I earlier posted a devotion I delivered before the Georgia House of Representatives in Atlanta in January of 2009. I remembered speaking there for the first time some years before then but I did not have the book for that earlier devotion that the Clerk of the House publishes each year. So I wrote the Clerk a letter a couple of weeks back and, to my surprise, the book of devotions for 2003 showed up today. I would have been the pastor of First Baptist Dawson, Georgia, for less than a year on January 28, 2003, when I delivered this devotion. Anyway, here it is if anybody is interested.
On Sunday, August 16, Central Baptist Church member and Boston Conservatory student Victoria Mantooth sang “O Glorious Love” with Central Baptist Minister of Music Billy Davis. It was so powerful and so moving that I wanted to offer audio of the song here (mp3 file).
This summer I preached seven apologetic sermons focusing on six common challenges to the Christian faith. As I did so, a number of members of Central Baptist Church asked to have the sermons in written form. After looking first at publishing them in-house on our own equipment, I decided the easiest way to do this was to self-publish them through an online print-on-demand site. So that’s what we’ve done.
Here are audio and manuscript links for the Apologia sermons preached this summer.
25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Fred Craddock tells an interesting story from his childhood about the reverence for the name of God that his mother instilled in him at an early age.
When I was a child, my mother would play word games with us in the evening by the fire. She taught us phonic spelling. If you can say it, you can spell it. And she led us into the deep waters of oviparous, ovoviviparous, and hypotenuse. I once knew how to pronounce and spell asafetida. But one word she never put on the list because she knew we were just children. She never put on the list God.
A few weeks ago my parents were in Athens, Greece. My father shared with me that he climbed up to the Acropolis and was standing there looking at the Parthenon and the other ruins. His guide told him to look down at this little jut of rock and then revealed that that small rocky formation was Mars Hill.
Mars Hill is most well known to us today because it was on that site that the Apostle Paul was laughed at by the Athenians. Why was he laughed at? He was laughed at because of a sermon he preached. He was not laughed at for the whole sermon but just for the conclusion of it. At the end of his sermon, Paul said something that made many in the audience laugh and mock him.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.