Showing posts from 2013

The Christian's Diet: Feast Upon the Word.

Note: Today's post is from one of my dear brothers in Christ, Ryan Burris. He has been called to the ministry and is currently pursuing his Master's of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a youth minister, a gifted preacher and, as you will read, a wonderful writer and expositor of God's Word. I hope you enjoy his thoughts on this important subject and are blessed and challenged by his message.
Ezekiel 3:1 He said to me: “Son of man, eat what you find here.  Eat this scroll, then go and speak to the house of Israel.”
A new year is just around the corner, and with that comes resolutions.Consistently, one of the top New Year’s resolutions is going on a diet or losing weight (which typically includes dieting).Our culture is crying out for new, more successful diets with quicker results, and this is not necessarily a bad thing.While I am not a dieter myself, it seems as though most diets that I have heard of are based around 1 primary princ…

Ninety-nine Percent isn't Good Enough For God.

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which was lost until he finds it?Luke 15:4.

Have you ever lost something?

Naturally that is a rhetorical question because we've all lost things in our lives. Whether it is the TV remote, our car keys or even something less mundane, we often misplace things that are important to us. What ensues is usually a frustrating series of events to include tossing the couch and living room, rummaging through pockets and disgorging the contents of closets until the lost item is found.

In Luke 15 Jesus tells a series of parables to show that God is no less dedicated to the search for lost things than we are. In fact, His search goes over and above the effort we would put forth for all but the most valuable of things. For now, I want to focus on the first two parables in this chapter because they are very, very similar and the third is the parable of the…

Love - Hate Relationship

If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26

There are times when I read the Gospels and wonder if Jesus didn't just get fed up with people misunderstanding Him, following Him for the wrong reasons, and just plain being silly. The verse above represents one of those times for me. Looking at those words one can only wonder if Jesus had simply had enough and laid into the people who were following Him just to see the next cool miracle. In the previous verse it says that "large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, if anyone comes to me..." you know the rest. Clearly Jesus wasn't up to speed on the current trends in mass evangelism and church growth strategies. That's right folks, Jesus used the word "hate" and He said if we don't we can't follow Him. It almost sounds like Jesus didn'…

No More Excuses

But they all alike began to make excuses. Luke 14:18a.

As human history has advanced over thousands of years we have made great strides of advancement in many areas. From the advent of fire we have now come to a place where we have harnessed that power for all types of helpful, and destructive, things. Since we first left the confines of terra firma using powered flight just over one hundred years ago, we can now travel all over the world in a matter of hours on the wings of jetliners. There are some areas, however, where our growth has been...stunted. One such area is our ability and willingness to make excuses. Who among us has not been invited to a function we do not want to go to and subsequently made an excuse?

This all began very early in our history. After eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve were faced with an inquiring God and Adam provided the first excuse; "That woman YOU made for me made me do it." Adam says raising his arm with an outstretched finger towards …

Unbinding the Prophets

This morning I was continuing my study of the book of Amos and found myself in the second chapter of this prophet's writing. Some of you may be familiar with this passage because this is where God declares His judgment on Moab, Judah and Israel. The long and short of the message is that there will be no stopping God's wrath upon these people and the prophet explains exactly why in each case. One thing stood out to me among the rest of the indictments and it is found in verse 12;

And you commanded the prophets saying, "You shall not prophesy!"

Before we get into why I think this is interesting and applicable to us today I want to lay a little bit of ground work on the role of the prophet.

Typically when we think of prophecy or the prophetic writings we automatically go to telling of future events, or foretelling. This was certainly one of the major functions of the prophet in the Old Testament. Without the foretelling of the prophets of God we would be missing many of …

The Corvette I Didn't Get

Last week we had the privilege of holding our annual services for revival at our church. I try not to call them "revival services" because that is making a huge assumption...that we will experience God-sent revival. I believe all we can do is show up with the right attitude and humbly ask God to show up as well. All that being said, during our service on Monday night our preacher for these services, Scott Williams, spoke on the necessity of prayer. His theme for the three nights was, what can we do to create an atmosphere where God will send revival to us. Obviously, a integral part of that atmosphere has to be communication with God. Throughout the message Scott shared with us examples and stories of what can happen when God's people pray. Some were from Scripture (Peter being freed from prison, the room where the disciples were meeting being shaken, etc.) and some were more recent.

One of the things that Scott encouraged us to do in prayer is to pray specifically. That…

Fiction: "The Lone Rider"

Below you will find a short story I thought up while driving to Florida last week. I don't normally write fiction but I find that I do enjoy it so maybe I'll do it more in the future.


The Lone Rider
                The forest was far quieter than one would expect of a forest. Nearly silent, it was, save for the occasional crack of a dry, dead tree trunk which, like all the others, was a deep brown bordering on black. The air felt thick as if something were hanging over the land trying to squeeze the life out of it. To the casual onlooker it had been successful. Even in the short springtime the leaves that did sprout from the branches emerged brown and crispy hanging on to their parent tree for a few short days. Even the dawn of new life seemed to be hopeless. Despite the midday hour the land was dark. It seemed as if the sun had not pierced through the thick layer of steel grey clouds in many lifetimes.                 The silence of the afternoon was broken abruptly…

The Truth about the Church

Adapted from a sermon given 7/28/2013

Recently the Lord has been emphasizing some things in my heart about the church. A few weeks ago this thought struck me;

If "church" is a place we go, then it is also a place we can leave.

Let me restate that for clarity and emphasis. If "church" is a place we can visit, or a location we can go then it is also a place we can leave after a prescribed amount of time. This has some very serious implications, one of which we will look at a little later.

The other thing that the Lord struck me with recently was this thought;

Jesus didn't come to this earth, live, die a torturous death, go into the grave and rise again on the third day for two or three hours of our week.

These two thoughts go hand in hand because the latter informs the former. In Acts 20:28 the Bible tells us,

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with Hi…

The Truth About Racism

Right off the bat I want to admit that I did not live through the times of great racial tension in the 1950's and 60's. However, it appears to me that the times we are living in now are some of the most racially charged of my lifetime (1981-present). For that reason I want to approach this topic carefully, yet honestly. Even some of the highest officials in our government claim that we need to have an open and honest discussion about race in our land. Well, here is my open honesty. Please take it with the love and care in which it is intended.

From my point of view, as an evangelical Christian, there is absolutely NO room for racism of any shade in the Gospel of Jesus Christ or His followers. I could very easily stop right there because that just about sums up the truth of the matter. However, I think some further words are necessary. The clearest statement from Scripture on this subject is Galatians 3:28;

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, the…

The Truth about Love

It should be no surprise to any of us that love is, perhaps, the most oft quoted attribute of God. This is for good reason. 1 John 4:8 tells us as much, "for God is love." Indeed, one cannot conceive of any other attribute of God without first considering His unending, unconditional love for His creation. God loved enough to create us. He loved enough to give us free will and when we used that free will to disobey Him, He sent His Son, whom He loved, to die in our stead. The Gospels and the message of Jesus are replete with the command to love, not only those who love us, but even those who do not. To try and comprehend God or His Word without looking through the lens of love is the acme of foolishness. However, it has come to my attention that God's love, and our concept of the godly love we are to display, has been tragically perverted over the years.

Recently, I have seen the transformation of godly, biblical love into a love that would never tell someone that which …

Obsessed with Treasure

Adapted from a sermon given on 23 June 2013.

But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you...For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:31,34.

One of the series of movies that I get a great deal of enjoyment out of watching is the Pirates of the Caribbean series. They are fun and, for the most part, family friendly. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it follows the exploits of one Captain Jack Sparrow and his band of misfit pirates as they seek various kinds of treasure and wind up in all sorts of trouble. In the first installment of the series, The Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow encounters young Will Turner. Will is a blacksmith's apprentice and has a healthy disdain for all things pirate. What he doesn't realize is that his father was a pirate extraordinaire who sailed with Sparrow on the Black Pearl. It doesn't take long for Jack to realize that this young man is more than meets the eye and finally he confronts Will about…

The Great Division

Well, here it is. After a couple of hundred posts I'm finally going to tackle one of the most touchy issues in the Church today...worship styles. Being that this is a blog and it is my blog what you are about to read is my opinion so you are welcome to disagree with it. It seems to me that this debate has been raging for at least ten or fifteen years and it doesn't look like we're in for any relief which is a real shame for God's people. There's the first part of my opinion, as Christians would should be ashamed of ourselves for being so divisive on the issue of worship. In the Gospel of John Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is recorded and one of the things He prays for His followers is unity. Oh that there were unity among the Church!

Though this is an opinion piece I will make every effort to be as even-handed as possible in the discussion and please know that offense is not my goal, truth is. With that in mind I will try to lay out some of the pro…