Saturday, December 27, 2008

January Newsletter Article

Here is a sneak preview of the January article for the church newsletter. After visiting the blog today and realizing I still had not posted the article for December. While I hope this series has been helpful to others, I know that it has been edifying for me to think through how important Scripture is to the whole of my own life, in addition to its obvious importance to the life of the church as we gather to worship.

The Word in Worship:

Pray the Bible (continued)

If you read last month’s article and wondered how to use more Scripture in your prayers, I wanted to write this month’s article to assist you further. First, John Piper has written a brief, wonderful article, “Tips for Praying the Word,” which I would direct you to as a good method for praying Scripture.

In addition, I thought it might be useful to see an example of praying the Bible using the 23rd Psalm. Since I often become distracted in my prayer, I sometimes use the A.C.T.S. approach to assist me in praying fervently and purposefully. This acronym stands for “Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication” (supplication is offering specific prayer requests to God for others and yourself). Let us see how the 23rd Psalm might be used for each of these purposes of prayer.

Adoration: “Father, You are the Great Shepherd. You are faithful to guide me and restore my soul. I long to dwell in Your house forever, because I long to be with You. Because I have You as my Shepherd, I have all I could ever want.”

Confession: “Father, forgive me for worrying and fearing at times, since I lose sight of the fact that You are with me. Forgive me for veering off as You lead me in paths of righteousness. When I go off course from Your leading, give me a heart that is quick to repent.”

Thanksgiving: “Father, I have so much for which to be thankful. You have restored my soul time and again. When I walk through valleys, thank You for being my comfort, and thank You for protecting me with Your rod and bringing me back with Your staff.”

Supplication: “Father, just as You guide me personally, I pray that You’ll guide our church. Lead us to do things that are right, and help us not to fear even economic valley. Also, please save my lost family members, so that they may have You as their Shepherd.”

I pray this was helpful to you. May God bless us as a church and as individual believers as we pray in accordance with His Word.

December Newsletter Article

The Word in Worship:
Pray the Bible

Have you ever prayed the Bible? I realize to many that may be an odd question, and my guess is that the advice to “pray the Bible” may be the most unusual in this whole series on “The Word in Worship.” While the concept may be new, I hope to be able to explain why praying Scripture, both in public and private worship is so important. It may also help explain why you will often hear us quote Scripture while praying during our worship service.

So, why pray Scripture? First, Scripture courses through the veins of believers, and it should show. A foundational truth to praying Scripture is having lives that are saturated in Scripture. This should go without saying, since we are followers of Jesus Christ. As imitators of the Savior, like him, we are also committed to doing the will of the heavenly Father and living by His words and not just by bread alone. Second, Scripture informs our praying and stirs our hearts in more fervent prayer. Surely, as we approach the Author of Scripture to talk to Him in prayer, our minds are full of the words He has written to us. It gives us words with which to come to God. The psalms, especially, give us ways to pray for ourselves and others: prayers of repentance (Psalm 51), prayers for spiritual renewal (Psalm 85), prayers for help (Psalm 70). Third, praying Scripture makes sure that our prayers are in accordance with the will of God. When we pray Scripture, we make sure that we are praying for what He wants us to pray for. Jesus tells us: “What you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13, ESV). The ESV Study Bible has the following note on the meaning of praying in Jesus’ name: “Praying in Jesus’ name means praying in a way consistent with his character and his will (a person’s name in the ancient world represented what the person was like); it also means coming to God in the authority of Jesus. Probably both senses are intended here.” This is another reason why praying Scripture is vital.

Therefore, let us pray the Scriptures, both in public worship and in our own private times of worship before our God. As we think of Jesus Christ this Christmas season, let us thank Him for His precious gifts to us—salvation, peace, and the miracle of prayer whereby we might continue coming to Him all year, every year of our lives. May you have a blessed, prayerful Christmas season!

Friday, November 28, 2008

November Newsletter Article

Here is the November newsletter article I wrote for my church, which I just remembered I never posted on here. I pray that it might be helpful and cause us to thank God for pastors who preach the word faithfully and to remind us to encourage our pastors in the work that they do for the kingdom of our Christ.

The Word in Worship:
Preach the Bible

This month's admonition to “Preach the Bible” may be the one that would seem the most obvious to us. You may be thinking “Kenny, of course the Bible should be preached.” Thankfully, I probably will not have to convince anyone at Spring Place Baptist of that, but there are churches across the country where a verse from the Bible simply becomes a springboard for the preacher's own thoughts. Satan trembles not when a pastor preaches the latest psychological methods for superficial change, but he convulses when the Word of the Lord is explained on the Lord's Day. Thank God that we have a pastor who preaches with bold assurance.

John MacArthur stated that the opening of 2 Timothy 4 is one of the most sober exhortations in Scripture. In the passage, Paul writes: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (ESV). Paul is issuing a remarkably intense command, reminding young Timothy that it is a charge given in the presence of Christ the Judge in kingdom splendor. The words of our God make up the subject matter of true preaching. We come on Sundays because we want to hear from God through the preaching of Scripture. God must be supreme in the preaching, for “if God is not supreme in our preaching, where in this world will the people hear about the supremacy of God?”1

Let us thank God for our pastor, a man who preaches the words of our God and not his own words!

Let me close with offering practical ways to respond to this article:

1. Thank God for Brother Tim with verbal thanks and through cards, letters, or inviting him and his family over for a meal.
2. Apply the preached Word to your life. As a church, we believe strongly in God's Word. Let our actions reflect our beliefs.
3. Attend the worship services of the church to receive instruction from God through the preaching and teaching of the Scripture.
4. Finally, thank God that He has chosen to reveal Himself to us.


From: The Supremacy of God in Preaching, John Piper. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004, 108.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

Blogging has almost become a thing of the past for me. Life seems to be so much busier than when I started it, but I hope to be able to write more frequently in the near future. However, I felt compelled to list some things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season, in the attempt to spark greater thankfulness in my heart and hopefully yours as well. Sometimes it helps to simply list what I have to be thankful for to remind me how good God is.

1. God granted me another year of life. Every year of life is a blessing, especially when I consider that I could easily fall asleep tonight and not wake up tomorrow morning. Being reminded how fleeting my days are (Psalm 39:4) teaches me to appreciate them and grants me a dose of wisdom (Psalm 90:12) that I would otherwise not have.

2. God gave me grace to transition to a new place of service. This has been a year of changes, and I am discovering anew the truth of 2 Corinthian 12:9. For me, changes have always been difficult. Even while I did not expect the move to my hometown to be as difficult as it has been, it has definitely been a reminder of how important God's grace is in ministry.

3. God gave me many blessed years in Louisville, Kentucky where I was able to be taught and led by some amazing professors at Boyce College. As part of the seminary community, I was able to attend chapel services and lectures, slowly being shaped and sharpened by some of the brightest minds in the Christian community. I miss Louisville and Southern Seminary so much that I have often joked about how Southern Seminary needs to start a class about how to cope with living outside of the SBTS community.

4. God has been good to my family, especially as we look forward to welcoming my nephew, Levi, later next month or just after the new year. I looked forward to holding that little guy, singing to him, and eventually talking about the gospel and the Bible with him, recounting God's wondrous acts of mercy over the years.

5. God has challenged me in my Christian faith in many ways and at many times, all the while strengthening my trust in Jesus Christ. I had some unique experiences that left me further convinced that Jesus of Nazareth truly walked on this earth, was crucified, dead, and buried, to be raised to new life again. I truly believe that He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, from which place He will one day come back again as Judge of all the earth. It was through encounters with others who did not believe these things that I became more convinced of them. In all of this, God reminded me that faith is ultimately a gift. So, I am thankful for God's grace grace and how He has given me the faith to believe, faith that I would not otherwise have were it not for His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The list could go on and on, and I pray that it will...the rest of my life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Dan Pritchett at Logos Research Systems concerning a great RefTagger tool that displays Scripture verses when a blog reader simply drags his pointer over a particular verse citation on any blog entry. I like folks having the words of Scripture at their fingertips.

I must admit: it's pretty nifty...a "nifty gifty," one might say (since it's free)!

Thanks, Logos!

See it in action:

John 3:16-17
Psalm 23:1-6
Romans 8:28, 38-39

My Reading List

I thought it might be wise to offer a brief explanation of my "What I'm Reading..." list at the right. On this list you'll find books that fall into each of these types:

  • Religious books with which I agree
  • Religious books with which I disagree
  • Contemporary, popular religious works that I am reading to evaluate
  • Fiction and literature that I read for fun
  • Fiction and literature that I read in order to learn and discipline my mind
  • Non-fiction works (history, culture, politics, etc.) that I read for personal interest and to be better informed
  • Various kinds of books that are recommended to me by others
  • And...books I'm not sure why I'm reading!

All that is to say that having a book on my current reading list might not constitute an endorsement. My goal is to avoid being myopic, and a diverse reading list will help accomplish such a goal.

You'll probably see many of these books on here for many months. Some of them are reference books that I turn to occasionally and might read one chapter a month.

Also, feel free to suggest a book and why you think it's worth a read, and you just might find it on my list one of these days.

October Newsletter Article

Here is the October newsletter article that was sent out a few weeks ago, which I had intended on posting earlier.

The Word in Worship:
Read the Bible

This article on “The Word in Worship” series focuses on the phrase “read the Bible.” Baptists have been known as “People of the Book” throughout the centuries. We have traditionally held the Scripture in high regard (and for good reason), and my desire is to continue fostering a fervent belief in the power of God's Word. This is partly why we now read through a portion (or portions) of Scripture during our worship gatherings on Sunday. Reading Scripture as an integral part of worship displays to the world that we, as Christians, have the Bible as the foundation for all of life.

While my desire is to reflect a strong belief in the Word of God, the most important reason that we have a time devoted just for reading through Scripture is due to the mandate of 1 Timothy 4:13, which tells us: “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture” (ESV). Later in the passage, Paul mentions teaching as an additional element, which means that the Scripture reading is distinct and separate from the sermon (or “teaching”). Reading Scripture can be done in a variety of ways, and there's no manual on Scripture reading in the Bible. I think Paul's main point is that we should be reading Scripture together as a church, listening and sometimes reciting together these words of truth.

What are some practical reasons why God wants us to read Scripture in worship? Let me close with Bob Kauflin's answer

“When we listen to God's Word being read, we're acknowledging our dependence on and submission to God's revelation. Children learn to respect God's Word when it's read with genuine respect and enthusiasm. Visitors see that we value the Bible. When Scripture reading is well planned, the congregation gets a balanced diet of God's Word. And for those who don't read their Bibles, it may be the only time they hear it."1
1 From Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, Bob Kauflin. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008, 94.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

September Newsletter Article

Much has changed since I last posted on this poor, little blog! I am now back in my hometown of Chatsworth, GA serving as Associate Pastor and Minister of Music and Education at Spring Place Baptist Church. While preparing this September newsletter article, I decided to go ahead and post it here, even though I have blogged about worship in the past using the quote from Boice. Even though the quote will be a bit of a repeat to this blog, I still thought it might be edifying to put the newsletter article on here nonetheless.

I do hope to write more personal update posts as well as some articles I've been meaning to write and post on here concerning:
  • Seeing Joel Osteen at a Joel-stravaganza in Louisville this summer
  • A conversation with a Church of Christ believer concerning baptism, imputed righteousness, etc.
  • Position papers on practical issues, such as depression, etc.
In the meantime, I've been extremely busy with my new responsibilities, and I welcome your prayers as I seek to carry out those responsibilities with the grace that God provides.

Newsletter Article: September 2008

A Word of Thanks!

Only a month ago I was preparing for a move back to Chatsworth, and the time sure has flown! Let me say “Thank you!” for such a warm reception to the family of faith at Spring Place Baptist. Thanks also to many of you for encouraging e-mails and kind words. My pledge to you is to continue seeking to biblical in each decision I make. One of the decisions I made was to add a Scripture reading into our Sunday services. This was done with the purpose of fulfilling Scripture’s admonition to have Scripture publicly read (1 Timothy 4:13), a verse that we will examine more fully in a future article. With that in mind, I would like to introduce a series on “The Word in Worship.”

The Word in Worship:

J. Ligon Duncan III (pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, Mississippi) has been a strong influence on me in the area of Bible-centered worship. When you hear or read him regarding the area of worship, you’ll find a common theme of Word-centeredness. His view is that we should: “Read the Bible, Preach the Bible, Pray the Bible, Sing the Bible, See the Bible.”

In the months to come, I have decided to flesh out the implications of this Bible-based, Word-saturated approach to public worship. As I think through these issues myself, I pray that I will understand worship better, and my prayer is that we all with be able to worship better after having examined the primacy of God's Word for our services of worship. In conclusion, let us prepare for this series by considering the words of James Montgomery Boice:

“To worship God we must know who God is, but we cannot know who God is unless God first chooses to reveal himself to us. God has done this in the Bible, which is why the Bible and the teaching of the Bible need to be central in our worship.”*

* From: Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, edited by Philip Graham Ryken, Derek W. Thomas, and J. Ligon Duncan III. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2003, [vii].

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Article on Jesus of Nazareth

Craig Blomberg has written a new article entitled, "Jesus of Nazareth: How Historians Can Know Him and Why It Matters." I haven't read the following article, but I know that Blomberg has written some very helpful material concerning Jesus Christ (such as his work, Jesus and the Gospels). I presume this article will be accurate and helpful.