My Kind of People

I love God’s church, but sometimes I get really frustrated with “church people.” Of course I love the church and I would gladly give my life for her, but can we be honest with one anther? Some of the things we get all worked up about are just plane annoying. Like the Christmas cups at Starbucks. They took of very non-chrsitain symbols of the holiday season and everyone freaked out. Another example is this past elections season. People supporting both major candidates thought they were with God’s candidate, and even those who chose to vote third party were saying they were God’s people. With all these difference voices sometimes I just wonder which ones are my kind of people? From all the different points of view in the media and all different people claiming to be part of God’s people. How can we know which ones are God’s kind of people? Luke 4:16-21 gives insight into who are God’s kind of people.
Here in this passage Jesus begins his public ministry. He has just left the wilderness overcoming the temptation of satan, and then he goes in all the region preaching in the synagogues. He has created a name for himself and his preaching and teaching are widely accepted by the people. He is becoming quite the famous preacher, all is going well until he enters Nazareth.His home town. There is no doubt that the people in the congregation know him and his family. They watched him grow up, and now he is there as this well know preacher. He begins to preach a sermon from the book of Isaiah, but the invitation is cut short when the people reject both Jesus and his message.
Who is the preacher?
Obviously we know that Jesus was the preacher, but did they know that in that synagogue the day he preached it? Yes, they knew that Jesus was the one reading the text that day, but did they know that the one reading the scroll that day was the some preacher mentioned in the book of Isaiah that he was reading? Jesus starts out reading this school form Isaiah 61. He reads, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me.” That kind of language would be recognized by any Jew to be language about the messiah. The word anointing was not used lightly and here in this passage it says that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him and then he says it again almost redundant that he has anointed him. The mind of the Jew in the audience would have gone immediately to the messiah.
The Jews were expecting this great hero to come and set them free from captivity. The Romans came in and conquered the people, they had to answer to a foreign government with whom they did not agree. The Romans did not understand the customs, culture, or religion of the Jews, and they were not sensitive to those disagreements. It was not a comfortable time. Therefore, the Jews were waiting patiently on the anointed one of God to come and set them free from Rome. It was the bedtime story for their children, it was the conversation around the water cooler at at the office, it was at the forefront of their minds. Therefore, there is no way that would miss a reference like this. What they did miss however was that this promised messiah was the one standing right in front of them.
When Jesus finished his sermon, he sat down and said, “today this scripture has been fulfilled din your hearing.” He is saying that he is in fact this anointed one of Isaiah 61 and he is this long awaited messiah. They however do not take this claim the way we would expect. But rather they proceed to not only kick him out of town, but they try to throw him off a cliff. It is a very sad event, Jesus was there with his kind of people, the ones from his hometown, but they totally missed it.
Who is the audience?
The people in the room obviously don’t get it, so the question remains, “who are Jesus kind of people?” Jesus mentions, the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed. That sounds like a group of people that you want to use to build a mighty kingdom. Please pardon the sarcasm, but in all honesty if we were to go and pick the kind of people that we were going to use to continue the kingdom work, I highly doubt we would gather up a group of blind impoverished prisoners to do it, but that is exactly the method Jesus used.
Look at the ministry of Jesus. There is the story of the woman at the well, the call of the tax collector disciple, the blind man in John 9, the parable of the lost sheep, coin, and prodigal son, Mary Magdalene, etc… The message of Jesus is carried on the backs of my kind of people, outcasted, “least of these” folks who do not matter all that much to the world. Christ however openly says, “these are my kind of people.”
What is the message?
Now let’s answer the last question, What is the message? The message is; good news, liberty, recovery of sight, freedom, and the year of the Lord’s favor. There is great hope for “my kind of people” because the message of God is good news. The kingdom of God is our world turned upside down. The poor are rich and the rich are poor, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. It is a completel reversal of our system of value and this is good news. We call this news the Gospel. Jesus came and preached this great news to this kind of people and that means there is good news for you and there is good news for me. The good news is not that we will become rich if we are poor, it is not about early rewards, but it is about eternity.
If you were to go back and read Isaiah 61 you would find that Jesus left out a part of the text. It reads in Isaiah 61, “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.” The day of vengeance did not need to be declared in that day, because the day of vengeance was the day of the crucifixion when the Lord took God’s judgment for my kind of people. Therefore, today I also proclaim good news of salvation to everyone no matter what kind of people you think you are. You are God’s kind of people.
-Brayden L. Buss

The Moral Majority and The Evangelistic Minority

I heard someone say recently that America has been in moral decline since the end of WWII. I have heard similar statements many times from preachers who probably mean well, but they just do not realize what they are saying by making such comments. First of all there was state sponsored racism in the 1950’s and 1960’s and for the most part we have made dramatic progress since the end of the second world war in eliminating such evil practices. To claim that there has been a great moral decline since those days is to claim that it would be better for us to recreate those days. I’m sure the black community would strongly disagree with that notion. The point I’m making is that the good old days never really existed and America, nor any other nation for that mater, has a time in history when there was a “moral” society. Sure things are different now than then, and it may very well be worse today, but if we are being honest we have just rotated the sin of the day. We have traded racism for sexual promiscuity. Churches must be very careful in pointing to a time in history that we are to mimic.


The whole idea of a moral majority is a myth. There was not a day and probably will not be a day when we live in a moral society. We should not even expect such things, the Bible is quite clear that the world is stained with sin and in need of a savior. Their savior is not a more moral America, but a moral God. Think about the words of John in 1 John 4:5-6,  “They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” To John there is a clear distinction that needs to be made between those of the world and those of God. I just cannot understand why we freak out every time the wold acts like the world.

Just recently there has been outrage at the release of the new Beauty and the Beast movie from Disney. The Christian community is outraged because they heard there was a scene that depicted homosexual affection. I saw the movie, and as always, my beloved brothers and sisters over-exagrated the issue. Why should we expect Disney to do anything other than promote the sin of the day? That’s a better question. It is time for Christians to stop expecting the wold to act like the Church. If we would just devote half of the energy to evangelism that we have given to making America moral again we might actually make a difference in this country.


Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13,  “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church  whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” Corinth had major moral troubles both inside and outside of the church, but Paul sees the bigger problem as internal not external. We are not the judge of those outside the church but rather those who are inside. You often hear people says, “Who am I to judge that person’s salvation, only God can know.” That is simply not a Biblical principle in the slightest. The entire book of 1 John is about testing those inside to see if they are genuine because there is assurance for those who are in Christ. It is most certainly our job to judge those inside. We must worry much more about the moral standing of those inside our churches than those outside.

I am calling this the evangelistic minority. There must be a change of direction for the church in America. Rather than calling out Disney for sins, and threading boycott. On a side note, this is not the first time baptists have boycotted Disney, and we saw how well that worked out last time. Our efforts need to be readdressed, we should not remove ourselves from Disney but rather we should “remove the person from among us.” Our efforts of preserve a moral society should be inward, and at the same time our outward efforts should be evangelistic and just as strong as our inward efforts.

When the apostles reputation was going around as men who “turned the world upside down,” they did not receive that reputation by political efforts. All they did was faithfully proclaim the Gospel. Imagine that, they did exactly what Jesus told them to do and it worked. We need to learn this lesson and stoping trowing the name of God into our political arguments for our personal gain. The church needs to be the church.






One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the feeding of the 5,000. Other than the resurrection, it is the only miracle to appear in all four Gospels. It is obviously a significant event in the story of Jesus. In John, it appears to be the final straw between Jesus and the Jews, and in Mark it marks a geographical shift in the ministry of Jesus. Needless to say, this story obviously has more to it than just a simple children’s story to be told in Sunday school.

I like to look at this story from the different perspectives of the people in it. For example, look at the perspective of the disciples. They had just returned from one last sweep of the Galilean region. They were healing the sick, doing all kinds of miracles, and teaching in all the villages of the region. Now they are tired and Jesus leads them to a place to rest. When they arrive the people were already there. They heard that Jesus and his disciples were coming so they rushed to the other side of the sea of Galilee to make sure they could see Jesus and the disciples. The disciples were not pleased about this, and when the day was long they wanted to send to people away. It seems that they saw these crowds as a nuisance getting in the way of their much needed vacation.

More than that, think about the disciples perspective of Jesus. They have been with him and seen Him do all sorts of miracles. They should know who He is, but they miss it. When it comes time to feed them, they start taking about money and the lack of resources. Do they not know that this is the same Jesus that changed the water into wine? They are totally ignorant of the fact that they walk daily with the Lord of all creation. I wonder if the 12 leftover baskets or even the circumstances of this event as a whole are there to make a point to the 12 rather than the crowd.

Now look from the perspective of the crowd. John’s account gives insight to the fact that the crowd seems to want the food more than the one providing it. At the end they try to make Jesus king by force, and Jesus goes into the great discourse where He declares, “I am the bread of life.” Once again the crowd misses the point. They definitely cannot sing the song “I’d rather have Jesus” with any integrity.

Jesus however has the perspective that we are to embrace. Jesus, like the disciples, is very tired. John the Baptist has just been killed, Jesus was thrown out of Nazareth by his own people, and the emotional weight of constantly dealing with people has started to take its toll on Him. This however is all forgotten when Jesus lands on the beach and sees the great crowd. He was moved by compassion for them, despite his own circumstance, because they were “like sheep without a shepherd.” He knew well that they only wanted the miracles and they only wanted the blessings, but He still loved them. He spent the entire day ministering to them, with the great conclusion being this mass feeding. This story, as much as any other, gives great insight to the character of our Lord.

I need to adjust my perspective of those around me. I need to see the needs of people, and see opportunities to minister to them even when things in my life are difficult. This is the call of every Christian. We must open our eyes to see the poor, the hurting, and the outcasted! The song, “People Need The Lord” must be ever on our hearts.

I also need to adjust my perspective of Jesus. He is the one who was crucified in the place of sinners and the one who triumphantly rose from the dead. Who am I to question His ability to see me through to the end when little problems come up in my life? I must always remember that Jesus is Lord!


Practically Theological

I love the academic world. I enjoy studying and intellectually pursuing new information. I am still in a season of formal education, and I am grateful for it. I found this passion at Oklahoma Baptist University where I was exposed to thoughts and ideas that I had never heard of before. Needless to say I was hooked. I new that after graduation my education was going to continue, so I went to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where I am half way done with my masters degree. I fully intend on pursuing a doctoral degree after I am done there. This education is extremely valuable to me, but it is not enough. The most valuable piece of my education was not found at OBU or Southeastern Seminary, it was in the office of First Baptist Church Okmulgee, in the car with my Pawpaw, and in the pastorate at Immanuel Baptist church Henryetta. Formal education is most certainly necessary, but it only works if it is accompanied by hands on training. Here are some simple ways that churches can provide ministry training to complement theological education.

  1. Internships

My first ministry training occurred while I was still in high school by way of an intentional intern program at FBC Okmulgee. My home church made training up young minsters a priority. It was quite common for the church to have one or two young men serving as an intern on the staff. The main responsibilities were focused on the youth group, but they were not limited to that. The internal experience gave insight to the way the church really functions after everyone else goes home on Sunday. I was exposed to real life ministry, to times of joy and times of pain, all of which prepared me for future tasks.

I love the new emphasis on interns and how even small churches are hire interns. It is an opportunity for churches of all varieties to have an active role in preparing the next generation of minsters. All pastors should go through an internship before entering the ministry on their own, and every church should find some way to invest in an internship program.

2. Residency 

A new development in the ministry world is really gaining steam and the church is the better for it. Ministry residency programs are gaining in popularity. Churches can now partner with seminaries to provide hands on training while working toward a seminary degree. These programs fill the holes in seminary training. The residents can learn about church budgeting by actually working with church budgets. The class room is limited, but when it is combined with the real experience given in a residency the lid is lifted.

I am currently participating in one of these programs with the Cross Church School of Ministry in Northwest Arkansas. I am still working on my Mdiv, but I am working toward that while serving in the local church. I have the opportunity to experience things I would never get to do if I was doing classroom only training.

3. Serve

Lastly, just serving on staff while in school is a great option for practical theological training. Serving on a church staff or even as the pastor of a church while in school used to be a normal thing, but it is now in decline. I find this to be a major problem. Many churches around colleges and seminaries had a long legacy of hiring students as their pastors. They could invest in the life of a young man and he could really do some great things for their church. I believe that there are many struggling churches who could be revived, but the man who could do it is stuck in a class room.

I was blessed and very humbled by the opportunity to serve as a pastor all the way through college and I would not trade that experience for anything. It was genuinely one of the best times of my life. I could take what I learned in the class room that morning and put it to use later in the afternoon when I got back to the church. I want to see more students looking for churches to work in and more churches take a chance on a young pastor. The future of that pastor and that church could be changed forever.

I think every pastor should have some formal theological training, but I think it should be done in conjunction with practical on the job training. In my ministry I fully intend on investing in the lives of young pastors to give them a good start in ministry, just like people have done for me. I am very thankful, for the men and ministries that are helping me prepare for ministry.