Archives For Omaha Bible Church

Omaha Bible Church’s annual church conference is coming quickly. Each year we work hard to bring in top notch speakers with the narrow goal of the glory of Christ through the edification of the church. In past years we have welcomed John MacArthur, D.A. Carson, Kris Lundgaard, Steve Lawson, and others. This year we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Don Whitney to OBC to exhort us in the spiritual disciplines, specifically biblical meditation and prayer.

God has used Dr. Whitney in great ways through his steady emphasis upon consistent and faithful spiritual disciplines, particularly through his books Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health and Simplify Your Spiritual Life. To this end we are eager to welcome Don to exhort and equip us to sharpen our spiritual focus.

The conference will be held on Saturday, October 20th and you really are not going to get a better deal than this. Attendees will enjoy three sessions of teaching from Dr. Whitney, musical worship, as well as a catered breakfast and lunch. Following the general sessions Dr. Whitney will conduct a workshop for pastors dealing with disaster proofing their ministry (more info here).

The total price for this conference including the food is $15 per person or a max of $25 per family (we want this to be both affordable and enticing).

Along with childcare for the infants and toddlers, a simultaneous conference will be held for the children up to the 5th grade. As a result , we need to have everyone register online and specify all of your children’s ages in order to help us properly prepare and plan.

>Register Online Today

>Pass this link onto others

:: OBC’s location

I just want to add a caveat to this…the conference is not limited just to members of OBC, it is for all who want to grow in the area of spiritual disciplines. So if you live in the Midwest, pack up the fam and take a roadie. Let me know if you are traveling and have any questions.

Here is the audio for the interview that aired this morning. It was clearly an interview with Palau with me being the controversial Calvinist who does not play well with others (note the interviewer referred to our church as…the ‘Calvinist’ Omaha Bible Church). My portion was extremely abbreviated; I wish that they would have included my references to the Scripture rather than just the historical reference to the Reformation. However, I am thankful to NPR for the opportunity to talk about this important issue and interact over the importance of the promotion and defense of the gospel.

At any rate I think Palau was given enough theological rope to hang himself; his wide inclusivism came through clear, even referring to the gospel as a secondary doctrine.

listen here ::


Related Posts ::

>ArchBishop Curtiss Praying

>What is Wrong with this Picture (St. James Catholic Church in Omaha)

>Luis Palau festival promoted by The Catholic Voice

>Does Ecumenicalism Undermine Biblical Unity? (part i, part ii, part iii)

>James White on Palau in Omaha

>Open wolf’s mouth insert head

>OWH highlights confessional tent at the crusade

-I have to give major props to my good friend Tony Reinke (of The Shepherd’s Scrapbook) who had downloaded and converted the interview file from RealAudio and uploaded it to his server to be streamed. This all happened before the interview aired. Thanks Tony!

I know that many of you who read this blog do not live in the Midwestern US, however, for the many who do I want to make a resource available to you.

Omaha Bible Church is committed to the faithful proclamation of the truth in effort to see God glorified and Christians edified. So each year the church hosts various events for men, women and families. At these events we typically bring in a respected Bible teacher who has made a significant impact via a book or a faithful ministry (ie John MacArthur, D.A. Carson, Steve Lawson, James White, or for the ladies, Martha Peace, Carol Ruvelo, etc..). These types of events are great because they serve to build us up while also galvanizing our resolve towards the things that are precious in Christ.

For instance, we are not a large church but we have a unique ministry to pastors and folks at smaller churches here in the Midwest. It is a great encouragement for us all to get together, spend a day or days basking in the greatness of God in the gospel while locking arms in the fellowship of grace. This coming October we are hosting Dr. Don Whitney, of Southern Seminary, to speak at our family conference (registration is open). This should be a great time.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list for events, go ahead and drop me a comment or a note and specify, if you would, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, family ministry or all three.



NPR interview

Erik Raymond —  July 11, 2007

Yesterday afternoon I was interviewed by NPR (National Public Radio) regarding OBC’s lack of participation in this weekend’s Heartland Festival with Luis Palau. This was a great opportunity to emphasize that we are not against everything but radically for the gospel, and when you are for the gospel you are against some things. And in this case, we are against partnering with those who do not believe the gospel (2 Cor. 6.14ff).

The interview will air tomorrow on the local NPR channel (NET out of Lincoln). They are apparently interviewing Luis Palau today and then airing both tomorrow.

It was encouraging to hear that they had read through my blog and were familiar with our position. How good is God to even give me a chance to talk about the gospel with this perfect stranger? What a great opportunity to promote the beauty of Jesus in the gospel and our need to promote and defend it with biblical fidelity.

This was the title of a sermon preached last night at Omaha Bible Church by our Senior Pastor, Patrick Abendroth. The message dealt with whether or not we as people have the free will to choose God or not.

>here is the link to the download page

I think Pat did a terrific job of dealing with the issues a short amount of time (45 min). Here are the 5 points that I took down (how many points do you think a Calvinist would have?)-

So here are the 5 compelling arguments against free will-

.1. the Bible does not teach it

.2. the Bible teaches the opposite

.3. the tetstimony of church history

.4. the theory undermines multiple realities of grace

.5. the theory undermines the glory of God

//a couple of items to note:

I really enjoyed Pat’s points with respect to the redefinition of grace and the logical implications of adding our choice to the equation.

A great quote: “Proponents of free-will are enemies of free-grace”

and a paraphrase: “why is free-will the evangelical idol? Why do we defend it so? It is not even in the Bible, but people defend it like it is the love of God or the deity of Christ or something?”

finally, if you are moved by your own free will :/ to take issue with these points, please listen to the sermon and then, if inclined, drop a comment. Don’t just disagree and rant.

“Pastors need to preach in such a way that their people will either hate sin or hate the preacher.”

[Pat Abendroth at OBC this past Sunday, I believe he said it was a paraphrase of a Luther quote, though I cannot find it.]


Some have asked about the audio for the recent Men’s Breakfast at Omaha Bible Church. Byron Yawn combined biblical fidelity, godly wisdom, common sense, a sense of humor and loving exhortation in this talk. If you are a church leader or know someone who is I would encourage you to listen to his message.

Here are the 21 points (the 21 points makes it an official leadership talk). Some of the titles are not a common sense ‘get’ however, in listening you will get it. One of my favorites is #4. Byron used the 20 year ex-smoker who now hates all smokers as in illustration for impatient and unloving theologically astute folks (ie Calvinists) who’s lives betray their true convictions (ie don’t love people unless they are just like them).
You may download or listen to the audio here for free (Under ‘Leadership Matters’).
Here are the notes::

#1 Multiply Yourself Like the Church Depends Upon It
#2 You Don’t Elevate Men by Lowering the Standard
#3 Leaders are Recognized Long Before They Assume Office
#4 Stay Away From the Guy Who Can’t Spell “Shepherd”
#5 Make Fun of “Pretty Books” as Often as Possible
#6 If Your Leaders Always Agree with You They’re Not
#7 The Most Immediate Demonstration of Your Leadership is the Quality of Men Around You
#8 Fear God More than You Fear Men
#9 Live in Light of Your Dispensability
#10 Learn to Plod
#11 Beware of Preaching Someone Else’s Convictions
#12 Your Bad Decisions are Usually Among Your Best
#13 Take the Truth Seriously. Yourself, not so Seriously
#14 The Problem With an Example is that People Will Follow It
#15 Don’t Hate the Sheep
#16 If You’re Wondering Whether It’s You or the Four Hundred Others, Don’t
#17 In Conflicts Let the Cursor Blink Longer Than Normal
#18 Complain Up
#19 Whatever Pain You Face You Always Deserve Worst
#20 Forget the Last Word
#21 Critics Remind Us How Well Integrity Sleeps
{Bryon’s expository sermons are on line at Community Bible in Nashville)

This past weekend we were served well via the Sunday morning message. Byron Yawn of Community Bible Church in Nashville, TN, preached a message on the grace of God, specifically in the context of Galatians two.

I urge you with brotherly love to carve out the 40 minutes to listen to this message. As Byron repeated throughout there is within each of us that desire to put conditions and qualifiers upon God’s grace to make it more manageable. This message was so helpful for me because it is where I live, I feel this tension as frequently as I do my pulse. Listen and be encouraged and challenged by grace.

Here are some of the points…

*If Grace is true then you are no better than the worst person imaginable

*God is not impressed with your good deeds (in fact you should repent from the good deeds you cling to for merit)

*Legalism is just as offensive as licentiousness

*There is nothing you can do to effect your standing before God

*Grace is supplied through Sanctification

*If Grace is not true then God made a horrible miscalculation

You may get the audio as linked below or in the iTunes store under the Omaha Bible Church podcast.


[Byron labors diligently in his expository preaching ministry in Nashville in the pulpit of Community Bible Church, I encourage you to add his preaching in your sermon diet]


This Saturday morning is Omaha Bible Church’s Spring Men’s Breakfast. The breakfast begins at 8 am with free breakfast, coffee and a good time of fellowship with men from OBC and neighboring churches.

Byron Yawn, the Senior Pastor at Community Bible Church in Nashville, TN and a graduate of The Master’s Seminary, will be teaching us from God’s Word. Byron will be teaching on the subject of spiritual leadership.

Byron is one of my favorite young and faithful expositors. You will be greatly encouraged in your attendance. Make plans to attend and invite some friends. You may register for this free event online.

The audio for the breakfast should be up early next week for those of you who are out of town.

This past Sunday I preached the final sermon in the 5-part April series entitled “Our Great Salvation” from First Peter chapter one (hence the lack of blogging activity).

I have been more challenged than I ever have been in my entire life. I feel as though God has been preaching a revival to me through his Scripture. Our Salvation is so great because our Savior is so great, and it is magnified through this great grace and mercy to cover our great sin.

I include the sermon series below for your reference, as some have asked about it. It is also available on the Omaha Bible Church website, or via the OBC podcast in iTunes.

>Our Great Salvation part 1 :: Identity (1 Peter 1.1-2)

Listen :: Download

>Our Great Salvation part 2 :: Certainty (1 Peter 1.3-5)

Listen :: Download

>Our Great Salvation part 3 :: Rejoicing (1 Peter 1.6-9)

Listen :: Download

>Our Great Salvation part 4 :: Marvelous (1 Peter 1.10-12)

Listen :: Download

>Our Great Salvation part 5 :: Reaction (1 Peter 1.13-16)

Listen :: Download

Getting all Emotional

Erik Raymond —  April 17, 2007

This past week in studying to preach through First Peter I was troubled again by something that seems to pervade the circles that many of us walk in. In particular it is the issue of emotion and experience. First Peter chapter one, verses six through nine are all about the experience of being a Christian, and in particular the heavenly inspired rejoicing that is to characterize this life.

Ever since I have been exposed to the Doctrines of Grace I have wondered aloud as to why those who are theologically reformed tend to be the most unemotional. And on the other hand, those who, by comparison, tend to downplay doctrine and be more man-centered, those in the traditionally charismatic, and now increasingly in the Arminian evangelical wing, tend to be more wrought with emotion.

I understand of course that there are other things in play here, not the least of which is whether or not much of the religious excitement that occurs within churches is true and genuine or not, but that is not my point here. I am simply wondering afresh why those who hold to such a God-exalting, man-humbling view of God, tend to be the more stiff, cold and unaffected. Why do so many of us love to talk about, defend, and study doctrine but then stand relatively unaffected when singing songs that reflect such glorious truth? Why do folks get more excited about defending an acronym and criticizing Arminians than they do about singing about the risen Savior?

There are many possible answers here, and I do not offer any. But my goal in posting this is to challenge those of you with a similar theological stripe as me to examine your own emotion. Do you tend to downplay or diminish emotions? Why? Is it not only possible but probable that God inserted such affections in your own soul that you might be so stirred and affected with genuine Scripturally informed emotion and feeling for his own sake?

(I went into this much further in the message on Sunday, along with what I believe to be a biblical emphasis upon emotion and experience in First Peter you can get the message here).

How do you guys (@OBC) decide who can teach in the church?

This is something that we take extremely serious at Omaha Bible Church. One of the important and primary responsibilities of shepherds is to hold fast “the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching” while also exhorting “in sound doctrine” (Titus 1.9). Therefore we want to be sure that at all levels there is sound biblical teaching taking place.

One of the primary ways in which this is done at OBC is through the doctrinal questionnaire. We have questionnaires for those who would teach children, jr high and high school, in the women’s ministry, in a Care Group setting, in prisons, in the nursing homes, or in the congregational setting.

There are levels of intensity of the questionnaires. For instance our elder questionnaire is more in depth than the questionnaire that someone would fill out in order to work in children’s church. However, all of the questionnaires deal with the understanding of the gospel, the sufficiency of Scripture, the atonement, sin, Satan, hell, heaven, the relationship of the church to Israel, the function of the church, and various contemporary issues.

Finally, life examination is also key in determining who teaches. We do not hold the elder qualifications over everyone’s head, however, if there is not growth and there is persistent sin and patterns of ungodliness evident in one’s life they will not be given opportunities to teach, regardless of how sound the questionnaire is. Therefore, it is incumbent upon leaders to spend time with prospective teachers and ensure that life and doctrine are matching up.

Hopefully this is helpful.


irishcalvinistemail.pngFridays are Q&A Fridays here at so if you have a question fire it in to…


Our Great Salvation

Erik Raymond —  April 9, 2007

I have been privileged this month to be able to preach a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Omaha Bible Church. It is a five part series in First Peter chapter one on the greatness of salvation.

This study has been so encouraging and convicting to me personally. Therefore, I make this sermons available not because they are my own, but because I believe it will edify you to look at this text with me and meditate on this great salvation so you might more greatly value it and your wonderful God who gives it to you. I will be updating a sidebar with the messages each week. In the meantime, here are the first two weeks (4/1 & 4/8):

Part 1 :: Identity (1 Peter 1.1-2) listen / download

Part 2 :: Certainty (1 Peter 1.3-5) listen / download


My friend Alan Sladek encouraged the saints at Omaha Bible Church last night with this message out of 1 Thessalonians chapter 1. He points out that faithful church of the Lord Jesus Christ is by far the greatest place on earth. He also used the word ‘torrential’ several times in reference to praise. A great word picture indeed.
Listening options:: listen . download

If you are a pastor who is facing adversity or a pastor who is just plain facing the typical challenges of ministry, I strongly encourage you to bump up this sermon to the top of your iPod rotation. For that matter, if you are a believer, I encourge the same.

Last night I heard this sermon and it was extremely impactful to me personally. My pastor, Pat Abendroth, is preaching through 2 Timothy on Sunday evenings and last night came to vv. 16-17. As Pat noted this comes in a section of the letter where Paul is encouraging the young pastor Timothy in the midst of difficulties.

In this sermon you are given a concise and clear exposition of Sola Scriptura with a very helpful set of observations and implications. I cannot encourage you enough to listen. The doctrine of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scripture cannot be reinforced enough into our minds. Truly it must pervade everything.

Here are the links…

Listen       ::     Download


As has been previously recommended, Omaha Bible Church is a great resource for biblical exposition. Our Senior Pastor Patrick Abendroth, a Master’s Seminary graduate, is faithfully preaching through books of the Bible. We are currently in The Gospel According to Matthew in the morning and in Second Timothy in the evening.

You may now subscribe to the free OBC podcast in the iTunes Store. Just search on ‘Omaha Bible Church’ in the iTunes store or click here.

D.A. Carson Sermon Audio

Erik Raymond —  March 21, 2007

Over the past few years Don Carson has become one of my favorite evangelical leaders. His teaching, preaching, and writing ministries have been of great impact to me. I have also noticed that there is not a lot of audio out there from Carson. With this in mind I want to recommend a conference that Carson did here at Omaha Bible Church in 2002. The theme of the conference was evangelism, particularly relative to communicating the gospel to those who are biblically illiterate. The conference remains a great resource to me and hopefully will serve you as well.

Here is a link to the Omaha Bible Church audio page which has all three messages by Dr. Carson.

Incidentally, my friend Matt Fudge posted a quote from that conference today.

Here is another that has stuck with me. In relation to the Great Commission and Jesus’ statement that “Lo, I will be with you always”…Carson said, “and thus we have the great incentive and reward of evangelism”. This is a great picture of the sanctified pressure and the glorious comfort of the presence of Jesus in evangelism. Good stuff indeed.


:: Update :: Andy Naselli has compiled a nice D.A. Carson page on his blog. Thanks Andy!

I had the privilege yesterday of preaching in the Sunday am services at Omaha Bible Church. The text was Colossians 1.15-23 and the theme and goal was near and dear to my heart: aiming to have us more impressed with Jesus.

We looked at two categories of the supremacy of Christ that ought to impress us:

.1. The Supremacy of Christ in Creation
.2. The Supremacy of Christ in Reconciliation

Here is the audio if you are interested: Stream Download

come, ye sinners

Erik Raymond —  February 24, 2007

Last night at Crossroads we sang this song. It was entirely appropriate as we studied James 4.1-10. I love the lyrics; they are so true and so powerful. Our guitar guy (he goes by ‘the Tick’ in the comments) played this well; it was fast and strong. So good. Read, meditate, and enjoy as you find yourself comforted in Jesus.

1. Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,

Weak and wounded, sick and sore;

Jesus, ready, stands to save you,

Full of pity, joined with power.

He is able, He is able;

He is willing; doubt no more.

2. Come ye needy, come, and welcome,

God’s free bounty glorify;

True belief and true repentance,

Every grace that brings you nigh.

Without money, without money

Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

3. Come, ye weary, heavy laden,

Bruised and broken by the fall;

If you tarry ’til you’re better,

You will never come at all.

Not the righteous, not the righteous;

Sinners Jesus came to call.

4. Let not conscience make you linger,

Nor of fitness fondly dream;

All the fitness He requires

Is to feel your need of Him.

This He gives you, this He gives you,

’Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

5. Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;

Pleads the merit of His blood.

Venture on Him; venture wholly,

Let no other trust intrude.

None but Jesus, none but Jesus

Can do helpless sinners good.


(lead sheets and chords available at RUF)

Homiletical Humility

Erik Raymond —  February 19, 2007

I was reminded yesterday of the need for homilitcal humility and the need for the pastor to be ever cognizant and even fearful of rightly dividing the word of truth. Our Senior Pastor is preaching through Matthew and we have now arrived at Matthew 24.

Regardless of your eschatological views this passage is wrought with issues. Our pastor admitted yesterday that he was not ready to preach the passage and instead of serving God and others with less than what is necessary, he would take some additional time to study. This act of humility in the pulpit was so refreshing to me and served to exhort me strongly again of the unflinching seriousness of God in commanding the shepherds of Jesus’ church to handle the word rightly.

Instead we were treated with the first of a two part series on the anchors of justification. This was a most encouraging time for us as we gathered round the cross to behold the certainties that were purchased by the Savior.

One particular point that I wanted to highlight is the reality of imputation (being credited with Christ’s righteousness…Rom. 4.4-5; 2 Cor.5.21). It has been popular for folks to define justification with the convenient phrase, “I am just-as-if-I’d…never sinned”. As Pat mentioned yesterday this is a good place to start but regrettably it short sells the power of the cross.

In justification we are not restored to a position of moral neutrality, similar to our forefather Adam. Though this would have been an improvement it would not be salvation!

Instead in Jesus we are imputed (charged) with Christ’s eternally perfect righteousness, even the righteousness of God (Rom. 3.21ff). This position is far better! Christ having been tested has loved and obeyed the Father perfectly in the place of sinners and has also satisfied the penalty of sin (death) through his glorious crosswork. So believers are given his glorious righteousness, a righteousness that launches us into an eternally secure position of acceptance as the Judge views sinners like you and me as robed in the perfection of Jesus. Indeed this is far better! For Jesus is far better!

You can get this sermon here: stream download