Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Eve of a New Decade

Rarely do I place the contents of my monthly newsletter article for the church into this blog. For some reason, I feel so inclined this month. God bless!

The eve of a new decade is an exciting time. I have thought so ever since I was born on December 31, 1969! After all, we only get to roll over the tens digit so many times in our lives (a web site that claimed to be able to gauge my life expectancy indicated that I will see a new decade come 10 times in my life). Milestones like this turn our minds toward the future as we imagine what the adolescence of this century will hold for ourselves, our families, our community, and our world.

Obviously, we don’t really know the answer to that question, and folks who tell you otherwise aren’t being honest. For example, Daniel Fagre, a U. S. Geological Survey ecologist working at Montana’s Glacier National Park eerily warns that Global Warming will entirely do away with the park’s glaciers by 2020. The BBC, on the other hand, reports that global temperatures have actually decreased over the past 11 years and that we are in for a decade of global cooling. Which will it be? Seeing how well the world’s scientists are able to predict the weather two weeks from Thursday, I’m prepared to believe that neither group has a clue. What’s more, I don’t believe that we really have much control over what the weather will be like in 2020.

Will I be alive in 2020? Will the economy be strong and provide ample resources for my family in the next decade? Will the Swine Flu or some other disease cause a pandemic? Will the Cowboys win any of the next 10 Super Bowls? All of these things are mostly beyond your control (unless somebody is forwarding our little newsletter to Jerry Jones).

But here’s something that does lie within your influence: You can grow spiritually in the 2010s. You can have an entire decade of your life in which you read your Bible (several times through!) and pray every day. You can mentor a younger Christian for this decade. God can help you to find victory over that pesky temptation that has been a chronic weakness for you.

You can start to tithe in this decade. If you are in debt on the way into this decade, you can be out of debt before it ends. Our nation can embrace the fiscal responsibility of earlier generations and exit the 2010s no longer terrified of what the Chinese might do with all of our nation’s debt that they hold.

You can participate in an international mission trip in the coming decade. You can present the gospel to every person in your neighborhood, or to every person in your family. You can adopt an orphan, volunteer in the CASA program, or assist a troubled child.

Together, we Southern Baptists can plant enough new churches to change the spiritual climate of our nation in the upcoming decade. We can start to take back our cities. We can put a missionary in every people group on the planet. Yes, there is so much that we cannot control, but in every important way, the decade of 2010 will be what we make of it. On your mark. Get set!

Bro. Bart


Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

Some great insight. Of course with you turning 40 this year it could be just ramblings from an old man. :)


Anonymous said...

I do not see how you can be excited with the impending arrival of a new decade. If anything, it could be quite depressing if someone thought about it long enough. Basically, a mere change in a digit number cannot magically impact society.

One thing it will do is make us realize our time is now one year shorter. And for some of us, the realization that our personal aspirations for being in the center of God's will through one of the particular foundations of the Bible have once again been denied. But there is no time to lag behind. I am reminded of what President George W. Bush said after the attacks on 09-11-01. "We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail." God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I have posted to your site a couple of times previously concerning marriage, companionship, etc., if you may recall. If you would allow me to I would like to expound upon the subject a little further. I remember you said it would be best to chat with a pastor face to face. I would still like to see if you would ponder this, if for nothing else as something for food for thought.

People have been caught up equality for so long. You have had Civil Rights movements, ERA, and now universal healthcare. My question is this. Why not have universal marriage or companionship? Or just whatever term you would prefer to use. I believe if someone is worthy, they should not be denied. Of course if there are concerns, that is another story. From what I have read, this is how the early Native American tribes were set up. They had a true egalitarian way of life. Please hear me out before you cast this off as nonsense. When the early European explorers first came in contact with these tribes, even they saw the qualities. They believed the lifestyle of these tribes were as close to what humanity should be all about than anything they had ever seen. Everyone was on an equal footing.

You see, most people do not really consider it from this angle, because they do not have to. Just like someone who has never had cancer or some other major illnesss, has never had to deal with the process involved of treatments, therapy, etc.

If you really think about it, the single person of today is the most forgotten and overlooked type of any category I can think of. I believe there should be a system developed to address the concerns and find a remedy. Now I am not talking about something artificial and prefabricated such as a singles group that will go bowling or such like. This is common at your large churches. I am talking about something which really gets to the heart of the matter and finds a solution. Again, you may think this is off the wall. But let me ask you this? Have you had to experience years of just trying to see if you could find a lady to talk with or have an informal conversation of any length to see if it may lead to something more? I don't believe you have sir. And I am glad you have not had to deal with it. I am at the age now to where I fully realize that time is not on my side. I believe it would be a sin not to give your full efforts for something you believe in. And of course we know this is one of the foundations of the Bible that God predestined long ago.

This brings me to one last point and I will close. Is the so-called process of falling in love and marrying of today the way in which God really intended it? You always hear about one trying to "score points" to "win another's love." The phrase "love is just is game" is very common. "If I could just get inside their heart" is another phrase. For some reason I believe we have gradually strayed from how God intended marriage to be. I appreciate your thought. God Bless.

volfan007 said...


I'm not really following what you're trying to say?

Let me say this. The Apostle Paul said it's better to stay single, if you're able to do that. But, if you're not, then it's best to get married. And, most people are not geared to remain single for the rest of their life.

But, marriage is how God set up the relationship that should be between a man and a woman, who want to be intimate and bear children. Anything less than a commitment...lifelong commitment...to each other is sin. In other words, if a man and a woman just want to shack up, or live together, without making a lifelong commitment to each other, then it's sin for them to have sex. Any sex outside of the marriage boundary is sin against God.

I really dont know if I'm answering your questions, or not. But, maybe this will help. Please respond to what I've said, and maybe you can help me understand better where you're coming from.


PS. Bart, please endulge this conversation. Anonymous wanted me to answer this. He/she came to my blog and asked me to come here and respond. Thanks.

volfan007 said...

Also, anonymous, the Bible clearly teaches complementarianism, not egalitarianism. You see, I'm not so much concerned with what society says...about equal rights, gun control, abortion, or anything else...whether the American Indians believed it, or the ancient Europeans accepted it, or whether a poll is taken today to see how our society feels about it. I'm very concerned with what the Bible teaches. What is the clear teachings of the Scripture? So, with that in mind, I cannot go along with an egalitarian viewpoint. It goes against the clear teachings of Scripture.


PS. Who are you? Why wont you tell us your name?

Anonymous said...

Bro. David,

Thanks for the comments. I would prefer just not to give out my name. Mainly for the fact that the whole issue is not about myself. The issue is about others. I want to give back to a signifacant other, wheter they have been married with children or without, or have always been single.

I agree with everything you said. What bothers me is the fact that I see so many deadbeats who seem to never seem to have trouble finding someone. All I have ever done is just work and try to be responsible, and could not make a connection with a lady I believe if my life depended on it. It's almost as if this type of mindset or living has just about vanished. I've had ladies ask questions such as, "Can you dance, or can you shoot pool?" Shouldn't they be more concerned with if someone can work and be responsible? Or how can one handle pressure situations? I must admit, it gets so tiresome to hear people inquire time and time again as to how is the wife and family. Of course I cannot tell them anything. I've just become uncomfortable in any type of setting out and about, with the exception of visiting with the elderly. We never have trouble making a connection, and I am 45. I feel I must make up for lost time one way or the other. I see and hear people complain about their life. Well, let me tell you one thing, I would more than welcome having small children and having to get up at night and tend to them, and everything else that goes with it. I guess another thing I am trying to get across, is the fact that I really do not hardly know how to even act around a lady anywhere near my own age anymore. It has become that awkward. Of course I have found out sadly as well, that some "ladies of the Church", are not quite the lady they are made out to be, if you know what I mean.

Somewhere along the way, we have failed. All of the wheels just have not been turning. When someone cannot even find a girlfriend for even a small amount of time after working in the public for years.......... I would say that is cause for concern. Maybe it is because I am just old-timey with no glamour and glitz. But then again, you would think that some would find a safe haven in that, especially the way things are in the world now. With some, you do not know if they are coming or going. I just know it will take nothing short of a miracle now, at this stage.

By the way, I am from East Texas and have been to Tennessee many times, and love the Smokies..... Good Ole Rocky Top........ Rocky Top, Tennessee. One of the all time greatest songs. God Bless.

JamesCharles said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I've already given you much of what the Bible says concerning this issue on one of your previous questions on my page. After seeing they did not help you, and you ask the same question to others, I'd like to ask you a few questions to better serve you.

#1 - Do you know where you will go when you die?

#2 - If so, how do you know?

#3 - Do you believe the Bible to be the all sufficient rule of faith and practice?

#4 - While I know all men do not serve God the way we need to, do you consider yourself one who has regular habits of Bible study, prayer, witnessing, and church attendance?

#5 - To which denominational belief do you hold?

Since you haven't given your name, I don't think you'd be at any risk of anyone judging you or looking down upon you. I only ask these to help, not to judge. I believe if you answer these questions, I can better understand from where you are coming and what answers may help you further.

Love in Christ,
Brother James

Anonymous said...

Bro. James,

To answer your questions in order of ocurrance.

I truely believe so. Of course God is the final judge. But I have always felt Him in my heart for as long as I can remember and was drawn toward Him. I believe that was God doing the work and not myself. No one is perfect or a saint. We are born sinners. You know, the early Native American tribes knew there was a supreme being. They had never read a Bible nor been told of one, but they knew. I believe this was God who put it inside of them.

The Bible is indeed inspired of God and should be our roadmap in life. It bothers me there are now so many different versions, which leave a lot out. Technically, they are not translations, but merely paraphrases. I am not saying the King James version is the only one which should be read, but is the closest to the original manuscripts.

As to question # 4, certainly. Bible study does not necessarily mean a formalized time period each day of reading. Sometimes that could become a mere ritual. Just meditating on scriptures while going down the road or at work, and contemplating where you stand spiritually can certainly be construed as Bible study. I believe the greatest witness of anyone is the example they set forth each and everyday. Much more than any organized effort of a large scale.

To your last question, I would just say Baptist, and nothing more. Mainly because if you trace the history, that is what they were called in the beginning. Long before terms such as SBC, ABA, MBA, Primitive, Freewill, Fundamental, etc. I will say that I hold the views of the early Baptist founders in America to be the closest to what was originally intended. When man found out he could make a profit off of religion, things started to go downhill from there. God Bless.

volfan007 said...


I am truly sorry that you have never found the right lady to share your life with. That is truly a tragedy.

And, I'm being serious right now, have you ever considered things like e-harmony? I mean, they will base things on you personality, beliefs, etc.? Just trying to give you options.

Also, when you are a Christian, prayer is a good way to find the mate that God wants for you. Pray about it...tell the Lord about it. And then, look...seek...trust...wait patiently.


Anonymous said...


I appreciate the comments. Yes, prayer indeed brings us closer to God and weathers the storm.

As far as those websites you mentioned, I just don't believe in things of that nature. I think they are nothing more than money-making devices for the companies. God Bless.

JamesCharles said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I do not mean to sound rude in any way, but you did not answer my question #1 and #2. Do you know where you will go when you die, and how do you know the answer to this?

You did say men are sinners, and that you've felt God drawing you. You also pointed out that the Natives knew there was a God, and I agree God is the one who revealed Himself to them (via nature, moral law, etc.) But as you know, the devil also believes there is a God and His Son Jesus died on the cross. The devil even knows the Bible is the Word of God. So let me ask again, Where will you go when you pass away, and how do you know?

Also, I did not ask your denomination to look down upon you or anyone else. I simply need to have a better understanding of your beliefs before I can talk to you about your issue. You see, I can explain everything I believe the way it should go, but if you do not share the view of some of the basic fundamental concepts from which I am trying to approach the matter, then my explanation will be foreign to you from the start. So I need to know more or less which fundamental beliefs to which you hold.

You said Baptist as it was in the beginning. Some believe Baptists were house churches without any pastors or leaders. Some believe true Baptists are those that are saved by works. Some believe true Baptists are those who are saved by grace through faith only, and fully immersed only after this salvation. Some believe in God's picking and choosing how your life is going to go, while others believe God gives free-will for man. I need to know more or less what you believe before I can answer your question, or at least to know whether or not I can answer your question in a way you will not dismiss from the start.

So if you had to choose a denomination to belong to, which closest holds your views?

Anonymous said...

Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.

I think I may see where you are heading with this. If I would be willing to compromise my beliefs in order to find a mate? That does bring up an interesting topic that you might like to address even if that was not your intention. I guess it would depend on the person and just how far away from your belief and value system they were. Ihave known some that were compatible who held different religious viewpoints. It is best though i believe, to have the same basic religious theology.

I do believe I will go to a better place because of what I comprehend in reading the scriptures. But even then, man does not exactly know what exactly Heaven will be or be like. It could be entirely different than what we have predisposed in our minds. God will do as He pleases. It is evident that you are well read on Bible doctrine and or doctrines, so I'm sure most of this is not foreign to you I am bringing up. I do believe in the concept of time salvation, to which I believe means saving yourself from the pitfalls of the world. I always think of the Amish in regard to this, as they choose their lifestyle in large part to be closer to God by shunning many modern devices. They call the whole concept, "Heaven on earth." You mentioned the time when house worship was common. The Amish have always practiced this. They rotate within different homes for worship each Sunday. Of course the Bible does not say you must have a specific building for worship.

I believe I will see Heaven and immortal glory. But I also believe God does as He pleases. It may be different than we expect. That is where hope comes into the picture. I know you are all familiar with the scriptures which deal with hope. It's just human nature for us to want it both ways. It has always been appealing to the flesh to think we have a part in our destiny. If someone "makes a profession of faith," I believe God is still responsible for this. The Bible clearly states that it is God who draws.

Now to your question about denominations. First of all, I believe just about all of them have changed from their original purpose. Too much of the world has been brought in. I do believe people of all denominations will be saved ultimately. I believe the Church is a type of the ark. It should be a safe haven from the world. But we have brought the world into it to where sometimes it cannot be distinguised at all from a typical worldly institution. In other words, a hole has formed in the ark, and water has gotten in and is fast rising. Sadly, this is what so many want today. I believe just about all of your early Baptist leaders would condemn the state of religion today, whether they were of SBC, ABA,MBA, Primitive, Reformed, Soveriegn Grace, Fundamental Independent, Freewill, and so forth. In fact, I think so would be down right shocked. I believe of any of these I just mentioned, Primitive Baptists, of which there are 1,000 or so churches scattered throughout the US, and the Old Regular Baptists, which are found mostly in Eastern Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia, ( and maybe West Virginia) come the closest to keeping the ancient landmarks of the early church. But now, even Primitive Baptists have slowly started to modernize. I do not think it is quite as prevelent with the Old Regular Baptists. Then again, all of these terms are man made, and not found in the Bible. I attend the Primitive Baptist church, and believe the articles of faith. But there is no perfect church or perfect Christian.

Anonymous said...

Let me add one more thought as I ran out of space. You will find this story quite interesting as I did myself. A Primitive Baptist minister shared this story with me several years back, so it is reliable.

I know you are very familiar with the late Dr. W.A. Criswell who was pastor for many years at First Baptist church of Dallas, Texas. On occasion he would visit the Primitive Baptist church in Dallas. He would keep it sort of low-keyed. He admitted that this form of worship and theology was where the Baptist church all started. So Mr. Criswell may have in fact been a "closet Calvinist" if you will. Of course he knew this type of doctrine would never fly at one of the most prominent Baptist churches in America.

I know we kind of got away from the subject at hand. But that's alright I appreciate your comments and dialogue anytime. Hope to hear back from you. God Bless.

JamesCharles said...

I was not suggesting you bend your beliefs. I believe the Bible's teaching about not being unequally yoked to an unbeliever teaches we should find someone who holds the same major beliefs as we do. Bending beliefs is not what I was suggesting at all.

You said a few things that confuse me. The reason I cannot answer your question in a satisfactorily manner is, because I have a different worldview than you, I suppose. I believe a person must simply realize and admit they are a sinner, repenting of this in sorrow and turning to Jesus by believing and asking Him to save that person from the dead. I believe salvation is by the grace (free gift - Jesus' atoning death) and faith (in that gift) alone. If you have never accepted Christ as personal Savior, my advice before trying to find God's will for your life would be first and foremost to be saved. Not for marriage sake, but for Heaven's sake.

If you do believe in salvation as the scriptures teach all throughout, but perhaps most clearly in Ephesians 2:8,9 and John 3:16-18, and you indeed are saved, I am confused by your statement that all people of all denominations will go to Heaven (including those who work for salvation and never place faith in the Lord's death for it?) My advice if you are saved is second to correct your understanding of this belief.

Third, I would suggest you look at Scriptures more carefully, and realize how it is "clear" that God draws men to salvation is actually not as "clear" as you see it. Jesus did clearly state that if He be lifted up, He would "draw all men unto me". Notice it says ALL men. The drawing is through God's revelation to man, first general revelation and then specific. Namely, the Sword of the Spirit, or his tool whereby He draws, is the Word. Find one place God drew any man in the NT without the Word being preached. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. The Word is profitable for... The Word is inspired. The Word is there so the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. If God created us without the intention of all men choosing Him, and if He has no problem intervening in forcing men to act against their free will, then God is doing a poor job of not forcing all men to follow His will. It makes no sense. The ark was open to all. Only those who chose to enter in did so. The Bible teaches "whosoever" often. So my third piece of advice is to change this belief and find a church that teaches truth on this matter.

JamesCharles said...

Once you have found churches who believes and teaches truth, look for women in these types of church. If you believe the Scriptures totally and wholly, and thereby are in His will and wishing to seek Him whole heartedly from that point forward, then He will bless your efforts and life. Who can say if it is God's will for you to find a wife or not except for Him? But if you are right with Him, He can either give you the wife He wants b/c you are in His will, or He can give you happiness outside of a wife b/c you are in His will. This is the best I can do with what you believe. I believe this is the root problem. I could write hundreds of pages (and probably have) concerning the errors of Calvinism, but on this type of blog, there is no time to do such. If you would perhaps like to talk more in depth, perhaps facebook or email would do better. CalvaryYouth@live.com