Archive | August, 2012
Growing in the Word podcast EXTRA: Mission Trip to Quito, Ecuador

Growing in the Word podcast EXTRA: Mission Trip to Quito, Ecuador

Doug and Pastor Todd visit about the church’s recent mission trip to Quito, Ecuador.

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-26-12

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-26-12

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK from August 26th, 2012.  “An Identity of Compassion.”  Ephesians 4:32.

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-19-12

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-19-12

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK from August 19th, 2012.  “The Great Example of Service.”  John 13:12-16.

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-12-12

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-12-12

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK from August 12, 2012.  “The Command to Serve.”  Matthew 22:34-40.

No Condemnation: The Ultimate “Clincher”

No Condemnation: The Ultimate “Clincher”

Clinch. It’s a funny sounding word if you think about it.  Webster defines the word clinch as “to make final or irrefutable. To assure the winning of.”  We’ve used the word around our house some in recent days watching the Olympics.  “That goal just clinched the win for our team.”  “That routine just clinched the gold for that gymnast.”  This morning I happened to be reading in a study on Romans called To the Glory of God by James Boice where he talked about the word clinch.  He used the term in a slightly different variation of the word’s definition where a carpenter bends the protruding part of a nail over into the wood to “clinch” the nail.

Boice noted that Rom. 8:1-4 shows how God “clinches” our salvation through the work of the Godhead- Father, Son, and Spirit.  “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

I guess I’ve never really thought of the roles the Godhead plays in salvation as a means of assuring the genuineness and permanence of salvation.  I’ve always believed in eternal security on the basis of other biblical passages and the doctrine of justification by grace.  However, this makes sense.  Each member of the Godhead has a role in our salvation, as Rom. 8:1-4 demonstrates.  Boice explains:

God the Father– What has God the Father done for our salvation? The answer is twofold.  First, God sent Jesus in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  Second, and by this means, God condemned sin in sinful man so that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in those who are joined to Christ.

God the Son– What has Jesus done for salvation?  He became like us in order to become a sin offering.  This has two parts. First, as a sin offering to God, Jesus made payment for our sins.  Second, Jesus did a work of redemption.

God the Spirit– What has the holy Spirit done for our salvation?  He has joined us to Christ, so that we become beneficiaries of all Christ has done.  By joining us to Christ, the Holy Spirit seals our salvation and makes possible the great declaration of this text- “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

The various roles of the Godhead serve as something like layers of security when it comes to salvation.  This is great news as it reminds us that salvation is not up to us- it’s up to the work of the Godhead within us.  If salvation were up to me, I wouldn’t be very confident.  However, salvation is clinched in the more than capable work of the Godhead.  When it comes to my standing with God, the nail has been bent over and secured into the wood so strongly that it will never come apart.  I am grateful for the incredible work of God to save me from my sin and place me securely in Christ.

Coincidence or Sovereign God? A Moment in Ecuador When I Saw God Do What Only He Can Do

Coincidence or Sovereign God? A Moment in Ecuador When I Saw God Do What Only He Can Do

I love it when I get to experience God doing what only He can do.  Times such as these are such excellent reminders that not only does God exist, but He alone is worthy of our praise and worthy to be followed as our Lord.

Our team working in orphanages in Ecuador awoke on a Friday morning with a full day of activities scheduled.  We were to arrive in a small town about mid-morning at a community center to conduct a VBS for about 250 children.  When we got there, the children were not there.  We were told they would arrive about 3:30 that afternoon.  It was a schedule bust, but that’s not uncommon on mission trips such as this one.

I noticed a small building across the street from the community center that had the exact same signage on it that the orphanage had in Quito where we had been working the last two days.  I walked across the street and asked one of the workers inside the gate if this building was an orphanage.  She responded that it wasn’t, but it was a daycare.  I asked if she would allow our team to come inside and do some fun songs, activities, and a Bible story with the kids.  She readily agreed.

We had a great time spending about two hours playing with the kids.  As we were leaving to go back across the street, eat our lunch, and wait for 3:30 to arrive, the lady I spoke with at the gate stopped us.  She said that another daycare was located on the other side of town and that that they were very poor and could use our encouragement.  I asked if we could go there now.  She said yes, but they close at two.  I looked at my watch and it was one.

So, I hurried our team on to the bus, we ate our lunch in transit, and pulled up to the daycare before they closed.  The neighborhood was close to abject poverty.  Inside the daycare, we found that only five children were still left of the usual twenty.  As some of our team started playing with these kids, others received a tour of the facility from the director.  It had about four rooms in it and totaled, by my guess, about 800 square feet.

It was at this point that I started to notice there was pretty much nothing inside this daycare.  They had almost no furnishings, supplies, or equipment.  The director then told us about their situation.  They are subsidized by the government, but their funding had been dropped.  As best I could understand the director, she explained how some foundation had supported them, but they too removed their funding and when they did they also removed much of the daycare’s equipment- including the refrigerator.  They take care of twenty kids everyday, but have no diapers, wipes, etc. They had nothing to care for the kids.

Upon hearing this, we immediately sent part of our team with the director to a store.  We asked her to pick out what she needed.  We bought dishes, cups, diapers, snacks, etc.  They didn’t even have brooms and mops!  And then we surprised the director by buying a full size refrigerator.

As we delivered the items to the daycare, the workers were so excited to see that the daycare was being resupplied and equipped.  And then we brought in the refrigerator.  Upon seeing it, one of the workers, a Christian, started to weep.  We tried to tell her it was OK and that we were honored to get to help them.  She said something like this- “No, you don’t understand what this refrigerator means.  My heart is so broken for these kids and we are unable to care for them. Just this morning I woke up, got on my knees by my bed, and I asked God to provide the daycare with a refrigerator.”

When I heard this chills went up my spine.  I had just experienced one of those moments when God did what only He can do.  When our team woke up that Friday morning, we prayed that God would use us for His kingdom.  We had no idea that little daycare in an impoverished neighborhood even existed.  When this lady woke up she had no idea we were even in her country.  But God knew!  God was sovereignly moving us around like chess pieces to accomplish His will.

Later that night I reflected on what an incredible thing that turn of events truly was.  God did that day what none of us could do.  Yes, some will call what I have described as a coincidence.  Problem is, I’ve seen way too many of these “coincidences” for them to be anything other than a sovereign God doing what only He can do.  God alone is worthy of our praise and worthy of our life service.

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-5-12

Growing in the Word podcast: 8-5-12

Morning service from Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK from August 5th, 2012. “The Priority of Family Worship.”