Thursday, April 24, 2008

Contentedness Part 1

"But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness."
1 Timothy 6:11

I'm not completely sure if the title of this post is even a word...but oh well. I haven't been able to get to a computer much in the past week, hence the week long absence again...but hopefully I can make it up by what I found in 1 Timothy.

"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:3-10

How many plexiglass preachers do we hear these days that preach about money? How often do we ourselves complain about it? When does concern over your finances cross over into worrying too much about money? Unfortunately, I have no clue. What I do know is, 1. Too many, 2. Too much, 3. Too quickly. As a college student, my finances is usually one of the main things I worry about. I'm always worried about if I'm going to be able to eat, or buy gas, or other things like that. But I shouldn't. At all. For a very good reason.

I started at Southeastern in fall of 2005. I had plenty of money over the summer, but due to some really, really stupid decisions on my part, I had none by the time I started college. And after books, I had less. And after my first month of rent, I had less. After a couple of weeks worth of groceries, I had none. After my first tuition payment, I had debt. Lots. And I could not get caught up. I never barely ever had money for groceries, much less anything else. And yet, I NEVER went without a meal. I never had to buy gas because I had a job I could walk to, and didn't have a car anyway. I am LIVING PROOF of Matthew 6:26.

So why can't I be content in what I have? Why must I have more? As I continue my journey towards higher integrity, I have to answer this. And it's a very hard answer. Please pray for me as I try to be content in everything God graces me with. Thanks...and I'll try to get a post up more often.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Saved by Doctrine?

"Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."
1 Timothy 4:13

This post is a pretty difficult one, which is why it's been a week since my last post. This doesn't so much constitute my personal studies, this actually came from my experience this past weekend. I taught the 11th and 12th grade guys at Wake Forest Baptist Church for their DiscipleNow weekend. For those who don't know, the relationship between Southeastern Seminary and Wake Forest Baptist Church is not exactly a good one. WFBC is not part of the Southern Baptist Convention, and some of their theology and doctrine are more liberal than Southeasterns. Since Paige Patterson came to Southeastern and began making changes leading to Southeastern becoming very conservative, relations have become strained. Patterson was denied membership at WFBC, because they did not want the same thing to happen to their church. Ever since then, stories and rumors have been circulating about anything and everything.

And I was not immune to this. When my friend from Gardner-Webb called and asked if I could help her out, I accepted immediately, but with quiet reservations. Even as I walked over from my dorm to the church (which is right on campus by the way) I was silently praying and fearing that they would shun me when they found out I was from the seminary. I was scared. And it was completely ridiculous. Not only did I meet some of the sweetest, nicest people I have ever met there, I was accepted immediately and treated like one of their own. The guys I taught were great, and while we didn't agree on everything, we had a great time and I hope I get to know them better. I gave my contact info to the youth minister there, and he invited me to come and help anytime with anything, and even invited me to have lunch with him anytime.

You see, we, especially at seminary here, are very doctrine-centered. Please don't get me wrong, I am a Southern Baptist, and Apologist-in-training, and doctrine is very important. But we tend to elevate it to the point where if you don't have the same doctrine we do, you're not as saved as we are. And that's wrong. GRACE is what saves us, NOT doctrine. Whether someone is Methodist, Presbyterian, Anabaptist, Southern Baptist, Free Will Baptist, Pentecostal, non-denominational or any other of the thirty one flavors, what matters is that you have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life, and no matter what you do, God's grace is sufficient for you. It doesn't matter if you use grape juice or wine during your Lord's Supper. It doesn't matter whether you believe in free will or predestination. Frankly, and this is a tough one for me, it doesn't even matter if you've been sprinkled or if you've been dunked. Baptism doesn't save you. Christ does, and He'll do it even if you aren't baptized.

Again, I'm not promoting throwing away your doctrine, or not pursuing the truth, or "tolerance". What I am promoting is an understanding that not everyone is going to believe what you believe. And that's ok. Christians should fellowship with Christians, and Christian encompasses more than Southern Baptists. I, personally, am looking quite forward to working with my brothers and sisters in Wake Forest Baptist Church in the future.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


"Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You."
Psalm 25:21
God has many, many ways of convicting. I have found that out in the past week. It seems every day something happens and it hits me that I'm not as I should be. Just last night, I taught the guys bible study we have every Wednesday, and I convicted myself during the lesson. In my last post, I said I wanted to find out what my reordered priorities should be. Of course, God is above all, and I have to make Him first in my life. As long as I can do that, the rest should fall in line. And the only way I can do that is by increasing my integrity. A lot.
I was recently given a model as to what a man of integrity is. I was extremely humbled, and I appreciate this man and all he does. And I know God put him in my life for the purpose of showing me this, providing me a model of integrity that I can strive for. I can only pray that I don't get in my own way of attaining this goal, of being the same man everywhere, no matter where I am or who I'm with. I have to let God work in me, and I tend to get in the way of Him.
That's my other issue. Pride. I have way too much. Whenever things start going the right way, I like to pat myself on the back. So, I have a request: don't give me any praise. If I do well at something, don't tell me. If I don't do well at something, tell me how I can improve. This is going to be difficult for me, because I enjoy receiving praise...we all do. But it tends to inflate my ego a little, and that's not good. I must decrease, He must increase. Please help me in this, and keep praying for me. And if you had anything to add, please do, I would appreciate any comments.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Slapped with the Word

He must increase, I must decrease. John 3:30

Well, as I began my study, I started reading through 1 Corinthians for no apparant reason at the time. Then I got to Chapter 3 and started reading Paul's humble look into his own ministry....and I got slapped with the Word.

That ever happen to anybody else? You're just innocently reading your Bible, and all of a sudden God slaps you with a conviction so hard, it makes your head spin. I had to reread this many times, praying that God would let this lesson sink in. We can all learn from it, I believe.

You see, I thought I was ready for ministry. I know that is what God has called me into, and that is what I'm going to do. He has been prepping me for the past several years for this, through many ups and downs, dragging me through a refiner's fire, painfully removing everything in my way of Him. And so, after years of this, culminating in January of this year, I read this verse and find I still have a LIFETIME of work ahead of me. Let me elaborate.

"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building."
1 Corinthians 3:5-9

Wow. As much as Paul could have patted himself on the back, he places himself right with Apollos. The church had been dividing, half saying they were with Paul, the other with Apollos. Paul calls them carnal, saying they were nothing but spiritual babies. Paul humbly takes the focus off of them and points them to God. But that's not what really gets me. What really hit me was verse 9. "For we are God's fellow workers". The HCSB says we are God's coworkers. And he is speaking not just of himself, but all ministers of the Word of God. God's COWORKER. Do you realize how unworthy we are? As John the Baptist said, we're not even worthy to untie our Lord's sandals, and yet we are coworking with God, planting, watering, and harvesting this field before us. I look back on my semester, my Personal Evangelism encounters that I've had to do for class, and I wonder if I was doing it for class or for God? I want to say I was, but I can't say for sure...a whole new set of priorities has been defined for me. Next time, I'd like to get into what those are and how I need to go about them. Please, if you have anything to add, I would love to hear it. Thanks!!!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My Journey to Manhood

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Romans 7:24

This is jumping on the blogging bandwagon...but I hope that mine will be at least a little different from the norm. My blog will chronicle my journey and my studies in becoming a Biblical Man of God. I hope that some of you will join me. I'm sick and tired of seeing all the boys running/ruining our country. I know that God can use the smallest thing to create revival in His church. I'm not so egotistical to think that my blog will start an awakening amongst the men of the church, but I hope that at least someone can get something out of my limited understanding as I stumble my way through this study.

P.S. It'll be pretty obvious when I haven't been studying if I haven't posted in a while, so don't be afraid to call me on it...I need all the accountability I can get. Thanks!