Archive for July, 2012

I do not personally subscribe or officially recommend many blogs here. But Timmy Brister’s “Provacations and Pantings” is up there with the few I would encourage you to follow. If you follow me on Twitter you see I retweet many of his posts/tweets.
Right now he is offering a great giveaway if you subscribe to his blog.  So check it out at:  http://timmybrister.com/2012/07/haiti-rss-and-a-big-blog-giveaway/

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This summer has been a busy season of ministry and summer activities at my church and for my family.  A summer of serving the Savior has continued this week as our church is one of few partnering to love the city of Spartanburg to Life through the mission of Come Closer.  If you have any nights free July 19-21, please join us at 6:30 pm for evening Community Worship gatherings at Oak Grove Baptist Church, located at 350 North Blackstock Road, Spartanburg.

Come Closer is a city transformation movement that unites believing Christians for the purpose of loving the city of Spartanburg to life in Christ. The desire is to see four things occur as the body of Christ joins together to meet the needs of hurting people in Spartanburg.

  1.  An increase in the percentage of Christians living life on mission.
  2. An increase in the percentage of Christ-followers in our city.
  3. An increase in caring for the needs of the poor among us.
  4. An increase in Kingdom influence in all spheres of our city.

The focus and prayer of Come Closer is that it will be a movement and  not just a bunch of one and done mission projects. But does have a focused week of impact happening right now (July 18-21). This is where volunteers from participating churches serve on mission in the heart of our city during the part of the day or days available and then gather together each evening for worship, inspiration, celebration, and experienced teaching on how to live life on mission. * The week will end with an invitation for those who have come closer to stay closer and work together to make disciples among hurting people in our city. God is already ready doing incredible things and I encourage you to keep up with it through the Come Closer facebook page . For more information how you or your church can be involved email:  lovethecitytolife@gmail.com

I am so excited about what God is doing through kingdom partnerships in our city and it has fanned my flame for living missionallly. Growing up outside a major city and seeing huge mega cities through international mission endeavors the Lord has always stirred in me a passion to share and spread His love in the cities.  While able to do that in a church setting in downtown Louisville and minister to Muslim refugees through NAMB I have not been as engaged since pastoring.  I was able to  share an introduction of God’s heart for the cities with our church through Nehemiah and I am grateful we were able to participate in church planting in Atlanta earlier this summer. But as we have become involved in Come Closer city movement the Lord is doing incredible things in our city of Spartanburg!  Will you join us in praying that the Spirit moves mightily here in Spartanburg?

Will you participate? There are still three days of ministry left so if you get join us for the ministry projects or join us for worship at Oak Grove . Urban ministry isn’t always at the top of churches’ ministry priorities, will you help cast a Biblical vision for it?

Come Closer and love your city to life!

Let’s Pray for Muslims

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. ~Romans 10:1

Here’s some Missional thinking for your Monday. This Friday, July 20, will begin the Muslim holy month of prayer and fasting called Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is a great time to pray for our

Muslim neighbors and those scattered around the globe. We are called to love them and share the Gospel and prayer is a great place to start. There are a number of guides out there to help pray for them. Your first stop should be to check out http://www.30-days.net/.

It has a variety of resources and downloadable calendars to help you pray during this month (including an easy Daily Take for Busy Christians)

This also a great place to begin to learn more about the beliefs of Islam and Muslim peoples. Here is the 30 Days ministry promo video for this year:


My wife and I have loved and labored to Muslims in ministry before we were married and together afterward. So, this is always an easy effort to pray with faces of the lost that we have known and love. For all Christians (if we are honest) it can be a significant challenge to sincerely pray for their salvation. Let us use Romans 10:1-2 as a guide. While the apostle Paul is speaking of his desire to see his Jewish kinsmen saved let this be the cry for our heart. While we  pray for the salvation of Muslims let us pray for our own heart that there is a true desire to be saved. Loving the Muslim should start with prayer an must begin with a sincere heart.

Will you join me and thousands upon thousands around the globe of praying for Muslims?

A Summer in the Psalms

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

” O LORD, our Lord,  how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.  (Psalm 8:1 ESV)

Summer is a great time of blessing from the Lord (some would add: except for these heat waves).  I say that because the days are longer & warmer, vegetable and flower gardens are in full bloom,  it is the time of vacations, and holidays that are marked by 3-day weekends. While these things are gifts from the Lord often they can serve as distractions from serving and worshiping the Lord together.

Colossians 3:2 says: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

July 4th traditionally marks the halfway mark of the summer and I want to challenge us to do something that will help “set your minds on things above” for the remainder of the summer. We have already started and will continue to focus on the Psalms during our Sunday morning worship times together.  You can download or listen to Psalm 3:Living a Life that Trust God here . I want to challenge you to read and meditate on the Psalms during your personal devotion times during our “Summer in the Psalms”.

The Psalms are considered by many to be the most loved portion of Scripture (maybe one of the reasons God made it the longest book) that have been a pillar of comfort and a tower of strength for believer throughout the ages.  One of the reasons the Psalms are deeply loved by so many Christians is that they give expression to an amazing array of emotions.  The Psalms are meant to be instructive about God and man and life. When we read the Psalms, we are meant to learn things about God and about human nature and about how life is to be lived.

Often when I talk to people about their favorite portion of Scripture it will be one of the Psalms. Do you have a favorite Psalm? As we strive together to set our minds on things above this summer by focusing on the Psalms I want you to consider reading through the whole book this summer. If you read 5 chapters from the Psalms a day it would take the average reader approximately 15 minutes (depending on the chapter size) and you could read all 150 Psalms in one month.

One approach to choosing a Psalm to pray through is the “Psalms of the Day” approach recommended by Donald Whitney.  This divides the 150 Psalms into 5 Psalms for each of 30 days in a month.  Take the day of month as your first Psalm.  Then keep adding 30 to that number until you get 5 Psalms. So if you start today, the 8th of the month, your first Psalm is Psalm 8.  To Psalm 8, add 30 to get the next one, Psalm 38.  These would be followed by Psalm 68, then 98, and 128.  (On the 31st, use Psalm 119).  For added incentive it so happens I am preaching through Psalm 8 on July 8th so I hope that will encourage you also (That sermon titled: Worship His Majesty, preached on July 8 is now up and available to listen or download here). Even if you are a slow reader you can take two months to do it and still almost be done around Labor Day (the traditional end of the summer).

Let’s read through and pray through them together this summer shall we? I will be posting some periodic thoughts and helps here during our remaining summer months. There is probably no other book in the Bible where believers personally find more help in the various crises of life than the Psalms,  so please join me for a “Summer in the Psalms.”