Friday, December 28, 2007

June 5th Debate: Mike Huckabee on Moral Issues

This is a great soundbite from Huckabee on the value of human life at all stages. I know some you may be getting tired of the political posts and I can understand that. To be honest, I really didn't have any interesting ideas today but I found this and thought he presented a solid view on this issue. It is interesting to see how so many people, conservatives and liberals, are starting to go after Huckabee now. Obviously, liberals are scared that he is moderate enough on issues like immigration and poverty to steal some votes away while at the same time having a pretty solid lock on the ever important evangelical vote. Some conservatives are scared that he might win the nomination and they do not think he can beat Hillary or Obama. I would much rather have Huckabee win the primary and lose the general than have Gulianni win both because I believe Gulianni winning the presidency is worse for the pro-life cause than having Hillary or Barak. I think this way because electing Rudy sets a dangerous precedent that the Republican Party no longer needs to put up pro-lifers to win, thus deeply weaking the pro-life movement's voice on the national scene.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy SlapsGiving! From How I Met Your Mother

This is dedicated to my brother-in-law. You got one coming buddy!

Mike Huckabee Christmas TV Ad

I thought this was a great ad by Huckabee and I think overall it will help him. However, the media is going crazy because some are saying that the bookshelf in the background is an attempt to send a subliminal message because it looks like a cross.

That is just stupid! It's a bookshelf. Also, why is it that Hillary and Obama can go preach and campaign in churches and it is pushed by the media as a good thing, but any republican that says anything remotely religious gets hammered by them. I appreciate Huckabee's honesty about his belief in Christ. Wouldn't it be refreshing if some of the other candidates were as up front about their religous views instead of pandering to whichever audience they were in front of.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Keeping Things Educational

From urbandictionary.com:


mental constipation

An inability to articulate one's thoughts or ideas, resulting in significant psychological distress and frustration.Typically, this form of cognitive impaction is self-resolving. However, in cases where productive interchange with the afflicted is urgently needed, a deadline may be administered; indeed, this has proven to be one of the most effective treatments for stubborn cases of mental constipation.

Man, I get this all the time. Do you think prune juice helps with this?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Done with Classes!!!!

As of 3:10 today, I officially have no more classes at TEDS! Now I just need to finish my capstone and I am D-U-N, dun. I know this may sound a little sick, but I will miss TEDS; I really enjoyed my experience there and would absolutely tell anyone thinking of seminary that TEDS is the place to go.

Of course, I am so thankful for all of Elizabeth's love, support, and patience through the last 2 years. Her great editing skills helped me to look a lot smarter than I actually am. I am also looking forward to being able to spend more time with her and Ethan. She is such a great wife; I am beyond blessed to be able to lead her and love her.

Now, I can actually do my ministry to full capacity and not have to have a cloud of guilt constantly over my head because I know I could/should be doing a better job. At the same time though, I have no excuses.

My top 3 favorite profs were:
Marty Schoenleber - Church Planting
Robert W. Yarbrough - Intro to the NT (Buy anything this guy has published!!!)
John Feinberg - Systematic Theology - Holy Spirit, Church, and Last Things

Finally, a HUGE thanks to the Elders and people of Harvest Bible Chapel - Dekalb for their love and support and for giving an inexperienced wannabe a chance to engage in ministry while being in seminary which is very rare. I especially need to thank Steve Best for encouraging me, helping me process what I was learning, and for being my personal library.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mike Huckabee Ad:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mike Huckabee and Kevin Spacey: Twins Seperated at Birth?



Friday, November 9, 2007

Pimped by Politicians

Over the last few weeks I have come to the conclusion/realization that Evangelicals in America have moved from influencing politicians to getting pimped by them. What do I mean by that? Well, the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections showed the country that evangelicalism was a forced to be reckoned with and that if you wanted to get elected president you needed our vote - just ask John Kerry about getting punked by evangelical voters in Ohio who pretty much single-handedly won that crucial state for Bush. However, after 2004 both the democrats (who were virtually clueless about the evangelical impact until then) and the republicans (who realized the importance of getting support from evangelicals) have moved from seeking to embrace, push, and express the social views of evangelicals to turning their position on any given issue to one that they say evangelicals should support and care about from a moral perspective.




For example, Barak Obama (yes, I know he is completely irrelevant now) and Hillary have tried to pander to evangelicals by saying that their positions that promote wealth redistribution and expansion of government welfare is the moral high ground to fighting poverty in our country. Thus, telling evangelicals that they should support these candidates for their concern about poverty - after all Jesus was all about feeding the poor, that is what they talked about at their churches last week. This is a classic pimp job because they do not give a rip about Jesus, evangelicals, or faith. They use it as a means to get votes. Not only that, Jesus nor the rest of the Bible, never encouraged government dependence father the Bible is clear - you reap what you sow. They simply want government to replace God in your life, especially in terms of being your provider. The church is called to care for the hungry and suffering by and through the power of the gospel - not the power of the government. They are pimping you by falsely identifying with evangelicals on an issue because they want our vote to get our money.



To be fair, some republicans do the same thing. Let's take Rudy for example. He tries to pimp evangelicals by saying that even though he is a supporter or abortion and homosexuality he would not do anything to encourage these behaviors from the White House - meaning that he would not push for legislation supporting either one of these. Thus, it is okay to vote for him if you are an evangelical because he won't do anything to further legalize or codify these behaviors - instead he would rather (you too) focus on other issues that he can/will do something about. This is another pimp job. Why? Because evangelicals are not indifferent to these issues - we are against them and want action taken. Further, by not fighting them he is supporting them. Finally, he his promise is to not push them; not to not sign bills that others pushed and passed. Once again, a politician wanting the evangelical vote who does not align with the evangelical view.



The two other ways they are trying to pimp us is by pointing to the other candidate and virtually saying, "he/she is far more off your beliefs than I am so you should vote for me - there is no other option." Once again they don't care about our concern for a healthy society or share our views that lead to that, they just want to leverage us for votes. Secondly, they will get into office by getting our vote through a single issue, but then do a host of things that are blatantly against our values on other issues and sadly we usually do not hold them accountable.



So, let's look out for the political pimps and throw our support behind value-driven politicians, like...Mike Huckabee. That's right, if you made it this far without giving up you now know who I support.



P.S. A good example of a prominant evangelical getting pimped is Pat Robertson by endorsing Guilianni.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The 2008 Presidential Campaign Has Been Decided!

That's right it's over. And the winner is...Mike Huckabee. Why? Because Chuck Norris said so! That's right, Chuck Norris recently endorsed Mike Huckabee and guess what... Chuck Norris does not vote for president of the United States. He gives the voting machine a swift roundhouse kick and Mike Huckabee wins.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Willow Repents: Bill Hybels a Picture of Humility

Willow Creek has recently come out and admitted that the way they have approached "doing church" over the last 30 has been wrong and has not fostered deep spiritual growth for its people. They now realize that spiritual growth doesn’t happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. Now, I know the small clientele who read my blog may be thinking, "Ha! I could've told them that a long time ago." But before we get too puffed up with arrogance and the "I told you so's", we must realize a few things.
1) It grieves God that we would even think like that about another local expression of Jesus's bride who are really believers with good intentions.
2) We should be saddened that it got this big and went this long before Willow realized this truth.
3) We should rejoice at the change of direction at Willow.
4) We should truly commend the leadership at Willow for their humility and surrender to Christ. Their humility, honesty, and willingness to deal with this straight on is a breath of fresh air in the evangelical world.
5) We should pray for them as they move forward.

To read the whole article click here. I would also suggest watching the videos linked in the article. And if you are in ministry full-time I would really encourage to watch the Greg Hawkins video.

Picture of the Day! Barak Obama: The Ultimate Empty Suit


Has anyone ever heard this guy stand for something besides what ever the group he is in front of stands for!? Will he ever go on a show that he has to answer real questions or will he stick to the Tonight Show and Tyra?

Monday, October 15, 2007

#1 Husband

Now before any of you get the wrong idea after reading the title of this blog, Trevor is not conceited or arrogant, to the contrary really. Trevor just happens to keep the same password for everything, and I just happen to know what that password is.



I just wanted to take the time to share what a wonderful husband I have. He has a quality that I think is hard to come by, servant leadership. There is no doubt that Trevor is the biblical head of our household, and I try to be his helper. However, that does not exempt him from helping me; rather, because of the love he has for me he serves me. Trevor woke up this morning two times in the middle of the night to feed Ethan so I didn't have to. He's also feeding him right now as I write this (he eats a lot). On Saturday and Sunday Trevor helped with many of the household chores (without my asking) because he knew I wanted the house clean for a baby shower we had at our house this past weekend. Tonight, Trevor is cooking dinner. I have no doubt of Trevor's love for me.



Trevor is also a great spiritual leader. I know this is an area Trevor struggles in sometimes, but only because he wants to make sure he is helping us grow in our relationships with Christ. Trevor and I pray each night together, just the two of us. Now we have placed praying in Ethan's regular bedtime routine. It is so refreshing to hear Trevor pray for me and Ethan as well as his own needs. His prayers are always so humbling. I can't wait for Ethan to grow up and experience the candor of his mother and father's prayers each night. Trevor is also always searching for different ways we can experience God together. Right now we are going through John Piper's book The Passion of Jesus Christ then just spending time reflecting on each of the 50 reasons as to why Christ died for us. I value and treasure the time Trevor spends with me in the Word (even when I act like I don't).



Finally, I am so happy I have a husband worthy of my respect. Yes, I know a wife is to respect her husband regardless of whether or not he deserves it, but Trevor is definitely worthy of it. He lives his life is such a manner as to try to please God, not man. His love for me is evident in all he does. I hold him in high esteem, the highest esteem actually.



Trevor, I love you.

Love,

Eliazabeth

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Contrary to Liberals, Socialized Healthcare Stinks!

There is a major lie put forth mostly by ultra liberals like Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards - yes, don't let the rhetoric of these people fool you, they are ultra liberal - that socialized health care is the answer to making America's health care system better. They often use Canada as a model for their argument. However, that position is now being made absolutely laughable in these last few days as Canadian doctors are sending large numbers of pregnant women to the United States to have their babies delivered because they do not know how to perform high risk deliveries. Moreover, it is now coming out that the Canadian doctors are not equipped to perform many high risk procedures so many of those people get sent to the U.S. Here are a few obvious reasons why socialized health care is bad for you and me.

1. The government-run agencies, programs, and operations usually stink! Example: Have you ever been to the DMV? Do you want your doctor's office to run like that?
2. The free market works! Even with its faults we have the best health care system in the entire world precisely because doctors and hospitals compete for your business which makes them provide better care and specialize in certain areas.
3. The programs in place now don't work so why would you want to expand that failure to everyone. Health Connect (the government subsidized health care for children in IL) is already a massive failure because almost no doctors will accept it - only one does in all of Dekalb County. Why? Because the government is not reimbursing them for the care they are providing.
4. Building on point 3, our best doctors will leave the profession because if they do not they will go bankrupt.
5. This will deter people from becoming doctors - the money is not there! Many people become doctors because they are compensated well for the long, hard hours, and the care they provide.
6. Guess where the money comes from to pay for this. TAXES!!! That's right people in countries like Canada that have socialized health care pay over 60% of their wages to taxes. The government is BAD with money.
7. Socialized medicine is founded on the lie that the government is better at running your life than you are.
8. There are unbelievably long waits to see sub-par doctors.
9. There is no competition to make better medicines or find cures because there is no monetary incentive.
10. Government workers are usually lazy. That is why many of them are in a union. Unionized doctors is not a good option.
11. No free market to encourage better care and service.

There are many more reasons (obvious and less obvious) of why socialized health care is a terrible idea. You may disagree, but then of course you would be wrong:)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Yet ANOTHER Buffalo Bills Let Down


Cowboys 25 Bills 24 Romo 5 INTS and one fumble lost

After watching the Bills some how lose a game in which they forced six turnovers, and not to mention 4 straight super bowls and the music city miracle, I was once again reminded by my favorite sports team that it is senseless to put your hope in or seek satisfaction in anything but Jesus. I know this sounds funny but I truly believe that through all my traumatic experiences with the Bills (and losing 4 straight super bowls is traumatic especially when one treasures the Bills more than anything else) the Lord was preparing me to see that only He is worth treasuring above all else. I truly feel sad for all the Buffaloans that will be in a mild state of depression today (I have been there myself after many disappointing games) because they are putting their hope for fulfillment and satisfaction in the Buffalo Bills winning. The amazing thing is that even if they were to win the super bowl that happiness would last a few months at the most as the next season would come around. People say that Bills fans are so passionate about their team because they have nothing else in Buffalo; I pray that they would find the eternally satisfying joy of knowing Christ. It is very freeing to have perspective after a game like last night - yes, football is great to watch and it is great to have a favorite team to go crazy for, but at the end of the day it's football. Jesus is what matters above all else. My position in Christ because of what he did for me on the cross will never change and He will never let me down. It is easy to see that God loves the people of Buffalo. Why? Because He repeatedly shows them that teams and people will always let you down so it is foolish to seek joy and satisfaction so that maybe someday they will turn to the One who promises those things and delivers - unlike Scott Norwood.

Yes, this is definitely my weirdest blog and is full of theological holes to say the least, but give me a break the Bills blew a game that was impossible to blow last night! Sports are great!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Pledge From Me

Johnathon Edwards had 11 children that lived past infancy. That's right 11!!! (Obviously he was pretty good at something else besides preaching.) In one lecture in his class on the theology of JE, John Gerstner made an amazing observation , in all the sermons that are published and/or acrchived (at Yale) - which is A LOT- JE never used his children in an illustration. That is amazing given the great opportunity he probably had to do so with 11 of them. Now, I am not saying that it is wrong for pastors to use their children in illustrations but I think many fall into overkill and it is very annoying. Why? Because using your family, like using yourself, is very me-centered and not very creative at all. Many, people already have a hard enough time with not making an idol out of their pastor. As you can probably detect, pastors who use their families as illustrations in excess is a pet peeve of mine. Oddly enough, these pastors are usually illustration recyclers - another pet peeve of mine and a one of the cardinal sins of preaching. So, I pledge that I will not use my children (child at this point) as sermon illustrations. To me, it is annoying and the pastor's kid(s) does not need any more extra attention from the church. So, there it is! Be willing to call me out on it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ethan Beckham Holloway!!!

September 12 - 5:48 pm
8 pounds 0 ounces
19 inches long

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I'm a Christian But I March to the Beat of My Own Drum (Part 3, Final)

I wanted to follow-up to a comment that was made on part 2 on the front page. I normally would not do this, but I can't resist for two reasons: 1) The comment is extremely relevant to the conversation because I think it probably represents a popular reaction. 2) It was posted anonymously so I do not feel as though I am singling anyone out publicly. If a name were attached to the comment I would not put the comment on the front page, rather I would only respond through another comment as is my usual practice.

So here is the comment and my response...

Anonymous said...
Diff'rent Strokes to move the, Diff'rent Strokes to move the wooooorrrrrlldd. Watchutalkinbout Trevor!

Trevor Holloway said...
While the "different strokes" mentality may be popular in our politically correct world, it is absolutely antithetical to Scripture. Jesus calls us to be "all in" (Matt. 16:24) and I am afraid that many of us fail to recognize that our lethargic attitudes in the areas I wrote about are discipleship issues. In fact, Jesus was saw right through the people who were not all in - "the crowds" in the synoptics. (Check out Luke 14:25-33. Renouncing all that we have includes our selfishness that we so cleverly individual freedom or rights. As Christians, we are called to give up our rights and selfishness to fully follow Christ.) These people, "the crowds" showed up when they wanted to and where they wanted to and when the bar was raised on them to deny themselves and follow Christ fully, they bawked. I'm afraid many of us are naive to the possibility that our 'different strokes' mentality/actions may place us in "the crowds" and not in "the twelve." Respectfully, TH

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I'm a Christian But I March to the Beat of my Own Drum (Part 2)

I was made aware that maybe not everybody would read the title to my last blog and have the reaction that I wrote about. In fact, I was told that it could be that some (most?) people might read that title and say, "Yeah! Me too!" So, I should add that if you read that title and it gave you a positive vibe, you fail the test - big time! Why? Because Jesus calls us to march to the beat of His drum and this is done through a multitude of ways including, but not limited to: acknowledging and living out the authority of his Word over our lives (2 Tim. 3:16-18), joyfully submitting to the spiritual authority he has placed over us (Hebrews 13:17), and doing our journey with other believers by our side to encourage, exhort, teach, and rebuke us (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I March to the Beat of My Own Drum and I am a Christian

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:42-47).

Man, these people were together!!! No selfishness here; just people who were devoted to the gospel and to each other, until chapter 5 (Ananias and Sapphira) and we all know what happened there. What was the difference for Ananias and Sapphira? They wanted to be disciples, but do their own thing too. In other words, they wanted to march to the beat of their own drum.

Okay, so you probably read the title of this blog and thought, "What!? That sounds absolutely un-Christian!" Guess what, you're right. However, this attitude and lifestyle is far more rampant in the American church than we might realize.

Let's test ourselves.

Do I make it an absolute priority to attend worship at my local church every Sunday or do I miss whenever there is a schedule conflict? That question, of course, assumes you are committed to one local body. So, we'll ask the next obvious question, am I committed to one local body of believers as seen in Scripture (Acts). Am I committed to serving in a particular ministry within my church or do I show up when I want, where I want? Do I unwaveringly fulfill this commitment, making sure I am always there and always on time? Or do I expect a "pat on the back" and adoration from my peers when I do show up and if no one acknowledges that I am there I get at least a little angry? Do I respond well to biblical correction and/or counsel. What are my thoughts and attitudes when one of my peers or someone younger in the faith attempts to teach me something? Do I show respect for everyone else's time and life by being punctual? Do I fulfill my commitments or do I blow them off at any inconvenience or better opportunity? Do I acknowledge and encourage others in their walk with Christ? Do I seek out new people on Sundays or in Small Group to help make them feel welcome and loved, or do I leave that to others because I have my clique? Do I even care if they feel welcomed and loved or if they even stick around?

Well, there are probably a million more questions to test ourselves on, but you get the idea. No doubt in my mind that many of us have been defaming the name of Christ before our brothers and sisters and the world by marching to the beat of our own drum.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Preparing for the Big Day!!!


So as you probably know my wife and I are due to have a baby within the next 2 weeks or so. Over the last few weeks I have had the unforgettable opportunity to attend a few child/labor classes, including a breastfeeding class in which I got a pretty good laugh when I raised my hand to answer the question if anyone in the room had not had any change in their breasts since the onset of pregnancy. So, after watching many videos and interacting with many people over the last few weeks, I have come up with a list of things not to do or say when during the course of your wife's pregnancy, delivery, and thereafter.


1. During labor you don't say, "I know how you feel."

2. "Wow! What is that? It sure doesn't look like a baby."

3. During labor: "How much longer do you think this is going to be? I'm getting a little tired."

4. During pregnancy: "Geez, you go to the bathroom more than my grandmother."

5. "Honey, you're really starting to fill out."

6. "Hey, save some food for the rest of us."

7. In one class there was actually a husband who when talking about increased sense of responsibility said, "Now when I go out with my friends I have to try to make it home that night."

8. During labor: "It can't really hurt that bad."

9. During labor: "I'm getting tired...I need to take a break."

10. During labor: "You make a funny face when you are pushing."

11. After 6 hours of labor: "Wow, all that and you're only 3 centimeters dilated. You have a long way to go."

12. During labor: "Great. Thanks a lot. All your screaming made me miss the score of the game!"

13. After my niece was born my brother took E and I to the nursery to show us his baby and he actually pointed to a black baby at first. Now, this really confused me because I had never seen a newborn before so I started to think through all the possible anthropological implications of why newborns look black. Turned out that my mom said, "Are you sure because that baby is black. I think yours is over there."

14. "You're always hungry."

15. "That little waddle you do now is so cute." - Thankfully my beautiful wife walks in the same hot way that she did before she was pregnant - no waddle from her!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New Orleans Update

My blogging for this week has been temporarily relocated to give updates on the New Orleans mission trip. Go to www.wellspringchapel.org. There are some great pictures in there too.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Minnesota Bridge

This is a great video by John Piper about the collapsed bridge.

Here is the link: Video from the Collapsed Bridge

Steve Best is my new editor. He caught "Minnisota" for me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Anyone Can Leave Comments Now - I think

I know some of you have told me that you would leave comments but it asks you to register with Blogger. I found where I could disable that feature so now anyone can leave comments. I hope to hear from more of you.

A Glimpse From the Other Side

"I should be a pastor because pastors only work for half a day on Sundays."

I think we have all heard this joke before and anyone who ever truly gets a glimpse of a pastor's life knows how far from the truth this is. I have only been in ministry for approximately 20 months, but during that time I feel as though I have gained some amazing perspective into the life of a pastor, albeit very little comparatively speaking. This "glimpse from the other side" has been eye opening and I feel that it would benefit all who read my blog to share a little of what I have observed about being a pastor. My observations are mainly from watching the the senior pastor I work with, myself, and a few other pastors whom I have got to know well enough to get a taste of what their life in ministry is like.

So, here are 11 things you probably do not know (but you should know) about your pastor.

1. He loves his job because he loves Jesus and he loves his people. He thinks about you between Sundays. He prays for you between Sundays. And he cares about your life between Sundays even if you rarely ever get a chance to talk with him one-on-one. He longs for your salvation and sanctification.
2. He has a hard time leaving "problems" at the office. When you are struggling in your life, having problems in your marriage, falling into sin, suffering, etc. your pastor carries your burdens. He thinks about you when he is eating dinner with his family. He lays awake at night praying for you. He literally weeps over you.
3. He does not get much intentional encouragement from his people. Yes, many of us make sure we tell him that his message was really good on Sundays, but when was the last time you sat down and wrote a note to your pastor thanking him for putting the countless hours of study, preparation, and prayer into being diligent in teaching God's Word, counseling, encouraging, praying for you and your family, calling to check up on you, putting in time, effort, and going through the sometimes pain of developing paid/lay staff to better shepherd the sheep.
4. He often times is aware of his mistakes and/or shortcomings. I know sometimes it makes us feel good or more spiritual or we think he'll be impressed by our acute awareness when we let him know that he misspoke a sentence or two in his message or that the lawn of the church needs to be mowed, or that there is a light out in one of the kids' rooms. And when do we usually mention these things? Sundays of course. Believe it or not this is not the best time to mention those things and he is usually not even the guy to talk to about them. Not to mention, this does not really impress him so much; it probably actually annoys him.
5. Part of his job is to feed his own soul. A pastor who is spending significant time in the Word and in prayer is going to be much more effective and faithful in the ministry. We should never make him feel like he is not using his time well by seeking to nourish his soul - it is perhaps the most important part of his job and should be encouraged to take that time during his day. Just because he is not running around to different meetings or doing administrative work does not mean he is not doing important work. His study time and prayer time are important work. He pours everything he has out into his people; he should be encouraged to seek to be nourished by Jesus.
6. He works with volunteers. This means he is often at the mercy of other people's schedules and dedication level. This is not only hard on him but on his family as well because he usually has a very fluid schedule. Also, he knows that if ministry leaders do not fulfill their commitment, he looks bad and he takes the heat. Therefore, it is not helpful when well-intended people enthusiastically say that they will do something and then do not follow through. That person may not think twice about it - "after all, I am just volunteering so I can stop any time I want." (Whether it is a church or anywhere else, it is not honoring to Christ to not fulfill our commitments. Actually, it is a sin to say we will do something and then not do it.) But, the pastor not only has to think twice about it, he has to pick up the pieces and bear the criticism. Usually he ends up having to carry out the job himself as well.
7. He and the Elders are God's appointed leaders over the church. They are responsible for the doctrine, discipline, and direction of the church. This means that they labor extremely hard to carry out God's purpose for the church. They spend a lot of time (away from their families usually), energy, emotion, and often tears laboring for Christ in this respect. Also, this means that they need to look at the big picture of where they feel God is leading the church and how best to accomplish its mission - making disciples of Jesus. Therefore, not every great ministry idea we float by the pastor is going to happen. This is not because our idea was bad (maybe it was) or that they don't like me, or that they don't value my input. It could mean that at that time my idea does not fit with where the church as a whole is or where it is going. Between the Elders, many ideas get shot down or majorly readjusted to fall in line with the vision of the church. Usually, it is not a matter of bad ideas or personal preferences, rather it is an issue of being good stewards of the resources and people God has entrusted to them.
8. One of his biggest thrills is someone who has a vision and passion for a ministry, frames it within the larger picture of the church, takes ownership of it, enthusiastically carries out that ministry, and even admist growing "success" keeps it within the lager vision of the church. He loves to see others lead and be fruitful!
9. He revels in the transforming power of the gospel on your life. Whether one has been a believer for years and they finally get victory over a life-long struggle or someone comes to faith in Christ, your pastor is overflowing with joy in the power of the cross.
10. His job is not to go around and sprinkling magic Jesus dust on every problem in our lives or in the church. His job is to "equip the saints for the work of the ministry," (Eph. 4:12). This takes many different forms and happens through many different aveneues, but let's be clear - our pastor is not our own personal Holy Spirit.
11. His first responsibility is to be a disciple of Jesus. This is followed by being a good husband and good father then a good pastor. According to Scripture, being a good pastor is obviously dependent on these things (1 Tim. 3:4) , but it is fourth in priority.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Great Stuff on Pastors' Wives from Mark Driscoll

Check out this great video from theresurgence.com (Mark Driscoll's blog) about pastors' wives. It certainly gave me something to think about in terms of how I treat my wife and it should give everyone something to think about in how they view and treat pastors' wives.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Readers Beware!!!


I recently found this site that rates your blog and found out that I am a bad bad boy. Actually, it made me feel kind of cool. Apparently, because the term "missionary" eight times and "sex" once, I get an "R" rating(By the way, whoever is rating these blogs, their mind is in the gutter). Maybe I will get more hits now because the blog gestapo is watching me. Anyway, now we all know that my blog is for adults only.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

American Freedom (Reflections/Questions from the 4th)

I often wonder if the vast freedom and prosperity we have in America is such a great thing. Don't get me wrong...I am thankful for it and enjoy it. However, when I look at situations that the gospel spreads like wildfire and the church shows great flashes of vibrancy I often tend to see this taking place in places where believers are under intense persecution and pay a high price for their faith (e.g. the 1st century church or modern day China and some parts of the former Soviet Union). One may say, "Hey what about your boy Jonathon Edwards, God moved in a spectacular way in America in the First Great Awakening in America." And to that I would concede that you would be right. However, that does not seem to be the "norm." So, I have been wondering if all this freedom is so "great" after all if we want to see true revival. Is is sick or wrong to want persecution to come? Am I not bold enough with the gospel for persecution to come my way? If Acts type persecution stared me in the face, how would I respond? I don't know. I just know that God's grace is sufficient for my weaknesses and that He would give me strength. But even saying that sounds so cheesy sitting here in my safe little house in the middle of a bunch of cornfields. I am really interested to hear what others think.

Then again, I always come back to the fact that in one sense it does not really matter because I will have to account for what I have done for the cause of Christ in the time and place that God afforded me. This is a scary thing to think about, especially considering, "...everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required..." (Luke 12:48). I have been given much in many ways. This is such a shocking reality check for me and often makes my stomach tie up in knots when I realize the vast amount of time I have squandered here.

What is it about some guys, like Edwards and other great saints of the past, that they were able to keep such an eternal perspective. Oh that God would give me the grace to, "to live with all my might, while I do live" (Edwards, Resolution 6) or "that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die" (Edwards, Resolution 17).

I know that this blog entry was really random and scattered. I am interested to get some feed back from the small handful of people that read my blog and the even smaller handful that comment.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

All Piper Books $5 Today

What are you doing here!? You should be spending your entire day trying to get on www.desiringgod.org and buying as many Piper books as possible. And I am not joking...You probably will have to try all day. Good luck.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Confessions of a Lazy Husband

It is amazing how quickly we can go from 'super-husband' (atleast in our own mind) to 'stereo-typical, lazy husband.' We go from stopping to pick up flowers on the way home from work to stopping on the couch when we get home from work. I know some would say, "That's what happens over time; you get used to eachother and that is not a bad thing." I would have to radically disagree with that! I hope I never get used to my wife; I hope and pray that I would follow God's design for marriage as seen in Song of Solomon - a growing infatuation with the pure beauty of my amazing wife which drives me to study her more and more so that I can please her exponentially with the love and romance that I lavish on her.

However, I confess that this has not been the case for me over the last few months. I have stooped into lazy, romanceless husband mode. What a drag! Not only have I been robbing Elizabeth from the joys of romance and adventure, but I have been robbing myself of the unspeakable joy that comes with passionately loving my wife as I see her excitement, love, and passion for me grow. Oh how true it is when Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "He who loves his wife loves himself" (Eph. 5:28).

If you have stooped into this joyless slump, I want to make two recommendations to you. First, read Song of Solomon. Second, pick up the book, Sex, Romance and the Glory of God, by C.J. Mahaney.

Well, I'm off to a great little pastry shop here in town called "Sweet Dreams" to get Elizabeth one of their delicious cup cakes - she is going to love it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What if Jesus Came Back in the Summer?

What if Jesus came back in the summer? Would you be ready? Or, would he come back to find you on spiritual cruise control - taking it easy over the summer.At this time of year school is out and many businesses slow down a little, thus giving many of us a chance to take a breather or slow down ourselves. This can be a very good thing but unfortunately this attitude usually seeps into our spiritual lives as well. One only needs to walk into a church in the middle of July and return at the beginning of October to see the results. At the beginning of October one could see nearly twice as many people in the same church that they visited in July. Now, I am not saying that we should not take advantage of the summer months to travel and see family, but I am saying that often times our spiritual tempreature can be seen in our committment to worship and fellowship with those who God has brought us together with in our local church.


Clearly many of us take vacations in the summer, unfortuneately many of us take vacations from our walk with Christ. This is not how God intended our relationship with him to be. He intends that our faith should be intertwined into every aspect of our lives, all of the time. There are no breaks, there are no compartments, there is just one life that is completely swollowed up by our relationship with God. This wholistic relationship with God is summed up nicely for us in Deuteronomy,
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deut. 6:4-9).

Are you on a spiritual vacation or were you planning on taking one this summer? I hope this will change your mind.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Value of Rest!!!

After a long, hard, trying, and joyful semester I have been blessed with a week to rest and recoup before I begin full-time. This has been a great week so far even though it has been tremendously difficult to not go to the office to start on the many exciting ideas and tasks that are constantly brewing in my head. I guess that is somewhat of a good thing though because it shows me that I really love what I do. Just taking this week has been refreshing as well as great to spend time with my wife who did not get a whole lot of time over these last hectic weeks of the semester. By the end of the semester I was truly worn out, but this week has been a great reminder of why God created sabbath - for us. We need rest because we are not God. We are finite, feeble, flaccid humans who are not self-sustaining but dependent on God for all things. I am most looking forward to an upcoming day of prayer that I have set aside; this should be absolutely refreshing! So, in conclusion, God gave us the need for rest for our joy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

On Christian Celebrities

For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 1:11-12).

My wife and I sometimes talk about how funny it is that every group or clique of Christians has their own "people" that they are into and their own group of books that everyone in that group has read. It's really amusing to hang out with people who are not in your group of friends and hear the different people that they follow and books they have all read. It can be quite awkward when one of them brings up somebody who you are not really familiar with and you reply, "Um...I'm not really familiar with that person." Its kind of funny to see the reactions that come, "What!? You mean you have never read...!?." Clearly, you are out of your element.

On the other hand it is quite sad when we come across those who are "super-spiritual" that say, "I don't read any other books except the Bible." This response is sad because often time the premise that this person is coming from is that no one else can teach them anything. It's sad because they are missing out on great treasures that God has given other men to share with the rest of us. It's sad because there may be a root of pride there that is stunting their spiritual growth.

Every group of Christians has their own Christian celebrities. For me and many people I hang out with they consist of people like: John Piper, R.C Sproul, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, and some historical figures such as Edwards, Chambers, etc. I really appreciate the ministries of these men and cannot begin to tell you the impact they have had on my life. In fact, I would even say that I have been discipled from a distance by some of them (Piper and Sproul especially), but it is easy to take our eyes off of the Creator and focus them on the creature. I have sometimes found myself trying to become a better disciple of John Piper instead of Christ. I am often amazed at the biblical insight and wisdom that these men have. Thus, I must constantly remind myself (or usually my wife is great at reminding me in a loving way) that these are only men. It is great to glean and learn from their amazing godliness and knowledge and to follow them as they follow Christ, but I fear that sometimes we begin to make them "gods" in our own minds or our little sub-cultures (something I am sure these men would/do weep over).

We must praise God for the gifts that He has given us in these men and take in as much as we can from them. However, we must keep our eyes upon the one who is teaching us through them, Christ. So, we don't need to be like those who deem themselves as spiritually superior because they only read the Bible, but we must not replace the priority of Scripture reading and meditation with the thoughts and teaching of great saints around us or from history. Let us then, strive to strike that ever difficult balance to the glory of God.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The War at Home


This is a copy of a great email I received. The historical perspecitve that it brings to our current situation is amazing. I would also add on this list, Tokyo Jonathon Edwards (the presidential candidate - not the NE pastor) after denying that we are in a war on terror.


Anyone who remembers anything about World War II, or has studied anything about World War II, will understand and remember that during World War II, the Japanese developed a way to demoralize the American forces.

The Japanese psychological warfare experts developed a message they felt would work. They gave their psychological warfare script to their famous broadcaster "Tokyo Rose" and every day she would broadcast this same message packaged in different ways, hoping it would have a negative impact on an American GI's morale. What was that demoralizing message?

It had three main points:
1. Your President is lying to you.
2. This war is illegal.
3. You cannot win the war
Does this sound familiar?
Is it because---

Tokyo Hillary, Tokyo Harry, Tokyo Teddy, Tokyo Nancy, Tokyo Durbin, Tokyo Kerry, Tokyo Murtha, Tokyo Barack Hussein Obama Jr, Tokyo Rosie O'd, etc. have all learned from the former enemies of our country and have picked up the same message and are broadcasting it on:
Tokyo CNN, Wolf Blitzer; Tokyo ABC, Charles Gibson; Tokyo CBS, Katie Couric; Tokyo NBC, Brian Williams / Tim Russert…etc., to our troops?
The only difference is that they claim to support our troops before they try to demoralize them.

Come to think of it... Tokyo Rose told the American troops she was on their side, also.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sister Centuries???

As I have been taking a break from my mad dash to finish a Distance Education class by Thursday I came across this intriguing and thought-provoking article by Neil Cole, author of Organic Church (a book I highly recommend). In the article he asserts that the 1st Century and the 21st Century are sister centuries. Check it out and tell me if you agree with his comparison and what you think this means for us today. Below is the link.

http://www.cmaresources.org/articles/sister_centuries.asp

Friday, May 18, 2007

James Dobson: You Have it Wrong

The following was taking from an article on cnn.com

{WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Religious conservative leader James Dobson will sit out the 2008 presidential election if former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the Republican presidential nominee, he wrote Thursday in an online column.

"If given a Hobson's -- Dobson's? -- choice between him and Senators Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran -- or if worse comes to worst, not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else."}

First, for any who don't know me, I am not a liberal Christian who doesn't think that morals are important for a president or that we do not have a moral obligation to vote for the most God-honoring candidate possible. Second, I am by no means a Giuliani supporter. However, I do think that Dobson is dead wrong on this issue.

He is right not to support Giuliani for his immoral stances on gay marriage and abortion, but to say that he would not vote in the election if Giuliani is the candidate is wrong and it is wrong for him to portray the image that it is un-Christian to do so. You may say, "He never said it was un-Christian to vote for Giuliani." You are right he never said that, but given his position and influence, the comments he made portray that this is the case.

Okay, so why do I say he is dead wrong to say these things? Well, he clearly wants the president to be an evangelical Christian (as all evangelical Christians should) or to hold to the same values as evangelicals (which we all should as well) so that a Christian political agenda would move forward, thus making this a better country. When carried out to its end result his comments seem to say that if a Christian (or one who holds particular Christian values) is not on the ballot, he is not voting. This is where he has it wrong and he is not alone in having it wrong here because there are many other well-meaning Christians that share his view.

They have it wrong because they spend an extraordinary amount of time and resources seeking to transform our society through politics. Guess what, politics is never going to transform our society! The gospel is! Dobson and others like him who attend and hold "Christian" rallies and such in order to transform society need to revisit the book of Acts. Society is transformed through people coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior not through a bunch of self-interested, self-promoting, ego-driven politicians.

Thus, Dobson and others have a lot of misdirected passion that should be refocused on proclaiming the gospel through their words and works to the lost and broken people in our society. Don't get me wrong, as Christians we should work hard to help get the most God-honoring politicians elected, but if neither candidate in the general election holds to our moral views across the board, we are responsible to exercise the GOD-GIVEN privilege it is to vote for the candidate that will honor Christ most with his or her position, power, and influence. Chances are we will not get many evangelical candidates and even if we do we can't look to them for the answer to our country's problems - we must look to Jesus in the individual lives of our people. He is the real answer Mr. Dobson.

By the way, I am leaning toward a particular candidate right now (NOT Giuliani) but it is too early to post it here because it may come back to bite me in the weeks and months to come.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

God's Amazing Providence

Approximately one any a half years ago I approached Steve Best, Pastor of Wellspring Chapel, with a vision for a college minstry within the local church at Wellspring Chapel to reach out to Northern Illinois University with the gospel of Christ, while helping students to appreciate and love the ministry of the local church. He and the Elders at WC hired me on part-time to run this ministry and gave me an unbelievable amount of freedom to do so. I will forever be greatful to them for this opportunity. This has been an unbelievable experience in ministry while going through seminary at TEDS. Beginning June 1 I will be hired full-time as Pastor of Adult Discipleship. My wife Elizabeth and I never anticipated falling in love with the students and people of WC like we have and thus it is a GREAT blessing to see God's providence for Him to bring us the total opposite way from the direction we were looking to move one and a half years ago. God is truly good to us. We love the community and Christ-likeness that exists at WC as well as the vision of the Elders for our church.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Iranian President Seeks to Come to US


Ahmendinejad, the president of Iran, has been approved a visa to visit the US to before the UN to dispute possible sanctions against his country for human rights violations, illegally enriching uranium to acquire nuclear weapons, etc. Keep in mind this is the same man who denies that the holocaust ever happened and who has publicly stated that if he aquires WMDs he would use them to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. It has also been discovered that his country is supplying terrorist insurgents in Iraq with weapons to use on coalition and Iraqi forces.
What am I getting at? I pray that he does in fact come and that someone shares the gospel of Christ with him. How amazing would it be if he was born again and gave his life to Christ! Pray for him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Failure of Evangelism Through Politics

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age'" (Matt. 28:18-20).

Go and make disciples is the command that Jesus gave his disciples and us. Unfortunately, over the last few decades the American church has failed miserably to heed this call and I cannot help but wonder, why? Well, obviously there are many reasons why we in the US have come up far short, but today I just want to address a major problem that we tend disguise as evangelism or at least misrepresent it as "working for the Lord."

Over the last few decades the American church has made a major push to increase its influence in our culture. We have sought to extend this influence into areas such as entertainment and public policy. One need only to turn on the national news or open a news paper to see the "Christian right" protesting this or that. Now, do not get me wrong, I fully understand that God cares about the morality of the nations, especially in areas such as the sanctity of human life. However, it seems that on the whole we American Christians have a lot of misguided energy. Does Jesus call us to make public policy or does he call us to make disciples?

Now, I can already hear some of my more politically minded Christian brothers and sisters pulling out their hair at this point because they think I'm about to go all liberal or social gospel on everyone, but hear me out. There is no question that the Roman world in the first century dramatically more depraved than the US is today. But nowhere in the NT do I see Paul and the apostles gathering people to take on the immoral social policy of the Roman government for Christ. What I do see though is the early disciples going from place to place proclaiming the good news of the gospel, caring for the marginalized and oppressed, leading people to Christ, setting up churches, and teaching these early converts the implications of the gospel in their personal lives and the life of their communities. And what was the result? Radical life change which eventually led to radical social change. What I did not see was Peter calling together all the local churches to rally in the street to make sure that everyone knew that homosexuality, etc. was wrong. Yet, this is exactly what we do. We make sure that everyone in our society knows exactly what the Bible teaches is right and wrong, we expect our politicians to make laws that reflect this (which in itself is not a bad thing), and are infuriated by and disgusted with people who practice things against what the Bible teaches hoping that if we can just get them to understand that they are wrong and we are right that then they will see the love of Jesus. Guess what though? THEY DON'T KNOW CHRIST, SO WE SHOULD NOT EXPECT THEM TO LIVE LIKE THEY DO. Before any of us were/are born again we were all DEAD in our sins.

Imagine a group of people who do not know the slightest bit about you except for a specific sin that you live in showing up on your block with signs protesting that sin that you struggle with and making sure you know that God hates what you are doing then telling the TV camera and newspaper, "I'm actually trying to show them that Jesus loves them." No one looks at this as loving, but guess what a lot of Christians that do these things will go back to their church or home and pat themselves on the back for putting in a days work for the cause of Christ and many will even call what they just did evangelism, especially if they handed out a few tracts.

Look, my point is this: North America is the only continent in world that is actually shrinking in terms of the percentage of people who call themselves Christians. I believe this is largely to do with our lack of evangelism through loving personal relationships, especially with those who are marginalized or different from us. I wonder if you would even want a gay person in your church? We must admit that we have utterly failed in showing homosexuals the true love of Jesus. To be clear, I do believe that the Bible is undeniably clear that homosexuality is a sin, but it is also abundantly clear that hate is also a sin. Paul did not hate gay people, he loved them and converted them, which is why he is able to write to the early Christians and remind them that that is what some of them were, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Evangelism through politics and political institutions has utterly failed. It has failed to bring people to Christ, while helping to portray Christians as judgmental hate mongers who most would not want to associate themselves with. So, I am calling out myself and you to stop supporting and participating in institutional evangelism and begin to live out and practice biblical evangelism through caring for and loving lost people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that when we begin to do this the social change that we all yearn for because it honors God will come to pass becasue of changed lives and changed world views through the power of the gospel.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Here we go! But what's with the name?

Until recently I have never much been into the whole blog scene, thinking it was a waste of time, but culture is changing and so are our means of communication. Thus, it is now possible to reach literally millions of people while sitting in your office, living room, bedroom, etc (not that my insignificant ideas will accomplish this) and the impact can be breathtaking. So, I figure why not join the dialogue, learn something, and have some fun. It is my prayer that this blog helps your humble blogger, and maybe you too, wrestle with my ever developing thoughts and experiences pertaining to the supremacy of Christ in our culture and our lives. I only ask that you be patient and charitable with me as I know that I will post many things that are confusing, stupid, and/or wrong. So, here we go. Let's journey together.

Ahhh. The name. The name in itself is an expression of where I am in my journey right now. However, there are two aspects to the name that are unalterable. First, "Refor"represents my tight hold on my reformed theology. This will not change because truth does not change. Secondly, "Missionary" is what Jesus has called all of his followers to be (Matt. 28:18-20). On the other hand, "organic" signifies where I am in my journey in terms of how I believe the church would be most effective in reaching people in our post-modern, post-Christian culture. If you do not know what "organic" in this sense means I strongly encourage you to read Organic Church, by Neil Cole. It will blow your mind! This is not to say that I am one of those people who believes that this is the only way for the church to carry out its mission; right now I just believe that this is the best way.