Friday, July 19, 2013

Repost of an Article from SBC Today

What the Average Baptist Pastor Does and Does Not Need to Hear from the SBC
By Jared Moore
Posted: 17 Jul 2013 01:48 PM PDT
Dear Friends:
I picked up this article on SBC Today.  It comes from Jared Moore, a pastor from Houstonville, KY.  The links below will take you tdirectly to his website and other social media pages.  The article hit a real note with me and was so true I felt as though I should share it with my readers.  Thank you, Brother Moore, for stating so well, what I know many of us feel as Baptist Pastors!  Here it is:

This article was originally posted at my site. Only some of my articles are posted on SBC Voices. If you would like access to all of my articles, you can follow my feed here. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
As an average Southern Baptist Pastor (maybe an overstatement) of a small Southern Baptist congregation in a small community in Lincoln County, KY, here is a list of things I do and do not need to hear from the SBC:
I do need to hear:
1. Preach the gospel even to the ends of the Earth (Matt 28:18-20).
2. Look for more opportunities to share the gospel (Paul’s example; Paul planned to share the gospel, and when his plans were interrupted, he shared the gospel where he was at; i.e. Galatia).
3. Be more faithful to Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
4. Teach your church all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:20).
5. Anything else that is clearly commanded in Scripture.
I do not need to hear:
1. Baptize more people.
2. Grow your church.
3. Save more people.
4. Anything else that is not commanded in Scripture.
Are we really to believe that Southern Baptist pastors do not want to reach their communities with the gospel? Maybe those pastors exist in the SBC, but I haven’t met them. I can tell you that the pastors in the Lincoln County Baptist Association want to reach their communities with the gospel. We need encouragement from the SBC, not discouragement.
We need to hear, “Keep on keeping on,” not, “Most SBC churches are either plateaued or declining” as if we can simply “flip a switch” and reverse the trend. If we could do something to change the declining trend beyond sharing the gospel, we would. The point is that our mouths must be open even when our communities’ ears are closed. Don’t put more of a burden on pastors than the Scriptures do. We must share the gospel and equip the saints for the work of the ministry, but God alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-7). I’ll rejoice with you over your harvest; rejoice with those who are planting and watering as well.
I need to hear, “Do what you can do; don’t give up,” instead of hearing, “Do what only God can do.” If you tell pastors to do things that only God can do, then you either discourage them or you encourage them to boast in their “God-like ability.” If pastors can save people, then no one who hears them share the gospel should reject it. Instead of telling pastors to do what only God can do, tell us to do what Scripture tells us to do.
Furthermore, I say to the average Baptist pastor, “Please don’t give up!” Seek to be more faithful to Scripture. If someone tells you to baptize more people, ignore them. Instead, trust Jesus to save sinners as you seek to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20).
No one baptized enough people last year. As long as there are lost people on Earth, we have work to do. Keep on keeping on… when sinners repent and when they don’t. Moreover, if you have seen a great harvest, then continue examining your ministry, seeing where you can be more faithful to Scripture. We must have a healthy dissatisfaction with our faithfulness while having a healthy satisfaction with God’s faithfulness in building His church (Matt. 16:18). God is faithful and will grow His church, but we have a responsibility to take the gospel to the ends of the Earth. God uses planting and watering to build His church, but He alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:5-10). Trust Him and His willingness to save as you share the gospel (2 Pet. 3:8-10). Be encouraged friends.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Time To Reflect

On this, our nation's 237th birthday, I think it fitting that we take a moment to reflect on the content of our very first official founding document, signed this day on July 4, 1776.  How long has it been since you have actually read the Declaration of Independence?  Perhaps some have never really perused it.  It was powerfully crafted by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and signed by true patriots, who pledged their lives and reputations and personal fortunes for the cause of freedom.  These men risked everything in opposition to government tyranny.  With hearts torn with the mixed emotions of a love for their homeland, Great Britain, but also with the basic human yearning to be free men.

What courage they displayed!  What boldness and graciousness in their convictions! What trust in God they exhibited!

I ask you on the anniversary of our nation's birth, to once again read this Declaration, and think about where we are today in America.  The thought is chilling to this writer.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton
Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton