Young Pastors Network of North Carolina

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If you are planning on being at the NC Baptist State Convention, consider participating in a gathering for Young Pastors?

John Mark Harrison and I are hosting a gathering titled “The Young Pastors Network”, a meeting for pastors, led by pastors.

The purpose being, to connect the next generation of Great Commission-minded SBC pastors in the state of North Carolina.

This gathering will be focused on building relationships, learning from each other, and discussing how we can steward our future together. The discussion will center around questions like:

  • Where do you go for resources, tips, and training?
  • How are you developing leaders in your church?
  • How do you keep yourself fresh to do ministry with a full tank?
  • How are you engaging your community with the Gospel?
  • How are you leading culture change in your church?
  • What is the best way for us to cooperate to strengthen our future?

After the gathering, you can grab dinner and return to the convention hall to hear David Platt preach the convention sermon.

B&H Publishing and Crossway are providing free books (a $55 value) for each attendee.

 There will also be light snacks! To sign up for the meeting, click on the link below.

Sign Up For The Young Pastors Network Gathering

The Gospel of Jesus in Jonah

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What does Jonah have to do with Jesus? Here is one thought…

“The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has provided a way of salvation. Jesus (though He did not deserve it like Jonah did) hurled himself into the storm of God’s wrath so that you and I might be saved. When Jesus sunk to the depths of death on our behalf, he made it possible for us to arrive safely on the shore of eternity. That is not only good news for us; it’s also good news for those around us.”

This is an excerpt from a reflection on the gospel of Jesus in the book of Jonah that I wrote for The Gospel Project. You can read the whole thing here.

A Story Of Discipleship

Today our church celebrated her 26th anniversary! During our time of worship, my sermon focused on our mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ”. This story captures the relational nature of that mission.

By the power of God, equipped with the word of God, the people of God can accomplish the mission of God.

Evangelism Training with Dr. Alvin Reid

Alvin Reid

Live around Raleigh?

Join us for an evangelism training event titled “Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out” with Dr. Alvin Reid from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Alvin Reid is the author of dozens of books including Evangelism HandbookIntroduction to Evangelism, and the forthcoming Share Jesus Without Freaking Out.

This is a great opportunity for individuals and church groups to consider Dr. Reid’s call to “move from gospel presentations to gospel conversations, from specialists to normal people living for Jesus in gospel-focused ways.

The training will be from Friday, March 11th from 6:30-8:00pm to Saturday, March 12th from 9:00am-12:00pm at Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, NC.

Free childcare will be available for those who register. Sign up today! 

The Message of God (Jonah 3)

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This is an excerpt from a message I preached at Fairview Baptist Church. You can watch the whole thing here.

God offers to transform our lives with grace. This simple truth is the bedrock of redemptive history. This truth is also fully evident in Jonah 3:4-5.

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God.

It is a strikingly simple, yet an eternally significant message. With 7 words Jonah brought the great city to its knees.

The word translated overthrown/demolished is the same verb used for God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis. This is a serious call.

The people of Nineveh – going about with their hectic lives, consumed with the pressing needs of the moment – were met with the eternally significant words of the prophet. And it seems from the outcome that these 7 powerful words stopped every Ninevite in their tracks. For 3-days Jonah walked across the city, saying the same thing over and over again, until everyone heard.

There is something about God’s word that always engages people with eternal issues. It lifts our eyes from the immediate interests of our lives to the imminent and overwhelming reality of either everlasting destruction or eternal life.

“Whatever you are doing now,” Jonah was saying, “you need to realize that you will soon face the judgment of God—and that day is nearer than you think.”

And look who God sends to proclaim this eternally important message. God uses imperfect servant.

In my last church I taught a class on evangelism. In one of the classes I asked everyone to tell me why they have been anxious about evangelism in the past. Two of the answers I received were:

Once I have it all together, I’ll share. If you are able to fully get it together you wouldn’t need Jesus in the first place. We are all imperfect sinners who are trusting in, staking our eternities on a perfect savior. Our message is that God shows grace on sinners like you and I.

There are some people that I just done think would ever come to faith. If this narrative is about anything it is about a God who loves the most religious (Jonah) and the most pagan (Ninevites). God is powerful to save.

God used Jonah – a rebellious prophet in the streets of Nineveh. He will certainly use you and I in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and among our friends to proclaim the perfect message of salvation.

The message of God is simple: God intends to overthrow this broken world through His saving grace.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it (Jonah 3:10).

God doesn’t just pass over sin. He takes it serious. Christ consumed on the cross the sins of the world. God looked forward from Nineveh, looks back from wherever you are at this moment. Thankfully, as Richard Sibbes once said, “There is more mercy in God than sin in us.”

God offers to transform our lives with grace.

Events at 2015 The Southern Baptist Convention

Columbus

Are you planning on attending the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention in Columbus? If so, here is a list of events happening during the annual meeting that would be worth your consideration. As you can see, they are organized by meal time…since we are baptist.

Monday, June 15th

Tuesday, June 16th

Wednesday, June 17th.

  • Breakfast: SBC Men’s Breakfast sponsored by LifeWay and NAMB, focused on how you can invest in the lives of the men of your church. The speakers include JD Greear, Matt Carter, Michael Catt, Mark Dance, Jason Ellerbrook, Michael Lewis. Register here.
  • Breakfast: Women’s Leadership Breakfast by SEBTS and NAMB. A panel discussion from gifted leaders who will share their expertise and wisdom about the importance of equipping for leadership. Panelists include: Lizette Beard (moderator), Denise O’Donoghue, Elicia Horton, Kathy Litton, and Selma Wilson. Register here.

Other Considerations

3 Deadly Turns From The Gospel

CCEGalatiansThis post is excerpted and adapted from the Christ-centered Exposition Commentary on Galatians (1:6-7). You can get the whole set in WordSearch right now for $69.95. Here are three important truths accompany a person’s tragic turn from the gospel, by Tony Merida.

When you turn from the gospel, you turn from God Himself

Paul says that the Galatians are turning away from “Him,” not merely from a set of principles. When you turn from the gospel, you are turning from the God of all grace. You are turning from the Christ “who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age”. Paul says he is amazed that the Galatians are turning from their Redeemer, the fountain of all grace. When you turn from the gospel, you turn from God Himself. Disbelieving the gospel is no small error. If you miss Christ, you will lose everything.

When you turn from the gospel, you turn from the grace of Christ

“The grace of Christ” is a synonym for the gospel (cf. 5:4). Remember, the Judaizers believed salvation was Jesus + circumcision and the requirements of the OT law. But salvation is not Jesus + anything. Why? Because salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Notice how the words “called” and “grace” are together in Galatians 1:6 and in verse 15. The Galatians were called by grace, and they were called into the realm of grace. This type of call denotes God’s sovereign action and believers’ experience. When God calls you to Christ, you sense His power. You sense God dealing with you. Just as He called Abraham, Moses, and Paul, He calls sinners to Himself today. He calls us not because of any good in us but because of His grace.

When you turn from the gospel, you have nowhere else to go

Paul tells the Galatians that they are “turning to a different gospel,” but adds, “not that there is another gospel”. In other words, Paul says the false teachers’ message is no gospel at all. There is only one gospel. In all likelihood the false teachers were saying that their gospel was not different from what Paul taught. But Paul says, “Yes, it is.” There is nothing else like the gospel of Christ. Unfortunately, false teachers have been using the same “Oh, we believe in Jesus, too” line for centuries. But when you go deeper into the teachings of any cult, you realize that it presents a [another] gospel (cf. 2 Cor 11:3-4).

The point is that there is no other way to be right with God, to experience forgiveness of sin, apart from the gospel of Christ Jesus (see John 14:6-7). It is difficult for people to embrace the exclusiveness of the gospel when they swim in a sea of religious pluralism and philosophical relativism. We often hear, “All religions are equally valid, and there is no one truth.” But finding right relationship with God is not like selecting a deodorant. You may choose any of a number of antiperspirants to keep you fresh, but that is not the case when it comes to securing eternal life. Only one path to God will do: Jesus. He has no equal. He is not one among many religious leaders. He is the one and only Messiah.