Monday, May 30, 2011

I Fought For You

Unashamedly, we played this video at our church yesterday. We glorify God for what He has done and is doing through the men and women who have served and are serving our country.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do Multi-Point Pastorates Still Exist in the SBC?

What is a "multi-point" pastorate? Simply, it is a pastor who serves multiple churches. This was a common occurence in the 1940's until the 1960's. I remember Pastor Clyde Sullivan who was the pastor of my grandparents church in Person County. Not only did he serve my grandparents church, but he also served three others as well. He would preach in two churches each Sunday, so each church had Sunday services only twice a month. Mr. Sullivan made very little money from these pastorates. A couple of the churches paid him in fruits, vegetables, and meat.

The same can be said for Pastor Clarence Bishop. He pastored in Person and Granville counties for years. I remember him in the early 1960's. Pastor Bishop also served multi-point pastorates. I don;t believe Pastor Bishop was the fulltime pastor of one church until the late 1960s. By that time, he was nearly 60 years old and had been pastoring for 40 years.

I wonder if multi-point pastorates still exist in the SBC. I know they do in United Methodist Churches. In our community, a UMC pastor serves two churches. He preaches at one church at 9:30 am and 11:00 am at the other. Do you know of any multi-point pastorates in the SBC?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Calvinist No More

In 2004, a pastor friend of mine introduced me to a Minnesota preacher named John Piper. He gave me a book entitled, "Brothers, We Are Not Professionals." As I read that book I was blown away with his candor and a perspective which I had never been exposed. I soon bought other Piper books and devoured them. The message I was hearing from Piper was that glorifying God was our main purpose in life. As a Christian for over 40 years, an ordained deacon for over 20 years, and a pastor more 6 years at the time, I had never noticed this teaching. That is not to say that the churches in which I grew up and the seminary in which I attended did not teach to glorify God above all things; it's just that if they did teach it, I had never noticed it before. Piper also had a way of describing the beauty of God in a way that touched my heart as it had never been touched before. To me, this was new, exciting stuff. My pastor friend invited me to go with him to hear John Piper speak at The Cove in Asheville, NC. For three days I watched and listened to Piper as he described the glory of God with passion, sincerity, and vigor. I was captivated by such preaching. During the three days, Piper also spoke of his beliefs in Calvinism. I was taken aback by some of his Calvinist teaching, but I ended the conference with the attitude that I would investigate Calvinism and see for myself.

I proceeded to read every book on Calvinism that I could find. I read contemporary Calvinist authors such as Michael Horton, R. C. Sproul, Tim Keller, C. J. Mahaney, Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, as well as the old guard such as John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, A. W. Pink, J. I. Packer, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and others. I learned that TULIP was the acronym used to describe Calvinist soteriological beliefs as follows:

T - total depravity
U - unconditional election
L - limited atonement
I - irresistible grace
P - perseverance of the saints

I found the Bible to be very clear on total depravity, unconditional election, and perseverance of the saints. To me, the Bible was less clear about limited atonement and irresistible grace, but I accepted the explanations of the Calvinist authors about these doctrines. And so, in 2006, I began to self-identify as a Calvinist. I read nothing but Calvinist books by Calvinist authors. I used the Calvinist devotional, "Tabletalk," as part of my quiet time routine each day. I met with Calvinist pastors each month for Calvinist fellowship. I attended Calvinist conferences and wrote about and defended Calvinism on my blog. I was totally convinced that Calvinism was the correct view of soteriology.

But about one and half years ago, I began to have some doubts about Calvinism. My monthly meeting with Calvinist pastors began to evolve into a monthly meeting with Reformed pastors. I discovered that my Calvinist pastor friends were not just Calvinists but they were also Reformed Pastors. As I listened to them talk about being Reformed and what that meant in all areas of church life, my heart sank. What I was hearing was basically baptist presbyterianism. These conversations caused me to reexamine everything I had been learning about Calvinism. As I re-read my Calvinist books from Calvinist authors, I began to see that behind the Calvinism was more than just soteriological belief. There was a whole system of belief that affected ecclesiology, preaching, teaching, and daily living. In a word, it was Reformed. I had even self-identified as Reformed because I thought that was a less controversial word than Calvinist. But as I learned what Reformed truly meant, I knew that I was not Reformed. I blogged about this discovery in July, 2010 and met much resistance from Reformed commenters. But that was okay because I knew that I was righting a faith that had been shipwrecked on the rocky shore of Calvinism/Reformed belief.

I changed my reading habits. No longer was I reading Calvinist/Reformed authors and material, but I turned back to non-Calvinist Southern Baptist authors such as Henry Blackaby, L. R. Scarborough, W. A. Criswell, George Truett, John Broadus, Timothy George, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, Jerry Vines, Herschel Hobbs, Tom Elliff, and others. I replaced my Reformed devotional reading with the Southern Baptist devotional "Open Windows." It was like opening the window to pure, sweet, fresh air.

Rather than be persuaded by the philosophical arguments of men on limited atonement and irresistible grace, I will stand on what I believe the Bible to teach about those beliefs. I do appreciate the things I have learned during my Calvinist journey. I am more aware of the total depravity of man. I believe completely in unconditional election and the perseverance of the saints. My point of view is, hopefully, more God-centered than man-centered. I seek to glorify God in everything I do. I am grateful to my Calvinist brothers and sisters for helping me understand these things better. It is my hope that we can all work together for the glory of God.

Thus, I am a Calvinist no more. God has led me safely through my journey in Calvinism back to my  Southern Baptist roots with a greater appreciation for His sovereignty and glory. It's good to be home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

In Reverse Video

Another great video we have shown in our church.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thanks, FBC Jax Watchdog!

A "Tip of the Hat" to Tom Rich at the FBC Jax Watchdog blog site. He wrote a piece about my views on how to plant a church with little or no funding and included a link to my site. Apparently a lot of people read Mr. Rich's blog because my pageviews grew immensely from his blog. It's really irrelevant that he completely misread and misunderstood my post about being bivocational. I'm just so glad that many more people read about a biblical way of how to plant a church. Thanks again, Tom.

Why We Celebrate Easter Video

This is a video we showed in our church on Easter Sunday. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Use of Video in Our Worship Service

Our new church plant uses a lot of video during our Sunday morning worship worship service. When I say a lot, I'm talking about a minimum of six videos per Sunday. Since we have no musicians, we use four worship videos each Sunday for congregation to sing with. In addition, we show a missions video for a "missions moment" and we usually play an inspirational video during the offering. We find that our people really enjoy the videos and their hearts are touched each week.

"Where do I get my videos?" you ask. I search and for videos each week. When I find videos I want to use, I use to download the videos to my computer. I store all of my videos on a 87Gb external hard drive which attaches to my computer via a USB port. I'm going to upgrade to a 2Tb external hard drive in the near future. Best Buy has them for $100.00. In addition, I create worship videos via Pinnacle Studio. My son, Rob, also creates videos using Adobe Premiere.

In the coming days, I will be posting some of the videos we have used in our worship services. If you have videos to share, please let me know. We're always on the lookout for new videos.

Are you using video in your worship service? If so, how?

Monday, May 2, 2011