Monthly Archives: February 2015

imarriage seminar



Beginning on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015, Lucy & I will be leading couples through a new marriage seminar entitled imarriage. I am excited to teach this all important study by Andy Stanley.

Here is a small description: Standing at the altar, we all had a picture of what our marriage would look like. The problem is this picture of marriage results in expectations that we unload on our spouse. The weight of these expectations can rob your marriage of love and joy. As a spouse you never feel like you measure up and you never feel like you are good enough. So what are you to do with your expectations? You can’t deny them, because most expectations started out as God-given desires. This series explains that you must learn to transform your expectations and look to God if you are to experience marriage as it was designed.

Our families are under heavy attack in our culture today. The family nucleus begins with the marriage. Without a covenant marriage, the family suffers. When the family suffers, society in general suffer as well. Confusion sets in over the smallest of all concerns like, “what is the definition of marriage?” It seems pretty simple that a marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman. But now with 51 gender options available on Facebook, its no wonder there is so much confusion. Gender is a role, not a sex option, which is what you are at birth. Therefore it is agreed that you are male or female for a question like “what sex are you?”, but when it comes to a gender role, society says you can be anything you want to be.

So, without going further into more details, I think you can see the real issue is the identity of a marriage. We as Christians should hold to the Biblical view of a marriage being exclusive to one male married to one female for life. If we can determine that, then the family has a fighting chance to succeed. That is why my wife and I go to great lengths to do marriage enrichment and marriage coaching whenever we can. It is important!

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Churches less evangelistic today than ever before


This post comes from Thom Rainer:

By almost any metric, the churches in our nation are much less evangelistic today than they were in the recent past. In my own denomination, we are reaching non-Christians only half as effectively as we were 50 years ago (we measure membership to annual baptisms). The trend is disturbing.

We certainly see the pattern in the early church where “every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). In too many of our churches today, the congregations are reaching no one for Christ in the course of an entire year.

The Poll

I conducted an unscientific Twitter poll recently to see what church leaders and church members thought of this trend, My specific question was: “Why do you think many churches aren’t as evangelistic as they once were?”

The responses arrived quickly and in great numbers, both in public tweets and in direct messages to me. Indeed, I was still receiving responses four days after I sent my Twitter question.

The Results

The response was highly informative for me. Here are the top fifteen responses listed in order of frequency:

  1. Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people.
  2. Many Christians and church members do not befriend and spend time with lost persons.
  3. Many Christians and church members are lazy and apathetic.
  4. We are more known for what we are against than what we are for.
  5. Our churches have an ineffective evangelistic strategy of “you come” rather than “we go.”
  6. Many church members think that evangelism is the role of the pastor and paid staff.
  7. Church membership today is more about getting my needs met rather than reaching the lost.
  8. Church members are in a retreat mode as culture becomes more worldly and unbiblical.
  9. Many church members don’t really believe that Christ is the only way of salvation.
  10. Our churches are no longer houses of prayer equipped to reach the lost.
  11. Churches have lost their focus on making disciples who will thus be equipped and motivated to reach the lost.
  12. Christians do not want to share the truth of the gospel for fear they will offend others. Political correctness is too commonplace even among Christians.
  13. Most churches have unregenerate members who have not received Christ themselves.
  14. Some churches have theological systems that do not encourage evangelism
  15. Our churches have too many activities; they are too busy to do the things that really matter.

What’s the solution? Let me know what you think? send me an email

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

  1. Our churches have too many activities; they are too busy to do the things that really matter.

So What Is the Solution?

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100 Blog Post



Today marks the 100 blog post since moving to Del Rio, Texas in October of 2013. The time has gone by rather quickly. Our family has adjusted from our first days of indoctrination to the area. We had become quite acquainted with our Weatherford, Texas surroundings, after more than a 10 year church staff life, home life, and community life. Moving to another area of the state was not really on our radar, thinking God would open a door of service in the multitude of churches located in the Metroplex of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

But God, you know, has His agenda that usually has nothing to do with our agenda. He doesn’t even check our calendar to see if we are going to be available for His next assignment. He is the One that does the calling, the opening, and the assigning. So, He did it. He opened up a place of service that has been an absolute blessing. It has been all Him! He has created an atmosphere of unusual growth, health, and fun (you can have fun at church)!

So, as we enter into 18 months of service, I wonder what God wants to do next? Only He knows! I am ok with that. He has done a pretty good job so far, so I bet he will continue to do so

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Advancing the Gospel



Yesterday, I preached a second sermon of a 10 sermon series through the book of Philippians entitled “Advancing The Gospel.” As I was preparing the sermon last week, I came across an interesting article by a man I highly respect, Ed Stetzer from Lifeway. You can click HERE to view the article. The article was one of conviction in a way that makes total sense. Society seems to be trending the church in the order it should go, but it shouldn’t be that way. The church will be able to maintain the barrage of changes that come with trend setting. The church can take months, even years to determine what color of carpet, tile, or paint to place in a particular space. What would make us even think we could keep up with the trends society dumps on us?

So, the real nuts and bolts of the article are really a decision every church in America will have to make to be the answers to a hurting society. We will either be Gospel centered or trend centered. We might be able to do trend setting for a while if you have a fat church budget, but in the end, what will really become of the people God has entrusted to us? If we chose now to become the convicted church (you can understand this term more in depth by reading the article) we will be the answer society will be looking for in the next 15-20 years. Being a Christian will begin to cost us and we will become the enemy to the opposers.

Let us live our lives by advancing the Gospel to a world that is in desperate need.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain, Philippians 1:21

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7

Pastor Larry

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Nine Concerns about Church Members Who Withhold Their Financial Gifts

Here is an excellent post by Thom Rainer author of Simple Church:

Nine Concerns about Church Members Who Withhold Their Financial Gifts.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Pastors eager to find preaching’s place in modern church

I am posting a very good article about today’s preaching and young adults. I have been amazed at the zeal that young adults of today have to follow hard after God. We have had an influx of young adults, families, and collage age attending church, here at FBC Del Rio. So, sometimes when I hear about the non-interested, non-church going young adult, I don’t believe it. Young adults want spirituality in their lives, they just don’t want grandpa’s church and they way things have always been done. We that have been around awhile must adapt a new approach to preaching, but still have an un-compromised Gospel message. Here is the article:
Pastors eager to find preaching’s place in modern church

Pastors eager to find preaching’s place in modern church

BOULDER, Colo. (BNG)—Preaching often gets lost in today’s urgent talk about church decline, closure and relevance. Most of the buzz centers on embracing technology, social media, worship styles or whether to stay in or sell the building.


But what about homelitics? Where does the message from the pulpit fit into debates on “nones,” “dones” and the Millennials? Do those groups care about sermons as passionately as they are said to care about music and missional service?

Direct experience and research shows they do, and a few recent developments seem to prove that while preaching is evolving, it’s still considered important and effective.

For instance, the Lilly Endowment has issued several large grants to seminaries— including Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary—to strengthen preaching.

Another indicator: Luis Palau will join other evangelists for four days of worship, song and preaching—plenty of preaching—in New York City in February.

But it isn’t just the high-profile preachers who are putting a lot of thought into preaching, especially when it comes to reaching young people.

‘It was very powerful’

“Millennials tell me that what matters are not preachers’ degrees or where they went to school, but that they are authentic,” said Bob Ballance, the senior minister at Pine Street Church—formerly First Baptist—in Boulder, Colo.

The once-dwindling congregation has experienced resurgence in recent years as the American Baptist church has become a magnet for Millennials.

bob ballance

Bob Ballance

To reach that generation, preachers must not pander to them with awkward references to social media or references to the latest films or television shows, Ballance insisted.

They’re also not interested in the basic “three points and a poem” sermon model, he said.

“They want real stories from life,” he said. “They want sermons that really matter—not just a devotional thought.”

Preaching to an increasingly young congregation has required a change in his approach, Ballance said. He left traditional preaching behind in the mid-’90s and started incorporating technology like PowerPoint. That’s evolved to using film clips when appropriate, and he also tried passing out pen and paper to have congregants describe their image of God.

“I was shocked. I got 70 written, prophetic responses,” he said. “It wasn’t just me talking. It was the congregation. It was very powerful.”

Balance’s 15- to 20-minute sermons have gone by different names.

“We used to call them ‘reflections,’ and sometimes ‘meditations,’” he said. “In the last couple of months, we are back to ‘sermon.’”

The purpose of the sermon isn’t necessarily to evangelize, Ballance said.

“It’s a time of guided reflections. It’s not me having all the answers,” he said.

‘Still drawing a crowd’

The tension pastors face in the modern pulpit is between relevance and irrelevance, said Brett Younger, associate professor of preaching at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology. And both positions can be challenging, he added.

Being irrelevant means speaking truth many people are not interested in, he said.

brett younger

Brett Younger

On the other side, preachers may stretch so far toward relevancy their sermons offer little more than self-help tips for becoming better in the culture. And it works.

“Look at Joel Osteen. He’s still drawing a crowd,” Younger said.

Preachers trying to convey the gospel message face yet another challenge—avoiding overly religious language.

“If you use religious language without time to flesh it out, then people have trouble hearing it,” Younger said. “But if you completely dump it, you may not be telling the story of Christ any more.”

That’s why, for the first time in hundreds of years, that sermons actually are getting longer, he added. It’s occurring because Christian education has moved from Sunday school to pulpits.

“Teaching is its only function in a lot of settings,” Younger said of preaching.

Whatever form or technique is used, sermons should teach about topics that hit people where they live, he asserted.

“Millennials will tell you they want authenticity and reality” in sermons, he said. “They will tell you they want someone to talk about things that matter ultimately.”

‘A sea change’ in preaching

Helping students learn how to preach in ways that are faithful and engaging with congregations is one of the hoped-for benefits of the $500,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, said Hulitt Gloer, professor of Christian scriptures at Truett Seminary.

Gloer is among the faculty members who will oversee portions of the grant, which will be used to create peer-learning and peer-coaching opportunities for students.

hulitt gloer

Hulitt Gloer

Lilly approached Truett about the grant—as it did seven other schools—prompted by concern about the quality of preaching in American churches, Gloer said.

Of course, Truett jumped at the opportunity.

“We’re always looking for better approaches … and opportunities to do some experimentation and develop better methods of pedagogy,” Gloer said.

The basics still will be taught, but in innovative ways, he noted.

To help with voice and projection, preaching students will interview drama department personnel. Courses will cover preparation, discovering and using resources, and developing topics.

But Truett long has been engaged in helping its students find their way in an ever-changing church and cultural environment, Gloer said.

A major consideration is how faculty prepare students to preach before technologically savvy generations.

“This is a big question in homiletics in general,” Gloer said. “What does this sea change mean for the preaching event?”

Stay In The Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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