June 27, 2009

House Cleaning [June 27, 2009]

I am going to try and start doing a week post consisting of links to other blog posts that I found significant for whatever reasons. The above title is just the tenuous title for the series. If someone can think of a better title, please let me know.

  • The Flea and The Man, My friend, Mike, helps us see from Aesop’s Fables and John Owen’s ‘Mortification of Sin’, why we should endeavor to squash out any hint of sin in our lives.
  • This past week was the Southern Baptist National Convention, so there was a lot about that going around the blogosphere. There were several posts on Morris Chapman’s comments, the best example is Dr. James Galyon’s post ‘Chapman’s Oversight.’ After many years of trying to wage a war on culture, it seems that the Convention is starting to get its act together and make the main thing the main thing, namely the Gospel and its proclamation. Because of this, and for other reasons, there were many good reports from the convention, and here are a few of examples: iMonk, James Galyon, and Tom Ascol.
  • The Marks of Saving Faith (Pt. 1, Pt. 2), Dr. MacArthur explains what are and are not signs of genuine saving faith.
  • There has been a resurgence of people who are trying to create modern hymns, or songs that are truly worshipful of God, rather than the man-centered fluff that characterizes much of contemporary praise and worship music. A shining example of this attempt to get back to truly God-centered worship is the husband and wife duo, Keith and Kristyn Getty. Dr. Galyon rights about them briefly and has a video of their awesome song ‘In Christ Alone,’ on his ‘Theology on Thursday’ post.
  • As someone who has criticized Mark Driscoll before, the iMonk’s post on ‘Why Mark Driscoll Shouldn’t Bug Ya’ was good to read.

For those viewing this on Facebook or e-mail, you may need to follow this link to see the video: Keith & Kristyn Getty "In Christ Alone"

June 25, 2009

In Need of Assistance Please Help [2nd Draft]

After six months of turning applications for secular positions and never getting so much as a call back, I sent of six resumes to churches seeking Youth Pastors a few weeks ago and, as of last week, I have been contacted by four of the six. So, I ask that anyone out there who reads this please be in prayer for me, that I would be sensitive to God's leading in whatever happens.

Also, one of the churches that contacted me sent me questionnaire. I have responded to all of the answers, but would like other peoples input. If you are willing and able, would you please read over what follows and challenge me if something I said seems off or whatever. In advance, thank you to anyone that my reply.



YOUTH PASTORAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONAIRE


  1. How do you interpret the role of a Youth Pastor?

    I interpret the role of a Youth Pastor to be much like that of any other pastor or minister of the Gospel, namely the primary responsibility is to preach the Word of God and the Gospel that it contains and to model, in their life, the content of what they preach. I also interpret the role of a Youth Pastor to be such that he would assist the Senior Pastor in the training, equipping, and enabling of parents to disciple their children.

  2. What is your vision for youth in the church today?

    I believe that in the society today, adults have come to expect too little of teenagers and because the adults do not expect much of them, they don't expect much of themselves. They expect teenagers to be lazy and do nothing more than sit around and listen to their iPod or play video games, etc. My vision is that both parents and teenagers would see the urgency of our situation. As Christians, we are at war with spiritual forces constantly, and the only weapon that we have in this war is God's Word. My vision for youth is to see them going deep in their reading and studying of the Bible, seeking to apply it to their lives, and live out its truths.

  3. What are your beliefs about the Bible, The Church, Salvation, the work of the Holy Spirit?

    The Bible is God's inerrant, infallible, inspired Word and is the primary tool that we have in our growth in Godliness.

    The Church is the body and bride of Christ, outside of which there is generally no salvation. All true believers should seek to enter into fellowship with other believers, entering into this covenant community through the ordinance of baptism for the purpose of mutual encouragement and discipline.

    I believe that salvation, from first to last, is wholly the work of God. From eternity past God the father chose out of all people a covenant community for himself and destined them for eventual Christ-likeness. In time God the Son, Jesus, secured the redemption of God's covenant people by His death on the Cross. And God the Spirit applies that redemption to all those who turn in faith to Christ's finished work.

    The work of the Holy Spirit is first to bring about spiritual regeneration enabling people to repent of sin and turn to Christ in faith. Secondly, the work of the Holy Spirit is to apply the secured redemption purchased by Christ to the one who turns in faith, as I already stated. Thirdly, the work of the spirit in the believer is to grow them in holiness before God, by preparing their hearts to receive the teaching of God's Word.

  4. What is your belief on the Genesis account of creation?

    My position on the Genesis account of creation is that God spoke all of creation into existence and fashioned it by the power of His might. Whether, that was in six literal days or in six epochs of timeor some other thing, I am not sure.

  5. What version of the Bible do you prefer & Why?

    In my reading, devotions, and preaching I use the English Standard Version of the Bible. I use this version because it is very accurate in its translation of the original languages. Also, I enjoy the ESV because of the language that it uses, it being simultaneously easy to read, but also not shying away from the theological language that has been present in both Testaments from the time of their writing.

  6. How do you believe a person can be saved? Can anyone be saved?

    I believe that a person can only be saved by the grace of God alone, through faith in Christ alone, and because of the perfect righteousness of Christ alone.

    My answer to the second part of this question is three-fold. Firstly, no one can be saved apart from Christ. Secondly, from the perspective of God, not all will be saved. Thirdly, from the perspective of man, all peoples can be saved, if they turn to Christ in salvation.

  7. Share your salvation experience:

    When in High School, I had a group of friends share the Gospel with me. I was not saved at that time, but several years later, God used the turmoil surrounding the birth of my eldest son to break my spirit and bring me to a place of repentance and submission.

  8. Describe your call to the ministry?

    From the time I was a small boy, I have loved to study and teach. When I was younger, I would study about archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, astronomy, biology, physics, etc. When God saved me, this love of studying and teaching was brought to bear on the Bible.

  9. Describe your greatest strength/ weakness as a Youth Pastor?

    My strengths and weaknesses as a Youth Pastor flow from a common source. My greatest strength, I believe, is that I expect much of teenagers. I don't cut them any slack for being 'just kids' because teenagers aren't 'just kids,' they are young adults and I believe they should be treated as such. However, at the same time, I also, at times, expect too much of teenagers, not taking into account the transitional period they are in, in their lives.

  10. How would you counsel youth: that are experiencing family problems? drug problems? spiritual problems? peer problems? Please explain.

    Without knowing the circumstances, it would be impossible to tell you exactly how I would counsel youth in these situations. However, no matter the case, I would seek to point them to Christ and to follow His example. I would also try to bring in the parents in on all of these situations, since it is their duty to disciple their children in the Lord.

  11. How would you counsel a young woman or young man alone? (Explain)

    Before I give my answer, I would like to say that I am assuming that this question is about boundaries and integrity with the opposite sex. That being said, I would not council a young woman alone, if I counseled them at all. If a young woman came to me seeking counsel, I would either have her talk to my wife or some other godly woman in the church or wait until such time as one of those afore mentioned people could join me in counseling that individual.

  12. If married, what is your wife's roll in your ministry?

    My wife's role in my ministry will primarily be that of support. She will tend to our children and make sure that our home is a safe place for me to land when I am there, giving me support and encouragement and whatever way she can. Outside of her activities in the home, she would assist other ways, such as counseling young women, as needed, and being there to bounce ideas off of or to read over messages.

  13. If married, have you or your wife been previously married? If yes explain.

    Neither my wife nor I have been married before.

  14. Are there any circumstances in your personal life and/or family that would affect your youth pastorate?

    There are no such circumstances that I know of that would affect my youth pastorate, other than the needs of my own family, which must come first.

  15. Tell us about your devotional life and plans for personal growth.

    My devotional life is like that of anyone else: I have up times where God is really speaking to me and I have down times where I am not getting anything out of the Word and even times where I am struggling to get into the Word at all. Currently, I am reading in the psalms and getting ready to go through the book of Galatians. As far as plans for spiritual growth, the only plans I have are to continue to read my Bible, seek to sit under good Godly preachers, and unite in fellowship with other believers for the purpose of worship and mutual discipline and proclaiming the Gospel to the nations.

  16. Are you willing to boldly speak Gods true word and preach the Bible if called upon?

    Yes, it is the duty of anyone who would preach the Word to do so boldly. However, they must do so not only with boldness, but also with humility because in that role, the message they proclaim is not their own, they are serving as the mouth-piece of God.

  17. How would you integrate the youth group with other age groups that make-up the membership of the Church?

    It is my belief that parents are the ones responsible for their children's discipleship, and thus, their involvement with the rest of the church body. However, I would do my part to encourage the youth to join in regular worship services, and not just youth services. I would also seek to bring in other members of the church, from various age groups, assist in youth services, counseling, accountability, mentorship, and teaching.

  18. How comfortable do you feel about working with other age groups that make-up the membership of the church?

    It makes me uncomfortable to work with other age groups, but not necessarily in a bad way. Working with other age groups, challenges me to get out of my comfort zone and enable me to see life and ministry from other perspectives.

  19. What is your philosophy on missions and music?

    Missions are an essential part of the Christian life. However, missions does not necessarily entail taking a trip to someplace else. As Christians, we should constantly be living on mission, seeking to make Christ known wherever we are.

    I love music and think that it is a great way to express our praise and worship to God. I prefer traditional hymns mostly because they seem to focus more on God, rather than the experience of the individual believer. However, I do also appreciate some newer praise songs because they have tried to regain the God-ward focus that is intrinsic to true worship. All of that being said, I am not very gifted musically; so, in order to incorporate music into youth services I would need the assistance of someone in the church.

  20. What are your views on homosexuality and abortion?

    Abortion is murder. Homosexuality is a sin. Although that is the case, the people that commit these things are still human beings, and thus, are fellow image-bearers of God and should not be ostracized. In the eyes of a holy God all sin is equally offensive and deserving of His wrath and condemnation. Also, if that person puts their trust in Christ, that sin will be equally forgiven.

  21. Are you leaving your current church due to conflict? (If yes explain.)

    No, I am not leaving my church because of conflict.

  22. Have you ever been asked to resign from a position in a church? If yes, Explain.

    No, I have never been asked to resign from a ministry position.

  23. Have you ever been arrested? If yes explain.

    No, I have never been arrested.

  24. Would you be willing to have a criminal records check?

    Yes, I would be willing to have my criminal record checked.

June 24, 2009

Bad News From Back Home

imageThis morning, a football coach from back near where I grew up was shot this morning.  Ed Thomas was the head football coach for the Applington-Parkersburg  school district.  This morning, while supervising the team’s summer weight lifting program, an unknown man walked up to Thomas pointed the gun at his head and shot him.  He died shortly after at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, IA.  The man that shot him was captured shortly afterwards and is currently in the Butler County jail.

Parkersburg, the home of the AP school district is 15, or so, miles North of my home town, Grundy Center.  I don’t remember Thomas, specifically, but I remember playing against his team occasionally and how unstoppable they were.  They were nearly always one of the top ranked teams in the state.  The team was good enough that Thomas had four of his former players go on to play in the NFL, which is a very high rate for any team, let alone one from the-middle-of-nowhere Iowa.

I don’t know the condition of his soul, whether or not he was right with Christ, but I hope the best for him and will be praying for his family.

June 23, 2009

Dan Phillips on Prayer

This morning, Dan Phillips, over at Pyromaniacs, posted a great classic post of his on “What Prayer Is and Isn’t.”  I recommend that you all go and read the post, but here is my run down on it:

The concept of prayer has become overly laden with evangelical sentimentality to the point where prayer has become the ‘end all’ and ‘be all’ of the Christian life.  Prayer is not a conversation with God, it is not a dialogue, and our prayers certainly have no intrinsic power in and of themselves.  Prayer is simply us talking to God in petition, supplication, praise, thanksgiving, etc.  When God talks to us, that is called revelation and we have received the fullness of that in His Word, the Bible.

June 22, 2009

An Inspiring Display of Being gripped by the Gospel

Watch this video:

(HT: Mike)

This guys passion for the Gospel makes me uncomfortable, in a good way.  I am scared to leave my house at times, and here is this guy out on skid row in Los Angeles preaching his heart out.  God forgive my unbelief!  Give me the courage to preach the Gospel where ever I am!

June 12, 2009

Some Links

I was doing some catching up on blog reading today and came across a couple of them that I though I would post here.

 

  1. Frank Turk over at Pyromaniacs wrote a very good post (including the posts in the comment section) on what is biblically expected of men desiring the position of elder/bishop/pastor – he must be blameless.  After reading this I am more convinced that I should not be a pastor – yet.  Desiring that position is a good and noble thing, but a pastor should be a model of godliness, and I am not that.  I am growing in Christ, yes, but I still have a ways to go.
  2. Over at Reformation21, Guys Waters posted a good review of N.T. Wright’s new book, Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision.  I have not read the book yet, but would really like to.  If nothing else, so that I can be more aware of the teachings of Wright, who is one of the most influential scholars of the day.
  3. Also, I discovered a new blog today.  It is called Cal.vini.st.  In honor of his first anniversary, he is giving away two free copies of BibleWorks 8.

Cal.vini.st Anniversary Giveaway

The Cal.vini.st blog is giving away two free copies of BibleWorks 8 in honor of their blogs first anniversary.  Go and check it out!

June 10, 2009

My Heart, Idolatry, Sin, and Loving Jesus

Something that I suffered from, and always have, is a near constant and overwhelming fear about nearly anything and everything.  So much so that I have seriously considered applying for disability, just because this fear drives me to the point where I can barely function as an individual.  However, there is something that am starting to realize.  First, fear is a sin.  It indicates a lack trust in Christ as the all sovereign king of all creation.  Secondly, like all sin, this really boils down to a matter of idolatry.  Elevating my comfort as my supreme desire and, thus, robbing Christ of the glory he is due.  This sin has run its course long enough.  It has led to me sinning other areas as well: not providing for my family because I am too afraid to face an employer on a daily basis, which makes me worse than an unbeliever; and, probably most devastating, I don’t share the gospel as I ought because I am afraid of not doing something right.  There are numerous other things that I could mention, but you get the picture.  This is my prayer: “God, do a fresh work of grace in my heart.  Help me to love Jesus more than my comfort.  Lord, give me good, Godly, men in my life that will come along beside me a push me, hold me accountable, and help me to see and seek you when I can’t on my own.  And, God, thank you for those few individuals, that are already in my life and doing this.”

June 9, 2009

Wrestling with Greek

Today I was wrestling with the Greek text of Romans 3:26c, for a sermon I am preaching this Sunday, which in the UBS GNT 4th revised edition reads:

… εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν δίκαιον καὶ δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἐκ πίστεως ʼΙησοῦ.

I am especially wrestling with the meaning of the first five words.  I have only had one year of Greek, which was nearly 3 years ago now.

Here is what I have so far:

  • I believe that the random article (in the accusative neuter singular) is nominalizing the prepositional phrase (per Wallace, 236), so
  • I believe αὐτὸν, though in the accusative is functioning as the subject of the infinitive, εἶναι (present infinitive of εἰμί).
  • I believe that both δίκαιον and δικαιοῦντα are acting as the objects of the same infinitive.

Now, what does that all mean?  I have no idea really.  This is a little bit beyond me, and I haven’t even gotten to the last part of this.  If there is anyone that actually reads this and can help, would you please?