What we learn from the Ethiopian : be a truth seeker!
What we learn from Philip : be a truth dispenser!
There are SO many better sermons on this topic, but if for some reason you want to hear me preach on it, here you go! As always, I'm always up for studying God's Word with you!
This past Sunday I had the privilege of preaching a message from God's Word where I spoke about the importance of becoming "seed inspectors". If you would like to watch that you can do so here directly below. If you prefer to read and not watch, I'll summarize the lesson below the video.
The scripture reading for this lesson comes from Luke 8:11 where Jesus said,
This of course is the first part of Jesus explaining to the apostles what we call "The Parable of the soils". While it is certainly of utmost importance that we understand the characteristics of the types of soils Christ mentions in this parable (after all, that is the point), I think it is also important that we understand the characteristics of the seed. Any good farmer or gardener knows about the seed that they plant. They need to know what it looks like, how much water it needs, how deep it needs to be planted, etc. In the same way, if we desire to be effective sowers of the seed of the Kingdom, we should know as much as we can about the Seed. Let's look at three characteristics of seed that can help us be effective sowers.
1. Seed is Preservable
It's the very design of seed to be able to withstand the test of time. For thousands of years farmers have collected the harvest from their fields and set back a portion of it for seeding next year's crop. I recently read of researchers finding a 2000 year old date seed, and after planting it, they were amazed to see that it sprouted! If physical seed is preservable this way, how much greater is the spiritual seed in the form of the Word of God?
We see an example of spiritual seed preservation in the historical account of King Josiah recorded in 2 Kings chapter 22. King Josiah's father Amon and grandfather Mannaseh were evil kings that forsook the Lord and worshiped idols. You might think with that kind of history King Josiah didn't stand a of knowing what was right. However, we read that one day Josiah commanded that the money be taken out of the Temple and given to the builders in order that repairs be made to the temple. In the process of finding the money, the high priest Hilkiah finds the book of God's law and Josiah's secretary read it before the king.
King Josiah was good soil. He heard the Word of God and knew immediately that he and his forefathers had been sinning against God. He immediately called all the people together, from great to small and read to them from the Book of the Law. King Josiah and all the people made a covenant to obey the commandments of the Lord and they expelled and burned all the idols from the land. King Josiah's response was to plow up everything that came before and to allow the seed of the Word to grow up instead. Even after many years, the seed of the Word stood the test of time. When it was introduced to good soil it sprouted in King Josiah.
The word of God is indeed preservable. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35 that "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:23 that the seed is imperishable!
2. Seed is Transportable
Physical seed is designed to be taken from place to place. People have regularly taken advantage of this fact when traveling great distances. Take for example, the pilgrims that traveled over 4,000 miles over rough seas to settle in the new world. Upon their arrival they planted seeds that they had brought with them in hopes of having a harvest.
Animals also spread seed with great proficiency. Birds alone are responsible for transporting seed miles away from where they originally consumed it. Physical seed has been designed to travel great distances and grow.
In the spiritual sense the gospel seed is also transportable. When the gospel seed is planted in Texas it produces Christians. When it is planted in New York it produces Christians. When it is planted in Bangkok, Thailand it produces Christians. We just so happen to have an excellent example of this through the missionary journeys of Paul. The apostle Paul traveled all around the region sowing the gospel seed as he went. The result was of course that churches sprouted both years after (preservable remember!?) and miles away from where the church first began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost! When we consider the words of Christ in Mark 16:15 the fact that the gospel seed is transportable shouldn't surprise us at all.
By the very authority of Christ, the gospel seed has been made transportable and it has been made to be taken into all the world.
3. Seed is Predictable
This is a concept we understand quite well of physical seed, but for some reason when it comes to the gospel seed the world is filled with confusion. When a seed is planted, it will only produce after the kind that it came from. For example, when a corn seed is planted, it will produce a corn plant. No one plants a corn seed and expects it to produce a watermelon plant. Why? Well because it's a law of nature established by God on the third day of creation.
This indisputable law of nature states that a seed will produce ONLY after its kind. The same is true of the gospel seed!
When the pure, uncontaminated gospel seed is planted in the fertile soil of hearts of receptive people that obey the gospel, it produces only Christians that are added by God to the same church we read about in the pages of the New Testament.
Once we understand these three characteristics of seed, we are able to refute many of the lies of Satan that he has been effective at sowing into the world today.
When the world believes the lies of Satan and yells out, "The Bible is outdated! The church you read about in the New Testament needs to evolve and change to fit in with the times!" We can know that the gospel seed is PRESERVABLE, IMPERISHABLE and is made to stand the test of time!
When Satan deceives the world into believing that, "The Bible was only intended for a certain culture in a certain place! It's not meant for our culture today!" We can reply that the gospel seed is TRANSPORTABLE and was made to take to the whole world!
When Satan ensnares millions upon millions with the lies such as "It doesn't matter what name you wear when you worship! There are many paths to the same God! Join the church of your choice! How you worship doesn't matter!" We can say with love and patience that the gospel seed is PREDICTABLE in that will only produce after its kind.
Are you inspecting the seed that you are sowing? Have you inspected the seed from which you came spiritually? Friends, as I stated earlier Satan has been extremely effective at sowing seeds of lies into the world designed to take root in the hearts of GOOD SOIL and to prevent to pure gospel seed from taking root. I want you to know that if you have not done what God wants you to do in doing what is below, then you have a weed sown by Satan growing in the place of Christ.
- Hearing the good news of the gospel. (Romans 10:17)
- Believing that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. (John 3:16)
- Repenting of your sinful life. (Luke 13:3)
- Confessing faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:10)
- Being baptized FOR the forgiveness of your sins. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38)
If after inspecting the seed you find that what you did to become a Christian is not what God commanded, I want to encourage you to be like King Josiah and plow up everything that stands in your way and obey the pure, unaltered, uncontaminated seed of the gospel.
As always, I'm here for you should you have any questions!
Do not let the world change your definition of love.Read More
If you have young children you are likely familiar with the fact that they learn to lie pretty early in life. Our four year old son Weston is no exception. In fact, his truth to lie ratio probably sits around 50% most of the time. He's a proficient story teller, using his wild imagination to spin up whoppers of every size and tell them with such enthusiasm that even I begin to wonder if a super hero really did fly around his room.
Many of these stories are harmless storytelling. The result of a boys imagination running wild and an overactive brain running nonstop at 100 miles per hour (with a mouth that runs just as fast). Unfortunately, he has also gotten into the habit that many of us adults get into, the telling of the self preservation lie.
Which brings me to the events of yesterday evening. Weston was told to go to his room for a few minutes to calm down from whatever argument he was having at the time and long story short, he stood in the hallway and lied about being in his room. It was time for a father to teach his son.
After receiving two spankings for disobeying and lying, I sat him down and explained to him that God hates sin and that lying is a sin. I recall the discussion going something like this
Me: "Weston, did you know that the Bible says that people that lie will be sent to Hell?" (See: Revelation 21:8)
Wes: "Uh Oh... Oh no! Oh no!"
Me: "Calm down buddy, let's both pray right now to ask God to forgive us both for doing wrong"
Wes: "God, I'm sorry for lying. Please forgive me."
Me: "God forgives you and I forgive you, let's try really hard not to lie alright?"
Wes: (still crying) "OK, I'm really glad that today wasn't the day I died, I want to go to Paradise."
Listen parents, if you aren't teaching your children the basics of your faith because you don't think they are capable of learning it, you are wrong. They are capable of learning so much more than you think they are.
I'm not going to go into a deep theological discussion on the innocence of children, the falsity of born in sin, or any of that in this post. What I want to focus on is the REACTION of a child that knows he has done something displeasing in the eyes of God and his earthly father. The amount of sorrow and grief that fell upon him while he was saying "Oh no!" broke my heart, and I can't get it out of my head.
His response was proper, sweet, innocent, and genuine. He understood the consequence of his lying (at least for the brief minute) and instead of being defiant, he was sincerely sorrowful.
It makes me wonder, how do I respond when I'm made aware of sin in my life? When is the last time I wept at my transgressions against God? Is my response "Oh No! Oh No!" or do I make light of God's grace and simply mumble, "Oh well"?
As is so often the case, my child became the teacher while I thought I was teaching him.
Thank you Lord for my children!
I realize that some out there may read this and think that I believe that children are going to Hell for lying or otherwise sinning in any way. Let me make it clear that I do not believe that nor does the Bible teach that children are lost. The intent was to teach a valuable lesson to my son that lying is a sin, and that God hates sin. What resulted was that we both learned a lesson in humility and grace.
In our Bible class on Sunday mornings, we are reading through and talking about 1 Timothy. This weeks discussion centered around the first verse of 1 Timothy chapter 3:
There are likely three or more complete blog posts that could be made on that one scripture but for today I want to focus on the word translated as "desire".
What is it that we desire? It is my strong belief that every faithful Christian male should most certainly at least desire to meet the requirements of an overseer of the church, and that he should actively desire to DO the noble task.
It seems that there is much contention among Christian men about this subject. I do understand the apprehension. It's a huge, HUGE deal being responsible for the tasks that need to be performed by an elder of the Lord's church. I'm not saying by any means that one should enter into that decision without knowing fully and having prepared themselves for the office.
However, it seems that many have written this off as something that they will NEVER desire or want. I am not completely sure of the reasoning behind this lack of desire. I'm sure it may extend from a mixture of bad experiences, lack of confidence, and fear among many other things. I am willing to admit that my youthful ignorance might be shining through here but I find this lack of desire for what the Bible calls a "Noble task" or "Good work" very disheartening. It is my belief that restoring the passion for leading and protecting the church among our generation and generations to come is imperative to furthering the Gospel of Christ. We have to find a way to spark that desire in ourselves and in our boys.
After all, should it not be our desire to see the church grow closer to God? Have we gotten so soft as Christian men to not desire to keep the wolves away from the sheep? However, Perhaps the biggest question is, does our lack of desire excuse us from the responsibility and will we answer to God for it?
These are all questions that I've been wondering about for a while. I'm curious what you think.
It has been one year since I wrote "A Public Confession" and there has been something that I have been wanting to say ever since.
I am sorry.
No, I am not sorry that I wrote what I wrote. Everything I wrote in that post is completely true and I stand by it 100 percent. However, I feel that my words may have hurt some people that I care very deeply about and for that I am truly sorry. My dearest and sincere hope is that by giving more information about what led to my decision to declare my denominational "baptism" unscriptural will open some eyes and hearts to challenge what they have been taught versus what the Scriptures actually teach.
I'm going to go ahead and write this from the assumption that if you are reading this, you consider yourself a Christian. Furthermore, I'm going to assume that you believe that the Bible is the complete, inspired, inerrant, word of God. If you don't believe these two things, you probably won't get much out of the rest of this.
With that out of the way, I'm going to go through the reasons why I made the decision that I made a year ago. Most of these were pointed out to me by the book Muscle and a Shovel. Which I highly recommend.
We should use ALL Scripture
If you believe as I do in the perfect word of God, you and I know that scripture can not contradict itself. We must take the ENTIRE counsel of God's word into account when studying out a topic. We know that Scripture is able to make us complete because it says that it is.
You see, we should be using all Scripture for teaching, reproof, correcting, and training in righteousness. Notice that Paul doesn't say that "some Scripture" is makes us complete. We can't find completeness in man made creed books, we can't find it in traditions, we can't find it in commentaries, we find it in ALL Scripture.
The "Sinner's Prayer" is NOT in the Bible!
Go ahead, try to find it. Ask your pastor where it is. Google the prayer, then try to find any part of it in the Bible. Find one single place in the New Testament after the resurrection of Christ where a lost person was instructed to pray to become a Christian. Now friends, if you can't find anyone in the Bible that was saved through a prayer, how can you possibly believe that you were?
That was the conclusion I came to. I was led to believe in a Baptist Church one day that I was saved after repeating the "Sinner's Prayer". How can we stand this kind of false teaching that is leading countless numbers of people to a false sense of security? Think I'm overreacting? Watch the video below from a very well known Baptist preacher who in a moment of Scriptural clarity nails the "Sinner's Prayer" up for exactly what it is.
What is the Biblical response to the Gospel?
This is the question everyone that wishes to become a follower of Christ must know the answer to and thankfully the Bible is not shy about providing the answer. If turn to Acts chapter 2 we find Peter preaching the very first Gospel sermon to a crowd of Jews on the day of Pentecost. When finishes preaching, the men who had heard and believed asked exactly what they should do, and they were given the answer through the Holy Spirit inspired Peter,
In my youth standing at the front of the Baptist Church, I was led to believe that through saying a prayer that my sins had been forgiven, and that baptism was only an outward show of an inward change. This was just completely false. Baptism, according to the Word of God, is FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS and the way in which one is added to the body of Christ (Acts 2:47). I was taught incorrectly, I was baptized into the membership of the Baptist Church. I believe that I was still lost in my sins.
Friends, this is why I say that I was baptized Scripturally one year ago today.
The Bible plainly teaches that there are 5 things a person must do to be saved:
- Hear the word of God(Romans 10:17)
- Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 16:30-31)
- Repent of their sins (Acts 2:38)
- Confess Jesus as Christ, the Son of the living God (Romans 10:8-10)
- Be baptized (Mark 16:16)
Notice that many of those things babies and small children are not capable of doing. Babies are unable to hear the word, unable to believe, unable to repent, unable to confess, and therefore are not able to be Scripturally baptized.
I went into the water knowing that:
- My sins were going to be forgiven and I'd receive the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
- My past sins were going to be cut away
- I was going to die to sin
- I was clothing myself with Christ and getting into Christ
- I would be saved
- I would have a clean conscience toward God
This is Scriptural baptism. Immersion in water for the reasons listed above. If you haven't been baptized for those reasons, please won't you do some studying of your Bible to decide if you have followed what the apostles taught? Are you going to risk the destination of your precious soul to what men are telling you? Are you going to take your life into your own hands and study it out on your own? I hope and pray that you will.
Again, I am sorry if anything I've said or written to you hurt you in any way. I want you to understand that is NOT my intent. My only motivation for writing or speaking out about this is to make sure that people get to Heaven. Jesus said "the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." We have a responsibility to speak the truth in Love to help others and ourselves find and stay on that way that leads to life. How truly sorry we will be if in the end we haven't done as much as we could have.
Please, if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns don't hesitate to leave me a comment.
In Christian Love,
Above is a recording of the lesson I gave on fear on 9/21/14. I have much practicing to do, but if anyone gets any benefit out of this then it was worth posting.
What you will read below are my speaking notes for the lesson I preached on the evening of 5/18/14. It has not been carefully checked nor was any great care given to write it in proper form. Maybe one of these days I'll have time to do that, but for now I'm posting it as is.
As I'm sure you are aware, todays popular culture has embraced the idea of worshipping self. If you turn on the radio, go to the movies, or watch the TV, you will be bombarded with the idea of "Follow your heart". The "Follow your heart" mantra is now so deeply rooted in our culture that the effects are obvious and disturbing. On the surface, it seems like an innocent slogan, but unfortunately our culture has turned that phrase into, "Do what YOU want, Do what makes YOU happy, happiness is the number one thing in YOUR life. Find happiness in YOUR life at all costs"
If you look at social statistics for the past 30 years you can see where this kind of thinking leads. An incredibly high divorce rate. Rampant drug and alcohol abuse. Consumer debt levels that are higher than ever. Then there is probably the most publicized result of where self-worship leads: murder in the form of abortion. The culture of this country and the law of the land permits the murder of little babies for no other reason than a baby just doesn't fit the lifestyle that the mother wants.
These are all results of a society that is following their heart.
In the United States each year:
- There are 876,000 divorces.
- There are 65,000 deaths due to alcohol and drug use.
- The pornography industry makes an estimated $1.8 Billion in revenue.
- 1 million abortions performed.
These are symptoms of a culture that is following deceitful and desperately sick heart!
The Hebrew word for heart is (לֵב leb) and the Greek word for heart is καρδία(Kardia), which is where we get the English word cardio. According to Strong's Concordance, The heart is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible. Now I didn’t have a chance to study all 800+ mentions of the heart, so I hope you brought your Bibles as we have plenty of material to try to cover in a short amount of time. It’s obvious that the word heart in Jeremiah 17 is not referring to the physical organ inside all of us. So what does the Bible mean when it speaks about the heart?
Answering that question is not as easy as one might think. Just as our current medical community can't agree on the definition of the word "mind", Biblical scholars still have differing opinions about the definition of the heart. However, In general the word heart can be defined as the center or seat of physical and spiritual life. According to scripture the heart is responsible for a man's thoughts and beliefs, his will, his emotions and his conscience. Jesus accused the Pharisees of thinking evil in their hearts in Matthew 9:4. Romans 10:10 states for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation. The heart is also attributed emotions such as Joy, gladness and sorrow. Just as the heart organ is at the center of our circulatory system and provides oxygenated blood for our bodies to keep working, our spiritual heart also feeds our thoughts and actions. Proverbs 4:23 warns us
and Luke 6:45 says
So let's look at all the information we have so far. We know that the scriptures tell us that the heart is desperately sick and more deceitful than all else. We also know that our hearts are at the very center of what we do, believe, feel, say, and think. And we know that we live in a culture that promotes following the desires of that very deceitful and sick heart. Is there any wonder why we have a society in moral decline?
From early on the human race has had a heart problem. Mankind hadn't been around for very long when in Genesis 6 starting in verse 5 it says
And we know that God did that by bringing a flood that killed every living thing except for what was on the ark that Noah built out of obedience to God's command. Skip a few chapters to chapter 8 starting in verse 20 we pick up after the flood waters had receded and Noah and his family along with all the animals have come off the ark.
What we see in verse 21 is that God knows that the heart of man will always be sick. We also see throughout the Old Testament that the Lord had plans for changing our hearts. I wasn't able to be here this morning to hear Chuck’s lesson, but I understand from what I read on our Facebook page in summary of his lesson, that he mentioned prophesies as evidence of Biblical accuracy and proof of its trustworthiness. Let’s take a look at a few of those prophesies that mention the heart specifically. In Genesis chapter 17 we see that God made a Covenant of Circumcision of the flesh with Abraham, but later we see in Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 6 that what God really desired was for God to change them through a circumcision of the heart. Then of course we have God giving Moses the written law and commandments, but then we see what God really desired in Jeremiah 31:33 was for His law to be written on their hearts and minds. God knew that it was going to take heart surgery to fix what was broken inside of us.
Of course we know that God accomplished this by sending His only son to pay the price for our sins (Romans 4:25). We also know that through obeying the Gospel that we are added by God to The Church which is His Body (Acts 2:47, 1 Corinthians 12:27). In Colossians 2:9 we finally see that God has fulfilled His promise to us by performing surgery on our hearts.
You see, the only way to cure that desperately sick and deceitful heart is through the circumcision of Christ and continuing to accepting God's Laws into your mind and heart.
When we obey the Gospel of Christ our hearts and minds are transformed by God. However, us in the Lord’s Church are warned against letting our guard down even after this operation takes place.
So now we finally get to what we should be shouting from the mountaintops in opposition to "follow your heart" which is "Follow God's Will!" Jesus himself told his disciples in John 4:34 that “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” In Luke 22:42 Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane saying:
Jesus was completely dedicated to doing the will of His Father to the point that he endured humiliation, torture, and death on the cross for our benefit.
Naturally that raises the question, “If God’s will for his Son was humiliation, torture, and death on the cross, what is God's will for us?” We are told in 1 Timothy 2:3-4
and in 2 Peter 3:9,
We also see in 1 Thessalonians 4:3
God wishes that everyone come to know the truth and obey the gospel of His Son Jesus the Christ to become sanctified which means set apart for Him.
Have you bought into the lie of our culture to follow your heart? Paul wrote in Romans 12:2
Once again we see that following the will of God is the thing we ought to be striving for, not trying to blend in with the world.
I want to encourage you all today to seek first to do the will of God. We all have friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances that are walking around out there today with a sick and deceitful heart that they are being told that they should follow, without knowing that doing so will destroy them. We must let them know that there is a cure found through an operation and that God's operating table is always ready. Maybe you are sitting out there tonight with a sick heart and you are wanting to change. If so you know you have been following that deceitful heart for way too long, and we urge you don't wait any longer.
This is a copy of my speaking notes from a devotional thought I gave last Wednesday evening. I try not to read my notes word for word but use them more as a guide. With that disclaimer, I hope you understand if it is not written perfectly.
I have just recently decided to try my hand at turkey hunting. I've seen several strutting around our land this spring and so I went yesterday evening on the way home from work and I bought all the stuff that the experts say that I'm going to need. New camo, special shotgun shells, and last but not least a couple of turkey calls. Something I always wanted to try was the turkey calls that go into your mouth. That just seems like the way to go, hands free! Well I practiced my calling this morning all the way to work and figured I would close the door to my office and practice while I worked. Apparently, closing the door wasn't really enough to stop the sound from traveling to other offices and so it wasn't long before I heard *Knock, knock, knock* on my door. Thankfully it was someone from my team that I'm good friends with so I decided to have a little fun with him. So when he asked me, what is that noise? I looked at him, took out the call and said, it's a turkey call - and it looks like it works!
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15, 16 NASB)
You see, the same way that me using that turkey call brought attention to me, Peter is saying that people are going to notice that you as followers of Christ are different. This should give us something to think about. When is the last time that someone came up to you and asked you "Hey, why do you have hope of eternal life with God in Heaven?". I don't think I've ever been asked that. But what about these questions
"How have you been married so long?", "Why don't you cuss or go out partying and get drunk with us?", "Why did you turn down courtside tickets to a Thunder game?", "Why are you leaving ball practice early on Wednesday evening?, "Why don't you laugh at our dirty jokes?"
There are all kinds of questions that the world asks of us. They aren't usually so straightforward as "Hey, why do you have hope of eternal life with God in Heaven." But guess what, that is exactly what they are asking in all of those questions.
The world will notice your actions, good or bad, and they will ask you why if you are different. How many of these opportunities have you let slip through your fingertips? I've certainly been guilty of not being ready to give an answer to those questions. It's not always easy to answer some of them out of fear because we don't want to hurt someone else's feelings. Peter writes that they should answer those questions, yet do so with gentleness and reverence. Certainly we can find a way to do that.
Paul writes in Colossians chapter 4 verse 5:
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:5, 6 NASB)
I want you to think about tonight how you will respond to each person when they ask you why you live the way you do. Do you know enough scripture to be able to study with that person if they ask? Are you willing to know enough about what your friends and neighbors believe to be able to show them with grace, gentleness, and reverence why the scriptures say they are wrong? If not I encourage you to get ready, don't let another opportunity pass by.
This past Wednesday, January 15th, 2014, I made a very public and very emotional confession in front of my brothers and sisters at the Bridge Creek church of Christ. I opened up and admitted to myself and everyone that:
I don’t remember a whole lot about my childhood, one too many bumps to the head I guess, but I do remember the day that it “clicked” for me that Jesus was the son of God and that I needed to accept him as my Lord and Savior. My parents attended Bible Baptist Church in Chickasha and we were there on a bright and sunny Sunday morning when I seemed to finally really hear and understand what was being said. I told my mom and dad I wanted to be saved and walked up to the front as “Just as I am” was being sung. I said the sinner’s prayer, and really believed it. Confessed Jesus as God’s son and my lord and felt fantastic, I thought my salvation was beyond question.
I believe it was that evening when we returned to church that I went in front of the congregation, and they apparently voted (which I thought was strange) on whether or not I was ready to be baptized. I guess I passed the test because I was baptized that night.
I never really thought about those events again until I entered college. A friend of mine died in a motorcycle accident and it caused me to start looking more closely at how I was living my life. I got back into the habit of reading my Bible, and started attending church with Shambra. It was about that time after studying and understanding the steps of salvation that I started to doubt my own salvation. Looking back, I should have removed the doubt back then. I told myself though that I had not really missed any steps, my reasons were pure when I was baptized, I was not forced into anything, therefore I need to stop worrying and move on. So that is exactly what I did.
I told people I was a Christian and would give people my salvation story hoping that the doubt in my eyes wouldn't show. I studied scripture with people half way around the world on mission trips telling them exactly what they needed to do to save themselves from judgement. I believed and taught hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized.
However, occasionally while reading scripture or after hearing a sermon, doubt would creep into my mind. I was unsure about my salvation due to my doubts about the scriptural validity of my baptism. "That is just Satan causing me to question." I would say to myself, and proceed to put those feelings back in the box where we humans keep our deepest and darkest secrets, never to let them out.
Then I started reading Muscle and a Shovel. Immediately I related to the author and his spiritual upbringing. His story is so similar to mine its scary. I was reading it last week and found a paragraph that really hit me like a punch to the gut. It says:
I realized that my doubt of my baptism had been neatly tucked behind a wall for years. The numerous times that wall crumbled was not the work of Satan, but instead the work of God! After all, what possible reason would Satan have for motivating me to undergo a scriptural baptism? I couldn't think of any.
I finally realized that my reasons for not obeying the Gospel in the way I know to be correct are not great reasons. The reasons really only boil down to pride, shame and fear. I feared that if I acknowledged that my original baptism as not really a baptism at all, what did that make me in the time since that happened? I have truly believed that Christ was the Son of God for over 15 years, have been on the other side of the globe teaching people what they needed to do to be saved, and I had not even done it myself! At worst that made me a hypocrite, and at best it made me completely ignorant.
I don’t think I realized until recently how heavily this has been weighing on my heart. I was exhausted from thinking about it, researching it, talking about it. Last Wednesday evening, January 15th, 2014, at the age of 30, I finally decided that it was silly to dwell on it any longer. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by obeying the Gospel and being baptized into the body of Christ.
That night, I slept better than I have in a long time. The doubt is gone. I have been raised to walk in the newness of life.
I wanted to tell this story for a few reasons. I want this to first serve as another public confession of my faith and belief. Secondly, I want to encourage anyone that may also be wrestling with doubts about the scriptural validity of their salvation to study out the truth for yourself. Grab a Bible and actually read it with an open mind. If you have a denominational background as I have, I strongly recommend reading the book Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank.
If you would like to study God's Word with me, hit me up. I'm by no means a Biblical scholar, but I'd be glad to sit down and study with you.
Wow. I think this blog proves how much having a kid changes your life. My last post was 4 years ago! So what has happened in that 4 years? Here it goes.
We had another child. His name is Weston Dale Pettijohn and he is my little Bubba. We had his 2nd birthday party today, but his birthday is actually tomorrow.
We moved from Mustang to Bridge Creek, bought a foreclosure and have paid it off. (WE'RE DEBT FREE!)
I joined the Bridge Creek Fire Department, have completed EMR and Firefighter 1 training.
My grandpa Ryans went to be with our Lord and Savior. I miss him everyday. I was blessed to be able to talk about him and his faith in God at his memorial service and to be able to put together a slide show.
I'm sure there is much more, but that's a start anyway. Hopefully the next post won't take me 4 years.
In case you missed it, I will be posting videos of this event here for you to enjoy.
Today started like any other day. I woke up, got ready for work, and was just putting my backpack into the back seat of our 2003 Ford Explorer when everything changed. "Hmmm, Where did that glass come from?" I thought as I sat my backpack down. I looked up and found the rear passenger side window... gone.... What? Confused I stood there for a moment trying to figure out what freak accident could have broken out the window. A rock thrown from a lawnmower? Kids playing baseball in the street?
I walked around the car and noticed that this was no accident. Someone had used a prybar to bust out the window so that they could get into the vehicle. Outraged, I walked into the house and told Shambra "Someone broke into the Explorer!" We went outside and started to survey the damage and Shambra said "They tore up the dash!" Looking toward the steering wheel I noticed that they wanted more than the stuff inside the car, they tried to steal the vehicle! It seems that they tried to forcibly turn the ignition with a prybar, and in the process tore up all kinds of stuff. Well, so much for driving it to the body shop.
As I was surveying the damage, I noticed something in the drivers seat. It looked like... A cell phone? Yes! A cell phone! A clue! We can catch the moron that did this! A rush of excitement coursed through my veins as I dialed the Mustang Police Department.
When the officer arrived he took down all my information, and asked about the cell phone. I handed it over and told him that hopefully we can catch the guy with the information on the phone. He then told me that he noticed that the vandals had hit several cars on our street, and it could just be someone's stolen phone from another vehicle. While this is possible, I would bet that the cell phone belongs to the vandal, just based on the wallpaper and contact names I saw on the phone.
Anyway, all this has left me very angry. Thankfully I had full coverage on the Explorer with a $100 deductible. So the tow truck came and got the Explorer, it is in the shop, and it will get fixed. Funny thing is, I'm out $100, and the criminal is out a cell phone!
Then Listen to this: