Reflections on the Boston Bombings
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on April 29, 2013
Some thoughts from Kent Forkner, one of our elders at SSBC.
As I’ve been pondering the horrific events from two weeks ago, I’ve been asking myself how should I, as a Christian, respond?
1) How should I think and respond differently given what I have in Christ?
2) How should I equip myself to better share what I believe?
3) How can I share the truth of Christ with others and help others to see things beyond the temporal at such a time as this?
I seem to have more questions than answers and I have talked with others who are struggling with the same questions. While I don’t have all the answers by any means, let me share some thoughts.
How should I respond? I think that I first need to admit my fear even while acknowledging that, as a Christian, I know Christ can and will carry me through. Whether we were at the marathon, had a friend impacted by the bombings, or are just struggling with emotional shock, we can be assured that Christ provides for us and cares for us in all times and especially in times like these. Philippians 4:13 promises us, “[We] can do all things through him who strengthens [us].” As we learned during the sermon on Sunday, that verse means that Christ provides for our needs, including our spiritual needs. He does this directly through his Word, through the Lord’s Supper, and through his churches. Also, in Matthew 10:28, Christ reminds us to “not fear those who can kill the body.” What wonderful promises we have that He cares for our needs – both spiritual and physical. We can rest in Him. (read more…)
Perspective from the Fire of London
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on December 26, 2012
The Great Fire of London began in a bakery on September 2, 1666, and raged until September 5. It consumed over 13,000 buildings and left an estimated 85% of London’s inhabitants homeless.
In the aftermath of that holocaust, a Puritan preacher named Thomas Brooks gave a discourse entitled “London’s Lamentations.” It’s a lengthy meditation on the meaning of the event and the nature of God’s great judgments in the world.
And as a good pastor, Brooks also sought to comfort the people in the face of such staggering loss. In “Lamentations” he includes thirteen truths or “supports,” as he calls them, that should encourage believers and give them that most precious gift: an eternal perspective. (read more…)
A Job Description for Lay Elders
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on November 20, 2012
You were humbled—and a little surprised—when the pastor asked you to serve as an elder. You prayed about it, talked to your wife, and got the input of a few trusted church members. With a mixture of trepidation and excitement you accepted the nomination, and a few weeks later you were voted into office.
Now you sit at your first elders’ meeting, waiting for things to start. And a nagging thought arises: “Okay, I am an elder. Now what do I do?”
Elders—The Church’s Lead Disciple-Makers
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on November 20, 2012
Are you an elder in your church? Then you should be one of the church’s lead disciplers. You knew that this was a key part of an elder’s job description, right?
Let me back up just to make sure it is clear. If I had to pick one image to best explain an elder’s job in the local church, the choice would be a no-brainer: the New Testament predominantly portrays elders as shepherds.
Elder Interview: Tim Ells
Posted by Cindy Lyle on September 20, 2012
I spent a few days at Tim Ells’ home during my candidating time at SSBC. Tim and Janet were not only gracious hosts, but kindly debriefed with me after long days of conversations and interviews. Many respect Tim at SSBC – and rightly so. Tim is a man of few words; but when he speaks people listen because he is wise. What most impresses me about Tim is his love for SSBC. This love Tim has is manifested quietly and courageously on the Elder board. And it comes out in his behind-the-scenes service as a Growth Group leader, 5th grade Sunday School teacher, Connections greeter, prayer warrior for Sunday morning services etc. Let me turn it over to Tim (and by the way, he’s not kidding about the frisbee throws; I am a witness)…
You can find the remainder of the interview here.
Elder Interview: Eric Mello
Posted by Cindy Lyle on July 19, 2012
My first interaction with Eric Mello, the vice-chairman of our Elder Board, occurred a few minutes before the first ministry meeting I ever led at SSBC. I was the nervous new Pastor and Eric the seasoned Elder. I don’t remember what he said, but his presence and words set me at ease. My second memory of Eric happened at his home, where Jeni and I joined his family for dinner. We ate, chatted, laughed a lot and played Dutch Blitz. On our drive home, Jeni and I agreed that the Mello family was “awesome.” Eric and I co-lead a Small Group, which gives me an insider-look at this shepherd at work. He’s the real deal. With that, I’ll turn it over to Eric
Click here for the interview.
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on July 11, 2012
Hey Church Family!
This is Pastor Jeramie, with a brief mid-sabbatical update from the beach, er, I mean, um, home office. Sorry, typing can be slippery with melted bon bons on your fingers!
After over a month away, I think I’ve achieved a state of true relaxation. It didn’t come right away. I had to go through several “stages of sabbatical,” in this order: (read more…)
Help! My Pastor’s on Sabbatical!
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 9, 2012
You need to keep going to church while I’m on sabbatical this summer.
There, I said it.
Preachers and congregations can get attached to each other, and it’s a precious thing when it happens. Many of us have painful anecdotes of pastors and congregations marked by mutual distrust, apathy and even hostility. So when we find a church where the shepherd loves the sheep and the sheep love the shepherd and connect with his preaching, we grab hold and don’t want to let go of that minister. (read more…)
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 9, 2012
So, did I hear that right? Pastor Jeramie will be gone this summer, as will Worship Director Jennifer Boel?
Yes, that’s right. Each of them has been granted a sabbatical by the elders. Jeramie will be gone for the months of June, July and August, and Jennifer will be gone for the months of July and August. (read more…)
Making the Most of Your Bible Reading Time
Posted by Godwin Sathianathan on March 19, 2012
During college I struggled with one of the essential practices of Christianity: daily, focused communion with God through Bible reading and prayer. I knew I should do it. I could quote most of the scripture references about why reading the Bible is crucial. I even learned some tools that would help me dig deeper into God’s Word. But I still struggled to regularly crack the thing open, let alone putting time into studying and praying through it. (read more…)
Conversion and Your Church’s Architecture
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on March 7, 2012
In 2004, our church building project hit a wall.
Up to that point, our plans to expand the church facility had moved forward slowly but surely. The congregation had approved drawings, voted to build, raised funds, and hired specialists to acquire the necessary building permits. And one by one the town granted our permits, until we came to the Board of Health. In 2004, the Board indicated that our septic system plans would not pass. So we withdrew our application from the town. (read more…)
Be a Tortoise, not a Hare
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on December 15, 2011
You know the classic fable: The cocky rabbit challenges the other animals to a race. The tortoise accepts, much to the hare’s bemusement. The race begins, and the rabbit dashes ahead—so far ahead, in fact, that he has time to nap. But while the hare sleeps, the tortoise faithfully plods on and crosses the finish line first in a dramatic upset. The moral of the story: Slow and steady wins the race. (read more…)
Becoming an Angel
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on November 7, 2011
This past summer someone asked me, “How do we become angels?” It was a sincere question, prompted by pain and confusion. This person had recently lost a child, and people had tried to comfort this grieving parent by saying that the lost child had become an angel. (read more…)
Two Good Books on the Church
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on October 26, 2011
This fall I read two new books about the church that I want to recommend. The New Testament deals extensively with the local church and assumes local congregations are central to Christian discipleship. And yet so often we give the church little thought and study! (read more…)
Call Me “Chosen One”
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on October 8, 2011
“I don’t ever call myself a Christian,” a Christian told me. “There’s too much negative baggage associated with the term.” If you’re a Christian, do you dare call yourself one? Or do you use another term to avoid being pigeon-holed? Perhaps you identify yourself as “a believer,” “a disciple” or maybe “a follower of Jesus.”
Try this one on for size: “chosen one.” (read more…)
Predestination in Acts
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on June 21, 2011
In Acts, the gospel goes viral.
Just after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to proclaim Christ and call all people to repent and believe. Luke’s book of Acts depicts the spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire, starting in Jerusalem, as thousands and thousands believe. (read more…)
Predestination in John 6
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on June 10, 2011
Jesus taught predestination.
As we continue thinking about this befuddling topic of God’s fore-choosing some to be saved, our first step is to examine what the Bible actually says, rather than jumping to philosophical speculation. (read more…)
Predestination in the Old Testament
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 31, 2011
Does the Old Testament depict God as predestining some to be saved?
In our last blog we took the wide-screen view of God’s providence. The Bible unapologetically celebrates God’s sweeping sovereignty over all things, from nations to nature, and even over our hearts. But in the next few blogs we zoom in theologically on what the Bible teaches about an aspect of his God’s sovereign providence, namely his pre-determining some to be his redeemed people. (read more…)
How Sovereign is God’s Sovereignty?
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 19, 2011
In this blog series exploring predestination, we now turn to the biblical teaching itself. Let’s start by taking in the bigger biblical picture of God’s providence, of which predestination is a subset (see the previous blog). We should frame our more narrow discussion of predestination within the wide panorama of God’s rule.
So how sovereign is God’s sovereignty? (read more…)
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 12, 2011
When tackling thorny topics like predestination, it’s always important to define terms. Otherwise two people enter a conversation (or argument) pre-loaded with their own associations and understandings of a word like predestination, and only later realize that they each meant different things by the word. (read more…)
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 5, 2011
There are some topics you just don’t bring up in a Bible study group, unless of course you’re hoping to derail the discussion and bring the meeting to an awkward ending. You don’t ask people if they think we’re in the end times. You don’t ask if anyone present speaks in tongues. And you never, ever ask people to share their views of predestination.
Why are Christians often so allergic to discussing predestination? (read more…)
Trusting in Christ Alone
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on March 14, 2011
Let not the Jew boast in his Torah observance, because “no one will be declare righteous by observing the Law.” Instead let him hold fast to the Living Word, Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel.
Let not the Muslim think that he will attain paradise by submitting to Allah through the five pillars or Shariah Law. Instead let him call upon the one who was so much more than a prophet, and let him meet the God of love and mercy. (read more…)
For the Church: How Can You Support Parachurch Ministries
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on March 2, 2011
Below is the second blog Pastor Jeramie has written for 9Marks Ministries. Below are the first few paragraphs. Click on the link to read the entire blog. (read more…)
Three Dimensional Suffering
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on February 1, 2011
This past Sunday we studied Deuteronomy 8:1-5, in which Moses reflected upon Israel’s forty years of wilderness wanderings. Moses identified several purposes behind Israel’s trials in the desert for four decades. God led Israel through the wilderness 1) to humble them (8:2-3,16), 2) to test them and so reveal their character (8:3,16), 3) to provide for them (8:3-4,15-16) and 4) to discipline and teach them (8:5). The text is a great encouragement to us as Christians as we face trials and suffering. God has purposes for us in the midst of pain, deprivation and hardship.
But there’s another layer of purpose to consider. (read more…)
Staying to the Glory of God: One Preacher’s Death Wish
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on January 5, 2011
Pastor Jeramie was asked by 9 Marks ministries to write a blog… below is an excerpt of the blog and the link to the full article below. (read more…)
The Moses Model
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on December 23, 2010
I call it the “Moses Model.” It’s a view of church governance that grants complete authority to a church’s pastor. A Christian brother explained it to me this way: “The pastor is supposed to be like Moses. He goes into the tent to hear from God. He then comes out and proclaims what God told him. The elders say “Amen” and the people follow.
Though they might not appeal to Moses directly, many pastors follow a similar model of pastoral authority. (read more…)
Is Hell Just?
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on June 3, 2010
I popped into Starbucks today for a consciousness-sustaining beverage and bumped into a sister from the church. We chatted for a bit, and the conversation turned to the fairness of Hell, in light of our current sermon series in Revelation. Does the punishment of eternal damnation really fit the crime of sin? (read more…)
Refinancing Your Worldview
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 21, 2010
My wife and I just took advantage of the current low interest rates and refinanced our house. A lawyer came to our home for the closing and had us sign a stack of documents. We initialed and signed and dated for almost a half hour. The lawyer gave us sound-bite explanations of what we were signing, but in reality I had neither the time nor knowledge to fully grasp everything to which I affixed my John Hancock. At some point in a closing you have to take a leap of faith, embrace the whole system, and start scribbling on whatever gets put before you. (read more…)
Exposition and Sufficiency
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on May 19, 2010
May 3, 2010 Pastor Jeramie was invited to speak at the New England Center For Expository Preaching’s annual Pastor’s Conference. One of the talks Pastor Jeramie gave was published online. Below is the link to his talk.
Why Do We Vote?
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on February 24, 2010
Our congregation recently met to decide on the building project proposal. In an amazing show of unity and enthusiasm, the church voted by over 96% to move forward with the expansion.
The vote also produced some interesting conversations. A newer attendee to SSBC asked me, “Why do you vote?” In other words, why did SSBC use congregational voting as a mechanism to make this decision to build? As Baptists we take voting for granted. But not all congregations operate in this manner. Is congregational voting biblical, or is it a sanctified version of democracy or a baptized New England town meeting? (read more…)
Next Step: The Membership Covenant
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on December 27, 2009
Last Tuesday the congregation adopted a new doctrinal statement, the product of almost three years of revision and discussion. This robust document will serve our church well for generations.
Now we turn our attention to revising SSBC’s membership covenant. Section 13 of our new doctrinal statement begins, “We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel.” So what is a church membership covenant? (read more…)
Is Church Membership Biblical?
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on December 7, 2009
I dropped in on the church membership class today to field questions from attendees. One of them, a teenager, asked a basic but critical question: “Is church membership in the Bible?”Great question! It’s true that there is no 11th commandment in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt be a church member.” Nor do we have any explicit descriptions of the early church setting up a church membership system.
And yet, church membership in some form seems implied throughout the New Testament. (read more…)
Why Not Just Plant?
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on November 19, 2009
An Argument for Expanding the Facility of South Shore Baptist Church while Pursuing Local Church Planting, by Pastor Jeramie Rinne – November 10, 2009. So why not just plant?
“Why build an expensive addition to our facility when we could plant churches much more cost-effectively?” It is a question I have asked myself, and have been asked by members of South Shore Baptist Church (SSBC). We all know our church has grown numerically. (read more…)
First Baptist Church of Skype
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on April 21, 2009
What makes a church a church? We began to unpack this question at our 5pm Discussion and Prayer meeting Sunday night, April 19. We started with the basics: a church is a gathering of Christians.
But that immediately raised a question for us: do the Christians have to physically meet together to be a church? Could a group of Christians form a sort of virtual church using teleconferencing and IM chat? Why couldn’t believers “gather” via the internet from around the country or the globe on a weekly basis to talk, pray, hear a message and interact? (read more…)
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on February 7, 2009
My wife and I love Asian cuisine. My children are in the process of learning to like it. At this point their favorite part of the meal is still probably the fortune cookie. Crack the “cookie” (I use the term generously) and out falls a pithy line about your life, sometimes with a lucky number or two included.
We often approach the Bible like a fortune cookie. (read more…)
Fix your thoughts on Jesus
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on November 5, 2008
On Sunday we studied the command in Hebrews 3:1: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” We learned to fight against unfaithfulness and temptation in our hearts by cherishing and treasuring Christ. When our hearts savor the Savior, we find sin’s allurements increasingly weak and hollow.
After the sermon someone asked me, “You often talk about fixing our hearts on Jesus. But practically speaking, how am I supposed to do that?” (read more…)
“It’s the end of the world as we know it . . .
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on October 28, 2008
. . . and I feel fine.” So goes the chorus on R.E.M.’s song by the same title. In some ways those lyrics sum up how I feel about our upcoming presidential election. Because when you watch too much cable news, listen to talk radio, or even some talk among Christians, you can get the idea that America’s ultimate fate hangs in the balance of this vote. (read more…)
The Blizzard of 1978
Posted by Jeramie Rinne on March 24, 2008
On February 5, 1978, I was a kid living in the warmth of the desert southwest. On that same day Boston was buried in the legendary Blizzard of ‘78. Just ask New Englanders where they were in “the blizzard,” and they will regale you with stories of towering snowdrifts, houses swept away by the storm surge, and cars stuck on the highway for days. (read more…)