Author Archive for Matt Setliffe

17
May
08

The beauty of the gospel diplayed in the death of His saints

In one of the Apostle Paul’s pastoral letters he talks about ways in which the gospel is “adorned”. This word is the idea of a woman putting on or adorning herself with beautiful Jewlery. When we talk about adorning the gospel it does not mean we make it more beautiful or praise worthy. The gospel is sufficient to stand alone…

But there are certain things that draw attention to the beauty of the gospel, just as jewlery does on a woman. There are many ways that the gospel is adorned and made to “look good”. I believe we adorn the gospel when we help the “least of these”. I believe the gospel is adorned everytime a man chooses his wife when given the choice to be unfaithful. It is adorned everytime a believer loves another without expecting something in return. The list goes on and on….

I believe the gospel is also adorned and it’s beauty displayed in the death of the saints of God. Today I went to my pastor and his 13 year old son’s funeral. There were literally thousands of people there, 6 or 7 people spoke, and the gospel was adorned in an amazing way. I believe the gospel is adorned when a saint dies because it is in that moment that we remember once again, or realize for the first time the amazing claims of the gospel we cling to. The claim that Jesus defeated death, there is no sting in death, it is not the end, and we do not mourn like those who have no hope!!! Everytime a saint dies the beauty of the gospel is displayed because we see once again a picture of grace.

I pray that my life will adorn the gospel by the way I live. I also pray that my death will adorn the gospel, whenever that day may be?

14
May
08

I don’t understand?

I have to be honest…

I have been thinking alot in light of my pastors sudden death. I just don’t really get it, none of this makes sense. I know all of the pat answers because I have given them before. I know that God is sovereign, I have preached that and I am not doubting that. I know that others will likely come to know Christ through this. I know that it will make our church stronger and more unified. I know all of these things are very true.

But I still don’t get it? I don’t get why a man in the prime of his life and ministry would die in a plane crash with his 13 year old son? I don’t get why his wife is now without her husband? I don’t get why his children lost thier dad? None of this makes sense and if I were God (good thing i am not) I am sure I would have done this different. I did not really know Forrest Pollock. I do know that he was a good man. He was a Godly man. He loved his wife and children deeply, as he talked about in his sermon on Sunday. He has a passion to advance the kingdom. He was a smart buisness man. He was really creative and loved drama. He deeply loved the people of Bell Shoals Baptist Church.

I don’t get it? But….

Though He slay me, yet will I trust HIM. (Job 13:15)

We must decide that God is good even in the tragic moments, and not just in the joyous moments. I believe God is most glorified when we trust in him during the tragic, and not just the joyous.

 

13
May
08

Update on Pastor Forrest

I am sad to write this post….

Today at around 11 o’clock I was having coffee with my freind Ben who wanted to travel to Israel with me in Sept. We got the call from a mutual friend that they had found the wreckage of our pastors plane and there were no survivors. Below is a statement from the church. Thanks for your prayers for this body of Christ at Bell Shoals.

We regret to inform you, our church family, that at approximately 11 AM this morning we learned that search and rescue teams found the aircraft of Pastor Forrest Pollock in the mountains outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Pastor Pollock, 44 and his son Preston, 13, did not survive the crash. Please continue to lift up Dawn and the children during this difficult time.  We grieve with hope and assurance that our Lord Jesus will lead us and carry us through these difficult times.

 We have lost a great brother, pastor and friend in Forrest Pollock as well as a precious little brother in Christ, Preston Pollock. We owe a great thanks to those who risked their lives, endured extreme hardship, and worked non-stop in the attempt to rescue our pastor and his son.

 

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8:38-39

13
May
08

Urgent prayer for our Pastor

Rachel and I attend Bell Shoals Baptist Church here in Brandon, FL. This is the church Rach grew up going to…

Last night we recieved word that our Pastor had gone missing. He is also a pilot and had flown a small plane up to NC with his son to visit some freinds and then was heading to TX for a conferance. He left yesterday morning early, but never arrived at his destination. There are multiple crews in search for him and the plane as we speak. FAA recieved a emergency signal 30 miles from where he took off from in NC. They did not get the signal until much later after he took off, but many think it was blocked by the mountainous terrain in NC.

Pray for God’s protection of Pastor Forrest Pollock, as well as that of his son. Pray also for His family, he is married and has 5 other children I believe. The church has been open all night long with people praying. For more updates visit www.bellshoals.com

I will post an update when I know something.

10
May
08

Relevant?

I saw this article and it made me think. I would enjoy your thoughts in general on the churches attempt at relevancy in America.

Is church irrelevant?

Author and pastor Tim Stevens thinks so.

In fact, he believes that religious tradition advising the church to avoid “worldly” culture for its 2,000 year history is misguided and that instead churches ought to welcome culture into their buildings and services.

Stevens shares his take on culture in the church in a groundbreaking new book released nationwide titled, “Pop Goes the Church.”

Published by Power Publishing, the book outlines Stevens’ philosophy and track record of success at Granger Community Church (GCC), in Granger, Indiana, where he serves as executive pastor.  His church offers a revolutionary perspective on the 21st century church by designing services around movie and TV clips, drama and secular music during informal and quick-paced services.  That has translated into church services built on U2 and Beatles music and sermon topics featuring clips from movies like “Spiderman 3″ and TV shows like “24.”

Around Christmas the church offered a whole series on Beatles music.  “Our tag line was: ‘The Christmas Story According to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, George and Ringo’ and our overall theme was we want to start a revolution.  We’ve done U2 music and featured Bono sharing about his Christian faith, and we’ve used Madonna’s ‘Material World’ in a series featuring 80’s music.”

But in church?  “Absolutely!” says Stevens.

“Here’s the bottom line.  The Christian message never changes, but methods must,” Stevens explains.  “Studies show spiritual hunger in the U.S. at an all-time high, but church attendance at an all-time low and dropping.  A lot of people feel church is irrelevant-so it’s time to change.  Church can’t meet people’s needs if people won’t come in the front door.”

“People are obviously exploring spiritual things outside the church,” the pastor continued.  “They listen to songs, watch movies, have discussions with friends and try to make sense of the world.  If you listen you’ll hear spiritual issues under discussion-in music, in movies, on TV and among people.  So my contention is that churches should jump in on these conversations already happening in a context people understand.”

“You see,” he said, “songs and movies are talking about spiritual issues in ways that people really do understand.  But too often in churches we’ve talked about things people don’t get.  Language is a big thing.  Church people have ‘the curse of knowledge.’  We are talking about things no one understands.  We are answering questions no one is asking.  The church has lived in a bubble to a certain extent and no one is sticking around that hasn’t been in church forever.  We need to leverage culture to connect to people.”

In “Pop Goes the Church,” Stevens outlines innovative church services conducted at GCC where teachings are on topics carved right out of hot culture topics and TV headlines-money management, relationships and even sex.  In fact, one of GCC’s most effective marketing campaigns centered on the traditionally church-taboo subject of sex.

“We’d been looking for a way to present the topic of sex in the church because it’s definitely something people talk about every day.  The church ought to have something to say about it so we decided to enter the conversation.  After all, sex is God’s idea and is very good in a committed relationship.”

So, GCC put up four billboards around its community and surrounding area of 30o,000 emblazoned simply with the provocative image of entwined male/female feet dangling off of a bed with the words http://www.mylamesexlife.com.  No other info was included-no church name, no service times.  Nevertheless, within a couple of hours the church phone rang off the hook with interest and local media showed up to interview.  The series was even featured nationally on Fox News.

And, church attendance shot through the roof.  Attendance jumped 2300 people the first weekend, a 50% increase from the previous year and remained up 30% for the five-week series.  Stevens said GCC kept about half of those people over the long run.

“We started off our campaign with attention-getting billboards because if we had said ’sex talk at such and such church’ it would be an immediate turnoff.  Everyone would’ve thought they already knew what the church would say.  So we looked for a creative way to connect with people.”

And apparently the connection is still underway since Stevens says more than 85 churches around the country were inspired by the series and have offered their own sex talks.

Speaking at conferences and churches, Stevens lecturers nationally on the topics of church leadership and pop culture in the church. 

08
May
08

My neighbor Gene…

We have been here a little over three months and I have only talked to Gene in passing. You see we are renting a “villa” which is the nicer version of it’s cousin named “duplex”. Our little street happens to be a quite gated street and we are the youngest couple by about 25 years. We do not live in a retirement community, but sometimes it feels like it because most people have moved here to Florida to downsize homes and prepare to finish the race so to speak.

As I emerged from my car today, in a hurry to get things done Gene popped out of nowhere. He was like “hey mike”, he thinks my name is Mike. I was like oh no I have so much crap to do so I was amusing him for a little while trying to cut it off quick, you know what I am talkin’ about.

Well somewhere along the way he mentioned he liked world geography and my response was, “I travel alot outside the country.” He asked me why and my response was “Jesus told me too.” Quick and easy right in an attempt to land the converstaion plane.

Gene then began to tell me about his love for Jesus, about how God had saved him by grace and since then he has always wanted to live for Him. He told me he thinks that God had used him to lead 6 people to know Christ in his time as a Christ follower. He told me one story about how he went on visitation to the hospital to visit a church member. The person he had gone to visit had already been discharged, but he began to talk with the other guy  in the room. The patient asked him to pray for him and Gene did. Gene sat there that day and talked with the man. He returned many days following and in the process was able to lead this man to know the Jesus that had so changed Gene.

One day Gene went to see his freind as usual, and the nurse told him that he had passed in the night. As Gene was telling me this he began to cry. At this point I felt like God wanted me to keep talking with Gene. We continued to talk and he told me about how his brother worked at the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home. He said he would often volunteer because those children did not have a dad, and in some way he wanted to fill that role. Yet again, he began to cry…

As he was leaving he said something that really grabbed me and convicted me. He said, ” I REALLY enjoyed this Matt. We should talk again.” He said it with a huge smile on his face, the kind you must have when you win the lottery. Then he left my garage and hobbled back over to his little villa.

God really convicted me. This guy just wanted to talk, some community you know. For three months he has been reaching out to me and all I have been doing is blurring past him with my busyness in ministry. I think that soon I will go and sit to talk with Gene some more, possibly take him to lunch.

Today was a good day!

22
Apr
08

54% Emergent

What’s your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Reformed EvangelicalYou are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God’s Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical
 
75%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
 
71%
Fundamentalist
 
68%
Neo orthodox
 
68%
Emergent/Postmodern
 
54%
Charismatic/Pentecostal
 
39%
Roman Catholic
 
29%
Classical Liberal
 
14%
Modern Liberal
 
4%

So it looks like my suspisions were correct,,,I am not Roman Catholic. I’m a guy that has reformed theology, loves some wesley everynow and occassionly digs candles in worship (emergent). Really though I disagree a little with the tag line up top. The most important thing a church can do is teach how to live all of life for the glory of God. God is most glorfied when we point to him and him alone as our source for salvation in life and death, people need to know that. And for those of you who were worried I had some emergent sympathies, I am only emergent 54% of the worship service. That means I only watch half of the Nooma videos!

So what are you? Gotta love those labels…lol!




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