B21 would like to make our readers aware of an upcoming national conference on preaching in SC.
What: (From Acts 29 Site on the Conference) “Preaching the Power of the Cross” is the theme of the 20th annual National Conference on Preaching, scheduled for May 9-11, 2011, at First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, SC. The conference is sponsored by Preaching magazine and the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University. NCP is a national – often international – gathering of pastors and church leaders with a focus on the preaching of God’s Word. You’ll hear outstanding addresses linked to the conference theme, challenging messages, and helpful workshops on a variety of preaching-related topics. One past participant said, “It’s as valuable as a year of seminary – all in three days!” Participants in NCP2011 will come from a variety of denominations and from across the nation. In addition to enhancing your own preaching tool kit, you’ll also enjoy inspiring worship times with other leaders. And an optional pre-conference workshop on “Building a Biblical Sermon” will be a valuable investment for pastors and leaders who are early in their preaching ministries. Complementing the preaching conference will be a simultaneous session for ministry wives, featuring Jill Briscoe and other leaders.
When: Monday, May 09, 2011, 8:30 AM – Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 9:50 PM
Location: First Baptist Church of Spartansburg, 250 E Main St, Spartansburg, Spartanburg, SC US 29306
Cost: General: $250.00, Church Planters or Seminary Students: $75.00
- Tullian Tchividjian
- Rob Wilton
- James Emery White
- Ralph Douglas West
- Robert Smith
- Bryan Carter
- Mike Milton
- Don Wilton
- Plus more speakers still to be announced…
Registration for the B21 Lunch Panel at this year’s SBC is now open.
When: June 14th, during the SBC lunch break (roughly 12pm-1pm)
Where: Phoenix Convention Center (PCC), West Building in Room 301A
What: A lunch panel discussion on Mission, the SBC, and more…
- General Registration (April 26th – June 10th) – $15
Note: This $15 will include a lunch. We understand that $15 may seem high, but it is an average price at convention centers. We are not doing this to make money. In fact, we are attempting to raise money with sponsors to keep the cost at $15. Lunch in Phoenix downtown area will be costly, why not spend the time at a lunch listening to men like John Piper and David Platt talk about critical issues for the church. Thanks for considering this and we hope to see you there!!
This article was printed in the Lebanon Democrat, B21 reproduces it in full here:
A radio preacher who claims to preach the Bible (the same Bible that says no one knows the day or hour when Jesus will return, Matthew 24:36) says that the world will end around supper time on May 21st. I bet that statement grabs your attention. It sure grabs mine.
Preachers who pull out prophecy charts and start calculating End Time dates often grab attention and can even gain quite a following. The reason for this is that people are always fascinated by the “End Times.” That is why even non-Christians seem to flock to things like the Left Behind novels and films like “2012”, “The Book of Eli”, and “The Road.”
We are fascinated by talk about the end of the world because deep-down we know that history is headed somewhere, and we hope to find some “insider information” that will help us somehow be prepared for it. Our consciences bear witness to the fact that we believe, even if we won’t admit it, that there will be a day of reckoning in which we are all called to account for our lives.
The Bible does have a lot to say about the End Times (though it never gives us a date and time). The Bible tells us exactly what the Last Days will be like. There will be a judgment and there will be a resurrection from the dead. A judgment will be made, and some will be raised to everlasting life and others to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:1-4). Death itself will be overturned!
This has everything to do with the Easter season. The question of whether or not you can know the end ahead of time and be prepared for it is answered by the Easter Story. If someone wants to know when the Last Days will occur all they need to do is look at Jesus. On Easter Sunday morning almost 2,000 years ago when the corpse of Jesus of Nazareth ceased to be a corpse and walked out of that borrowed Palestinian tomb, the Bible says we entered into the Last Days!
The Good News of Easter is that God has pushed the Last Day forward into human history with the death and resurrection of His Son. The Final Judgment has already happened, and it fell on Jesus. The resurrection when death will be overturned has already happened, and Jesus was the only one raised.
If you want to know what the Last Days are going to be like and you want to be prepared for them, you don’t need to look to contrived prophecy charts or highway billboards. You can instead look to an ancient cross and an empty tomb. Our consciences testify to us that one day we will face a reckoning, but if we are joined to Jesus by faith the Bible says that our End Time judgment has already happened on Calvary’s cross, and our End Time vindication has already happened in that empty tomb.
So, this Easter Sunday Morning be reminded as you gather to worship the Risen King that you don’t need to be worried about Doomsday messages because the King has risen and we are already in the Last Days, the judgment has already occurred and death has already been defeated!
The Spencer County Magnet will post an article by B21′s Nick Moore on Easter, B21 reproduces it in full here:
I’m not sure why, but the older I get, I start looking forward to each new season with more and more expectancy. When I was a kid, Summer always came and went so fast that there was never enough time for the desired amount of baseball. Then before you could turn around, it seemed like Fall and Winter had flown by leaving us yearning for more sleigh riding weather. But things are different now. The seasons don’t fly by like they used to. In fact, in some ways, they seem to drag on longer each year. You can blame it on “El Nino” or “global warming” if you want, but whatever the cause, the fact is that winters just seem colder, summers just seem hotter, and the time spent waiting for one to become the next just seems longer.
In these moments of eager anticipation, though, I have to stop and remind myself that this whole process does not happen by accident, nor does it happen purely on the basis of scientific realities. Instead, the Bible tells us that the Lord “changes times and seasons,” (Dan 2:21). The seasons do not change merely because of a tilt in the earth’s axis or it’s position relative to the sun. These may be the means by which the elements change, but they are not the ultimate cause. God is. And if God is the author of the seasons, he surely must have a purpose behind their ebb and flow. But what?
Several years ago, a number of “modernist” critics observed the way that, throughout history, every pagan culture has come up with some sort of story, myth, or legend to explain the changing seasons. For millennia, men have watched how vegetation goes into the ground during seed-time and rises to new life during harvest as well as how this process is mirrored by a climate that transitions from warm, vibrant, and lively to a cold, death-like slumber, only to experience “new birth” with the arrival of Spring. Observation of these things, the critics noted, always seems to result in the forming of “myths about dying and rising gods.” Christianity, then, is nothing unique. In fact, in their estimation, Christianity is little more than a pagan fertility myth accommodated to a first-century context with a Jewish man as its hero.
This time of year, there will inevitably be a spate of magazine covers, newspaper articles, and History channel documentaries leveling these same kinds of accusations against the Christ story. But behind all of these questions is really the same question: “What makes Christianity different? How is it unique?” The great Christian author C.S. Lewis, addressing the accusations that these “modernists” had leveled, provides a somewhat surprising answer. He suggests that, in some sense, Christianity is not unique at all. It should not surprise us, he says, to “find in the imagination of the great Pagan teachers and myth makers some glimpse of that theme which we believe to be the very plot of the whole cosmic story—the theme of incarnation, death, and rebirth,” (Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry” in The Weight Of Glory, 128). These pagan myths are simply picking up on what the Apostle Paul calls God’s “purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth,” (Eph 1:9-10). So, in one sense, the Christ story is not unique. All of these stories are based on God’s larger story, which finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.
In another sense, however, Lewis points out that the Christ story is altogether unique. Not in the sense that it is based on different themes, but in that it is utterly and completely true. The pagans pick up on God’s larger story, but in their version they choose to exchange “the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things,” (Rom 1:23). The Christ story, however, shows us how in the fullness of time “the old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens– at a particular date, in a particular place,” (Lewis, God In The Dock, 343). The myth “about the dying and rising god” meet the original pattern after which it was copied when it became fact in Jesus Christ.
This Easter, I hope you will stay focused first and foremost on the true “reason for the season.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy other festive activities as well…as long as you recognize the story behind the stories. There is a reason fertility symbols like eggs and bunnies have endured with this holiday for generations, that the name “Easter” (based on the name of an ancient fertility goddess “Ishtar”) has never been revised even in ardent Christian circles, or that bright pastel colors, new outfits, and fresh floral arrangements resonate with our celebrations of the resurrection, even if we can’t put our finger on exactly why. It is because these symbols of new birth and new life point us beyond pagan mythology to the myth that became fact, to Jesus Christ: the true firstborn, the true resurrection and the life, the true New Creation, and the true first-fruits from the dead. This Easter, let’s see Jesus in every competing story, and use these stories to point others to him, who is “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6).
Check out Part 1 on Word-Centered Preaching… and check out the video of the Kimyal people receiving the New Testament for the first time.
Another area in which our ministerial walk has not quite matched our conservative talk is in the area of Biblical Counseling. As a pastor, it never ceases to amaze me the way that the people in Southern Baptist (and most evangelical) congregations have the tendency to draw a radical distinction between the elements of 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Most believe that God has given us (in the Bible) everything we need for “life” (namely eternal life), but what they don’t often see is that He has also given us everything we need for “godliness.” In other words, most of the people in our churches believe that the Bible is sufficient to save, but is somehow insufficient to sanctify. And it is at this point that we come face to face with the stark reality that the reason most of our people believe this distinction is because this is precisely what they have been trained to believe.
What else are they to conclude when every book their pastor told them to read for pre-marital and/or marital counseling talks more about principles of psychology and communication than about what the Bible says regarding marriage? What else are they to conclude when every time their pastor is posed with a difficult issue in the life of a member, his default reaction has not been to reproof or exhort that person, but to refer him/her to a “professional” so that he/she can be “diagnosed” and the appropriate prescription ascertained? What else are they to conclude when their pastor’s preaching points them to “tips” and “principles” more than to the depth of their depravity and the solution God has provided in Christ not just so that they can be justified, but also that they may be sanctified? Do we really believe that the Bible is power behind true “life-change”? Do we really believe that God’s Word alone, and not the voice of secular wisdom, brings about true “abundant life”? Do we really believe that we are what the Bible says we are, that we have what the Bible says we have, that we can do what the Bible says we can do? Do we really believe what the Bible says we should believe…really?
One final area in which there seems to be a disconnect between our words and our work in the SBC is in that of Mission. I recently heard from a young minister who attended a popular “ministry” conference that was attended by thousands from various “ministry” and “leadership” responsibilities across the nation. He told me about one of the authors/speakers who spoke there and the invaluable leadership insight he provided for his hearers: “leaders should always strive to be humble.” At first, I had to admit my relief that such a timely and appropriate word was given to such a vast audience of current/future leaders. But then, my friend informed me of the follow-up line, “Leaders should strive for humility, because humility just works.” Is this really why leaders should strive for humility? Not because the Bible says we should, but because it “just works?” We can roll our eyes. We can shake our heads. Or, we can turn right around and realize that this kind of thinking is merely the logical conclusion of what we’ve been preaching for quite some time.
When church-growth is more about method than message [Check out Scott Wilson’s Post, “The Word Grows: A New Testament Plan for Church” and “Does Inerrancy Really Matter?”]. When leadership is more about charisma than character. When results are measured more financially and fiscally than by faithfulness and fruit of the Spirit, what are we communicating? The church of the Lord Jesus is not followed by an “Inc.” The Great Commission is not merely another program or initiative to be executed and evaluated according to the principles of worldly wisdom and pragmatism. Rather the church is the Kingdom counterculture. The church is the outpost of Christ’s rule and reign. The church is the beacon by which the “manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph 3:10). And remember, Christ has not entrusted His mission to CEO’s and Moguls, but rather He has given it to the “the things that are not” (1 Cor 1:28).
Before being delivered over for crucifixion, Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth” (John 17:17). The question that comes to us, as Southern Baptists in the 21st century, is this: Will we truly be a people of the Book? Will we truly be a people of the Word? Will we truly be a people of the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth? Our only answer can be…so help us God!
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