I know that some people are especially interested in the bigger details of faith, so I decided to post here my full “Doctrinal Statement.” This is the first post in this series, and it reflects the “short form” of my Doctrinal Statement. If you wish to download my entire Doctrinal Statement in either short form or its more detailed version, I will have those links posted soon. The rest of the posts in this series will be filed under the “What I Believe” category. Continue reading
Last Friday, we experienced a great success in ministry. We served people free mugs of hot chocolate and coffee in front of Wal-Mart. It was a great experience.
It came to me on Black Friday
The whole idea came to me last year on the day after Thanksgiving (“Black Friday” as it has been called) while I was standing in line at a Best Buy store in the bitter cold of November in Chicago. Continue reading
A new website has recently been created by Justin Carboneau called sharemytestimony.org with the primary purpose of giving people a place to share their personal testimonies online. It’s an interesting concept, and his web design isn’t half bad, but I’m personally unsure of the value such a site might have. From the website:
This site was started to encourage people to share their testimony about how they came to have faith in Christ. It is also meant to inspire people to grow in their relationship with God, by seeing how God has worked in the lives of people across the world. My hope is that every Christian who visits this site will share their testimony, because everyone who accepts Christ as their savior has an incredible story to share with the world.
What do you think?
I was driving around today running an errand for the church, so I decided to make some phone calls to try to connect with some people. There’s one fellow that I have been trying to get in touch with for a while, and as I was going through my address book, I saw that he was the next one on the list.
I wasn’t interested in calling him at that moment, though because I had been thinking about getting in touch with the head of Purdue’s Campus Crusade ministry, and that was on my mind, but this fellow was the next one on my list, so I just decided to call him anyway.
He picked up the phone and as always seemed very excited to hear from me, but this he was even more excited and told me about a couple guys he’s been sharing his faith with. One of those guys was there with him and wanted to talk to me! I talked with him for a bit and suggested that he go through our Bible 101 program. He seemed interested, and I said that maybe all four of us could get together sometime to start it.
He passed me back to the first guy who then asked me, “So why’d you call me? Were you just thinking about me or what?” I told him that actually I had been calling to see if he would be willing to let me lead a Bible study at his house for him and some of his friends, and that it seemed like he already had some guys who would be interested. He said, “Well, that seems like something God wants me to do!”
Then, just before we both hung up, he said, “Thanks for being obedient.” There’s no way he could have known what an encouragement those few words are, but they were. I hadn’t really felt like making that call at that time, but it was just about the perfect time for the call, and he knew it, so he said, “Thanks for being obedient.”
So let me be the first to say to you, if you have been struggling with something and you aren’t sure whether you should follow God’s promptings or not, do it, tell me, and I’ll say to you, “Thanks for being obedient!”
It has been a while since my last post here, but that’s been for a good reason. For the past month, I’ve been working on getting ready for Southside Church’s first public information meeting. We held it last Sunday evening at McCutcheon High School here in Lafayette.
For the past month, we have been putting together marketing materials, soliciting donations, securing the location, and organizing the service. We passed out by hand maybe 800 invitation postcards and mailed about 100 to our mailing list. We put flyers up at local businesses, we sent out email invitations, and we talked about it to everyone we knew.
It ended up being a really good evening. Here are the details:
- It was September 10, 2006, 6:30pm – 8:00pm in the choir room at McCutcheon High School.
- Tarah Kitchell of Tender Loving Childcare (TLCC) provided the children’s program.
- Doug Griffin, Kurt Kincanon, and Chip (?) provided the music.
- Buffalo Wild Wings donated 250 wings.
- Euro Cafe II donated about 6 thermal carafes full of gourmet coffee.
- LA Fireworks donated table coverings and such.
- Chick-fil-A donated 150 brownies.
- The Carpenter’s Son bookstore donated at least $100 worth of merchandise!
- One count had over 40 (43 I think) people in the main meeting room and we also had 11 kids and 3 workers outside with the children’s program. That put our total at nearly 60 for the evening which was exactly what we wanted in terms of numbers.
- Special guests were Brad Bush, pastor of Maple Ridge Community Church and chairman of TEAMM (Tippecanoe Evangelical Association of Ministers and Ministries), Gregory Hackett, pastor of First Assembly of God, Justin Hutts, associate pastor at Battleground Bible Church, and Gary Rohrmayer, director of Midwest Church Planting. My coach Rich Wollard wasn’t able to make it so he sent us a video clip that got lost somewhere in the tubes of cyberspace.
We sang some songs, some guests spoke for a few minutes, I gave a vision message, and then I entertained some Q&A. After that, everyone filled out a “level of interest” survey, we had a closing song, and Greg Hackett gave some final encouraging words and a closing prayer.
All in all, it was a great evening! I plan to post some video of it soon.
Thank you for your prayers.
While reading The Purpose Driven Life tonight, I had the thoughts run through my mind that went something like this:
- If I really want this book to affect me, I need to ponder it through my day.
- If I want to ponder it, I need to have it condensed into ponderable form.
- I really appreciate the small ponderable devotions in books like that of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.
- Why should that way of life change be limited to devotionals?
- Why not create an evangelism tract that is designed like 28 days of Utmost?
I’m thinking it might be a really worthwhile project. Just give people a verse or passage of the Bible and a little thought to ponder for a day, spend some time with them personally to work through any questions, and let God speak to them on His own schedule. Honestly, why would we think that major life transformation would really come about in 5-15 minutes with a gospel tract? Isn’t that why statistically, it takes a person 7 times hearing a gospel presentation before it really sinks in. What if we had an evangelistic tract that was simple, ponderable, and created to sink in over time?
I think I’m going to do it!
Another post for my own future reference… Sermon illustrations?
Colossians 4:5 says this:
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
As a pastor who’s got a blog, I’ve been thinking about how this verse relates to blogging. I’ve been blogging for over a year, and I don’t yet have a “manifesto” like this guy on what my blogging policy should be. However, I’ve been prompted this week by some friends to consider it, so I’m thinking through the issues.
As I see it, there are three ways for a pastor (or anyone for that matter) to do a blog.
- Use the blog as a personal journal where you “get naked” (according to a book on blogging by Robert Scoble the guy I linked to above.) in front of your virtual audience and basically share anything and everything. Of course, there is some room for discretion, but in general, it’s your personal journal viewable by the world.
- Use the blog as a “content management system” which basically means you maintain your own online magazine with articles essays and whatnot and use a blog mechanism to manage your content and people’s comments on your content. One example of that is The Resurgence.
- Use the blog as a hodge-podge mix of the two—blogging about whatever seems to come to mind. (I’m not sure it fits, but I’ll link to it anyway.) See Tim Challies’ blog for an example of a blog that attempts to be personal & academic though it weighs more toward the academic side.
As I’ve been around the net a while, it seems to me that the majority of “Gen X” church planters who blog opt for version 3 with a heavy leaning on option 1.
I’ve been using this site as mostly #3 so far. As you can see from my categories on the sidebar, I’ve got sermons, Bible studies, personal journal entries, exposing my own spiritual life, computer issues, and even some posts on internet fraud. You can see it is all over the map like a Christmas tree with every kind of ornament ever invented showing up on it.
In fact, it seems that my posts on self examination and internet fraud are my most popular. Are people even reading my blog to grow spiritually?
So the question I’m asking myself now is this: What kind of web presence should I have? If you have any comments on this, I’d like to read them. Or you can give me a call on my cell at 765-404-0807 to tell me what you think personally. If you want to think this through with me, check out the links I placed above or my links in the sidebar of my .
|What kind of blog helps people grow spiritually?|
Where would the X fall for you?
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole
truth and tell it in love—like Christ in every-
thing. We take our lead from Christ, who is
the source of everything we do.
Ephesians 4:15 MSG
I took you from the ends of the earth, from
its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You
are my servant’; I have chosen you and have
not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am
with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your
God. I will strengthen you and help you; I
will uphold you with my righteous right
God, who has called you into fellowship with
his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:9
His divine power has given us
everything we need for life and
godliness through our knowledge
of him who called us by his own
glory and goodness. Through
these he has given us his very
great and precious promises, so
that through them you may par-
ticipate in the divine nature and
escape the corruption in the
world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4
And I am sure that God, who
began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is
finally finished on that day when
Christ Jesus comes back again.
Philippians 1:6 NLT
The thief comes only to steal and kill and de-
stroy; I have come that they may have life, and
have it to the full.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know
you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom
you have sent.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not
have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:12
GOD, I have sensed my need for you, and I have sensed you at work in me,
but I have sought fulfillment apart from you. I have served myself instead of
you. I have sinned. I believe you sent Jesus to die in my place, to make peace
with you for me, and I believe he is alive today with you. Please forgive me.
Do your work in me. Fill me with your Spirit. I surrender my life to you today
in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation; the old has gone, the new has come! …
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as
though God were making his appeal through
2 Corinthians 5:17, 20
[Jesus said,] I tell you the truth, anyone who has
faith in me will do what I have been doing. He
will do even greater things than these, because I
am going to the Father.
For you have been born again. Your new life
did not come from your earthly parents because
the life they gave you will end in death. But this
new life will last forever because it comes from
the eternal, living word of God.
1 Peter 1:23 NLT
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not
be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and re-
joice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem
to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusa-
lem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping
and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again
will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an
old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a
hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hun-
dred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they
will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and
others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as
the days of a tree, so will be the days of my peo-
ple; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works
of their hands. They will not toil in vain or
bear children doomed to misfortune; for they
will be a people blessed by the LORD, they
and their descendants with them. Before they
call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the
lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be
the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy moun-
tain,” says the LORD.
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She
will give birth to a son and will call him
Immanuel—‘God is with us.’
Isaiah 7:14 NLT
…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She
wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a
manger, because there was no room for them
in the inn.
[Jesus was] tempted in every way, just as we
are—yet was without sin.
[Jesus said,] “I and the Father are one.”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth
and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through me. Believe me when I say that I am
in the Father and the Father is in me; or at
least believe on the evidence of the miracles
John 14:6, 11
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
asked Pilate. “Yes, it is as you say,”
Jesus replied…. Wanting to satisfy
the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas
to them. He had Jesus flogged, and
handed him over to be crucified.
Mark 15:2, 15
The angel said to the women, “Do
not be afraid, for I know that you
are looking for Jesus, who was cruci-
fied. He is not here; he has risen, just
as he said. Come and see the place
where he lay.
After his suffering, he showed him-
self to these men and gave many
convincing proofs that he was alive.
He appeared to them over a period
of forty days and spoke about the
kingdom of God.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for
our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the
third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the
Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the
same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6
He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead
to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!
1 Peter 2:24 NLT
He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to
make us right with God.
Romans 4:25 NLT
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature
God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself
nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And
being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to
death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and
gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Of course, you’ve always known you were important, but perhaps you never
realized how important or why. In fact, you are more important than you realize
but in ways you never considered.
Then God said, “Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They
will be masters over all life—the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all
the livestock, wild animals, and small animals.”
Genesis 1:26 NLT
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
[Jesus said,] “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go
and bear fruit—fruit that will last…”
[Jesus said,] “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store
away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much
more valuable than they?”
For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Romans 3:23 NLT
Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful bless-
ings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things.
Jeremiah 5:25 NLT
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his
ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you
from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so
that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood,
your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your
tongue mutters wicked things.
GOD is real, and everything (well almost everything) you have heard about him
is true! Many may doubt his existence, but you can’t doubt his effects. Look
around. I mean, honestly, do you believe that the infinite depth of space was
produced from nothingness by random fluctuation of quantum forces? I under-
stand the theory and still can’t believe it! The claims of the Bible make much more
…there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries…
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful
God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I
have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I
am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even
I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and
saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my
witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days
I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no
other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the
beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will
stand, and I will do all that I please.
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and pro-
claimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,
“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to an-
ger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and
forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty un-
punished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers
to the third and fourth generation.”
No one came to last night’s Bible 101 study that I had scheduled at our house.
In light of that, I’ve determined to not focus on programs that aim to “get people to come” and instead, focus on meeting people one-to-one to key in on evangelism and discipleship. In light of that, I’ve decided to put some time into producing a new evangelistic tract.
I’ll go ahead and post the content here, so you can comment if you wish.
Here is my initial design goal for the project:
GOD is real (and everything you have heard about him–well, almost everything–is true.)
- he is perfect
- he is good
- he is loving
YOU are important (but most of what you believe about yourself isn’t true.)
- you are loved
- you have a purpose
- you are wounded
- you are distant
JESUS died for you
- Jesus is real
- Jesus is perfect
- Jesus is alive — many convincing proofs (acts 1, 1 cor 11? 15?)
- Jesus is King
- to wholeness
- to relationship
- to your purpose
- to your future
God’s work in your life looks like this…
- Awareness of emptiness
- Pursuit of fulfillment
- Recognition of God
- Acceptance of His Will
- Surrender to Love
- Living in Love
If you want to follow this project, be sure to subscribe to my new evangelism category.
In my last post in this category, I gave a narrative description of the first 6 books of the Old Testament ending with the death of Joshua. Now, I’m picking up where that post left off.
The key thing to remember for the rest of Jewish history is that the Jews lived in a constant cycle that went something like this:
- The Jews forsake God and his laws for foreign gods and immorality.
- God forsakes the Jews to foreign governments and oppression.
- The people repent and return to God.
- God rescues them.
The Time of the Judges
This cycle of rebellion is especially clear during the 400 years after Joshua and before the first king. It is known as the time of the Judges because there was no central leadership for the Hebrew people. Instead, God led the people through his law and through some key people known as the judges.
The Bible doesn’t give us an exhaustive list of all the judges during those 400 years, but the ones we are told about are significant figures. Here’s a summary of the most notable ones:
- Gideon was a humble man who never thought much of himself. He ambushed the Midianites according to a plan God had given him and conquered them with only 300 Israelite men.
- Deborah was a woman who tried to encourage Barak (a man) to lead the nation into war against their enemies, but Barak wouldn’t go unless she went too.
- Samson is the famous one who had been promised strength from God so long as he maintained a spiritually focused and somewhat ascetic life. He got cocky and hooked up with a foreign spy named Delilah who convinced him to reveal his secret (symbolized by uncut hair). However, at the end of his life, he dramatically pulled an entire building down on his captors killing himself in the process.
God Speaks Again
During the time of the Judges, God hadn’t been speaking much to people, but that changed with the coming of a man named Samuel. Samuel’s mother had promised that if God would bless her with a child, she would dedicate him to the service of the Lord.
God gave her a son, and she kept her promise. After he had been weaned, she took him to the High Priest, Eli, and gave him to the service of the Lord.
One night, God spoke audibly to Samuel, and that began the time of the last judge who was also a prophet.
During Samuel’s leadership, the people demanded a king. God allowed it, and Samuel poured oil on Saul, an act called anointing, to signify that he was the one God had chosen to be the next king. When Samuel anointed Saul, God also sent his Holy Spirit to come upon Saul and empower him for his job as king.
Saul’s time as king was rough, though. During his reign, the nation was consistently harrassed by the Philistines, but Saul never could do anything about it. Saul also simply refused to listen to Samuel and the messages from God that Samuel would deliver. It got so bad, that God actually removed His Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit to come and torment Saul.
It was at this time when we first hear about David, the youngest son of Jesse.
David: A Man After God’s Own Heart
God told Samuel to go and anoint a new king. He had rejected Saul as king and told Samuel that the next king would be selected based on his internal character over any other quality. In fact, God said of David that he was “a man after God’s own heart.”
Immediately after David was anointed, God removed his Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. Then, in an ironic turn, David was chosen to be Saul’s musician because when David played his harp, the king’s suffering would be alleviated. While in the palace, David became fast friends with Saul’s son Jonathan and married Saul’s daughter Michal.
During one battle against the Philistines, Saul’s army was taunted by a 9 foot tall giant named Goliath. No one was willing to go one-on-one with him except David who before that moment had been only a shepherd. God helped him defeat Goliath, and the nation began to revere David.
Saul’s jealousy burned against David. He attempted to kill David, and David ran away. Then, for the majority of the rest of his reign, Saul went on a manhunt for David. Meanwhile, David continued to build a makeshift army of men completely loyal to him.
When David finally became king after Saul’s death, the nation flourished into an empire. David conquered the surrounding peoples and led the nation with integrity except for a couple exceptions. His biggest failing was when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his best friends, and then conspired to kill the husband when he discovered the wife was pregnant.
David’s legacy as king boiled down to three things:
- David led the country to a level of military success it would never know again.
- Because of David’s faithfulness, God promised that he would always keep a descendant of David on the throne of His Kingdom.
- God said of David at the end of his life that he had been completely devoted to God throughout his life except for the one incident with Bathsheba.
In a testament to the grace of God, Solomon, David’s second son with Bathsheba, became the next king. Solomon’s reign was one of extreme prosperity. David had conquered nations and signed treaties so that for most of Solomon’s reign tribute was paid to Israel from surrounding nations. On top of that, God made a promise to Solomon that he would be incredibly wise, rich, and long-lived. Finally, during Solomon’s reign, the construction of the First Temple was undertaken and completed.