Sunday, November 18, 2012


William Temple: For to worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open up the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The True Gospel

In Tad Thompson's book: Intentional Parenting, he writes the following: The good news of Jesus Christ is not that you can become a better person. Or that God has given us the secret to wealth, purpose, and a peaceful life. Or that some special prayer is the "open sesame" for the gates of heaven. The biblical gospel can be understood by keeping in mind four essential elements that summarize its content: *God is the sovereign and holy Creator of the universe. *Man has rejected the sovereign and holy rule of God. *Jesus is the eternal Son of God who came to rescue sinners. *The gospel demands that all people respond in repentance and faith.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Christ-Centered Expositions of Ezekiel

Through the Lord's grace, my friends: Danny Akin, Tony Merida, and David Platt have invited me to participate in a commentary series they are publishing. My portion will be: Christ-Centered Expositions of Ezekiel. Of course, after I was assigned Ezekiel I questioned the actual level of my "friendship" with those men! Currently, the goal is to have a manuscript to the publishers by December 2014. Fortunately, the only parts remaining for me to complete are...all of them! The first facet will be to study and prepare Christ-Centered expositions of Ezekiel to our faith family at Trace Crossing. The second phase will be to take those sermon notes and turn them into commentary chapters. The good news is that Ezekiel is a succinct, clear, and concise little ol' 48 chapter book! With a 10,000 word count limit, I'm aiming to maximize the content. Oh, and then there's that wheel in the sky keeps on turning thing that Ezekiel sees. No worries right? Well, pray for us. Pray for the study, the proclamation, and the formatting that lies ahead. As always, the purpose of studying Ezekiel is never just for information, but for transformation, so pray most importantly that God will use His Word to further conform our faith family to the image of Christ.

Goals for Trace Crossing for 2012

In January, the elders presented the following goals to Trace Crossing for 2012. By God's grace, some of these goals have already been achieved, while others are still works in progress. I'm posting them here today, so you can know what we have been and continue to be striving toward together at Trace Crossing in 2012. GOALS FOR TRACE CROSSING IN 2012 Because of the Gospel and in the power of the Gospel, we will strive to equip the members of Trace Crossing to live for the good of others and God’s glory. I. THE GOSPEL WORD *Strive to see each member be able to articulate the Gospel clearly and concisely (God, man, Christ, response). *Encourage daily thinking on the Gospel, so that Christ is the motive and means for all we do. *Complete our exposition of Ephesians *Complete our study in Luke, Genesis, and Acts in LifeGroups *Sing the Word, pray the Word, preach the Word in each worship service II. THE GOSPEL COMMUNITY *By the end of 2012, develop a regenerate church membership list. *Seek and develop additional LifeGroup leaders. Train, equip, and encourage LifeGroup leaders on an ongoing basis. *Help members identify and use their spiritual gifts. *Strive to see Titus 2 relationships develop where the older men are mentoring the younger men and the more mature ladies are mentoring the younger ladies. *Continue to encourage the once a month women’s meetings. *Develop a weekly men’s prayer time. *Continue to seek the Lord’s direction in location change. Emphasis upon giving to building fund. Clearly communicate our motives in moving. *Continue to model prayerful support of sister congregations *Have communication boards in the worship center that provide key information we want everyone to see and remember. *Develop welcome packets and process for after service *Develop a collegiate and young professionals ministry III. THE GOSPEL ADVANCING *Praying for each of our members to lead at least one person to Christ in 2012. *Help members identify gifts/talents/expertise that can be used to help train, equip and reach out to local neighborhoods (safety seminars, financial seminars, sewing classes, resume development, etc.) *Encourage cheerful and sacrificial giving to missions. *Send more Trace Crossing members on mission than ever before. *Continue to develop strategic global, Gospel partnerships *Continue to seek out areas of Tupelo where new works or specific ministries could help advance the Gospel. *Display maps of the world and Tupelo in our building and highlight areas where we’ve gone, where we give money to support, and where we are specifically interceding. *Complete documents for SEBTS to be able to house theological education at Trace Crossing. *Bless Tupelo in some tangible way through doing and giving.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Sufferings of Christ

Here is the conclusion J. C. Ryle felt we should be led to as we consider Christ's sufferings:

"And let us learn from the story of the passion always to hate sin with a great hatred. Sin was the cause of all our Savior’s sufferings. Our sins twisted the crown of thorns; our sins drove the nails into his hands and feet; on account of our sins his blood was shed. Surely the thought of Christ crucified should make us loathe all sin. As the Church of England Homily of Passion says so well: 'Let this image of Christ crucified be always printed in our hearts. Let it stir us up to the hatred of sin, and provoke our minds to the earnest love of Almighty God.'”

Thursday, April 5, 2012


A couple years ago, I had the privilege of leading the children at CrossPoint through material from Kids 4 Truth that centered on the atonement. Here is some of what I shared with them:

Christ’s atonement met four needs we have as sinners:
1. We deserve to die as the penalty for sin.
2. We deserve to bear God’s wrath against sin.
3. We are separated from God by our sins.
4. We are in bondage to sin and to the kingdom of Satan.

Here’s how Christ’s atonement met the needs above:
1. Sacrifice – Jesus died our death (Heb. 9:26)
2. Propitiation – Jesus took God’s wrath (1 John 4:10)
3. Reconciliation – Jesus brings us back to God (2 Cor. 5:18-19)
4. Redemption – Jesus paid the ransom to set us free (Mark 10:45)

Quotes from Knowing God

As a staff, we are reading through J. I. Packer's "Knowing God" and discussing what we read on Thursday mornings. I was particularly encouraged by the following:

"There is tremendous relief in knowing that (God's) love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me."

"There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that he sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow humans do not see (and am I glad!), and that he sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, he wants me as his friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given his Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Today is my friend Nathan's birthday. Several months ago, Student Life asked for stories about how much youth ministers have meant to you, but I failed to take the time then to write what I am today. I first met Nathan at my home church in Leesville, LA. He was fresh out of SWBTS and seeking his first place of service. The deacon who prayed for Nathan in that first evening service struggled to remember his name and called him "Nat." I had no idea then as a child how much "Nat" would come to mean to me. The stories I could tell are many. The laughs we have shared are countless. But most of all the friendship has been priceless.

As a youth minister, Nathan cared about us not as a statistic but as a person. Living in a divorced and abusive home, I was grateful for Nathan's care and concern. Nathan planned the first Disciple Now I ever participated in. We had navy blue t-shirts with yellow writing that asked "Who's in Charge" with a big question mark on the front. Come to think of it, I owe many firsts to Nathan - he took me to my first LSU-Ole Miss game; he was the first person to teach me how to drive a standard; he was the first person to open my eyes to places such as Ridgecrest, Glorieta, and of course, six flags; my first date was at his house (after the movie we wanted to see was sold out); he was the fist person I called when my truck was stuck in the mud behind our church property; he was the first (and only) person who woke me up from a deep sleep one morning by yelling "Good Morning Vietnam;" he was present in Nashville when I preached my first sermon ever for M-Fuge; and he was the first person to introduce me to Sue Mac who was the first person to introduce me to Tara.

Nathan never failed to emphasize to us the basics of discipleship. He encouraged us to pursue accountability with one another. He honestly shared with me that I had the potential to either really make it or really blow it. He opened up his home for both Bible studies and for just fellowship. He attended my freshmen and JV football games. He taught me all I know about quick wit and smart come-backs. He taught me how to honk the horn at someone who is on your left, but then turn and wave to the right. My mom will tell you that Nathan taught me other things as well but she will have to write her own blog.

Through the years, the friendship has only grown deeper. He has been a faithful encourager in ministry. When my father died, he was one of my most precious counselors. When I got married, he was my best man. When I needed wisdom in making a purchase, he provided it. His road in ministry has not been without pain, but through it all, Nathan has modeled commitment to the Lord and His call on Nathan's life.

Nathan will most likely never be called by Relevant or Group or Lifeway or Morph and asked to contribute, but Nathan's faithfulness and fruitfulness will One Day be fully revealed. I cannot tell you the number of former students of his that are now serving in the ministry but the Lord can. I cannot tell you the number of times Nathan has ministered just through his presence and attendance but the Lord can. I cannot tell you how many conversations he has had with students or how many tears and laughs he's shared with them, but the Lord can.

When I think of Nathan, I never fail to say "thank you" to the Lord. At a time when I needed someone like Nathan the most, the Lord in His good providence brought our paths together and though our paths have separated at times they have never been far apart. I rejoice that now we are back in the same city and I have the joy of seeing my friend - like at lunch today or in walking into the hospital together a few weeks ago to minister to different people.

Father thank you for Nathan Fitts. Please continue to empower his ministry and may this chapter of service be the sweetest yet. Thank you for his birthday. Please bless him with many more happy and healthy days. Thank you also that because of Christ, death is not the final word that is spoken over both of our fathers. May the Gospel of Christ continue to advance in us and through us. Amen.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


All sin is a rejection of God's Kingship and an assertion of our own. We rebel against His rule and seek to reign over our own lives. We say to Him, "You do not know what's best. I do. You are not my King. I am." How is that working out for you? Probably as well as it worked for Adam and Eve and for every human since them. We somehow forget that not only is God the King of Everything, but He is also the Best King. He is a Holy King. This means that every do not from God is for our best and every do is too. All of His Words are saturated in love and are for our good and His glory. I recently shared with my friends at Trace Crossing that I'm not sure exactly how much time I've spent on sin in my life, but I do know these two things: 1) It's been a lot 2) It's all been wasted. In Hebrews 3, we are told to exhort each other every day not to be deceived by sin. What if the Church took this teaching seriously? What if each morning Dads would remind Moms and then their children, "Look to Christ today! Don't be fooled by sin today. Sin never provides what it promises but Christ always does" - wouldn't this revolutionize our homes and our congregations? What if our teenagers would encourage each other to pursue Christ and not sin each day at school?

Father, please produce these types of Dads and Moms and students at Trace Crossing (and all other churches). Please help us to purse Christ and find in Him such satisfaction that the temptations of the flesh, world, and devil can be seen for what they really are. Please help us to live your Word by being intentional to remind each other daily of Christ's greatness and sin's deceitfulness. Please help us to quit wasting so much time on sin. In Christ's name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 Reasons for Practicing Corrective Church Discipline

This list is taken from Mark Dever's "What is a Healthy Church?"

Practicing Corrective Church Discipline shows love for:
1. the good of the disciplined individual;
2. other Christians as they see the danger of sin;
3. the health of the church as a whole;
4. the corporate witness of the church and, therefore, non-Christians in the community;
5. and the glory of God. Our holiness should reflects God's holiness.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thinking on Lent

I did not grow up in a church that engaged the Lenten Season. As a matter of fact, I used to think it was strictly a Catholic practice and having grown up as a protestant in Louisiana, we didn't do much that our Catholic friends did. I've since learned that Lent is for protestants too! Lent is a great season to ponder the cross and our need for daily reliance upon Christ and turning from sin. Below are my 3 main reasons for participating in Lent:

#1. Easter is too important to let it "sneak up on me" without giving much thought to Christ's substitutionary atonement.
#2. I want the Spirit to show me anything or anyone I am choosing more than Christ. Is every area yielded to Him?
#3. I want to rest in the completed work of Christ rather than think my work earns righteousness.

If you would like to lead your family through a weekly reading that will help them think on Easter and our need for Christ, I would recommend Lenten Lights by Noel Piper and here is the URL where the resource can be found:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Verses for Evangelism

The Gospel – 4 main components – God, man, Christ, response

Psalm 95:3-6 “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!”

Isaiah 40:21-25 “Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.”

Acts 17:29-31 “Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

1 Peter 1:16 “since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Romans 3:10-12 “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying our the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Romans 8:6-8 “To set the mind on the flesh is death but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Isaiah 53:4-6 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

2 Cor. 5:18-19; 21 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. . . . For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Colossians 1:19-22 “For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him”

Hebrews 9:14 “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

1 John 4:9-10 “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”

2 Cor. 5:20 “…We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”