Friday, December 19, 2008

Ministry Update 12-19-2008

Well, God definitely opens and shuts doors. While I thought I knew for sure what God wanted me to do about 6 months ago, doors have shut in my face. At least it didn't hit me in the nose! But God has opened a door wide open and said, "This is what I want you to do because this is what I gave you a heart to do."

Lona and I were invited by a mission agency (www.crossworld.org) to go to their missionary training this summer. We will spend two weeks in June in Philadelphia preparing to go on the mission field. Our hope is for Ireland. We will see what God has in store. Please keep praying for our time in Philly and I will keep you all posted.

Friday Funny

A Special Metal 12 Days of Christmas

My favorite line is "2 pair of spandex pants" sung(?) by the drummer. Cracks me up every time!



Friday, December 05, 2008

Make My Life a Prayer

Instead of a Friday Funny, I have a remembrance to my favorite Christian artist, Keith Green. Enjoy.



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"In the Beginning" Is Available!

Leanne Thomas' book, In the Beginning, is available on Amazon. Get one for you and give one to someone for Christmas!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Felicities - 28 November 2008

Here is a list of things I am thankful for and Happy Thanksgiving thoughts:
  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Redemption
  4. Eating the Thanksgiving meal with friends and family
  5. Pumpkin Pie
  6. Setting up the Christmas decorations
  7. Breakfast cinnamin rolls
  8. Snow on the ground
  9. Enjoying conversation and laughs with family and friends
  10. Playing cribbage and other games with Chris

This is the day after Thanksgiving, but giving thanks isn't limited to one day a year. I am thankful for each of my friends that read this weird blog and for you, the unknown reader, because God placed you here for a reason. I pray that you find God and what His plan is for life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Take the Mic Away...PLEASE!!!!!

Here is this Friday's funny!


The Kindness of God, or A Redemption Story

The Sunday School literature my church uses is called "Explore the Bible" (this is actually 1 of 3 different types available for the adult classes). It is a decent overview of books of the Bible. During a typical quarter we will go through one or two books of the Bible. We actually spent 6 months going through Genesis and could have spent a couple of years. Currently we are going through 1 & 2 Samuel. We are taking huge chunks of the books to get through it in 13 weeks. This week was supposed to be 2 Samuel chapters 9-12, with the focus being chapter 11 and 12 discussing David's sin. This seems to always be the focus of the lesson from 2 Samuel. There is a great story in chapter 9 which tells of David's kindness to Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. I am working through the outline and will also incorporate some thoughts from my friend, Rolland, who did a lesson on this several years ago. After I work through it, I will post it on line next week. Meanwhile, read the story.

Friday Felicities - 14 November 2008

Oh Happy Day!

  1. Morning Snow
  2. Snow melted by noon!
  3. Talking to friends about ministry
  4. A cat doing a somersault
  5. College basketball games

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Am Changing Over to the Spinach Party

More Friday Funnies

Friday Felicities - 7 October 2008

An election themed list (at least to start):

  1. No more campaign commercials!
  2. No more Barack Obama Economic plan channel on DISH Network
  3. Democracy works, even when your candidate does not win
  4. 4 Years of wondering who the Republican candidate will be
  5. Warm November days
  6. Planning for a trip to Ireland
  7. Visiting with long, lost friends
  8. Listening to my daughter sing

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

An Irish Take on the Election

An Irish view of American Politics

Over here in Ireland we can't figure out why you people are fretting about who to elect for your president there in the United States.

For a while you had a pants wearing female lawyer who was married to another lawyer who can't keep his pants on, but she lost a long, heated and very expensive primary against a lawyer who is married to yet another lawyer who doesn't like the country she thinks her husband ought to run and who goes to an anti-American church and hates your military.

Now on the other side you have a war hero whose last name starts with 'Mc' and who is married to a good looking, rich younger woman who owns a beer distributorship.

What in God's name is the matter with ye lads over there in the colonies?

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Book Update

Leanne Thomas has posted a new section of her book. The book will be published by the end of the year and I will post the link to Amazon if you are interested in buying a copy.

Sgt. Carter's Nightmare Has Just Begun

Friday Felicities - 31 October 2008

Halloween Edition

  1. Toasting pumpkin seed
  2. Carving pumpkins (yes, I actually enjoy it!)
  3. Walking around with the kids
  4. Reading Edger Allan Poe stories
  5. Watching Scooby-Doo
  6. Eating Candy Corn
  7. Eating any candy!
  8. Sorting through the candy with Ian and figuring out which ones we want to eat first.
  9. Watching Madeleine turn into a young woman
  10. Enjoying a Starbucks date with Lona

Restless

Well, another week and no new posts. I will post a couple of funny things later. I am restless. I am anxious to get started. But God has a plan and I must be patient. Have I told you I don't like to wait? As my friend Inago said, "I hate waiting." In the meantime, I will continue to make myself useful.

This semester is almost over. One more month, about 6 weeks. Dec 8 is my last final exam. I am actually finished with one class. I will be taking Intro to New Testament II and Preaching next semester. I am looking forward to both classes. Since I will be able to work on a few sermons next semester, I want to make myself available to preach more. I have been teaching a singles Sunday School class for the last 4 years. I will stop at the end of this year so that my Sundays are free. There are several small churches out on the plains that did not have a pastor and are always looking for someone to fill the pulpit. I would like to do that about once a month.

My wife and I are also looking at doing a mission trip to Ireland in June. This is where we believe God has called us to minister and we want to start making a connection with the people. We will probably help with a summer camp for kids and teens. We are excited about this opportunity. I also have my resume in to a couple of churches, so we will see what God has in store...even though that means waiting.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Dentist

Humor is my second theme for Fridays besides the Felicities. This is the best Conway-Corman skit!

Friday Felicities - 24 October 2008

I really had good intentions to post more this week, but it didn't happen. Yet, here are my joys for the week:

  1. Jack-O-Lanterns
  2. Carving pumpkins with my kids (Ian is at the age where he enjoys this now)
  3. "You killed it!" Ian said this last year when I started carving the pumpkin
  4. Candy Corn
  5. Carmel Apples

Ok, so it was a fall, October theme. You got problems with that? Have a nice weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Is This Your Weatherman?

Friday Felicities - 17 October 2008

These bring a smile to my face:

  1. Walking through a covered bridge
  2. The smell of a large black cauldron of soup beans
  3. The sweet smell of candy and caramel apples
  4. sassafras tea
  5. "Daddy, let's play checkers."

Parke County - Covered Bridge Festival

I grew up in Parke County, IN and this is a huge fall festival where over 1 million people visit the county which only has a population of about 20,000 people. Check out the link and take a drive through the covered bridges or stop and get a pulled pork sandwich, a bowl of ham and beans and a slice of gooseberry pie.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Felicities - 10 October 2008

What makes me feel good:

  1. The word "Redeemer"
  2. The phrase "For God So Loved..."
  3. He called me "friend"
  4. A harvest moon
  5. High School Football in October
  6. Riding a bicycle
  7. Andy Griffith Show
  8. 60's sitcoms
  9. peanut butter
  10. caterpillars

What It Was Was Football

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More "In the Beginning"

Leanne Thomas has added a few more sections to her book on the first six chapters of Genesis. Check it out!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Felicities - 3 October 2008

What makes me happy:

  1. Hearing my children pray for their friends
  2. Smell of autumn leaves on the ground
  3. Tim Conway and Harvey Corman on the Carol Burnett Show
  4. Realizing that it is later in the work day than I thought
  5. Reading Psalms
  6. Reading sermons by Alexander MacLaren
  7. Green Tea
  8. A new "old" book
  9. Watching my wife sing
  10. Listening to Keith Green sing

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Ministry Update

I haven't given an update in a while. Last update was that out of 154 applicants for a job at my church, I was in the final 10, but did not make the cut down to 5. A person was selected and brought in over this weekend to meet and greet the focus groups that position would minister to and then he was voted on last night. He got the position. I have my own opinions and if you care to know them, you can email me. I won't share them publicly on this blog.

I am submitting my resume to church positions that have a missions/evangelism/outreach/discipleship/singles/young adult focus. Single focus or any combo of these is what I am looking for. There are 3 churches I have submitted my resume in 3 different states, but the one in SC is my number 1 objective.

I am taking two classes in seminary and plan on taking 2 more next semester.

That is it for now. If you know of any openings, point them my way. Baptist or non-denominational churches with a Baptist belief are my preference.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Australian Green Party?

Here is a Friday Funny


Friday Felicities

This was created by my cousin, Natalie, who now resides in heaven. Her list today would be much better than mine. This is a list of things that make me feel good and blessings in my life.

  1. Peeling a banana for Ian
  2. Playing the piano
  3. Looking at pictures of mission trips
  4. Going to dinner with Lona
  5. Listening to Madeleine sing
  6. Reading my Bible
This was my first attempt. I will try to continue this each Friday.

The Heart of the Matter

I have been reading about Augustine and the Augustinian tradition. To Augustine, the heart represents our whole self before God. Thomas Martin, who wrote and compiled this book, Our Restless Heart, had these words to say:

From the heart I come to Christian faith, become a member of the church, the Body of Christ, and begin to recognize Christ in my brothers and sisters, with a particular openness of heart to the poor. Heart is that touch point where true integration of the interior and exterior, the spiritual and the incarnational, takes place. Heart is never the final goal, yet what does not start from the heart goes nowhere. Equally true is Augustine's insistence that if something is claimed to be in the heart but never manifests itself outwardly in love and community, it is nothing less than self-deception. His insistence upon the heart is thus not a self-serving escape from responsibility into interior religion and privatised faith. To come to the heart is simply to discover that we are God's work, that God does dwell within us, that at our deepest and truest level of self we are never alone - and certainly never unloved.


A Memory Stone



The Old Testament has several examples of when an altar was built or a stone was placed in memory of an event. I have a few of them myself. One such stone is actually a church made of brick in the small town of Santerem, Brasil. Santerem is on the Amazon River halfway between Manaus and Belem. Christian Missions Unlimited (CMU) built another church nearby and some team members were able to visit the one I built in 1993. Ray Welch was on both trips, 1993 and 2008. I wish I could have been there. Here are a couple of pictures.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

"In The Beginning"

I have a new addition to the blog roll. It is the new writer, Leanne Thomas, and she has written a great new book about the first 6 chapters of Genesis. She is putting some sections of the book online. Take a look!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Expect God and Nothing Else

Looking back at the two mission trips of this summer and there is one theme in common: God's plans are the best plans. Let me elaborate.

For the Croatia trip, we were expecting to play music at the coffee shops as a way to engage the locals in conversation. Part of the team was to teach ESL, but the rest was going to be at the coffee shops. We had our Youth Pastor, David, and 3 high school boys (Jacob, Kyle and Alex) who were the guitarists in the group and they had practiced several times leading up to the trip. Once we got there and visited the first coffee shop, we realized they were also bars, which made the 3 of the 4 musicians ineligible to enter the coffee shops. One half of the ministry team was cut out the first night!

The next afternoon, we went out to the park to play basketball and soccer. We started meeting some kids there and the coffee shop ministry became a park/sports ministry and we met several of the kids on a daily basis. These were kids that the church had no contacts with and were introduced to the church pastor whenever they came by. These kids started hanging out at the church each evening.

Then we realized that some of the kids attending the English classes were from a children's home about 3 blocks away. We started taking them to the park and playing with them and some of the older ones started hanging out at the church each evening, as well. Here were many contacts the church had never realized existed. This was God's plan to get these musicians (who also were athletes) to meet a lot of kids in the park.

The music ministry did exist but not the way we expected. David and the Boys played music every evening before the English classes started and they played one evening in the park. Next year they want to play more evenings in the park.

Down in Brasil, we went to build a church, we did a 3 day VBS program in 2 different locations and had planned to do some discipleship training. David and I were going to teach the sessions during the first week and some other men on the team were going to teach the next week. Through translation problems and misunderstandings, the Brasilians expected a church service every evening. The 2 hour training sessions ended up being 30 minute sermons (60 minutes when translated). David and I split the first 4 nights. Pastor Greg and Richard preached Sunday morning and evening. Two other men preached the next Monday and Tuesday and I preached for a third time on the last night. We preached 9 times in 8 days at 3 churches. Every pastor had great things to say.

Pastor Antonio Carlos from the church in Pedros II said that he had not felt this excited since he graduated seminary. The pastor of the church in Teresina said he greatly appreciated that every sermon was scripture proving scripture. Florencio, Executive Director of the Piaui Baptist Convention, commented that he wished every team would be as ministry minded as our team was.

In each instance, we had plans for ministry (and thought out, good plans, too) but God's plans were better. He wanted us to go and be prepared to do ministry, then He showed us what and how to do it. From now on, when I get involved with a ministry or go on a mission trip, I will expect God and nothing else!

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Awesome Summer

This has been a great summer. It started with a week in late May to visit my family in Indiana. After two weeks at home, Lona and I took 9 others from church to Croatia. We did a lot of ministry and I got to preach a couple of times. We were back home for 3 weeks, in which I got to preach on consecutive Sunday evenings. Then I was off to Brasil with 15 others from my church. We built a small church, did 6 days of VBS and preached 9 services in 8 days. I had the privilege of preaching 3 of those services. The greatest part of the summer was the chance to preach 7 times in 2 months. I am feeling somewhat of a let down now that I don't have a preaching opportunity scheduled. I am ready for the next chance!

This summer re-affirmed in my heart and mind that God has called me to full-time ministry. Whether it is in a church or on the mission field, preaching and leading people to Jesus is all I want to do. Seeing people come forward to accept Jesus as their savior during an invitation is an experience like no other. I find it so amazing that God could use a lump of clay like me to share His message and that people are able to respond to that message. That is proof that it is all God. I am not a slick commercial pitch man or TV evangelist. It is the Holy Spirit speaking to the heart of the individual despite my lack of eloquence.

When I was a kid and played outside everyday, I never wanted the summer to end. After all the ministry opportunities and preaching this summer, I don't want it to end either!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Glimpses of Croatia

There were 11 people from my church that went to Karlovac, Croatia to teach ESL at the Baptist church and other ministries. We planned on playing music at the cafes, but most of the coffee shops are also bars, and with 3 musicians being 15-16 years of age, this was not a viable option. But we did do a lot of sports ministry in the park with local kids and kids from the orphanage. These were connections that the church never had. We go with one idea in mind and God shows us what He really wants!


Preaching in the village church of Duga Resa
I was able to preach twice.

The Advanced ESL class
There were also classes for beginners and intermediates
We averaged about 35 students a night.

Pastor David playing with the kids
We played a lot of basketball, soccer and just hanging out with the kids


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Croatia Update

I am way behind with posts and won't post much of anything until I get back from Brasil. July is basically a wasted month as blogging goes. Here is a blog concerning the trip to Croatia that my friend, Larry, created. This will more than cover for my lack of postings!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Back in Town

I am back. The trip was awesome! I will explain more in a later post as well as post some pics next week.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Croatia, ESL and the Gospel

Tomorrow afternoon, a team of 11 from my church will leave for a 2 week mission to Croatia. We will be working with the local Southern Baptist missionaries and the local Baptist church. The mission has two main objectives: to teach ESL and to do friendship evangelism in the small local cafe's.

The main reasons for the ESL classes is to help strengthen the English they have learned in school by practicing in a classroom setting at the church and to introduce them to the Baptist church and the pastor, Ladislov. Croatia is 99.9 % Catholic. They will tell you, "I am Croatian so I am Catholic." Catholicism has been the religion for about 1500 years. It is part of their culture. Anything else is considered a cult. Any sort of Protestantism is lumped with Mormons, Muslims and Buddhists. We will share Bible stories during the English lessons using the same Bible they use in their Catholic church. We have had some great discussions and some people have realized that they can have a personal relationship with Jesus.

The other ministry will be a first attempt to reach out to the young adults in their regular evening gathering place, the cafe. We will split up into groups and visit several cafes during the day, visiting with the cafe staff and the locals. In the evenings we will be playing music in the plaza and the park. There are many cafe's that face these two locations and we pray that God will bring people to listen to the music and engage in conversation.

I will also have several chances to preach. Please pray for me that God's words and not mine will be heard.

Please pray for our efforts, that we follow God's will and are faithful to the task. Also pray for travel safety and that we make all the connections. I look forward to posting the results of the trip in a couple of weeks.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Better Day

Today is a better than any over the last week. Something I had hoped and prayed for is not available, yet my hope is still in the Lord. He knows my heart, my wants, my fears, my joys and my disappointments. Where I am lacking, He fulfills. Where I fail, He teaches. When I fall down, He lifts me up. When I fall behind, He encourages. My Redeemer is faithful and true. He has a ministry position for me and is still molding me and shaping me to His will. Father, I am sorry for doubting You. I am ready and willing to be used.

Hope in the Lord

Psalm 31:20-25

How great is Your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear You.
You display it for those who trust You, in the sight of all the people.

You hide them in the shelter of Your presence, safe from scheming enemies.
You keep them in Your abode, safe from plotting tongues.

Blessed be the Lord who has shown me wondrous love,
and been for me a city most secure.

Once I said in my anguish, "I am shut out from Your sight."
Yet You heard my plea when I cried out to You.

Love the Lord all you faithful.
The Lord protects the loyal but repays the arrogant in full.

Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Where Do I Place My Trust?

Psalm 31:10-19

Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
with grief my eyes are wasted, my soul and body spent.

My life is worn out by sorrow, my years by sighing.
My strength fails in affliction; my bones are consumed.

To all my foes I am a thing of scorn,
to my neighbors, a dreaded sight, a horror to my friends.
When they see me in the street, they quickly shy away.

I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead;
I am like a shattered dish.

I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me.
They conspire against me; they plot to take my life.

But I trust in You, Lord;
I say, "You are my God."

My times are in Your hands;
rescue me from my enemies, from the hands of my pursuers.

Let Your face shine on Your servant;
Save me in Your kindness.

Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to You, Lord.
Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol.

Strike dumb their lying lips,
proud lips that attack the just in contempt and scorn.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What Now?

The ministry position I have prayed about for over 8 years is gone. I know that God was preparing me for this situation and I was told I am not one of the 5 finalists. They cut their "short list" in half (10 is a big short list). To be honest, I am stunned. I have been awake since 1:30am. I am disappointed that I didn't even get a chance to interview.

I need a break to think this through. I do not want to continue working where I am. I need a day or two to pray.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Holiness and Faithfulness

Colin Adams has some great book ideas concerning holy living. Check out the rest of his site as well.

Snakes and Doves

Here are a couple of things to think about concerning Jesus' quote in Matthew 10:16

First off, Jesus was instructing the disciples in verses 5-15 concerning their short-term mission in Galilee. They were to go to the Jews, preach the kingdom of God is here, travel lightly and bless those who help them along the way. All the verbs are in present tense in this section.

Now Jesus is instructing them about their (and our) future ministry. All the verbs through the end of the chapter are in the future tense. He is preparing them (and us) for the adversity they will face. That is the "sheep and wolves" bit. What are serpents depicted as in the Bible and Jewish culture? A picture of Satan, to be sure, but also depicting shrewdness, cunning and deviousness. The dove is seen as innocent and pure. For the disciples to last against the established religion and to face the adversity, they needed to be smart and non-aggressive. They needed the cunning of the serpent without the venom. A serpent without the traits of a dove is just devious. A dove without the traits of a serpent is naive and gullible.

We need to use the brain, the gray matter God gave us. We are only to preach the Gospel and share our lives with people. We are not to beat them over the head with a ten pound Scofield Bible. We are to love them, not argue with them. If we are rejected, it is Christ they are rejecting. Shake off your sandals and keep going.

Why You Should NOT Swallow Your Gum

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

School, Ministry and Missions Updates

Here are a few updates:

Seminary - I got a C+ in Intermediate Greek and an 82% on my Greek commentary of Philippians 4:2-9. I am VERY happy with this and to be done with the academic side of Greek. Now I can do it at my own pace. I am pretty sure I got an A in the Classics of Christian Devotions class. I will be taking Intro to New Testament Part 1 and Foundations for Ministry this next semester.

Ministry - As I stated previously, I am on the "short list" for a ministry position. Hopefully I will know more later in the summer. That is as much details as I care to share at this point in time.

Missions - The trip to Croatia is June 13-28. We have 11 people going and we will be teaching ESL and engaging in a coffee shop ministry. There are little cafes everywhere and we will be playing music and visiting with the people in the coffee shops. I should have a few chances to preach while we are there.

The Brasil team (July 21-Aug 1) is made up of 16 people and we will be building a church, doing children's ministry in two locations and teaching leadership seminars in tow locations. I will get a chance to preach a couple of times.

I am scheduled to preach twice at home this summer. I am looking forward to the extra chances to preach.

All in all, I am looking forward to this summer, though it will fly by quickly. But first, I will be taking the family to Indiana this weekend and spend a few days with my dad and my brother's family.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What A Week!

This has been a crazy week. We were doing inventory, which takes up a lot of time and I was training the guys how to do it in my absence. I also had 5 airport runs which take up a lot of time. It is an hour round trip in normal traffic, not counting waiting for a plane to show up. I had hoped to post several times, but that did not happen.

I did get a notice that I am on the "short list" for the ministry position I am applying for. This would be a huge transition in life, but I am very much looking forward to this change. This is a ministry position I have been praying about for over 8 years.

My grades for the last semester have not been posted yet. Aarrggghhhhhh!!!!!!

We are going to see Prince Caspian tomorrow. Not the real (or fictional) Prince Caspian, but the movie.

The Reds have a big interleague series against the Indians at home this weekend and won 3 straight from the Eastern Division leading Florida Marlins.

I could care less about the NBA playoffs and my only concern is that the Lakers lose.

Pittsburgh Penguins are 1 win away from the Stanley Cup finals.

Portsmouth plays Cardiff in the FA Cup. Go Pompey!

Other than that, have a great weekend!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Shake the Dust Off Your Sandals

Matthew 8:28-34

This is the story of Jesus healing the two demon possessed men living in the tombs. The region is part of the Decapolis and was considered Gentile territory which is one reason why there was a herd of pigs nearby. In the previous verses (23-27) Jesus displayed His power over creation by calming the winds and the waves. Here His power of the spiritual world is displayed. The demons recognized Jesus right away. They felt a disturbance in the Force! With one word Jesus cast them into the herd of pigs. R.T. France (NICNT-Matthew) mentioned that most Biblical references to demons show that they prefer a host. Apparently pigs worked but I doubt they expected Jesus to send the unclean herd over the cliff!

What is interesting is the two men are not mentioned again, but the pig herdsmen went to town to mention what happened and town representatives came out to Jesus and asked Him to leave. He must have cost them a few drachma by drowning the pigs. They begged Him to leave. Jesus was not a Messianic symbol to these Gentiles, but a Jewish mystical, holy man that they wanted nothing to do with. The Jews, as we know from the scriptures, will turn against him as well. This experience helps us understand what Jesus will instruct His disciples in 10:14 when He tells them "to shake the dust from your feet as you leave a home or city that will not receive you or hear your words."

As preachers of the Gospel, we can not make people listen or make a decision. We are not there to win a popularity contest but to preach the Gospel with accuracy, clarity and in love. If we are rejected or unwanted, it is not us but the Word of God and Jesus Christ they are rejecting. We have done our job and we need to move on. I pray that I never have to shake the dust off my sandals, but I have been given my traveling orders.

Of grinches, goblins, gremlins and ghosts

This is a rather lengthy post, but it is very timely. I hope you have a chance to read or skim through it.

FIRST-PERSON: Of grinches, goblins, gremlins and ghosts

By: Paige Patterson

Original article can be found here, http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?Id=27996.

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--There are a good many things about which most of us maintain a healthy skepticism. Some of those are listed in the title of this essay. However skeptical you may be, there are two categories of humans for whom at least one of the above is very real -- the terrified and those who love to tell ghost stories to keep the fearful tied in a knot. While statistics and their interpretation are not unimportant (3,000 saved on the Day of Pentecost), they often function in Southern Baptist life to remind me of a search for goblins that have no reality.

LifeWay recently released statistics gathered from reports of the churches. Doomsayers and analysts immediately began to explain to readers what the numbers "meant" and why such catastrophic shrinkage had occurred in Southern Baptist churches. So, to paraphrase Luke, "since many have taken in hand" this assessment, maybe one more will do no harm. In fact, another perspective might even be helpful.

At the outset one can only say that the picture does not look the way those of us who played a role in the Conservative Renaissance had imagined and hoped. We did not embark upon that massive effort merely for the sake of truth, even though such would surely have been noble. Neither were we convinced that full confidence in the truth of Scripture would result in more evangelism and missions because we knew of historical cases of orthodoxy that apparently produced spiritual pride, atrophy and sometimes detestable legalism. But we could discover no place in history where any movement based on questioning the authority and accuracy of God's Word ever produced evangelistic fervor, missionary zeal or healthy churches. This latter truth, which vitally affected the eternal destiny of millions, drove us to risk the movement thus spawned. We prayed and hoped that revival would follow, and we have not yet abandoned that hope. So while I am mortified by the picture of dropping baptisms, I fear that some proposed interpretations and solutions have little more to commend them than do the "gremlins." Consider these observations:

-- Thumbing through the recently arrived 2007 Annual of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, I counted about 500 churches (or 25 percent) that did not respond with an annual report. The national average may be lower, but I know that fewer churches are responding. I also suspect that a major reason for no response is embarrassment about those statistics. Nevertheless, if 98 percent had responded, how would baptisms look? No one knows.

-- The small membership loss is actually not such a tragedy. I want to grow, but I want to do so legitimately. There is a need to purge our rolls of two to four million more who never attend and are not involved in any way. Let's be honest: We lie to ourselves and to the world to count people as "members" who no longer have anything to do with our churches. If we cleansed our rolls, we would take a giant step toward integrity and the blessings of God -- and our ratio for baptisms in relation to membership would fall considerably. It would not be "good" until it is at least one to one, but it would be much improved.

-- Thrashing the Conservative Renaissance as though it were somehow responsible for this decline is irresponsible. One need only ask for the evangelistic and missionary statistics for the moderate churches whose leaders provided the opposition to conservatives in order to debunk this allegation. The present state cannot please our Lord, but it is a safe bet that He is more pleased about what we are attempting globally than about the social and environmentally based programs of moderate and liberal churches. If the Conservative Renaissance had not happened, our evangelism would look exactly like moderate churches, which are in decline.

-- "Mean spiritedness" is certainly never pleasing to God. But I am less than certain which Baptists are guilty of the charge of "mean spiritedness" and, therefore, share in the cause of the decline. Without doubt an abuse of congregationalism has occurred in Southern Baptist life. The turning of opportunities to seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit and determine strategies to get the Gospel to all into monthly town meeting debates and expressions of personal opinion has driven many from the churches and still more from congregationalism. This is tragic.

But I cannot help but suspect that an incipient post-modern influence is the womb from which part of this criticism arises. The world and much of "Christianity" is irritated that Southern Baptists on one hand continue to oppose abortion, the practicing of homosexuality, gender confusion, the alcoholic beverage industry that annually kills, harms, and creates so much sorrow in the social order, and on the other hand support biblical role assignments in the home and church. We can always improve the graciousness with which we articulate our positions, but we have no choice about what we endorse and what we reject if we follow Christ and the Bible. Jesus Himself warned, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19).

The same is true for doctrine. To be unapologetically Baptist, embracing the exclusivism of Christ in salvation, the inerrancy of God's Word, and the concept of a regenerate church witnessed by baptism and disciplined to live for Christ is to the minds of some, "mean-spirited." Again, sensitivity of expression will help, but doctrinal clarity is not popular nor has it ever been.

Who are these "mean-spirited" among us? Is it also "mean-spirited" to make broad imprecise allegations of "mean-spiritedness"? Are some who make these charges guilty themselves?

-- The allegation that the "young leaders" are leaving Southern Baptists, and we will never reach our world if we do not change and adopt methods that appeal to the culture is to me the strangest of all. Who are these young leaders? How many left? How are they doing now? Did they leave "because they were never really a part of us" (1 John 2:19)? I have spent the last 33 years of my life working with young people destined to become leaders. People in Florida like Anthony George; in North Carolina like J.D. Greear; in Texas like Nathan Lino, Byron McWilliams, Brad Jurkovich, Michael Lewis and Mark Howell to name just the first ones that come to my mind today. They would never refer to themselves as "young leaders." They know too well that they were called to be servants and pastors and that "leadership" is something arising out of what my father liked to call "moral ascendancy."

In the church, genuine leaders are not simply proclaimed to be leaders. In Baptist life, both young and old leaders have been recognized as such either because they were great preachers/teachers of biblical revelation or because they were wonderful, consistent soul-winners or because they built great churches or because their spirits and attitudes were the sources of great encouragement to others. They did not yield to those who were "despising their youth" but were "examples to the flock" (1 Timothy 4:12). This is precisely what most, like the ones mentioned above, have done. But some self-proclaimed "young leaders" appear to be more concerned about embracing the culture, rejecting the past and demanding personal liberty rather than following the biblical road to leadership.

-- The suggestion that sensitivity to the culture and the incorporation of that culture into the church and its worship is the change, which if implemented, would start us on the road to evangelistic effectiveness is misguided. I am the first to admit that dullness and "Baptist tradition" were too often the rule in our churches. There is no excuse for being boring or settling into numbing sameness. For years I inveighed against high church music, not because I did not like it but because it communicated with less than 10 percent of the people. But has somebody missed the obvious here? The more attune to culture Southern Baptists have become and the more we have incorporated the world into our worship, the more our baptisms have dropped! Although I am not certain that there is a connection, as will become evident in what follows, I admit that I am suspicious.

Well, the time has come to identify the real problems -- not ghosts and goblins. The first failure is the busyness of the age, which has robbed churches of serious prayer. Once Southern Baptist people were almost entirely from the working class and not highly valued in the social order. When we were not respectable, we sought the intervention of God. And He responded powerfully. We will continue to have downward trends until we recognize that it is "not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty" (Zechariah 4:6). Prayerlessness is foe number one.

The second culprit is our failure to witness. We are so adept at "marketing" and "programming" that we have failed to share Christ individually on a consistent basis. In fact, because meaningful church membership has been traded for numerical addition, most of our people hardly witness at all.

Third, the shallow state of preaching has exacerbated the lethargy of the church and left the lost with no real Word from God. The pastor ought to be the major source of theological understanding and the most able teacher of the Bible. Anemic pulpits create anemic churches and denominations.

Finally, our churches, in their hot pursuit of cultural adaptability look more and more like the culture and the world. Even at its best, the church is not good at being the world. In looking like a faint imitation of the world, the holiness of God and a thirst to be like Him have apparently been lost. And with the loss of holiness has come the corresponding loss of power and appeal!

Well do I recognize that these four culprits offer nothing new, nothing glitzy, nothing mysterious, nothing cool. But for all their antiquity, their simplicity, their lack of creativity, they are just as true today as ever. Style, culture, dress, drink, etc. have almost nothing to do with how churches perform. The need today is not for self-appointed analysts manipulating statistics and pontificating about their meaning, but who are usually less than stellar soul-winners, Bible teachers or pastors. The great need is for us to sense our spiritual poverty, seek God's face, and do his bidding. Folks, it is really that simple.

Maybe we need to remember this admonition from Jeremiah. It has little to do with culture, styles or attire but everything to do with what is really of consequence: "Thus says the Lord: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.'"(Jeremiah 6:16).

Paige Patterson is president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Copyright (c) 2008 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. Visit www.bpnews.net. BP News -- witness the difference! Covering the critical issues that shape your life, work and ministry. BP News is a ministry of Baptist Press, the daily news service of Southern Baptists.

Friday, May 02, 2008

School is out!

Actually Monday, May 5, is the last night of class, but for various and sundry reasons we do not have class that night. I have a paper to turn in but I can email it in. I have been ready for the semester to be over since I turned in my Greek paper two weeks ago. I have an "A" in the other class and pretty happy over all with the semester.

Next semester I will be taking two classes: "Foundations for Ministry" and "Intro to the New Testament." I like the schedule for these classes. The Foundations class only meets on two weekends, a Friday night and all day Saturday. There is no homework, no tests and no writing. There will be some writing to be done in class, but no papers. The NT class is taught by an excellent young, newly doctored professor, Dr. Matt Aernie. He got his doctoral degree from the University of Wales. Matt is very animated in his teaching and is fun to talk to. Its great when a NT prof is teaching from the Greek text.

I have said it a couple of times and I will repeat it now, I have not written much because of school, but I hope to write more starting next week.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Too Enthusiastic for Ministry

Ok, get this. I was told today that I was too enthusiastic for missions and ministry. Yes, you read it correctly, too enthusiastic. I work for a Christian non-profit and my boss called me in to talk about my vacation requests for the summer. We worked through that without too much difficulty, but he then mentioned that several people have come to him with concerns about how much I talk about my ministry opportunities and not about my job. I don't get it. My boss backed me up by saying church missions and ministry is my passion and my heart and why wouldn't I talk about it!

Weird...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Done!!!

My forced academic Greek studies are over (barring a complete failure of the paper). I am much relieved. I had hoped to give a week by week commentary on this blog of my journey through Philippians, but it became too intense for me to want to do that and then, when I started writing the exegesis paper, I didn't have time for anything. I turned the paper in two weeks early (because my daughter is singing at school next Monday and the prof is out the next week). But the last two weeks of class were what I would have liked the others to have been. We discussed the passages we were to translate and how we could preach that passage. It was great! I felt we wasted a lot of time in the earlier classes since we did not do this.

Oh well, now I can work on Greek studies at my own pace and presently I am working through some chapters in Matthew. Since I have mentioned I will be preaching a series out of chapter 10, I want to work on the section between the end of the Sermon on the Mount through chapter 12.

Right now, I can breathe a little easier!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Preaching and Teaching Projects

I haven't written anything this week because of a lot of things but I have thought a lot about what to post and reading other blogs. I have read more in Matthew, but nothing has pressed me to write. The earthquake in Illinois is newsworthy. The Reds beating the Cubs last night (stopping a 5 game losing streak) is not unless you are a fan of the team. Lona and I ate dinner with some friends at a German place last night. I could eat another helping of the red cabbage.

Here are some thoughts for preaching and teaching I have running through my head:

  1. Philippians - I have been working on this all semester in Greek 2
  2. Matthew - This is such an important book because of all the prophecies connecting Jesus to the OT, the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer, etc.
  3. Life of Jacob - this would be more of a Bible study than a series of sermons
  4. Ezekiel - same thing: Bible study rather than preaching through the book
  5. James - a sermon series
These ideas are running through my mind because of the ministry opportunity that I have applied for. I guess I will wait for the Lord's leading.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tasty or Tasteless?

In my continued reading of Matthew, I read 5:13-20 yesterday and verse 13 has stuck with me (again, in a convicting way).

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."

This a message to the disciples and how they are different from the world. We are to follow Christ's example. We are to be gentle, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, peacemakers, pure in heart and expect to be persecuted. If we are none of these, if we have become so complacent, then we are of no use. As disciples of Christ, we are the light of the world and we are to share that light with others, but if we are tasteless, how can we do that? We can't! God cannot use us if we are scared, timid, trying to hide our light so others cannot see.

I haven't done a full exegesis of this text or even looked at the Greek yet, but I don't think I am too far off. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts on this passage.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I Want To Be Satisfied

As I am preparing several sermons from Matthew 10, I started reading the whole book of Matthew to keep the context of what Jesus said in 10 with the rest of the book. This morning I read the first 12 verses of chapter 5. I don't want to skim through the sermon on the mount, so I am taking smaller sections at a time. I was convicted by verse 6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

I realized I am not satisfied and it is my own fault. I am not hungering and thirsting for God's righteousness. This is not man's righteousness (that would be an oxymoron), but ONLY the righteousness that can come from God. Sometimes my spiritual stomach growls or I feel a little parched and so I nibble at God's word or sip from His promises, but mainly, I serve myself. Eat from my own plate. Prepare my own meal...and then wonder why I am still hungry.

I need to be hungry and thirsty for the righteousness of God. I need to long for His righteousness as someone who is starving longs for a morsel of bread; as someone who hasn't drank in days longs for a sip of cool water. I need to crave the things of God, not on a monthly weekly or daily basis, but moment by moment, as if the hunger pangs will never go away. Yet if I do this, the pangs will go away. I will be satisfied with the righteousness of God. And then the next day, when I am tempted by the morsels on other tables and the hunger returns, I will run back to His table of righteousness and fulfill my cravings. Hopefully the satisfaction will linger and I won't be tempted by the other offerings. Anything else turns to worms. Only God can satisfy completely.

Father, I am hungry. I am thirsty. I have fed too long at the table of emptiness. I only crave Your righteousness. I will only be satisfied at Your table. Father forgive me. I am satisfied.

Friday, April 04, 2008

School Update

Until I posted the Getty/Townend hymn yesterday, I hadn't posted in 2 weeks. I have been preoccupied with the exegetical paper that is due for my Intermediate Greek class. It is a commentary on Philippians 4:2-9. Apparently, if I do it right, the paper should be between 30-50 pages. I will be happy with 30. I still have another paper due in my other class, so the object is to finish the Greek paper in the next 2-3 weeks so I have time to read and write a 7 page paper on Eugene Peterson's "Eat This Book."

Today, I need to go through my SS lesson that I am teaching. We have been in Genesis for 4 months now and the last two months are on the life of Joseph. Joseph tends to be one of the Bible favorites of many people. Yet, I found the life of Jacob fascinating (and his story is still woven in the life of Joseph). I think I have gained a greater appreciation for him. While I might not say Jacob if asked who my favorite Biblical character was, I would probably name him in my top 5 now. His whole life was a series of stressful episodes. But he built an altar to God "who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone."

Can I truly say that with confidence? I guess it depends on the day and the stress level, but I should ALWAYS be ready to say that God answered me in my distress and is with me at all times AND I need to take comfort in that fact.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Another Irish Hymn

Here is another great song by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. It is difficult to sing without shedding a tear.

Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day;
Christ on the road to Calvary;
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain written on Your face,
bearing the awesome weight of sin;
Every bitter thought, every evil deed,
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life,
"Finished!" the victory cry.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see my name written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A New Irish Hymn

I love the music written by Keith Getty. It is new and has an Irish feel to most of his music. There is a lot of good music coming out of Ireland and England and, along with Robin Mark, Keith Getty is one of these gifted writers. Here is a song by Keith Getty and Margaret Becker.

"Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer"

Jesus, Draw me ever nearer as I labor thro' the storm.
You have called me to this passage and I'll follow tho' I'm worn.
May this journey bring a blessing, may I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's resting, with Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus, guide me thro' the tempest, keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning, let me love You even more.
May this journey bring a blessing, may I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's resting, with Your likeness let me wake.

Let the treasures of the trial form within me as I go.
And at the end of this long passage let me leave them at Your throne.
May this journey bring a blessing, may I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's resting, with Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus, draw me ever nearer as I labor thro' the storm.
You have called me to this passage and I'll follow tho' I'm worn.
May this journey bring a blessing, may I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's resting, with Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus, draw me ever nearer;
Jesus, draw me ever nearer;
Jesus, draw me ever nearer to You, to You.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What DID Jesus Do?

I really can't stand that phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" The obvious is that He would do what is fair and just and, in most cases, that would not be what we expect. The better question for me is "What DID Jesus Do?" Throw away the speculative and look at the scripture.

As I have started looking at Matthew 10, I am struck by four things that Christ did. He summoned the disciples, He gave them authority over demonic forces, disease and sickness, He instructed them and then He sent them out.

He summoned the disciple - Jesus calls each of us to join Him in His work. He calls us to Him and wants us to join Him in His work. Think about it! He calls us! He doesn't need us at all, yet He calls us. We are allowed to work with and for the King of Kings. What an amazing and humbling thought.

He gave authority - Jesus equipped each disciple with the tools for ministry. I personally believe that the miracle gifts were only for the apostles, but that does not mean that miracles do not occur. Miracles are from God. But the idea is that the disciples were given what was needed to spread the gospel and reach people for Christ. Eventually, Jesus would have a huge following of people who were waiting to see more miracles and probably were healed by Jesus. Jesus was not going to send these guys into ministry without giving them the abilities, power and confidence needed.

He instructed them - The rest of chapter 10 is the instructions given to the disciples. What to do, what to expect, how to behave, who to rely on and the encouragement needed for the journey. Again, Jesus was not sending these guys out until they were equipped to face the battle. That doesn't mean that they had a lot to learn. Of course it did! Nobody goes into ministry without receiving some battle wounds along the way.

He sent them out - He had the confidence to send these rough fishermen out to preach the gospel of Love.

These are four points that will probably make up the foundation for the sermons from this chapter. Any thoughts?

Patrick and the Revival in Ireland

Dustin, at Pastor and People, has a nice summation of Patrick's life.

Can You See It?

“If you are in some valley from which you can’t see the cross, you need to work a little bit more [on sermon preparation]; because from every text you should be able to see the cross.”
-Mark Dever

Wearin' o' the Green

I am wearing my Ireland Gaelic Football shirt today. I have always had an affinity towards St. Patrick's Day. Mainly, because my birthday is the day before (44 years and counting) but more so after all the Irish history books and Irish church history that I have read.

I have my own opinions and ideas of who St. Patrick was (he was adopted as a saint by the Catholic Church, but you will not find any documentation that he was Catholic). I have been to 3 church sites where he founded the first church. One church is still holding services today, nearly 1600 years after the founding!

If you are wearing green today, then I salute you and wish you a great day. If you are wearing orange, I will pray for you and question your loyalties! If you don't understand the difference, then you need to read some history books.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Authority Given

It has been a slow couple of weeks for me, posting wise. I had a Greek mid-term on Monday plus I had 11 verses to translate and diagram as homework. Needless to say, my mind was on other things!

Even so, God has been dealing with me concerning the cost of discipleship. Plus the fact that a' Kempis' "The Imitation of Christ" is about being a disciple of Christ (I wrote a paper on this recently) means that I have been thinking on this topic for the last 6 weeks or so. In January, I preached on Matthew 9:35-38 which is about the compassion of Christ. This was the point in Jesus' ministry where He transitioned from doing all the work Himself to telling the disciples to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more workers. Then, chapter 10 begins with Jesus giving them authority over demons, to cast them out and to heal sickness plus telling them to preach the Gospel.

Here is a quick outline of chapter 10:
  1. Verses 1-4 Jesus calls His disciples
  2. Verses 5-15 Instructions for Service
  3. Verses 16-23 Expect Adversity Along the Way
  4. Verses 24-39 The Meaning and Cost of Discipleship
  5. Verses 40-42 The Reward of Being a Disciple

I will be preparing a series of sermons concerning this chapter. I feel that these words of Christ are important in the life of my church, especially the singles ministry and to be shared during the different mission opportunities I will have this summer. I anticipate at least 6 sermons out of this chapter. I am looking forward to digging into the text and context and application of this important chapter of Matthew.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Greek Struggles

I am really struggling with my Greek classes, particularly trying to diagram. I can parse like nobodies business and I can see the translation (in most cases), but trying to diagram Greek grammar is driving me batty! Any suggestions?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Outlaw

My favorite song.


Larry Norman - He Was Ready

Larry Norman past away yesterday morning. Besides Keith Green, Larry had the greatest impact on my life in introducing a style of music other than hymns. Larry had many challenges in his life, but he is at peace and with Jesus this day.

Here is an excerpt from a letter he wrote Saturday night:


Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye
Larry


Thanks to Monday Morning Insight for posting this.

I hope you enjoy this classic clip of Larry in concert.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Sermon Preparation

My buddy, Rolland, has been posting a series on how he prepares for a sermon. We all need pointers and hints and someone else may use a different method that piques our interest. Good job, Rolland!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Be Thou My Vision

This is one of my favorite hymns, plus it is Irish! I will be playing an arrangement (by Joseph Martin) of this hymn in a couple of weeks as an offertory.

Words:
At­trib­ut­ed to Dal­lan For­gaill, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Com­di cri­de); trans­lat­ed from an­cient Ir­ish to Eng­lish by Ma­ry E. Byrne, in “Eriú,” Jour­nal of the School of Ir­ish Learn­ing, 1905, and versed by El­ea­nor H. Hull, 1912, alt.

Music: Slane, of Ir­ish folk or­i­gin. Slane Hill is about ten miles from Ta­ra in Coun­ty Meath. It was on Slane Hill around 433 AD that St. Pat­rick de­fied a roy­al edict by light­ing can­dles on East­er Eve. High King Lo­gaire of Ta­ra had de­creed that no one could light a fire be­fore Lo­gaire be­gan the pa­gan spring fes­ti­val by light­ing a fire on Ta­ra Hill. Lo­gaire was so im­pressed by Pat­rick’s de­vo­tion that, de­spite his de­fi­ance (or per­haps be­cause of it­), he let him con­tin­ue his mis­sion­ary work.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Discipleship

To follow Christ is an invitation to come and die. - Bonnhoeffer


He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. -Jim Elliott

"God loved a lost world and gave His only Son to be a missionary. I love a lost world and I am a missionary, heart and soul. In this service I hope to live and in it I wish to die." - Dr. David Livingstone

emoi gar to znv Xristos kai to apothaveiv kerdos - Paul



This idea has been on my mind constantly for many days now. Add to the mix that I have been reading Thomas a' Kempis' The Imitation of Christ and have written a paper on the book makes me wonder what God is trying to tell me. I just started reading in Matthew at chapter 10 and I get to verses 24-39 and I have to pause and ask God what is it He is bringing to my attention.

Obviously, I can do better as a disciple. I think I am prepared to die. I am not afraid to share the Gospel and am ready to do so.

"He who has found his life will lose it and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it."


Father, show me Your will. Share with me Your truth. Whisper in My ear what I am to shout from the rooftops. Tell me in darkness what I am to proclaim in the light.