Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What answer do you give to religious pluralism?

What answer do you give to religious pluralism?

Join us tonight as we discuss the answer to this question and put into practice the Seven Steps in Searching the Scriptures. We will be applying those principles to Luke 21:1-3

Luke 21:1-4
1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,
2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;
4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

7 Steps in Searching the Scriptures:

1. Context Review:

2. Compare Versions:

3. Cross Reference:

4. Consider Key Words:

5. Check Background:

6. Consult Commentaries:

7. Contemplate:

Ball Girl

Publish Post

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

It is both good and glorious to see someone put their best efforts to doing their job, even when their job does not require spectacular effort. Most of the time we do not notice the ordinary folks who do their job in the background so that the “stars” can perform their job. From the people selling the tickets to the guys cleaning the stadium each has an important role to do. Usually they are noticed only wPublish Posthen they do not do their job.

As Christians we have an additional motivation to fulfill our responsibilities because the character of our work uniquely reflects the character of God.

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bible Study

This Wednesday we will be putting into practice the procedures we discussed on how to study the Bible. Enclosed is the summary of the steps involved. For those joining us please review 2 Corinthians 12:9 and apply the study principles in sequence. Please join us and share your conclusions.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

7 Steps in Searching the Scriptures:

The essence of this Bible study method is an approach that focuses on the text of the Bible. Bible study tools are used for secondary guidance. Commentaries are considered as a third level. Finally, careful meditation is encouraged for personal enrichment, clarification, and application.

1. Context Review:

Usage determines meaning. The text of Scripture must be read in light of its original setting in order to discover the authors meaning. The context of a passage includes its immediate, intermediate, and remote environment.

2. Compare Versions:

It is helpful to see how various translators treat a Bible passage. Keep in mind the translations utilize different translation theories such as formal equivalence (word for word), dynamic equivalence (thought for thought), and free (idea for idea, paraphrase).

3. Cross Reference:

Scripture interprets Scripture. It is helpful to see a similar passage or concept treated in another section of the Bible. Sometimes a particular passage is actually a direct quotation.

4. Consider Key Words:

Understanding a particular word an author chooses can make a significant contribution to ones understanding. It is also helpful to notice the grammatical construction in which those words are used.

5. Check Background:

The historical setting of a passage gives clues to various references in the text that are expected to be understood by the culture and the time in which the text was written. In addition, the type of literature will also influence ones understanding of the authors meaning.

6. Consult Commentaries:

Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. Consulting commentaries may help keep ones interpretation analogous to the faith. Consulting them last, from an informed position, may help one to achieve a greater level of understanding.

7. Contemplate:

The blessed man in the first Psalm meditated on the Bible day and night. Thinking about the Word of God will allow ones thoughts to be clarified. Meditation gives the Word a chance to take root in your life, and blossom into spiritual fruitfulness.

It is more essential to spend time in the Word of God and in prayer than to follow any particular study method. It is hoped that this model may be an encouragement for you to find a greater satisfaction in Christ through Bible study. It is my prayer that this method helps you to cherish God more deeply and communicate His grace more fully. Grace be with you, Wayne Layton

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Library Giveaway

I subscribe to Giveaway of the Day. This site is dedicated to distributing free software. I suppose the purpose of doing this is to get you interested in their product and at some point get you to purchase an upgrade. In the end the software functions just a little bit better than a demo. It does not expire and you can really work with the product to see if it is helpful.

I ignore most of the daily offers, but I found today’s offer to be really helpful. I have a library that is divided up between my home, insurance office, church office, and I suppose the trunk of my car. In addition I loan books to other people. The software that is offered today provides a way convenient way to keep track of your books.

Instead of typing them in one by one you can use the software to find the details of the book by using a search engine. Once the book is found then it can be added by a simple double click of the mouse. All of the detailed information concerning the book is transferred to the database. The only thing left to do is just record where the book is located at this moment by selecting a location in a drop down box or by adding a new location.

If you want a good way to keep up with your personal library this link may be worth a look.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Put to death the deeds of the body

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Fighting sin is a matter of life and death. Too often we do not take to heart the reality of this concept. The Apostle Paul admonished us to fight sin. In fact he described his battle with the flesh as giving himself a black eye if need be.

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Job made an agreement with God that he would not allow his eyes to wander.

Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?

How can you fight the battle of the flesh?

Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

The more full you’re your mind is with the Word of God the less room you have for evil thoughts.

John Piper gives a practical strategy to fight sin that is worthy of consideration.

We must not give a sexual image or impulse more than five seconds before we mount a violent counterattack with the mind. I mean that! Five seconds. In the first two seconds we shout, "No! Get out of my head!" In the next two seconds we cry out: "O God, in the name of Jesus, help me. Save me now. I am yours."
Good beginning. But then the real battle begins. This is a mind war. The absolute necessity is to get the image and the impulse out of our mind.
Get a counter-image into the mind. Fight. Push. Strike. Don't ease up. It must be an image that is so powerful that the other image cannot survive.
There are lust-destroying images and thoughts.
For example, have you ever in the first five seconds of temptation, demanded of your mind that it look steadfastly at the crucified form of Jesus Christ?
Picture this. You have just seen a peek-a-boo blouse inviting further fantasy. You have five seconds. "No! Get out of my mind! God help me!"
Now, immediately, demand of your mind—you can do this by the Spirit (Romans 8:13). Demand of your mind to fix its gaze on Christ on the cross. Use all your fantasizing power to see his lacerated back. Thirty-nine lashes left little flesh intact. He heaves with his breath up and down against the rough vertical beam of the cross. Each breath puts splinters into the lacerations.
The Lord gasps. From time to time he screams out with intolerable pain. He tries to pull away from the wood and the massive spikes through his wrist rip into the nerve endings and he screams again with agony and pushes up with his feet to give some relief to his wrists. But the bones and nerves in his pierced feet crush against each other with anguish and he screams again.
There is no relief. His throat is raw from screaming and thirst. He loses his breath and thinks he is suffocating, and suddenly his body involuntarily gasps for air and all the injuries unite in pain. In torment, he forgets about the crown of two-inch thorns and throws his head back in desperation, only to hit one of the thorns perpendicular against the cross beam and drive it half an inch into his skull. His voice reaches a soprano pitch of pain and sobs break over his pain-wracked body as every cry brings more and more pain.
Now, I am not thinking about the blouse any more. I am at Calvary.

To read Piper's article in full click on this link.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

No Small Churches

"For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”" (Zechariah 4:10, NKJV)

In preparation for my Sunday sermon I came across this Zechariah 4:10. My purpose for going to this passage was because it is a cross reference on the sevenfold Holy Spirit as mentioned in Revelation 4. This text includes the line, ”who has despised the day of small things?” Zerubbabel had been working on restoring the Temple. This post exilic temple would pale in comparison to Solomon’s Temple. Zerubbabel was discouraged because of its lack of size and impressive beauty. God on the other hand was well pleased and told him not to despise small things.

This is a passage that is easier to read than believe for the many pastors who struggle to build a congregation to the glory of God. But the reality is that God has not called us to build an impressive facility or a church with a mass of humanity. He was called us to be faithful to the Word.

Everything God does is a big thing. There are no small churches. God is omnisciently watching and caring for the church, Jesus is in the process of building His church, and one day will gather His glorious church together.

As Jesus calls His church from every tribe an nation we will fully recognize that there are no small churches.

"And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation," (Revelation 5:9, NKJV)

Friday, June 6, 2008

35 Questions asked about eternity

" After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”" (Revelation 4:1-8, NKJV)

On Sunday mornings at LABC we going through the Book of Revelation verse by verse. We have now reached chapter four in which John gets a glimpse of Heaven. In preparation for this Sunday’s sermon I came across an article that I thought would shed some light on the subject.

Christianity Today published an article titled “What Will Heaven Be Like?

Thirty-five frequently asked questions about eternity.” Peter Kreeft | posted 6/01/2003

That title looks like it may go well with our topic. So I read the article which was basically answers to 35 frequently asked questions about eternity. Below are a few of the questions, you can read the article in its entirety by clicking on the aforementioned link.

1. How do we know anything about Heaven, anyway?

3. Will we recognize our loved ones in Heaven?

6. Will we have emotions in Heaven?

10. What happens in Heaven?

11. Can the blessed in Heaven see us now?

12. Will we know everything in Heaven?

13. Will we all be equal in Heaven?

15. What kind of bodies will we have in Heaven?

16. What of injuries and deformities? Will they all be removed in the resurrection body?

17. Will there be nature in Heaven?

18. Will we be able to perform magic and miracles?

19. Will there be animals in Heaven? Will my dead cat be there?

20. Will we eat in Heaven?

21. Will our bodies be clothed in Heaven?

22. Will there be music in Heaven?

25. Will there be time in Heaven?

This article was written to respond to the most frequently asked question about heaven. If you carefully consider each question and I posted a link to it on my blog all of these questions focus on the centrality of man. Out of thirty five questions there is no question that addresses the central focus of heaven, God’s throne. Perhaps one of the reasons is because mankind is so naturally man centered that God is merely an after-thought.

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3, NKJV)

Since God is the greatest good He will be your greatest delight and the center of your affections. In the man centered world in which we live it is hard to see anything better than those things which now occupy our time, but in eternity our taste buds will be expanded to delight in God.

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11, NKJV)

Beloved Heaven if first and foremost about God, and that is why those prophets who have actually been granted a vision of Heaven reported a common message with a familiar theme. God is the centerpiece of heaven.

The central focus of heaven is God.

Planet Earth

And some say that this all happened by accident…

"The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19, NKJV)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Majestic Blessing

What a blessing! It was a privilege to host the choral group Majesty this year. The college students from Master’s College in Southern California did an excellent job sharing with us their testimony through singing and through various anecdotes. Special thanks to all who participated in inviting people and for providing for the needs of the music team. The students were encourage by your presence and will need your prayers over the next few weeks as they continue to proclaim the glory of Christ through music.

We housed the guys on campus. One of the students played bluegrass music and brought his mandolin so Tom got his Banjo and I got a guitar and the seven of us sang one song after another for about three hours. We had a great time but one of the tenors said he may have trouble singing at the next venue because of singing so much [I saw him the next morning and he had recovered so don’t be too alarmed. Besides it would have been worthwhile.]

In any case Tom and I helped those California boys get a real Southern twang in their tone. I think the next church in Alabama will be satisfied, but I think the school may not let them come out to the South to play again. J

Again the girls and guys of Majesty thank all of you for your support.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Tonight LABC has the privilege to present the choral group Majesty. The members of this group are college students from John MacArthur’s Masters College in Southern California.

In March I had the opportunity to attend the Shepherd’s fellowship, a pastor’s conference hosted by John MacArthur and Grace Community Church. We had an excellent time as we were challenged to continue to feature Biblical preaching in our ministries. In addition to excellent preaching we had the privilege of hearing excellent music. This connection led to Majesty arranging a visit with us today.

I am looking forward to being blessed by excellent God honoring music this evening. In addition I know we will also be blessed to see young men and women pursue ministry opportunities in music. No doubt tonight will be a time of mutual encouragement as we participate in glorifying God in worship.

Service time starts at 7:00 PM…you may want to arrive early.

Normally we have a time of extended prayer on Wednesday evening. This evening will focus on the concert however we will still take prayer requests and pray for those needs during the week. You can bring your request with you tonight or email them to

Monday, June 2, 2008