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?"


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


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


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


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:


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.


    “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:

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    The Kind of Pastor I Would Like to Be

    It has been quite a day (actually quite a couple of days). That being said, I don't have much original content today. Instead, I have a quote from John Piper that I found that hit me like a cannonball. It is my prayer that I will be this pastor one day.

    Oh how rare are the pastors who speak with a tender heart and have a theological backbone of steel.

    I dream of such pastors. I would like to be one someday. A pastor whose might in the truth is matched by his meekness. Whose theological acumen is matched by his manifest contrition. Whose heights of intellect are matched by his depths of humility. Yes, and the other way around! A pastor whose relational warmth is matched by his rigor of study, whose bent toward mercy is matched by the vigilance of his biblical discernment, and whose sense of humor is exceeded by the seriousness of his calling.

    I dream of great defenders of true doctrine who are mainly known for the delight they have in God and the joy in God that they bring to the people of God — who enter controversy, when necessary, not because they love ideas and arguments, but because they love Christ and the church.

    Read the entire post.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Where the King James Only Crowd Goes Wrong

    Over the past couple of days, I have found myself involved in a number of discussions about the the Bible, specifically the King James Version. It would seem that there is a group of folks who believe that the King James Version is the only translation that can be used, that it is God's Word handed down from on high.

    One thing about Christians is that we love to argue with each other. As a family, the family of God, we disagree all the time. As long as we agree on the major doctrinal issues, the other items are open for discussion. The problem arises when that arguing becomes dirty and the intent is no longer to debate, but instead to defame and destroy.

    This, I believe, is where the King James Only crowd gets it wrong. They do a lot of things right. They honor God's Word, they believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and they believe that salvation comes through hearing the Word of God preached. But where they go off the rails is when they begin attacking the other translations, the individuals who worked on the translations, and the individuals who use the other versions. I have been called "worldly", had my salvation questioned, and have even been referred to as a "Bible perverter".

    Please notice I have not made any assumptions or accusations about this group's beliefs. They are entitled to hold what beliefs they would like. I have no issue with the King James Version. I grew up using the KJV, it was the required translation in college, and my pastor at my church preaches and teaches from it. My problem arises when something that is clearly a preference becomes a measure of my spirituality and the attacks become personal. What we need to remember is that unsaved individuals are watching us and if our disagreements with each other continuous, why would they ever want to be a part of it?

    Author's note: I do not want it to seem that all KJV Only folks are vicious and mean. I'm sure that the mean ones are probably a very miniscule part of the movement. I also want it to be known that folks who do not ascribe to the KJV Only stance can be just as caustic.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Mark Driscoll Labels Cessationists Worldly

    I have a love/hate relationship with Mark Driscoll. Driscoll, as many of you may know, is a well-known and highly influential pastor. He is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and leads a number of initiatives designed to lead unsaved people to Christ. I have learned a great deal from listening to his sermons and from reading his books. Driscoll is also extremely controversial, causing concerns because of his often brash and offensive language.

    In a recent lecture, Pastor Mark declared that those who hold to a cessationist view are worldly, influenced by the same thinking as atheists and deists. He said that atheists believe that God cannot do miracles because He does not exist, deists believe that God can do miracles but does not, and that cessationists believe that God used to do miracles, but does not do them anymore. Pastor Mark then cracked a joke that cessationists claim to believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, even though He changed in this area. He also stated that the verses (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) cessationists use as evidence of their beliefs have been "twisted into origami".

    As a person who holds cessationist beliefs, I have a real issue with this broad characterization. My belief, and the belief of my particular denomination, is that the supernatural gifts (prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation) existed until the completion of the Bible. At that time, the supernatural gifts ceased to exist, but the spiritual gifts of faith, hope, and love continued. I fully believe that miracles can, and do, occur.

    Please understand that this post is somewhat reactionary. I will readily admit that Mark Driscoll is immensely smarter than I am and has studied this issue much deeper than I have. However, to label individuals and groups as "worldly" and to group them with atheists and deists simply because they interpret a passage differently smacks of arrogance.

    Please take the time to listen to lecture and see if you agree or disagree with what I have written. It is possible that I misinterpreted his intentions.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    The Five Kids You Find in Every Youth Group

    Last week, we took a look at the Five People You Find in Every Church. Today, we are going to examine the five kids that every youth group has.

    • The Mascot. Every youth group has a mascot. This is usually a smaller boy who wants to belong with the older, cooler kids. In order to get their attention and gain their friendship, The Mascot will do really weird and crazy things, such as volunteer to swallow goldfish, spit spitballs at the youth pastor while he is driving, or show his rear end to passing motorists from the back of the bus.

    • The Lovebird. The Lovebird is a boy/girl in the youth group who, at one point or another, will have a crush on every member of the opposite sex in the youth group (except the Mascot). The feelings are strong for about a week, then fade just as quickly. This is especially true when a visitor comes to the youth group.

    • The Pastor's Kid. The Pastor's Kid usually like to cause trouble and can get away with it because he is the pastor's child. He/she is usually best friends and archenemies with the Lovebird because he/she always manages to "snag" the prettiest of the group. It is also the Pastor's Kid who gets the Mascot to do all of the things he does.

    • The "Too Cool for This" Kid. There is always one kid in the group who is too cool for what is going on. She stands in the corner, listening to her iPod and making snide remarks. Yet, for some reason, she always shows up to every activity. It probably has something to do with the Pastor's Kid.

    • The Preacher Boy. The Preacher Boy was called to preach before he could talk. He loves to strut around, letting everyone know that he has a step on them in holiness because he is going to be a preacher one day. The youth pastor loves this guy and asks him to pray at every youth group meeting and activity. If the youth group does the service in church one night, it revolves all around the youth group's prize pupil: The Preacher Boy.

    Please remember, these are simply sketches of individuals and not meant to identify any one person in particular. Except for me. I was about three of them.

    Which one of these best fits you when you were in your youth group?

    Just For Fun - Ten Things that Smell Better than they Taste

    Have you smelled something that made you want to devour it, only to have you retching in disgust after the first bite? Our list today includes Ten Things that Smell Better Than They Taste. Some of them I can agree with, but to me, movie theater popcorn is probably the closest thing to manna we will have hear on earth.

    View the entire list here: Ten Things that Smell Better Than They Taste.

    Do you agree or disagree with the items on the list? What would you add?

    Ministry Interview with Eric King, Part 2

    Here is the second part of the interview questions and answers from Eric King, the Director of Missional Church Strategist Team for the International Mission Board.

    Which ministry responsibility do you enjoy the most? Why? Helping believers understand and embrace God’s global mission plan. It is fulfilling to see His followers living out the biblical call on their lives.

    Describe the amount of time, if any, you spend in an average week in sermon preparation. Sermon preparation applies only sometimes. It usually takes about 20 hours a week.

    Describe the amount of time you spend in an average week in personal devotions and prayer. I usually spend about 5 hours per week.

    How do you keep yourself fresh and informed in the ministry? Are there books, magazines, blogs that you frequent? I stay fresh primarily through twitter and FB (Facebook) leads. I also intentionally spend time with those who I desire to be influenced by.

    What is one piece of advice you would give to someone aspiring to a vocational role in ministry? Your calling is an act of grace from God as Paul described in Ephesians. Calling is not due to personal value or accomplishments but due to grace. Calling is always for the hope of the Nations - making disciples for the sake of His name being proclaimed to all peoples. One more - your first calling to ministry is to your wife and children. Disciple well in the home first.

    I am very thankful to Eric King for taking the time to participate in this interview. I hope that you are blessed by the lessons that he provided in his answers. You can read Part One of the interview with Eric King here.

    Here are two great resources based on some of the answers that Eric gave.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Proof As To Why My Career as a Rock Star Never Materialized

    Believe it or not, I have always wanted to be a rock star. My friend Terry lived the rock star life for a little bit and he gave me the bug. Before that, I had dreams of stardom while hanging out with my friend Jon and Dave. Needless to say, even though they went on to have a little bit of fame, I never went anywhere.

    Here is a video from a school talent show a few years back. It might serve as evidence as to why I never made it as a rock star. And, in case you couldn't tell, I'm the dashingly handsome one in the green shirt and awesome hat.

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Ruth Chapter 1, Part 2 (Video)

    Here is the second lesson that I taught on Ruth 1. Please leave your comments and criticism.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    The Clip Show for August 12, 2011

    Hey folks, time for another Clip Show. Enjoy!

    Ministry Interview with Eric King, Part 1

    One of the things that I want to do with this blog is to discuss various roles that people play in the service of God, not simply as pastors, but in other areas as well. I recently had the opportunity to interview Eric King. Eric is the Director of Missional Church Strategist Team, a part of the International Missions Board. This was a unique opportunity for me because Eric was once my work supervisor at the Distribution Center for A Beka Book in Pensacola, Florida. I drove him crazy as a goofy freshman who went by the nickname Fish. It has been great keeping in touch with him and seeing how God has been using him to further the Gospel. Well without any more jibber jabber on my part, here is the first part of the interview.

    What is your current role in the ministry and how long have you been in that role? Have you had any other positions? My current role is: Director of Missional Church Strategist Team, 1 yr. For 4 years I served as a Missional Church Strategist. Prior to that I served as Minister of Missions.

    Tell me about your call to ministry. I have a unique call as my home church asked me to come on staff prior to my ever experiencing a call from God. After dismissing the request for several weeks, yet still being pursued, I committed to passionate prayer. God clearly revealed this was His plan for my family. It really wasn’t until a year later while being on a mission trip in Brazil that I truly surrendered to the call. I had been fulfilling the position but had not truly surrendered.

    What type of preparation did you have for the ministry? I have no formal preparation but have pursued God’s will in my life. Most of my learning has come through mentors and those who discipled me. I did attend Christian school and college so I have a good biblical knowledge base.

    How many other positions in ministry have you had and how did you know when it was time to move from one position to another? I am currently in my 3rd ministry role. I personally commit to remain in the position God places me until there is an obvious and overwhelming pull away. God is faithful to clearly lead those who desire to walk daily in His will.

    The other questions will be posted over the next couple of days. I hope that you will pray for Eric King and his family as they continue to minister. I also hope that these interviews are a blessing to you.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    I Wanna Be a Pastor

    The other day, just for fun, I did a search for "wanna be pastor". I wanted to see if my blog would show up in the search. It didn't, but I came across something just as interesting. I found a play called "I Wanna Be a Pastor". It is the story of a young man who goes to his career counselor and informs him of his decision to pursue the ministry. The counselor then sheds some light on what the job actually entails. Below is a small excerpt of the play:

    Counselor: Try this. How many pastors does it take to change a light bulb?

    Applicant: How many?

    Counselor: One. But three people will tell you it’s about time and they never liked the old light anyway. Two others will tell you the old light was better and they don’t know why everything has to change all the time anyway. Several people will send emails asking why you picked that particular light and tell you about three other lights that are better and at least one person will be glad for the light and will be warming in its glowing.

    Applicant: Ya know, I think I might try something easier, like brain surgery.

    You can read the rest of the play here.

    Author's note: I attempted to contact the author of the play to receive permission to use him material. As of yet, I have not had any response from him.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Reading Through Radical Together by David Platt

    I was recently given a preview copy of Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God by David Platt. The book is written to describe what could happen if individuals in churches would work together to achieve the purposes of God.

    My plan, as I am reading through the book, is to write my impressions on each chapter. There are six chapters, each dealing with an aspect of the gospel that is often misunderstood and how it should play out in lives that are devoted to Christ. Like I said, I will be reading through the book and writing about my impressions as I finish each chapter.

    I would love for you to go on this journey with me. We may go to the same church or we may go to different churches in different states, but the fact remains that every church should be working to accomplish the great things that God desires. Please pick up a copy of the book and add your thoughts to mine as we read through this book together.

    Learn more about the book in the video below, then, if you so choose, buy it from Amazon.com.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    ...And Knowing Is Half the Battle

    Do you remember that show G.I. Joe? Not the really lame movie that I still haven't seen. I'm talking about the awesome cartoon that was on television when I was growing up. At the end of every episode, there was always a public service announcement. At the end of the safety lesson or whatever it happened to be that day, the kids would say, "Now I know," and the G.I. Joe character would say, "...and knowing is half the battle."

    Not too long ago, I wrote about how a church in Texas declined to give me an interview for their youth pastor position. After some back and forth, I was able to gain an understanding into why they chose not to extend an interview. When it was all said and done, I had two positives and three negatives in regards to what they were looking for.

    First, the positives. I had experience preaching. This is true. My pastor has been gracious enough to give me opportunities to preach (you can check out some of my sermons here, here, and here). The other positive was my teaching experience. I have been teaching Sunday School for nearly a year at this point, as well as multiple teaching opportunities prior to being where we are now. Additionally, I am a full-time elementary school teacher, so communicating to others is a huge part of what I do.

    Now, the negatives. The first strike against me was the fact that I have no full-time ministry experience. All of my preaching, teaching, and leading have been on a volunteer basis. The second strike was the fact that I am still enrolled in seminary. At this point, I have only one semester left and will complete my studies for my MA in Church Planting and Evangelism from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in December. And the final strike? Well, this is perhaps the biggest strike against me of all. On my resume, it said that I was seeking a job as a pastor. They were looking to hire a youth pastor. I guess the omission of that one little word was enough to disqualify me. Three strikes...you're out.

    I guess the question I have from all of this would be: How am I to gain experience if no one is willing to give me the opportunity? I would love to have some full-time ministry work to put on a resume or to serve in as my called profession, but it is a little hard to do when no one will give me an opportunity because of my lack of experience. It's just a vicious cycle.

    Any thoughts or suggestions as to what I should do?

    Five People Every Church Has

    Alright, it has never been my desire to start a humor site or parody my church or the churches that are similar. That being said, after the fun that was had with yesterday's post about being a Baptist, I decided to have a little more fun.

    Some time ago, there was a list of the 25 Friends You Have on Facebook. It was a pretty humorous list and everyone probably has at least one of those friends. I have decided to make a list of the Five People Every Church Has.

    • The guy who yells "Amen" at inappropriate times during the sermon. This is the guy who wants to show the pastor that he agrees with what is being said, but he may not be paying attention fully. He might yell "Amen" when the pastor is saying that Balaam rode a donkey or that he used a certain type of bait during a recent fishing trip.

    • The lady who can't carry a tune, but still gets asked to do special music. The Bible tells us to make a joyful noise and this lady lives by that statement. Unfortunately, what is joyful to some is not always joyful to others. She tries her best, but she was just not blessed with the ability to sing. She is very passionate about what she does, however. Of course, if you go to one of those churches that only lets "The Band" do music, this lady probably doesn't go to your church.

    • The slightly obnoxious guy who thinks he should be involved with every aspect of the church because he went to seminary. This guy has some training, so he immediately feels like he should have his finger in every pie, from the youth group to the ladies' fellowship to what kind of diapers should go in the nursery. Trust him, he went to school. He knows what he is doing.

    • The lady who refuses to say "No" to anyone and the people who take advantage of her. This poor lady hasn't been in a service since 1972 because she is always filling in for someone in the nursery or Jr. Church. She has a great spirit about it, but there is always someone who knows she won't say no, so she is always on this committee or preparing that meal.

    • The guy who disagrees with the pastor on everything, but refuses to find a new church. This guy feels that his spiritual gift is to be a "thorn in the flesh" of the pastor. He disagrees about the length of the sermon, the color of the pastor's tie, and how much the pastor should be paid, all in the name of keeping the pastor humble. Of course, when confronted, he will readily declare his loyalty to the church and the pastor.

    • Please note: I did not have any in particular in mind when I was coming up with these sketches. If you read this and can immediately identify someone in your church who fits that mold, shame on you.

      Are there any people that I forgot to add?

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Just For Fun - Ten Ways to Know You Are a Baptist

    Normally, I would post a link to an interesting list of items. However, today I am going to post the list right here. In full disclosure, these items are not original to me; I found them posted on a Facebook group that I frequent. Please keep in mind these are intended to be satirical.

    The list appears in no particular order.

    Ten Ways to Know You Are a Baptist
    • You sleep better in church than you do at home.
    • You start packing up as soon as the last blank on the notes sheet is filled in.
    • You call everyone "Brother" or "Sister" because you can't remember their names.
    • Your 3-year-old yells "Amen!" at random times.
    • All your female friends go to college for their MRS degree.
    • You post pictures of your new Bible on Facebook.
    • You use the NIV as a doormat.
    • Fire and brimstone are all you want to hear in your sermons.
    • Going to the movies is a sin, but you make sure the movie is in your Netflix queue.
    • Your definition of "fellowship: involves fried chicken at a potluck dinner.

    If you have anything to add to the list, please do so below. Enjoy!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Ruth Chapter 1, Part 1 (Video)

    In June 2011, I had the privilege of teaching on Ruth chapter 1. I was hoping that I would have been able to finish teaching the rest of the book, but the scheduling just wasn't there. I have posted the first part of the lesson below. This first lesson is on Ruth 1:1-5.

    Time Again for Another Clip Show!

    Here is your weekly collection of fun, interesting, and thought-provoking links. Learn something new.

    Enjoy! If you find any links you would like to share with our readers, please comment below.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    This Life is Not About Me

    One of the things that I am trying to make true about myself and something that I am trying to instill in my children is that our lives are not our own. I used to joke about Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life because the opening sentence is so hokey: "It's not about you". But in reality, that is a fact. We were put on Earth in order to bring glory to our Father in Heaven. That is our sole purpose. The Westminster Larger Catechism tells us that the chief end of man is to glorify God (Romans 11:36).

    With that in mind, my prayer is that I will live a selfless life, one where, when I am done, people can look back and not see me, but see the amazing things that God allowed me to be a part of. A life like this is not easily achieved. This is the reason why I am running the 10K. I want to be able to say to my children, "God allowed me to run so that other boys and girls can have food and water. God let me be a part of something bigger." I want to set an example for them in such a way.

    One of my favorite bands is Anberlin. Stephen Christian, the lead singer, is an amazing lyricist and has a real heart for God. I posted a video from their song "Northern Lights." I think it is rather fitting for this discussion.

    Purchase the MP3 from Amazon.com: Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights)
    Buy the Album:New Surrender | MP3 Album: New Surrender

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    The Fear of Man

    I want to begin this post by saying that I am not a fan of Perry Noble. For those of you who don't know the name Perry Noble, he is a "celebrity" pastor with a church in South Carolina. Noble is extremely influential and has a passion for leading others, but his inappropriate language makes him difficult for me to tolerate.

    After saying that, I will admit that there are times when Noble does have a nugget of truth that I latch on to and learn from. An example of such can be found in the article that he wrote on "The Five Core Values of a Church in Decline". One of the core values that he identified is the "Fear of Man". When a church's decisions are made because of what church members will think, not what God wants, the church is beginning its demise.

    I wonder how prevalent this thought process is. I guess to some extent all churches have to keep this in mind. At the same time, though, when how certain members of the church will react becomes the driving force between the things that the church does and does not do, that becomes a real problem. It makes you wonder who is leading the church, the pastor under the direction of Jesus Christ or the well-established members who have been at the church since it began.

    I have seen this take place in a number of churches. It often leads to difficult and hazardous territory that can lead to hurt feelings and individuals walking away from the church.

    I guess I don't really have a point to what I am writing. I am simply reacting to the article that I read and what I gleaned from my reading.

    Any thoughts?

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Big Event and How You Can Help

    Last year, a friend of mine named Brandan Thomas ran a marathon to raise money for World Vision. For those of you who don't know anything about World Vision, they are a Christian organization that works with individuals around the world to fight the causes of poverty and hunger. A large part of the work they do is through the sponsorship of individual children.

    Anyway, Brandan's run has inspired me to do a run of my own. While I am nowhere close to being ready to run a marathon, I will be running a 10K on October 1, 2011, in order to raise money for World Vision. The goal I have set for myself is to raise $500 to go toward helping World Vision. I would love for you to be a part of that goal.

    How can you help? There are several ways that I would love for you to partner with me on.

    1) Pray. I have never run a race farther than 1 mile before. I am actually very slow and not incredibly athletic. I would covet your prayers as I train and as I am raising money.

    2) Donate. Not everyone can run the race, but I would love for you to be a sponsor of me while I run the race. You do not have to make a large donation (but you can if you want), but even a donation of $5 will go to help World Vision. If you would like to donate, you can visit my Donation Page.

    3) Share. Please share this information with those around you. Take it to the folks you go to church with. Post it on your Facebook page (there is a link to do so on the Donation Page). Share this blog post with others (that is a very good idea). Do whatever you can to get the word out about this race and what I am doing to raise both money and awareness for the cause of World Vision.

    4) Visit. Take some time to visit the World Vision website and get more information about the work they are doing and how you can help. An appropriate verse for what they are doing is Matthew 25:40 - And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I really hope that you will take some time to consider how you might be able to partner with me in this endeavor. I would love to have you become a financial partner, but, most of all, please be in prayer.

    Another One Bites the Dust

    It would appear that this "round" of my job search is over. I had sent a resume to a church in Texas back in May and I found out that the job has been filled yesterday. The sad fact to this story is that I did not find out from the search committee that the position had been filled. Rather, I went to the church's website and saw that they had welcomed their new youth pastor several weeks ago, at the end of June.

    The really frustrating part of this process was that I was in contact with a woman at the church during the process. At first, she was very forthcoming and quick to answer emails. Then, suddenly, the responses completely stopped. I emailed her three times over a several week period and did not hear back. Finally, last night, I received an email that stated, "I apologize that you didn't receive an email. I sent personalized emails to all the candidates, but I guess you were left off the list."

    I guess that mistakes like this happen, but the part that gets to me is that every church that I have dealt with so far has treated me this way. I either get no response or, when I ask questions about what I could do to improve as a candidate, my inbox remains strangely empty. My hope is that a pastor will read this and do his best to make sure that the process is improved. I know other places that hire do similar things, but you would think that a church would be different.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Just For Fun: The Top Ten Urban Legends and Myths

    I am a huge fan of urban legends. I love to hear them and I love to tell them. In fact, I even went so far as to spread an urban legend around the campus of my college. It blew up so much that one of the vice presidents made a chapel announcement about it. Maybe I'll post about it another time.

    Anyway, I present to you the Top Ten Urban Legends and Myths. A couple of them I had never heard or just brushed aside. I was glad to see that the "Kidney Heist" made #1. There were several omissions, but no list is perfect. Truth be told, there were several semesters that I was really hoping to get the 4.0 (see #10). Just kidding...or am I?

    What is the best urban legend you have ever heard?