Thursday, July 20, 2017

7 Reasons to Join us for In Christ Alone Conference



We are gearing up for another great bible conference this year in Perry County, AR! Click this link to get more details about the conference, but here's the quick scoop: 8/26/17, 10am - 4pm at First Baptist Church of Perryville, AR.

Why should you give up a whole Saturday to join us? Glad you asked! Here are 7 reasons:

1. The Topic -

In Christ Alone! Jesus Christ, the 2nd person of the Trinity. The One who took on flesh having two natures in one person being 100% God and 100% Man. He lived a perfect life of obedience and died a propitiatory, substitutionary death for us. Salvation is found in Him alone. We often talk about being saved by faith which is certainly true! But it is more precise to say we are saved by Christ through faith.

In much preaching today the message is "Christ and..." instead of "Christ alone." You need Christ and a good job or a great family or a wonderful life-purpose to be whole. You need Christ and good works to be saved. No friends, the message of Christianity is that salvation is found in Christ alone. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Him.

We need this topic to be reminded of our standing with God in Christ. We need this topic to remind us of the message we are to share with a lost and dying world. We need this topic to remind us of the type of sermons we should aspire to preach and to listen to. This conference is for everybody. So bring a friend. Bring a pastor. Bring a church member. Bring a lost person. Let them come hear the glorious truth of Christ alone as our only suitable and all sufficient Savior! (Although unrelated to the conference, here is a recent message I preached at Perryville Second Baptist on this subject).

2. The Speakers -

As always, I am humbled at the men who are willing to come and participate in this event. Not only do we have great plenary speakers, but also great breakout speakers. These men are pastors, professors, itinerate preachers, authors, scholars, missionaries, and the list of titles goes on and on! What a wonderful group of men coming to central Arkansas to share the truth of Scripture. Furthermore, this conference is FREE! Many people pay money to go hear the type of quality speakers we have coming, but it is our vision to keep this conference free to you. We have a wonderful opportunity to hang out an entire Saturday with a solid group of men who have a heart for Christ and for teaching His truth.

3. The Breakouts -

Last year, we had a Q&A session which I thought went really well (listen here). But this year we are trying something new: Breakout sessions. I think this opportunity will give you some practical takeaway from a conference like this. You could bring a group of people and then divide up for the breakouts and come back and compare notes. Read more about the breakout sessions here. This is a great way to benefit from this conference!

4. The Fellowship and Worship -

One of the things I've come to love about this conference (my fourth year in a row to be in charge) is the networking that takes place. I love meeting brothers and sisters from all around the state of Arkansas and beyond. I love to eat together and share in Christ together through gospel rich conversations and seeing how the Lord is at work all around the State. This year Fellowship will be more conducive as lunch will be on site (this will cost you $10/plate). You are free to drive off campus to eat, but having a meal available at the church will give us more opportunity to visit and get to know one another.

Each year we've had this conference I've been overwhelmed by the worship. It's not the 'leader' that makes the difference as much as the singers. When you gather with a group of Believers that you normally don't get to worship with and hear them lift their voices to our Triune God, it is amazing!

5. Free stuff! -

We always love giving away free stuff at these conferences. And we plan to do so again this year.

6. Torah Scrolls - 

Ok, this is not confirmed yet but something we are working toward! It is our hope to have some scrolls available at the conference to look at. I've seen some of these personally and I can tell you it is awesome to see God's preservation of His Word at work! It is my hope that we can make this work.

7. The Exhibitors -

We will have a great book store from Grace & Truth books. We will also have 3 exhibitors that you might not know anything about but in actuality are wonderful opportunities that you could be involved in. These include International Church Planters, Capitol Commission, and the Grace Bible Institute. Come meet these brothers and see more of how God is working right here in Arkansas!

Just typing all of that out makes me excited about 8/26. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Registration is not required but it sure helps us if you will take the time to pre-register. You can do so here. Anyone pre-registered on or before August 1 will automatically be entered in a drawing for a book giveaway. We will draw 5 winners! So, if you plan on joining us you might as well sign up!

Looking forward to August 26! #InChristAlone

Monday, July 17, 2017

How to Leave Your Family a Treasure





I was given the Bible of a 92 year old woman today. She passed away peacefully in a nursing home recently and I had the honor of preaching her funeral. 

I wasn't 'given' the Bible for keeps mind you! It was just so I could learn a little more about this saint since I did not have the privilege of knowing her very well in this life. 

I can't say how old this bible was but I was scared to flip through it. The pages were barely hanging on, clinging to the binding with all their might after having been turned and turned again through the decades. There were notes and markings on several pages and I'm sure if I could have examined closer I would have found a few tear stains in places. 

I'm actually using the notes she wrote to preach the funeral. This is a precious treasure that her family will have for generations to come. I wonder if we might not strive harder to leave such a treasure for our own families?

You know, financial experts say one of the best ways to keep wealth in your family is to have good life insurance. I honestly don't know about that. But I do know a way you can leave your family a treasure that has the potential to bear eternal fruit. 

Leave them a bible that's falling apart. 

A bible that is falling apart speaks volumes about a person's life. It tells that the owner didn't merely say the Bible was important, but that they actually read it. They spilt their coffee on it. They flipped the pages quickly in search of an answer. They turned the pages slowly meditating on Truth. Some pages are worn more than others as the reader turned to that portion of Scripture over and over. They pressed the pages down as they knelt in prayer with both hands clutching Scripture. A tear drop of joy, or pain, or longing has fallen here or there. Not just a day or two here or there, but throughout a lifetime. Day in and day out they turned the Bible's sacred pages as they caught a glimpse of the glory of God and reveled in what He has accomplished for us in Christ. 

Furthermore, underlining, markings, sermon notes, study thoughts, meditations, and exhortations that are in a bible will live on long after a person is gone. Though dead, you will still speak. Imagine your great great grandson reading some thoughts you had one day about Proverbs 3:5 and the Lord using that to convert him! Imagine being able to speak into the lives of generations to come by the way you handle the Bible tomorrow morning! Imagine leaving your posterity such a treasure. 

I hope I've piqued your interest. The question now is, How? How can you leave your family something so valuable?

First of all, no matter your age, resolve to do this now. I don't care if you're already 80 years old. I don't care if you're 13. Start this today. 

Secondly, find a good bible and stick with it. For this purpose you will need a NON-Study bible. Just something with the text will be sufficient. And binding is important. A nice leather one would be a good investment. Something with wider margins would be helpful. You could always start with a hard back and maybe have it rebound later in life (my current plan). Translation is important too. I prefer a more formal equivalent translation like the ESV. 

Thirdly, get some good pens. Try these.
Good pens are important so they won't bleed through. If you want to leave more than just a worn out bible, pens are a necessity! 

Fourthly, read your bible daily for YOU! Don't think about your posterity so much as thinking about what your soul needs from Holy Writ. Read it. Study it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Why? To feast on the glory of God in Christ! To mature in the faith. To be convicted, corrected, rebuked, encouraged, challenged, and comforted. Find a reading plan. Read through the Bible in a year or read through a book or two over and over. Or some sort of mixture of both. But, find a plan and do it. Mix it up over the years. But make bible reading a daily habit. 

Fifthly, WRITE in your Bible. You might write a note of prayer. You might write some meditative thoughts. You might jot a note or two of praise, exhortation, challenge, or comfort. You might write a study note or two about historical context or word usage. You may even put a few notes down from the sermon you just heard. Write cross references. Over the years your bible will begin to fill up. Again, it's ok to think about generations to come, but write notes primarily for you. This will be most beneficial for those who come after you. 

Sixthly, circle, box, underline, star, etc. Circle repeated words in a passage. Underline important truths. Draw arrows to make connections. Star key ideas. There's no magic formula here. The important thing is that you engage the text. Mark the text as a way for you to soak it in better. 

Seventhly, repeat steps 1-6 if necessary! What I mean is, if you fill up a Bible, praise the Lord. Set it aside and buy another one and start over. The Word of God is rich. You will not regret spending a lifetime mining its depths. 

Can you imagine at your funeral, a preacher holding your worn out bible, and preaching the gospel to your family in your own words? Can you imagine your family rebinding the Bible and having it in the home for years to come? Can you imagine the legacy you could leave in the lives of your great grandchildren just by loving the Bible today? This gets me excited! With just a little effort you could leave your family an invaluable treasure. 

What are you waiting for? Make it happen today. It's worth the investment, I promise. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Breakout Sessions for In Christ Alone Conference



For more info about the conference overall: click here

We are trying something new this year with breakout sessions! First, let me give you a run down on lunch: Like last year, we will have an hour and a half break for lunch. Unlike last year, we will have food served on site. This will be BBQ sandwich plates for $10/plate. It will be most convenient to eat on site, but you're free to go anywhere to eat, just be back in the allotted time!

Breakouts will begin right after lunch. I think we have a great lineup! We aren't requiring people to 'sign up' for breakouts, but I will be emailing registrants a couple weeks ahead of the conference to gauge interest so we can make sure to have the biggest rooms available for the biggest breakouts. Each attendee will only be able to go to one breakout! They will all be held at the same time from 2:00pm - 2:45pm. So, with that being said, here are our options:


1. Expository Preaching – David Miler

This is for those who regularly preach God's word or for those who feel a calling toward ministry. But it's also for those who regularly teach God's word (Say Sunday School teachers, youth ministers, children's workers) or those who regularly hear God's word taught or preached! Really anyone can take this breakout and benefit. Bro. David is a masterful expositor and has a God given passion for expository preaching. You will be blessed by this breakout.


2. The Absurdity of Unbelief: A Worldview Apologetic of the Christian Faith – Jeffrey Johnson

Pastor Jeff Johnson, of Grace Bible Church in Conway, AR, is a gifted writer and preacher. This breakout will be an apologetics class on why only the Christian worldview is rational. Dr. Johnson is very familiar not only with the Christian perspective but also the other side, which manifests itself in a variety of futile worldviews such as naturalism, existentialism, post-modernism, Non-Trinitarian Religions, et al. So, this breakout will help sharpen you in the Christian faith as well as help you be able to understand the presuppositions of some of the people you interact with every day. The banker, the grocer, your professor, or even a family member.

3. Hebrew Scrolls Exhibit – Brian Rickett 

This breakout is still being worked out. But the goal is to have some Hebrew Scrolls at the conference. Professor Rickett will discuss their importance and significance. This is a fascinating piece of the history of God's people and Professor Rickett has a heart for the Word of God as you will be able to ascertain if you choose this breakout.

4. How does Jesus Speak Today?: The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture – Gabriel Hughes 

You want to hear God's voice? Read the bible! Pastor Gabe will discuss why the Bible is authoritative and sufficient for the Christian life. Authoritative because it is the very word of God! This doesn't man we don't have other authorities in our life, but it does mean that the Bible is our highest authority. Also, the Bible is sufficient for knowing God and doing his will. You might be surprised at how often conservative churches move away from these foundational truths. You might even be surprised at how often you move away from these truths without realizing it! So, join Pastor Gabe as he deals with a much-needed subject for churches today.

5. Digesting the Word of Christ: Strategies for Healthy Bible Intake – Eddie Ragsdale 

Pastor Eddie Ragsdale of First Baptist Marshall, AR,  will be taking his attendees through a 'workshop' of biblical intensity! Learn how to saturate yourself in the word of God. Learn how to read, know, understand, and apply God's word better in your daily life. This is for those who teach the Bible as well as for those who just want to learn it better. If you're looking for a breakout where you can sit in the back and scroll through Twitter, this isn't for you! This will be a hands-on time of diving in God's word together.

6. Christ-Centered Worship: Zeb Balentine 

Zeb is the worship minister at First Baptist Church of Clarksville, AR and the founder of Vital Worship, a ministry for helping churches develop a healthy worship culture. This breakout is for musicians and worship leaders, but also for anyone who loves to worship Christ! Dr. Balentine will be discussing the history of Christ-centered worship as well as the elements of it, and some of the stumbling blocks to Christ-centered worship to watch out for in your church and personal life.

7. Taking Christ to the Nations: The Vison and Strategy of International Church Planters – Dylan Anderson

If you've never heard of Internation Church Planters, you have a wonderful opportunity at this conference! Not only will they have a booth for you to receive more information, but Dylan will also be leading a breakout session to tell you more about them, their vision, and how you can be involved. Having a conference on Jesus wouldn't be complete unless we talked about tangible ways to get Christ to the Nations. This breakout session serves that purpose. 


Be sure and preregister for the conference! Those who register will be getting an email a few weeks before the conference asking you your breakout preference. You are certainly free to change your mind on the day of! But, this will help us have an idea so we can put the breakouts in the best available rooms. Hope to see you 8/26!


Come to Christ

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sin is breaking God's holy law. It is doing the things God says not to do and not doing the things God says to do. All sin deserves justice.

Jesus has endured that justice on our behalf. He has lived an obedient life to the Law, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again in victory. 

Our only hope is Christ. Come to Him.

Listen to the end of a recent sermon at Perryville Second Baptist Church (full sermon here):



Monday, June 12, 2017

In Christ Alone Conference - August 26, 2017 FBC Perryville



We are excited to announce this year's FREE one day Bible conference! The conference is produced and funded by the Conway/Perry Baptist Association, a fellowship of cooperating Southern Baptist Churches in Central Arkansas affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

If your questions about the conference are not answered below, please feel free to contact us by clicking here. Also, be sure and 'Like' our Facebook page! (Also a good way to keep up to date).

Here are the details about the conference:

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER! (We do not require registration, but registering by August 21st increases your chances at some conference giveaways!). We'll also do a book giveaway for those registered by July 1st and again for those regesitered by August 1st.

Date: August 26, 2017

Time: 10am - 4:00pm (Doors will open at 9am for coffee/donuts, bookstore, and exhibits)

Location: (NEW PLACE THIS YEAR!) First Baptist Perryville, AR. Perryville is about 45 minutes NW of Little Rock, 35 minutes west of Conway, and 15 minutes south of exit 108 on I-40 at Morrilton. CLICK HERE for MapQuest. 

Who is this for?: This conference is for all who love Christ! It's not merely a pastor or leadership conference but one that will benefit the whole body of Christ. Furthermore, since it will be so focused on Jesus, it'd be a good conference to bring your lost friends to! If you are within reasonable driving distance of central Arkansas, you should make plans to join us. What better way to spend a hot August day than to be inside an air-conditioned building, with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, learning more about Jesus?

Theme:

We live in an age of religious pluralism. An age in which the only wrong idea is to say your way is the only way. Christianity, therefore, is being increasingly marginalized in our society. Either that or some are compromising the truth of Christianity in such a way that it is no longer biblical Christianity. The true message of Christianity has always been this: Salvation is found in Christ alone. The eternal Son is not one of many ways to God, rather Jesus is the only way. In Christ alone is our hope. Christ alone is our only suitable and all-sufficient Savior. This was a doctrine preached by Jesus and the Apostles. It was also a truth recovered 500 years ago during the Protestant Reformation in one of the 5 Solas, 'Solus Christus'. We do not find forgiveness of sins in our works or the efforts of men, but only in the atoning work of Christ our Lord. The conference this year will feature messages and breakout sessions focused on Christ, His work, and sharing this message with others. Plenary sessions will cover the atonement, Christ in the Old Testament, and other core truths about the person and work of our God and Savior. Breakout sessions are something new this year but will cover several topics. You can view breakout sessions here.


Speakers:

David Miller is an Arkansas Native and prefers the title 'Country Preacher at large.' He has been involved in Southern Baptist life around the state of Arkansas and nationally for decades and speaks regularly at conferences big and small. Bro. David, an active member of Tumbling Shoals Baptist Church, is also the president and founder of Line upon Line Ministries in Heber Springs AR. Bro. David suffers from a degenerative muscular disease called peroneal muscular atrophy, however, he remains one of the most powerful preachers today – from his wheelchair. It has been said about David Miller that although he is forced to sit down in his wheelchair to preach these days, he still stands head and shoulders above most preachers in our present day. He is a great brother in Christ and we are blessed to have him join us!

R. Brian Rickett is the founding Pastor-Teacher of the Bible Church of Beebe, AR. His ministry objectives are to faithfully fulfill the goals given to the New Testament minister in Scripture and to be utilized by Christ in the expansion of His Kingdom. In addition to serving as the Pastor-Teacher of the Bible Church Beebe, Brian is Campus Administrator and Professor of Biblical Studies for the Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary’s Arkansas campus. Brian has served in various church planting and pastoral roles in Arkansas and California since 1993 and has taught in a variety of church and academic environments.

Gabriel Hughes was saved at a very young age and has always had a passion for the word of God, helping others understand the Scriptures in their proper context. He started preaching in the pulpit at age 17, and is the current pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Junction City, KS. He's the voice and creator of When We Understand the Text, an online video ministry viewed by thousands each day worldwide. He also hosts a daily podcast providing 20 minutes of Bible teaching each day. He is also the author of the book 40 of the Most Popular Bible Verses (and What They Really Mean) which is available on the WWUTT store page in both paperback and Kindle formats. 

We are blessed to have these three brothers to share the Word with us during our main plenary sessions. In addition to these three speakers, the conference will feature other faithful men from around the state of Arkansas teaching during our breakout sessions.

Costs:

It is our vision to keep this conference completely free to those attending. We have a great set of speakers lined up this year and we also plan on doing some giveaways. The only thing you will be responsible for is your lunch. We are also privileged once again this year to have Grace & Truth Books with us. You'll definitely want to bring some money with you for the bookstore! But everything else is free. Remember, the conference runs from 10am - 4pm (with a break for lunch) and doors will open at 9am. You don't have to register, but it helps us if you do! You can register by clicking here.

If you'd like to help promote the conference you can request a flyer for your church via the contact form by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When Bad Stuff Happens


Fire Fighter Wearing Black and Yellow Uniform Pointing for Something


I've been reading through A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin recently I think he has some excellent words for us to consider. His words below:

We are continually harassed by one illness or another: the plague advances; we are cruelly vexed by the calamities of war; frost and hail render the land barren and leave us with little, devouring our expectation for the year's crop. Wife, parents, children, and close relatives are snatched away by death: homes are consumed by fire. These are events which make men curse their lives, despise the day they were born, hold in contempt heaven and its light, rage against God, and being fluent in blapshmeies, accuse God of unfariness and cruelty.

But the believer must in these same circumstances consider the mercy and the fatherly kindness of God. If the believer, then, should see his house made lonely by the loss of those nearest to him, even then he must not stop praising the Lord. Rather, he must turn himself to this thought: "The Lord's grace continues to dwell in my home and will not leave it desolate." If the believer should see his crop consumed by drought, disease, or frost, or trampled down by hail and famine threaten him, even then he must not despair within his soul, nor should he become angry toward God. Rather, he must persist with confidence in this truth: "But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever" (Ps. 79:13).

God, then, will provide for us, however barren the land. If the believer should be afflicted by illness, he must not be so stung by the severity of his hardship that he erupts in impatience and demands from God an explanation. Rather, he must, considering the justice and gentleness of God's discipline, recall himself to patience.

Indeed, the believer should accept whatever comes with a gentle and thankful heart, because he knows that it is ordained by the Lord. Moreover, he must not stubbornly resist the rule of God into whose power he has placed himself and all his affairs. So let the Christian make it his priority to drive from his breast that foolish and unfortunate comfort of pagans, who, in order to bolster their spirits against all adverse events, credit those events to fortune. They think it's silly to be angry at fortune, since she is reckless, aimless, and blind - inflicting her wounds equally on the deserving and the undesdrving. In contrast, the rule of godliness is to recognize that God's hand is the sole judge and governor of every fortune, and because His hand is not recklessly driven to fury, it distributes to us both good and ill according to His orderly righteousness.