Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Showbread

The following is an open-letter that is meant to be somewhat of a "response" to an open-letter written by Showbread to the Flaming Lips. Before going on, you may want to read Showbread's letter here.

Dear Josh and Patrick and Garret and Drew,

Let me introduce myself: my name is Richard, and I am a Christian. I’m a Christian who has been a fan of your music for the past 6 years. I bought my first Showbread album in 2004 and for quite awhile, No Sir Nihilism is Not Practical was in my cd player for days on end. I loved the infusion of raw rock with the thoughtful and uncompromising lyrics. I felt like I discovered “Christian music” for the first time…it was a genre that I only knew from the likes of “family-friendly” radio stations and Showbread changed that perception for me.

In fact, Showbread was a major influence when 2 friends and I played in a short-lived band for about 2 years. I even remember hanging with you guys at a show at Fat Cats in Houston. I was deeply impressed by the heart you all had for ministry. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I read your open letter to the Flaming Lips and I can appreciate your earnest and bold attempt to reach out to a band that seems to have contempt for those who follow Christ.

With that said, I felt compelled to write you all a letter with my thoughts.

If you noticed in my first sentence, I’m not afraid to call myself a Christian. While I admit and agree with you that this label carries heavy baggage in the eyes of the culture, I prefer this title mainly because the Bible isn’t afraid to use it.

Acts 11:26b And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

More importantly, to be a Christian is to identify with Christ. If you notice in the verse above, Peter is exhorting those who are “followers of Christ Jesus” (Christians) to not be ashamed of the gospel even in the midst of a culture that hates and persecutes them (verbally or physically). It is precisely because we name the name of Christ that people will hate us. This is nothing new-all throughout the history of our faith, men and women have been persecuted.

Luke 21:17 You will be hated by all for my name's sake.

In fact, Paul warns Timothy that all who desire to follow after Christ will suffer at the hands of unbelievers.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

God does not leave us just with the promise of persecution though. He also promises that He will be with us to give us the strength to endure for His name. He does not just leave His sheep to fend for themselves but promises grace so that although people may mock us and forsake us, God will be faithful to His children.

1 Peter 4:14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

And you see, this is what matters most. We do not seek the applause and acceptance of men. The truth is that because Christ has lived the life we couldn’t live and died the death we deserve, we are accepted by the true and living God and now have fellowship with Christ. Finding the pearl of great price is of eternal value in comparison to being accepted by the culture.

You also say,

Yes, I believe Jesus is God, I believe in a literal, corporeal resurrection of the dead, I believe a personal, loving God created the universe, etc. I sincerely believe in all these things, but I do not hold these beliefs over the heads of those who reject them.”

And then,

“Let me be clear, my letter’s intention is by no means converting any of you to my way of thinking”

Josh, let me ask you this-if you truly believe that Jesus is God and he was raised from the dead, thus making his words true and binding, should you not be shouting His message from the rooftops with the hopes of that sinners will be converted? You say that you do not believe that those who reject the message are idiots (well, maybe fools) or should be treated differently. I certainly agree with this statement but let me point this out-there is something worse waiting for those that reject the message of Christ.

Romans 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Does this concern you in the deepest part of your soul? The fact that a judgment day awaits the Flaming Lips should make the gospel proclamation a priority in your concerns for them. While it is important to clothe the naked and feed the poor, these things are trivial in light of eternity and judgment. We must be willing to confront the world that is lost, dying and without hope. In fact, if we are a “group of rescued lovers who are deeply loved and love others”, we would tell the full truth with the hope that God would grant them repentance and raise those who are dead in sin to life in Christ. Love, after all, does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

So let me finish with this: it’s ok if they hate you; it’s ok if they call you stupid and mock and scorn you. As I stated above, we should expect it since the natural man loves darkness and hates the light. But let it not trouble you because Christ is worth it and He has made it well with our soul. He endured not only shame and contempt at the hands of guilty sinners but bore the full wrath of God so that we might be forgiven of all our sins. We, who were also once alienated and hostile in mind towards God, have now been reconciled and adopted as sons through the shed blood of Christ. We now have peace with God even when men are at war with us.

So do not hate us all (even the “hateful, highly politicized, right wing, republican, flag-waving, gun-toting, war-mongering bigots”). Why hate when you can show and proclaim to the entire world the love of Christ?

In His service,


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful in All Seasons

Life is full of seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

The Bible says there is a time be born and  a time to die. And in between there are seasons to laugh and dance but there are also seasons to mourn and weep. It's easy to be thankful when we're experiencing the joys of life but what about the seasons where there seems to be no reason to laugh or dance?

What comforting about the word of God is that we are told that we will experience the sorrows of life and that it's ok to mourn. Why? Well James 1:1-3 says that we can count these seasons as a reason to be hopeful because this is where God refines our faith and proves it to be steadfast. While our feelings may tell us otherwise, we can look to the pure word of God to comfort and secure us.

This year has been a season of mourning for me. I lost both my grandparents in a matter of 3 days and a month later, a dear friend of the family was gone. In fact, today is the 4th month anniversay of my beloved grandmother'spassing. Death came swiftly and soon my family's life was tossed around like a wave in a stormy sea.

But as I reflect back on that season of trials and sorrow, I realize that in light of God's nature and His holy word, I have much to be thankful for. If we are in Christ, we dont have to blindly question why these things happen. We know that His purposes are always for our good and His glory. And if we know this, we should be thankful that he uses ALL things-the good, the bad and the ugly, to bring us closer to Him and to put His glory on display. All we have to do is look at the cross and realize that in the gospel, what seemed to be a reason to mourn and weep was actually a reason to rejoice. Christ had to endure great suffer and die so that we might be reconciled to Him.

So if we are God's children, be thankful in all things and know that even in seasons of great difficulties, God's purposes are always good and He is always faithful.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beholding the Glory of Christ-2011 Fall Bible Conference

Here is the info for Founders Baptist Church's 2011 Fall Bible Conference. Dr. Thomas Schreiner and Dr. Bruce Ware will be preaching through the book of Colossians concerning The Glory of Christ as Eternal Word, Incarnate Son, and Risen King. The conference is free and all are welcome.

Dr. Thomas Schreiner - Professor of New Testament Interpretation-Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky

Dr. Bruce Ware - Professor of Christian Theology- Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky

Friday:      October 21, 6:30 PM
Saturday:  October 22, 6:30 PM
Sunday:    October 23, 9:00 PM
Sunday:    October 23, 6:30 PM

A map to Founders Baptist Church can be found here. Bring some cash as there will be a book table with great selections from Ware and Schreiner, along with other authors.

On a side note, T.D. Jakes will be in town on the same weekend at Lakewood Church. I think there's an elephant in Houston.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big/Small Church = Big God

I'm a nostalgic kind of guy. This is especially true when it comes to old cheesy movies, particularly from the 80s and 90s. Home Alone is one of those movies that I can watch over and over.

There is a particular scene that really stands out to me. To put it in context, Kevin is trying to defend his house from two thieve and being alone on Christmas Eve, he's feeling a bit sad and scared. It's at this point where he walks in on a choir singing in church.

I love the way the camera captures his "smallness" in comparison to the church's "bigness". There's little Kevin looking up in awe at the architecture and design of the church, with the choir beautifully singing "O' Holy Night" in the background.

This is what I want to experience when I walk into a church. I want to forget about myself. I want the church to remind me of how big and great and powerful our Creator is, especially when compared to a weak and feeble little creature like myself. I'm not suggesting that only a big church can point us  to God. What I am saying is that our hunger to glorify God should come out in everything from the furniture to the music to the preaching should point us away from ourselves and to our glorious God. Nowadays. This is what Sunday morning is all about!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fresh Spring Baptist-Anniversary Event

Fresh Spring Baptist Church is celebrating their anniversary and are graciously taking up an offering for Peasant Saints. Pastor David Catoe has been very supportive of our ministry and we have been deeply encouraged by his example as a pastor who leads his flock with an evangelistic zeal. Feel free to stop by!

Friday, 7pm
Pastor Travis Cardwell
Fellowship to follow: ice cold watermelon

Saturday, 7pm
Pastor Bill Streger
Fellowship to follow: Homemade Ice Cream

Sunday, 11am
Pastor David Catoe

Sunday, 6pm
Bro Cody Trevino
BBQ and water slide (slide will be up early at 5pm)

FSBC will be presenting the Peasant Saints w/ a love offering to purchase
a video camera and to purchase Bibles and tracts with a goal of $350+.

David Catoe
Fresh Spring Baptist Church
Angleton, TX

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ten Things to Look for in a Gospel Tract

Tracts can serve many purposes in our evangelistic endeavors by getting the gospel in the hands of numerous people in a short amount of time. Some tracts assist us with opening up a conversation while others are great to leave with someone after you already shared the gospel with them. Tracts also give you the opportunity to share it with someone whom you may never verbally speak with.

With the rise of many parachurch ministries who desire to equip the church and evangelize the lost, the sale of tracts on the internet has increased greatly. You can find many different styles, designs, and messages all crafted for a specific event or circumstance. Consequently, there are plenty of tracts that do shame to the gospel message. So whether you decide to purchase a tract or design your own, it would do us well to use wisdom.

I’ve come up with a top ten list of what to look for regarding the design and content of a tract in hopes of helping you make your decision. If you must decide between the two, content should always be the primary concern but I have also included some pointers regarding design. I’ve seen some pretty wacky tracts out there that reflect poorly upon the gospel. If we are to share the gospel with the lost through a tract, we must consider all things.


1. The artwork is up to par

Poorly drawn cartoon characters and geometrical shapes seem to fall short of creatively displaying the gospel to a world ready to mock Christians (see God has a Wonderful Plan or any Chick tract). If you’re not the best at design, you can check out this website and they can help you with the artwork.

2. Make sure the font is readable

Don’t compromise the font for the design itself. I’ve seen beautifully designed tracts try to squeeze a 2 pt font simply because they wanted to preserve the blueprint. People won’t even bother reading it if they have a hard time seeing the message. This is one of the biggest complaints I've heard about the million dollar bill tract.

3. Folded, post card, and money tracts

Depending on the occasion, either of these sizes will do. Folded tracts are usually ideal to leave with someone after you shared the gospel with him. Money tracts tend to do well if you’re looking to grab someone’s attention or break the ice (they usually laugh). Post cards can be effective if you’re passing out tracts near bars or clubs


1. No cheesy references to secular culture

Jesus and Wal-Mart do not go together on a tract. Jesus saves souls, Wal-mart saves you money…big difference

2. Make sure sin and judgment are defined/explained and, if possible, examples of sin are given

Most tracts, if they even mention sin, will give an obscure reference to Romans 3:24 and then run quickly to the cross. Remember, you have one chance to hand this person a tract so you’ll want them to understand what sin is and what it looks like. Using Romans 3:24 out of context will not do that. My suggestion is look for tracts that go through the law or give specific examples of sin.

3. “Christ crucified” is not the only reference to the gospel

After ambiguous references to sin, many tracts will then run to John 3:16 or Romans 3:24 without every mentioning Christ’s life and resurrection. Paul says that we preach Christ AND Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2) and that He was obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:8)…his death/crucifixion was the climax of the gospel. Before His death, he lived 33 years in obedience and suffering and after His death, God raised Him from the dead. I see many tracts devote most of the content to law and judgment with only a few short catch-phrases about Christ.

4. Repentance and faith follow the gospel presentation

I’m sure you’ve experienced this scenario: you excitedly read a thorough and clear gospel presentation only to come to the last page of the tract and your heart sinks as you read, “Now say this prayer…” Stick to the biblical command of repentance towards God and faith in Christ.

5. Scripture references are littered throughout the tract

More than likely, this person will not read the tract immediately after you give it to them. With references to Scripture, you can pray that as they take it home and read it, they will go directly to the Bible and God’s word will convict their hearts.

6. The tract is Christ-centered

Most importantly, if it’s one thing you want the person to remember after they have read the tract it is this: Christ and His atoning work in light of their own personal sin. If you think of a great springboard to open up the tract, then by all means use it but don’t overdo it by allowing your creative theme to dominate the message. All the while the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation, is neglected and gets pushed to last place.

John Newton said, “My memory is nearly gone but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.” It’d be good for our tracts to drive home the same message.

7. Contact information is available

We know the Lord is sovereign and we know the gospel alone is what saves the sinner and we rest in that knowledge as we share that message. We also know that as the Lord convicts that person of sin, rightesouness and judgment, many questions may arise. We should make ourselves available, even after we walk away, to steer that person in the right direction. Make sure the tract has a website or email available and if it doesn’t, print up some stickers or make a stamp and include your own contact information (email, number, church, etc).

I hope this information truly sheds some light on tracts as you step out into the world and share the gospel. If you don't know where to begin, we highly recommend John MacArthur’s and Ed Lacy’s tract. Although a bit pricey, it is worth the extra cash. Both give thorough and biblical presentations of the gospel. Living Waters also has some good tracts for all sorts of occasions. Peasant Saints is also working on a few new tracts so look for those soon!

Does anyone else have suggestions or favorites tracts that they use? I'd like to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Esteeming of Social Justice and the Abandonment of Gospel Proclamation

If you pay attention to the news media, you'll realize that the world holds the Bono's and the Oprah's of this world in high regard. What I mean is, if you dedicate your life to giving to the poor, you'll gain the attention of the world and most people will like you. Everyone loves generous people.

Don't get me wrong, giving to the needy is a good thing. In fact, Christians should be the most generous people on the face of the earth and the world should know us by our good works (Matthew 5:16). I'm afraid though that while the church may be anxious to gain the attention of the world for the sake of a good reputation, the ministry of proclaiming the gospel is being neglected due to the fact that it is seen as foolish and weird.

The "bullhorn guy" on the ladder is ridiculed, not only by hecklers, but by Christians also. They say that we simply need to be "the hands and feet of Jesus" by giving with our hands and not preaching with our mouths. Afterall, the saying goes, "Preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words." This has become the modern church's great commission. It's a commission that is void of persecution...the world will welcome those who will keep quiet but give good gifts, even if that person is a Christian.

Let me offer some encouragement to my fellow laborers who are seen as fools in the eyes of the world and the church because of their diligence to obey God and proclaim the Gospel. I know you're worn out...I know it's easy to become discouraged thinking it's all in vain...I know how your ministry can go completely undetected within the walls of your local church and spat upon outside those four walls.

But remember your Savior. Remember WHO it is that stirred your heart that first time you stepped out and opened your mouth to preach that glorious Gospel message. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, our faith, love and zeal will continue to fuel us to faithfully proclaim His message. And remember that you have been entrusted with this message, seeking not to please men but to please God (1 Thessalonians 2:4). We know for certain that men will continue to view you as foolish and out of your mind; afterall, this is how they viewed and treated our precious Savior.

So continue to wear yourself out. Get up on that ladder and preach bodly; step out into the crowds and hand-out your gospel tracts...Christ is worth it. In fact, He is worth more than we can and ever will offer. And in the meantime, pray that through your gospel witness, God would continue to stir up laborers just like yourself within the church so that they may take that first step that you once took and open their mouths to proclaim the Good News!