Month: July 2012

Feed the Hunger Pack-a-Thon

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On Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, hundreds of men, women and children gathered at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh for an amazing opportunity.  Back in February at the Providence Missions Conference, a commitment was made by the congregation to buy supplies that would provide 300,000 meals for the children of Nairobi.  For 36 hours, a motivated and excited crowd assembled the materials needed to put a vitamin powder, dried vegetable pieces, soy pellets and rice into individual bags to be sealed, boxed, stacked, and fork-lifted into the backs of waiting trailers to start their way to Nairobi.

From age 5 and up, an assembly process gave everyone a chance to contribute as the packets mounted up and by 5:00pm Saturday, 302,400 packets had been put together and were ready to go!  Each group had opportunity to pray over the boxes–praying for the kids for whom the meals will be cooked right there at their schools, Bibles which will be presented to the kids, and for the presentation of the message of gospel hope to be found in Jesus Christ that will go along with the food.

Many thanks to New Directions International for making this opportunity available to us.  Families at Providence will never forget the joy of seeing parents with the their kids, students and singles with their friends, international students with their sponsors and a host of grandparents types all pitching in side by side in this monumental effort!

Here is a brief video from the NDI website to give you a taste of what one of these events is like, tracking the packets to their destination and then seeing the children eating and giving thanks for God’s goodness and grace.  Oh, and by the way, if you ever have a chance to participate, do what many of our folks did…come back again and again!

I have a strong suspicion that the Providence media guys will want to post their own video of the event here in the not-too-distant future.  If they do, I will be sure to post it here as well!  Thanks for praying for this effort to bear much fruit for the glory of Jesus Christ!

Christian homes…”nurseries for heaven”

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Few people in the 21st century have heard of a Colonial American pastor named Samuel Davies.  Yet in his short 37 years of life, his impact on the colonies for the gospel was significant.  In fact, so great was his gift for preaching that on a trip to London he was invited to preach at the royal chapel for King George II.  His passion for the gospel led him to establish and give pastoral oversight to as many as seven congregations at a time in Hanover County, Virginia (just above Richmond).

Although tragedy struck early in his life when his first wife and newborn son died just a little over a year after he married, he married again and had a fervent conviction that Christian homes needed to be partnered with the local church in leading families to vibrant faith.  In a letter to the heads of households in those churches, Davies wrote the following:

“Were your families made for this world or the next?  If for the next, then religion must be maintained in them, for that alone can prepare you for eternity…must not religion be maintained in your families?  They should be nurseries for heaven, and that they cannot be if you banish devotion from them…
     How can you expect that your children [and your servants] will become worshipers of the God of heaven if they have been educated in the neglect of family religion?  Can prayerless parents expect to have praying children?  If you neglect to instruct them, can you expect they will grow up in the knowledge of God and of themselves?…
     Their souls, sirs, their immortal souls, are entrusted to your care, and you must give a solemn account of your trust…I beseech, I entreat, I charge you to begin and continue the worship of God in your families from this day to the close of your lives.” (The Godly Family, pp. 13-15)

Such a word could not be more appropriate for Christian families in the United States today!  As I preached yesterday, I shared that quote as a way of encouraging our family of faith to step up to their calling and embrace the challenge that has been preserved and passed on over 250 years after the words were first written!  God’s truth endures and His words still challenge us as they have since the days of Moses:

Deut. 6:6-7 “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart;  7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

God give us families that will commit themselves to be “nurseries for heaven!”

Leaving a Legacy to Treasure

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Tomorrow morning at Providence, we will explore again the challenge we face in passing on a legacy worth leaving to the next generation.  Since we as followers of Christ call Him our greatest treasure, are we treating the treasure as something to be honored and loved, preserved and passed on with pleasure to those we love the most.

The sermons in this series will be available at http://www.pray.org each week for the six weeks of this special focus.  At Providence we love our kids and students and want to do all that we can to give them what means the most in this world to us (as well as the world to come!).  They will not hold onto what they do not treasure, which accounts for the fact that so many who have been brought up to believe rightly have never learned what it means to love deeply.

The challenge?  To present Jesus Christ as He really is and to demonstrate our affection for Him as the priceless treasure who is worth giving up everything just to know!  Pray for us as we lay out the biblical calling to show Him in all His wonder, glory and beauty.  Then pray that we will be faithful to live out our faith in Him in such a way that the next generation…and the next…and the next…will benefit from the inheritance we have passed along, just as we have received it.

Fun for a Saturday night–“Joyful, Joyful (Ode to Joy)”

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Flash mobs are getting to be too common to have the impact they did a year or so ago…or so I thought till I saw this today!  What a moving way to see and hear a tribute to the joy of knowing our Savior–He is truly the joy every person’s heart longs for at the deepest level!

In Sabadell, a city in the Catalonia region of Spain, this flash mob captures something in each of us that loves what is beautiful.  And our Father in heaven is the source of all that is lovely and pure.  Thanks be to God for such a wonderful way to praise His name!

The Solid Rock

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The Toronto Mass Choir

It has been just a little over a month since I posted a video so here is a great one!  The Toronto Mass Choir sings “The Solid Rock’ in a way I think may be new to you!

Hard to beat a gospel choir with a strong hymn and a great arrangement so I hope this lifts your spirit today as much as it did mine!

Holy is the Lord!

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In his book, Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer walks the reader through a series of small chapters painting vivid sketches of the attributes of God.  Today, I have been thinking about God’s perfect holiness.  For God to be holy is not for Him to be like anything else…nothing to which we may compare this aspect of His being.  Tozer says,

“We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of.  God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered.  We know nothing like divine holiness…Only the Spirit of the Holy One can impart to the human spirit the knowledge of the holy.

“Holy is the way God is.  To be holy He does not conform to a standard.  He is that standard.  He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is…” (pp. 111-113)

Once the heart and mind realize this truth about God, sin no longer remains trivial.  Our separation from such a God no longer needs to be argued…it is simply an inescapable fact that begs for a remedy!

Hebrews 12:10, 14  For they (our earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he (the Lord) disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness… Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

God longs to see us share His holiness through Jesus Christ.  A significant part of what it means to conform to His image is to “be holy, for He is holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

The Generation to Come…

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After a week at Impact, our student ministry camp, I am once again convinced that the body of Christ gets it right when we invest in leading the next generation to know and treasure Jesus Christ.  A commitment to help them come to love Him, however, involves much more than simply teaching them some principles, laying out some ideas about acceptable behavior and helping them memorize a few verses.  All of these are good things, but are no substitute for giving them a genuine model of deep affection for the Lord.  Their love for Christ will be more caught than taught.

Next week, we will begin a three-week series of sermons called “Generations,” and look at the biblical exhortation to parents and churches to provide a vibrant example of godliness that flows directly from the kind of loving relationship with the Lord that is contagious.  Until our kids see that we really do love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, all of our programs and activities and teaching will produce little affection for Him.

The psalmist explains it in Psalm 78 and gives us simple instruction that we often forget or underestimate:

That they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments,(Psalm 78:5-7)

I long to see a new generation develop a passion for Jesus Christ.  I long to see them treasure Him above all things.  But I cannot just teach lessons about it, preach sermons on it and write articles about it.  I must demonstrate an authentic passion for Him myself and encourage others to do the same–to live for Christ in such a dynamic way that they will delight to follow an appealing model.