Over Four Years Later

I calculated that I have preached or taught over 600 times in my 4+ years as pastor of HGBC. During my initial five weeks, I preached a brief series on what I wanted to be the foundation of my ministry at HGBC. Below you will find the sermon texts & themes:

  1. The Gospel – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
  2. The Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20
  3. The Marks of the Early Church – Acts 2:42-47
    1. Correct Teaching
    2. True Community
    3. Informed Worship
    4. Constant Prayer
  4. The Necessity of Knowing God – Acts 17:22-31
  5. The Call to Unity Through Humility – Philippians 2:1-11

Have I been beating this drum ever since?

Since these initial sermons, we have studied the following books: Genesis, Ruth, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Habakkuk, Mark (in Sunday school), John, Galatians, Philippians, James, Titus, Hebrews, a 15 week Old Testament overview, plus the New Testament overview we are currently in. Multiple topics have been covered in short series form as well, to include missions, evangelism, the attributes of God, prayer, finances, death, adoption & orphan care, Respectable Sins, and the Baptist Faith & Message.

We have certainly covered a lot of ground in only 4 years! I would love to hear your thoughts on whether or not we have been faithful in continually building on the foundation I said I aimed to build on.

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Believe it! Speak it!

Instead of using their minds to come to strong convictions and let the chips fall where they will and suffer for what’s true, they are repeatedly angling to get out of traps.

Don’t be like this,…if your mind, in studying the truth, leads you to a conviction that will get you into trouble, believe it! Speak it!

 There are so many pastors who conceal their convictions from their people because they are afraid of conflict.

John Piper, The Pastor as Scholar and The Scholar as Pastor, (p.58).

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Do you Talk to Yourself?

This post by Ryan Griffin is directly from the Desiring God blog. No personal comments were added (and none were needed to be added!).

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Do you talk to yourself?

I don’t mean when you’re wrestling through your taxes or walking through your to-do list. But do you talk yourself, really? When you are fearful, do you command your soul to trust in the Lord?  When your affections are low, do you command your heart to bless the Lord? As Paul Tripp is fond of saying, “no one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do.”

In the particularly difficult moments of the day, how do you talk to yourself? How do you specifically exhort yourself to hope in God?

Psalm 103 has been immensely helpful for me as a pattern for commanding my soul in seasons of low affection. The Psalm begins (Psalm 103:1–2) and ends (Psalm 103:20–22) with David’s exhortation to his own soul to bless the Lord. While there is much to draw out of this rich text, I’d like to highlight two observations:

1. Remind yourself of what the Lord has done

Sin, pain, or sorrow can blind us to God’s present working and, occasionally, even the miraculous ways he’s worked in our lives in the past. And while we might argue with our journal or with our memory, God’s work in redemptive history is unassailable. David helps us by reminding himself (and us) of God’s irrevocable work for his people in history:

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.

David takes us (and himself) back to the most pivotal event he can think of. And it’s not in the valley of Elah with three smooth stones in his hand and a sling by his side. In fact, it’s not even an event from his lifetime.

Instead, David brings us back to Sinai (see Exodus 6:6–9). He brings us back to the moment when the Lord worked powerfully and victoriously and decisively to redeem his people out of Egyptian bondage. He brings us back to the moments when God demonstrated his covenant-keeping love.

In the fight to command our souls to bless the Lord, we not only call to mind the things in general that are true about the Lord (see Psalm 103:3–5), we follow David’s example to get our arms around concrete, unassailable realities of his work in redemptive history. We lift our gaze above our own circumstances and fix it upon the Lord’s acts of provision and deliverance in the past. We tell ourselves what God has done — in history, for us.

2. Hold fast to a specific truth about the Lord

 

David does something very instructive next. Having reminded himself of who God is and what God has done in redemptive history, he latches on to a particular text, specificallyPsalm 103:8,

 

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

David is quoting Exodus 34:6. At the heart of David’s self-exhortation (cf. also Psalm 145:8!), he has a particular text in mind — one frequently recalled by Old Testament authors in the midst of sin (Joel 2:12), sorrow (Lamentations 3:21–23), and pain (Psalm 86:15).

David, Moses, Jonah, Jeremiah, Joel, Nehemiah, and Hezekiah — they all went here for help (Jonah 4:2Nehemiah 9:162 Chronicles 30:9). And David, having to mind this text, begins to spin out all its implications — God’s anger does not last forever, sin has been cast as far as the east is from the west, God’s compassion will not fail because David is his (see 103:9–19).

David is moved. A heart that was faltering is now soaring. A deeply wrought gratitude now swells up to expression. He cannot keep it in: “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (see Psalm 103:20–22).

When you’re talking to yourself, are you reminding yourself of what God has done for you in Christ Jesus? Do you have specific texts with which you exhort your soul? When the days are darkest, don’t let your soul take command. Summon your soul to bless the Lord.  Find specific texts by which you can fight the fight of faith — perhaps some short ones like these: Matthew 28:20Hebrews 13:5–6Isaiah 41:10) and long ones (Romans 8:26–39;John 10:7–18; Psalm 103!.

“May the word of Christ dwell in you richly. . .” (Colossians 3:16).

Ryan Griffith serves as the Assistant Professor of Christian Worldview and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, MN.

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Jesus’ Primary Concern

What is the aim of the Lord’s Prayer? WORSHIP & MISSIONS. John Piper explains:

The first two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer are perhaps the clearest statement of all in the teachings of Jesus that missions is driven by the passion of God to be glorified among the nations. ‘Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come’ (Matthew 6:9–10). Here Jesus teaches us to ask God to hallow his name and to make his kingdom come. This is a missionary prayer. Its aim is to engage the passion of God for his name among those who forget or revile the name of God (Psalm 9:17; 74:18). To hallow God’s name means to put it in a class by itself and to cherish and honor it above every claim to our allegiance and affection. Jesus’ primary concern — the very first petition of the prayer he teaches — is that more and more people, and more and more peoples, come to hallow God’s name. This is the reason the universe exists. Missions exist because this hallowing doesn’t.

Let the Nations Be Glad

HT: OFI

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A Little Suffering

Charles Simeon (ca. 1831) pastored Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, England, for over 50 years:

We must not mind a little suffering for Christ’s sake. When I am getting through a hedge, if my head and shoulders are safely through, I can bear the pricking of my legs. Let us rejoice in the remembrance that our holy Head has surmounted all His suffering and triumphed over death. Let us follow Him patiently; we shall soon be partakers of His victory”

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Vision & Mission of HGBC

“Hill Grove Baptist Church exists to offer the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ as we Gather, Grow, and Go for the glory of God in Meade County and beyond.”

Gather

We desire for everyone to be a part of our weekly worship service. We believe that everyone desiring to live for Christ needs to actively participate in a weekly corporate worship service through singing, praying, reading, seeing, preaching, giving & responding to the gospel, and connecting with the larger body of believers in Jesus. (Heb 10:25; Col 3:16; Matt 21:13; 1 Tim 4:13; 1 Cor 11:24-26; Rom 6:3-4; 2 Tim 4:2; 2 Cor 8:3; Col 2:6)

Grow

We desire everyone to participate in a Bible study care group. We recognize that gathering to worship & hearing the preached word is not the end, & therefore we desire to further teach & apply the gospel. In gentle & understanding ways, the group is structured to be a safe environment where each one can voice their particular questions, doubts & struggles while the others respond with encouragement, exhortation & prayer. Our Bible study care groups exist so that speaking the truth in love, we will grow up in every way to be like Jesus. (1 Tim 4:13; Eph 4:15; Col 4:2, 4:12; 1 Cor 14:26; Eph 4:29; Heb 2:1, 4:12-13, 10:24-25, 12:12-15)

Go

We desire for everyone to be involved in taking the gospel to our local community and beyond to the ends of the earth. We believe that every follower of Jesus has been given gifts & holy ambitions by God for the purpose of making followers of Jesus throughout the entire world. As we go, we desire to be intentional in living for Jesus & inviting people to join us on mission as we gather again, and grow & go for the glory of God in celebrating the gospel of Jesus. (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 7:7; 1 Pet 4:10; Col 2:6; Eph 4:11-12; John 4:29)

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We all need the Church – EVERY DAY!

Paul Tripp:

This community of love is meant to comfort the person who is discouraged, to strengthen the person who is weak, to encourage the person who has no hope, to come alongside the person who is alone, to guide the person who has lost his way, to give wisdom to the person lost in foolishness, to warn the person who is beginning to wander, to correct the person turning the wrong way, to give eyes to the person blind to God’s presence, and to physically represent God’s presence and love. No one, including pastors, is wired to live outside this community.

 

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