Hudson Taylor: Into the Heart of the Dragon –Full Movie

An intimate portrait of the influential missionary’s life and legacy.

A striking docudrama filmed on location in China and the UK. James Hudson Taylor was one of the most influential missionaries of the nineteenth century. Founder of China Inland Mission, he spent a total of 51 years spreading the gospel in China. Taylor was unique in his time; he adopted the dress and customs of the Chinese people, showing great respect for their culture, and his organization was strictly non-denominational. Generations of Christian evangelists have followed in his footsteps.

New Sermon Series on the Gospel of Mark Starting Sunday

This coming Sunday, our church will begin going through the Gospel of Mark. The question is, “Why Mark?”

First of all, pastors pray long and hard for what to cover next in the worship gathering. I try to pivot between Old Testament and New Testament, as well as pivoting between genres (gospels to psalms to epistles, etc.).

But why Mark? For established churches like the one I’m blessed to undershepherd, going through the gospels brings us back to the basics, back to the foundation of the One on whom His church is built–Jesus Christ. Seeing how Jesus preached, what it meant to follow Him, how He interacted with the disenfranchished, and how He interacted with the religious legalists. Jesus came on a mission that was focused on the message found in Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.”

How Jesus preached. With authority. In the synagogues. With parables. With clarity (to the disciples). In a boat. In the country. In the cities.

Jesus is the Son of God. Both the Father and the demons (along with a Roman soldier) affirmed Jesus as the Son of God.

Mark is a gospel that is on the move. Notice how many times the word “immediately” is used.

Jesus always had an eye on the leaders as well as “least of these.” While many religious leaders struggled with Jesus, others sought Him out for help, great and small.

And much more.

Join us as we look at the beauty of the Gospel of Mark.

My Favorite Bible Reading Plan for 2022 and How I’ll Tackle It

If you plan on reading through the Bible in 2022, I recommend the Five Day Bible Reading Plan. It goes through the Bible in a semi-chronological manner, giving you a good flow of biblical history.

I plan on using the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible–Large Print to go through the reading plan. Capturing the insights God gives in the same Bible you’re reading helps not only you but those who may read them later on (like your children or grandchildren).

Last, I did a video about the pros and cons of Bible Reading plans that will be helpful for you to consider:

What are your favorite Bible Reading plans?

Equipped for Every Good Work? How? Good Morning Devotional for 11.5.2021

November 05 (JPG)

Good morning! In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul reminds Timothy of the nature and purpose of the Scriptures:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

God breathes out these writings (Scripture) through His human pens via their personalities. The term is plenary verbal inspiration–literally every word is inspired! With this conviction, how unavoidable it is for a Christian to seek to grow but to do so apart from drinking in the Scriptures.

The Word, Paul reminds us, is profitable. Paul wrote in his first epistle to Timothy, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Yes, godliness is of value in every way–the same word that is translated profitable in 2 Timothy 3:16. Godliness is profitable and the way to understand godliness is by the value of the Word of God. 

The fourfold profitability of Scripture is as follows:

  • Teaching: For the Word of be of value, Christians must know the contents of the Scriptures themselves.
  • Reproof: To grow to maturity, Christians must see from His Word when their speech, actions, and thinking are apart from God’s design.
  • Correction: The Scriptures show us how to come back via repentance and into realignment.
  • Training in righteousness: The Scriptures show us how to move forward well with the knowledge and wisdom of all that was learned in the correction-reproof process.

God gives us His word to equip us for every good work! Are you in the Word to not only profit but to be equipped for God’s work? Read. Study. Apply!

Good Morning Devo for 9.16.2021: Remind Yourself of the Gospel Every Day

Good morning! The Apostle Paul calls us to think on the things of the Spirit.

Christ embodies each of these perfectly. If ever anyone walked the earth with the qualities, it was Christ. And as we think on Christ more and more, the more we will think on the qualities that he has that are listed here—and the more we will think and practice on them.

We must remember, Christ is in us. Colossians 1:27 talks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He is our hope in all we have. He is in us. He in enough. But that’s not the last list: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

Learned, received, heard, seen. What do we mean here? It’s a perfect progression. We learn the truths of Scripture and, ultimately, about the person and work of Jesus in and through us. But it’s not enough just to learn, but to receive it—that is, to embrace it, surrender to it. “Heard” means the continual listening of the word either from the pulpit in the main gathering, or in discipleship and conversation. “Seen” means that you are seeing Christ exemplified in Paul and those around him.

We won’t connect with something that doesn’t directly minister to us—but maybe God is calling you to (1) be reminded of things as a safeguard for you –remember 3:1, but also (2) to remember that Jesus himself did not come to be served but to serve, and God is calling you to serve as well. It’s not about you. Say that with me: “Church is not about me!”

Matthew Henry once said, “Peace is such a precious jewel, that I would give anything for it but truth.” You see, friends, we fight for truth. But if truth of God’s Word is not a part of the contention, then we strive in humility to stay level-headed and look to restore. We go to our prince of peace in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:8-9 talks of thinking and practicing aspects of the Christian life.

Matthew R. Perry, Ph.D., is Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO.

Away with Social-Club Church, In With Gospel Partnership!

wp-1449632031481.jpgDid you know that the moment you surrendered to Christ, you became a partner in the gospel with every other believer on the planet? God sent the apostle Paul to plant and establish churches all through Asia Minor, into Rome, and likely into Spain. As he won many to Christ who rescued them from their sins both now and eternally, what God used him to do is acquired more partners in the gospel.

So Paul leads off his prayer with thanksgiving. Dear Lord, every time I think of these believers in Philippi, I am grateful and have joy because of having them as partners!  I wonder, would Paul be able to say that of me? Would he be able to say that of our churches here in Denver? Would he be able to say that of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church. As we see from the Ephesian church in Revelation, Christ told them they had lost their first love. The essentials had moved to the peripherals, and the peripherals move to the essentials.What are the essentials? Albert Mohler helps us out:

First-level theological issues would include those doctrines most central and essential to the Christian faith. Included among these most crucial doctrines would be doctrines such as the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture.

While we could spend weeks on each of these issues, what we do see if that if a Christian or churches compromise on any of these doctrines, we undermine the gospel. The gospel is not simply believing a set of facts, but it is a surrender to all that Christ has revealed about His nature, His work in rescuing us, and how He aims to work in us! That’s the good news—God will not hold us according to our sins, but will rescue us according to His grace.

We are partners in this and because of this. And the apostle Paul modeled this partnership. Look at the first three words of this letter: Paul and Timothy. Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father. Paul was 12 years older than Timothy (Paul born in AD 5, Timothy born in AD 17), making them 45 and 33, respectively. Regardless of their backgrounds, they were partners in the gospel,servants of Christ Jesus, and saints.

It’s here we revisit the issue of surrender. Go back to verse 1 again: The word for ‘servants’ is the word doulos which means a bondservant, or a full-fledged slave. Slaves had no rights, but willingly surrendered them to their Master. We hear of slaves and automatically hearken back to the black eye of our history, in the race-based slavery found in our country in the 18th and 19th century. Here, slaves could be found in all strata of Roman life, and serve that way willingly in order to pay off a debt.

Saints come from the understanding of being set apart for His use. In fact,the word church many times in the NT comes from the word ekklesia, which means called out ones. A partnership in the gospel means that we have surrendered our rights to his, we are saints who are called out from the world while still in the world.

He also calls out the overseers and deacons. Overseers (from the Greek presbuteros) are the spiritual overseers and leaders of the church. Deacon are the ones in charge of the physical matters of the church. As the saints are the called-out ones from the world, the overseers and deacons are the called-out ones of the church (ordained, if you will). They are called out to be leaders in the church, as Hebrews 13 identifies,the ones who delivered the Word to you. The Word brings joy and unity, something that the leaders bring with the Word. Ephesians 4:11-13:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

You see, the unity that your leaders are to model and provide is a unity not just in being welcoming and friendly, but a unity in the Word of God— which makes us alive in the Spirit but also kills the flesh!

Let’s partner in the gospel, finding our joy in Christ and unity with one another.  The gospel brings joy in Christ, and the more we pursue Christ, the more unified we’ll be with each other.

What Steals Your Joy as a Leader?

So let’s get started with a key question: What steals your joy as a leader?  Low numbers for your events?  Criticisms?  Too many meetings?  Preparing a sermon (or three) each and every week?  Concerns about the future?

I understand completely.  In talking to my buddy and NAMB representative Dave Howeth, he shared that pastors often look at the blade of grass rather than the entire forest.  Sometimes, those blades of grass loom awfully large the closer you are to that issue.

The apostle Paul expressed an anxiety that he has over his churches (2 Corinthians 11:28)–this after expressing how much physical torture and suffering he faced in his day-to-day ministry.  Concern for the health and future of churches brought an anxiety that equaled or even surpassed the physical issues he endured.  Quite telling, wouldn’t you agree?  But all who serve as pastors of their local churches understand this acutely.

Reading through Hebrews 13:17, we see that church members are to “Obey [their] leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over our souls, having to give an account.  Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”  Keeping watch over their souls?  My, no wonder Paul felt such anxiety!

Leaders have an industrial-strength calling: to keep watch over the souls of those to whom God has entrusted them.  Why?  We’ll have to give an account.  So the Spirit tells the congregation to “let them do this [watch over our souls] with joy and not with groaning.”

In looking at this passage, pastors and leaders could put all the onus on the congregation:  “OK, people, obey me and submit to me.  I gotta watch over your souls and give an account for you.  So don’t make this difficult.  The better you obey and submit, the more joy I will have.  That’s what God says.  Amen.”

So, is it all on the congregation?  Does the call of God to lead the church give us a bulletproof vest? No! No! No!  Joy comes to the leader when they see God’s children walking with Christ.  The apostle John in his third epistle notes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

So this leads to the question: what steals our joy?  Is it the congregation that refuses to “obey and submit?”  Is it your own personal expectations that rob you?  What other things at play?

What steals your joy?  According to Scripture, what may steal our joy is the inversion of what John wrote:  few heartbreaks exist like seeing those in our churches not walking in the truth.  This is why Jesus instituted church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13) in order to bring about repentance of sin and restoration to Christ and His body.  We must desire to pour ourselves out to help others walk in the truth.  And that we ourselves walk in the truth.

What steals your joy?  Share with us in the comments section.