14Mar

Why I Take my 7-year-old Daughter with me on Hospital Visits

Some people may find it odd to hear that I take my little girl Lillie on hospital visits with me occasionally. After hearing why however, I think you’ll agree – its not a bad idea. Here are three reasons why I take her with me…

  1. She wants to come. Of course a small part of it is that she just wants to be with daddy, but consistently she passionately expresses concern for the people in the hospital. She wants to visit them and pray for them. Why would I squelch that kind of compassion?
  2. Ministry and family are not enemies. I’ve heard many stories about how pastors have sacrificed their families on the altar of ministry. Unfortunately, as pastors today hear those stories, they let the pendulum swing the other way and end up making ministry and family enemies of one another – in efforts to protect their families. But ministry and family are NOT enemies. In fact, I think they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ministry happens best when done together in teams. Families are healthiest when they focus on serving others. Think about it. When do pb&j sandwiches go wrong? When there is way too much peanut butter or way too little jelly. When do pb&j sandwiches go well? When you have just the right amount of peanut butter and just the right amount of jelly and they are pressed close together. I think the same is true for ministry and family. As long as I’m giving appropriate focused time to each, I want to get ministry and family as close together as possible. I don’t want them to be competing rivals, but rather close friends. When someone is in the hospital, I don’t have to choose either ministry or family. It can be both – and. I want my kids to get a front row seat of kingdom activity. I want our church to blessed by my family.
  3.  Discipleship is more caught than taught. My sweet little girl learns more than I realize as she ministers by my side. She absorbs kingdom values as she hears me pray and minister to our people. As she listens, she is being trained on to minister to those who are hurting. As she watches, she learns how to express love in a variety of ways. As she participates, she is emboldened as a fellow minister of Jesus. Some day my Lillie may minister in a refugee camp or an orphanage or maybe she’ll grow up to be a nurse. Only God knows. But today, she is certainly in training on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

What best practices have you seen or experience in bringing ministry and family together? Have you let the pendulum swing into an unhealthy area?

 

 

4Feb

Continual Repentance

O God of grace,

Though has imputed my sin to my substitute,

and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul,

clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,

decking me with jewels of holiness.

But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;

my best prayers are stained with sin;

my penitential tears are so much impurity;

my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;

my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

 

I need to repent of my repentance;

I need my tears to be washed;

I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,

no loom to weave my own righteousness;

I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,

and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,

for thou dost always justify the ungodly;

I am always going into the far country,

and always returning home as a prodigal,

always saying, Father, forgive me,

and thou art always bringing forth

the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it,

every evening return in it,

go out to the day’s work in it,

be married in it,

be wound in death in it,

stand before the great white throne in it,

enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of

the exceeding sinfulness of sin,

the exceeding righteousness of salvation,

the exceeding glory of Christ,

the exceeding beauty of holiness,

the exceeding wonder of grace.

 

(This prayer was taken from The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Edited by Arthur Bennett. Published by The Banner of Truth Trust.)

2Feb

Disciples Making Disciples – Part 2

Life today, is not simple. For many people, life actually feels increasingly complex. We live in a day where we have many choices as to how we spend our time with all kinds of people and activities vying for our time and energy. The sheer volume of entertainment and recreation activities out there leaves most people in a state of anxiety – that they are missing out on something – all the time.

In reality, almost everything is noise.

If we are not careful, we’ll allow all the noise to keep us from engaging in the most important things. What are the most important things? Or to ask it a little more narrowly, what is THE most important thing? What is the most important thing we can give our time and energy to today? Tomorrow? Every day?

Are you ready for it? Are you ready to be blown away? Are you ready to be amazed? Here it is…

As a disciple, make disciples. Said another way, walking with God, help others walk with God. Or even another way, Living for Jesus, help others live for Jesus. Love God, help others love God. It doesn’t really matter how you say it. What really matters is, do we do it? Do we walk with God and help others walk with God? The average Christian can quickly take an inventory of their “christian activity” and relieve their conscience that they are walking with God and helping others walk with God. They attend church. They teach a Sunday school class. Unfortunately, so much of our “christian activity” is void of deep authentic relationship. We’re friends with people, but not family. We have a social connection, but we don’t feel like fellow soldiers. We simply keep things surface and check off our “christian activity” boxes.

Could it be that God longs for each of us to experience something more?

Imagine sitting down over coffee with someone once a week for a couple of months. Getting to know them, helping them identify where they, where God wants them to go, and what next steps to take. Rocket science? Not really. Need to be a bible scholar to begin? Nope. What is required to take your first step in making disciples? Walk with Jesus. Then what? Initiate a relationship with someone and FOLLOW THROUGH! What is required? Intentionality.

There are many, many equipping resources and guides out there to help shepherd discipling relationships. What there isn’t an abundance of is people willing to obey Jesus’ commission to “make disciples.” The secret sauce is intentional relationships and it has simply be left off the bun. As a result, most people’s christian experience is bland and boring.

Though our “christian activity” alone isn’t getting it done, neither is it the enemy to discipleship. Done well, a lot of “christian activity” can be an important and supplemental part of discipleship. The enemy to disciples making disciples is the absence of intentional, authentic relationships.

Chances are, the people that God wants you to disciple are right under your nose.

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for allowing all the noise to distract me from what matters most. Thank you for giving me another chance at living your mission. Show me who to disciple and give me the courage to take a next step. Help me not to obsess over the product or destination and help me to enjoy the process and the journey. Let’s do this, Lord Jesus for the glory of our Father!

(if you need a little more guidance to get started, email me – freddyt(at)fsbcs(dot)org.)

31Jan

Disciples Making Disciples – Part 1

Are you a disciple of Jesus? Don’t answer too quickly. Think about it.

If you don’t meet with Jesus daily, listening to him and learning from him in his word but you check facebook every day — then you are not a disciple of Jesus but you are a disciple of facebook.

If you don’t meet with Jesus daily, listening to him and learning from him in his word but you do watch television every day — then you are not a disciple of Jesus but you are a disciple of the television.

You get the point. The good news is that Jesus will disciple us if we meet with him. Unfortunately, the culture is just as reliable in discipling us too. Walking with Jesus, listening to him and learning from him requires discipline. If you are lazy, it isn’t going to happen.

So are you a disciple of Jesus?

What step do you need to take today toward growing as a disciple of Jesus? What is preventing you from a close, growing relationship with Jesus?

Jesus will disciple you if you let him.

 

26Jan

Seeing Reality in a Fresh Way

What helps you get perspective? A long walk. A good book. A night out. The mountains. The beach. Often times life can be overwhelming. Sometimes the way forward just seems clouded. In these moments we need perspective. We need the fog to clear. We need to see reality in a fresh way.

At FSBCS, we require our pastoral staff to take one full day each month to do nothing else but get alone and spend time with Jesus in bible reading, prayer and reflection. We do this for many reasons, but one of the reasons is to gain fresh perspective. Today was Keith’s day and I’m looking forward to hearing about the fresh perspective he gained with Jesus.

This afternoon, I found myself needing a little perspective. It was my first day back after being out for a week sick. I couldn’t wait to get back in the office and work. I had a super productive morning and then around noon I received a call from Susan telling me about our shower and toilet overflowing into the bathroom, through the walls and into the floor in the adjoining rooms. Our other toilet had overflowed in a similar situation the Saturday before. As the plumber arrived and began to assess the situation, it quickly became clear that we had a significant amount of damage that was going to be expensive to repair. I came home to talk with the plumber and the dry-out company. We made our calls to the home warranty and insurance companies. I began to wonder about the vacation we’ve been planning for this summer. I found myself a little overwhelmed and needed to get out of the house to get a little perspective. I grabbed my computer and headed for Starbucks to try to catch up on email. As I approached Starbucks I noticed police cars everywhere. The closer I got, I could see there had been a wreck. As I drove right up on the scene, one car sat completely upside down while another appeared totally smashed together. Perspective flooded my mind and heart immediately. I began to see reality in a fresh way. I had a several thousand dollar plumbing bill coming, but these dear people may have lost their lives. Someone’s spouse may be gone. Someone’s mother may be fighting for her life. Someone’s best friend may have just died. I needed perspective, but had no idea how it was going to come. I’m sobered and I’m thankful for my plumbing bill.

Do you need perspective today? What helps you have perspective? A day away? A night out? A weekend trip to the mountains? Whatever it is….Slow down. Be still long enough to see what God sees and the way he sees it.

Perspective.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

6Nov

Anyone Can Plant A Church

My blog got hacked. Bad. I literally lost everything on it. The guy who hosts my blog is seeking to recover all the old posts. But for now, I’m back up and blogging. Spread the word by posting the link on your facebook or twitter feeds. Thanks! Read on

I recently preached a sermon where I made the point that “anyone can plant a church.” This is true because biblical church planting is simply,

evangelism that results in a congregation.

The definition isn’t unique to me. I stole it from my church planting professor in seminary. I do however think it is right. Look at how Luke records the planting of the church at Antioch in Acts 11:20-21.

But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Simple. They preached Jesus. People believed. They were gathered as a church. Think about it. Church plants ought to happen all the time on accident. Anyone with the gospel can plant a church.

Sometimes in North America we call things church planting that are not church planting. They may be church shifting, church splitting, church trading, church moving, or even church pirating. But don’t get confused. Church planting can be very simple. You don’t have to have a big building or a big budget to plant a church. You really only need the gospel and guts.

If you are reading this blog, you probably already have the gospel. Do you have the guts to share Jesus with your friends, neighbors or co-workers? I’m praying today, God gives everyone who is reading this supernatural boldness – godly guts.

Let’s go!

 

 

30Jul

TGC 2014 WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

Over the years, one of the greatest catalysts for spiritual growth in my life has been listening to audio sermons, interviews and bible studies. I listened to literally hundreds of sermons going back and forth from college back in the late 1990s. Then again in 2005-2006 when I was traveling from Louisville back to TN to preach every weekend (3 hours each way) I listened to hundreds of sermons and pastoral interviews.   The apostle Paul said that transformation comes by having our minds renewed (Romans 12:2). Listening to sermons helps renew our minds = a transformed life.

The Gospel Coalition recently posted a wealth of resources online from their 2014 National Women’s Conference. I think they’ll be hosting another women’s conference in 2016. Perhaps a group from FSBCS will go! Enjoy this teaser video and click the link to find a ton of sermons/talks unique to women, their callings, their challenges and their joys.

7Jul

GLOBAL LITTLE MINDS.

I’m amazed at the global perspective that living in NYC for 5 years gave my little 7 year old, Jack. So many of his friends from school were from different countries or visited family in other countries during breaks. We often had people from other countries eating holiday meals at our apartment. Jack has maps of the world and different countries all over the walls in his bedroom. The other night we decided we’d begin praying for a different country every night, finding it on his map. Tonight was our first night and he chose Cyprus because a little girl from his class in NYC, Anna, was moving to Cyprus for four years. So I googled a quick prayer search for Cyprus and this was the first video that Jack and I watched. It was truly a priceless moment with my little man tonight that left me in tears.

I’m so grateful that at 7 years old, Jack sees the world. It is my hope and prayer for Jack, that he’ll go anywhere, at anytime, to do anything for Jesus. Is that your prayer for your children? Begin praying it now and watch God change your heart. Another pray you can pray for your children is “God save them, send them where you want them to go, and spend them out for your glory.” If you pray it for 20 years, then when your 20 year old daughter comes home and tells you she’s moving to Afghanistan to love the people there and share Jesus with them, your heart will be prepared to send her.

27May

“ Churches are not made that men of ready speech may stand up on Sundays and talk, and so win daily bread from their admirers. No, there is another end and aim for this. These places of worship are not built that you may sit comfortably and hear something that shall make you pass away your Sundays with pleasure. A church which does not exist to do good in the slums, and dens, and kennels of the city, is a church that has no reason to justify its longer existing. ”

- Charles Spurgeon -
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