Month: May 2016

Bible Doctrine Matters

While we always teach and cover doctrine in church services, over the next few years we will dedicate several series to teaching specific Bible doctrines.  A couple of weeks ago we kicked-off this strategy with a series on the doctrine of the Trinity.

It’s no surprise that for many, “doctrine” isn’t a subject that immediately energizes or inspires them. It can be almost scary for some who mistakenly think that Bible doctrine is something that only matters to “deep” Christians or those in academic fields. Those thoughts and feelings may be real, but they shouldn’t be the norm among Christian thinking.

I think simple definitions are always helpful. When we talk about Bible Doctrine we mean: scriptural teachings on theological truths (who God is, how He operates and His impact in the human experience).[1]

Let me give you a few reasons why the study of Bible doctrine absolutely matters.

Doctrine Impacts Our Behavior

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us “…guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” All throughout the Bible we are taught that Christianity is an inside-out experience. That means that our everyday experiences, choices, and decisions we make are based on a truth system to which we have surrendered our life.

Unfortunately much of the “truth” we embrace isn’t really truth at all. It’s a world-view shaped largely by pop-culture, selfish interest, and godless philosophy.

Our study and embrace of Biblical doctrine serves to replace our faulty world-view with the absolute truth of God and His design.

As we go deep in doctrine, it really begins to change the way we think and live.

Doctrine Offers Opportunity For Continual Spiritual Growth

The Christian faith is truly remarkable in that it is both incredibly simple to understand yet inexhaustible in its depth.

A small child can grasp the essence of faith in our great God. At the same time, the greatest human mind cannot completely understand everything there is to know about who God is.

That means that each of us — from the youngest to the most mature — have opportunity to continually grow and add meaningful dimension to our faith.

Doctrine and spiritual growth are inseparable.

Doctrine Enhances Our Creativity, Imagination And Wonder

I’ll admit that most of us don’t immediately lump doctrine and creativity or imagination into the same thought process, but I believe there is so much connection.

God’s story in the human experience is not only important, but it is incredibly interesting. The Bible is full of stories of adventure, surprise and miracles. The Bible describes the beauty of creation and the mystery of the Gospel.

As you and I dig deep into knowing our incredible God, I don’t believe we can help but be inspired by our creator, captivated by His power and in awe of His glory.

This spills over into our everyday experiences. We can enjoy the beauty of creation, embrace the joy of imagination with our children, and become inspired by our Gospel mission.

Doctrine introduces us to a limitless God that invites us to know Him more.

Don’t be afraid to dig deep in the study of your faith. Bible doctrine absolutely matters!

[1] Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

It’s That Time of the Year

The month of May at Trinity is a unique time of the year in our church life. In the beginning of the month, we host Trinity Baptist College graduation and at the end of the month we host Trinity Christian Academy graduation. That does not include the all-important kindergarten graduation. At the end of this month, I will have presided over 50 high school and college graduation services and have watched thousands of students walk across a platform, receive a diploma, and head into a new phase of life. Each of these students represent someone special, a life that we have had an opportunity to impact with the gospel of Jesus Christ, someone who spent a great deal of time on our campus, in our classrooms, chapel services, playgrounds, and athletic fields developing character and skills for life.

A great deal of what we do as a ministry has its roots in education. I am so thankful that our church has stepped into that role and has committed to bringing quality education centered on the word of God to children and young adults. In the current culture in which we are living, the need for schools with a commitment to the authority of scripture, excellence in faculty and facility, and a heart for world evangelism will be a welcomed alternative to secular-based education.

Christian education is hard work and often times disruptive to church life. These graduations are good reminders why we are committed to Christian education.

Multiplying Leaders

When we take a student into our schools, we are helping to shape their future. So often they leave here not even realizing how much we have poured into them. I hear regularly from graduates who are involved in making a difference in the world for the gospel. Recently, I had an issue that caused me to contact State legislators for help. Both legislators that I talked with had administrative and legislative aids that are graduates of Trinity Christian Academy and Trinity Baptist College. That does not include, State Representative Janet Adkins, a TCA grad. There are leaders in government, business, church life, and education that have all come through Trinity classrooms.

Dedicated Servants

I marvel at the talent that God has assembled in our ministry from the administrators, to faculty, to coaches, and an incredible support staff that help make church and school happen on campus. With over 400 ministry employees, it is amazing to be part of a team that is dedicated to Jesus Christ and committed to helping our students succeed.

Trinity Family

There is a deep connection formed with families that engage at Trinity for church, school, or college. I meet people all the time who share stories of how God worked in their lives and through their family by their connection to our school. We are sowing into people that God has brought to us in order to help us fulfill our mission and model Christian community to our city. I am sure that there are many people who are glad that this month is the last time they will write out a tuition check to Trinity. We are glad to partner with families to help bring their children up in the ways of the Lord.

I hope that you will pray for Trinity Christian Academy and Trinity Baptist College. Pray that they will be true to their mission to Christian education in a way that honors the Lord. Pray for each of these graduates that God will use them in his kingdom in ways that we will marvel.

My Mom’s Best Advice on Motherhood

A couple of weeks ago, I had to run to Target to grab a birthday gift. The toy department does to Tripp what I imagine it does to every child. It lures him in and he gets lost in a world of endless imagination and playing opportunity. More often than not, I end up bribing him out of the store by offering to buy him a toy. This particular morning, we really had to get going and my patience was running out.  After several (like ten) attempts at trying to get him to come with me, I realized he was not going to obey unless forceful measures were taken. Frustrated and in a hurry, I scooped him up with one arm around him and began marching out of the store. Without skipping a beat, my son started kicking his legs and screaming, “Somebody help me! Somebody help me!” It was a mix of pure embarrassment and amusement. How did he know to say that? This is hilarious. I hope people don’t really think I am kidnapping him! Several people turned around to check the commotion, which was both comforting and humbling. Their concern turned to laughter when they realized I was his mother.

These are the moments that compel me to pick up the phone and call my own mom. Mom, you will never believe what Tripp just did. I love when she says, “That reminds me of the time…,” and then she proceeds to reminisce on a story when one of my three brothers acted out (because let’s be honest – I didn’t.) I find so much reassurance in hearing my mom’s experiences and reminding myself that at one point she was a new mom just like I am. She had to learn just like me and I am sure at times, she called her mom and said, “You’ll never believe…”

I think about the path that lies ahead of me and all the surprising moments this motherhood journey will bring.  I’m so thankful for the legacy my mom and my grandmothers have built and all the influence they have had on me. After all, it is when I became a mom that I started to see how much of my mom was really in me. I hear her in the way I tell Tripp stories, how I correct him when he is misbehaving and I especially hear her in the way I soothe him when he is upset.

And since I love getting my mom’s advice, I asked her to share some words of wisdom that might encourage you this Mother’s Day.

Have the highest respect for each child. The importance of their life begins with you.

Be a good listener. It’s always best to start with truth, so ask a trusted friend, “Am I a good listener?” Being a good listener is usually a learned behavior and not a natural trait. There are many aspects of being a good listener and to me the most important is consistent eye contact.

Drop almost anything for the chance to be with them. Everything else can wait and will. Much better to have tucked hundreds of moments away than to grieve the emptiness of lost opportunities.

Stay close to the only person who can do miracles in your children’s lives.

Be a student; yesterday is gone, but today is a gift. Be willing to admit the truth about yourself to you and your children and then spend the rest of your life proving to them how much you love them.

I’ve learned to embrace every moment that I am given with each of my precious children.” — Lisa Messer

What advice do you like to give to moms? Or what is your favorite piece of advice that someone has given you?

A Word from the Silent Generation – An Interview with Dr. Ed Gibson

Church life has changed drastically over the generations. Every generation has made their unique mark on the flavor of church that we experience today. Few individuals have remained relevant throughout the changes and transitions that have occurred during each generation. One who has remained relevant and a strong voice within the church over several generations is Dr. Ed Gibson, a member of the silent generation.
I had the chance to sit down and interview Ed, and he had some incredibly strong words of wisdom and encouragement to those younger generations within the church today. [Spoiler Alert: This is gold so grab your pen and your notebook.]

Ed, can you tell me how long you have been a member of Trinity and how old you are? I am 74 years old, and Bonnie and I became members of Trinity in the summer of 1991.

Wow, you have been a member of Trinity for 25 years! What did you do before becoming a member of Trinity? We were missionaries to the Japanese and the American Military (my favorite race of people) in Okinawa for 17 years prior to coming to Trinity.

Ed, you have been a major part in the launch of our new location (Oakleaf) which is predominantly compiled of a lot of younger families. You also are in an Oakleaf small group that has young families. How have you been able to stay relevant over the years? It all started in Japan. For 13 years, I preached every Sunday to hundreds of military people who were all in their 20’s and 30’s. I fell in love with these people. I learned that they are a high-energy group of people and they desire a high-energy service. So to reach them, we had to make our services high-energy, because that is who they were. After years of ministering to these people, my burden was to encourage and to love people of younger generations.

I mentioned in the introduction that every generation has left its mark on the flavor of the church. How have you remained supportive of the different changes in style within the church over the years? I have had to realize that changes happen quickly. I realized it is not about whether I am happy or not, but about whether Christ is glorified and people are being helped. I don’t have to enjoy everything as long as people are being helped and Christ is getting glory. It is not about me, it’s about Him.

Ed, you are a mentor to many of the college students at our church. You also show up on move-in day every year to greet Trinity Baptist College students as they move into the dorms. Why do you think that it is important for you at your age to connect and be present in the life of younger generations? It is important to me, because young people give me life and energy. When young people show up on campus, I believe that it is a critical time for them. I want to be a friendly face to them as they come onto campus. For our Trinity Baptist College students moving into the dorms, I want to make them feel at home by being friendly and meeting their families. They need us and our encouragement.

What advice would you give to other members of the Silent Generation as they continue to influence and leave their mark on the church and the younger generations? The younger generations need us and our encouragement. They need to see Christ in us. If they cannot see Christ in us, they will not have a clear picture of who Christ is. It does not matter what generation you are in, it is our mission to show people Christ through the way that we live.

Many of our blog readers are from younger generations. If you could boil down all that you have learned and impart some advice and wisdom to younger generations about life, what would it be? The younger generation needs to learn that life is not about them. The world does not revolve around them. Life is about the Lord. It is bigger than us. It is about Him and Him getting glory from our lives. It is not about fun or money; it is much deeper and much richer than that.

10 Tweets from the Weekend Sermon “My Generation — A Common Mission”

Encourage someone with one of these tweets.

  1. [clickandtweet handle=""hashtag=""related="" layout="" position=""]God’s plan of salvation is the driving force behind the life of a believer and the mission of the church.[/clickandtweet]
  2. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]The mission of God is to rescue a fallen world by individual salvation and, ultimately, restoration of all creation.[/clickandtweet]
  3. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]Your life must count in such a significant way that people can find their way to God by the way that you live.[/clickandtweet]
  4. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]Every person is making a mark with their life; it is either a good mark or a bad mark.[/clickandtweet]
  5. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]You are having an influence on those around you for the gospel by the sum of the way that you live.[/clickandtweet]
  6. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]Our church, including our own lives, cannot have an impact on others without it being focused on the Word of God.[/clickandtweet]
  7. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]The reading, preaching, and doctrine of God’s Word are the foundation for a transformed life on mission.[/clickandtweet]
  8. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]Nothing can transform you apart from God’s Word, and no sermon is great if it is not rooted in the Word of God.[/clickandtweet]
  9. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]Every believer is gifted by God for ministry and service.[/clickandtweet]
  10. [clickandtweet handle="" hashtag="" related="" layout="" position=""]Those that take a stand for the Lord do not just sit as spectators, but really are involved in ministry.[/clickandtweet]