Monday, June 30, 2008

JOURNEY THROUGH 1 CHRONICLES

Here are some takeaways from my recent read through 1 Chronicles (each number relates to that particular chapter). Chronicles actually tells the same story as Samuel-Kings. It is told 100+ years later and from a different perspective. One of the major things I noticed is that the book reminds us of the primary place worship should hold in our lives.

  1. The list of names reminds us of the importance of individual people in the community of faith.
  2. Names and more names
  3. Little wonder David's family was always in a mess. While living in Hebron for 7 1/2 years, he had six sons. Each of the six had a different mother.
  4. Lately, I've heard preachers make fun of the "Prayer of Jabez" craze. I see nothing wrong with making the prayer my personal prayer if I so choose. The verses DO standout in the midst of long lists of names.
  5. Another gem tucked away amongst the scores of names: "God answered their prayers because they trusted Him." (5:20)
  6. Worship leaders and ministers of music are not a modern phenomenon. Roots go back at least to King David.
  7. How would you like to be named Beriah which means "unlucky"?
  8. The Bible has teachings throughout on divorce, but I don't recall reading of specific names of people who divorced. But here it is. In 8:8, Shaharaim divorced his wives Hushin and Baara.
  9. Verse 1 states the reason the people of God were sent into exile--unbelief and disobedience.
  10. How do I want to finish my life? King Saul provides a negative example. He died in disobedience to God.
  11. Mark Batterson, pastor in D.C., has written a popular book based on 11:22--In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. I'm reading it right now--great read!
  12. I love the words of Amasai who was moved by the Holy Spirit--words that any leader loves to hear: "We're on your side....we're committed."
  13. The falling ark is a classic story that sometimes the best of motives will backfire on us.
  14. When believers obey God, non-believers begin to fear God.

(part 2 of 1 Chronicles next time)

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

VBS--A HUGE SUCCESS!!

God answered a ton of prayers this week with Vacation Bible School. What an awesome week it was. Here are some stats:

  • 282 students registered
  • 168 total volunteers
  • 25 average attendance for the adult Bible study
  • 347 average nightly attendance
  • 475 total registered students and volunteers
  • Most important of all--29 boys and girls made decisions to invite Jesus into their hearts. Heaven is rejoicing. And so am I.

Here are a few other comments and observations:

  • Virginia shared with the staff a couple of weeks ago that her children's staff are as pumped as she has ever seen. Morale is high. When morale is high, God does amazing things.
  • Look what happens when that many volunteers come together to work on a single assignment.
  • You should have seen the stage set as well as the room set-ups. Our volunteers are extremely creative.
  • We are all grateful for the food service volunteers. The fact that some contribute the money for all the meals and then prepare, serve, and clean-up each night--what does that tell you?
  • I think it is fantabulous that the children look to Virginia, Troy, and Crystal as their pastors. They are the ones pouring their lives into these children. Pastor Ken? Who is that?
  • Many of those who accepted Jesus were not previously connected with Chapin Baptist.
  • It is still a thrill that I look forward to every summer to sit down one-on-one with some of the boys and girls and lead them to a decision to follow Christ.
  • To set the stage for the week, one young man gave his heart to Jesus on the very first night.
  • I was able to meet a whole bunch of new families and invite them to church.
  • One final note--Troy Crump challenged the children to give $1500 in the offering this week (all of which goes to the We Care Center). If they met the goal, he would become a human banana split. Unfortunately, when the final totals were announced, we were $258 short. But, praise God, someone wrote a check on the spot for $258. Troy will become a human banana split on Sunday, 6/29, at 9:45.

God is at work. Let's keep the "mo" growing.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

JOURNEY THROUGH COLOSSIANS

I'm still trying to catch up on my journey posts. Here are some takeaways from my recent read through Colossians.

  • Colossians makes it convincingly clear that Jesus is in a completely different camp from Moses, Socrates, Buddha, Mohammed, etc.
  • Every believer, just like Paul, is on a special assignment from God.
  • Our churches are filled with people, just like Epaphras, not welll-known, but reliable servants of Christ.
  • Great question to ponder: Is God proud of me for my work for the kingdom?
  • Do you have any doubts that Jesus is God? Meditate on 1:15-20.
  • Jesus actually died for me.
  • A great way to measure the value of any sermon: does it preach Christ?
  • I wonder how many accept Jesus as Savior and then don't live for Him?
  • Eugene Peterson strikes agains in 2:7--"School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it."
  • Praise God that my sins are forgiven, the slate wiped clean--all because of the cross.
  • We need to wear the wardrobe God has picked out: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
  • Chapin Baptist is my employer; but the ultimate Master I serve is Jesus Christ.
  • How do I want people to pray for me? That God will open many doors for proclaiming Christ to lost people.


"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FIVE KINDS OF CHRISTIANS

Christianity Today and Zondervan Publishers linked up with a research firm to determine the attitude and behaviors of U.S. Christians. More than 1,000 Christians over age 18 were surveyed. The results revealed five significant differences among the religious beliefs and practices among Americans who call themselves Christians.

First, Active Christians (19%)

  • Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
  • Committed church goers
  • Bible readers
  • Accept leadership positions
  • Invest in personal faith development through the church
  • Feel obligated to share faith (79% do so)

Second, Professing Christians (20%)

  • Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
  • Focus on personal relationship with God and Jesus
  • Simimlar beliefs to Active Christians, different actions
  • Less involved in church, both attending and serving
  • Less commitment to Bible reading or sharing faith

Third, Ligurgical Christians (16%)

  • Predominantly Catholic and Lutheran
  • Regular churchgoers
  • High level of spiritual activity, mostly expressed by serving in church and/or community
  • Recognize authority of the church

Fourth, Private Christians (24%)

  • Largest and youngest segment
  • Believe in God and doing good things
  • Own a Bible, but don't read it
  • Spiritual interest, but not within chuch context
  • Only about a third attend church at all
  • Almost none are church leaders

Fifth, Cultural Christians (21%)

  • Little outward religious behavior or attitudes
  • God aware, but little personal involvement with God
  • Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation
  • Affirm many ways to God
  • Favor universality theology (my note--all go to heaven)

Wouldn't it be interesting to know what the breakdown of the CBC membership would be? Which kind of Christian are you? Particularly alarming is the Private Christian. All the more reason we must pour energies and money into children and student ministries.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

JOURNEY THROUGH 2 KINGS (CONT'D)

Starting with chapter 14, here are some gleanings from my journey through 2 Kings.

14. These were probably the darkest days in the history of Israel and Judah. All were bent on fighting and promoting immorality and false religion.

15. Some kings implemented reforms but held on to the sex-religion practices. Are there any parallels today to the luring appeal of sex and how it destroys even Christians?

16. Ahaz, another wicked king, compromised by doing away with many of the religious symbols of the Temple in order to appease a foreign king.


17. This chapter is a humbing account of God's judgment on a people who consistently disobeyed Him.

18. Finally, a good king--Hezekiah. In God's opinion he was a "good" king. Am I a good pastor? Are you a "good" teacher, salesman, lawyer, business owner? Whose opinion really matters? (By the way, you've got to read 2 Kings 18:27 in the Message Bible. I couldn't believe it when I read it.)

19. We can learn a lot from Hezekiah who poured out his heart to God in prayer.

20. Hezekiah lived to please God, but he made a foolish error when he gave Babylonian guests a tour that showed them where EVERYTHING was (including weapons). Later Babylon destroyed Judah.

21. Manasseh's legacy. He turned Judah into a nation of sinners.

22. It is still beyond me that a high priest "discovered" the Word of God in the Temple. For years/generations people and even the priests did not know that there was a Word of God.

23. Thank God for leaders like Josiah who are passionate about obeying God and ridding the land of everything ungodly.

24. A sober reminder that wickedness does not go unpunished. God's judgment is never by accident.

25. The lengthy historical accounts in 1-2 Kings ends with the people of God defeated and scattered--orphans. But, remember, God always has a remnant.


"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

JOURNEY THROUGH 2 KINGS

Writing down my thoughts after reading the Scriptures has been a good discipline for me to do day-by-day. Here are some of my gleanings from 2 Kings (by chapters).

  1. Beware of getting counsel from others to the neglect of seeking guidance from the True Counselor.
  2. Elisha's request was that he wanted to be holy just like his mentor Elijah. Could anyone say that he or she wants to be holy just like you?
  3. A common thread in 2 Kings--some kings did some good things; BUT they held on to the wicked ways of their fathers. God expects a clean break. Only total obedience and holiness please Him.
  4. We all know the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Did you know that Elisha performed a similar miracle with bread and apples?
  5. Naaman, like many people today, thought his money and prestige would be enough to heal him.
  6. The king's anger toward God is typical of many today, especially when disaster strikes. God gets blamed. When bad times come, we have a choice--become bitter or better.
  7. The true prophet of God--his prophecies are completely accurate.
  8. The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (Israel) are mentioned over and over. These are lost books. Wouldn't it be great to get a hold of these books to learn more of the history of these times? I wonder how much one of those books would go for on Ebay.
  9. Jehu was one cold-blooded dude. He trampled Jezebel under his horse's hooves. Immediately afterwards he went inside and ate lunch.
  10. Jehu had a divided heart. He followed God in some areas but not all areas.
  11. Joash was a fairly decent king. This gives credence to the positive values of being raised in church. He was literally raised in the Temple for six years.
  12. The had counting committees even back then. This committee of honest men was formed because priests were absconding with the money designated for refurbishing the Temple.
  13. Jehoahaz--what an awful life description--"He lived an evil life before God."

I'll do the next half of 2 Kings in the next blog. What are you reading in the Bible these days? What is God saying to you?


"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

3 WAYS TO RESTORE EVANGELISTIC FOCUS

Last Sunday, from the story of Zaccheus I preached my one prayer sermon. If I could pray one prayer for Chapin Baptist Church and for churches across America, it would be, "Lord, make us focused." Focused on reaching people for Christ and helping believers become fully devoted followers of Christ.

How can we restore that focus. Ed Stetzer in his widely-read book Comeback Churches notes that every member of the church should be involved in three ways. All should be involved in all three. But if everyone just did one of the three, that's a great place to start.

  1. Every member should be a pray-er. Everyone can pray. You can pray for the lost to be saved. You can pray for the growth of the church. You can pray for key outreach events like Vacation Bible School. So, before you read further, close your eyes and pray for a couple of minutes.
  2. Every member should be a bring-er. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was a bringer. He loved bringing people to Jesus. When is the last time you brought someone to church with you? When is the last time you invited someone to church? It doesn't have to be a worship service that you invite people to. It could be VBS. It could be a small group fellowship. It could be a ministry project your group is doing. In fact, I read recently that this strategy has become an extremely effective way of helping the unchurched to connect. The next time your class does an "outside the walls" project, invite a friend to join you.
  3. Every member should be a tell-er. Chapin Baptist certainly has some tell-ers. But we need to become a church of tell-ers, a church where every members confidently and earnestly tells others about Jesus.

Lord, make us focused. The church that is focused on reaching people is the church that is filled with members who are focused. And, yes, I must lead the way.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

WEDDING BELLS AGAIN

The answers are "no" and "no". First, no, we aren't pros at this wedding planning stuff. Even though two of our three sons got married within an eight-week period, we are far from pros. Pros at wedding planning can't let emotions interfere. So I prefer to stay an amateur and let the emotions do their thing. I wasn't an emotional mush like I was in early April. Actually, I thought I had it all together until the first words of the ceremony came out of my mouth. I came close to losing it. Thankfully, as always, the Lord rallied to my side.
The second "no" is no, we aren't planning a wedding for the third one yet. Praying for his future mate? You bet. But we're counting on a fairly long reprieve from the wedding planning business.
This weekend was another super-special occasion. Kevin and Erin make a great couple. Can't you tell? Here is the grand entrance into The Pointe, which served as the location for the reception. A special part of both weddings was that the grooms escorted their mom out for the recessional. Something tells me that Anita's heart was swelling with joy and pride.


After their honeymoon to St. John's in the Virgin Islands, Kevin and Erin will move into a rental home in Clemson. They plan to move back to the Chapin area in January after Erin graduates with her nursing degree. Kevin's employer wants him to set up an office in Chapin. I'm not going to argue with that at all.
They won't be settled long before they will have the joy of seeing Jade, their German Short-Haired Pointer, have puppies. Welcome to marriage.
Anita and I count our blessings daily that our three boys all love Jesus and desire to serve Him. And now we have the extra blessings of two daughters-in-law who both love Jesus as well.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."