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.