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Showing posts from March, 2011

Leadership lessons from David.

Today I want to continue the series of leadership lessons from the Bible by taking a brief look at King David. Now, I freely admit that volumes upon volumes have been written about this man and a short blog post is not going to even begin to do him justice. Alas, I shall try anyway.

1. The first thing that I want to point out about David's leadership, and really his character in general, was his total dependence on God. As we look at his life as recorded 1&2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles and to a certain extent the Psalms, we see a man completely in love with God. One of the best examples of this is found in 1 Samuel 17 when David faces the Philistine Goliath. Two instances stand out among this narrative. The first is in verse 37 when David is explaining to Saul that he is willing and unafraid to fight this mountain of a man. He states quite matter-of-factly, "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine (…

Mutual pursuit

This past weekend I was privileged to be a part of a Discipleship Now (DNOW) weekend with the youth group of Franklin Heights Baptist Church. One of my dearest friends is the youth pastor for Franklin Heights and about a month ago he asked if I would like to come with them and help chaperon and lead some of the sessions. I was excited from the first moment because I had heard of DNOW weekends but had never been a part of one. Needless to say, my excitement was far less than I would find out it should have been. The blessings began even on the trip to Myrtle Beach as a rode with Justin Lucas, another youth pastor from Trading Ford Baptist Church. We spent the entire (what turned out to be) 5 hour trip to the beach discussing every spiritual matter under the sun and if I had turned around and gone straight home the blessing would have been manifold.

The theme for the weekend was a study from Student Life Ministry called "Live Love" and it was a wonderful study of Jesus' co…

"Shu wa waga..." God in Japan.

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I just finished reading a piece from Fox News titled "God in the Rubble. What I saw in Northern Japan." In it, a longtime resident of Japan and child of missionaries tells about his experience looking for friends in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that we are all acutely aware of. Amongst the rubble, he found a piece of wood with the words "Shu wa waga..." written on it. To those of us that know nothing of the Japanese language this is meaningless, but what it translates to in English is powerful. While the entirety of the message is lost, those three words mean this, "The Lord is my way..." In the United States this would not be anything special because there are plenty of people who claim the name of Christ within our boarders. However, in Japan, only 1% or less claim to be Christians. Yet, in the massive rubble and destruction these words were found by a man who understands what they mean and has the means to share it with the world. That i…

Resources available!

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One thing that I love to do is create useful resources for the building up of God's people. Through Number 156 Ministries we currently offer two  different Bible studies for use in various settings. Both of these studies, Radical Faith and Fear This! were born out of my experience in youth ministry. Each of them started out as a lesson series for our youth group and now I want to make them available to you!

Radical Faith is a 10 week survey of several Biblical characters and the qualities that they exhibit. The idea is that these characters and their lives give us an example of what it means to live a life that is totally abandoned to God. Some of the topics include:

Abraham's radical obedience
Gideon's radical strategy
Paul's radical perseverance
Jesus' radical love.

As you will learn the word "radical" has at least two meanings that are useful for us as Christians. First, it means returning to the root of somethings. As Christians it is imperative that w…

Leadership lessons from Number 16.

Here are some lessons that I have drawn from Numbers 16 relating to leadership. To read the passage in its entirety please click here Numbers 16.

1. If you are in a position of lay leadership in a church, be very sure of what you're doing before trying to bring charges against the pastor. If you are a deacon, or on the administrative council, or a trustee, or whatever they call the lay leadership at your church be wary of trying to undo your pastor. This passage tells us that Korah and some 250 leaders among Israelites, "took action and they rose up before Moses." We know from the other narratives about Moses' life and the wanderings in the desert that this was not his first rodeo with unhappy people. Their complaint is found in verse 3, "You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?" Now, this in itself is not the problem. The pr…

"Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" Legalism bites the dust.

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The title of this post comes from Paul's words to the Colossians in chapter 2, verse 21. Over the past five verses or so he has been combating the false gospels and bad theology that has crept into their mindset. Even a cursory reading of many of his letters to the churches shows us that one of Paul's common themes was straightening out people's understanding of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is clear that we, even with two thousand years of history under our belts, still need to have that Gospel clarified for us.

For many, many years I understood the Christian life to be one defined by a lengthy list of things that I was not supposed to do. For instance, as a student I was not supposed to cheat on my work. Why? Because I'm a Christian and Christians don't do that. As a husband I am not supposed to beat my wife or commit adultery. Why? Because, I'm a Christian and Christians don't do that. In reality these are true statements and they are, indeed, thin…

Book review: The Hour That Changes the World.

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Author: Dick Eastman
Subject: Prayer

This book was recommended and given to me by my pastor who was using it himself and using it as a study on Wednesday nights at our church. To be honest, I was a little skeptical when I first saw it because it looked an awful lot like a "method" for prayer. In my mind the only reasonable model for prayer was found in the Lord's Prayer and anything else smelled of "gimmickry." I could not have been more wrong. First of all, Eastman goes to great lengths to show that what he offers us is rooted firmly in the Bible in every way. What he does is offer an hours worth of prayer broken into 12, five minute segments. The reason he gives for framing it around an hour is found in Mark 14:37 when Jesus asks the disciples if they could not even keep watch for one hour. Thus, Eastman take Biblical examples and applies them to each portion of the hour. They are:

Praise and worship
Waiting on the Lord
Confession of Guilt and Sin
Praying Scr…

The place of Revival

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I was just reading some posts on the Charismatica blog on revival in the marketplace and they really sparked my curiosity. The point that is made is that, historically, revival has broken out in various places outside of the Church proper. That is not to say that Holy Spirit revival has come through avenues that are outside of the household of God, but that it has occurred outside the church building. My question is this; are we looking around aimlessly within when we should be fixing our gaze without? That is, do we wrongly assume that God will send a revival in a way that fits into our preconceived notion about it? What these posts from Charismatica hint at is the question, if God sent revival in the marketplace, or the home, or academia, would we embrace it? Let me continue with an example. All over the country there are powerful youth rallies and conferences that see masses of young people set on fire for the Lord. When I was a youth pastor at a United Methodist Church we took our…

Leviticus 19:15 vs. The Social Gospel

When I was in seminary one of the required courses for the Master of Divinity degree was "Liberation Theology." As I have told many people, this was one of the best and most interesting classes I took in school. While I disagree with many of the doctrines that radiate from liberation theologies, it was a well instructed and hugely enlightening class.

(As a side note, the school that I attended was a historically black seminary and so it was a privilege to, not just talk about liberation theologies with a group of outsiders but to dialogue with people who are on the inside of it. In fact, our professor for this particular class studied under James Cone, the author of Black Theology. We faced racial problems head on and all sides of the issues were represented and appreciated. In many ways, in some of our classes we felt that, even in our small group, we were making further progress towards true brotherhood and Christian love.)

Let me move on. As part of this class we learned …

Booyah! Adventure Evangelism.

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Amazing! World's Oldest Travelling Preacher.

Technicolor Dreamcoat starts debate in OT class.

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Last night in our Old Testament survey class we watched a clip from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the classic Andrew Lloyd Weber musical that chronicles, in Broadway fashion, the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis. The reason that I showed this was to critique it as a form of "storying" the Bible. The unforeseen result was a great discussion on the pros and cons of using culture to present the Gospel message. Now, if you are unfamiliar with this show I would encourage you to search for it on Google or Youtube and take a look at it. As I've told many people, the result of having listened to its soundtrack as a child was that I knew the story of Joseph better than just about any other story in the Bible. This, of course, could not be a bad thing. However, as I just mentioned the discussion that followed in class was rather enlightening and I think brought up some very timely points.

The main question that seemed to keep resurfacing was this; how far is t…

By the will of God.

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In my own personal Bible study I've been reading the book of Colossians. The way I'm doing this is the method suggested by John MacArthur in his book How To Study the Bible which is taking a book of the New Testament and reading it all the way through for thirty days straight. Of course, with the longer books it is recommended that you split it up into sections and read each section for thirty days. However, with Colossians it is easy enough to read it completely through each day. To say the least this has been a wonderful exercise in reading God's Word and it is amazing to see how different things stand out each time a book is read.

For instance, today as I began Colossians something jumped out at me in the very first verse. Here Paul is giving his introduction and he says this, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother." Paul was claiming that his apostolicity was not based on his own desires of dreams or those of people clos…