Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Penetrating Baton Rouge with the Gospel

One burden that I have for CrossPoint this fall is for the Lord to use us to penetrate Baton Rouge with the Gospel. Obviously, this should be happening everyday as we are Christ's ambassadors (2 Cor. 5), but I'm not certain its happening. I'm also not certain that we are going out of our way for the sake of the Gospel to the "difficult" areas of Baton Rouge. I pray our usefulness for the Gospel is not accidental but intentional. I've been challenged personally by Paul's directive to Timothy to "preach the Word" but also to "do the work of an evangelist." I'm praying for God to use Tara and I in the lives of our neighbors, in the lives of the parents who attend our daughters' school, and in the lives of those that the Lord gives us daily divine appointments. It's possible for a pastor to spend all of his time with the sheep. It's also possible to have more sheep than one pastor can effectively shepherd. Praise the Lord for elders at CrossPoint and the shared responsibility of oversight. As these brothers aid in "caring for the flock," I'm praying God gives me more opportunities this fall in places where Jesus is not yet named in Baton Rouge. I also continue to pray that our greatest fear as a congregation will not be death or disease, but disobedience to Christ. I hope that you will join me in asking the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers in Baton Rouge.

One other note, this morning I read in a sub-headline that at least 701 people had been killed in recent floods that have swept parts of China. I found it interesting that it was a sub-headline and not even a headline on this particular news outlet. I wondered how many of us would read this caption and not be gripped at all. Not gripped by the reality that 701 souls have entered into eternity. Not gripped by the reality that some of those souls have perished forever. Not gripped that if those that are around us do not repent then they will perish too (Luke 13:1-5). I was moved to pray for God to use the floods in accordance with His global plans for His name and renown. I prayed for the workers. I prayed for the families left behind. I prayed also that I would not become so "used to stories such as these" from the 24 hour news networks that I became numb to my responsibility to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are yet to know Him. May we not waste today. May the Gospel advance in us and through us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lottie and CP

Here is a copy of a letter I am sending to our people this morning.

Dear CP,

How are the sheep today? I pray you are well and as always that the Gospel is advancing in you and through you. Remember, you are our evangelism strategy for Baton Rouge. Christ in you is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). May Christ be evident in all of us today.

I'm writing you in July and want to challenge you to begin to think about Christmas. Some of you think about it already, but specifically I want to challenge you to think about the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Usually, this offering is collected in December, but if you are like us (2 birthdays and Christmas in December), then there is not a lot of money left over. Paul gave some wisdom to the church at Corinth that I want to pass along to you:

1 Cor. 16:1-2 "Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come."

Paul's wisdom to the churches he ministered to was this: "Look I will be coming to collect an offering for our brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, so be intentional to participate weekly in storing up for this offering. I don't want to arrive and start the process. You guys start the process and as you prosper over the next period of time set aside gifts for this offering."

December will come quickly. If we are not intentional in our planning then we may not be able to give as much as we would desire. Let me encourage you in a few ways. First, give yourselves to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5). Hold nothing back. It's not about giving your money it's about giving your life. Second, earnestly pursue satisfaction in God (Ps. 63). When He is your joy then all other treasures can be released. Third, as you prosper set some aside (1 Cor. 16:2). Some of you will have some financial blessings this fall. As the Lord prospers you, set some aside for the purpose of global disciple-making. Fourth, do not be anxious about what you will eat or wear (Matthew 6:19-34). Your Father knows what you need before you ask. Trust Him to provide for you even as you provide for others.

Giving to Lottie Moon is one of my favorite offerings. 100% of the funds goes directly to the mission field. My prayer is that as we are satisfied in God, that we might sacrifice for Him like never before. In light of putting this opportunity on your radar, you may not want to wait until December, but you may want to give along the way. We will be happy to collect Lottie Moon offerings throughout the fall. There is no wrong time to give so that God's name may be proclaimed in the nations.

Just sharing with you what's on my heart this morning. Love you much.

Contending for Christ,
Pastor Landon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fuge at Ridgecrest

Just a quick update. I'm currently at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina preaching for Centrifuge/X-Fuge. Tonight is the last night of worship and the theme I've been asked to speak on is sacrifice. I will be preaching from 2 Cor. 8-9. I will also be emphasizing that our sacrifice for God is proportional to our satisfaction in God. It's been a good week. God has used His Word and Spirit to bring life to new brothers and sisters in Christ. He has also used His Word in many other ways. I'm thankful for the Gospel. I'm thankful that all God expects from us He provides for us in Christ. I'm praying that God will anoint the preaching of His Word tonight. Please join me in that prayer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dub and Grace Efurd

I never had the opportunity to meet Dub Efurd, but I have seen the fruit of his ministry. Last Wednesday night, I had the privilege to sit around a table at Bellows Air Base on Oahu and listen to three couples testify to the impact both Dub and Grace Efurd had on their lives. One of those couples was my father and mother in-law. As a young military couple stationed in Hawaii, their first encounter with Dub was when he knocked on their door. My in-laws had been members of Waikiki Baptist Church, but when they decided to move closer to Schofield Barracks they were informed of a mission just starting in Mililani. Dub was the pastor of that mission and when a member of Waikiki contacted him and informed him of my in-laws move - he showed up at their door. Another couple sitting around the table last Wednesday night shared how Dub knocked on their door as well. All 3 couples shared of the ministry that Dub and Grace extended to them, especially of having them into their home and providing food and fellowship. One of my favorite stories was of a soldier who came to Christ while at Mililani and is now a pastor leading others to Christ. That mission church eventually became its own congregation and was formally constituted 35 years ago. Under Dub's leadership it grew to be one of the largest Baptist churches in Hawaii. But numbers was not what dominated the conversation last Wednesday night, the impact of man who lived Christ was the main topic. Story after story and testimony after testimony to God's grace working in and through a ministry couple. What's even more amazing is that due to their commitment to the military, the three couples I was with were only around Dub and Grace for at most 3 years. The amount of impact in such a short time was challenging to me. The fruit of Dub's and Grace's ministry continues to multiply and will eventually be revealed in Heaven. Interesting, that in one of the world's most beautiful places it was not the scenery that refreshed me most, but the beauty of Christ being displayed in a fellow pastor and the harvest of righteousness the Lord has produced. I pray that I might be such a pastor and follower of Christ.