gen. 1-2, Eph. 5, 1 Kings 2:1-9, 1 Pet. 3, Col. 3). This is a fundamental teaching of the Bible and it does not merely pertain to the four walls of one's home. Men should be looking for those who need protection and provision. There are fatherless children all over the world. Every year I meet women who are burdened for adoption but their husbands won't budge. It's usually something about retirement, college costs, or they are finally able to afford that boat they always wanted. In our home, the men lead and sacrificially give of themselves for the good of others."

After reading that paragraph, I was reminded of Job, a good man in the Bible who "delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him...(who) was a father to the needy, and (who) searched out the cause of him whom (he) did not know" (Job 29:12, 16). His example is worthy of imitation.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Weekend to Remember Contest

Three years ago, I won tickets from a local radio station to attend FamilyLife's A Weekend to Remember marriage conference. Janet and I had a great time.

During the conference, we learned about the biblical plan for the role of husbands, the role of wives, valuing each other as God's gifts, sexual intimacy, communication, and many other subjects. The speakers were insightful and humorous. They even set aside time on Saturday night for couples to have a date night together. It truly lived up to its name. It was a weekend to remember.

Since we enjoyed the conference so much, Janet and I have decided to pay the registration for another couple to experience A Weekend to Remember. The conferences are being held across the United States and in Canada this spring. You may find information about dates, locations, and other details at

In order to win registration to A Weekend to Remember, please leave a comment on this post. The contest will be open until 12:01 am January 10, 2010. Next Sunday, I will randomly draw one name from the comments section of the reader who will win the registration. (Sorry, but we cannot pay for your hotel room and meals; but the registration fee is valued at $258, so it is still a very valuable prize for a blog contest.) If you are the winner, we will get your mailing address and instruct FamilyLife to send a gift certificate for you and your spouse to attend the conference of your choice.

Of course, if no one enters the contest, Janet and I will enjoy another Weekend to Remember ourselves. But we hope others will take advantage of this opportunity to possibly win this prize.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Looking for a New Church for the New Year

I posted this nearly two years ago, but I thought it might be appropriate for anyone who stumbles across this blog after making a new year's resolution to start attending church services during the new year.

" every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (Titus 2:10, NIV).

I've been thinking about people who want to follow Jesus Christ, but they have not connected with any particular church. What if I were in their situation? How would I find a church? What would make a difference in my search?

Generally, churches look alike in their yellow pages ads and mass mailings. Their radio and television commercials seem very similar. I might visit a church based on advertising alone. However, if a church did not live up to its projected image, I would not return.

Recently, I have been thinking about another method of finding a church. What if I started looking at the people around me to find the most Christ-like men and women? What if I decided to visit congregations that they attended? I have little doubt that I could find an excellent church using such a method.

I would look for men and women of kindness, the type of people who will reach out in compassion to others around them who are hurting or lonely. I would look for people of conviction, people who would stand for biblical standards and doctrines despite the unpopularity of their positions. I would look for men and women who would not only refuse to participate in office gossip, but who would not allow it to go unchallenged in their presence. I would look for people of wisdom, people who know how to live godly and attractive lives at the same time. I would look for men and women who enjoyed life and had grateful attitudes. I would search for people who spoke of faith in Christ and lived by faith in him. I would seek out men and women of humility, people with a sense of security without a sense of arrogance.

Such people reflect well on Christ, but they also reflect well on their local congregations. They are the best advertisements that a church could place in a community.

I want to be that kind of living commercial for Jesus Christ and for the Contact Church.