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Archive for November, 2010

Persecution!

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Sayed Mossa is a recent Christian convert in Afghanistan. He was arrested at the end of May for his faith in Christ. He has recently smuggled a handwritten letter from prison. Please read this letter below and pray for Sayed. He has a wife and numerous children, at least one of whom is disabled. JD Greear has other suggestions of how we American Christians can help our brother Sayed at his blog. Below is Sayed’s letter to us:

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The above images were taken from persecution.org. Not everyone in this world has it as easy as we do in America. Please fellow Christians here, “set your minds on things that are above,” and pray for our brother Sayed Mossa, that our Lord would strengthen him in his imprisonment and release him if it be His gracious will.

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Celebration of Life Video

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

For those of you who did not attend Christian Schmidt’s Celebration of Life November 7, 2010, the video is below.

<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/16845911?portrait=0" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/16845911">Celebration of the Life of Christian Schmidt</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3738332">david alan sikes</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Rejoice That You Work Out What God Works In

November 22, 2010 3 comments

After a three-month hiatus from the Philippians Weblog Commentary, I now return to this blog series with a post on Philippians 2:12-18, a passage that teaches us to rejoice that we out-work what God in-works. You can read prior posts on this series (commentary on 1:1-2:11) by clicking here.

Before we examine this text, however, let us see this text’s context in the broader scheme of Philippians:

  1. Paul, a Person of Joy (1:1-26)
  2. “Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (1:27-2:30).
    1. Unite in Perseverance (1:27-30)
    2. Be Humble, As Was Christ (2:1-11)
    3. Rejoice That You Work Out What God Works In (2:12-18)
      1. “Work out your own salvation” because God works in you (vv. 12-13).
      2. Be blameless and faithful (vv. 14-16).
      3. Rejoice because of your God-given perseverance (vv. 17-18).
    4. Persevere because we await One greater than Timothy (2:19-24)
    5. Honor those who give their all for Christ (2:25-30)
  3. The Practicalities of Joy (3:1-4:23)

As always, I encourage you to read this passage (Philippians 2:12-18) before reading my below commentary on the passage. (Click “read more” to read the whole post.)

Read more…

New Sermon Posted

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Good evening, everyone! Now that the Internet is up and running, my sermon from yesterday morning is now posted at mypodcast.com. You can listen to this sermon on 1 Timothy 2:8-15 here.

Thoughts from Sunday

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Happy Tuesday, all. Tomorrow is Wednesday, a big day for me personally. I have the Veterans’ Day program at school in the morning, and I have Wednesday Bible study at Calvary that evening. So this evening I’ll just share with ya’ll some of the blessed things that happened to me this past Sunday.

I began November 7 with a Sunday School lesson at Calvary—thank you to everyone who was there!—and then I went and preached at Macedonia Baptist Church. I preached on Ephesians 5:22-33, “How to Glorify God in Marriage.” You can listen to that sermon by clicking the link here.

Sunday afternoon, I went to Christian Schmidt’s Celebration of Life at Northport Baptist Church. No service had so continuously reminded me of the gospel since Together for the Gospel back in April. It was a beautiful, Christ-centered celebration. Before the Scripture reading began, we sang hymn after hymn. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” filled the large auditorium. We hear the words to such great hymns as that all the time, but this Sunday, it was impossible not to listen to those words and internalize them personally. KJ Pugh of Open Door Baptist Church read various Scriptures after the first round of hymns were sung; his prayer thereafter was appropriate and moving. Brandon Hall sang “I Will Rise” by Christ Tomlin later in the service, and Christian himself spoke to us in a video, and in that video he did what he always did: he presented the gospel.

Christian’s Celebration of Life was truly a celebration of God’s grace to us in the gospel, but it was a sobering experience for me. As I said in my sermon that morning, Christian’s death reminds me that I am not invincible: that I, too, am mortal. Christian’s death reminds me that not even preachers—not even young preachers—are exempt from dying … nor even are exempt from dying young, as he did. That’s a sobering thought. A sobering thought. And in the week (it’s only been a week? Yes, exactly that) since Christian’s passing from this life to the eternal, one phrase has repeated itself multiple times a day in my mind: “Don’t waste your life.” It’s like a broken record I can’t shut off: “Don’t waste your life. Don’t waste your life. Don’t waste your life!”

And as I think about Christian’s life and about the legacy he left, I know he didn’t waste his life. He truly lived every day for the glory of God. His mantra to the end was “Soli Deo Gloria” … to God alone be all glory. But as I think about Christian’s life and legacy, I also stand face-to-face with all the wasted minutes and moments of my own life. His death stares me down and says, “You’re not promised tomorrow. You’ve wasted so much. Will you keep on wasting your time, or will you do something for God’s glory?”

You who know me may say, “You’re not wasting your life, Jordan.” You may point out that I’m a youth pastor, that I’m a “good example,” that I’m smart. But those are public things … those are outward things. And those things are all gifts from my Heavenly Father; I haven’t brought a single one of those about. I’ve wasted so much time in my life on trivial things that please for a moment but have no eternal merit. I’ve wasted so much time. And I don’t want to waste anymore. Will I? Yes, because I’m not yet perfect (and won’t be until I’m with Christian in heaven). But I don’t want to waste anymore time.

I’m a guy with hopes and dreams, and those are scary things. Because hopes and dreams are things of the future, things that may not even really exist. We hope, we believe, we trust … but we cannot know if a dream is from God or not until it is realized. That’s scary. That’s why there’s faith. I quoted Hebrews 10:35-11:1 in Sunday’s sermon, and I’ll quote those last two verses here: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I have hopes, and I have dreams, but I don’t see them; they’re not real (yet). And so I have faith, that God will work all things to my good and His glory.

I love Mark 9:24 when the father with the son who has been demon-possessed from childhood says to Jesus, “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief!” Last night I listened to a sermon by John MacArthur on this text, and Dr. MacArthur pointed out that “help me” literally means “run to me.” The father had faith, but he also had doubt—and he wanted Jesus to run to his doubt and overcome it. And Jesus did. Dr. MacArthur points out a helpful fact about how much faith is required. What kind of faith is sufficient to call down the power of God?

The Lord is not expecting you to be some person of great faith, magnificent faith, all pervasive faith. Or you’d have a hard time getting going in your Christian life, wouldn’t you? All it takes is the faith of a grain of mustard seed [Matthew 17, a parallel passage to Mark 9]. And you know who the model of that is? The father…the father. The miracle was done on the basis of the father’s faith. “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. I believe my faith is mixed with doubt. I want more faith. Run to the rescue of my weak faith. Help my unbelief.” That was sufficient faith.

Christian’s life and legacy exhorts me: “Don’t waste your life. Just do something! Take risks because God doesn’t!” And by God’s grace, I won’t waste my life, I will do something, I will take risks because He doesn’t. Even after an emotional roller coaster of a week, in which I have seen abundantly clear the grace of God in countless ways, I still nevertheless echo the father’s words of Mark 9:24: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”

I Will Lift My Eyes

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Our God is a sovereign God, and he blesses us in his providence. Last night, I heard “I Will Lift My Eyes” by Bebo Norman for the first time. I might’ve heard the song before, but I had never really listened to the words and internalized its message until last night when I heard it anew. May it bless ya’ll as it has blessed me over the past 24 hours, and may it help us to set our minds on things that are above … may we lift our eyes to our glorious Redeemer.

Until Glory, Christian

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Some of you may recall Christian Schmidt’s guest posts here a few months ago. Others of you may be readers of Christian’s blog. For those of you unacquainted with Christian, he was a godly man. Young … but godly. He fought and overcame cancer once, and it stayed away for a while, but it returned almost a year ago. This time Christian did not overcome cancer physically, but he definitely overcame it spiritually. Christian preached sermon after sermon on glorifying God in the midst of suffering, and he even preached other varied sermons, as well, in his last year alive. I heard two of those sermons, myself, and was greatly blessed by them. But this morning, Christian overcame cancer spiritually by “shuffling off this mortal coil,” by leaving this body of sinful flesh, and by being absent in body “to be present with the Lord.” Christian Schmidt is in heaven now, and I will greatly miss his encouragement and faith.

I messaged Christian last night, actually, and obviously he could not reply. His physical state degenerated suddenly and mortally in his last days, but before this fatal decline, Christian wrote a note on Facebook, exactly one week before he fell asleep to go be with his Lord. I encourage all of you to read that note in its entirety, here. For those of you without Facebook, I reprint his concluding paragraphs below:

At this point, I am ready for death. I’m actually afraid of getting healed because then all my hopes for heaven will have to wait several years. My body is in constant pain, which isn’t completely true because they have given me some pretty strong meds and I almost have no pain when I have a comfortable position, I can hardly breath, and these are just a few of my symptoms. It’s hard, sometimes nearly impossible, for me to get up, walk, and lay down. I can do almost nothing on my own, but my loving parents are there for me whenever I need something. I am almost eager to die because most mornings I seem to say, “I can’t do this anymore,” but God is there to lift me up and help me with all of my struggles because of his mercies are new everyday and He is our portion (Lamentations 3:23-24). I am now living the idea of “Live Weak” to the fullest expression (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). The more my weaknesses are displayed the more God is glorified.

The verse at the top [Colossians 1:28-29] has been really important these last few days. Verse 28 speaks of doing everything possible to present everyone mature in Christ. The next verse speaks of toiling to do this. Toiling is not just helping people here and there but using everything that God has given you to complete this task. For me, since I will be unable to do almost all physical activity, I will toil by writing, speaking, when I can, witness to everyone, which I don’t see too many people, but that could make it easier to focus on some more than others, and finally offering any kind of counseling and encouragement to whoever needs it. I may not always have the strength to do these things, but that didn’t stop many of the early missionaries that would grow sick on the mission field and lose their children and wives. They persisted on because it was not their strength, but God’s strength with them. Some may say that I don’t need to push myself too hard, but this is looking at my strength rather than seeing it as God who strengthens me, “with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Besides, if I push myself too hard, then I will get to go to heaven sooner. It is a win-win situation regardless of how you look at it. Praise be to His holy, righteous name. I rejoice that I have been chosen to suffer to for the glory of God.

What faith, fellow Christians! Does it not make you cry for its God-given beauty? Christian wanted to glorify God in both life and death. He has certainly done so. When Christian first stood before God in Glory earlier today, I am quite sure he was able to echo Paul’s words: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” But of course Christian would’ve added, “to Your glory alone.” That was, in fact, the title of Christian’s last Facebook note: “Soli Deo Gloria [To God alone be the glory] to the End.” Job well done, Christian. Job well done. Christian, you have indeed made it to heaven, and yes, “soli Deo gloria.”

Let’s honor Christian’s memory by honoring Christian’s God, by adopting the lifestyle that Christian adopted, which he writes about at the end of his note:

Toiling is not just helping people here and there but using everything that God has given you to complete this task. For me, since I will be unable to do almost all physical activity, I will toil by writing, speaking, when I can, witness to everyone, which I don’t see too many people, but that could make it easier to focus on some more than others, and finally offering any kind of counseling and encouragement to whoever needs it. I may not always have the strength to do these things, but that didn’t stop many of the early missionaries that would grow sick on the mission field and lose their children and wives. They persisted on because it was not their strength, but God’s strength with them.

Those are Christian’s last words to us. Will we listen?

Until I see you in glory, Christian Schmidt, Soli Deo Gloria!

For those of you who would like to attend the Celebration of Life for Christian Schmidt, it will be at Northport Baptist Church beginning at 2 P.M. this Sunday, November 7. Come celebrate Christian’s life and ministry, and come minister to his family, if you would. “It is better to go into the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” –Ecclesiastes 7:2

Lay the end of all mankind to your heart, fellow believers. May we live every day for God’s glory, as did Christian.

“Praise be to His holy, righteous name. I rejoice that I have been chosen to suffer for the glory of God.” –Christian Schmidt, July 24, 1989-November 2, 2010

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