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 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 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

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.


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 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'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 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.