Pastor Cary's Blog
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 Comments (0)
In a very tangible way, Advent increases anticipation and expectancy and excitement for the Second Advent. Advent is the season of Christmas, the season of the First Coming of Jesus. The Second Advent or Second Coming is the time when Jesus will return for his Church.
As we read the Scriptures and light the Advent candles, it adds to our sense of wonder and excitement. We are reminded of how the first coming of Jesus was prophesied and expected by many. Our celebration of Advent culminates on Christmas Eve as we light the Christ Candle and sing Christmas carols. Our eyes, ears and our hearts are warmed with the fact that Jesus did indeed come to save and redeem his people.
I love Advent. More than the festivities of the season, I love Advent for another reason. I love Advent because it reminds me of a Savior who kept his first promise to come, and it reminds me of a Lord who will keep his promise to come a second time. May God fill your hearts with the hope of Christ’s coming this year! Maranatha, Lord Jesus, Come!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Self-Control: A Lifelong Necessity
Thursday, November 14, 2013 Comments (0)
In Titus 2, Paul tells Titus, “Teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1) This teaching that accords with sound doctrine is instructing old men, old women, young men and young women to live in accordance with sound doctrine. As I read this passage this morning, I noticed each age group is exhorted to exercise self-control. This should leave no doubt in our minds that self-control is a life-long necessity.
As we age we might think self-control will not be an issue in our golden years. Self-control is a struggle for the young and their youthful passions we think. Thinking this is a mistake. We may not struggle with the same issues when we age, but we will struggle with different issues. We are still tempted to go to other things for comfort other than God. We find our ability to endure the immaturity of others begins to grate on our nerves. We struggle to hold our tongue and verbally lash out at others who dare upset our routine. Yes, we of mature age do need to be reminded that behavior fitting of sound doctrine involves self-control. Self-control never loses its relevance.
Soli Deo Gloria!
For the Sake of the Elect
Saturday, November 09, 2013 Comments (0)
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Tim. 2:8-10)
The Apostle Paul faced persecution and imprisonment because of his witness of the Gospel. Nowhere in the New Testament do we get the indication that Paul believed the persecution or imprisonment hindered the Gospel from going forward. In other words, Paul never gave up because of the challenges he faced which were many. Paul’s challenges, were of course, much more serious than the challenges we face as a church. Paul endured these challenges for one purpose: “for the sake of the elect.” He endured so that the elect “may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
We at Bayview Baptist Church face some serious challenges. Some of our challenges are pretty overwhelming and some not so overwhelming. They are, nonetheless, challenges. And, they do, like all challenges cause us much stress and concern. So why put up with these challenges? Why not throw in the towel and quit? Why not go somewhere else and just quietly attend a church that has “everything” we need? We stay where we are and endure the challenges “for the sake of the elect.” There are “elect” still remaining in Bayview and Ocean View who are yet “to obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” This is why we stay. This is why we continue to labor in prayer. This is why we continue to fight. This is why we do not give up—for the sake of the elect yet to come.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Individual Effort and Teamwork
Thursday, October 17, 2013 Comments (0)
Lined up in two rows opposite each other, we stared at individual pools of sweat on the floor and groaned as we pushed our bodies upward and shouted in unison, “Success depends on individual effort and teamwork sir, 1 sir.” This exercise occurred often in my Navy boot camp experience. We would always repeat the same mantra, “Success depends on individual effort and teamwork sir!” Many years have passed since boot camp, but the truth of that mantra still rings in my ears.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
In this passage, I see the whole body and each part. I see the team and the individual. Christ is the head of the team, and he is the one who supplies everything needed for spiritual growth both individually and corporately. He intends, however, for his church (team) to build itself up in love. This can only happen as each part (individual) works properly. So, success in a church which is empowered by the Holy Spirit, is also dependent on individual effort and teamwork.
Growing up in every way into Christ is much harder than being “mashed” (i.e., long hours of physical exercise) in boot camp. Eventually boot camp ends. The church does not end until Christ comes. It is not a sixteen-week experience. It is a lifetime. So, I encourage you as you stare at your individual pool of sweat (i.e., the difficulty involved in doing your part in the growth process), to not grow weary and give up on the church (i.e., the team) as we labor together in the Great Commission. Success depends on individual effort and teamwork!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Will God Give You More Than You Can Handle?
Thursday, September 05, 2013 Comments (0)
In an attempt to console and comfort someone undergoing a difficult time, frequently I hear people say, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” Usually the people offering these comforting words reference 1 Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
To use this verse to comfort someone who is undergoing a difficult time or suffering is to miss the point of this verse entirely. This passage is speaking of God’s provision for times of temptation and not a general provision for suffering.
In fact, to say God will not give you more than you can handle is unbiblical. Consider this passage:
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Cor. 1:8-11)
God gave Paul affliction that burdened him beyond his strength. He despaired of life itself. He thought he was a dead man. This was more than Paul could handle. God will periodically give us more than we can handle so we, like Paul, “will not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” When God gives us more than we can handle, he does so to show us he can handle anything.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Hanging Out for a Purpose
Thursday, August 15, 2013 Comments (0)
Last night I had the opportunity to just sit and hangout with a few guys and get to know them a little better. We were not watching a Braves game we were just talking. Yes, guys talk. The conversation was not superficial either. Often people refer to community in the church as merely “hanging out.” It is much more than hanging out. It is hanging out for a purpose.
Our purpose in hanging out is to encourage fellow believers in their sanctification (their becoming more and more like Jesus). Our purpose in hanging out is to comfort one another, love one another, pray for one another—basically all the “one anothers.” Our purpose is to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). We don’t just hang out, but we hang on to one another. Perhaps many of you feel like you are falling because you are hanging on to yourself (i.e., isolating). It’s kind of like hugging yourself. You just end up looking silly.
This type of Christian community takes time. It takes unhurried time with one another. You either do it or you don’t. It takes effort. Sometimes it feels awkward, sometimes you try and you fail but you refuse to quit. Quitting is not an option. Refusing to engage in Christian community is disobedience to God. And please, don’t mask your disobedience in the excuse, “I just don’t feel connected.” Authentic Christian community has often required me to press through my feelings and just obey. When I do this, the Spirit of God meets me in the community of believers and koinonia becomes more than just Greek to me.
Soli Deo Gloria!
We Don't Need Another Conversation on Race
Monday, August 05, 2013 Comments (0)
In what seems to be the long fallout from the George Zimmerman trial and verdict, many are calling for a national conversation on race. Perhaps I have not been paying attention, but I have not seen many pastors or Christian leaders calling for a national conversation on race. Honestly, I am not so sure we need to have another national conversation on race. Conversations do not change anything. They might make you feel good or give you the illusion of progress, but they really do not change anything.
I am weary of these “so called” conversations. I know about prejudice and racism. I grew up in South Georgia in the 1960s and 1970s. Today I live in one of the most diverse areas in the city of Norfolk, VA. Maybe I’m blind, but I just don’t see a big problem with racism in my city. Are there pockets of racism in the United States? Yes, of course. Racism is not, however, the big problem all the pundits on TV would like for you to believe.
I cannot speak so much for the nation, but I can speak for the church. Our problem is not so much a lack of dialogue but a lack of discipleship. The problems in the black community and the white community will not be changed by conversation. They will be changed by discipleship. How can a young man of any ethnicity learn how to be responsible, be a good father and husband? He can learn this when a more mature believer in Christ comes alongside him and shows him how. This is discipleship. God transforms the lives of people through discipleship. Didn’t Jesus commission us to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20)?
Stop talking church and start making disciples.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, June 28, 2013 Comments (0)
I am disappointed and saddened by the recent Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA. I am not, however, surprised. I am not surprised because I live in a fallen world that will not, as many hope, get better. I realize I will be called a pessimist for saying that. I consider myself to be a biblical realist. As such, I am under no illusion that we are going to usher in a “Christian” America.
This does not mean I run for the hills and hunker down in some sort of Christian bunker. It means I focus on completing the mission. The mission is the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20. This mission will be completed. Jesus says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Standing with me in heaven will be people from every nation, tongue and tribe singing praises to God (Rev. 7:9). I am confident this mission will be completed, and then a new heaven and new earth will come (Rev. 21:1). This present fallen world is passing away because it is totally and completely corrupted by sin.
I am not suggesting we remain silent when it comes to the biblical view of marriage, abortion or similar social issues. We should continue to speak biblical truth. As we speak biblical truth, we must maintain a sober, realistic biblical view of this world in which we live. Our priority is not building Christian nations. Our priority is proclaiming the Gospel throughout this fallen world and making disciples. Nothing will stop God’s universal Church from completing this mission. No law, no Supreme Court decision nor a culture opposed to everything godly will stop us from completing this mission.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The Biblical View of Women in Combat
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 Comments (0)
Yesterday our government leaders announced their plans to open up virtually all combat roles to women. You can read that story here. This is biblically wrong, and it will prove to have devastating sociological and psychological consequences for our nation. In January, I wrote about this issue here.
Here are a few links that will help you sort this issue out as Christians:
· The Biblical Case Against Women in Combat (An interview with Owen Strachan)
· Women in Combat: A Complementarian Perspective (Owen Strachan)
· Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: Women in Combat (Nathan Cherry)
· The FAQs: Women in Combat (Joe Carter)
· Co-Ed Combat and Cultural Cowardice (John Piper)
· More on Women in Combat (John Piper)
· Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Great articles for understanding the biblical roles of women and men)
Many people read the biblical position on the roles of men and women and complain, “That view of men and women is not in the mainstream.” I agree. It is not in the mainstream of American thought any longer. It is, however, the biblical view, and unfortunately the biblical view has never been the “mainstream” view.
Soli Deo Gloria!
When Jesus Calls Someone A Fool
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Comments (0)
I think we can all agree it is not nice to call someone a fool. If we call someone a fool, Jesus says we are “liable to the hell of fire” (Matt. 5:22). Jesus obviously takes our speech and the heart condition from which our speech flows (Luke 6:45) very seriously.
Yet, Jesus calls people a fool on a few occasions. In Matt. 23:17 and Luke 11:40, Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees fools. In the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-20), God calls the rich man a fool for trusting in his riches. So what are we to conclude from this?
Is Jesus a hypocrite for telling us not to call someone a fool and then doing so himself? The answer is obviously no. He is not a hypocrite because he is the only one qualified to call someone a fool. He is our great God and Savior (Titus 2:13). He is the one who says, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isa. 45:22). When someone rejects his mercy and grace and rejects his rule over their lives, God says, “You fool!” “The fool says in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Rejecting the one true God is the epitome of foolish thought and behavior. Don’t be a fool.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sundays at 10:00am
9:00am Senior Sunday School
10:00am Worship Service
11:15am Adult Connections Small Groups
Youth Small Group
Children's Sunday School
6:30pm Women's Bible Study
1:30pm Senior Bible Study
6:30pm Youth Group
6:30pm Men's Bible Study