Saturday, July 28, 2007

Summer's fun

Wow, this summer has flown by. I know I haven't posted many posts relating to happenings at the church and the homes we are working, but rest assured there is a lot of progress taking place. Here are a few of some of the homes and properties we are working on. Praise God for the work that has been accomplished in Lakeshore thanks to the thousands of volunteers that have flowed through Lakeshore Baptist Church.

On the church property:
We have set up and now are able to use the old "tent city" property to host about 90 volunteers in Quonset Huts. We also have a quonset hut set up into a full functioning bathroom with 10 showers, 10 commodes, and sinks.

Also we recently purchased the property that we have been using as the kitchen. It is the plan now to eventually build the new church building on that piece of property.

We have been talking with the architect for the new church building. There are plans for him to come down sometime this fall and show the church some of the ideas that he and his firm have designed. There is no starting date set right to to begin building, but Lord willing it won't be too far off.

Vic's House:
Earlier this summer we began by setting the pilings into the ground. A lot of progress has been made on Vic's home. It is now dried in and has the roof on, the plumbing is started, electrical probably soon to follow.

Ms. Diane's house:
Ms. Diane's house is another home that we have started from the ground up. Her home is coming right along. It is framed up, roofed, and I think the electrical and plumbing have been started.

Ms. Cindy's House:
This past week crews were working at Ms. Cindy's to get the electrical finished in the home and finishing a couple little things with the framing.

Mr. Scarborough's Trailer:
We have been working diligently on Mr. George's trailer to get him in as soon as we can. This week the electric company came and hooked up the electric to the trailer. Lord willing i won't be long until Mr. George can move in.

James & Bea:
Their home is coming right along. In the past couple of weeks their home was bricked, it's getting much closer. Lord willing it won't be much longer before they are able to move in.

Mr. & Mrs. Green
The pilings have been set and the framing up of the house was started this past week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sin’s deceit

Sin’s deceit
by John Newton

Sin, when viewed by scripture light,
Is a horrid, hateful sight;
But when seen in Satan’s glass,
Then it wears a pleasing face.

When the gospel trumpet sounds,
When I think how grace abounds,
When I feel sweet peace within,
Then I’d rather die than sin.

When the cross I view by faith,
Sin is madness, poison, death;
Tempt me not, ’tis all in vain,
Sure I ne’er can yield again.

Satan, for awhile debarred,
When he finds me off my guard,
Puts his glass before my eyes,
Quickly other thoughts arise.

What before excited fears,
Rather pleasing now appears;
If a sin, it seems so small,
Or, perhaps, no sin at all.

Often thus, through sin’s deceit,
Grief, and shame, and loss I meet,
Like a fish, my soul mistook,
Saw the bait, but not the hook.

O my LORD, what shall I say?
How can I presume to pray?
Not a word have I to plead,
Sins, like mine, are black indeed!

Made, by past experience, wise,
Let me learn thy word to prize;
Taught by what I’ve felt before,
Let me Satan’s glass abhor.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Taste of Heaven

Dr. R.C. Sproul writes a great introduction for some of the basic principles of worship in A Taste of Heaven. Sproul focuses on several different aspects of worship, devoting chapters to sacrifices, living sacrifices, prayer, symbolism in worship, baptism, the Lord's supper, and worship through the fives senses.

A Taste of Heaven has helped me to think about the ways and reason I worship the God of creation. At times it helped me to see areas I may be less sincere in worship.

Sproul devotes three chapters to the topic of baptism. This is the one area of the book that I differ from Dr. Sproul. Sproul's defense for infant baptism, in my opinion, is not strong. Actually, he almost makes a better case for believers baptism. Maybe it wasn't strong because there is a lack of biblical evidence for infant baptism. One statement that really stuck out and links infant baptism heavily to Old Testament circumcision was “When we are baptized the first time, we receive an outward sign of the promise of God, and when we come to faith, God has kept His promise.” This statement leaves interpretation open to if someone were baptized as an infant they received the outward sign of God's promise. If that person does not come to faith in Christ, in a sense God has broken his promise. And I think we'd all agree that God does not break his promises.

Aside from the topic of infant baptism, I agree with Dr. Sproul in most the other areas of worship. His take on the Lord's Supper, specifically in reference to wine was an angle I had not heard before (but I am coming from the SBC). I think he made an interesting point saying real wine gives our taste buds a reminder of both elements of Christ's death on the cross “pain and joy, sorrow and gladness”. Remembering Christ's death can be a sad and painful thing, yet there is joy in knowing that Christ conquered death and that we may have eternal life.

I recommend A Taste of Heaven to any believer. While I don't see eye to eye with Sproul on the topic of baptism, this book helped give me a little bit of an understanding of the belief of infant baptism, though still not convinced and a bit confused. He touches on several aspects of worship that every believer should consider. One area to consider is worshiping through the five senses. He points out many great things that I previously had not fully considered.

Table of Contents

1. The Form of Worship
2. Sacrifices in Faith
3. Living Sacrifices
4. The House of Prayer
5. Symbolism in Worship
6. Baptism (Part I)
7. Baptism (Part II)
8. To You and Your Children
9. The Lord’s Supper
10. The Whole Person
11. The Role of Beauty
12. The Sounds of Worship
13. The Touch of Eternity
The Epilogue

Dr. RC Sproul is the founder of Ligonier Ministries and well respect theologian. He also serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida. He's the author of more than 60 books and one of several authors published by Reformation Trust.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Deuce Sparkles...

Joel headed back to Florida today with Zack and Emily. It 's been an interesting summer around here. Not too many dull moments with Joel - our trash man, home depot runner, clean-up boy, but over all a hard-working, God fearing man. I've lost count of how many times he's gotten the trailer stuck - but that's alright, it makes for a good laugh. Here's some evidence of the laughs from Joel's last night in Lakeshore. Thanks for all your hard work this summer, Joel.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Jayme and Liz

One of ways I am blessed is meeting the volunteers that come through Lakeshore Baptist for the rebuilding of the community. This summer has been great meeting people, but getting to know people better than you can in one week. Our summer help has been awesome. A few weeks ago 2 young ladies from Michigan came to help in any way we needed them. They have been pretty much amazing. They are the keepers of the tool sheds - they did an amazing job reorganizing them, I'm afraid of the mess we will probably create after they leave. In addition to the sheds Jayme and Liz have done anything we have asked. They've helped put tar paper on a roof, drilled holes to put bolts through, helped Doug with a couple of plumbing projects, have learned to use saws to assist in a small framing project and have helped in cleaning the office when it gets real bad.
We've spent many hours hanging out in the evenings playing cards and dominos. One night we got a craving and they joined us for peanut butter milkshakes. It's been great having them around to help out, they will be missed when they head home this coming Thursday.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Expository Genius of John Calvin

I recently finished reading The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steve Lawson put out by Reformation Trust. The book is a great biography that covered the life preaching of Calvin. Lawson emphasizes the high view of God, scripture, prayer, and preaching that Calvin held to as he approached the pulpit, prepared to preach, delivered the sermon, and applied truth as he preached.

The Expository Genius of John Calvin contains eight chapters. Chapters 2-8 contain distinctives that emphasize the subject of chapters; adding evidence to how John Calvin approached the pulpit, prepared as a preacher, launched the sermon, expounded the text, crafted the delivery, applied the truth, and concluded the exposition. See the following table of contents for example:

Preface: Standing on Holy Ground
Chapter 1: Calvin’s Life and Legacy
Chapter 2: Approaching the Pulpit
1. Biblical Authority
2. Divine Presence
3. Pulpit Priority
4. Sequential Exposition
Chapter 3: Preparing the Preacher
5. Diligent Mind
6. Devoted Heart
7. Relentless Will
Chapter 4: Launching the Sermon
8. Direct Beginning
9. Extemporaneous Delivery
10. Scriptural Context
11. Stated Theme
Chapter 5: Expounding the Text
12. Specific Text
13. Exegetical Precision
14. Literal Interpretation
15. Cross-References
16. Persuasive Reasoning
17. Reasonable Deductions
Chapter 6: Crafting the Delivery
18. Familiar Words
19. Vivid Expressions
20. Provocative Questions
21. Simple Restatements
22. Limited Quotations
23. Unspoken Outline
24. Seamless Transitions
25. Focused Intensity
Chapter 7: Applying the Truth
26. Pastoral Exhortation
27. Personal Examination
28. Loving Rebuke
29. Polemic Confrontation
Chapter 8: Concluding the Exposition
30. Succinct Summation
31. Pressing Appeal
32. Climactic Prayer
Conclusion: “We Want Again Calvins!”

While I am not a pastor or preacher, I think there are many things lay people in the church can learn and imitate from Calvin as they continue the process of sanctification. Calvin's view of Sola Scriptura can be held by lay persons, identifying the Bible as the sole authority of God. Additionally the "cornerstone of [Calvin's] theology, life and ministry was soli Deo Gloria - the glory of God alone"should resonate in the lives of all Christians.

Calvin's example of a pastor and preacher helps me as a church member know how to pray for the pastors of my church as they bring the Word to the church. As my pastors faithfully bring the Word through expository preaching, I can pray for them as they prepare the sermons and while they deliver, that these faithful men would be diligent, devoted, and have a zeal for God's glory.

Steve Lawson states in the beginning of the book, "our generation has compromised this sacred calling to preach". It is my hope and prayer that faithful men like Calvin will be unashamed of the Word of God and the gospel; and faithfully preach the Word with the same zeal Calvin had for God's glory.

Dr. Steve Lawson is the senior pastor at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, AL and is president of New Reformation, a ministry designed "to bring about biblical reformation in the church today". He also serves on the executive board of The Master's Seminary and college.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Summer reading

I’ve never had a summer reading list before, but I am kind of excited about the books I have on this summer’s list. I was told at some point that every Christian should read The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, Desiring God by John Piper, and Knowing God by J.I. Packer. So I have put these on my list to read this summer. I have had two of the three books for a couple of years, but have not got around to reading them. Other books have been added to my summer reading list including Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steve Lawson.

I’ve recently finished up The Holiness of God and was blessed by the truth R.C. Sproul brings forth. One of my favorite quotes from the book reads:

“Only once in sacred scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love. Or mercy, mercy, mercy. Or wrath, wrath, wrath. Or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy and the whole earth is full of His glory.” Pg 40

Sproul tells us about the time Isaiah caught a glimpse of a Holy God. Isaiah was undone, “naked beneath the gaze of the absolute standard of holiness.” Isaiah could compare himself to other mortals, but once compared/measured by the ultimate standard he was destroyed, He could not compare himself to ultimate holiness.

This was one of the greatest books I’ve read in some time. Challenging me to see God for who He is holy, holy, holy. And though I’ll never fully be able tot wrap my mind around God complete holiness and glory, may I stand in complete awe of Him.

Oh and as a side note...happy independence day!