Tuesday, November 24, 2009

John - His Story - A Greenleaf Production

Hey folks,

We want to welcome all of you out for a great time to see the play, "John - His Story" - a 4 person play based on the 7 great signs performed by Jesus Christ that the Apostle John records in his gospel. This will be at Providence at 6pm, Sunday, December 6th. This will be performed by the great folks of "Greenleaf Music & Arts Academy" featuring Savannah Hoit, Elise Veach, Jimmy Trendel and Tommy Trendel.
This play will be acted out through the eyes of the everyday people that John records "Jesus' disciples, the beggars, wedding guests, the wealthy and the ordinary."

Come out for a great time with the family. Bring a plate of cookies/goodies to share and we will have some Starbucks brewing. Likewise, I want to encourage you as we have been talking more and more about evangelism in our Care Groups, I want to encourage you to step out and invite your neighbors to this event. You can download a flyer from Greenleaf by clicking here: http://www.greenleafstudio.org/flyers/John_HisStory.pdf

Lastly, I have to say as a personal plug for the folks at Greenleaf - this is an outstanding group of godly artists. If you have ever been to a Greenleaf production you know what I am talking about when I say that these folks take their mission to glorify God through the arts seriously. I have enjoyed watching Edna and Carolyn, and the rest of the Greenleaf gang seek to put on productions that have a distinctly clear "God-centered" message that my daughter can be part of. You can tell they have purposefully stayed away from "fluffy" pieces, and stayed on target with plays such as "Cross and The Switchblade," "Pocahontas" (the non-Disney, but real version), likewise other productions focusing on the lives of famous missionaries and the like. Also, I have to say from day one I have been so impressed with the demeanor and passion for godliness that so many of the children have. I can't say enough of how impressed I have been by the humble, godly example and environment that the folks of Greenleaf have set!
Come on out it is sure to be a great time to kick off the Christmas season as we celebrate the glorious truth of when "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." See you then!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Beautiful Bride!!!

Today is my beautiful bride's 40th birthday! What a blessing this woman is to me! I created a blog for her birthday that many of her friends and family have posted their birthday wishes to her. Feel free to log on and wish her a happy birthday as well! http://www.annas40thbirthday.blogspot.com/
Wow! I sure married "up"! Thank you Lord for my wonderful bride! Happy birthday sweetie!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The BBQ Song

Hey folks...we all have to have our passions...as BBQ and all food is one of mine...enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Gospel & Social Action - A Message By D.A. Carson

Last year a group of students asked Dr. Carson if he would speak on the topic of "The Gospel & Social Action," as many seem to talk about issues of social action (ministry to the poor, working for issues of justice in society at large) and the gospel as though they might be one in the same. Listening to this very informative lecture, that Justin Taylor has posted on the Gospel Coalition website, will not only help inform someone of the calling to care for the poor, but also to help sharpen and tighten one's grasp on what "the gospel" actually is (to help keep "the main thing" the "main thing"). Enjoy. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/08/06/carson-on-gospel-and-social-action/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Gospel & Ministry To The Poor

In light of our monthly work through our Care Group ministry to the women and children at Forest Avenue Women's & Children's Shelter...read and be fed:

"Like nothing else could ever do, the gospel instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially when such persons are of the household of faith.

When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ. Perhaps some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I. Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I, too, have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me. Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?

Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be blessed and changed as a result of some kindness I show him. If so, God be praised for His grace through me. But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves. Perhaps the person will repent in time; but for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.

The gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me. Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the gospel to my own benefit as well."
- Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doonesbury, Facebook & Parenting

Hey folks, here is something for the very random department. I personally love comic strips, yet I normally don't care for this particular one (because of its political slant, etc.) but I had to say this one was absolutely true to life! I had to pass this one along... www.gocomics.com/doonesbury/2009/11/08/

Sunday, November 8, 2009

International Day of Prayer For the Persecuted Church

Hey folks, I trust that the Lord ministered to you through this morning's service and our time spent with one another in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe. As you think about our time I wanted to forward on to you some links of some helpful organizations that have both some prayer resources as well as helpful bible studies about persecution as well that you could go through with your family this week.Voice of the Martyrs http://www.vom.org/ International Day Of Prayer For The Persecuted Church http://www.idop.org/ It was a great time this morning! Take care and have a wonderful week praying for our brothers and sisters.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why Church Planting? By Dave Harvey

Hey folks...again as I have said on other posts...many folks shouldn't be blogging...I think I am in that group...so one of my tasks is going to point you to guys you should be reading. Here is one such man, Dr. Dave Harvey. He serves our family of churches in the area of church care and church planting. He has his doctorate from Westminster in the area of church planting and has overseen the planting of many churches. He brings much to the table for us all to learn from. Here is the a link to the first of several posts he is giving on answering the question... "Why Church Planting?" Enjoy! http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/Blog/post/Dave-Harvey-Why-Plant-Churches-(1).aspx

Friday, November 6, 2009

Theologically Sound - Christian Rap/Hip Hop...

Hey folks...here is one for the really random department. Rap is not necessarily my thing as far as musical genres go...but sound theology is and when it is sung to and in all cultures it is a gloriously beautiful thing. Here is a link to one of CJ's latest posts on Christian Hip Hop... http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/Blog/post/Christian-Hip-Hop-interview.aspx

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seminary, The Local Church, The Pastor's College and a Good Friend

(How's that for a title to a blog post?) This last week I received an article published by "BulletinInserts.org" by a good and recent friend that have come to know over the last couple of years, Steve Burchett. His article entitled "Seminary Is Dangerous," just reminded me of God's grace at work in my own life in the past 10+ years. In his article Steve talks about the need for and the centrality of the local church in the life, training and development of a pastor, as well as some very real pit falls "seminary life" can provide. I wanted to forward this article on because I felt was it helpful in identifying some aspects to consider as some contemplate "seminary life."

I went to seminary - however, if it were not for my precious local church - Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena, where I had godly, humble men who provided an example for me as to what it actually looked like to not just sit around in a coffee shop and pontificate about theology and "great" ideas, but to actually apply it in their own lives of the "gloriously mundane" everyday life of being a husband and father first. I thank God for pastors such as Mark Mullery, Ron Boomsma and Lynn Baird! They provided an example for me as a young seminarian to apply what one wise (and right) Systematic Theology Professor told us on our first day of classes, "You won't learn theology here...we can tell you about it, and teach you about it...but you won't know it, until you apply it...and you can't apply it here as it is intended and put forth for us in Holy Scripture. We see in Holy Scripture the place to apply it is in the context of the local church, not a seminary. We will only teach you some things...but you won't know it until you walk it out in the grit of everyday life in a community called "the local church." I thank God for that professor for doing his job - he pointed me back not to the loftiness of the "greatness" of my own ideas (what a joke), but instead to the importance of the local church. As a young seminarian, I encountered men that I wanted to be like, because they were pursuing Christ. Men who were not famous, nor flashy, but faithful where they lived. Sinless? No. Humble? Yes, although they were quick to confess their own pride and shortcomings. To these great pastors - Mark, Ron, Lynn and many others like them - thanks for being great husbands and fathers first! You have been and continue to be great examples for me - I only hope I might be able to follow Christ, as you have!

With this I wanted to also share how thankful I am for Sovereign Grace Ministries' Pastor's College. I went there after seminary, and I have to say - what I experienced there dwarfed the 3+ years of seminary life. "Seminary life" by itself is a lonely life. Yet, the Pastor's College was different, it was theological training that I was prepared for because of the local church, it was rooted in a local church and focused to send me out to pastor a local church. It was different also in that, for many of the reasons Steve mentions, it focused on the importance of one living one's theology in the home, in a local church - this is the starting point of an elder - how he is at home, with his wife, kids and other brothers. I could go on and on (which I am afraid I have). But Steve, thanks bro for a great article! Thanks for provoking us all (not just seminary folks) to love Christ, to love the local church and to pursue biblical application in humility! Thanks bro!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Luther: The Movie

I know this movie has been out for some time, but this movie is simply outstanding! And if you are looking for a great movie to sit down with the family to watch during this autumn season, I would highly recommend "Luther" the movie. It stars Jospeh Fiennes and is directed by Eric Till. It is beautifully done. Take some time and just use it not only as a tool to remind our children (and ourselves) of the rich history we have in the Reformation. Use it specifically to bring up and teach the truths of the inerrancy of Scripture and error of man; the meaningless of attempting to be declared justified by our works, and to rejoice in justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone for God's glory alone. Pop some popcorn and have a great time as a family!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Never Recant - Always Reforming

A great hero of the faith (who is still living - Mark Kettler) wrote me this week in the comment section of this blog concerning the great privilege we have of celebrating the time of the Reformation. Below are the comments from his post - read them and may we be forever finding ourselves "reforming" our lives over and over again in accordance with the Holy Scriptures - may we never "recant" from rejoicing, standing in, preaching, loving and living God's precious word!

"October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church. He later faced a tribunal, excommunication and potential execution for his stance in favor of God's Word and against the Roman Catholic Church. Here are his now famous closing words spoken before his accusers:"Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted [convinced] of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."