Quotes from David Platt’s Book “Counter Culture”

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david-plattJust recently, my church went through David Platt’s Bible study entitled “Counter Culture”. It is an excellent study that shows how Christians should be countering our culture when faced with things like poverty, same-sex marriage, racism, immigration, abortion, pornography, and orphans.

A description of the book is as follows:

Everywhere we turn, battle lines are being drawn – traditional marriage vs. gay marriage, pro-life vs. pro-choice, personal freedom vs. governmental protection. Seemingly overnight, culture has shifted to the point where right and wrong are no longer measured by universal truth but by popular opinion. And as difficult conversations about homosexuality, abortion and religious freedom continue to inject themselves into our workplace, our churches,, our schools and our homes, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we suppose to respond to all this?

David Platt (current president of the International Mission Board & former pastor at The Church at Brook Hills) tackles these subjects head-on and takes us to God’s Word for the answers. Each subject is looked at through the lens of what God says in His Word vs. what the world is saying.

Each chapter is excellent and brings out some great points but I want to focus on several quotes from the last chapter entitled “The Most Urgent Need: The Gospel & The Unreached”.

David opens the book with asking three questions that each of us must answer for ourselves.

  1. Are we going to choose comfort for the cross?
  2. Are we going to settle for maintenance or sacrifice for mission?
  3. Will our lives be marked by indecisive minds or undivided hearts?

Platt is urging the church and Christians to answer these questions. He makes the following statement:

Are we going to follow Jesus? Not, are we going to bow our heads, say a prayer, read the Bible, go to church, and give a tithe while we get on with the rest of our lives? But, are we going to follow Jesus with all our lives, no matter where He leads us to go, how countercultural the task is, or what the cost may be for us, our families, and our churches?

He goes on to talk about choosing comfort over the cross:

When we observe our churches today, do they look like groups of people who gather with one another as they give their lives to spread the gospel among unreached people, impoverished communities, abandoned orphans, lonely widows, dying babies, sex slaves, and suffering brother and sisters around the world? Sadly, I don’t believe that’s the picture we portray. Instead, we spend the majority of our time sitting as spectators in services that cater to our comforts. Even in our giving to the church, we spend the majority of our money on places for us to meet, professionals to do the ministry, and programs designed around us and our kids.

I can’t help but wonder what might happen if we put aside our personal preferences, let go or our extra biblical (and in some cases unbiblical) traditions, lay down our cultural comforts, and organize ourselves solely and sacrificially around God’s Word and gospel mission.

David Platt then talks about are we settling for maintenance or are we willing to sacrifice for the mission:

Over the course of the book, we have considered massive physical needs in the world. Yet as we contemplate these needs, if we are not careful, we run the risk of ignoring people’s most pressing need. That need is not for water, food, family, freedom, safety, or equality. As urgent as all of these things are for men, women, and children around the world, they are surpassed in urgency by a much greater need. That need – the most urgent need – is for the gospel.

The central message of the church in the world, then, is proclaiming the gospel to the world.

Jesus Christ gave us marching orders, and they are clear. Proclaim the gospel – the good news of God’s great love for us in Christ – to every people group on the planet.

Platt concludes the chapter by explaining that too many people are marked by indecisive minds. He pleads with each of us to have undivided hearts toward the work of spending the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Following Jesus doesn’t just entail sacrificial abandonment of our lives: it requires supreme affection from our hearts.

What must be consistent for all of us, however, is that we pray, give and go as He leads, and as we do, that we proclaim the gospel with conviction, compassion, and courage.

My favorite quote from this chapter and one that I hope and pray that I live out is the following:

For if the gospel is true, and if our God is worthy of the praise of all people, then we must spend our lives and mobilize our churches for the spread of Christ’s love to unreached people groups all around the world. Jesus has not given us a commission to consider; He has given us a command to obey.

Standing In Awe of Jesus

When was the last time you actually stood in AWE of Jesus?

Today?

Yesterday?

Last week?

Last year?

The dictionary defines AWE as the following:

an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful

Have you felt that toward Jesus?

The old hymn says, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene”. A newer chorus says, “I stand, I stand in awe of You”.

But are we really doing that? Do we truly grasp who HE is and what HE has done for us? If we did, I am positive that we would stand in AWE of Him each and every day. Listening for Him to speak and then doing what HE has told us to do.

I am excited to introduce a song to my church entitled “At The Cross (Love Ran Red)”. This song was written by Chris Tomlin in 2014 and used several times at Passion Conferences. Here are the words to the first verse and chorus:

Verse 1:

There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies. There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide; where all the love I’ve ever found comes like a flood, comes flowing down.

Chorus:

At the cross, at the cross, I surrender my life. I’m in awe of You; I’m in awe of You. Where Your love ran red, and my sin washed white; I owe all to You, I owe all to You, Jesus.

Are you standing in AWE of Jesus today?

My prayer is that I would have this type of “AWE” toward Jesus Christ! An awe that compels me to give Him everything I have. 

Raising Kids For TRUE Greatness – Part I

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So what is TRUE greatness?

You can ask 10 people this questions and receive 10 different answers back in return.

I just got finished reading a book entitled Raising Kids for TRUE Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel. Dr. Kimmel is the founder of Family Matters Ministries and is a Bryan College graduate. He is an award-winning author of Grace Based Parenting, Why Christian Kids Rebel & Little House on the Freeway. 

Kimmel begins the book by say,

A person can be successful without coming close to being truly great. And wouldn’t we all rather aim our children toward true greatness?

I believe that every parent would want their children to be truly great! The problem is that people have looked to the world to gain their definition of success instead of looking into God’s Word. The world defines success by the following:

  • Fame
  • Power
  • Health & Beauty
  • Wealth

By the world’s standards, if you have these things, then you are successful. It does not matter the cost or what it takes to get there. But this is so contrary to what God’s Word teaches us. Dr. Kimmel explains that “according to Jesus, if we want our kids to be truly great, we must first teach them to be servants.”

Matthew 20:25-28 says, “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

God’s goals for our children often run counter to the default mode of the human heart.

Dr. Kimmel’s definition of TRUE greatness is this:

TRUE greatness is a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others.

Sounds a whole lot like the two greatest commandments – doesn’t it!?!

Why do we dream such small dreams & expect so little from our children? Why do we assume that we have such limited capabilities as parents? Why do we assume that great people have to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to our efforts as parents? Why don’t we think that our children can ever take rank among the truly great? Worse, why do we sell God’s bigger plan for our lives so short?

It makes so much more sense to raise your kids to live faithful and effective lives on earth and then leave the breadth of their success up to God.


Be watching for more blog post about Raising Kids for TRUE Greatness!

I would like to invite you to join Mickey Rector & myself for Parenting Essentials on Facebook LIVE every Wednesday at 12 noon. Parenting Essentials is a broadcast filled with practical advice to help parents train and disciple their children. Visit the Mile Straight Baptist Facebook page to watch!

Weekly Points To Ponder – May 16, 2014

Points To Ponder

(Click on the title in order to read the whole article)

Christopher Columbus’ lost ship, the Santa Maria, may have been found – Daily New

It’s the biggest discovery since 1492!

A world-renowned explorer believes he’s found Christopher Columbus’ long-lost cargo ship, the Santa Maria, which was wrecked in a storm more than 500 years ago. An expedition funded by the History Channel tracked down what it says is the skeletal remains of the ship, which foundered in the Caribbean in 1492.


Top 25 Worship Songs for May 2014 – CCLI.com


Surfer Bethany Hamilton on losing arm in shark attack: Jesus is my stronghold – Foxnews.com

At age 13, Bethany Hamilton was thrust into the spotlight after losing her arm in a shark attack. Several best-selling books, a few movie deals and one wedding later, the 24-year-old has become an inspiration to people all over the world.

The Hawaii native sat down with FOX411 to discuss how her faith in God helped her move on from the attack and get back on her surfboard.


The Church Needs More Tattoos – RusselMoore.com

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) often tells audiences, “Republican Party events need more people with tattoos.” It struck me, as I heard him say this, that this is kind of what evangelical Christians ought to be saying about our churches. It struck me further when I read this tribute my former student Spencer Harmon wrote about his new wife and her past that this is precisely the issue facing the next generation of the Bride of Christ, the church.

Who Would Defend A Guilty Person?

I stood watching the TV coverage this morning as Ariel Castro was escorted into the courtroom for his bail hearing. As the judge began the proceedings, I found myself more interested in the lady that was helping Castro than actually Castro himself.

guilty2I started to become angry at this lady and I actually asked the question out loud, “Who would defend a guilty person?” This man is guilty, guilty, guilty! There is substantial proof! I know what our court system says, “A person is innocent until proven guilty” but come on! HE’S GUILTY!

Why would someone in there right mind want to help someone who is guilty? I had a very difficult time coming up with reasons for that question.

I was becoming more and more upset with this lady, who was probably just doing her job, and then…

GUILTY! 

A simple nudge from God said it all. Jason, you are guilty! I was reminded of Romans 3:23.

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

I am still trying to find the answer to the question above as to why this lady is defending Castro, but I have been convicted this morning and I know the answer to this question, “Why would Jesus defend a guilty person (or me)?” That one is simply – “For GOD so loved…”

That’s how much God loves you and me. To let his own Son take our guilty verdict upon Himself. Because we are guilty, we needed someone to come along side us and help. But God already knew that.

Romans 5:8-11:

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

I am a guilty person, who deserves to die and spend the rest of my life in a real place called hell, BUT! (Don’t you just love that word!!!!) But GOD loved me (and you) so much that HE sent HIS SON to pay the price of sin in full!

I John 2:1-2 – My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

So, who would defend a guilty person? My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name, for the Son of God, who came, ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was He; “Full atonement!” can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die; “It is finished!” was His cry; Now in Heaven exalted high. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring, Then anew His song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! What a Savior!

My New Year’s Resolution

For the past few weeks, people have been making their list of their “New Year’s Resolutions”. Some don’t want to call it a  resolution so they just say they want to make a life change. Whichever one you are, good luck!

The other night I was driving home from church and hear Chuck Swindoll talking about a passage of scripture in Acts. I really don’t know the theme of his message because I was only in the car for a few minutes, but one thing I did pick up from listening to him was a phrase in Acts 4:13. The verse says:

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

The last few words in this verse really hit me hard. I had to ask myself this question, “When people see me, do they see Jesus in me or do they just see me”?

There were several other questions that are derived from my first question:

  1. Have I been with Jesus?
  2. If I have not been with Jesus – then why?
  3. What is keeping me from spending time with God?

When we spend time in God’s Word and with God in prayer, it will be obvious, to us and others, that we have been with God.

Far too many times in 2012, when people saw me, they saw just that – me! I want people in 2013 to recognized that I have been with Jesus!

This is my New Years Resolution!