Monday, February 15, 2016

That's Conviction!


Conviction: A fixed or firm belief. As we have studied the life of Joseph, we have learned what conviction looks like. Joseph never wavered in his belief that God would keep His promise. From the first dream Joseph experienced to his last words, he held a conviction in the living God of heaven.
A compelling truth that arises from Joseph’s life is he never stopped walking through open doors. When Joseph was sold to Potiphar, he served his master well because He was serving the Master. When he was placed in prison, he served others well because he was serving the Master. When he became the Prime Minister of Egypt, he served well because he was serving the Master.
It’s amazing what can happen when our focus is on the glory of God alone. God is able to take a life and use that life to impact His Kingdom. To be used that way requires conviction: a fixed and firm belief in the Lordship of Jesus over your life. Joseph demonstrated a life lived under the Lordship of God. At times his life was difficult, uncomfortable and confusing but he trusted the Lordship of God.
Do you trust the Lordship of Jesus over your life? Are you living with the conviction that in everything you do, you are serving your Savior?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Marriage Redefined

           While the SCOTUS decision is disappointing, the fact is we live in a secular nation that, from a government standpoint, seeks to please the will of the people. The ‘will of the people’ is usually not the will of all the people in the land. So, ultimately, decisions are going to be made that are welcomed and not welcomed by multiple groups.

            As a pastor of a Bible believing church, I am not in favor of this decision. At First Baptist New Braunfels, we stand on the truth of God's Word. God's Word tells us that He created man and after a helpmate was not found for man, God created woman. At that time, God performed the first wedding, under His design, between a man and a woman. That is significant because that union forms the basis of the family. The design of God for the family is for husbands and wives to become fathers and mothers because children need both. That’s God’s design.

            What it also means is the evangelical church that holds to the truths of God's Word now has a clear opportunity to demonstrate what God’s design for the family looks like. We have an opportunity to stand for Christ in our culture in a way that sets biblical faith apart from the culture. What we cannot do as the church is be hateful and vengeful following this decision. Our approach must be Christ-focused, speaking the truth but showing grace to people.

            Instead of building a nation, Christ has called us to join Him in building a kingdom. Of course, we, as Christians, live in nations in which we are citizens. That said, as Christians, we are citizens of God’s Kingdom. His standard must be our standard whether the world agrees with it or not. Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33, HCSB). As Christians, we should not be surprised by such events. History is clearly moving toward calling good evil and evil good. There is a major cultural shift taking place in our nation but, I know this to be true, God’s Word does not change. The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of God remains forever (Is. 40:8, HCSB).

            Because God's Word stands forever, the evangelical church must live like the first-century church. The church was birthed in the midst of a culture much like ours. Yet, they gave themselves fully to the truth that Jesus is Savior, forgives sin and changes lives. They focused on the good news of the gospel: Jesus lived a sinless life, died on a cross, buried in a tomb and rose again through the power of God, has defeated death and offers life to any who will call on His name. The first-century church lived that message among an intolerant culture and millions of lives have been changed. The same Jesus lives today and is willing to work through His church in the same way. We now, in America, mirror the first-century culture more than ever. Now is the time for the church to spread the gospel with truth, love and grace.

            How can the church respond in a practical way? We must hold firm to this truth: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16, HCSB). The good news of Jesus is the most powerful and transforming message in the world. Let us choose to continue to believe this truth, live this truth and speak this truth.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Don't Feel Like It!


I don’t feel like it today! How often have we let that phrase rule our choices and behavior? Feeling like it is a dangerous way to make decisions. I don’t think that I have heard that phrase uttered when someone is facing a life-saving surgery. I have never heard that phrase used when being offered $1M.
When it comes to gathering for worship, however, I don’t feel like it today! is an often used phrase. You see, it’s not that we don’t want to go to church, it’s just that there will be people there we may not want to see or feelings we may not want to feel. There is a reason, however, God’s people are to gather for worship:  Scripture commands it. We need it whether we feel like it or not.

 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Just Begin...

        

I want to say thank you to the group that came out Saturday for the evangelism conference. Dr. Matt Queen encouraged and reminded us that, as disciples of Jesus, we have the privilege and responsibility to tell the good news of Jesus. Most likely, you have learned how to share how Jesus has changed your life and have shared your story. Often, though, the busyness of life takes over and we stop actively sharing our faith in Christ. Usually, we do not stop on purpose…we just stop.

            Friend, would you be willing to start again? Would you be willing to join your church to ReachNB? I have set a bold goal in front of us to knock on thousands of doors in New Braunfels. Knocking on doors isn’t the goal. The goal is sharing the gospel. As we go to neighborhoods, we will be reminded that Jesus loves the people of New Braunfels and we must do so as well. My hope is you will see your neighborhood as a mission field. Begin now to pray for your neighbors. Begin now to prayer-walk your streets. Begin now to identify families that do not attend church. Most importantly, simply begin…

            Jesus said, The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few (Matt. 9:37, HCSB). What good news this is! Even today, Jesus is working in the life of someone who is waiting for a  gospel witness. That gospel witness just might come from you. Will you begin today?

Blessings,
Pastor Brad
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Secret Church


Guest blogger: Vince Koegle
 
When we think of "church" in America, we think of going to meet at a building, singing, praying and hearing a message from a pastor or teacher. But in many places around the world, "church" meets in a home, an apartment, and sometimes even in secret. Many times there are just a few believers who know and follow Christ. These small groups of Christ-followers often meet for many hours in study, prayer, and fellowship. Sometimes they face great difficulties to meet together. In some places it may even be dangerous to gather as a church to worship, pray, and study the Word. So when they come together, they want to make the most of their time together.

Secret Church is a time of intense Bible study…6 hours, in fact.  And it’s for those who desire to know God more deeply through His Word, so we can take what we learn and pass it along to others.

The topic this time is Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action.  We live in a world of sex slavery and rampant pornography, a world where babies are aborted and widows are abandoned…a culture of pervasive racial prejudice and limited religious liberty. 

As Christians, how are we to respond and engage in conversations about topics like these?  We urge you to join us as we explore biblical foundations for answers to questions the world is asking.

Secret Chruch a simulcast (live video) from Brook Hills Church, led by David Platt.

When: Friday, April 24th from 6pm to midnight.

Where: FBC – CLC

Who: The event is open to anyone, so feel free to invite your friends.  However, the discussion will include topics such as abortion, sexuality, homosexuality, sex trafficking, modern-day slavery, and other related topics that may not be suitable for younger children. NO CHILDCARE IS PROVIDED.

Cost: $10, which includes the study guide and a Chick-fil-A dinner.

We’d love for you to join us.  And in order to make sure we have enough study guides and food, we urge you to register right now.


You can also find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/SecretChurchNB

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Repentance Leads to Forgiveness


            When Joel spoke God's Word to Israel, the people had just experienced a disaster never seen before on the earth. In no way does Joel soften God’s judgment or try to make the people feel good about themselves. Instead, he calls them to mourn their sin and remember the judgment of God. God’s judgment seems harsh at the time and it is. His judgment, however, reminds us of two important realities: 1. The grace and mercy of God is even in His judgment. 2. Even God’s judgment is evidence of His pursuit for relationship with you. Conviction of sin is God showing His love for you.
           
            Our response to conviction is important as well. Psalm 32:1 gives this encouragement: How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! (Psalm 32:1, HCSB). Two encouraging words here are forgiven and covered. Forgiven literally means to have our sin lifted off. Unless Christ forgives, the burden of our sin remains our own to bear. The burden cannot be lifted on our own but Jesus has lifted the burden of sin, Praise God! The second word is covered. On the Day of Atonement the priest took the blood of an animal into the Holy of Holies. He sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat which was placed over the Ark of the Covenant. The blood covered the broken law, shielding the sinner from God’s judgment.
 
            The truth of Scripture tells us that God does judge and will judge. But the truth of Scripture also tells us that God has provided a way for forgiveness and covering. The way is Jesus. Are you covered by the blood of Jesus? He will lift the burden of your sin and cover you from God’s judgment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

ReachNB


ReachNB
Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2, HCSB).
The Apostle Paul pleads with his readers that there is an urgency to the ministry of reconciliation. By ministry of reconciliation, Paul means the calling of the unsaved to believe on Jesus as Lord and Savior. There is no better time than today to tell the good news of Jesus.
I issued a challenge to FBCNB to be urgent with the gospel. Our challenge is to engage 10,000 homes with the gospel. Can we do it? I am confident we can if we believe that today is the day of salvation.
Commit to attend the evangelism conference on May 2 at FBCNB. Dr. Matt Queen, Evangelism Professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, will lead us in the conference. Then, that afternoon we will go out and knock on doors in our neighborhood.
I hope you will join in to help us ReachNB.