Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ask Anything Wednesdays

When we arrived in Wilson and at RRBC, my plan was to utilize Wednesday nights to help the church to get to know us...well, more specifically, me and my understanding of key issues. So, I launched an Open Q and A night. (I have decided to call them Ask Anything Wednesdays by "borrowing" the name from Dr. Russ Moore...remember, Doc...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)

Anyway, so far we have dealt with leadership philosophy; thoughts on worship, culture and choirs; and this week: alcohol, funraisers and ministry alignment with vision. I will hope to use the blog and FB as a way to interact about the Q and A

Here was the brief scoop from this week on two big questions:
What is the biblical answer to alcohol use?

First...the bible does not address every issue in terms of "right / wrong." There are some issues that the Holy Spirit MAY personally convict us about, but may give another freedom (i.e. Rom 14:1-22). The use of alcohol is one of them. I say that because, on the one hand, the Bible indicates that wine (including fermented drink) is a gift from God that may be received with thanks. For example, Ps 104:14-15; Dt 14:26; and Jn 2:1-11. On the other hand, the Bible provides stern warnings about overindulgence with wine (i.e. Prov 20:1; 23:29-35). And, the Bible teaches that drunkenness is ALWAYS a sin (Eph 5:18). The most reasonable thing to conclude then, is that alcohol itself is not evil, but it's abuse is sinful.

Now, I personally do not use alcohol for five reasons:
1. I do not use it because I do not have freedom of conscience to do so. However, I will not judge others whose conscience is not so bound.

2. Alchohol is mind altering and I do not want to have anything affect the Holy Spirit's influene over my mind. I, personally, do not want to do anything that would inhibit me from taking every thought captive for Christ (2 Cor 10:5).

3. Alcohol is addictive. Here again, I do not want to push the limits of my "addictions." Right now they are limited to caffeine and, perhaps, Buffalo Wild Wings, but why take the chance that I might become addicted to alcohol.

4. Alcohol is destructive. The use (and abuse) of alcohol in our culture has had a number of negative and destructive effects. From drunk driving to destroyed marriages, alcohol abuse has been a frequent cause of death and destruction. To avoid alcohol is to make a strong social statement against such things. Further, it must be asked whether it is prudent to partake in something that has caused such destruction. For me, the answer is no.

5. I don't like the taste of it. Yes, I have had wine on a couple occasions and champagne once. I have never had an entire glass of any of it and have never had the occasion to drink beer. I do not say those things to boast or to wallow in some type of self-pity. Rather, to state an undeniable fact: I do not like how it tastes.

Again, I would urge every believer to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance regarding things like alcohol. Do not simply assume that your conscience will be bound or free...but, pray, and act in wisdom.

What do you think of fundraisers in the church?
Since this is running longer than expected...let me give a few thoughts.
First, we have to ask biblical / theological questions. Does the bible forbid fundraising? Simply put, NO. Jesus' anger at the money changers in the Temple was related to their CHEATING of people. So, fundraisers ought not cheat people!

We should also ask whether the fundraiser leads to sin...are we leading people to covet? For example, a "raffle" for a new car would lead beleivers to covet the such, it is sin. A car wash, trivia night, etc do not lead people to sin.

A third biblical question relates to the appropriateness of unbelievers underwriting God's work. On this I can only say that there is biblical precedent for it - Ex 12:35-36 says that the Children of Israel asked the Egyptians to finance the Exodus, and they did it! It may be a thin precedent, but there is one...

The other big issue is the practical administration of fundraising. I prefer that there be a limited number of fundraisers avaialable to ministries, the proceeds of which should be used for missions - both local and international. I am not in favor of fundraisers for facilities or for budgets...these are to be provided for through the regular tithes and offerings of God's people.

So...that was this week...if you have questions for next week or the next few, feel free to email me at

Pastor Rob

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hello, My Name is God!

Well...we are two weeks into our new series at Raleigh Road BC ( and I think God is really challenging us about who HE is. The inspiration for this series comes from a line in Francis Chan's book Crazy Love. In the context of talking about "lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant Christians" Chan makes this statement: "The crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have an inaccurate view of God" (p. 22). I read that statement in early June (on vacation, sitting by the pool), it struck me that the most appropriate way to begin a ministry at Raleigh Road would be to point people to God. Thus...this series was born.

A little later in the book, Chan quotes A. W. Tozer: "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us...Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like" (Chan, 30). What an amazing statement.

It is my hope and prayer that as we begin to get a clearer and clearer glimpse of who God is...we will be broken, humbled, and restored by the God who does all three!

For those of you who like is the overall sermon plan for this series:
July 12 - "I am Bigger than You Think" - God's passion for His Glory
July 19 - "I am Unique in the Universe" - God's Holiness
July 26 - "I Have No Beginning or End" - God's Eternity and Independence
August 2 - "I Know More than You Can Imagine" - God's Onmiscience
August 9 - "I Have More Power than You Can Fathom" - God's Omnipotence
August 16 - "I Am Mighty to Save" - God's Salvation in and through Jesus Christ

I hope to see you Sunday...

Pastor Rob

Monday, July 6, 2009

Email, Facebook, and Blog Notes

Thought it might be a good idea to post a few of my own personal Email and Facebook "rules" for my new friends at Raleigh Road BC and anyone else who sends email my way...these are not intended for or directed to anyone in particular, just a quick public posting for clear communications:

1. I seldom forward anything...ever...even if it is a really touching story...etc.

2. I NEVER forward anything that tells me "if you really love God" / "if you are proud of our troops" / "if you are proud to be an American" / "if you really love Jesus" send this to 10 friends. Really? I love God. I love Jesus. I am extremely proud of our troops and I am proud (and blessed) to be an American...but, neither my faith nor my sense of patriotism are increased by sending an email to 10 (or 100) people.

3. I NEVER forward emails that tell me to send this to the person who sent it to me and 10 other friends that I really care you really want my concern / love / affection to be tied to an email? I didn't think so...If I know you, I love least in Christ, and maybe as a great friend...but, I don't think our relationship is determined by an email that has been circulating for years!

4. I ALWAYS verify stories emailed to me at ...if you send me one that proves to be false (i.e. threat to religious broadcasting, Pres Obama's muslim allegiances, stories about the troops, etc), I will send you (and everyone else who received the original email) a note that says something like: "God is a God of Truth...and he calls us to be people of truth. Spreading falsehoods does not advance God's kingdom. Please verify stories like this before forwarding."

5. If any of the first 4 offend you...I apologize and ask that you simply do not send me the types of emails in question...that way you will not be perpetually offended! Ha!

6. On Facebook, I try my best to keep my status updated...but, I do not guarantee that I will respond quickly to every comment or message. I will do my best...

7. On Facebook, I ALMOST NEVER respond to event invitations, mafia requests, or quizzes...And, I NEVER "send gifts", etc on Facebook...quite honestly, I have enough trouble just keeping it updated with my current status!

8. As for this blog...I will do my dead level best to keep it updated once a week...usually related to something God is teaching me or something we are learning together at RRBC. Of course, sometimes I will digress and put up a post about something completely "unspiritual" (i.e. Like the one I am thinking about posting regarding my newfound appreciation for Tony Stewart...after he spun Kyle Bush!)

Ok...that should do it...hopefully this will prevent too many hurt feelings in the wonderful world of electronic communication!

God's best...
Pastor Rob