Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Use Tracts?

(Flyers, pamphlets that present a Christian message.)

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth: It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. -Isaiah 55:11

1. They can plainly present Scripture, the Gospel, the love of Jesus Christ.
2. Can be left anywhere and shared with anyone.
3. There are tracts for all different kinds of needs.
4. Can be used to help you as you verbally present the plan of salvation.
5. After you have witnessed to someone, a tract can be left with the person to back up what you have just presented.
6. Can be taken home, reread, or passed along to others.
7. When they are labeled (rubber stamp or address label with church name and address) they can help advertise your church.
8. Tracts are inexpensive and can be easily used.
9. A tract has the potential to go on witnessing to someone long after you are gone.
10. Even if the person cannot read or does not know the language, he can get someone else to read or translate it to him.

* Will everyone be won to Christ with a tract? No, of course not. But some will! Or, it may be one of a number of things that brings the person to Christ. This is not the only effective means of witnessing, but it is one of them.
* You can keep tracts handy and in good shape by storing them in a zip lock plastic bag in your car, purse, etc.
* A friendly, personal word to the person to whom you give the tract, usually makes them more likely to read it.
* Always be on your best behavior when using tracts; otherwise you hinder rather than help the cause of Christ.
* Always pray for those receiving the tracts.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 25, AD 2011.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Patriotism and Christian Worship

Can we be patriotic in our July 4th Worship Service? Can we sing patriotic songs and have the American, Texas, and Christian flags in our sanctuary? Yes, of course we can.

It seems rather strange that practices I grew up with, seen in church all my life, seen the great majority of churches use, are now vehemently challenged. Some seem to feel they are the first generation in 2,000 years to finally get Christianity right. They have no appreciation or respect for those generations of believers on whose shoulders they stand.

I heard of a young new pastor in a large church in another state who banned the flag in church and refused to do anything patriotic or recognize veterans. The church was seriously hurt and the pastor, perhaps wiser, soon moved on. A new pastor should consider the wisdom of going to a 50 or 100 year old church and self-righteously telling them they have it all wrong and he is going to straighten them out. It just could be that newly hatched pastor needs to learn a few things.

Some have fretted over a patriotic service causing confusion over our allegiance to Christ and to our country. Frankly, I’ve never had someone come to me with such confusion. Usually this issue is pretty clear. Jesus said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

Some have worried a patriotic service leads to idolatry. Far from idolatry, come July 4th we commonly thank God (that’s a mighty Christian thing to do) for the good things about our country, and speak out against the moral failings of our country. We do not blindly follow our country, right or wrong. We are grateful however, for God’s blessings on America, including the incredible gift of religious liberty.

It seems that like the Public Invitation and using the Sinner’s Prayer, most criticism of having a patriotic worship service is more a criticism of the abuse, rather than the proper use of them. Of course we should not abuse them. But properly used, they are greatly used of God.

Some criticize a patriotic worship service because it is not explicitly found in Scripture. So are a long list of other practices the critics use on a regular basis. No, God Bless America is not found in the Psalms; but the concept is there, and there is nothing anti-biblical about using a patriotic service to tell folks about Jesus.

What about international students being in a patriotic worship service? Well, they can learn that Americans love God and love their country. They can see believers praying for their country. They can see believers striving to better their country. International students may just be inspired to go home to their own country and do likewise.

I spoke to a Baptist Student Ministry college group about the American history of Thanksgiving. An international student later thanked me and told how she enjoyed the message. She said she had always wondered about Thanksgiving since her country did not have such a holiday. It is not difficult to use an American cultural theme to teach Christian concepts.

Some have expressed concern that a patriotic service may turn into a partisan political rally. Certainly that could happen, but it can also be easily avoided. We’ve never done that in a church I’ve pastored. There is nothing partisan and out of line in singing some patriotic songs and expressing your love and godly concern for country.

Are there some tensions and conflicts between God and country? Yes. That is why Christians discuss the issue of a just war. That is why just because a man dies fighting valiantly for his country - that does not earn him a ticket to Heaven; only faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ does that. But a patriotic worship service can give us the perfect venue to preach that very truth!

Recently I preached on being ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador learns the customs of his adopted country, while integrating and teaching them the customs of his home country. A Christian ambassador learns the customs of the country in which he resides, while teaching them the customs and beliefs of his home country of Heaven. Our church had an Easter Egg Hunt. We took a custom of our country of America (Easter Egg Hunt) and used it to teach the values and beliefs of Heaven, the Sacrificial Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

July 4th (Independence Day) our church will celebrate the good things of America, pray about the bad things concerning America, all the while pointing folks to Jesus. We will hold our 2008 LifeWay Baptist Hymnals, turn to a patriotic song or two, and sing with gusto. Despite what some critics are saying, you can too!

Note: the Baptist Hymnal (or Broadman Hymnal) has included patriotic songs since at least the 1940 Broadman Hymnal. Other Christian hymnals have done the same. Baptists, without apology, have expressed their patriotism going back to at least the Revolutionary War of the 1700s; they have also criticized their country when they believed it wrong.
The 2008 Baptist Hymnal includes the song, O Canada. I have no problem with believers in other countries being patriotic. If I were worshipping in Canada, I would gladly sing O Canada right along with them.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 18, AD 2011.

Related Articles:   
Saved by the Sinner’s Prayer
SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America

Monday, April 11, 2011

Obituary - Pastor David Elliot (AD 1931-2011)

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. -1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

Reverend Berl David Elliot passed away Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Born September 3, 1931, he was known as “Sonny” to family, “David” to friends, and “Preacher” to generations of people in communities across East and South Texas. He devoted his life to supporting his family, church members, and community.

Funeral services were held at First Baptist Church, Highlands, Texas March 18, 2011 at 10 am. Deacons in the church served as pallbearers. Burial was at Sterling-White Cemetery, Highlands, TX.

Brother Elliot grew up on farms and ranches and did ranch work as a young man. He owned and rode horses most of his life. He loved his family, watched sports, enjoyed telling stories and country music. His favorite was Johnny Cash.

Rev. Elliot was a graduate of the University of Corpus Christi, TX and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX. He pastored churches in South and East Texas, including Second Baptist Church, Highlands. He was a leader in the San Jacinto Baptist Association.

He is survived by his wife Betty Ruth Elliot; brothers Bob and Bill; children David Elliot, Warren Elliot, Jeanene Ickes, and son-in-law Jerry Ickes; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

David Elliot’s obituary was in the March 17, 2011 Baytown Sun.

Brother David had a clear mind right to the end. On the last day of his life, his wife Betty related how David Elliot said, “I get to talk to God today.”

Update:  David Elliot's obituary was also listed in the May 2, 2011 issue of the Southern Baptist Texan

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 11, AD 2011.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America

Some have alleged Southern Baptists have not spoken to the alcohol issue because it is not mentioned in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. While alcohol is not mentioned in our doctrinal statement, it has often been dealt with by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Southern Baptists have spoken with a clear voice against alcohol for well over 100 years. The most recent resolution was overwhelmingly passed in 2006. It is listed below. Many other SBC resolutions on alcohol can be found at (under Faith & Facts). As a matter of fact, 59 resolutions against alcohol have been passed by the SBC since 1886.

On Alcohol Use In America
June 2006

WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of "our freedom in Christ"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.
-SBC, Greensboro, NC

Related articles:
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Charles H. Spurgeon on Alcohol
Alcohol Condemned in the Bible 

Biblical Principles Condemn Alcohol

Evidence for the Two-Wine Theory
See other related articles in right hand margin toward the bottom under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels).  

New book: Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence by David R. Brumbelow.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 4, AD 2011.