What Kind of Father is God?

(This article was published in the 2nd issue of the 2014 Proclaimer)

The SBC of Virginia is tasked with assisting churches in their task of the Great Commission. We are often known for helping churches with stewardship, church planter resources, youth camps, and mission strategies. However, in this article, I want to respond to a personal, relational, and spiritual question: What kind of Father is God?

Across America, we celebrate Father’s Day in June. For some, the word father is painful or even meaningless. Yet it is a sacred trust and responsibility to be a father. The Lord Jesus was radical in referring to Almighty God as Father. Therefore, I hope to be of encouragement to earthly fathers, as well as point all people to our eternal Father.

In the entire Old Testament over thousands of years, God is only referred to as Father seven times. Jesus referred to God as Father seven times in Matthew 6 alone. In His life and in the gospels, He talked about God being our Father over 150 times. He said this is how God wants to relate to you.

God is a CARING FATHER. He is compassionate, loving, gracious, and He cares about you. In fact, He loves you more than you will ever know. He loves you more than you will be able to experience. You can’t even understand how much God loves you because your brain isn’t big enough to handle it. The Bible tells us in Psalm 104, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who honor Him.” God is caring. God is compassionate.

God is a CONSISTENT FATHER. You can count on Him every time. He never lets you down. He’s always dependable—entirely consistent in who He is. God is worthy of our trust. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from the Father, who does not change like shifting shadows.” The truth is, earthly fathers are unpredictable. God is a consistent Father. God is not moody. God never has a bad day.

God is a COMPETENT FATHER. He can handle any problem you give Him. Nothing is beyond His ability. Nothing is beyond His resources. The Bible says in Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Nothing is impossible. He can handle it all because He is competent.

May the earthly fathers in our churches and communities be strengthened as they seek the eternal Father.

To God be the glory!

The Ultimate Champion

(This article was published in the 1st issue of the 2014 Proclaimer)

Like many 11-year-old boys, my son is an avid sports fan. He can talk about popular athletes with the same ease as he does his own basketball teammates. The modern-day sports fan has plenty to enjoy. In February, we have the Super Bowl. The month to follow, we have college basketball’s March Madness. Every day, we have multiple all-day sports channels proclaiming the greatest plays of the week, the latest stats, and promoting the current superstar. When a city’s or a college’s sports team wins the big game, fans fill the streets proclaiming the victory.

Of course, followers of Jesus Christ have a victory to proclaim and a Champion to celebrate that is of eternal significance. Most of us would be hard-pressed to recall from memory who won the World Series in 1972. Sports champions come and go. Yet the resurrection of Jesus Christ is forever and fundamentally life changing.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (NKJV).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ means that Christ is preeminent. No one and nothing can challenge Him as the ultimate Champion who has defeated sin and death. The resurrection of Christ means that Christianity has power. Read the New Testament Book of Acts, and you will see this power displayed. The resurrection of Christ means that Christians have a purpose. We are called to make disciples and plant churches because Jesus is risen.

Dr. Albert Mohler recalled that the French positivist philosopher Auguste Comte once told Thomas Carlyle that he planned to start a new religion to replace Christianity. “Very good,” replied Carlyle. “All you have to do is be crucified, rise the third day, and get the world to believe you are still alive. Then your new religion will have a chance.” No one and nothing compares to our risen and living Lord Jesus Christ. It’s time for His churches to fill the streets proclaiming the victory! By the way, the Oakland A’s won the World Series in 1972, but it doesn’t really matter.

Stronger Together

(This article was published in the 4th issue of the 2013 Proclaimer)

Solomon wisely wrote in Ecclesiastes 4, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor…though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

We are stronger as we Stand Together. 

Not far from where I live, Rev. Weatherford, a Baptist pastor, was jailed for preaching the Gospel in Colonial Virginia. Followers of Jesus face trouble, trials, and tribulation to this day. Spiritual battles should not be surprising. Scripture teaches us to be strong in the Lord. In Acts, we read how the 1st-century followers of the Lord Jesus sought to strengthen one another in the Lord. In the 21st century, we too face spiritual battles. SBC of Virginia was founded as a fellowship united in our stand on the Scriptures. Sanctity of life, biblical marriage, and economic woes are examples of current challenges. We are stronger together as we stand together on God’s Word.

We are stronger as we Serve Together.

We can grow weary in serving. The Lord Jesus sent his followers out two-by-two to be His witnesses. As we read Paul’s epistles, he often references the fellow with him. The Scriptures give us many examples of the power of partnership. Ecclesiastes 4 reminds us that our work is more profitable as we serve together. SBC of Virginia churches serve together in many ways: Disaster Relief teams, scholarship programs, and mission partnerships, to name a few.

We are stronger as we Send Together.

We live in a day and age of global travel, international business, and mass media. The world in some ways seems to have become smaller, more interconnected. You can board an airplane and in hours be in a different culture on another continent. Yet the lostness and darkness are great. SBC of Virginia churches have global impact as we send together. We are joining together to proclaim the Gospel to people in places like Montreal, Greater Washington, DC, and Appalachia. SBC of Virginia churches join together to send 5,000 international missionaries. SBC of Virginia churches send church planters across Virginia and throughout North America.

We are Stronger Together…standing together, serving together, sending together!

Joining Jesus in the Harvest

(This article was published in the 3rd issue of the 2013 Proclaimer)

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38, ESV)

No one traveled further and sacrificed more than the Lord Jesus in bringing the Gospel to humanity.
I’m fond of saying that we serve a missionary God! We rightly celebrate our missionary heroes for all they sacrifice and how far they are willing to be sent. But we must realize that as Matthew 9:35 tells us, “Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages….” Our Lord Jesus is the ultimate missionary. Our Lord Jesus invites us as His followers to join Him in reaching the lost and breaking through the darkness with His Good News. The Lord Jesus calls us to embrace His vision and mission for us as His Church. We are His mission force on this mission field. But how can we join Jesus on this harvest field?

Joining Jesus requires SEEING. Jesus saw the crowds. He saw more than a faceless mass. He saw a multitude of souls. Every person you see driving down the road, in the supermarket, or mowing the grass is a soul destined for eternity. I ask that we see the millions of souls right here in Virginia who need Jesus.

Joining Jesus requires CARING. Jesus had compassion. It means that He cared down deep for people. The Lord Jesus loves you, loves me, and loves people. May the Lord cause us to care about our neighbors and the nations. Joining Jesus requires PRAYING. The Lord Jesus asks us to pray. Usually, we take our prayer requests to Jesus—but here, the Lord asks us to pray for His request. We are the answer to our Lord’s prayer request. Join me in praying earnestly for the laborers in this harvest field.

Joining Jesus requires GOING. Churches are called by Christ to send out laborers. I want to thank SBC of Virginia churches for making it possible for church planters, seminary students, and missionaries to go with the Gospel to the nations. Please prayerfully consider leading the church you serve to support the Vision Virginia State Missions Offering of the SBC of Virginia. Your faithful praying and missions giving supports the going of missionaries and church planters on this mission field.

Pray that we will be His mission force on this mission field—strong churches with a bold commitment to the Great Commission!