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Archive for February, 2009

shbc-picture(Below is the post that I added to our church blog today… I hope it is a blessing to all my readers!)

Have I told you all lately just how great a joy it is to serve as your pastor?  I believe that God is alive and well today and that He is beginning a great work at Southern Heights!

I really do want us, as a church, to learn from the children of Israel in Nehemiah’s day!  In Neh 12:43 (the text from last Sunday’s sermon), we see the children of Israel celebrating, worshipping and rejoicing in such a way that others around them knew something was going on in Jerusalem!  That’s the way I hope it will be at SHBC.  I pray that we would mature as a church, constantly moving toward greater unity, theological depth, and passionate love for Jesus Christ.  As we do that, may our worship, our words, our giving, our service, our fellowship, and everything else that we do create an environment in which others can clearly see that we are changed… different… excited about something… and as they see it in us, they will desire it for themselves… and then we point them to the wonderful cross of Christ!

I have so much to share that I felt it was necessary to drop everyone a line to keep them on top of all the great things that are happening at SHBC!  I hope that hearing these things not only encourages you, but also gives you a guide by which to pray and seek ways to get involved.  When we constantly talk about the ways in which God is at work in our church, the result is infectious!  Soon, others want to know more about our church and our Savior.  May others see the joy and excitement with which we approach ministry opportunities in our church, and may they be drawn to Christ through our joy!

Note the following updates and announcements:

1. The new (March) LifeWalk magazines are in for next month; these are the daily guides that we are using for reading through the Bible in 2009.  Be sure to pick up your copy this week or on Sunday so that you can stay on top of your daily Bible reading.  At our meeting this past week, our crowd was looking kind of puny!  We began with yearly Bible-reading commitments from at least 30 people, but only about 12 were present at the February accountability meeting.  Let’s get back on our reading plan and work hard to diligently read God’s word this year!

2.  We heartily and joyfully welcome the Campbells, Kevin and Natasha, who both presented themselves to our church Sunday morning as candidates for baptism, having just recently accepted Christ as Savior of their lives!  We welcome them and their infant daughter, Sydney, and are anxiously anticipating the baptism service in which we will see Kevin and Natasha announce their faith in Christ together through the ordinance of baptism.

3. I want to give a special thanks to all who gave to the Gideon’s offering this Sunday; we gave $147 to the Gideon’s organization for distribution of the Bible throughout the world.  Learn more at www.gideons.org

4. I want to give a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to all who made our Valentine’s Day Dessert Auction a great success!  Almost $2,700 was raised in one evening for the church mission-trip coming up in June of this year!  Praise God for your generosity!

5. We have completed the initial phase of our G.R.O.W. Team training, although there will continually be various training sessions offered on evangelism.  We want everyone to know that if they were unable to attend the training sessions, they can still be involved in a team.  Come and talk to me (Pastor Terry) about how to get equipped in order to serve on an outreach team.  The teams have been selected, and will meet according to the following divisions:

The “G” Team (1st Thursday, 10:30 am)- Don Carter, Lloyd Goodlett, Barb Riddle, Agnes Durbin, Sam Benge, Libby Padgett.

The “R” Team (2nd Tuesday, 6:30 pm)- Bob Dooley, Garry Reynolds, Larry Reynolds, Ashley Blair, Bill Landrum, Betty Landrum, Mike Padgett (sr.), Jackie Thompson

The “O” Team (3rd Thursday, 10:30 am)- Bill and Linda Grant, Bob Tibbetts, Lisa Wisener, Ethel Hill, Fred Meade

The “W” Team (4th Tuesday, 6:30 pm)- Ken Cornish, Jerry and Cheryl England, Betty Anders, Bill Workman, Michael Howard, Mike and Fran Stone, Monnie Leap

While we want the teams to “GROW” in members and participation, we certainly don’t want them getting smaller than they are here, so make EVERY EFFORT to be a part of your team’s first meeting in March!  You will be blessed for attending!

Don’t forget to pray for our Kids on Mission 311, who, right now as I type this email, are ministering with our friends downtown to create sack-lunches for the hungry in Lexington.  Pray for these kids and their ministry!  Also remember that we are meeting tonight for fellowship, prayer, Bible Study, and a specially-called Business Meeting to discuss some issues surrounding the calling of a new Music and Worship Minister.  If you can’t come, pray for us…but if you CAN be here, then please do make it!

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nettletonI share the following from a sermon by Asahel Nettleton, the subject of my forthcoming dissertation in evangelism at Southern Seminary.  This excerpt is from the sermon Professing Christians, Awake! and is taken from the compilation of Nettleton’s sermons by William C. Nichols:

“Another reason why you should awake is that sinners are perishing around you.  While you sleep your example will contribute much to their destruction.  Yes, while you sleep the world may now be stumbling over you down to destruction.  Little does that ungodly professor of religion think what a train of immortal souls may be following him down to hell.  It is a fact not to be concealed that one ungodly professor of religion may do more to prevent the conversion of sinners than many infidels.  I know it is most unreasonable that mankind should suffer themselves to be thus forever ruined.  It can surely be no  consolation to the sinner in hell that he was led there by a hypocrite.

Brethren, is heaven,- is hell a fable?  If so then let us treat them as such.  Or are they eternal realities?  Whence then, this silence, this seeming indifference to the souls of men that your fellow sinners should obtain the one and escape the other.  Do you verily believe that within a few days you shall be in heaven, singing the song of redeeming love- or in hell with devils and damned spirits forever and ever.  Have you ever described your own danger, and fled for refuge from the wrath to come , and do you feel no concern for the souls of men?  Or are there no sinners in this place?  Have they all become righteous?  Do all profess to know the Lord from the least to the greatest?  Is there no prayerless family in this place, on whom God hath declared he will pour out his fury? No prayerless youth to whom God has said, I will cast thee off forever?

My brethren, if there be one impenitent sinner among us who is in danger of going into that place of eternal torment, can you sleep? One sinner in this house!  One inhabitant of hell!  Solemn thought! One soul present that will be lost forever.  Who can it be?  Could you bear to hear the name?  Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?  Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burning? Have you not reason to believe that many are now living without hope and without God in the world?  Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Wherever God designs to pour out his Spirit and to call up the attention of sinners to divine things, he will be inquired of by his children to do it for them.  This he has taught us in his Word and often in the language of his providence.  It is high time for you to awake out of sleep; for others are awake- sinners at a distance are alarmed- and hundreds are now flocking to Christ.  And can you rest?  Are there not more souls here to be saved or lost forever?  Are they not as precious as ever?  And is he not a prayer-hearing God?  Hath God forgotten to be gracious?  Is his mercy clean gone forever?  And will he be favorable no more? No, my brethren, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear- Come then, ye that make mention of the Lord keep not silence, if ye speak not to warn the wicked; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand.”

Wow…Nettleton sure sounds like a man who was passionate about evangelism.  He certainly has a heart for reaching the lost.  In fact, during the ten years that he was most prominently involved in evangelistic ministry (1812-22) it is said that upwards of 30,000 people were converted under his ministry!  That’s amazing by any account!  But the part that I like most is the fact that he remained this passionate for the lost while maintaining an unapologetically Calvinistic theology.  He unashamedly preached the doctrines of depravity, election, limited atonement, the powerful and irresistable drawing of the Spirit, and eternal security.  All while maintaining a positive passion for the lost and an actively engaging evangelistic ministry.

Maybe it is possible after all to hold to the doctrines of grace and be evangelistically passionate; all the while desiring biblically informed methods and a doctrinally sound message.   I believe that it is, and that Nettleton provides us one example of a man who held to such a soteriology while maintaining evangelistic passion.    May that encourage and challenge all of us who hold to these doctrines to be more faithful, diligent, and passionate in our personal evangelism.

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I haven’t been blogging here too much lately; for the past 2 weeks the town in which I live (Lexington, KY) has been basically shut-down because of the horrendous weather conditions.  Maybe you’ve seen it on the news.  In the midst of all this, I haven’t had too much spare time, and what time I have had, I have been putting in to starting a blog-site for our church at www.southernheightsky.wordpress.com.

100_0038Anyway, while I had a spare minute, I thought I would tinker with the site for a few minutes, and I decided to customize my blog-header with a picture I took a few years ago.  It is one of my all-time favorite pictures.  I took it in black-and-white a few years ago while on a mission trip to the Dogrib Indians of the Northwest Territory, Canada.  The team I was serving with flew in to Edmonton, Alberta and then drove hundreds and hundreds of miles north to the NW Territory.  On the way, we stopped at Twin Falls Territorial Park and walked to the Louise Falls.  They were absolutely, stunningly beautiful.  And unlike parks in the U.S. there were almost no railings, signs, or protective barriers at the park.  I could walk right up to the water and stand right at the edge of the falls…which was kind of wierd for me.  (see pic below)100_0046

Anyway, I hope this new header-pic looks cool, and that folks like it.   And if you think about it, pray for the folks of the Northwest Territory.  I have taken a few trips up there in the past few years, and I LOVE it.  I even considered going there full-time as a church planter, but alas, it was not to be.  The need for the gospel in the NWT and throughout Canada in general is great.  The fields are white unto harvest, we must pray therefore that the Lord will raise up laborers for His field.

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