Saturday, December 31, 2011

FinishYear 2012 - Hand Copy the Book of Proverbs

As a part of my FinishYear 2012 projects, I am planning to hand copy the book of Proverbs into a journal. I full anticipate that this project will take me most of the year. The book of Proverbs has over 900 verses, each of which are several lines long. I did the math and I will need to hand copy at least 3 or 4 verses each day in order to complete the book by the end of the year.

I have had a journal in my possession for several years and have never quite found a purpose for it. It is a hardcover journal with a lot of blank pages inside. Because there are no lines, I'm going to have to really focus on my writing to make sure that I do not end up with a sloppy product. My hope is that this will turn into something beautiful that I will want to keep in my possession for quite some time.

Someone asked me why I was doing this, what was the benefit I hope to gain from hand copying the book of Proverbs. Well, for me, handwriting something causes me to really think about what I am doing. The act of putting pen to paper requires a concentration that I don't often experience when I am typing something. My prayer is that I focus on the text of what I am writing, I will be able to apply the message and wisdom of the book of Proverbs to my life.

What are you doing to be more intentional about studying God's Word this year?

Remembering 2011

Today is December 31, 2011, the last day of the year. I guess this is the time when everyone takes time to reflect on the past year with all of the good and bad that came with it. It's my turn.

The past year was not an easy one. There were a great deal of disappointments and some trying times. There were storms that I went through, but made it out to the other side. There were crushing disappointments, especially when something I was led to believe was going to take place turned out not to happen. There were friends who moved away and ugliness that was spread about me. I had to say goodbye to my dog, possibly one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life.

However, there was a lot of good things that took place as well. My family welcomed a new addition in January and we have recently discovered that we are expecting another some time next year. I finished seminary at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. I ran in my first two 5K races and have been bit by the running bug, so you know there will be more races to come. I have three beautiful boys and a fantastic wife.

The Lord has been good to our family and to me. Even though things haven't always gone the way I would like them to, I know that God has a plan for me and my family. Next year is looking to be one of the best ever. I have some amazing things I am working on and cannot wait to see what happens next.

I'm also praying that at this time next year, I will be reflecting back on my new life as a pastor.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Praying to End Modern-Day Slavery

I read a lot of books. Sometimes I read more than one book at a time. This may get confusing to some folks, but I love doing it. There are just too many books that I want to read that I'm afraid I will never get to all of them. Anyway, I am currently working my way through a book called God in a Brothel: An Undercover Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue. It is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking books that I have ever read. There are scenes of incredible bravery and there are other parts that describe devastating defeat. I would highly recommend the book, especially to anyone who has an interest in stopping the horrendous act of human trafficking.

The video below shows some of the devastation that happens as a result of sex trafficking. It is so sad that there are movies and television shows, stand up comedians and singers who would glorify this awful act. Please be in prayer for those who are working to rescue girls and women from this modern-day slavery. Pray for the girls who are forced into this horrible lifestyle. Pray about what you can do to get involved. Above all, pray.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FinishYear 2012 - Memorizing Romans 5-8

One of the things that I have become passionate about is memorizing Scripture. As a result, one of the projects that I will be doing in 2012 is memorizing a large amount of Scripture. If you have read my list of FinishYear projects, you know that I will be memorizing 1 John, James, and Romans 5-8, in addition to a large number of other verses and passages. I am currently working my way through Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 100, and Psalm 121.

Anyway, back to Romans 5-8. This sounds like a difficult task, something that will take a long time. In actuality, it will. My goal is to memorize Romans 5-8 over the course of the entire year. I will learning one or two verses a week for the 52 weeks of 2012.

John Piper and his church in Minneapolis are also doing this. They are actually the ones who set up the plan to memorize Romans 5-8. If you are interested in participating, and I hope you are, you can find the schedule at FighterVerses.com. There is also an iPhone app that you can purchase. I have it and there are number of quizzes you can use to help you memorize the verses.

I would also recommend reading through this resource if you want help with memorizing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FinishYear 2012 - Reading Over 3,000 Chapters of the Bible

As part of my FinishYear 2012 goals, I am going to read over 3,000 chapters in the Bible. As you may already know, there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, so if I read over 3,000 chapters in the coming year, I will read many of the chapters in the Bible more than once.

In order to help achieve and finish this goal, I (along with about 1,000 people) will be using a reading plan called Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan. Using this plan, I will read 10 chapters of the Bible from different lists. Each of the lists has a different number of days to be completed before the list starts over. Some of the lists (Proverbs and Acts) will be read 12 times throughout the year. Others will only be read a couple of times. Regardless, think of how much Scripture one will come in contact with as they follow this plan.

I am striving to read 3,000 chapters this year. If you are up on your math, you will know that there are 365 days in a year and, at 10 chapters per day, I should be reading 3,650 chapters. This is true, but I also know that there are going to be days where I am unable to complete my 10 chapters, no matter how hard I try.

If you are interested in learning more about Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan, you can download some information and the bookmarks to help you keep your place. There is also a Facebook group that you can join to help with accountability and to give you support.

It is my prayer that many of you will also want to participate in this project. Please join the Facebook group, comment on the post below, or visit my Facebook page and let me know that you will joining with me.

I'd like to thank Tim Challies for this awesome challenge.

I look forward to hearing about the amazing things God will be doing in and through us as a result of digging deep into His Word this year.

My Blogging Heroes

As you may know, I am fairly new to the blogging world. I have only been blogging since July and haven't even been all that consistent with it (mostly due to seminary classes...now all finished.) One of the blogs that I read recently highlighted a number of his blogging heroes and it gave me the idea to do the same things. Here are some of the blogs that have been influential to me and have helped me grow both spiritually and as a blogger.

Challies Dot Com - Challies.com is the blog written by Tim Challies, a pastor from Canada. He is one of the most influential bloggers in the Christian world. While I learn from his posts, the part of his blog that I like the best is daily A La Carte posts that he does each day. These posts typically include links to interesting articles, Kindle books sales, or entertaining videos. I have actually posted a number of things that I have found on his posts here at The Wanna-Be Pastor.

Pastoralized.com - This is the blog of Eric McKiddie. Eric is a youth pastor in Illinois. His blog deals primarily with the work of being a pastor. Eric is incredibly gracious and I appreciate his openness. I have actually contacted him on several occasions and he kindly helped me with some of the questions I had.

Desiring God - Desiring God is the blog ministry of John Piper and a number of other writers. I have learned a great deal from reading this blog and have gotten a number of sermon ideas from this site, including one that I preached at my church.

There are many other blogs that I frequently read, but these are the three that have had the most influence on me over the past year. I hope that you can learn from them and point others to them as well.

What are some blogs that you read?

Friday, December 23, 2011

FinishYear 2012

Today, Jon Acuff wrote a piece about some of the projects that he will be finishing in 2012. It kind of struck a chord with me and I spent a lot of time today thinking about what things I would like to begin and finish in 2012. Here is the list I came up with:
  • I will read over 3,000 chapters of the Bible.
  • I will memorize the books of 1 John and James.
  • I will memorize Romans 5-8.
  • I will read a minimum 24 books (1 non-fiction and 1 fiction book per month)
  • I will run at least 2 5K races in less than 28 minutes.
  • I will run in either a 10 mile race or ½ marathon.
  • I will hand copy the book of Proverbs into a journal.
  • I will write on my blog at least three times a week, making a minimum of 150 quality posts.
I realize that some of these projects seem lofty and will require a great deal of effort on my part. My wife and I are also expecting our fourth child in June and anyone who has ever had a child knows how much work goes into them. That being said, I am hoping that I can depend on the support and accountability of my friends to help me be successful.

What are you planning to finish in 2012?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Beautiful Picture of God's Love

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

Monday, December 19, 2011

When Did Having a Big Family Become a Crime?

The other day, I'm guessing in an attempt to be friendly, a woman asked my wife if she needed to take a sex education class. The question left my wife a bit speechless and hurt. The reason for the question has to do with the fact that we are currently the proud parents of three boys (Jack - 5; Sean - 3; and Ethan - almost a year) and we have another baby on the way. Somehow we are being viewed as out of the ordinary because we have a large family and are very excited about the new baby we are having.

My question is: When did having a large become out of the ordinary or something that is worthy of derision? I mean, the Duggars have another baby and everyone loses their minds. Yet, millions of babies are born to unmarried individuals every day and no one even blinks an eye. Now, I'm not trying to argue that unmarried people are bad parents or horrible individuals. The point I want to make is that when two happily married individuals who are productive, educated, healthy, and well-respected, they should be praised for wanting to have children. They shouldn't be made to feel like they did something wrong by having more children.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children[a] of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! Psalm 127:3-5

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Am Finished with Seminary

On Friday, December 16, 2011, I submitted my last two seminary papers, one on the Image of God in Man and one on a revitalization project for a church that is stagnated. These two projects were the culmination of my multiple semesters in seminary at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. I am very excited to be finished, but no one is more excited than my wife. I am the proud recipient of a Masters of Arts in Religion with a concentration on Church Planting and Evangelism.

Now, to find a church. I have several prospects and leads, so please be in prayer as we pursue these potential ministry options.

The future is very exciting.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Social Club with Jesus Tacked on for Good Measure

I came across this quote by Horatius Bonar on another blog that I read and felt the need to share it here.

Here is the back story: I have really been struggling with church as of late, both my church and churches as a whole. For me, there is entirely too much soft-peddling and refusal to call sin sin. I'm also struggling with the fact that so much of what we do in church these days is no different than what takes place at any sort of country club or social club. We are having a cookie exchange? Great! Guess who else is doing that...the Rotary Club (I don't even know what that is), the local PTA, and the senior center. Christmas party? Yeah, we've got one of those too. Clothing drive? Nope. Christmas present outreach? Uh huh. That's what the Marines do.

I hope this quote will spur some of us to move out of our comfortable social club with Jesus' name tacked on for luck and into serving our great Savior with a renew vigor.

For there is some danger of falling into a soft and effeminate Christianity, under the plea of a lofty and ethereal theology. Christianity was born for endurance…It walks with firm step and erect frame; it is kindly, but firm; it is gentle, but honest; it is calm, but not facile; obliging, but not imbecile; decided, but not churlish. It does not fear to speak the stern word of condemnation against error, nor to raise its voice against surrounding evils, under the pretext that it is not of this world.

It does not shrink from giving honest reproof lest it come under the charge of displaying an unchristian spirit. It calls sin ‘sin,’ on whomsoever it is found, and would rather risk the accusation of being actuated by a bad spirit than not discharge an explicit duty. Let us not misjudge strong words used in honest controversy. Out of the heat a viper may come forth; but we shake it off and feel no harm.

The religion of both Old and New Testaments is marked by fervent outspoken testimonies against evil. To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity. It is a betrayal of the cause of truth and righteousness. If anyone should be frank, manly, honest, cheerful (I do not say blunt or rude, for a Christian must be courteous and polite), it is he who has tasted that the Lord is gracious, and is looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.

I know that charity covereth a multitude of sins; but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies, because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit. Crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness and worldliness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height of attainment.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaders Who Last - Searching for Purpose

I am currently working my way through Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft. The idea of the book is that many leaders have no direction and purpose and, as a result, they do not make it or do not finish well. It is my prayer that this is not the case for me.

In one of the chapters, Kraft lays out a plan for how to determine what one's purpose in life is. What is most striking (and incredibly important) is that Kraft begins his list on the search for purpose by beginning in God's Word.




1. Record Bible passages God has applied to your life.
2. Reflect on how God has used you in the past.
3. Determine what you are passionate about.
4. List your known gifts and strengths.
5. Delineate what you have excelled at in your work experi­ence.
6. Define what action words best describe what you like to do.
7. Write down what you enjoy doing in your free time.
8. Reread all your answers.
9. Take note of common themes.
10. Write down key words or ideas that repeat.
11. Summarize those key words in a short, energizing state­ment about yourself.


If you are interested in reading the book, please consider purchasing Leaders Who Last from Amazon.com. Every purchase helps The Wanna-Be Preacher pay off his school loans (just kidding...but not really).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Always Wear Pants When Playing the Role of Jesus in the Church Play

Where Are the Men?

I wrote the following for a seminary assignment and I was feeling convicted that I might not be living up to the task of mentoring those younger than me like I should.

It is a noble task to have the desire to be a mentor to young men. I couldn't agree with you more in this area. The young men of the church need to see the older men spend time loving their wives and ministering in the church. We are called to be an example. I know that 1 Timothy 4:12 is addressed to the young man Timothy, but I truly believe that it should be the mandate for all Christian men. This is why the movie Courageous was such a huge success. There is a thirst for the things of God and a need for men to lead the way.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Congratulations, Jennifer Carter

I didn't really ask her permission and she isn't one to seek glory for herself, but I wanted to take a moment to recognize the achievements of a friend. Jennifer Carter, who attends First Baptist Church Inwood, has recently memorized 427 Scripture verses using a website called Memverse.com. That is an amazing achievement. I am actually in awe of what she has done.

Scripture memory is the redheaded stepchild of biblical disciplines. We tend to give it a lot of polite nods, but no one spends much time doing it. For most of us, Scripture memory ended when we stopped going to Awana or Word of Life. No more Vacation Bible School, no more Scripture memory. This needs to change. We are commanded in Scripture to learn and meditate on Scripture.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Ezra 7:10

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Psalm 119:9

Jennifer, I'm proud of you. Congratulations.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How Did I Get So Lucky?

I am seriously the luckiest man alive.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review - The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

A few posts back, I wrote about my desire to read 50 books in 2012. I realize that it isn't quite 2012 yet, but I started my reading list a bit early. Here is a short review of the first book I read.

Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret tells the story of a young man named Hugo. Through a series of tragedies, Hugo finds himself alone without any adults to take care of him. In order to avoid suspicion, Hugo, who lives in the train station, spends much of his time making sure that the clocks at the station are functioning, a job that belonged to his drunken uncle. When he is not fixing the station's clocks, Hugo is busy stealing mechanical pieces to fix an automaton, a special mechanical man that had once belonged to his father. Hugo is convinced that if he is able to fix the automaton, it will have a special message for him from his father, a message that will save his life.

There is much more to the story, including a stolen key, some mysterious pictures, a mysterious old man who refuses to talk about his past, and a trip to a film library, but to give away too much will steal from the story. The text is beautifully written, but perhaps even more entertaining are the wonderful pictures that help the story to move along. Selznick has drawn some amazing pictures that help to push the story forward. These are not used to simply illustrate the story, but to tell the adventure as well.

This book is written for a younger audience, but it deals with a portion of history that many adults will be intrigued by as well. I hope that many will pick up the book and enjoy it as much as I did. It has also recently been made into a film, Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Special Thank You

As most of you are aware, we recently celebrated Thanksgiving. This is the time of the year where we are legally obligated to be thankful (okay, that was a joke...sort of.) Anyway, I have a special thank you that I wanted to share with all of you.

There is a blog that I read (and you should too) called Pastoralized.com. It is a great blog that is written to help pastors become more organized and efficient. The other day I emailed the author, Eric McKiddie, to ask if he would look at my resume packet that I am submitting to churches. I am very excited to say that he emailed me back and agreed to take a look at my information.

So, in the spirit of the season, I would like to offer a sincere thank you to Pastor Eric for his willingness to help me out. I have contacted other pastors (ones that I know) for help and have not even received a reply. I think it is great that someone I don't know would be willing to offer his time to help me out.

Thank you, Pastor Eric. I really appreciate your assistance.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Running the Race


On Saturday, November 19, I ran in my second 5K and first cross country race. I won't lie: it was extremely brutal. It was very cold and the ground was frozen, but as it warmed up, it began to get quite muddy and a bit slick. I love to run, but I guess I wasn't quite as prepared as I should have been.

At the race was one of the families that I have had the privilege to get to know this year at my school. They are a wonderful family and I am truly blessed to have them in my life this year. The family is made up of some incredible runners. I like to talk trash with them, but even the little one is an incredible athlete.

They finished the race well ahead of me. Totally destroyed me. But here is the best part: As I was coming around the final corner, one of the boys was standing there waiting for me. As I got closer to the finish, the rest of the family was standing there, cheering for me and encouraging me to continue running.

Suddenly, I had a better understanding of Paul's message in Hebrews 12:1. We are to continue pursuing our Christian walk and love of Christ because there is a huge group of people who have gone before us, cheering us on.

Charles Spurgeon is cheering for me.
Peter is cheering for me.
Jim Elliott is cheering for me.
John Calvin is cheering for me.
Jesus Christ is cheering for me.

As one of the kids was yelling at me, "Keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing..."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lord, Make Us Dangerous

I think that everyone loves a little bit of danger. That is why we watch exciting movies and cheer for the hero to rescue the girl, as long as he blows up half of the neighborhood along the way. We love danger...as long as it isn't real. We don't want danger in real life. Vanilla coffee, vanilla yogurt, vanilla life.

This is especially true in church. We talk a big game about wanting to change the world and see God do big things, but then the danger of the situation is discussed and that idea is immediately squelched. It is the reason why we can get more men to come out to play basketball on a Tuesday night, but we can only get 10 people to come out to help feed men at the Rescue Mission. The Rescue Mission is dangerous, so no thank you.

Here is a quote that I found on another blog. It is is from Jim Elliott, a missionary who knew danger. He knew it so well, it cost him his life.

We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the twentieth century does not reckon with. But we are "harmless," and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brash, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are "sideliners" - coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh, that god would make use dangerous.

(HT: Tim Challies)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sermon - Knowing the Right Things about Jesus, Part 3

Here is the third and final part of my sermon from January 16, 2011.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sermon - Knowing the Right Things about Jesus, Part 2

Here is the second part of my sermon from January 16, 2011.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Love My Kindle Fire

As some of you may know, I received my Kindle Fire delivery yesterday. It is, quite possibly, the coolest thing I've ever seen (well, since my iPod Touch). The Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet computer that offers reading, video, and various apps, all of which can be downloaded from Amazon.com.

It is not my intention for this to sound like a review for the product, but I did want everyone to know how much I like this item. I am a huge reader and I enjoy learning new things. I love the ability to have multiple translations of the Scripture with me and I enjoy having the (few) commentaries in my library with me. The Kindle Fire lets me have my books with me just about all the time. Another great feature is the ability to read the blogs I enjoy and access the internet when I need to look stuff up.

I actually taught my lesson from John 6 last evening using the Kindle Fire. It was not quite as smooth as I would have liked, but I think with enough practice, I will get better at making the transitions. I am also going to see how PDFs look on the Kindle Fire and see about putting future sermon notes on it.

The only downside is that the screen is a bit difficult to read in the sunlight. I keep getting seeing my reflection and not the words. It's a small thing, but hopefully it won't be that big of a deal.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to exploring all of the ministry applications for the Kindle Fire.

Sermon - Knowing the Right Things about Jesus, Part 1

Here is the first part of a sermon that I preached at First Baptist Church Inwood on January 16, 2011. The text is from 1 John 1.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bible Study Lesson on John 5:1-18

The video below is the lesson I taught at First Baptist Inwood on John 5:1-18. This is the story of Jesus healing the man at the Pool of Bethesda and the controversy that blew up as a result.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sermon Overload

I am in the process of sending out resumes to various churches as I pursue God's calling and a position with a church. As a result, I am going to be uploading a lot of sermon videos over the next couple of days. I would like prospective churches to be able to get a good idea of whether or not I have an ability in teaching and preaching God's Word. I would love for you to watch the videos and let me know your thoughts on them.

...We've Yet to See Anything

I saw this video and I won't lie, it but a serious burning in my heart. I see things like this and it reminds of the great things that pastors are doing and my desire to be doing the same things.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Maybe I'm Just Not as Good as I Thought

The problem with praise is that sometimes it can go to your head. Here's what I mean: after I speak somewhere, I am showered with praise as to how well I did. I like to shrug it off because I understand that the opportunity and ability comes from God and I would not be able to do the things I do without Him. And yet, it still feels good to have people say those things. If they say them enough, it becomes possible to start believing your own press.

And then the bottom falls out.

I started to think that I'm as good as everyone says, that every church would be extremely blessed to have me become a member of their staff. It turns out that this is not the case. I have applied to more churches than I can count, including my own church, the church that I currently teach and preach in. Do you know how many replies I have gotten? Two. One reply was to tell me that I had not been selected for an interview and the other was to inform me that I was not selected because I inadvertently put that I was interested in becoming a pastor and not the desired youth pastor. I have even passed over twice for a position that I felt I was qualified for.

Twice.

I don't want this to turn into a post to get people to feel sorry for me. It turns out that I have been relying too much on my own abilities and not enough on the One who gave those abilities to me. Am I heartbroken? Absolutely. Do I feel hurt because I was overlooked...again? More than you can imagine. Yet, I know that God has a plan for our lives and I am trusting that He will make it known. It is my prayer that I will look back on this experience and have a good laugh about it.

Right now...it doesn't feel so funny.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spiritually Fat Christians

I just wrote this for a discussion board in one of my seminary classes and thought it would make a good blog post. This sums up a good deal about how I feel about churches that only focus on themselves and do little to nothing to impact their community.

When a pond gathers water and has no way for the water to get out, the water becomes stagnant. The same is true for a church. When there is too much "eating", as it were, and no "exercising", we begin to have churches that are full of spiritually fat Christians. It should be the desire of every pastor to push his people into the community and to have them make an impact for God, not simply to sit in a pew and get fatter.

Bible Study Lesson John 4:1-26

Here is another lesson from the study that I have been teaching from the Gospel of John. This one is the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. I particularly like this story because it is the first time in John that Jesus tells someone that He is the Christ.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reading 50 Books in 2012.

One of my favorite activities is reading. I love to read. It brings me great joy. As a result, you can probably guess that my Amazon Kindle is one of my favorite toys. I carry it with me everywhere.

In years past, I have made conscious effort to read a minimum of 50 books each year. I usually cheat a little bit and begin around Thanksgiving, but as long as I finish my 50th book by New Years the following year, I consider it good.

I haven't been able to do this for the past couple of years because seminary has gotten in the way. I have so much reading and writing for my classes that books for fun get pushed to the wayside. However, I will be done with my seminary program in 5 weeks, so I will be beginning my goal of 50 books in 2012 again. I'm pretty excited. As I said, I usually cheat a little, but cut me some slack...it's 50 books in a year!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Church Sign that You Should See

I hope that the church that I get called to never has a sign like this one:


Thanks to Ed Stetzer for the picture.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spiritual Gifts

I recently had the opportunity to take a Spiritual Gifts Assessment. Through a series of questions that I answered about myself, I was able to determine the areas that God has gifted me spiritually. Here are the top five areas that I believe that I have been gifted. It appears that I was gifted in some areas the same way so I have chosen the ones that I feel are most accurate.

  1. Apostleship
  2. Encouragement
  3. Teaching
  4. Evangelism
  5. Shepherding

I will say that I am a bit surprised that Teaching was not highest on the list, but who am I to question in what areas God has gifted me. I will share the meaning of what each of these means in a future post.

If you are interested in taking the Spiritual Gifts Assessment, please contact me and I will be happy to send you the information. I would love to hear how God has gifted you after you take the assessment.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Need for Young Pastors...and for Older Pastors to Mentor Younger Ones

I was reading in a church planting book (A New Kind of Church by Aubrey Malphurs) a very discouraging statistic. According to a survey done in 1999, only 7% of ministers were under the age of 35. I was also reading about how many young ministers are looking for individuals to mentor them, but they cannot even get some pastors to give them the time of day.

Personally, I find this to be a travesty. However, I have also found it to be true. Fortunately, my pastor has been good about helping me as I approach ministry. We have had times together (not nearly enough, but that's not his fault) where he has shared his heart and passion for ministry. The sad fact is that I have contacted a number of different pastors and asked for help with things or asked them to watch my sermons and provide helpful criticism. Unfortunately, my inbox remains empty in many cases.

I am not writing this to put down other pastors. I can only guess at how busy their days must be. I know that my day as an elementary school teacher is hectic from the moment the first student arrives until the moment the last student leaves. And then there are papers to grade, calls to make, emails to return, etc. So, yes, I understand that pastors are busy. I also know that if guys like me are not mentored, that 7% is going to drop even lower and soon there will be no young guys to replace the older ones.

I'll close this with a quote from Chris Bass: "A ministry built around one man has a short shelf life."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just For Fun - Halloween Memories

I saw this hilarious video from last week's candy-gorging celebration. It's a little mean, but maybe that is why I found it so humorous.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Simple Thought About Leadership

It should be very evident (given the title of this blog), that I have a passion for leadership. The problem is that sometimes leadership gets mistaken with making myself appear more important than I really am. I try to make myself indispensable or make it so that no one can do without me. What I forget is that I am only truly a leader if I am causing others to grow as a result of being with me.

I read this thought on Jon Acuff's blog:

It’s easier to draft than it is to lead, but when you lead, you help somebody else go faster than they ever could have on their own.

Jesus also had something to say about this:

So the last will be first, and the first last. (Matthew 20:16)

I just pray that I will make those around me stronger because of their time with me. I need to remember that God has placed me in the positions that He has, not for my benefit, but for the benefit of others.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Reading List Seems to Be Getting Longer and Longer, Not Smaller and Smaller

I love to read. I think this should be obvious to anyone that knows me. One of my favorite toys is my Amazon Kindle. I take it everywhere with me. I always my Kindle and my iPod Touch with me and I actually feel less than normal if I do not have it on me. I have about 150 books on my Kindle and when my local library announced that they were going to begin loaning Kindle books, I was in heaven (a state of happiness, not the actual place).

Recently, my reading list began to get longer and longer. Here's how it happened: I was on one of my favorite blogs, Eric McKiddie's Pastoralized.com. He had this incredible article about how to read 200 blogs posts in 20 minutes and, through this article, I was introduced to the wonders of Evernote and Instapaper. Now, through the miracle of technology, I am growing my reading list larger and larger every time I log in. Not that I'm complaining. I found and read an incredible article that went perfectly with my Bible study lesson tonight on John 6:16-21.

The really great thing is that Instapaper will send all of the article that I choose straight to my Kindle and Evernote will back them up for me to come back to later. It's a reader's paradise.

Now, once I get my Kindle Fire, I never have to watch television again.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why Shane Hipps is Very, Very Wrong

I consider a possibility when it’s something I don’t know. This is something I merely believe. Either because someone I trust told me, or the Bible seems to say it, or reason supports it. But until I’ve experienced it, this is only something I believe– a possibility. And possibilities should be held with an open hand, perhaps with some humility and even humor. Who knows, I could be wrong about what I believe?

These are the words from Shane Hipps, the man who was chosen to replace Rob Bell. In case you were unaware, Rob Bell, the pastor/writer who sparked a huge controversy with his book Love Wins, has resigned to pursue other avenues. Hipps will now be the pastor of a church that is extremely influential and followed by many.

What I find really sad about this is the dangerous tone it sets for believers. When someone who is a pastor and leads a large and successful church states that he doesn't really know what happens when we die, where does that leave the rest of us? How can we know we are right?

Fortunately, Hipps is wrong. Dead wrong. We can know what happens after death because the Bible tells us. For those of who are saved, we know that to be absent from our bodies is to be with Christ. For those who are not saved, the outcome and destination is not quite so rosy.

I hope that this will not gain any traction and that Hipps and Bell will simply fade away. I don't think that is the case, but it is certainly my hope.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just For Fun - The Random Amen Guy

A few months ago, I wrote about the five people every church has. One of those people is the guy who yells "Amen" at really weird and sometimes inappropriate times. While I thought the phenomenon of Random Amen Guy was centralized to my church experience, it would appear that it is more widespread than I initially thought, as evidenced by the video below.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bible Study Video - John 3:1-10

Here is the video from a recent lesson that I taught in the series that I am doing through the Gospel of John on Wednesday evenings. I have not been going verse by verse, but I have been hitting some highlights along the way.



There were other lessons besides this one, but this is the first one I have video for.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Being Who I Am

Not too long ago, I was given a lead from someone to a church who was looking for both a youth pastor and an associate pastor. Because of my desire to have a position in ministry, I sent the pastor my resume and some other information. It was only after I had done this that I found out more about the church. Fortunately, I was never contacted by that pastor because I think it would have led to a bad situation. I would have had to pretend to be something that I am not and I do not think that would have been a good situation for anyone involved.

I wonder how many people find themselves in situations like this? The church they are wanting to work for is King James Only, so they go along with that sentiment, even though they don't believe it. The pastor rails against Christian rock music and so they act the same way, even though they enjoy the music.

I know that God has a church for me. I think that I have been trying to push myself to fit a particular mold, even though I know that being in that mold would make for a very unhappy situation. I do not want to be miserable trying to be something that I'm not. When the Lord brings the right church, it will be one that I am a good fit for, not something I tried to cram myself into.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Christian Phrases that I Never Want to Hear Again

Christianity has its own language. We have different phrases and sayings that we use that have a lot of meaning to us, but mean absolutely nothing to anyone outside of our system of beliefs. The phrases below are so overused that they no longer have any meaning and have simply become a bunch of jargon. I think we use them to sound smart.

Here is the list. Feel free to add your own or make some commentary.

  • Be the church
  • Do life together - how exactly does one do life? Don't we just live?
  • Be authentic - as opposed to fake?
  • Be in community

There are more, but that should be sufficient for now. I don't have a problem with the sentiment behind the phrases; it is just the words that drive me crazy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Just for Fun - Funny Animal Movie Plots

Nothing very spiritual here, but I found this on the Groupon.com blog.

Large Water Mammal Overcomes Obstacles: Dolphins and whales are constantly being threatened by bandana-clad fishermen who want to turn their rubbery, waterproof skin into raincoats. The protagonistic water mammal must enlist the help of an attentive child or teenage rebel to tie the fishermen's boots together using man's greatest strength—his fingers.

Dog Plays Sport: Everyone from golden retrievers to french bull poodles have been appearing in movies to show off their ability to slam dunk, pole vault, and win Olympic gold for shooting and skiing at the same time. These cinematic icons challenge the stereotype that dogs are only good for wearing sunglasses.

Cat Talks Sassy: Cats have opinions on everything—from eating to sleeping to being called "less sexy lions" by felinologists. In this type of movie plot, cats finally scratch back!

Mouse Lands Dream Job: The smaller an animal is, the more likely it is to speak in a movie. Movie mice use their ability to speak to better themselves, often landing jobs as chefs, tailors, or substitute teachers in schools with very low standards for substitute teachers.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Think I Would Stop Asking

I found this quote on Tim Challies' blog and thought I would share it here as well. This is a quote from John Eldredge's new book Beautiful Outlaw. Now, I have not read the book, so I am going to withhold judgment, but I have to admit this is quite a strange gift, especially since he is saying that it came from Jesus.

I was going to call this book Jesus of a Thousand Hearts, because of the way he continually breaks into my life. He “speaks” to me through hearts. I’ll find stones in the shape of hearts in rivers where I’m fishing. I’ve seen them almost step-by-step up a mountainside when on a grueling climb. Praying in the morning I’ll look out the window and passing by will be a heart-shaped cloud. Dinner rolls, seashells, stains on my jeans. I’ve won the lottery when it comes to hearts from Jesus. But I am ashamed to admit that last summer, I grew a little impatient with them. I was going through a trying time and seeking God for the answer to many questions. Often, he would simply give me a heart in reply. I’d be walking down the sidewalk, and there in the cement see a heart-shaped hole, made by a bubble when they poured the sidewalk.

I actually grew a little dismissive of them. I didn’t want hearts—I wanted answers.

So, Jesus stopped giving these treasures of our friendship.

Last fall, while walking through an alpine meadow bow hunting, I was asking him, How come you don’t give me hearts anymore? I asked it in a pouting kind of way. At that moment something gray caught my eye. I looked down midstride, and there in the grass, about as big as a dinner plate, was a dried piece of cow manure—in the perfect shape of a heart.

If I didn’t know Jesus adores me, if I didn’t know he is playful, and if our relationship didn’t allow me to receive a playful tease, I might have misinterpreted the icon. But I loved it. It was both, Oh, so now you want a heart? and, I adore you still. A cow-pie heart. That is so Jesus. Wish I’d taken a photo of it—we could have put it on the cover of this book.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Learning about Being a Christian from My Son

Many of us struggle with the Christian walk. We start and fall, get up and stumble again. This happens over and over. Every time we try to do something under our own power, we end up frustrated and tired. It isn't until we finally just lay down that we come to understand that our Father is just waiting to pick us up and hold us tight. I learned this from watching my youngest son as he is learning to crawl.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quieting My Soul

The life of a daddy/elementary school teacher/seminary student/wanna-be preacher is not an easy one. There are constantly projects to complete, papers to grade, sermons to write, and boo-boos to kiss. It can lead to a lot of noise. I came across this verse in Psalm 131 today and it was a message from God.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
- Psalm 131:2


When times get hectic and you can't see the light from the size of what is expected of you, remember to quiet your soul.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Would Like to Think These Guys Had Awesome Youth Pastors

The video below shows some football players from the University of Nebraska. In a world where a lot of athletes are getting into trouble and finding themselves in the midst of controversy, these guys seems to have their heads on straight and are grounded in the Gospel.

Husker Football Players Share the Gospel - FCA from Three Pillars Media on Vimeo.


(I want to thank Erik from OrdinaryPastor.com for bringing the video to my attention.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Meaning of Baptism

I came across this video about the true meaning of baptism. It is more than a simple ritual, something that you have to do as a Christian. I hope and pray that this video will help you to love Christ more and to have a deeper appreciation for your baptism. If you have not been baptized, I pray that it will cause you to want to be baptized.

Funny


(caption: "Don't bother me. I'm looking for a verse of Scripture to back up one of my preconceived notions!")

What are some preconceived notions that you have come across?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Praying for Teenagers

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I often feel drawn to youth ministry. As a result, I read a lot of books and articles in regards to ministering to teenagers. I came across one such article on praying for teenagers by Terrace Crawford.

Here are the highlights:

Areas to pray for

  1. Purpose
  2. Friendships
  3. Character
  4. Purity
  5. Passion
  6. Money
  7. Submission and Honor
  8. Spiritual Growth
  9. Discernment
  10. Hope
Please read the entire article to get more in-depth information and Scripture that you can use as you pray for the teenagers in your youth group, your church, and your family.

Steve Jobs and Thoughts on Death

As many of you know, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. Many people across the world had been profoundly impacted by him and the work that he did. I have never been an Apple guy and I don't own a Mac. However, a few years ago, one of the students I taught was gracious enough to give me an iPod Touch as a gift. I must say, it was probably the nicest gift I had ever received from someone who wasn't family. The iPod Touch has been an awesome tool. It entertains my children. It allows me to carry a library in my pocket. I can memorize Scripture in a way that was never available before.

All thanks to Steve Jobs. God gifted Steve Jobs with an amazing mind and the ability to see the future. God has used those gifts and the products that were created as a result to impact many around the world with the Gospel.

It is my prayer that Steve Jobs knew Christ. I have read things that would be to the contrary, but I am hoping that Christ was able to seize his heart and save his soul. Death comes for everyone, not because God intended it that way, but as a result of sin. How we prepare for death and how we leave this world must be decided. Will you choose to follow Christ or will you choose otherwise?

Here is great tribute to Steve Jobs and the impact he had on the spread of the Gospel.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Should I Become a Youth Pastor?

Before I graduated college (it's a long story), I served at a church as a volunteer youth worker. I went back to college and took the year off, then went back to doing it for another year until someone else was hired (again, another long story). Since that time, I have had the opportunity to do a variety of different ministry positions, all on a volunteer basis. I have prayed and asked God to show me the right ministry and I always seem to default back to youth ministry. I have a good number of ministry books on my shelf and a large portion of those books deal with youth ministry. I can't help but wonder if this is an indication from God as to the direction I am being called.

With all of that being said, I have decided to begin my search for a ministry position again. I have spoken to one church (waiting to hear if the pastor is interested in talking to me), I have a lead to a church in Indiana, and I have looked at a few online. I ask that you would be in prayer in regards to my search and what it means for my family and my ministry.

P.S. I apologize that it has been so long since my last post. I have been absolutely swamped with seminary readings and projects. In fact, I should be working on those right now, but, instead, I am posting to my blog. Go figure.

Friday, September 9, 2011

An Urgent Message from World Vision

Many of you may know that I am running a race to raise support for World Vision. World Vision is an organization that I support wholeheartedly and I think you should as well. I received this in my email today.

Dear Friend,

I'm writing today with a different kind of request. Would you take a few minutes to pray? Here's why: There are 750,000 people who could starve to death in the next four months in an area of Somalia that aid agencies have not been able to reach.

This situation is horrific and avoidable. Families are walking 100 miles in search of aid, and often only the strongest survive the journey. In many cases, women are burying their children on the side of the road as they flee. This tragedy breaks my heart.

In the middle of the famine, in South-Central Somalia, we aren't even able to reach these starving children. World Vision had deep, long-term community relationships in Somalia since 1992, but we were forced to leave this part of the country in 2010. Armed groups demanded most aid organizations leave.

It is horrible knowing that we have been prevented from rescuing starving people. Our work elsewhere in East Africa is saving lives, where we are distributing therapeutic food for children, clean water, sturdy tents, and essential medical care.

You can imagine the needs of a family who has walked for days without food and very little water, a mother and a father who have just buried their children. The needs there are great. Yet governments and private donors have provided less than half of what the world needs to adequately respond.

Please pray.

We need safe access to help starving people. We need the resources to adequately care for the half million people now in overcrowded refugee camps. To achieve this, we need a breakthrough.

Please join us in prayer that World Vision and other aid organizations would be able to access the regions in Somalia where three quarters of a million people could starve to death. And pray for the financial resources to complete this job. I know that with your prayer, we can do this. "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'" — Mark 10:27 (NIV)

In prayer with you,


Rich Stearns
President, World Vision U.S.


Please be in prayer about this horrific situation. But please do more than just pray. Pour your heart out to God, shed tears over this situation. Imagine yourself in their shoes, but then get up and do something. Donate. Run a race. Support me in my efforts. But, please, do not simply read this, feel bad for a moment, then go about your business. Too much is at stake.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three Books on Prayer

One of the classes that I am taking this semester is entitled "Strategic Prayer and Spiritual Warfare." As a result of this class, I am being convicted that my prayer life is not what it should be. In fact, I recently preached on this very topic. Part of that conviction has come as a result of three different books. I would highly recommend that you pick up all three and spend some time prayerfully going through them.

Personal Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders by Dave Earley. There is much that I could recommend to you about this book, but it is better if I simply quote Dr. Ergun Caner: "Do NOT read this book if you want information. Read this book only if you desire a transformation. It will drive you to your knees."

The Necessity of PrayerThe Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds. This short little book packs a lot of punch. There is enough "food" here to keep a hungry pray-er fed for years. It is packed with Scripture and is conversational in tone. Well worth your time.

Quiet Talks on Prayer Quiet Talks on Prayer by S.D. Gordon. This book reminds me a great deal of Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon. The format is that of a lecture transcript, but it is packed with nuggets that will convict and challenge you.

If you desire a stronger, more fervent prayer life, I can't recommend these books more highly. Of course, as Tim Challies wrote recently, "I want to be a prayer warrior, but I find that I'm more of a read-books-about-prayer warrior," we need to make sure we are putting what we read into practice.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How to Handle "Well, How Did It Go?" After a Sermon

I don't get to preach nearly as much as I would like. I am assuming a lot of that has to do with the fact that I am not even a pastor yet (I'm sure you probably gathered that from the blog title). Anyway, when I do get to preach, inevitably I'm going to be given a lot of encouragement, followed by the question, "Well, how did it go?" I never know what to say in these instances. Thankfully, Brian Croft has offered some great suggestions. I will list the headlines and you can visit his blog to get the details.


  • Receive the encouragements now.
  • Store away the criticisms for Tuesday morning.
  • Look forward to Service Review later that evening (something I need to implement).
  • Recognize your work is done.

If you are interested in reading the full article, please visit the site.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Message from Jon Foreman

I totally stole this from a post on Facebook. It is from a guy named Jon Foreman. Jon sings in a band called Switchfoot. I am a huge fan of Switchfoot and their music has been a real inspiration to me.

Friends, Howdy, my name is jon. I play guitar and sing in a San Diego band called Switchfoot. We started out as a three piece: Tim (my brother) playing the bass, Chad, (my college buddy) playing the drums, and myself writing the tunes. Our first record came out the week after my brother graduated from high school. We called it: The Legend of Chin, naming it after my best friend. Willis. We traveled around that summer and went back to school in the fall. A few years later we put out a record called New Way to be Human and I dropped out of college. We decided to really give music a go and started touring a bit more seriously. After that, we put out a record called Learning to Breathe. My friend jerome called and told me he had just quit his day job. Our band had been playing shows with jerome's old band for years so we joined forces with jerome and now he plays the keyboards and guitars with us every night. We made a record called The Beautiful Letdown a few years later. Then our friend Drew's band broke up. He plays the guitar in our band now. Then we made a record called Nothing is Sound and decided a five piece was enough to accomplish what we wanted to do live. So we decided not to enlist any more of our friends for help on stage. And now, a few tips on making your own band's t-shirts in between gigs: hotel hairdryers help the fabric paint dry faster, three ring binders and a razor blade are all you need for a stencil, sponges work best for applying the ink. I think we like doing things ourselves because no one cares about the music more than we do. We've stuffed our own CD cases, We've done the sixteen hour drives. I feel that we've paid our dues on the road as much as anyone. But still, we never really fit in with the "cooler than thou" hipsters. I suppose it's a matter of course: we've always wanted to make music for everyone, not just for the scene. We've tried our best to live out the idea that it's better to be honest than momentarily cool. And so this past summer when we set out to record a new record, we tried to put all pressures and expectations aside and focus on the music. We wanted to make a record that was honest. A record that didn't trip on itself. A record that represented everything that we first fell in love with about music. We tried to forget about theory and pitch and timing and focus on feeling. As a result, I think that Oh! Gravity is the most honest thing we've ever done. I am so proud of these tunes and hope that they resonate with you like they do for us. In closing, I am so grateful for the gifts that I've been given. Near the top of the list would be the camaraderie that we have with each other on the road. Besides the fact that my brother's in the band, it really does feel a family out there on tour. I know it's not the cocky rock and roll thing to say, but I am so proud to be making music with these guys every night. I feel so privileged to be able to play these songs with them. I love screaming these songs out with them. And I have a deep respect for everyone who comes every night. We have always tried to break down the wall between the stage and the audience. I feel like I've done my job if we leave the stage while everyone in the club is still singing. Communication has always been the goal. You see, I want to sing a song that will continue long after we're gone. So thanks for reading. Thanks for singing along. Thanks for making theses songs your own.

I know that was a lot to read, but it was definitely worth it. If you ever get a chance to see Switchfoot in concert, definitely do it. Probably one of the best live shows you will ever see.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review of Radical Together by David Platt

David Platt’s new book, Radical Together, picks up where his last book left off. He examines what happens when the entire of church begins a journey of abandonment to God. Platt states that he wants “to consider what happens – or can happen – when we apply the revolutionary claims and commands of Christ to our communities of faith.”

In doing this, Platt examines six key thoughts that deal with the church and then expounds upon each one. These thoughts include the idea that one of the worst enemies of Christians are the good things in the church, the Gospel that saves us from works saves us to work, the Word of God is essential in the work of the Gospel, it is not necessary to have the “right people” in order to build the “right church”, we can hasten the end of the world by sharing the Gospel with all peoples of the world, and Christians are to be selfless followers of a self-centered God.

This is a book that will challenge the reader to live a deeper life for Christ. It will challenge the reader to want to share his faith with those around him. It will challenge the reader to spend more time in prayer for unbelievers in his community and for unreached people groups around the world. It is a book that would be best read in a group where individuals can discuss the ideas and dreams that are certain to result for reading it.

My only concern with the book is the overt emphasis placed by Platt on the need for world missions. I am a strong believer in world missions, but it seemed that Platt was suggesting that world missions should take precedence over local missions. It is my belief that there needs to be a balance. We do not need to simply see those around us as a means to reaching the world. Our friends and neighbors are a mission field that must be reached, just as much as those across the world.

Author’s note: I was provided with a free copy of Radical Together for the purpose of this review.

Books by David Platt:

Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of GodRadical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Telling Our Friends to Go to Hell - Why Isolating Ourselves is a Worse Sin Than Anything in the World

I recently wrote this for a class (Personal Evangelism). I hope that you are as a challenged by it as I was.

It is a sad reality that the idea of dealing with lost people is completely reprehensible to many who would call themselves Christians. Oftentimes, we have this idea that being a Christian means that must live a squeaky clean life, keeping ourselves above and away from the muck and filth of the unsaved world. As a result, many Christians have developed a “bunker mentality.” I often joke with my wife about the “Christian bubble”, although it is no joke. Too often we develop our own “Christian culture” to protect us from the negative influences of the unsaved world around us. We do this to the peril of our friends and neighbors. Isolating ourselves from them is almost certainly inviting them to suffer eternal damnation. If we truly desire to see people come to Christ, we are going to need to climb down from our ivory towers and be with them. Being with them does not mean that we condone their behavior. It doesn’t even mean that we go to the same places they go. It is so infuriating when I hear statements like, “Jesus would go to a gay bar.” We don’t have to engage in the same activities as unbelievers to be there for them. It is much more important that the non-Christian know that we as Christians are “safe” and can provide an environment of help and concern.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Would Have Thought Poking Fun at Baptists Would Make Me So Popular?

I recently had the perfect storm of busyness come my way: Seminary, the new school year, preparing for my series on the Gospel of John, Sunday School, and preaching opportunities all happened at once. As a result, my blog has suffered. I know the 10 people who read it on a consistent basis are probably saddened by this fact. I will attempt to keep the updates coming, but we'll see what happens. Systematic Theology is a killer.

That being said, here is a recap of all my posts that were poking fun at the people I have gone to church with. I do it all in love because, regardless of how unpopular it may be, I love being a fundamental Baptist.

The Top Five Reasons for Questioning Someone's Salvation


Things You May Hear Yelled During a Sermon

The Five Kids You Find in Every Youth Group

The Five People Every Church Has

Ten Ways to Know You Are a Baptist

Enjoy the recap!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Just For Fun - The Top Five Reasons for Questioning Someone's Salvation

As you probably know, Christians are an extremely judgmental group. We question the salvation of everyone. Seriously, there are just some behaviors that a true Christian would not engage in.



  • You see a Prius with a Jesus Fish on the back. There is no way this person can be a Christian. I'm pretty sure that the only people who drive a Prius are those who eat granola, attempt to wear frayed pants to Campus Church, and voted for Al Gore in the last 4 elections.
  • You see a person bringing a vegetable tray to the youth group game night. It is my understanding that if you go back to the original Greek, there is a prohibition on vegetable trays found in the Book of Acts. Of course, this has been left out of the Authorized Translation because the English can be used to correct the Greek.
  • You realize that the person in front of you took the last piece of fried chicken at the church anniversary dinner. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.
  • You see someone coming out of the movie theater as you are going in. You know that the movies is a den of iniquity and you are only there to find out just how bad things have gotten.
  • The person next to you in church wakes you up with his snoring. Everyone knows that the church pew is extremely comfortable. If he was really considerate, he would snore at home so you can get some rest. Good grief, is that too much to ask?


I'm pretty sure you are questioning my salvation for writing this list, just as I am questioning yours for reading it. Aren't you glad we have a God who saves regardless of what we do (Ephesians 2:8-9)?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cardboard Testimonies

In one of my seminary classes (Personal Evangelism), we were shown this incredibly powerful video. Without saying too much about the video, it is an incredible testimony to the mighty and glorious Savior that we serve. He has the ability to do amazing things and it only requires that we surrender to Him. It's hard work, but as you will see in the video, it is infinitely worth it.



Now, after you have dried your eyes, take a moment and think about what your cardboard testimony would say.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Favorite New Site - Pastoralized by Eric McKiddie

I wanted to take a moment and jock my new favorite website, Pastoralized by Eric McKiddie. This site has some incredible articles on preaching, as well as tips and ideas for making the work that goes into being a pastor a little easier (if that's possible). Most recently, I read an article on his site about organizational tools. I have already started to implement some of them and will be working to add the rest in the coming days and weeks.

Please, if you get a chance to get over there, definitely check him out. He's been a good friend to my ministry (even though we've never met personally).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Treat Mosques the Way You Want Your Church Treated

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a response to a list of things Christians shouldn't be scared of. One of the items that was on the list was "Mosques". Here is what my Facebook friend had to say:

Oh, right. Because the religion associated with mosques is all peaceful, rainbows, and butterflies. Hello? I’m scared out of my mind of mosques, what they stand for, and the little middle-eastern people who see no problem with being used as human bombs.

I have to disagree with my friend and here is why: the way we treat a mosque today is the way that our churches will be treated tomorrow.

We live in a country that prides itself on religious freedom. We have the right to worship in any manner that we desire, within the confines of the law. That means I can be a Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Buddhist, a Sikh, or even a Muslim. I can worship in a church, a temple, or a mosque. Yes, there is an ugly element to the Muslim religion, but there is also an ugly element to Christianity. Westboro Baptist Church, anyone? There is ugliness to be found in all religions.

By the way, I'm not the only one who feels this way. Ed Stetzer feels the same way.

I'm sure that some of you will disagree with me and that's totally cool.

Rediscovering Jesus

One of the saddest realities of being involved in ministry and going to seminary is that Jesus often becomes something to learn about or something to teach about and not something to be overwhelmed by. Sometimes Jesus becomes an academic pursuit and not the wonderful Savior who died for me and took my sins upon Himself. I am constantly having to readjust my focus to make sure that I stay in love with Him and am not simply trying to acquire knowledge about Him.

I hope the two songs below will help you to refocus your attention on Jesus. See him as the amazing Lord and not an answer on the test.




I'd like to thank Dr. Ray Ortlund for introducing me to the song by Downhere.

Shotgun Wedding to Jesus

Right now, I am taking a class from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary called Personal Evangelism. For one of the assignments, we are required to read Share Jesus Without Fear. It's not a bad book and the information that I've read so far is quite interesting. That being said, the author, William Fay, shared this story and it struck me the wrong way.


Fay said that he was driving home on night when he saw a horrible car accident. He pulled over and ran to the young man who was about to be loaded onto a helicopter and taken to the hospital. Here is the conversation he had with the driver:

I knelt by his head and whispered, "Are you a sinner?"

"Uhhhh."

"Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and rose again?"

"Uhhhh."

"Are you willing to surrender your life to Jesus Christ?"

"Uhhhh."

"Are you ready to invite Jesus Christ into your life and into your heart?"

"Uhhhh."


Fay goes on to say that he shared this story at one of his seminars a few months later and the grandmother of the young man (who died the next day) came up and thanked him because she believed that he was in Heaven.



Now, I'm not one to blow someone up for sharing their faith because I do not do it nearly enough. I just don't think what happened here was appropriate. I give credit to Fay for getting out and sharing the Gospel, but the groanings of a dying young man hardly equate understanding and accepting the gift of salvation. I also think that he may have been giving the grandmother false hope that she will see her grandson in Heaven. Of course, only God knows the heart (good Christian cliche).

I entitled this post "Shotgun Wedding to Jesus" because I think too often we try to cram Jesus down the throat of individuals and don't give them the opportunity to make the decision of their own desire (or the nudging of the Holy Spirit). The person prays the Sinner's Prayer just so you will shut up and leave him alone. I think we are at our best when we ask the Lord to give us opportunities to share and understand that salvation is dependent upon Him, not anything that we do.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let's Play a Game - Books for New Believers

I really enjoy reading. I love having books and I am especially fond of my Amazon Kindle. And while I am very good at picking out books for me, I don't often know what books to recommend for new believers.

With that in mind, I came up with this hypothetical. What books would you purchase for new believers if you were given a gift card to Amazon.com for $100? What books or materials would you purchase for them to help them grow into a stronger Christian?

I don't get too many comments on my posts, but in order for this to work, you will need to list out the books you would buy. This way we can help each other out. Stick with Amazon.com because that is where the "gift card" is to. Also, stay under $100 because that is all the "money" you get; any overage comes out of your pocket.

Good luck and have fun! I'm excited to learn about the new titles. You can access Amazon.com by clicking the link below:

Amazon.com

God Does Nothing Apart From Prayer

I have begun my last semester of classes for my MA in Church Planting and Evangelism from Liberty University. One of the classes that I am taking is called Strategic Prayer and Spiritual Warfare. One of the required texts is Personal Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders. It is a great book, one worth reading. Anyway, as I was reading it, I came across this list about the importance of prayer in ministry.


  • Prayer is the way you defeat the devil (Luke 22:23; James 4:7).
  • Prayer is the way you get the lost saved (Luke 18:13).
  • Prayer is the way you acquire wisdom (James 1:5).
  • Prayer is the way a backslider gets restored (James 5:16-20).
  • Prayer is how saints get strengthened (Jude 1:20; Matthew 26:41).
  • Prayer is the way to get laborers out to the mission field (Matthew 9:38).
  • Prayer is how we cure the sick (James 5:13-15).
  • Prayer is how we accomplish the impossible (Mark 11:23-24).


    David Jeremiah, Prayer, the Great Adventure (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1997), 40-41.


    If you are interested, the books that were referenced above are available through Amazon.com.

    Personal Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact LeadersPrayer, the Great Adventure
  • Monday, August 22, 2011

    Just For Fun - Things You May Hear Yelled During a Sermon

    It seems that yelling at the pastor during a sermon is acceptable behavior in some churches. Here is a list (not original to me; I culled it from the "You Know You're Baptist When" Facebook group) of the things you may hear yelled at your church on any given Sunday.



    • Amen!
    • Preach It!
    • Burn 'em, preacher!
    • Park there awhile!
    • Feed the sheep!
    • Oh me!
    • Glory to God!
    • Help us!
    • Stomp on them toes!
    • C'mon now!
    • That's good!



    And, if you are really lucky, the video below will show you what might happen. You never know.

    One of the Many Reasons I Love Josh Hamilton

    I am currently working my way through Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back by Josh Hamilton. I don't want to go too much into his story, but let's just say he was on top of the world, he hit rock bottom, and we serve a gracious God.

    As I was reading today, I came across this story that he told about a boy named Ashley who was a part of the high school baseball team. Ashley had Down Syndrome and served as the team's bat boy. One day, after a tough loss, Ashley had convinced himself that it was his fault that he had lost the game, even though he did not play at all. He sat crying on the bus because he was afraid the other boys were upset with him. Below is the interaction Josh had with Ashley.



    “I’m sorry, Josh,” he said. “I’m sorry I lost the game.”

    This was ridiculous, of course. Ashley didn’t hit or pitch one ball, but I couldn’t put it that way for fear of hurting his feelings.

    “Oh, no, Ashley,” I said. “No one person ever loses a game for a team. We win as a team and lose as a team.”

    Immediately, Ashley’s face brightened. He stopped crying and smiled at me as the tears streaked down his cheeks.

    “Josh?”

    “Yes, Ashley.”

    “Does that mean I’m part of the team?”

    “Of course it does, Ashley. You know that.”

    His smile turned to laughter. He reached over and wrapped his arms around me, squeezing me tight with a big hug. For the rest of the ride home, if you had looked at Ashley you would have sworn we just won the state championship.



    I have three boys and I am, through God's grace, raising them to be good men. It is my prayer that they will grow up to have the same character as Josh Hamilton.


    If you want to read more about Josh Hamilton, you can get his biography at Amazon.com.

    Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Funny Video About the King James Only Debate

    For some reason, I have found myself involved in a number of "discussions" about the King James Version of the Bible. I have always been on the fringe of this discussion for some reason. When I was growing up, I was taught that the only Bible that I should use is the King James Version. I was given the lines about how verses are taken out and key doctrines are removed. In college, it was a huge discussion and got very technical, dealing with manuscripts and libraries and trash cans, that sort of thing. Today, the discussion continues on Facebook.

    Personally, I have nothing against the King James Version. While I primarily use the English Standard Version, I also teach and preach from the King James quite often. It is the preferred translation of the church that I attend and serve in. It has always struck me as strange that, while I have no issues with folks who use the KJV, they seem to take issue with me. In college, I had a roommate grab a copy of the New International Version that I was using and throw it across the room. I referenced my concerns with this attitude in a previous post.

    The video below was shared with me by a friend. Please watch and enjoy. You should try to see the silliness of the arguments. I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, I am simply laughing at the situation. By the way, the video is pretty spot on.

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Pride Goes Before a Fall - And We Are All Laughing at You

    This video has been making its way around the internet. I found it here. Kind of proves a point...get a big head and you usually end up on your face. I think that's in the Bible somewhere.

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    The Clip Show, August 19

    Time for another episode of the Clip Show, the best links I could find. Enjoy!




    Here is a link if you are interested in purchasing the books or DVDs referenced above: