Faith Alone

Faith Alone How does one truly diagnose someone’s spiritual condition?  One of the biggest problems in the church today is that so-called believers combine faith plus works or good deeds as the basis for God accepting them.  Last week, I talked with a lady who said that she knew she was saved and going to heaven, but was trusting in her own goodness. She told me that since she believed in Jesus and was nice and had not hurt people, God would accept her into heaven.  This faith + works problem is an epidemic in the church.  There are many churchgoers, who have a faith, but it is really a faith in themselves with a belief in God and/or Jesus attached to it.  That faith doesn’t save.  Only faith alone saves. How can we clear up this Gospel confusion that sends so many to hell?  First, God reveals that good works are always the product (fruit) of saving faith, but not ever a cause of God’s forgiveness or acceptance (James 2:17).  Pastor James is saying to us that we cannot trust Jesus … [Read more...]

The Picture of God

Pictures of so important to many of us.  Do you remember ever looking a pictures of your mom or dad in order to enjoy remembering what they were like?  Most of us have a photo of a loved one, because it somehow captures who that person is. The popular saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words" coveys that we communicate with pictures sometimes more effectively that with words.  We even think in pictures.  Let me ask another question: “where would you find a picture of God that would capture the essence of God?”  What would you expect to see? A Victorian painting of a blond hair blue eyed Jesus?  An old guy, who looks a bit like your granddad, sitting on a throne?  A great white light? I believe that you would see as you approach the frame of God’s picture the image of a barbarous execution of a man (Luke 23:13-55) – A picture of Jesus is the perfect picture of God (Col. 1:15).  Even the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message says, “All Scripture [OT & NT] is a testimony to Christ, … [Read more...]

Happy New Year!!

Our Family prays that you will know and experience God's gracious will during 2017. … [Read more...]

Bibliology and Hermeneutics – Inspiration of Scripture

https://feeds.bible.org/video/ttp/TTP-BH06.mp4 What is inspiration? Did God inspire the mind of the author, or the text of Scripture, or both? How does one's view of inspiration effect his or her interpretation? Upon completion of this session, the student should have come to an understanding of the doctrine of inspiration, able to define what it means and how it is to be distinguished from revelation and illumination. The student will learn the different theories of inspiration that are held by theologians today. The student should understand that how one defines inspiration will determine how they interpret Scripture. Much time will be spent on the commonly held view of inspiration called “Mechanical Dictation.” It will be argued that this view evidences a neglect of the human element of Scripture, what we call “biblical Docetism, and is the primary hindrance to proper interpretation in many evangelical communities today. Most basically stated: without a proper view of inspiration, … [Read more...]

Bible Reading for 2017

Over the years I have come to believe that reading the Bible through regularly (usually every year) is the best discipline for spiritual growth, despite the difficult challenges that can cause you to quit reading or apply Christ's word to your life.   There are so many ways to read the Bible, that it is sometimes difficult to choose just one way, because we want to do it all now.  Nevertheless, you need choose a way to read the Bible regularly and devotionally.  First you must choose your method. For example, you can choose between the following: A Bible-in-a-Year reading plan An  Old and New Testament simultaneous yearly reading plan (or another kind of segmented plan) A Chronical, Literary, Historical, Kingdom, or Thematic Reading of the Bible in a year. A Specialty reading plans that take you through different parts of the Bible on different days, weeks, or months. A Blended Reading Plan. Reading the Bible in some way over 2 or 3 years.   I would also … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving: Contentment over Covetousness

We come to a time of year where we emphasize “thanksgiving,” but we still may be inappreciative for what we already have.  As consumers, we can become inappreciative and ungrateful to God.  We become covetous instead of thankful, and we lose our contentment. Man is covetous (ungrateful) by nature.  Jesus said, “20“…What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, … coveting, ….” (Mark 7:20–22).  Paul also says that a “debased mind is filled with … covetousness…” (Romans 1:28–29).  The dictionary defines it as “excessive or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions; greedy.” It is lust. When we cannot be content with where we are in life and what we have as compared to others (in a state of covetousness), then we will be ungrateful.  We will stop thanking people for their efforts, time, and generosity.  We become dissatisfied or discontent with people and God (including his grace) – the opposite of … [Read more...]

As A Debtor, Pay The Gospel Forward

Growing up, my family celebrated Thanksgiving many years at the annual A&M vs. Texas football game, as we met in either College Station or Austin for the game.  I always appreciated that my family cared enough to get together to celebrate thanksgiving before the game.  As I look back on this holiday through the lens of the “pay it forward” concept found in scripture, I see my Thanksgiving Holiday celebrations to be not as other centered as they could have been.  However, what should “Pay It Forward” mean to a believer?  I know what it means to “pay it (a debt) back”, but what does it mean to “pay a debt forward?” One thing we need to remember is that we cannot pay back (or forward) any debt we owe to God for that would nullify grace.  God’s grace can never be repaid.  If we attempt to repay it, we would be rejecting God’s grace.  Even when we minister to others, we do so by grace and become more in debt to God - needing more grace.  In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul says, “But by the … [Read more...]

Making Bible Application

The application should always relate to what God has done, will do, wants done, or instructs people to do. Preaching is not just a process of encouraging people to be nice to one another and live a happy life. The Bible is all about how God works with and through people to accomplish his purposes on earth. God is still at work with his people and still wants them to follow his instructions. He desires a relationship of love and commitment so that his plans will be fulfilled in their lives. The application of a passage should encourage people not to live like the ungodly or non-religious people in our world, but to accept the theological message that God has revealed in his word. The transformation that people need to embrace requires a humble and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17; Isa. 66:2) that is willing to live by the theological principles revealed in Scripture. Although these principles are deeply theological, the application of them should be framed in a practical way that makes common … [Read more...]

A New Respect for Power

One the issues we have had recently at our home is the gross algae growing on our deck and on the outside stairs leading to the basement.  This past weekend I endeavored to pressure wash the stairs with a pressure washer that I had borrowed pressure washer in my bare feet.  While clearing the stairs I accidently also ran the spray across my left foot which cut the top layer of the skin off my foot.  Believe me, I now have new respect for the power of pressure washers. Respect for power is an important and in many ways.  Here is how respecting God’s power helps us. First, respecting Jesus’s power helps us to be his devoted followers.  Jesus said his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …” (Matthew 28:18–19).  Jesus Power gives us courage to go out into the world and make followers of Jesus from other religions.  It is Jesus’ power that gives us the boldness and confidence in our witness. Secondly, … [Read more...]

True and Trustworthy

Pollsters flubbed the 2016 presidential election in seismic fashion.  Many are scratching their heads as to how our brightest pollsters could be so wrong.  Jonathan Barnett, a Republican National Committeeman from Arkansas, says, “The pollsters have lost a lot of credibility and won't be believed on anything soon.”  I personally find it amazing that people will be honest with strangers that they don’t know when asking them about their most important values.  For many, our biases can lead us to the wrong conclusions. While the polls were wrong in this election, the Bible is not.  For many that don’t believe in Scripture, their biases preclude them from understanding its message of “Good News.”  Even though the Bible has proven itself over and over again as totally true and trustworthy, people will believe men over the divinely inspire scriptures.  There are over 330 prophecies (not polls) that predicted the first coming of Christ.  To me, that would be enough for anyone to place … [Read more...]