Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Born to Die

Perhaps, this post may sound a bit cliche, but I cannot escape this thought at the moment as I look back on what Christ did for me and all those who have believed on His Name, and even those who have yet to do so.

In my online journeys (and at work), I have encountered many people who either are asking about the true meaning of Christmas, or have given up on it all together. The latter of those two groups simply see Christmas as yet another day in which capitalism reigns supreme and selfishness seems to be the ultimate motivation for the celebration. Sadly, those of US (I include myself here) in America who claim to represent Biblical Christianity are just as guilty in presenting this selfish picture of Christmas.

However, if we consider what The Bible teaches, we see something very different. We find the true meaning of Christmas. The hymn quoted below summarizes the 4 Gospels best with the line, “Born to die that man might live.” Jesus Christ was born not to be a good example, not to be a great prophet, but He was born so that He might die and pay the price for our sins. Thankfully, it doesn’t end there. He was also born so that He might rise again from the dead, proving that He has the victory over sin, death, and Hell; that He is indeed The Son of God (Romans 1:3-4).

What is your motivation for celebrating The Savior’s birth this year? Is it simply to give presents in the selfish hopes that you’ll get something in return? Or is it to meditate on what your Savior did for you? If this lost world were to view how Christmas was celebrated in your home, would they see selfish capitalism, or would they see Jesus Christ?

“Ring the Bells”
Harry Bollback

Ring the bells! Ring the bells!
Let the whole world know;
Christ was born in Bethlehem;
Many years ago.

Born to die that man might live;
Came to earth new life to give;
Born of Mary born so low;
Many years ago.

God the Father gave His Son;
Gave His Own Beloved One;
To this wicked, sinful earth;
To bring mankind His love, new birth.

Ring the bells! Ring the bells!
Let the whole world know.
Christ the Savior lives today;
As He did so long ago!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

In My Weakness

This may sound ridiculously simple, but to me this was a very profound (and greatly encouraging) thought that God has been teaching me this whole semester while I’ve been out of school.

I’ve been meditating on the song, “In My Weakness” (if you don’t know it, listen to Christy Galkin’s CD, which is a Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team CD featuring Christy) and also read the related Scripture passage, 2 Corinthians 12. Normally, when we consider the thought of God’s strength being perfect in our weakness, our first thought is that He is greater than our weaknesses. No doubt, this is certainly true. Our second, and slightly deeper application of this truth is that God is able to overcome our weaknesses and work in our lives in spite of them. I believe this to be the immediate application of the 2 Corinthians 12 passage. However, in the whole context of Scripture, I came to discover and understand for myself an even richer and 3rd application of the truth of how God’s strength is perfect in my weakness. God is not only greater than my weaknesses and able to work in spite of them, but He can make my weaknesses my strengths. How this came to be understood is through a series of events that have happened this semester (which, unfortunately, due to the nature of those events and for the sake of those involved, I cannot give details; but I will suffice to say that they were situations in which I was struggling to “Count it all joy (James 1:2).”) in which I was unable to do anything. In utter complete helplessness, I leaned on Christ to do a work that I knew from the start only He could do, but hoped that He would accomplish through me. My weakness- in this case inability- became a strength- dependance and trust in God. As we consider the lives of men like Peter, Paul, Timothy, and others, we see how God took their weaknesses and made those weaknesses their greatest assets. I think particularly of Peter- the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth- and how God took Peter’s pride of self and turned it into boldness for Christ. God can do this in any and all areas of our lives, and I believe that it is desire to do so, if we will but let Him.

I praise God for allowing the both good and hard circumstances that have come my way. If for nothing else, I praise Him for this because He strengthened my resolve to continue fighting the good fight of faith, and to let God show how He could take my weakest moments in life and make them into my strongest moments.

When living life for Jesus Christ
becomes too hard a task;
When obedience means sacrifice
that seems too much to ask,
that’s when I learn that my own strength
isn’t really strength at all.
And, I find rest in humbleness
when He becomes my all.

In my weakness, He is strong.
In my need, He leads me on.
When I come to the end
of all that I am
and place my trust in Him,
that’s when His strength begins
in my weakness.

When failures in my human strength
have weakened all my pride;
When ruined hopes and fallen dreams
have crumbled me inside,
that’s when I learn to finally see
the strength of Jesus Christ.
It’s then I see His strength in me,
when weakness fills my life.

In my weakness, He is strong.
In my need, He leads me on.
When I come to the end
of all that I am
and place my trust in Him,
that’s when His strength begins
in my weakness.

In my weakness,
He is strong

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

God's Blessings

In my most recent post, I made mention of the fact that I’ve been working 40-50+ hours a week. While I haven’t been in school, I’ve been in a bit of a quandry. As many of you that read this blog know, I am a Music Education major with my proficiency on bassoon (and I even look kind of like my instrument…or so I’m told). For the 4 1/2 years that I’ve been playing bassoon, I have been using the school’s instrument. However, now that I’m not a student, I haven’t been able to practice (part of it is school policy- completely understandable- and part of it is practicality; you can’t have two people playing the same instrument- it just isn’t sanitary!). So, with the hard earned money that I’ve been making, I decided that it was better I try to get my own instrument now, rather than after I’ve finished school. After much searching, I found the answer to my problem right underneath my nose, almost. Where I could not work something out with companies like Woodwinds and Brasswinds and other music companies that sell bassoons to do a rent-to-own on the instrument as I don’t have a credit card or the full amount of the selling price (this was mainly due to the rarity of orders placed on the instrument; unlike saxophones, trumpets, flutes, and clarinets, it’s not every day that someone orders a bassoon), White House of Music was willing to work a deal with me where I could go on their Pro-Lease plan (a rent-to-own program where a student can rent a professional level instrument while making monthly payments on the instrument). Because of the nature of the instrument, I was asked to put a $1,300 down payment on the bassoon before they could order it. Two weeks after we had talked about it, I had the money for them (and enough to continue covering my own expenses). For the last month, though, it was a struggle to decide which bassoon I actually wanted to go with. Once I was able to talk to my teacher about it, the answer became simple. So, two weeks ago, I placed the order. I wasn’t supposed to get the bassoon until January. However, Friday, White House of Music gave me a call and told me that they had the bassoon for me, ready to go; all I had to do was come in and fill out the paper work. What you see below is a bassoon that is worth $9,100 (list price). I’m getting it for $5,800. ISN’T GOD GOOD?! If I had been in school, I am convinced I would’ve never been able to own an instrument like this. It is a Fox Renard 220, and after having played on it since Sunday, I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone looking to get a nice bassoon. Well, here’s some pictures of it. Amazing how I took for granted the ability to practice. Enjoy sharing with me in God’s blessing!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Spiritual Leadership Conference

You will notice a huge gap in our blogging. This is mainly because of my working 40-50 hours a week (Sorry, but Sunday School and Wednesday nights are kind of priority over this :-) ) and Jon’s trying to complete a lot of grad work this semester. Pray for both of us as we are involved in ministries in our respective churches and desire to be used of God to see souls saved, and believers discipled and built up in the faith.

Saturday, a good friend from school (he also goes to my church on extension) and I both got up incredibly early so that we could go down from Watertown, WI to Bethel Baptist Church’s first Spiritual Leadership Conference. With speakers lined up such as Rand Hummel (The WILDS), Dr. Chuck Phelps (Trinity Baptist Church; Concord, NH), Dr. Sam Horn (Brookside Baptist Church; Brookfield, WI), and many others from around the area and Bethel Baptist’s own church staff, we were very excited about the prospect of getting to be in a conference where we could sit under the teaching of men of God who have labored for many years within Baptist Fundamentalism and have had very successful ministries as they have labored in love for their congregations.

The opening general session was preached by Dr. Chuck Phelps. He preached about a Worry-filled life or a Word-filled life. This was an excellent message to hear about the sin of worry/ anxiety. Not only did he rehearse all that I had read in the past from MacArthur’s book, Anxiety Attacked, but he also brought to light some passages that illustrated these truths for us from the Gospel of John.

The first workshop we went to was titled, “Public school, Christian school, or Home school- Which is right?” I very much appreciated Dr. Phelps’ presentation on the need for Christian schools, not as reformers for those who’ve been kicked out of public schools or other Christian schools, but rather as a tool to help build up a local church as an aid to the parents, not the end all raising of the children for the parents. I very much appreciated how he shared with us how their Christian school was run, as well as the dynamic of having over 200 Christian school children, about 60 children in public schools, and about 60 children that were homeschooled. To keep such things harmonious within a church’s youth group, he shared some things that I thought were incredibly helpful. The first thing he shared was the youth pastor was not involved in any of the discipline that took place within the Christian school. For some, this may sound like a radical idea, but I appreciated the wisdom in this as it keeps the youth pastor with a “white hat” so to speak whenever the children see him. Though he might be informed about discipline matters, when the kids come to youth group on Wednesday night or sit in his Sunday School class, there is no need for a child to worry about whether or not the youth pastor’s view of him or her is skewed by his involvement with discipline that was needed for the child. One other thing I liked was that he said that in church, he doesn’t push any of the activities of the Christian school. He only announces activities for the Christian school twice a year- Free Day Trial (where parents and children who do not attend are allowed to sit in on classes and see what the school is like) and graduation. Otherwise, he leaves it up the Parent/Teacher/ Student bulletins that those involved in the Christian school get every Friday to take care of Christian school activity announcements. One last thing he does, demonstrating the importance of the church’s youth pastor, is that the youth pastor is in charge of the church/ school calendar. So, if a sports event is submitted on a day when the youth pastor is wanting to plan a retreat for the kids, he wins out EVERY TIME. At first I thought that perhaps this was bad as someone could very much abuse it, but any privlege can be abused, if not careful. This would certainly be best for a church with the schooled dynamics that they have so that the youth pastor isn’t wondering how many of the youth group might be able to attend something due to a sporting event, etc.

The second workshop that we went to was done by one of the pastors at Bethel Baptist Church who oversees much of the counseling ministry that the church has. The workshop was titled “The ABC’s of Counseling.” This was very helpful to me as it helped me to see some ways that I could improve my counseling ministry with the teens at my church and stay focused on the things that really matter in counseling situations.

Lunch was excellent. With a giant tortilla on the plate, we were able to design our own wraps with the various meats and lettuce, cheeses, and other toppings to our own liking.

After lunch, was the third workshop time, in which we went to hear about a ministry called “Reformer’s Unanimous”, which is headed up by a man named Steve Currington. His testimony is phenominal in how the Lord took him out of a life of alcohol dependancy and gave him a ministry in helping unsaved people break addictive problems and Christians break “stubborn habits” (”Afterall,” he sarcastically stated, “Christians don’t have addictions, do we? We have what we prefer to call ’stubborn habits,’ which are really just various forms of other addictions.”). He shared with us the ten biblical principles that his ministry uses in helping to break sinful addictions and “stubborn” habits.

After this workshop, we got to hear Dr. Sam Horn exposite the word on the subject of Grace and how Grace is not a liberty for sinful living, but a liberty for godly living.

All in all, I can’t wait to go down there again next year. It was too bad that my pastor and his son were unable to go down with us as my pastor was in need for a funeral service on Saturday. However, I’m looking forward, Lord willing, to being able to go down with them next year. Hopefully, they will keep this conference open and unthemed, just letting each of the men involved in the speaking taking what God lays on their hearts to help those of us who are lay leaders in ministry.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Separation: A Fundamental?

Dr. Kevin Bauder, of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on this subject in this week's "In the Nick of Time" Newsletter. If you didn't receive this, here is the link to it on Sharper Iron. There have been many discussions here in the dorms at MBBC about this subject, and I bet it's probably discussed at the other Bible colleges, as well. Thanks Dr. Bauder for presenting this article on how biblical seperation is a proper response to those who reject the fundamentals of the faith.

This will be my last post for the week now that Fine Arts Camp is officially in session.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Psalm 40

This afternoon and evening we had our training for Fine Arts Camp at Maranatha Baptist Bible College.

This afternoon we were taught biblical truths on how to deal with conflict. Galatians 6:1-10 kept coming to mind over and over again as I consider our motives for confrontation. The motive is always in love, humility, and truth.

However, most needed was a short devotional after dinner from Psalm 40 by Dr. David Ledgerwood, the chair of the Fine Arts Department (after church here in town tonight, we went to the Ledgerwoods for dinner). I’ll be honest, I wish I’d had my computer and microphone with me so that I could’ve recorded his comments, but this one sticks out in my mind the most as this has always been my take on Camp Ministry (he has expressed this every year since he started heading up Fine Arts Camp 3 years ago, but it was refreshing to hear it again):

“Though, yes, we want each of the campers to walk away from this camp being better trained and more able to play and perform on their instruments, that isn’t what this camp is all about. This camp is about seeing lives changed for Jesus Christ. This camp is about seeing campers wholly surrender their hearts and their lives to Jesus Christ one step at a time and you [the counselors] being used by God to help them make that step.”
- Dr. David Ledgerwood

Please pray for us and the 90 campers who will be here this week studying instrumental, strings, voice, and speech & drama. Pray that:
1) Every camper would walk away knowing for sure that they will spend eternity in heaven with God as their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, indeed.
2) That every camper would surrender some area of change that needs to be made wholly and completely to God and let Him work in that area of their lives.
3) That every counselor would surrender their lives to wholly loving and serving God with all their hearts, that they might be clean and unblocked channels to be used by God this week of camp.

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.
How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.
Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, You know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; Make haste, O LORD, to help me.
Let those be ashamed and humiliated together Who seek my life to destroy it; Let those be turned back and dishonored Who delight in my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let those who love Your salvation say continually, “The LORD be magnified!”
Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.
- Psalm 40:1-17 NASB

Monday, July 31, 2006

What If? A Contemporary Parable


What if today you found yourself standing at the edge of a crowd assembled just outside the gates of Heaven? A heavey silence is in the air as if something quite unexpected is about to happen.

Suddenly, the gates of Heaven part and two heavenly beings (too small to be cherubim and with too few wings to be seraphim) make their way toward the crowd. Each of them seems to be carrying a clipboard and a pencil. As they meet each person, they appear to jot something on the clipboard and then seem to direct the recent interviewees into one of two lines. This is obviously to you as you assumed Heave would be a place of unity without lines and segregation. It is obvious as you observe the faces of those around that they are troubled, too. "This is Heaven, right?" you think to yourself. "What a ridiculous question- I remember the time and the place, and I even wrote it down in my Bible. I attended church faithfully, I taught Sunday School, I left tracts with my tips, I did the things I was supposed to and didn't do the things I was not supposed to. If that is not evidence of my faith, what could be?" These thoughts seem to add some comfort to your mind, yet those spirits keep making their way through the crowd, and the two lines keep growing- although the left line at a much higher rate than the right.

As those around you begin to realize what is going on, they begin to look a little uncomfortable, as well. The shifting of weight from one foot to another, the fussing of hair, and the fidgeting of fingers in pockets creates a deafening sound of silence that finally breaks as you nudge your beighbor (his name tag reads "Jack") and hoarsely whisper, "What's going on?" Jack shrugs in obvious ignorance, but some of your courage rubs off on him. He nudges his neighbor ("Joy") and soon the whole crowd is rumbling in a kind of holy thunder. A few moments pass- seconds, minutes, hours, months, you're not quite sure- and then Joy whispers something to Jack, and then Jack is at your ear. "It seems as if there have been changes in policy around here. Don't worry, we are difinitely in Heaven. It just appears that some adjustments have been made for the eternal accommodations of its guests," Jack whispers.

You swallow hard, relieved somewhat, but not yet entirely secure. Jack apparently senses your uneasiness and continues, "It appears that many of us have completely lost our appetite for the things of Heaven. Let's face it- not many Christians ever really enjoyed the few moments of prayer, worship, and service we experienced on earth. Not many of us really longed to linger in the presence of Christ and sit at His feet and rejoice in His glory. Those moments when we attempted to love our 'brother' always ended up so awkward, and sometimes forgiveness just felt so unfair- sometimes it might best to let the other guy weat it out a little, let him realize just how bad he is."

You ponder and nod, and Jack continues. "You have got to admit that it was difficult to trust Him down there. First, it's 'rejoice' and it's 'suffer,' next it's 'lost your life' and it's 'gain it'. Now, you're supposed to 'live' and then you're supposed to 'die.' It would have been nice if He could have just made up His mind, and let us get on with our lives- at least that is what some are saying. That's why He is making the change." You are getting impatient by now as you see only a handful of people left in the crowd and the beings are getting closer.

"What change!?" you blurt out in a voice one-decibel too loud for polite whispering. "Right, right, I'm getting to that," Jack continues. It seems that He has decided to finally catch up to the times and recognize the rights of each man's will. Democracy has achieved its greatest victory and He is giving in. Each of us will be given a choice it seems- and both of those are better than the alternative, if you know what I mean. Not that you can feel too sorry for them- they certainly deserve it. I wonder if they get choices down there...."

You are completely frustrated now, and just as you about to grab Jack by the collar and shake the answer out of im, one of the beings calls his name. You are the only one not yet being attended to. Joy was called just before Jack, and you watch as she happily makes her way to the short line. You take a deep breath and step forward in anticipation of your name being called.

The being calls your name, and you look into its face and then divert your eyes to its feet and then to the clipboard. "Welcome to Eternity," the voice states plainly. "You have been granted a final choice for your eternal satisfaction and pleasure. Close your eyes, and I will allow you to see one option of what Heaven could be. I will fill your mind with the images of every earthly pleasure and fantasy you have ever desired. Close them fast and dwell on all that would make you happy for all eternity. Close them and from darkness will ermerge every wish, every dream, every want fulfilled. This can be Heaven for you. A Heaven without want, but a Heaven without Him. Now open your eyes and look to the left. If this is your Heaven, join that line and it will be accomplished as you wish." You open your eyes and see Jack waving to you from the left line- the long line. The spirit speaks again, "Now, lift your eyes and see the Son of Man." You look up and see HIm, the One who came for you and died for you. You look up and see Jesus- that is all.


If heaven contained all the beauty and pleasures that one could imagine, but Christ wasn't there, would you still want to go? Lord, make us pilgrims and strangers to this world, and may Christ be the desire of our weary hearts.

Now, obviously, we know based upon the Scriptures, that a Heaven without Christ would still be a form of Hell. Obviously, Heaven is not this way. However, consider the words of this "parable" very carefully and ask yourself, "If heaven were this way, which line would I be choosing by how I'm living my life?"

Only one life, twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ shall last.

Ravinia and Fellowship

This Friday and Saturday, I went and visited a former student at Maranatha who was my roommate about 3 1/2 years ago. We hadn't seen each other in about 3 years, though he has visited Maranatha a couple of times since deciding to go to college locally (Chicago-ish). We had a blast this weekend just hanging out, talking theology, music, ecumenicalism, as well as getting to see his heart and passion for the salvation of souls.

I also met his wife. They've been married for about 7 months now. I'm so glad to see all of my friends with good, godly wives. It was a joy to meet her, talk to her, find out about her life and how God has brought her to the place she is currently at, spiritually. She is very much perfect for my friend.

While there in Chicago, my friend's dad, through another family at his church, was able to procure tickets to go the Ravinia Music Festival, held nightly by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra throughout the summer. On our particular evening, the music presented was Shostakovich- Symphony No. 15 in A major and Tchaikovsky- Symphony No. 5 in E minor. This was the first time that I have had the opportunity to hear an orchestra of this caliber live (MBBC takes trips every semester to see the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, but I have always needed to work, instead).

Shostakovich's piece was not one which I was familiar with. It had some very complex meterical ideas in the last two movements. The thing that surprised me the most however was how tonal it was. I have heard and played other works by him and have had a hard time enjoying them, but this piece was readily enjoyable upon the first hearing of it. Like the previous two symphonies before it, Shostakovich is preparing musically for his impending death, due to failing health. However, unlike the other two symphonies, this one was less macrbre in sound (at least, according to my program notes as I have not listened to either of those symphonies...yet). It seems as though Shostakovich was more positively looking towards death in this symphony, based on my hearing of it. With quotes from William Tell Overture in the first movement and Tristan and Isolde in the fourth movement, it was quite a fascinating piece to hear.

As for the Tchaikovsky No. 5, hearing this piece brought back a host of memories from almost 2 years ago now when the MBBC Orchestra did the Night of Russia concert, featuring the works of Tchaikovsky, of which Symphony No. 5 was but a part. Most memories were pleasant, until the Chicago Symphony Orchestra started the third movement, of which I am still unable to play to this day. Though I wish we could have, the woodwinds were too exposed and I was too faulty in my playing of that movement for us to play it in our Night of Russia concert. Needless to say, I was wishing I currently had the ability to play it as the professional 1st chair bassoonist had. This next sentence is to my friends who play french horn: you would have much enjoyed the solo in the second movement. By all accounts, my ear claims it was played perfectly, if not near to it. The tone of the professional french horn player was someting that every french horn player at MBBC would be drooling over.

Saturday morning, I went to a prayer/ breakfast meeting with my friend, who is a member of the Gideon Bible Society. The prayer meeting and breakfast were both very encouraging. It was a spiritual blessing to talk with these men and to see their passion for lost souls and the need to get God's Word out to those who are stumbling in the darkness of this world. I have to admit some concerns about the more ecumenical nature of the Society, which I would be uncomfortable with if I was a member. On a personal level, however, these were good, godly men who I have no problem counting as my brothers in Christ. It was a blessing to pray with them and to talk with them about our Great God.

While out and about at Target on Saturday, we had the opportunity to pass out some Tracts/ Gospel of John booklets to the those at the registers taking our money. I'll be honest with you, given what I've seen here in Watertown as far as response to tracts, I didn't really expect much as I handed mine to the lady that took my money. We got to the registers, and I just went straight to the first line that seemed the shortest, and just as the lady was cashing out the order in front of me, I noticed another lady a line over who looked bored out of her mind. So, I went around to her line and had her ring up my order. As she took my signed receipt from my debit card, I asked her if she'd like something to read in her spare time, and she said sure. She took it, and no sooner was I by the exit doors waiting for my friends, and she was reading it. But, as she opened it, I noticed her bend down closer to the book and it appeared as though she was intensly reading what was before her as she opened the book to the page asking if she knew the meaning of her life (which then leads into a Gospel presentation). I went ahead and left with my friend's wife, as she checked out of her line next, and we walked to the car. When my friend came out five minutes later, he said that as he walked out of the store, she was still reading it. PRAISE THE LORD! I don't know if that woman accepted Christ or not, but we determined on the way home that something should be put in the back of the booklets so that someone could call his church after reading that literature. This would allow someone who's read it to get plugged in to a good godly church, should they receive Christ as Savior. If nothing else, maybe they'll visit the church after reading the material and receive Christ as Savior after hearing God's Word preached at church.

All in all, it was a very fun, enjoyable weekend. Spiritual blessings abounded both Friday and Saturday as we spent time together. Though I hate the fact that I lost out on a lot of money by not working this weekend, the eternal blessings I recieved were worth far more than what I lost out on monetarily. These memories will stick with me for the rest of my life. As a believer, I always enjoy hanging out with my friends far more than working in the world.

Once my friend's wife has the pictures developed and sent to me from her camera (I about kicked myself several times throughout the trip for not bringing my own), I will post a group picture of all of us at Ravinia.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pastoral Finances

I found this link through Sharper Iron today, but thought that perhaps some might have missed it. Though I can't agree with all of the theology that is presented in some of the comments, I can say that from a strictly financial standpoint of a pastor who is looking to deal with issues in his church, this might be sound advice.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Prayer and God's Sovereignty

I was organizing a lot of things now that I've finally had some time to get everything moved around and have been able to settle into my new place of residence for the next couple of years until I finish school. While rummaging through my Bible materials storage box, I found amongst the files this quote. Thanks to Dr. Dave Saxon, who provided this quote by displaying it on the bulletin board just outside his office.

Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than wishes. But, while God's sovereignty, along with His wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of that trust."
- Jerry Bridges, Trusting God

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Team China 2

For updates on all of the Team China efforts, click here. This website has a listing of all the various schools who are involved and various things to bear in mind as you think about the members of each team. To update what I stated previously, I didn't know that Piedmont Baptist Bible College also sent some students on this trip. It's wonderful to see what's happening through these trips.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Team China

Just thought you should know to keep in mind those from the various Bible Colleges who are currently overseas with Team China. Keep them in mind as they teach students from all various ages, as well as for those specifically who have been called upon to teach in an area of China that has been closed to English language and culture until this point. May they be able to speak with confidence and boldness as they have all been asked to teach about our culture, our customs, our holidays, and our beliefs.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sports Ministry 2

Okay, just so you don't think I'm TOO biased to Maranatha, I thought it'd be a great idea to post the blog for the Northland Women's Soccer Team as they are now in Germany picking up where MBBC's women's team left off. Thanks to Oliver Meyer- Pastor of Freie Baptisten Gemeinde Erlangen- for providing this link. NBBC Women's Soccer Team blog

Also, in case you haven't been checking, Josh has provided TONS of updates and pictures. Read the blog and rejoice with the soccer teams over God's goodness through their ministry in Germany! Discipleship Through Athletics