Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kelly's Heroes: Tyndale

Over the next seven weeks, I am leading a class on Sunday evenings entitled "Kelly's Heroes." It is part of a series of electives we are offering to our congregation. This class will provide brief biographical sketches of some of my heroes from church history along with some theological analysis and life lessons. The focus for this Sunday night is William Tyndale. Here are a couple of quotes from the English reformer and famous translator of the Scriptures.

Tyndale on the Bible

Let God’s word try every man’s doctrine and whomsoever God’s word proveth unclean let him be taken for a leper. One scripture will help to declare another. And the circumstances, that is to say, the places that go before and after, will give light unto the middle text. And the open and manifest scriptures will ever improve the false and wrong exposition of the darker sentences. (from The Obedience of a Christian Man)

Tyndale on the Gospel

A Christian man hath nought to rejoice in, as concerning his deeds. His rejoicing is that Christ died for him, and the he is washed in Christ’s blood. Of his deeds rejoiceth he not, neither counteth he he merits, neither giveth pardons of them, neither seeketh an higher place in heaven of them, neither maketh himself a savior of other men through his good works; but giveth all honor to God; and in his greatest deeds of mercy knowledgeth himself a sinner unfeignedly, and is abundantly content with that place that is prepared for him of Christ; and his good deeds are to him a sign only that Christ’s Spirit is in him, and he in Christ, and through Christ, elect to eternal life. (from The Parable of the Wicked Mammon)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The American Dream?

I am currently in Mexico on a trip to work with the board of Seminario Teologico Bautista del Sur and to visit missionaries Robb and Vicky Hazen from Country Acres Baptist Church. Robb and Vicky are planting a church in Tumbiscatio, Michoacan where there is no evangelical work. It has been a wonderful trip.

When I am out of the country, I see many things that make me glad to be a citizen of the USA. There are, in fact, many people from this country who are currently in the USA because of all the opportunities she offers. However, I am appalled today to read about President Obama's action of lifting the ban on funding for organizations world-wide which provide abortions. I suppose America is a great place to live unless you are an unborn child with a mother who doesn't want you.

I am afraid that many Americans are more concerned about the economic recession than they are about the fact that unborn babies have no legal protection in this country. Indeed, we are sending money from our country to other countries who want to allow pregnant women to kill their unborn children. Pocket books and political power now outweigh (and they have for a long time) the moral conscience of our nation.

I realize that there are many sophisticated arguments used by pro-life advocates in waging the war against abortion. I am grateful for their scholarship and their passion. Such evidences and arguments are necessary and useful. But it seems to me that on the face of it, without having to dig into philosophical and medical details, a nation which devalues life in the womb is a savage place. For some the USA still holds the American dream. Perhaps one day it will be so for the unborn as well.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How to Pray for Your Pastor

Ligon Duncan provides some wonderful insights on praying for your pastor. As a pastor, I know how desperately I need the prayers of my congregation.

Praying for Your Pastor
by lduncan

Because I have a congregation that loves me more than I deserve, I am often asked by them: "how can I pray for you?" I've tried to put some thought into how I answer that question. So, maybe these ideas will help you pray for your pastor, or tell others how they can pray for you.
Pray -

1. That [your pastor] would know and love the living God, would have a saving interest in Christ, being purchased by His blood, and thus would be bound to the Lord by the indissoluble bond of the Holy Spirit.

2. That [your pastor] would know, embrace and ever more deeply understand the Gospel and be shaped by it in life and ministry.

3. That [your pastor] would be useful servant of the Lord, that he would know and love God's word, God's people, and God's kingdom; that he would be used to build it up and so that it prevails even against Hell's gates.

4. That [your pastor] would study, practice and teach the Word of the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

5. That [your pastor] would love to pray, because he loves to commune with his God, and that he would be a man of prayer, characteristically.

6. That [your pastor] would be ever dependent upon and filled with the Spirit; and that he would possess true Spiritual wisdom.

7. That [your pastor] would be holy unto the Lord. That his tongue and heart would be wholly God's.

8. That [your pastor] would be kept from pride, and especially spiritual pride. That the Lord himself would be gracious to slay pride in him, and that your pastor would endeavor to always be putting pride to death, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

9. That God would give [your pastor] guidance as to where to focus his efforts in ministry.

10. That He would protect [your pastor] from himself, from the enemy of his soul, and from all earthly enemies.

11. That no decision which [your pastor] ever makes or desire that [your pastor] ever pursues would restrict his ability to pour his whole soul into the Gospel ministry.

12.That many would be converted and many built up under [your pastor]'s ministry, to God's glory alone.

13. That the Lord would bless [your pastor]'s wife, [. . . ], with holiness and happiness, Gospel assurance and Gospel rest.

14. That God would make [your pastor] a decent husband and father.

15. That [your pastor] would be a good friend to his wife, and love her self-sacrificially,

16. That [your pastor] would be a good daddy to his children. That they would love God, their parents and the church.

17. That [your pastor] would be a testimony in the home so that his wife might be able to respect him when he is in the pulpit, and so that [your pastor] will be able to feed her soul, along with the rest of the congregation.