What’s on your mind, Christian?: On the use of social media by those who claim Jesus as Lord

It happened again tonight. I was just scrolling down my timeline on Facebook and there I saw it. Again. Someone I know who claims the same faith as I do, faith in Jesus Christ, sharing something containing vulgarities (in this case, what Ralphie in A Christmas Story called “the queen mother of all dirty words).

As a Christian it’s so discouraging to see this. As a pastor I’ve seen it among those I’ve shepherded just too many times.

If you are in Christ there is no place for this. Continue reading “What’s on your mind, Christian?: On the use of social media by those who claim Jesus as Lord”

A word on my present and future

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. YHWH gave and YHWH has taken away. Blessed be the name of the YHWH.” – Job 1:21

As some of you may know, this evening I was terminated as the Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church. The immediate cause is a decision of the church back in July to do so if and when the balance in the general fund dropped to a certain point, a decision reaffirmed by the church two Sundays ago. That balance threshold was reached this week, as I suspected it would be, and was officially informed tonight.

There is more to the story, of course, but not stuff I will speak about in this forum.

The whole thing is a punch to the gut to be sure, but one softened by the fact my wife and I have seen it coming for quite some time. We are also convinced of and are comforted by the sovereignty and goodness of God in all of this, and confident He will both provide and place us exactly where He wants us, when He wants us.

Our desire is to stay in the area. We have come to love Moore County and the friendships we have made in the past four years. Liz loves her teaching assistant position and the kids enjoy their school (and having Mommy right there, too). If it is at all possible, then, we won’t be going too far away. That said, as I consider where God might place me next as a pastor, my search won’t be restricted to this area.

Please pray for us, that we might exhibit godliness in thought, word, and deed, and that we might be obedient to God’s call and mean it when we sing, “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go.” Pray also for our children, that as there is some hurt associated with the idea of their Daddy losing his job — and as pastor’s kids they see and hear more than most kids — that God might guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and they might not lose hope or become embittered against the church.

Thank you,

Matt Privett

Petra’s albums: #2 – More Power To Ya

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here. [Now, it should be noted that Petra’s fortieth year was in 2012, when I started this series. Better late than never in winding down to the end.]

More Power To Ya (1982, StarSong)

Lineup: Greg X Volz (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Mark Kelly (bass), John Slick (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

If there are two Petras — the first with Greg X Volz on vocals, the second with John Schlitt — then More Power To Ya is widely considered the pinnacle of the Volz era, the opener in a trio of great studio albums which vaulted Petra to the top of Christian pop/rock acts in the 1980s. You get plenty of guitar and drums on the album, of course, but the use of keyboards and modern synthesizers is elevated, creating a warmer overall sound. Continue reading “Petra’s albums: #2 – More Power To Ya”

Jewels amidst dung: The heights and depths of a flyover chapter, Genesis 38

The thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis is one of those which, if you’re on a “read the Bible in a year” plan, you’re probably tempted to skip, or at least read in fast-forward. It’s a chapter in which the word God is not found, and the name of God is mentioned only twice (both times in terms of stark judgment), and contains such vile behavior the reader might even question why it’s in the Bible and/or what kind of spiritual or practical benefit it might have.

Such treatment of any passage of Scripture, though, betrays a conviction the Bible is inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient for everything pertaining to life and godliness. It contradicts anyone who believes Paul was right and truthful when He said “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim 3:16). The task of the pastor-teacher and the student of Scripture (which should be everyone) should be to mine the depths of any passage to find the precious jewels, trusting that the Lord would not have spoken it in His word in vain.

Just what are the jewels, then, from a chapter like Genesis 38? Well, they are found in the midst of much dung, much sin. But just as 1 Corinthians 10:6 teaches us that episodes of the Old Testament happened, in part, as examples for us, “so that we would not crave evil things as they [Israel] also craved,” we find in Genesis 38 some bad examples to avoid.  Continue reading “Jewels amidst dung: The heights and depths of a flyover chapter, Genesis 38”

The Christian and the Bible, Part 2: The source

Author’s Note: If you are just joining us I encourage you to read Part 1 of this series.

Having established the Scriptures are inspired by God, inerrant, supremely authoritative, and sufficient for everything pertaining to our faith and practice, in this post I wish to explore some ways in which God uses His word in the everyday lives of His people (those who have come to Jesus by grace alone through faith alone).

The Bible is the source of truth.

In a post-postmodern age in which truth isn’t merely relative any longer, but feelings have been elevated so that they are equal or above perceived truth, the Christian takes comfort and gains confidence in the words of Christ: “Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Jesus spoke those words to His Father in Gethsemane, mere minutes (or at the most hours) before He was arrested, tried, and crucified. In a moment which could fairly be described as His deepest human crisis, He was praying for His disciples in the world that they would hold fast to that which God had revealed.

The Lord knew full well the value He wanted His people to place upon Scripture, because throughout His earthly ministry His disciples had seen Him value Scripture. Matthew and Luke both record the wilderness temptations of the devil himself, to which Jesus responded each time with biblical texts, notably from Deuteronomy. The one which screams to us as it pertains to this topic is, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4; c.f. Deut 8:3; Luke 4:4).

The God of the word, in the flesh, relied on, obeyed, and trusted in the word of God. The One who is the way, and the truth, and the life pointed to what God has revealed (Scripture) as the truth which sanctifies, or makes us holy.

Practically speaking, we do not reconcile the Scripture to the world (rather it be history, science, or any other discipline), but we start with the word of God and reconcile everything else to it. And time and time again, the Scriptures have been proven to be exactly what Jesus said they were: the truth. Continue reading “The Christian and the Bible, Part 2: The source”