Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Healing

 Recently I visited Methodist Hospital located in the famed Houston Medical Center. The Houston Medical Center has been and is home to some of the best doctors and hospitals in the world. For example, people come from all over the world for treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital.  Famed heart surgeons Drs. Denton Cooley and Michael DeBakey called the Houston Medical Center home. The reason for my visit was to be with my mother for surgery. While checking in for pre-op, she said to the attendant, “I hear my doctor is one of the best.” His response was, “He is the best.” How comforting it is to hear those words about your doctor, “He is the best.”

As an observer of humanity, I was amazed at the thousands of people flowing through the hospital. Patients, families, doctors, nurses, interns, volunteers and others created a tidal-wave of people all pursuing one goal: healing. Physical healing consumes those who are sick. Billions of dollars are spent each year in the pursuit of physical healing. Thankfully, many people are healed. Diseases are eradicated. Lives are restored.

While watching the flow of people, I began to wonder if the pursuit of healing has overtaken the pursuit of the Healer? For all of the medical brilliance we enjoy today, physical life ends. For all of the diseases that can be treated and defeated, one remains incurable through human hands: sin. Romans 5:12 delivers a harsh reality, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).[1] Scripture is clear about the disease affecting every person. Sin invades every life, there are no exceptions.

To find healing from the disease of sin, we (all humanity) have searched diligently. We have invented new religions, developed philosophical formulas or ignored it all-together. This, too, is the pursuit of a tidal-wave of people. There is no hope of healing, however, outside of the Great Physician. Who is the “Great Physician?” He is Jesus.

We witness in Scripture the healing power of Jesus over physical disease and its ultimate affect. He restored life to Lazarus (Jn. 11). He restored sight to the blind (Matt. 11). Jesus restored the use of a deformed hand (Matt. 12). As much as we praise Jesus for healing our physical diseases, much more praise is due Him for healing our spiritual disease. Romans 5:8-10 delivers incredible news, But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, will we be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, have been reconciled, will we be saved by His life (Rom. 5:8-10).

Scripture declares the healing of sin that only God can provide. The greatest disease known to mankind, sin, which makes us an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10), is also healed by God. Reconciliation is the bringing together of two warring parties. God is at war with sin, yet, He offers reconciliation. Jesus is the reconciliation. The cross of Calvary leads to healing.

Rampant in our culture today is the downplaying of the cross. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus represents only one of many paths to God. I question, though, why people quickly run to a medical doctor or some other practitioner for physical healing but seek their own path for the forgiveness of their sin? Our common disease and its healing are both made clear in God's Word.

God's Word leads people to Jesus, to His sinless life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. I am convinced that the church must do the same, Lead People to Jesus. Jesus is the only hope for the disease of sin. Only Jesus provides salvation for the unsaved and sanctification for the saved.

The Great Physician is Jesus.




[1] All Scripture is taken from the Christian Standard Bible (B&H; Nashville) unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Listening to the Sermon


As a pastor, I always say that the first person who hears the sermon is me. Through the preparation of a sermon, God speaks, challenges, motivates and convicts. If the sermon doesn’t speak to the preacher, then it’s not going to speak.

As I preached through Matthew 18, God spoke so clearly to me. I had wronged a fellow believer by not following the instructions of Scripture. Here is a brief section of the sermon:

If your brother sins against you… Brother is pointing to a fellow Christ-follower. So, Jesus is forecasting how relationships are supposed to function within the body of Christ. Within the body of Christ, fellow believers will offend each other. Sin will be committed through words or actions. The word sin is harmartia, the basic word for sin in the New Testament that means missing the mark. One key to strong relationships in our homes and in the church, is understanding that people are not perfect. People sin, your feelings might or most likely will get hurt. When offense is not dealt with then it begins to fester in your heart and mind causing an infection of bitterness and resentment. Let me ask, is it healthier to confront the sin or to allow the offense to poison your heart and mind? We should all agree that it’s healthier to confront the sin. That is the tone of Jesus’ instruction here. Loving confrontation of sin, so that the sinner repents restoring right relationship, brings about or maintains a healthy body. The expectation here is that people sin, relationships are fractured but can be reconciled.”[1]

God convicted me in that moment. The next week I went to the person and offered my apology for not rightly handling the matter in the beginning. God had given me peace and I praise Him for that.

We must never forget that God's Word speaks to our lives. Listen! He is speaking.






[1] Dr. Brad H. McLean, "Confrontational Love" Matthew 18:15-20 (June 12, 2017)

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