On May 14th, I attended an event here in Indianapolis featuring a 75-year-old Tibetan watch repairman named Tenzin Gyatso. He is better known as the 14th Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet, who lives in exile in India. This was his second visit to Indianapolis; and, having just taught on Buddhism at Heather Hills, I decided to see first-hand what the Dalai Lama was all about. There has always been a curious side of me in relation to people of fame, whether in religion, politics, sports, or entertainment. I want to see beyond the mask. This doesn’t always work out so well. For example, I remember when I was a pastoral intern in 1992, I went to a faith healing service with famed religious leader Ernest Angley. I made two mistakes: I took a video camera with me and…my mom. Continue reading »
Archive for the ‘Contemporary Issues’ Category
One of the first things I led as pastor at Heather Hills was strategic ministry planning. Now, I know some people don’t like this sort of thing because they think we are limiting God or putting or plans before what God may have for us. I understand that sentiment and logic; however, I believe both in God’s sovereignty as well as careful planning. Throughout the process, we constantly went to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to direct us, give us wisdom and show us if we were on the wrong track. Even now, in our second year of our ministry plan–the result of that initial process–we regularly ask God to show us if we are pursuing a path He does not desire for our church. We believe in the sovereignty of God (Proverbs 19:21; 21:31; Zechariah 4:6; John 15:5). The Church is His Church. Jesus purchased her with His blood; it belongs to Him. We are His bride. Continue reading »
Well, it’s been nearly 2 years since I became the senior pastor at Heather Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. For most of that time, I have chosen not to blog regularly. Frankly, I needed a break from blogging. I got into blogging when it was “trendy” a few years back and really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with people I had never met from all over the country on a wide variety of subjects.
There was also a compulsion to speak. Continue reading »
Today, Deborah and I had the day off from the Shepherd’s Conference so we tackled two prestigious locations. The first was the resting place of my favorite U.S. President. The second was the resting place of the most famous sign in the world. Continue reading »
Once again, this final “official” day of the Shepherd’s Conference was a bright, sunny, and beautiful California day. The first session of the day was begun with Grace’s Sunday night worship team, which is the more contemporary styled service. They led a really wonderful medley of songs all pointing to the holiness of God: God of Wonders, Indescribable, Be Unto Your Name, Holy Holy Holy, and Refiner’s Fire. John MacArthur followed this with some biblical reflection on God’s holiness in regard to evangelism. One particular quote I wrote down was “You have an ally in the heart of every unregenerate man, that is the law of God written on the hearts of men.” (Romans 1) He then encouraged us to use the law in our soul-winning to show man his need of a Savior in relation to God’s supreme holiness. Phil Johnson, director of Grace to You, then preached from Titus 2:7-8 on “Sound Words.” Here are my notes: Continue reading »
The first day of the Shepherd’s Conference found me driving in pouring rain up I-5 past a terrible car wreck, through deep puddles of water, and searching in vain for a parking spot on the Grace Community Church’s lot.
HA! A little rain isn’t going to ruin this day! I found a parking spot along the street a few blocks away, waited for the rain to subside, and walked to the church campus.
How do you describe the buzz of 3500 pastors from around the world all gathering together in one place? I don’t know. Electric, maybe? Everyone was giving off an air of anticipation. Lots of smiles, hugs, and refreshments all around. I found a seat on the organ side (for Janz) and waited the beginning of the first keynote. Continue reading »
As I write this, I am sitting in my hotel room in Burbank, California. I am eager to experience the Shepherd’s Conference for the first time. Each night, I will post a recap of the conference that day.
Why am I here? There are myriads of ministry conferences a pastor can attend in the 21st Century. I, however, am not interested in the latest ministry fads, the latest church growth techniques, or the latest superstar speakers.
I am interested in one thing, the passionate, expository preaching and teaching of the Bible. Continue reading »
According to Newsweek’s Lisa Miller, the Scripture is not a good source for supporting traditional marriage. For example, here is the introduction to the article published Monday:
“Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?” Continue reading »
Heather Hills Baptist Church, on the east side of Indianapolis, is seeking to add a male, full-time, associate pastor to begin as early as April 2009. Interested parties should contact the senior pastor Brian McCrorie at 317-894-7474 or can send resumes to bmccrorie (at) gmail (dot) com.
Heather Hills is an independent Baptist church in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches and the Crossroads Fellowship of Indiana. We are dispensational in our interpretation of Scripture, historically fundamentalist in our view of Scripture, and baptistic in our practice of Scripture within the local church. We have a strong desire to make an impact for the cause of Christ both locally and globally. We value expository preaching. We practice a blended style of worship, recognizing the importance of heritage while embracing contemporary expression, all of which is subject to the truth of Scripture and focused on the person and work of Christ. We believe that every member of Heather Hills is to be a minister, using his spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ.
Applicants should possess a strong desire for an equipping ministry, primarily in discipleship/spiritual development. A graduate degree is preferable along with some previous pastoral experience. Applicants must be willing to work as a part of a team and dedicated to the study of God’s Word and prayer. Those who make matters of opinion (Bible translations, musical style, etc.) a basis for fellowship need not apply.
This is an excerpt from Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts by Harold M. Best, pp. 180-181.
Artistic culture is a vast expanse. Deep within its workings, it is also seamless, even in the face of vivid differences between, say, grunge rock and Renaissance motets or street rap and Milton’s poetry. It is especially important for Christians to see it this way, because this is surely the way God sees it. Just as he is no respecter of persons, so he is no respecter of styles. He does not love the Baroque artifactual signature any more than that of the South Pacific Rim. Nor would he prefer, if he were a dancer, the polka over the hora. He is Lord of diversity, Creator of the human imagination and Master of every one of its artistic ways. His lines of demarcation are based on faith or its absence, authentic worship or inauthentic worship. His call to excellence is based on how we are becoming better than we were yesterday more than how we place in a static aesthetic hierarchy. A Bach cantata is no more a musical password into his favor than a Zulu harvest song or an Indian raga. When the Scriptures call out to the nations to rejoice, they do not call for an artistic Esperanto, a colorless and hypothetical language, a test-tube Pentecost. Nor do they call out to a panel of artistic experts to determine what might please the King of kings. They call out to the many cultures to use their instruments, their tongues, their shapes, textures and gestures, their vivid twists and turns. God is happy with the plethora. He loves its faith-driven clamor and hilarious tintinnabulation. It comes to him from everywhere and from all times, translated into eternal speech by the blessed Paraclete, in whom groans, mutterings, silence, singing, dancing, shaping, masterpieces and pastiches make up a transfigured jubilee.
It is only a secular or paganized culture that chooses to divide people on the basis of their artistic preferences and choices. It is a spiritually connected culture that takes cultural differences, works through the tensions that they may create and comes to the blessed condition of mixing and reconciling them and of stewarding their increase and growth. It is therefore not amusing to hear about how we are to embrace the poor, eat and drink with sinners and cross racial and ethnic lines, only to find out that leadership, back home in the safety of the local fortress, is afraid to do the analogous kind of embracing when it comes to the arts and to the commingling of their styles. “Not in my style” may really and truly mean “Not my kind of people,” except when it comes time for the yearly youth group trip to Mexico or the occasional spade turnings for another habitat. Why do we go outside the church to diversify when we fail to do so within it?
If this resonates in your spirit as it does mine, buy the book. There is much, much more to glean.