Posted by: Robin Foster | May 29, 2018

The Future of the SBC and Her Presidency

Below is an article from the newsletter I produced for the month of June:

In June, Southern Baptists will meet in Dallas for her annual convention. It is believed this will be the biggest convention since the one in Orlando back in 2010.  This is good because it shows that many are interested in the Convention.  But, I also believe another reason for the increased numbers will be the election for president of the SBC.  The position of president is important because he appoints the nominating committee which will nominate the trustees for the entities of the SBC.  In light of this, I have friends who are supporting either Dr. J. D. Greear or Dr. Kenneth Hemphill. I believe both men have been instrumental in Kingdom work and are honorable. They both have been tremendous assets to the SBC.  Below are some of my thoughts concerning the greatest needs of the SBC.

  1. We need a president who can bring together the best of a diverse group of men and women in forging the SBC to accomplish the Great Commission.
  2. We need a president who speaks of the strategic importance of local associations in partnership with the national and state conventions. In my short tenure here, I see a great need (especially in rural areas) for continuing training and support of local churches and pastors that can be accomplished through cooperative efforts in the local association. We need a president who has had experience in this and can help the local association find her strategic relevance to the church.
  3. We need a president that will bring a greater focus on cooperative efforts in evangelism to the local church. One area I have on my heart is evangelism. I am proud of the work our association has done in this area and we need to continue our efforts, but the SBC at the national level has had little to do with cooperative efforts in evangelism.  This I believe has hurt the Kingdom work of the local church and we have now seen the lowest rate of baptisms in 70 years.
  4. We need a president who sees the need for continued church planting and also a renewed push for revitalization of local churches. For this man, it is not an either/or proposition, but a both/and vision for the future of the SBC. I, having been a church planter in the past, have seen the great need for new works, but I have also seen a great need for existing churches to be revitalized.
  5. We need a president who will champion Cooperative Program giving. This man must support the autonomy of each church in the SBC knowing she can give missions money as she pleases. But, he must also be one who has seen upfront and personal how CP giving impacts the Kingdom.  He must focus on the CP as being the default mechanism of missions support both nationally and abroad.

Only God knows what will happen in Dallas, but whatever may happen we know that the headquarters of the SBC will never be at a convention meeting, Nashville, or Dallas.  The headquarters of the SBC is the local church and we must pursue Christ’s marching orders of making disciples.

Posted by: Robin Foster | March 29, 2018

Why The Association?

Below is an article from our Associational Newsletter:

Is the local association a Kingdom investment? Over ten years ago I asked this question and found a great benefit to the Kingdom in the local association.  Today I am blessed to serve as your Associational Missionary.  Below are some Kingdom items your church supports when you pray and give to your association:

  • Your Association works together for the purpose of telling others the gospel. This year will be our chance to host the Acts 1:8 One Day Mission Trip.  On October 6th, Southern Baptist churches from across the state will come to Poinsett county to do works of charity and spread the Gospel.  Next year, we plan to have our own mini Acts 1:8 mission day where our churches will gather in a community in Poinsett county and do works of charity and spread the gospel.

 

  • Your Association works to help train and equip pastors and church members in teaching and preaching the Word, in organizing and teaching Sunday school, in helping to create and train a church safety team, and in having evangelism workshops among others.

 

  • Your Association works with other churches in not only financially supporting mission trips through scholarships, but also by being a conduit for other members from other churches to connect with those churches that have planned to go on mission trips.

 

  • Your Association seeks to encourage each other by having annual men’s and women’s conferences, a women’s retreat, ministry support groups for pastors and pastor wives, a yearly pastor/staff/wife fellowship in November, and in our bi-monthly executive board meeting where we spend time in prayer for one another. We also help in advertising for a yearly senior adult conference at Williams Baptist University.

 

  • Your Associational Missionary and Ministry Assistant are here to answer any questions you might have. These can range from putting together a search team for a new pastor/staff member, legal issues that churches face today, church safety, filling out your Annual Church Profile, and possibly mediate any conflicts your church may have.

 

  • Your Association has an active Disaster Relief team that prepares and trains to go to various places that have suffered a disaster, to give a helping hand to those who are hurting, and also sharing the Gospel to those they aid and comfort.

 

  • Your Association co-owns Cedar Glade camp near Imboden. It is a wonderful facility that has several cabins, a lodge, cafeteria, tabernacle, swimming pool, and other amenities.  While it can be reserved for various functions throughout the year, its greatest blessing are summer camps where youth and children learn more about Jesus and can hear the gospel.

These are but a few things your Association does, and we are here to help your church in its mission to accomplish the Great Commission.  So, feel free to call the office to learn how we can help you become more engaged in reaching your community for Christ.

Posted by: Robin Foster | July 18, 2013

When And How To Criticize

I have been blessed with may insightful areas from my own leadership experience (and yes, past blogging experience), but these have become very helpful as others have looked and been critical of my leadership:

When I don’t understand or disagree with a decision someone in leadership has made, I need to:

1. Take a moment to step back from the situation.
2. Realize that I have not been given the responsibility of the person with which I disagree and I definitely don’t have their perspective and information on the situation. Seek to understand.
3. Understand that the enemy is satan and not my brother or sister in Christ.
4. Is the disagreement worth exploring further? In other words, does it matter to the Kingdom?
5. Pray for that person.
6. If the Lord leads me to confront that person, I need to do so with respect and humbleness with the goal of building up and not tearing down. Never publicly embarrass them.
7. Biblical love is the means by which we are to live. If I am feeling anger or hatred, I must deal with myself before I worry about others.
8. Ultimately God is their judge and my judge. Keep that perspective and know that one day we will have to account for our actions or lack of actions.

Posted by: Robin Foster | August 25, 2010

Are You On The Middle Road?

I know it has been awhile, but I found this cool video from Francis Chan.  It hits home in more ways than one.

BTW, I would highly recommend his books, “Crazy Love” and “Forgotten God.”

Posted by: Robin Foster | May 30, 2010

Recapturing the Sacrificial Spirit

Who do you think wrote this quote:

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning….

This is definitely a quote for our time. It must have been recently written in the last ten years, correct? Well, it hasn’t. In fact it is more than 20 years old. On April 16, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King penned a letter from the Birmingham jail to answer some clergy who said he was radical and impatient in what he was trying to do. Of course his background dealt with the Civil Rights movement he was leading in the South. But I wonder if these words hold true today with our situation? Are we more concerned with comfort than commitment? Are we silent because of what our “friends” will think? Has the world changed us rather than us being a light to the world?

I believe the answer for many to these questions would be yes. If we do not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the N. T. church in America we will certainly die. Dr. King wrote this during what some would consider the “Golden Age” of the Southern Baptist Church. As Southern Baptists, we look back to the 1950’s and 60’s when things were going great. Churches were growing and it seemed that the work of the Lord was progressing. Yet, we have Dr. King’s words to show us that not everyone viewed that time period as a “Golden Age.” A war was being fought for the respectability and equality of all people who are made in the image of God. Dr. King pointed the way. It was not to the “Golden Age” of the fifties or even the transformation of the reformation to which Dr. King looked. In fact in this letter he condemns the churches of the fifties and sixties for their silence on the civil rights issue. He pointed to the era of the N. T. church where pastors weren’t judged by their credentials and Christians relied upon each other rather than tearing each other apart. It was an era where the church did not have the wealth of the world, but relied upon the miracle making God who loved them. It was an era where there was neither, “Jew nor Greek,” “slave nor free man,” “male nor female,” but all were “one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:23) It was an era where “grace and truth” was not a byline tag to a blog, but was lived out among believers. It was an era where the church did not remain silent to the truth of God’s Word even though it may have cost them their own life. It was an era of sacrifice.

I know that Dr. King had his issues. He was not a sinless man. I too have my own issues as I am a sinner saved by grace, but I appreciate the fact that he and I would have agreed on looking to the New Testament church of the first century as our example.

Posted by: Robin Foster | May 2, 2010

An Evangelical Conservationist Perspective

While I have had the opportunity to meet Dr. Russell Moore on a couple of occasions, I have understood him more in his writings and preaching.  A native of Mississippi, he is concerned about the millions of gallons of raw crude oil that is about to hit the gulf shores because of the recent oil rig explosion in the Gulf waters.  In this essay he states that Christians should be in the lead concerning matters of conservationism.  Below is what I believe to be the money quote from the essay.

God gave his image-bearing humanity dominion over the natural creation (Gen. 1:28). But this isn’t a pharaoh-like dominion; it’s a Christ-like dominion. Humans aren’t made of ether; we’re made of Spirit-enlivened mud. We come from the earth, and we must receive from the earth what we need to survive, in the form of light from the sun, oxygen from plants, and food from the ground.

Posted by: Robin Foster | April 28, 2010

Noah’s Ark Found?

This article tells of a recent find of some archeologists which claims to be Noah’s ark.  I’ll let you read the news piece and decide for yourselves.

Posted by: Robin Foster | April 7, 2010

Camp Logos for Logos IV

Last week I attended Camp Logos.  First let me say that it was well worth the money and effort and I plan to attend Camp Logos II when it comes to Oklahoma.  There were nearly 100 people in attendances at the conference that included both men and women, but you did not feel so isolated that you could not get help.  Below are some tips I will pass on if you decided to attend the camp.

  1. Plan on purchasing the manuals they offer and the short cut cards.  They sell two manuals which cost $30 a piece.  The first deals with the topics dealt with in Camp I.  The second with Camp II. The reason I purchased the manuals was because there was so much information and there was no way I could remember all that was shown.  The main benefit of the seminar is that you can see the power of Logos IV and how it can benefit your sermon preparation.  For example, if I was studying Eph 1:5 and I wanted to look further into the word “adoption” I could look into the collections I have set up to narrow my view of what resources I wanted to use.  For example, I have several John MacArthur books in my Logos library.  I could narrow my search to just MacArthur’s books on “adoption” and every reference where he speaks of our adoption would come up because I have a MacArthur collection already set up.  I could also include the theological books in my library that have been set up as a collection and every instance where “adoption” is mentioned would come up in my theological collection.  Imagine the time saved from having to pull books down from the shelf and looking up adoption in every MacArthur book or theological book.  Now, if I forgot how to set up my books up in collections after the seminar, the Logos I Manual would be there to guide me.  There are also some areas discussed in the seminar that are not in the syllabus handed out in the beginning of the program.  I have found that the manual covers those areas.
  2. If you are a Mac user like me, you are probably running the program on a parallel in Windows since Logos is not completely done with the Mac version.  On the Windows side, you may have noticed the right click is different in the Windows version if you are using the track pad on the Mac Book.  Right click for Logos is very important and sometimes when you try to right click on the track pad (using the control key along with the click button) something different happens than what should. I was not able to do all that was presented because my right click did not follow along with what happened on a PC, so I missed out practicing with some demonstrations (another reason the manuals are handy).  Afterwards, I decided to buy a wireless mouse to see if that would fix the problem.  It did.  If you don’t have a wireless mouse, get one to use until Logos is fully operational with Mac.  The one I got was only $20.  Of course you may find that the mouse makes things much easier on the Mac side also, as I have.
  3. Make sure your program is fully updated and indexed at least two days before so you can be prepared to use the program the day of the seminar.  I would suggest working off-line after you have updated and indexed until after the seminar.
  4. There will be products to purchase, bring extra cash.  The temptation will be too great.  I already have Grudem’s Systematic Theology, but when I saw what the search engine could do once I put my theology books in collections, I had to buy it for Logos.  You will be encouraged to buy other resources.
  5. You might find that Morris Proctor (Moe) seems to be a bit slow and repetitive.  I did find times where I was waiting for him to move on and was a bit frustrated, until he said something that I missed and went back and repeated it.  This happened a few times.  At that point I was very happy that he went slow.  Moe stuck around during the breaks and answered individual questions that pertained to one’s particular issue.  He did not see conference breaks as the time to chit-chat and eat food.  He was there to help.  I greatly appreciate his willingness to focus on the needs of the attenders and not his own.
  6. Don’t expect to get any information about the iPhone App.  They are mainly focused on the computer program itself.
  7. Finally, after seeing what this program can do you may be tempted to sell your shelf books.  Don’t!  I don’t want the marked flooded with used BDAGs and TDNTs.  Anyone needing slightly used copies, please let me know. 🙂
Posted by: Robin Foster | April 6, 2010

Chuck Swindoll on Legalism

In an interview between Howard Hendricks and Chuck Swindoll, Dr. Swindoll gave some of his thoughts concerning legalism in the church.  He begins by stating that areas that are clearly spelled out in scripture does not fall under the topic of legalism:

Dr. Swindoll: I’m glad you mentioned legalism in relation to obedience and spiritual maturity. What a topic to think about in relation to growing in grace and doing it gracefully! I was recently asked an age-old question that the Church will probably be dealing with until Christ returns. It goes something like this: Where do you draw the line between legalism, which is restrictive and counter to grace, and the fact that God’s Word does give us clear standards and calls us to live sanctified,set-apart lives?

Well, the place to begin is to affirm that anything that is set forth in the Scriptures as a directive is a directive, period. It’s not legalism. There are in the Word lists of things God wants us to do and not to do, and they are very clearly set forth. We’re to obey every one of them. To fudge on that is to fudge in an area of obedience to God.

Yet, Dr. Swindoll also warns us against the dangers of legalism.

Dr. Swindoll: The problem comes when we get into areas that are not set forth in Scripture, either in precept or even in principle. These may be such things as length of hair, tattoos and other body piercings, skirts or pants for women, makeup or no makeup. Those are not scriptural issues. Sometimes these issues are cultural, and you do have to address them when you are in that particular culture. But I think legalism begins when you do or refrain from doing what I want you to do or not do because it’s on my list and it’s something that I am uncomfortable with.

The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don’t mess with legalism anymore. I’m 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they’re dangerous. They are grace-killers. They’ll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don’t have any opinion! So if I am trying to force my personal list of no-no’s on you and make you feel guilty if you don’t join me, then I’m out of line and I need to be told that.

What I like about Dr. Swindoll’s view is that it is balanced.  Legalism is a grace killer, but antinomianism (disregarding the Bible’s precepts) is dangerous to a faith community that is commanded to be holy in a world of sin.  To see the full interview click here.

Posted by: Robin Foster | March 17, 2010

Kindle – Just Right for Me

Before going on vacation, I was blessed to receive my new Kindle from Amazon.com.  Why the Kindle?  Well, I had looked around for some time on which e-Reader I would commit my money and library.  I checked out the Barnes and Noble’s Nook and found it to have some good features, but when I asked the store clerk to show me how the device worked, he had problems trying to get the Nook to highlight or take personal notes.  I don’t know if the problem was with the sales clerk or the Nook itself, but after other employees tried to get it to highlight or take notes and failed, I gave up any interest in it.  I also priced some of the eBooks from B&N and found them to be more expensive than Amazon.  So, the Nook was crossed off my list.

I also became interested in the iPad from Apple to be released on April 3rd.  I am a Mac and an iPhone user.  I have enjoyed both products and they have been beneficial to my work.  I rate both with a high level of quality and reliability.  Therefore, with anticipation, I checked out the new iPad videos on the Apple web site and was impressed with the device.  The iPad is more than an eReader.  It is, for lack of a better description, an iPod touch on steroids.  I really like the idea of having a touch screen with which to navigate.  The initial drawback I found with the product was its size.  A little too big and cumbersome for me to carry around and read books, but not a deal breaker.  The deal breaker came with the price, $499 for the base iPad.  Models went all the way up to $899. If you got the iPad with the 3-G feature, you would be charged a monthly fee for the 3-G usage.   On the high end, once you buy the extended warranty and some other accessories you can quickly have over a $1000 investment.  Even with the base model, you could approach $700 quickly with all the add-ons. For me, the iPad (I nickname it the iSlurp) with all its extra features did not add any value over and above what I already have in my iPhone.  I am even able to read books from Amazon with the Kindle app on my iPhone.  So, I see no benefit to shell out hundreds of dollars to get what I consider an overgrown turbo charged iPhone.  Again, my interest is an eReader.

So back to the Kindle.  I purchased the Kindle II.  Again, size did matter for me as I thought the Kindle DX was a bit too big and cumbersome.  I didn’t see the added benefit of spending more money for a bigger device.  While the iPhone app for Kindle is great, but the iPhone itself too small to be a quality eReader, the Kindle II is the perfect size.  After adding the extended warranty and a case to keep it in, I spent around  $350.  With the books I have already purchased, I have saved about $100 off the printed versions of the same books.  Hopefully, I will make up the rest of the cost by years end with other book purchases.  I will let you check out the Kindle on Amazon.com to find all the features, but here are a few observations from my initial use.  Note taking and highlighting is relatively easy compared to the Nook even though movement of the cursor is a bit awkward.  The typing pad is too big and spaced out.  I have big hands and it was uncomfortable for me to hold the Kindle and type with my thumbs like I would on my iPhone when typing a note or thought.  I could only imagine more difficulty for someone with smaller hands.  Page turning was easy once I got used to which buttons went forward and backwards.  The best feature was the text-to-speech ability.  I was able to drive and listen to a book being read to me as we traveled.  While this feature is not available for all books, it is still great to use when available.  There were some words that were difficult for the Kindle pronounce, but let’s face it, many of us have difficulty pronouncing ecclesiology. 😉  All together, I have enjoyed reading with it thus far.  I have had no problems with my eyes and the screen has been easy on them.

In the future, I hope Amazon will develop an eReader that is a touch screen that would rival the iPad and beat it on the price.  But until then, I would recommend the Kindle for anyone looking for an eReader.  If you have the money and really want the extra features the iPad contains, splurge and enjoy, but I would recommend an iPhone and Kindle combination if you are going to shell out that amount of money.  I would imagine in the next few years other devices will come that will contain improvements on the Kindle, but for the price, it is worth the purchase now to read books.

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