Showing posts from September, 2016

Believe the Bible for its Power, Purpose and Preservation

In the artistic rendering portion of the video this week, we see Jesus’ three-fold temptation in the desert. The way that Jesus confronted temptation was that He used Scripture to defeat the devil … and we should too!
     The Power of Scripture. Our memory verse, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, says that Scripture is God-inspired, all of it! Jesus knew the power of God’s Word in battling temptation. The three temptations of the flesh, fame and fortune (turning stones to bread, putting God to test, worshipping Satan to possess all kingdoms) remind us of Eve’s temptation of flesh (“good for food”), fame (“to make one wise”), and fortune (“pleasant to the eyes”). 1 John 2:16 also sees this unholy trinity of “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” which wars against our body, soul and spirit.
    Jesus’ temptation found in Matt. 4:1-11 was against his body (bread), soul (testing God), and spirit (worshipping Satan, not God). Many even see parallels in Scripture t…

Believe the Bible -- The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth

So what is the big deal about believing some parts of the Bible but not others? Why can’t we pick and choose what we want to believe and ignore the other parts that either disagree with us or disagree with our society?
    Have you ever heard of the Jefferson Bible? With a razor blade, Thomas Jefferson cut out the verses that liked and pasted them in a new Bible, leaving out the verses he didn’t like. Marilyn Mellowes from the PBS show Frontline said this, “In short, Mr. Jefferson’s Jesus, modeled on the ideals of the Enlightenment thinkers of his day, bore a striking resemblance to Jefferson himself.” (Dr. David Jeremiah, I Never Thought I’d See The Day, pg. 81)
   God created us in His image, but whenever we pick and choose what parts of the Bible we want to believe and what parts we want to ignore, we then begin to make a god in our own image. And the Bible defines that a idolatry, making a god in the image of our culture or our imagination. Paul told us to “buffet” our body, but…

Believe The Word - - Going Farther than BELIEVE

As much as I have been writing about BELIEVE for the past few weeks, it may surprise you that this week may be one of my least favorite. What’s more, it is the week that speaks about the Bible.
    It is not that anything is in this week that is wrong, but rather that this week is, pardon the pun, weak; it simply does not go far enough in affirming the word of God, the Bible. I am sure it is hard to put everything about the Word of God in a single week and a single chapter of a book. Entire books and commentaries have been written about the Bible so how can anyone put all that needs to be believed about the Bible in a mere week and a simple chapter.
    The key idea is not wrong but it is not fully complete. “I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God that guides my beliefs and actions.” Yes, that is a true statement, but the Bible is more than merely “inspired.” 2 Timothy 3:16 says ALL of the Bible is not only inspired but God-inspired, God-breathed. It not only guides my be…

Believe Chapter 4: The Bible--Take His Word For It

When I first went into the ministry as Education Pastor at FBC Brownsville, even though I had a master’s degree in Religious Education, I really didn’t know what education ministers do all week…Order Sunday School material, then what?? I called up the music minister and asked him what Frank, my predecessor, did. He said, “You would have to ask him,” almost as if he didn’t know either. 
     At First Baptist Killeen, the education ministry is all about the Bible. The 12 deacons we are considering are asked if they believe the Bible is the Word of God. We believe that God’s Word has the right to command our beliefs and our actions! 
     Many of those who attend Sunday morning only and don’t come to a LifeGroup...    ...don’t come to a study on Sunday or Wednesday evenings...         ...and don’t study the Bible in a small group... ...they do not really get the whole picture of our church, Christianity and what it means to be a disciple of Christ in the context of a small grou…

Serving Grace: Saved from the Purposelessness of Sin

When I was in college, I had an early morning Spanish class and one morning, the teacher asked the class, “What is your motivation for getting up out of bed every morning?” She then narrowed her eyes towards me, and said, “Tim?” Before I share how I answered that, there is one final thought before we finish the chapter on salvation: Not only does God save us from the penalty of sin, in the power of sin and the presence of sin, but He also saves us from the purposelessness of sin. Our memory verse this week is Eph. 2:8-9, but I have often said that we stop short of the purpose of our salvation for others (and for God’s glory), found in Eph. 2:10. Let’s read that in context. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. The Greek word for “workmanship” found in verse…

Supreme Grace: Saved from the Presence of Sin

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Thess. 5:23.

     If saving grace keeps us from the penalty of sin and sustaining grace keeps us from the power of sin, supreme grace keeps us from the presence of sin. It is the finalization of our salvation. Supreme grace is the ultimate in our three parts of salvation, seen as justification (saving grace), sanctification (sustaining grace) and glorification (supreme grace).
     Years ago, I dreamed I went to heaven (no, I am not going to break into a song, thanking you for giving to the Lord and no, I am not going to write a best-selling book about my dream). In that dream I wanted to see if I was really in heaven. So I tried to do something that you are not supposed to be able to do in heaven: I made myself have a bad thought. In my dream, I was disappointed that I could still sin in heaven. I actually woke …

Sustaining Grace: Our Salvation from the Power of Sin

Have your ever noticed the way that Paul starts off almost every epistle he sent?

 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

     Why did the Apostle Paul impart a blessing of grace to those who are already believers? True, Paul wanted to convey saving grace to those who were not saved, but why would he wish grace to the churches, if those who are in the churches were already saved.

     It is because there is more to grace than salvation from the penalty of sin. Within the vastness, the limitlessness, the infinite grace of God, grace also means our deliverance from the power of sin. We are sustained by grace and we are the recipients of God’s sustaining GRACE.
     Where in the Bible do we see God’s sustaining grace? Virtually on every page we see God’s favor upon His people who are saved but need God’s sustaining grace. For this study, let’s look at a few passages.

     In Acts 14:26, we see this gem of a verse: “From there they sailed to Antioch, where …

Believe Chapter 3 -- Salvation and the Penalty of Sin

The book Believe does a dandy summation of how salvation was achieved: From our fall in the garden, the foreshadow in the Passover, the prophecy of Christ’s coming in Isaiah, to the fulfillment in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and then Paul’s explanation in Romans.

     (By the way, when was the last time you heard the word dandy in casual conversation?)

Our salvation comes by God’s blessing, God’s favor, His undeserved kindness and gift to us. That comes by God’s Grace. Grace and salvation is at its foundation the good news that we have been delivered from the penalty our sins and that penalty is eternal death and separation from God.

So today, let us look at the foundation, saving grace. First, know that it is God who initiates salvation, not us. God is the author of our salvation and thus he is the author of grace. In Ephesians 2: 4-9, we see that grace works in our salvation. It is through grace, God’s gift to us, that salvation begins.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, becau…

Believe Chapter 3: Salvation -- It's all about that Grace

All this week, we will be looking at our salvation. Our key idea this week is this: I believe a person comes into a right relationship with God by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. Christ.
   I hope all who read this foundational belief do in fact have salvation. When I was a youth minister, a teenage boy came to Christ and went home and told his father that he had been saved. The father, unimpressed and unexcited by the news, responded, “Saved from what?”
    The boy did not know how to respond. I fear that many Christians today do not know exactly from what we have been saved, for what we are being saved, and to where we will be saved.
     Last week we saw that we have a personal God who passionately cares for us, purposefully plans for us and prioritizes His good for us. Now that we know who God is (week one) and believe that God knows us (week two), we need to see what type of relationship we can have with this God.
     Our salvation comes by God’s grace. What do we mean…

Believe Chapter 3 -- Salvation is a Right Relationship With God

We hear about “The gospel according to...” or “the gospel truth.” But if someone were to ask you “what is the gospel?” what you would say?
     The gospel literally means “good news”. While the “gospels” according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are good news, the actual word “gospel” is most used by the Apostle Paul, who used the Greek word euangelion some 60 times, compared to a mere dozen times in Matthew and Mark and not at all by Luke or John as a noun. The verb form (euangelizo) is found another dozen times in Luke (and once in Matthew), but more than 50 times elsewhere in the New Testament.
     The gospel is most succinctly explained in 1 Corinthian 15:1-11, and most elaborately explained in Romans. Today’s devotional, and week three of BELIEVE is to help us at FBC Killeen to firstly know what the gospel is and secondly to know how to best share the good news of salvation with others.
     Contrary to popular belief, the gospel is not a prayer, nor is it an action, and …

Believe Session 2: A Personal God has a Priority for Me

This week we are learning God has a passion for us; He really does care. He has a plan for us, a purpose designed by His will and His love. Today we see that He has a priority for us, and that is to show His goodness.
When I think of the goodness of God, I cannot help but think of the song which says, "You are a Good Good Father, that’s who you are, that’s who you are, and I am loved by You, that’s who I am, that’s who I am.” The Bible says “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father,” (James 1:18).
When we know that God is good, it is easier for us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). There are and have been times when seeking God's Kingdom and Righteousness is not always a priority for me and I don't know why.
Maybe I don’t trust His kingdom and righteousness is truly good. Or maybe I am just not wanting His good; I want what's good for me. Instead of "Father knows best", I begin to think I know best. If y…

Believe Session 2: A Personal God has a Plan for Me

A man I know has a son who professed his atheism to his father. Even though the young man had followed God and had professed faith in God at a young age, for a variety of reasons but primarily because God had not answered his prayers, he simply said he no longer believed in God.

    The devastated father wisely said, "Which is better? To go through life believing that there is a God who loves us and is orchestrating our lives with a divine plan or to think that all of life is purposeless, meaningless and completely random?"

    If we firmly believe that God cares for us and if we trust His plan and purpose is to prosper us and benefit us, our faith will direct our steps with confidence, assurance and resilience that cannot be vanquished. This is not some pie-in-the-sky Pollyanish, power of positive thinking technique. No, to believe in a personal God who cares and has a plan is a faith which is firmly rooted in the Bible from beginning to end.

    Our lives are a 70 year dr…

Session 2--A Personal God Has A Passion For Me


I do not care for crickets. As we had an invasion of crickets this past Sunday, I stepped on them, swept them, trashed them, even went to the store to get spray to kill them. I felt like there were thousands of them.

After church, a little boy named John gently took one cricket and put it in the grass which was covered with thousands of other crickets.

I think about a God who made all of the universe, seven billion people, all of the animals and insects and yes crickets. God is so far above and beyond me, far greater than I am above a cricket.

And yet God cares for me. "What is humanity that you are mindful of us? People that you care?" the psalmist wrote. "He's rich in love and slow to anger," another psalm says.

Little John's tenderness did not change my mind about crickets, but it did remind me of how amazing it is that God greatly cares for me.

Last Sunday, Pastor Randy preached on "What Can We Know" about God--His eternal power, divi…

Believe Chapter 2: A Personal God; Does God Care?

What does “a personal relationship” mean? One cannot read the Bible and not understand that not only is God a personable God but that He wants to have a personal relationship with us. God created man for His glory but also His fellowship. Just read Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd."  or the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus points to the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields. He says do not worry because God takes care of them and will take care of you." (These are the two stories emphasized for children and preschoolers).
In the garden, He communed with man daily. God does not NEED us as He is infinite nor is He lonely which again would be a sign of a deficiency in God. He WANTS to be personal with us! No, He is not co-dependent! But He enjoys us and desires us to pray to Him, to hear from Him, to be a Father to His child, a Groom to His Bride. A personal God? You better believe it! Christ came to teach us that through His atonement, His sacrifice, that we can no…

Week One - Believe Devotional -- God

Weekly Preparation for Believe TIM MCKEOWN·MONDAY, AUGUST 15, 201611 Reads
As FBC Killeen prepares for BELIEVE, which begins Sept. 11, I thought it would be good to have devotionals to prepare our hearts. BELIEVE is a way of understanding our core, basic beliefs, actions, and virtues we should have as Christians, but it is certainly not shallow! In fact, today’s devotional is as deep as it gets: “Who Is God?” What I find interesting in BELIEVE is that what we believe should transform us intellectually, behaviorally, and spiritually. That is our core essence that we have, a type of Trinity so to speak, consisting of our Soul, our Body, Our Spirit.
 Our intellect, along with our will and emotions, is our soul. This is how we think, which is Part 1 of BELIEVE, answering the question, “What do I believe?” 
Our behavior is how we act, which is our body and this is covered by Part 2 of BELIEVE, answering the question, “How should I behave?”       And our spiritual transformation (Part 3 of BELIE…