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!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The God Sin-Shaped Hole in Our Hearts

 Ephesians 2: 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

In light of this verse, I have a question for Christians who tell sinners that they have a "God-shaped hole in their heart that only Jesus can fill". And only until they fill this hole by "accepting Jesus", they will never be satisfied.

Doesn't this verse say otherwise? Paul says that prior to conversion, we were actually satisfied because we filled that "hole in our heart' with what we truly loved and desired...sin. Before God changed our hearts, we were fine without Jesus...we had ourselves and all the desires of our flesh to please.

I'm just not sure if we're being completely honest when we tell unregenerate people that the Bible says we are sinful by nature and in love with our sin then turnaround and say that Jesus is the only one that can really satisfy us.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Testimonial Evangelism and Postmodernism

If you're like me, you've heard the term postmodernism thrown around a lot but haven't been able to grasp what exactly it means. In a nutshell, postmodernism defines truth as being a construction of one's own thoughts and ideas as it pertains to their own personal experience. Consequently, this worldview leads to the truth that there are many truths, no matter how contradictory they may be since each individual is the determining factor of what is true.

We see postmodernism's affects on art, literature, and architecture to name a few examples. What I am more concerned with is how this worldview is affecting Christianity in how we read the Bible, evangelize, do church, and judge right and wrong. Rather than confronting a culture of half-truths and no-truths with absolute truth, the church has retreated and married herself to the postmodern culture by adopting the belief that we shouldn't judge falsehood but treat all opinions, beliefs, etc. as equal, regardless of substance. Each individual's personal standards is exalted above the standard of God's word.

So what does all this have to do with evangelism and your personal testimony?

I remember growing up and hearing a lot of "to each his own's" and "whatever floats your boat's". Looking back, I realize that this is the lingo of the postmodernist-the one who subjects truth to their own personal experience. And looking forward, I see why testimonial evangelism fails when it comes to sharing absolute truth with a world in love with subjective truth. We can tell people how Jesus has changed our life and greatly influenced us, with good and right intentions, but the postmodernist response is, "Whatever floats your boat." Ultimately, they hear about our PERSONAL experience, no matter how joyfully and sincerely we present it, and gleefully write it off as something that is good for you, the Christian, but not good for them.

At this point, you might say that sharing your personal testimony is less confrontational and opens up the door to have others listen to you. This is a genuine concern but at the end of the day, we should base our gospel ministry not on pragmatism or what gets the best results but on biblical authority.

So what is the biblical evangelistic response to a postmodern culture?

In Acts 17, Paul was greatly distraught after noticing many idols in the city of Athens. He could've easily preached his own personal testimony about his own personal God, which I'm sure would've fit right in with the religion in Athens since the Greeks set-up many altars of worship to various gods. Instead, Paul went on to proclaim "Jesus and the resurrection" (Acts 17:18) and then preached one of the greatest evangelistic sermons in the Bible (Acts 17:22-31).  He confronted the idolatry of Athens by boldly declaring the gospel!

And this is exactly how we should respond to the idolatry of postmodernism. which replaces the true God with the god of self. We need to replace our subjective and personal testimony with God's objective and universal testimony found only in the gospel! Rather than pointing others to our own inward experience, we should point sinners to God's outward demonstration of His love on the cross (Romans 5:8). Afterall, does the gospel not show us that this life is not about us and our story but about Christ and His glory. And we give Him glory by looking away from ourselves and setting our sights on our Savior, the author and finisher of our faith!

The culture we live in loves the idea of subjective truth. A worldview that puts the individual on the throne and allows them not only to construct their own perception of truth which makes them comfortable but it also gives them free reign to reject any truth that makes them uncomfortable. This is why personal testimony is so appealing to the postmodern's personal in respect to the one sharing it and it sets no demands on the hearer. In contrast, the demands of the gospel, to repent and trust in Christ, are universal. This is what God, through Paul, commanded all Greeks to do, regardless of the god they worshiped (Acts 17:30). And even today, God commands all men to repent and trust in Christ. And the gospel promises that anyone who comes to Christ in repentance and faith will by no means be turned away, regardless of their own personal experience. Although the postmodern culture doesn't like this idea, it is actually good news! God's love towards sinners has nothing to do with what we do but everything to do with what Christ has already done! If you ponder the depth of that good news, the focus in our proclamation will shift away from us and our own testimony and towards God's love and His testimony about His Son!