Friday, July 20, 2018

Matthew 24:15-28: The Horrific Tribulation. Study Guide For Comprehension and Application

 Revelation 20:1-6 and Matthew 24:15-28 
Future Things: The Horrific Tribulation
(pt. 8)

INTRO:  What do you wish you could know about your immediate future?


In the Master-teacher’s “Olivet Discourse” the Good Shepherd let’s his beloved sheep know:

A) What to expect? 
B) What signs to look for? 
& C) What they/we ought to do with this head full of knowledge?


This morning we’ll zero in on what Jesus' disciples ought to do” in view of the revealed truth that is Matthew 24:15-28   


1) UNDERSTAND THE PROPHETIC SIGNS 

(Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9-11; Rev. 11:2; 13)



2) RUN FOR YOUR LIVES  
(Matthew 24:16-19)



3) PRAY FOR PROVIDENTIAL MERCIES 
(Matthew 24:20-22; Genesis 6 Psalm 67; Isaiah 64)



4) EXERCISE BIBLICAL DISCERNMENT
(Matthew 24:23-28; 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 1 Chron. 12:32)



For Further Reflection/Application:  We must be doers of the Word and not merely hearers

What do you wish you could know as it relates to your immediate future?

Why do so many unbelievers live for the moment?  Many secular songs promote this mindset.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Shepherding the Flock During the Week: Sermon Study Packets

When you visit the dentist they always send you home with what?  A tooth brush, tooth paste, and floss (hint, hint).  I have yet to find a dentist who will come to my home each week to brush my teeth.  Oh  the nerve. :)  Our weekly sermon packets at LCBC are intended, in some ways, to function as a spiritual dental kits.

What brought about the weekly sermon study guides?  When I started my new ministry over a year ago established members graciously shared that they had grown accustom to Pastor Sal’s PowerPoint presentation that went along with his sermons.  Some of these members explained that it would help them acclimate to the new Senior Pastor’s style of preaching if I provided a listener handouts or utilized PowerPoint.  As a new minister you attempt to do what you can to make transitions like this as easy as you can on the existing flock (by God's grace it's been a nearly seamless transition).  Hence the four page weekly sermon packets.

Why invest time each week putting together such lengthy packets and why do we encourage each of you to spend at least one morning or evening reviewing your sermon notes via this packet? We do so to help with these five things: 1) Comprehension, 2) Clarification, 3) Application, 4) Shepherding care, and 5) Praise and Adoration.

1) Comprehension- I want to help the listener follow along as the sermon is being preached. One can’t grasp everything- but I prayerfully desire that my flock will process as much as they can and that they'll understand the key points of the inspired Text.  The meaning of Scripture is the Scripture.  It's why 2 Timothy 2:15 is such an important verse.  If you get the authorial intent wrong you are more likely to offer up the wrong application.  This ties right in with reason number two- clarification.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Matthew 24:3-14: Signs that the End is Near

Matthew 24:3-14

(pt. 7)

  
INTRO:  End Times Confusion and/or Indifference to Biblical Prophecy is commonplace.


LCBC believes that end times details that are recorded in the Scriptures matter: Explain why-____________________________________________________________________________ _______



Summarize Matthew 24-25 in a sentence or two: _____________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________.



How should an unbeliever respond to facts of history (1 Cor. 15:1-11) and the details that God has revealed concerning things to come? (Acts 17:30-31; Hebrews 9:27-28; Romans 2:3-11). When you talk with lost friends, family members, and co-workers about what you’re being taught at church, help them to understand the practical ramifications of God’s revealed truth.


The Olivet Discourse: (Overview Outline)

A) End Times Confusion
(Mathew 24:3)


B) Red-Letter Clarification
(Matthew 24:4-25:46)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Instagrammable Christian Life

"Do you remember when Instagram came out? I do, and I remember in particular the little camera icon. Touching that little icon has always filled me with a vague sense of anticipation. Today, Instagram has more than 700 million users. Having used the service since 2011, I’ve watched friends as their lives have developed. I’m sure you have too. It feels like I’ve seen it all: their trips, their weddings, their kids—their best life moments. These are their “Instagram moments.” They’ve seen my Instagram moments, too. Your friends have probably seen yours.

Yet if we’re honest with ourselves, today for most of us is made up of many ordinary momentsnot Instagram moments. Yes, there are some of those, but getting up in the morning is rarely, if ever, a picturesque moment. Neither is eating breakfast, nor taking the kids to school. Neither is answering e-mails from coworkers, nor brushing our teeth. That’s not to speak of the bad moments: the despair, the failures, and the hardships. Those moments are rarely posted.

The effects of Instagram on mental health have been well documented.1 Instagram use is associated with higher levels of anxiety, FOMO (fear of missing out), and loneliness. Of course, you can’t attribute these feelings just to browsing Instagram. It’s likely that we browse Instagram when we’re feeling lonely, and so there’s not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship. Instagram and services like it, however, have given rise, especially among younger generations, to dissatisfaction with the ordinary. As perfect lives made up of perfect moments constantly enter our minds, we feel like we don’t measure up.2

Why is that? There’s a conflict that occurs between our expectation of what things ought to be like (Instagram) and what they’re really like (real life). Our expectations for life shift and change as we view images of other people’s best moments. We come to believe in a subliminal way that the extraordinary, perfect life in the here and now is ideal and achievable, and the monotony and struggle of ordinary life is drab and worthless. We want our ordinary life to be extraordinary all of the time. But, as we all know, that’s not real life. The very definition of extraordinary requires the existence of the ordinary. Extraordinary things are a deviation from the ordinary. Instagram gives the impression that it’s possible to have the extraordinary without any ordinary at all.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Must Everything Be Racialized? Reflections on a Recent Article by John C. Richards

Yesterday on his blog, The Exchange, hosted by Christianity Today online, Ed Stetzer gave space to his colleague, John C. Richards, to write about the recent SCOTUS nominee. Richards, a “Christian person of color,” serves as the Managing Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. His article is entitled, “Brett Kavanaugh is a Troubling Supreme Court Pick for Black Christians.”

Richards’ article strikes me as an example of much that is wrong in American evangelicalism today. It reflects a conviction-shaping-narrative that cannot be sustained by historical facts (and, as we all know, you can have your own opinions, but you cannot have your own facts) as well as the kind of racialized thinking that clouds judgment.

He writes, “I long for the days when Supreme Court judges weren’t viewed as representing a particular ideology.” I assume he means “any” particular ideology rather than only one particular ideology. If that is correct, I wonder when those days existed? Both strict constructionism and loose constructionism are ideological approaches to interpreting the constitution of the United States (as is regarding it as a living document). The former fulfills the 9th Commandment while the latter is the spirit that permeated the days of the judges in Israel’s history (Judges 17:6). Every Supreme Court judge has an ideology. Granted, there may have been times when that was not as readily recognized as it is today. If so, it is a good thing that such naiveté no longer exists.

Richards also opines,  Never before in history has our country been so divided politically. In the past, Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justices were informative and valuable in determining a judge’s fitness to serve in this critical office. Today, confirmation hearings are nothing less than a political slugfest that often values partisanship over a jurist’s ability to fill a seat on the highest court in the land.

There is no doubt that we are living in an era of deep political division but, thus far, we have not paid the price of 600,000 deaths, as we once did, for our divisions. Further, I am not sure how far into the past Richards is looking to contrast to today’s “political slugfest[s]” that are confirmation hearings (which have only been going on since 1916). It must surely be more than three decades since during that time such hearings have given us a “high tech lynching” and coined “bork” as a new verb.

My greater concern stems from the way that Richards racializes the nomination of Kavanaugh.

Friday, July 13, 2018

"Act Like Men! Be Strong!" (Despite the Feminization Trend of the Church)

A recent N.Y. Post story was recently released with a most unexpected title (for a secular news organization)- Feminism Has Destabilized the American Family.  Despite such admissions, Christian feminism has made a resurgence within conservative evangelical camps- from the PCA to Southern Baptist to non-denominational churches. 

A Pastor-friend of mine summarized the biblical view of manhood and womanhood as follows: The woman was created from the man TO SHOW THE MAN that he is to cherish his wife as he does his own flesh.

The woman was not created from his head TO SHOW HER that she is not to usurp his authority as her head.

But the woman was also not created from his feet TO SHOW HIM that she is not to be trampled and walked upon as if she does not also bear the image and dignity of God.

The woman is created not from the head or the feet of man, but from his rib, from his side, and close to his heart. She is his companion. She complements him; completes him.  In the great mystery of Divinely instituted marriage the two become one.

Man and woman are "joined at the hip". They flourish in the world when they join one another in showcasing their distinctions. In this God is glorified and the gospel put on effective and full display
.

Today's post by Pastor Buice goes along with a series of articles on Troubling Trends Influencing the Christian Church.

"Satan delights in denigrating what God created as good. It has always been God’s plan for his Church to possess a certain masculinity in leadership and that masculinity flows into the general membership as well. One of the depressing realities of our modern culture is the assault upon masculinity as if it’s somehow a bad thing. While we can all certainly agree that male dominance is not God’s plan for his Church—the plan to extract male leadership and characteristics from God’s Church is certainly not healthy—in fact it’s downright sinful.

When Paul was closing out his letter to the church in the city of Corinth, he wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” We must recall that Paul was writing to a church that was in desperate need of theological and practical correction. The apostle took a firm stance against their sin, and then pointed them to the proper means of living out the gospel of Christ. Apparently one of their struggles was centered on love and their lack of manliness. William Robertson Nicoll observes that these exhortations are “directed respectively against the heedlessness, fickleness, childishness, and moral enervation of the” church at Corinth. [1]

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Rise of Woker-Than-Thou Evangelicalism

"Unless you have been living in seclusion somewhere, you will have noticed that a radical putsch is currently underway to get evangelicals on board with doctrines borrowed from Black Liberation Theology, Critical Race Theory, Intersectional Feminism, and other ideologies that are currently stylish in the left-leaning secular academy. All of these things are being aggressively promoted in the name of "racial reconciliation." This has suddenly given rise to a popular movement that looks to be far more influential—and a more ominous threat to evangelical unity and gospel clarity—than the Emergent campaign was 15 years ago. The movement doesn't have an official name yet, but the zealots therein like to refer to themselves as "woke." Evangelical thought leaders boast of their wokeness and vie with one another to be woker-than-thou.


In many ways, today's Woke Evangelicals are merely an echo of their Emergent forebears. The central threads of their rhetoric are identical, and many of their goals are similar—starting with their campaign to convince other evangelicals that gospel clarity alone will never reach a hostile culture. To do that, they say, we must strive for postmodern political correctness. We need to try to "make Christianity cool." Nowadays, that means race must be an issue in practically every subject we deal with. Meanwhile, diversity, tolerance, inclusivity, and a host of other postmodern "virtues" have begun to edge out the actual fruit of the Spirit in the language and conversation of some of our wokest brethren.