Sermon | Jesus’ Missions Drivers Ed. (Matthew 10:5-25)

“You don’t become a follower of God by where you live, or who your parents are, or how religious you think you are. You become a follower of God by accepting and believing the gospel message.”

In Matthew 10:5-25, Jesus gives his disciples tips for their upcoming mission — and tips for the future. We dig into the text to see what Jesus is teaching us about our mission.

Delivered by Pastor Nathaniel at Cedar Rock First Baptist Church on July 17, 2016.

When People Love You (or Hate You) for Your Faith

Have you ever had a good day turn bad? Elon Musk can empathize. Musk, the entrepreneur behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX, celebrated his 44th birthday on June 28. The day started off great, I’m sure. Who doesn’t like birthdays? Yet that morning one of his SpaceX rockets, destined for the International Space Station, exploded after launch. What started as a great day quickly turned sour.

Paul and Barnabas had one of those days, too. Luke tells us the story in Acts 14:8-23. Continue reading

Respectfully, Franklin Graham, Let’s Pray that MORE Muslims Immigrate to America

Franklin Graham has done more for the kingdom than you or I ever will. His humanitarian efforts have provided practical help and gospel hope to millions around the globe.

Yet his recent Facebook post about Muslim immigration troubles me. Here’s his main point:

“We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized–and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad. “

Continue reading

A Life Worth Saving

A guest post from my wife Katie.

Someone once told me this about deeply troubled children:

“It would have been better for these children to have been aborted as fetuses than to live such tragic lives.”

I disagreed then.

Recently, though, the overwhelming realities of my young people’s lives confronted me again. As I witnessed more heartbreak, lives filled with more tragic events than years, and little ones who only know anger, frustration, anxiety, and self-hate, that comment came back to mind. Continue reading

Mercy Ministry Matters to God — and Why It Should Matter to You, Too

The Great Physician at Work

I have a soft spot for mercy ministries — those outward-focused ministries that serve the less fortunate in a community. Some of my sweetest ministry experiences have come through my nearly eight years of serving with English as a Second Language (ESL).

One day, though, I stepped back and asked the question: Why do we do ESL? Yes, ESL meets a practical need (teaching English), a relational need (building friendships), and can open doors to a spiritual need (presenting the gospel). But beyond an ESL ministry’s practicality, does it — or any mercy ministry — have biblical warrant to be a ministry of the church?

So I set out on a quest. I scoured Scripture to see if the Bible commands us to care for the needy (it does). And I surveyed church history to see if our spiritual predecessors cared for the less fortunate (they did).

In my studies, four theological principles emerged: Continue reading

‘Radical’ by David Platt: The 4 Most Important Challenges

Years before David Platt became the President of the International Mission Board, he was an ordinary pastor. Then he wrote Radical (2010) — the short yet piercing book that took the evangelical world by storm

Radical by David PlattIn it, Platt reacts to an American church that has embraced unbiblical values, fallen prey to materialism, and valued comfort above all else. He calls Christians to believe and obey all of Jesus’ teachings — even the parts that are most difficult to stomach. He takes the reader on a journey to rediscover the truth and urgency of God’s gospel, learn how to fulfill God’s global purpose in his divine power, overcome significant blind spots, and live a life of radical abandonment to Jesus.

Radical by David Platt is a small and concise book, but each page pops with challenging issues. In light of his recent appointment to serve as President of the International Mission Board, I revisited this book to discover the top four issues that stood out to me: Continue reading