Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Wild Next Year!

The next year promises to be a sure adventure! Mid August I will be starting seminary back up as ususal, which I am so excited about. Next Friday Susan will report to her first required day at Whitfield Christian Academy. This next year she will work as an 8th grade teacher with focus areas in Science, Social Studies, and Bible. This will be her first experience as a teacher. We are both very excited about her transition into this new job, with new people and new responsibilities. The adventure continues as we will be travelling to Clarksville, Tennessee to our home church every weekend where I will be preaching for their new engaging worship gathering. This summer I have had the great priveledge of preaching for "Journey" which has been meeting on Friday nights. Discerning God's leadership they are moving this worship gathering (strategically/experimentally) to Sunday mornings. This is no small move for the church. The potential for this gathering city shaking, global sending, and eternity denting. Please pray for Steve Moore who will be leading the music and band and myself and we seek God humbling ourselves before Him in preparation for the coming days. We greatly need your prayers.

My committment for preaching in Clarksville is a year. Next summer I should be wrapping up seminary...where from there? Clarksville, Cleveland, or Canada...(not excluded to those) Where-ever He leads we'll go.

Needless to say...come August we are boarding a wild ride. While I am sure some tired days are ahead, I have never been more convinced my greatest joy is knowing God and being spent out for his church, kingdom, and glory! We hope to see and have sweet time with many of you along the way.

Back from Vacation

I know some of you wondered where the blogging went last week. I was away Eating, Sleeping, and Playing with the in-laws for 6 days under the same roof. May sound like a nightmare to some, but it was a heavenly vacation for me! After the camp in Knoxville, Susan and I made our way down to Panama City to join her Mom's side of the family who arrived the day before. From the minute we arrived our time was pure refreshment. I love her (now my) family! This is an enormous blessing. I did not doubt that I would enjoy spending time with Sus' family, I have known them for a long time and have always enjoyed their company. But I felt totally free to be myself around all of them the whole time. The acceptance and love they have recieved me with into their family would have made our time wonderful even in we were in Kansas or something...although I do think we were all grateful we were at the beach. So...Susan, Gran, Kathy, Donna, Leann, Ken, John, Sam, James, Sarah, Frank, Katherine, and Amber...thanks for making vacation such a wonderful experience!

While I thought I would be ready to hit the ground running when we got back...I've been a little drudgy. I'm finally feeling back in the swing of things be looking for more blogging to come.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

For the folks at "Real Life"

I've had a great time hangin out with the folks at Real Life this summer. We've been talking about how our encounters with God should propel us to be on mission for Him. This post includes the promised info about giving your testimony.
1) In the first part of your testimony you want to include what your life was like before you met Jesus Christ. If you can't remember, ask those who knew you then. If you were really young, search the scriptures to see what they say about your heart before you met Christ.
2) The second portion should communicate how you came to know Jesus Christ. It needs to be very clear about the work God was doing in you, explaining how you came to hear the gospel, and how The Holy Spirit brought you under conviction. Be sure to include the simple gospel found in 1 Cor 15 for we know that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
3) The last part of your testimony should communicate how your life has changed since you met Jesus Christ. The differenece He has made in your life.

Work on your testimony. Have a 45 second version, 2.5 - 3 minute version, and a 7-12 minute version. That way you will be ready to share the great news of how God has changed your life. I'm looking forward to our last few Wednesdays together!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Congrats Bubba and Kristi!!!

I have not offically blogged the good news! I'm going to be an uncle again. My sister and brother in law, Kristi and Bubba are pregnant with their first child! Way to Go Bubba!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sometimes things don't go the way you think they will.

I thought today that I'd be preaching in a clean shirt and deoderized armpits, brushing my teeth with real toothpaste, and whitewater rafting for the first time. Sometimes things don't always go the way we think they will.

My flight arrived in Knoxville about 10pm last night. It was a great flight with good reading. I found my way down to baggage claim and positioned myself right at the mouth of belt where the luggage rides down. I stood and waited while passenger after passenger happily found their luggage. 7 minutes later, I'm still standing at the mouth of the conveyer belt, waiting, hoping, praying, that someone in Charlotte who will probably get paid today for putting my bag on the plane, did indeed put my bag on the plane. 2nd time in a row US Air has lost my luggage. He'll probably get paid, but he did not put my bag on the plane. Yes I'm assuming it was a he, because females would have no problem putting the correct bags, in their correct locations. However, it could have been that my bag was transported on a trolley over to the Charlotte plane and did not make it over there for the man to put it on the plane, because the trolley was being driven by a woman. Either way, I trust that God was providentially working through his sovereign plan through his limited people. I made my way up to the next level - I parked on the roof of the parking garage - about as far away from the gate possible. It was the only thing open. Unfortunately I did not pack an umbrella in my carry on book bag and it was pouring down rain. The rain felt kind of nice actually, everything except the wet part...exactly. Interestingly enough, I found a joyful humor in it all, kind of. Perhaps the US Air folks are just trying to get back at me, since the last time I flew I managed to come home on my originally scheduled flight, while so strategically working the system attaing 3 free round trip tickets in the continental US. Yea...they found me out and are losing my bags on purpose. Nevertheless, I drove about 1.5 hours and crashed at the hotel outside Ocoee, TN. The toothbrush the front desk gave me had a gel capsule inserted in the head of the brush that I had to squeeze to get toothpaste that rose up from the bristles. I then made my way over to the camp, with no deodorant, hardly brushed teeth, and the same rained on shirt I had on the whole day before. This morning was my first time to be with the High School bunch from the church. A thrilling first impression. But just like God, He used all of these circumstances to dissolve my concerns about any impression and prepare myself to preach. He blessed. It was a great first morning. I also found out they changed the white water rafting time to Sunday when I will have already left. I'm sure there is another wonderful purpose in that too. I'm now back at the hotel. And my luggage has arrived. Some times things don't always go the way we think they willFor he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. Psalm 33:9-10

Thursday, July 14, 2005

God's Image and Heir Jordan

Fox News published an interesting article on Michael Jordan's son Jeffrey yesterday. Some of it made me think about how the world watches Christians. See if you know what I mean from this sample of the article:

Jordan is under scrutiny. As Michael Jordan's son,
expectations are higher than normal, reporters are already asking about his vertical jump, and it's virtually impossible to
hide even when he's playing with 120 other top junior players.

"That's the greatest basketball player's son," said Jai Lucas,
Jordan's roommate this week.

Just two days into the weeklong camp,
Jordan has already become the camp's darling.

Everywhere he goes, fans and reporters follow, hoping to get a sneak peek at the younger Jordan and gleam any clue they can about whether he can someday approach his father's

The world often watches, wondering if we are the real deal, if there is anything to our “talk” or to our religious church attendance. It makes sense that Jesus said, “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 Many unbelievers watch Christians like reporters (sometimes vultures) waiting to “report” to the world when we drop the ball or step out of bounds. Sometimes though they are watching like a team scout who’s really interested. They may be very close to believing in Christ, and our love for other believers, joy in our sufferings, or good works shine in such a way that they do indeed believe and give glory to God. Either way, many are watching. The article goes on:

Jordan has no choice although there certainly are times he
would rather just be one of the guys...But wherever Jordan goes, he still
has the target on his back...Jordan even acknowledges there have been times he's
felt opponents have wanted to "take him out" so they could brag about it to
their friends.

Maybe you've felt like as a Christian, you have had a target on your back. Being dialed into the reality that others are watching is sobering and healthy, yet should not be our motivation for holy living as Jesus warns in the Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.

I love the way the article ends:
But wherever Jeffrey Jordan ends up, he knows this: He will
never escape his father's image. "I'm as competitive as he is, I'm just quieter
about it," he said. "But that's my dad and it's pretty easy talking about

Think about what they said of Jeffrey Jordan. "He will never escape his father's image." The same is true for us. Genesis 1:27 informs we are the image of God. Though our sin has terribly marred us as His image, God is commited to molding us into the image of Christ, and He will not quit until He is done. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phillipians 1:6 Reflect God today where you are. Grow in his image. Just as Jeffrey Jordan works long strenous hours in the gym to reflect his dad, the greatest basketball player ever -- Let us labor and strive with all God's power to grow in the image of Christ reflecting Him to the reporters, vultures, and interested scouts. Maybe it will be as easy to talk about our heavenly Father as it is for Jeffrey to talk about his dad.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Our Imperishable Inheritance - Part 1

Cornelius “the Commodore” Vanderbilt began by borrowing $100 from his mother when he was 16 years old. By the time he died, he had made such successful ventures in the steam boat and railroad businesses that he was the richest man in America, worth over $100 million. His son William Henry inherited the business and doubled the fortune in less than ten years, making the Vanderbilt’s the richest family in the world? So I ask, what kind of inheritance do you get when your dad is the richest man in the world? What kind of house might you live in with this inheritance? George Washington Vanderbilt was one of eight children belonging to the world’s richest man. You are looking at a picture of the kind of house you live in with that kind of inheritance. In 1889, four years after his father died, George began work on The Biltmore Estate. It took 6 years to finish the 6 story mansion. My sister and brother in law recently visited the mansion and provided this picture for us. They were absolutely in awe at the stunning estate. Think about a home with: 250 Rooms, 438 Employees, 185 Paintings, 170 Rugs, 75 Acres of Gardens, 65 Fire places, 43 Bathrooms, and 64 Chairs in the Banquet Hall with a 40 foot table. On the fourth of July in 1896, folks at the Biltmore celebrated by eating: 22 chickens, 28 pounds of leg and loin mutton, 52 pounds of beef prime rib, and 2 baskets of peaches! At the 1899 Christmas party at The Biltmore, attendees were treated to 11 gallons of ice cream, 30 dozen cakes, 200 cornucopias, and 100 pounds of candy! Read more about the Biltmore here. You may daydream with me, “How could I ever receive an inheritance like that?” Or dream, “How could I ever get that rich?” Oh my dear friend, if you are a Christian, I have wonderful news for you. Meditate with me on the following scriptures and think about how rich your dad is and what kind of inheritance you have.
Is our Dad worth over $100 million? The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. Psalm 24:1, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:11, The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine; The world and all it contains, Thou has founded them. Psalm 89:11,
How long has Dad been working on our inheritance? Read Matthew 25: 31-46 focusing on verse 34.
Has and will God really given Christians an inheritance? And now I commend you to God and the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32, In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…Ephesians 1:11, Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or covetous (that is, and idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ in God. Ephesians 5:4-5, He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
The Biltmore Estate will one day burn up…what about our inheritance? Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
What an incredible meditation for those who are trusting in Christ! We’ll unpack some of this later…stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Home For a Few Days

Well I just got in from Ocoee, TN a couple of hours ago. Susan picked me up at the airport. It is a joyous thing to see God birth people into His body through the power of the gospel. I've been at Horn's Creek since Saturday preaching for the Middle School Camp for FBC Concord. I'll fly back down Thursday to preach for their High School Camp. Meanwhile, in Louisville, I'll preach on Wednesday night here , for a summer series I'm doing for their college ministry. God has been gracious to us at the camp and did some really neat things in the MS students' lives these past few days. I do apprecieate any of those who are moved to pray for me as I preach. Susan is finishing up her last week of nannying and is excited about her opportunity to teach this fall. She'll come down to the camp on Saturday and Sunday we'll head for Panama City for vacation with her family.

Check out this Blog!

One of my favorite Blogs that I check out almost daily is "Between Two Worlds" . Be sure to click on it at check it out. He always has really good stuff to read. He works with Dr. John Piper at DGM. Anyways, He's got a hilarious video clip you gotta see titled "Mrs. Benny Hinn."
The video clip is edifying, just in a unique way.

Monday, July 04, 2005

She's Unbelievable!

Today my wonderful wife Susan and I have been married 10 months. It has been an incredibly full 10 months. My conclusion thus far...She's Unbelievable! It is indeed a rare thing to have a wife who is so supportive of radical visionary leadership for the sake of the Kingdom of God. I'll share just a few highlights with you to let you in on why she is so unbelievable. Susan is a champ in the hospitality/housewife realm as so many are - she cooks delicious meals, decorates our home so warmly, keeps clothes clean and stocked, not to mention scratches my back every night. While I know all of this is sometimes is a challenge for Susan in addition to her full time job nannying a 20 month year old who has never slept in her own crib/bed, Susan seems to make it look like a piece of cake. It is the extra-mile stuff that causes observers to see that she is supernaturally enabled by our strong God. To honor her today,
10 Amazing Things In the Life of my Wife in our First 10 Months of Marriage:
10) Susan facilitated our move to Louisville, while I was away preaching for a retreat. Our family helped a ton - we are so indebted to them. I know this may seem like it ought to be on a list of 10 most embarrassing things of a husband during our first 10 months...Nevertheless, When I got home from the retreat, it was amazing all the hard work she and the family had done! Thanks again Family! My buddies still dog me out pretty good for this one.
9) For two weeks this Spring Susan worked as a sort of telemarketer from 6pm-11pm in addition to her substitute teaching during the day...Because we needed her to. She also spent also spent 2 weeks tying ribbons around lolli-pops for a temp job during spring break while no substituting was available.
8) Before we got married, Susan always bought people birthday/special occasion cards. I shared with her I thought she could make cards and save $ from our gift budget(considering we had 4 weddings 4 weekends in a row) to go to. While she does not think of herself as creative and struggled with this request at first, she triumphantly, supercreatively made cards to send people for special occasions. She used cool pastel oil paints...and her sewing machine. They were so cool, she made a bunch and gave stationary as graduation gifts to some of our good friends.
7) Susan comes tired, straight from work every Wednesday this summer to hear me preach for the college ministry here, and then fills me up and sends me out on Friday nights to preach here, even though she hasn't gotten to make the trip most Friday's because of her nannying. I usually do not make it home until 1:30ish am, nevertheless, she is excited I have the opportunity to preach God's word for people we so dearly love.
6) Susan suffered through weeks of nannying a sweet little screaming, crying 20 month-year-old...It was so bad it caused her teeth to hurt. She persevered through this because of her hardcore commitment to our marriage and my seminary education. Sidney has gotten much more enjoyable in recent weeks. No more screaming and crying. The kid literally screamed for 3 straight hours one day.
5) Susan hosted 20 family members for an overnight cookout here in Louisville. Seven of them stayed with us...1 BATHROOM! It went so well, we're considering making it an annual event - wherever we may be living.
4) Susan has prepared and opened our home almost every Thursday night this year for a small group from our church to meet. This summer we have hosted all of the small groups together on 2 occasions (about 30 folks.)
3) Susan gladly took in an 18 year old "homeless" girl, Candi Roe into our one bedroom apartment in New Brunswick during our first 3 months of marriage. This required us to transform our small den into a den/bedroom. Susan befriended Candi, helped her get a job, and invested much into young broken girl. There is so much to share about this, perhaps more later on another post.
2) Susan fearlessly and joyfully agreed for Kerry Bell to stay in our extra bedroom at our place in Louisville as we ventured to help Kerry with his cocaine addiction. He is a 40 year old African American, 10 year cocaine addict that we met with Brett Vaden and Brent Moore in our neighborhood. Brett stayed with us that evening, staying up half the night swapping with me at 4am. He then rode with us to Bloomington, IN two days later to take Kerry to an intense spiritual boot camp rehab called Hebron. We couldn't have done it without Brett. Susan unhesitatingly supported my leadership despite some opposition from loved ones. This is worthy of another post too.
1) Susan has sweetly and strongly loved me in ways I did not even know I needed. This is by far the number one most amazing thing in the life of my wife thus far! It is a great a challenging task to love such an ogre, but she does it valiantly.
I hope this encourages you and challenges you in the Lord and in your relationships. Susan is amazing! Her God is her secret!