Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Gotch, Jr.?

Well, the rumor is true. Kristi and I are expecting, well, not really me, but Kristi is expecting. She is due June 26th. How about that, I am going to be a dad. Is that scary or what? Well, I guess that is not as scary as Scott being a dad. We won't know what it is until Feb., but we won't be those weirdos that don't tell anyone (no offense to any of you weirdos). I will let you know as soon as possible what it will be and the name. If you have any suggestions let me know? Thanks to everyone that is praying for us, I look forward to this exciting time in my life. I hope to post some pics of the baby from the belly soon.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Blogging has taken a back seat!

Sorry that I have been absent from the blogashpere for so long. I have been really busy with my church and life in general. On top of all that we have been having internet problems at the church for about a month. I have a lot to say as of late, but seem have less time to say it. The main issue that I am thinking about and reading about is the emerging church. I am reading a couple different books: Emerging Churches by Gibbs and Bolger and Blue Like Jazz by Miller. I would also like to read some books by Mclaren in the near future. I am trying to wrap my mind around this movement and the issue surrounding it. The main question in my mind is "is the emerging church movement overall good or bad for Christianity?" The secondary question is, "I have been conditioned to believe Post-modernism is bad, so how can churches and Christians now claim to be post-modern?" If you would like to help me in my quest for answers please feel free to post a comment. I hope to be blogging on a regular basis soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

WiFi Woes

I had planned to blog live from the Indiana Baptist State Convention, but the wifi that was promised in the hotel was not working. However, over the next couple of days I will be posting updates on the Pastor's Conference and the State Convention. Check back soon for these updates.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Common Sense Media

As some of you might know I am always looking for new websites to check media content. I believe Christians should experience secular media (Movies, Music, TV, Video Games, Books, etc.). But we must check to content of the media first. I have found a really good website: Common Sense Media. This website is not a Christian website, but does offer some very good articles on most popular media. Check it out and give me names of other sites that rate media. I have compiled a list over at our student website,

Indiana Pastor's Conference and State Convention

Next week is the Indiana Pastor's Conference and State Convention at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, IN. I will be there with my computer and as unexciting as it might sound, I will be blogging. This may not draw as much attention as the national convention, but each state convention is very important.

I am most excited about the Pastor's Conference. Alan Scott, the Senior Pastor at my church is the president this year. Basically that means he plans the whole things. The theme that he has picked is "Word of God Speak", more specifically what does God's Word has to say today in the areas of family, church, and culture. He has secured three very good, well known speakers.

Word of God Speak
Dr. Jimmy Scroggins
Dr. Scroggins is the Dean of Boyce College and Minister to Students are Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, KY

Dr. Hershael York
Dr. York is President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Senior Pastor of Buckrun Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY, and Preaching Professor at Southern Seminary

Dr. Ergun Caner
Dr. Caner is an renowned author and speaker. He is also the Dean of Liberty Seminary in Lynchburg, VA.

So, if you are in the Muncie area and want to hear some really great preaching then come by the Horizon Convention Center either Sunday night or Monday morning. Also, check out my blog next week for updates. This convention should be the best in years.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Porn Industry: Behind the Scenes

As you probably know I am a huge fan of XXX Church's ministry. Craig and Mike are two guys that are waging a war on porn in an unconventional way. They are not only helping people kick the porn habit, but also reaching out to people in the pornography industry. They have a website, a blog, a national porn awareness day, and many other things going on, but one of their most excited new endeavors in their new internet radio show.

Because of their ministry they have been able to make friends with people in the porn industry (gasp) and they talk to them on their radio show. It is like a behind the scenes tour into the lives of these people. They talk to a famous pornographer Jimmy D who shares that he will not let his son, who I think is 9 or 10, on the computer alone. They also talk with Moonshine, who is a retired porn star that made a documentary to expose how some porn makers trick girls into doing hardcore and even sick and twisted porn. That's right, there are people in the porn industry with morals.

Christians, do you see what is happening here? People in the porn industry are trying to protect young people from porn. What are our churches doing? Nothing, most are silent on the issue. It is like the big elephant in the room that no one is talking about. Many people, including a rising number of women, struggle with porn. And if the statistics are correct many ministers struggle with porn. However, Christians are silent. We need to be leading the charge: reaching out to these people in the porn industry, put the problem on the table for discussion, and help other people kick this habit.

Check out Craig and Mike's radio show and website. Be prepared for a shock, they are extreme to most Christians, but maybe it is time for an extreme minstry against an extreme industry.

Porn Statistics
More Stats including one on Pastors

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Smitty Weighs In

For more on the Freedom In Christ issue, check out Smitty City. He is a good friend of mine from Lexington, KY. This is a really good post on the issue.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Freedom in Christ

Since, I have now been called a legalist, (however if you lived in northwest Indiana with the Independent Baptist Churches I believe your idea of legalism would change), un-scholarly, and all around bad guy. I figure we need to explore the issue of freedom in Christ. What does in mean to have freedom in Christ?

I have seen many people enjoy areas, not just alcohol, in the name of freedom in Christ. I have seen seminary students listen to music and watch all kinds of movies that they should not because of freedom in Christ. They feel that they are mature enough to enjoy these things and not be effected by them.

Just a note to all of you that call me a legalist. Let's take music for example, I am not against secular music at all. I have stood up against people that say only Christian music should be played all the time. I say that we need to look at the media and judge it based on content. If an band has content that is bad (i.e. obscene language, racial slurs, sexual imagery, etc.) then it should not be listened to by a Christian. The same goes for movies, TV, video games, etc.

At this point you might be asking yourself what does this have to do with alcohol. Well, this all falls into what Dr. Daniel Akin calls the gray areas of life. These are the areas in life that are ambiguous in the Bible. For instance the Bible never says that we shouldn' drink or the bible doesn't say anything about music. So how do we handle these areas? In a theology class that Dr. Akin taught at Southern Seminary, he address these gray areas.

The Gray Areas of Life
1 Corinthians 6:12-11:1

1. Will this action edify self? 6:12
2. Will this action enslave my soul? 6:12
3. Will this action exalt the Savior? 6:13; 10:31
4. Will this action encourage other saints? 8:13
5. Will this action evangelize sinners? 10:32, 33
6. Will this action emulate my Savior? 11:1

If any thing that I wish to partake in is on the fence, I use this criteria to judge my actions. As I look at the issue of freedom in Christ, I understand that we can do many things, but not everything is beneficial to our Christian walk. This is the very issue that Paul is addressing when he writes 1 Cor. 6:23-24,

"Everything is permissible" but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible" but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."

We as Christians should be looking at these gray areas of life and judge them by the principles in 1 Corinthians. We should not be looking to see how much we can dance around sin and still not sin, but be looking for ways to be closer to God. We must be asking how can we glorify God and reach people for Christ.

Please understand my heart, it is not to lay down rules for Christians. My heart is to see Christians be a godly example to all people. We need to reach people with the gospel using God's Word and our lifestyles.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Worst American Idol Perfomance Ever!

Even if your not a fan of the show you have to appreciate how terrible this guy is. He is wearing a T-shirt from Random Shirts. Did he try to get on the show just for publicity? Whatever the reason he is terrible.

Worst Idol Performance Ever

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Home Groups

Our church is making a move to home groups. We are making this change for two reasons. First, space (I know, this is a really bad reason to do home groups). Second, I have read Andy Stanley's book Creating Community and feel like he has the right idea. We want to create a sense of community better than we have in Sunday School. We want this community to be one of fellowship, support, and most importantly studying God's Word.

My question is to those that have been apart of a Home Group that was either successfully or unsuccessfully...

1. How does it work with the kids; what do you do during the home groups and Sunday Morning?

2. What do you do with the students?

3. If the students are in a Home Group then how have the parents handled the transportation issues?

4. What are some things to look out for? What are some things that we must do?

5. What are some good resources that can be used to training and teaching the principles of a Home Group?

Any helpful information from anyone that has started or has been in a church that did or does Home Groups would be helpful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jesus and Drinking - Revisted

Over at Steve McCoy's blog Reformissionary he links to an interesting discussion that took place at Southern Seminary about Alcohol and Ministry. I have read his blog and listened to the audio of the discussion at Southern. I am disturbed by some blasting of Mohler and others involved in the discussion. This issue is not an issue of religious freedom; to me this is an issue of Christian selfishness. Why is it so important for so called enlightened Christians find excuses for drinking? I originally posted my argument against Christian drinking back in March. I have reposted this article and made some follow-up comments at the end. Please read my re-post and tell me what you think.

Original Post: March 18, 2005
My message on Sunday to the students deals with Jesus’ servant attitude and how we must put others before ourselves like Jesus did. The passage is the Wedding in Cana (John 2) where Jesus does his first miracle by turning water into wine. This passage has become a topic of discussion not because Jesus performed a miracle, but rather because Jesus seems to be okay with drinking.

Many Christians as well as non-Christians point to this passage to find approval for drinking. While it is true that Jesus did drink wine, as did most people of that day. Their have been several attempts to legitimize this passage; one being that some saying the wine was not as strong as today. I am not sure that there is a way to prove the alcohol content back in Jesus’ day. This argument seems to fall flat. Other arguments that are extra-biblical seem to also fall flat. The answer, I believe, is found in the scriptures.

When trying to interpret the Bible, the rule of thumb is that any unclear passage is always interpreted by clear passages. With this in mind I looked into other passage dealing with drinking. The Bible frequently refers to being drunk as a sin. (Romans 13:13) The scriptures never show that Jesus was drunk or endorsed heavy drinking. The wine that Jesus drank was always with dinner and appeared to be enough to satisfy thirst.

So does this mean it is okay for Christians to drink? A couple rules apply before I answer that question. Being drunk is a sin and should never be allowed in a Christian’s life, also we must obey any laws in place about drinking (i.e. legal drinking age being 21) I believe it is up to each individual Christians to decide for himself. My wife and I have chosen not to drink at all even casually. The reason lies in one more scripture that we have not discussed. Paul examines the issue of eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians 10.

You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is helpful. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial. Don't think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

If someone who isn't a Christian asks you home for dinner, go ahead; accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you and don't ask any questions about it. Your conscience should not be bothered by this. But suppose someone warns you that this meat has been offered to an idol. Don't eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person. Now, why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it? Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:27-31

Paul answers the problem by saying that even though you are allowed to eat the meat that has been sacrificed to idols you shouldn’t if it will cause another person to stumble. I never want to be the reason that some other Christians decide to drink. I want to be an example of godliness. I believe that it is wrong for a Christian in our society to drink, because it would cause himself or others to grow further from Christ. Our goal as Christians is not to drink, but rather to grow closer to Christ everyday and drinking is not a part of that growth.

-------------Article End---------------

Steve McCoy tells us that the issue is not Alcohol but rather legalism. I don't ever want to a legalist; however the issue at hand is neither legalism nor alcohol. The issue is Christian selfishness. Paul spoke on an issue related to this discussion to the Corinthian church. Paul's position was we should give up whatever we need to to spread the gospel and disciple other Christians. How can we call ourselves godly if we are causing others to stumble? Alcohol is seen in a different light than it was 2000 years ago. It was not an issue, but eating sacrificed meat was. Can Paul eat sacrifice meat? Of course, but what if he did and it caused someone to stumble, would it be worth it?

Pastors have adults, teenagers, and children looking to them for a godly example. Is it setting a godly example for the pastor to drink? Not when there are families in my church that are deeply affected by alcohol. How can I say it is ok for me to drink in moderation, and not for that church member to get drunk? The people will never go above the spirituality of the spiritual leader in the church. It is just a fact, you might not like it or you might have an example of an exception, but for the most part members will never exceed the spiritually of the pastor. The people that are for Christian drinking at being selfish, they want to do what they want to do whether anyone is effected or not. Quit acting like children, step up and be godly men and women.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Dr. Lawless named Dean of Graham School

As Dr. Rainer is moving to Lifeway this month a new dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at Southern Seminary must be named. Dr. Lawless is that man that will lead the Graham school into the next generation. He is well qualified and the best choice to fill this position. I am excited to see the future of the school under his leadership.

Read the entire BP News article here.

Friday, September 23, 2005


See You At The Pole was a huge success this year. Our students have not really done this event in the past, so to have many of our own students’ participating was very exciting. For those that don't know, SYATP was started in the mid-90's. Students from all over the country gather around their schools flagpoles to pray for their schools, teachers, and peers. While this event is huge in southern states like Texas and Kentucky it is not well known in the north. The students at our church attend one of seven schools in the area. I was so excited to see 140 students at those different schools. Most of the 140 go to other churches, but about 3/4 of our youth group was involved.

Student often get stereo-typed as just wanting to have fun and not wanting to have anything to do with spiritual activities. Often youth pastor's give into that and only plan fun events with little or not spiritual component. I was very glad to see our students step up for an event that was based around the spiritual act of prayer. They didn't have to be involved, but they took a stand for God this past Wednesday. This is a lesson for all youth pastors including myself, students can be excited about spiritual activities. Students don't want dumb-downed Christianity; they want to be challenged and stretched.

Well, I am off to the next event, Bible Fear Factor. Do you think the students will eat locust and wild honey?

Click here for SYATP pics from the schools in Lake County.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NASCAR Final Ten

Jeff and Andrea Spoiler Alert! (If you are J & A, don't read anymore)

Now we have entered into the final ten races of the NASCAR Nextel Cup. For those that don't know, NASCAR has tried to make things a little more exciting by only allowing the top ten drivers to compete for the championship in the final ten races. So the scores are reset and these ten drivers will be in a shoot out for the next ten weeks. The final top ten drivers are:

1. Tony Stewart
2. Greg Biffle
3. Rusty Wallace (Retiring)
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Kurt Busch
6. Mark Martin (Retiring)
7. Jeremy Mayfield
8. Carl Edwards (Rookie)
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Ryan Newman

I would like to see either Rusty or Mark win this thing just because they are retiring. It would be awesome to see them go out in a blaze of glory. Personally I am rooting for Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Who has the best chance of winning? Really, it is anybodies race. Greg and Jimmie were on fire at the beginning of the season, while it seems Kurt and Tony have turned it on at the end. I am glad to see such a diverse group of men both young and old; and I am extremely glad that ol' Jeff Gordon did not make the cut. Is that correct Christian behavior? Oh well, this is NASCAR.

September - Blog of the Month

And the Blog of the Month goes to............
Wes Cooper with his Cooperstown blog. I have known Wes for many years, he grew up being friends with my brother. What can I say this guys is amazing: student, movie star, all around great guy. I am so proud even though I didn't have a thing to do with his growing up. You will enjoy his blog because he his extremely funny, especially if you have lived in Lexington or have gone to Porter Memorial Baptist Church or are a UK fan. And if you have all this in your past like me, then it is hilarious. Check him out and be prepared to laugh.

Take a bow Wes and accept your fake award. (Standing Ovation of 1)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Young Leaders Summit - Indiana

Last week I attended one of the young leaders meetings that Dr. Jimmy Draper is conducting all over the country. The purpose of these meetings are to dialogue about issues young leaders are facing in the wake of an ever aging convention. I was glad to be able to attend this meeting and to report on it. Below I have listed some of the major questions asked by different people (names not recorded) and a summary of Dr. Draper's answer and the subsequent discussion. (These are not exact quotes; all the following text is from notes and my memory)

Question 1: Dr. Draper was asked to give a summary of the problem as he sees it.
Answer: JD - As we see the convention age we realize that younger leaders are not becoming a part of the convention. The purpose of these meetings is to discover what is important to the younger leaders and how the SBC can meet needs and incorporate younger leaders.
Discussion: Two main questions were asked by others, “Are we stuck in the past?" and "I really didn't get anything out of the convention this year, why should I continue to go?"
Answer: JD -We need to re-focus the convention. The convention meeting itself is a business meeting and not intended to be inspirational. That is the job of the Pastor's Conference. This year the president of the pastor's conference sent out a survey to all young leaders on the email list to try and incorporate more of your ideas.

Question 2: Why can't the convention be more training and less business?
Answer: JD - LifeWay did do some training on Wednesday and Thursday, but no one stayed around to take advantage of it. They are planning to do more training, possibly rearranging the schedule of the convention to allow for more training during the first part of the week.

Question 3: Why was the vote to study a name change in Indianapolis not passed?
Answer: JD - I don't know, I am always in favor of a study? A study can never hurt.

Question 4: How can we connect with older leaders like you?
Answer: JD - Well the older leaders must be willing to build the relationship. The future of the SBC lies in relationship. We must continue to build them, network. Young with young, young with old, old with old, etc.

Question 5: The convention meeting did not feel young. Someone said they attended an Ed Young, Jr. conference and it felt young.
Answer: JD - We have to try and meet everyone's needs both young and old. It all starts with the associations, young leaders need to get involved at the association and state level first. Then as they move up they can help shape the national convention. Their must be a better connection between the association and the church led by younger leaders.
Discussion: Someone felt that the speakers at the convention and especially the pastor's conference were very negative.
Answer: JD - He commented that some of the older pastors are looking for the next big battle. That is were the younger generation can help in bringing balance to protecting our theology, but being willing to change our methodology. Dr. Draper commented that sometimes he is tired of hearing always from his friends (older pastors); he would like to hear from younger leaders sometime. That is why the president of the pastor's conference sent out the survey to get some names of good speakers that may not be heard from often.

Question 6: Someone asks, "I want to get involved and serve, but don't know how to get going. What can I do to get involved?"
Answer: JD - “Get involved in your local association” Basically he told us to work where we are at and help make a difference locally first.

Question 7: Why are only big name guys (big churches) in positions of power? (Pastor’s conference president, vice-president, etc.)
Answer: JD – They are able to handle the expense. Over the past few years the president’s church has had to absorb some of the cost. A smaller church would not be able to handle these expenses. Also they are known and people tend to gravitate to people they know. They have exposure.
Discussion: Who are some of the upcoming leaders that are younger?
Answer: JD – Brian Wright, Keith Moore, Jimmy Scroggins, Steve Gaines. There are many guys that are working behind the scenes that are godly men that will be the next generation of SBC leaders.

Dr. Draper’s concluding thoughts: We must continue to communicate old and young. Dialogue is key to the future of the SBC

My Thoughts: I was not so impressed with our discussion; we basically asked questions about the logistics of the conference. I personally was more interested in discussing how we can get involved and serve the convention. I am tried of this “what can you do for me” attitude. Would I like more worship at the convention and younger speakers? Of course, but the fact is that many people in the convention are over 40 (or at least the people that attend the convention). Instead of complaining about what we want, lets work together, learn from the older leaders, and work locally first. Dr. Draper started his involvement in his local association. Even if you in a lame association, we must get involved. Let’s not ask what they can do for us, but how can we serve.

Check out the Younger Leader's Website.

Friday, August 12, 2005

SBC Slogans

Over at the SBC Outpost, Marty Duren, has addressed the fact that is hard to describe the SBC’s mission in a sentence. I agree that we have to get our act together and have a unified mission that explains who we are and what we are about. Here are the top ten slogans that I could come up with. (Note: Most of these are meant to be funny, so before you get all hot and bothered, chill out. Us SBCer’s need to have a sense of humor and laugh at ourselves.)

1. SBC, The Place For Me!!!

2. We’re old school and we don’t give a crap!!!

3. SBC, On Our Knees!!!

4. The new SBC, we’re contemporary, relevant and we don’t beat our women.

5. SBC, Making a difference in a world that doesn’t care.

6. Delivering the Great Commission with Great Passion.

7. No Sunday School, No Hymns, No Problem.

8. Look, we don’t even care about the length of your hair anymore!!!

9. The New SBC, We’re Missional!!! (Whatever that means)

10. Preaching The Word even if no one is listening.

I hope you enjoyed the humor in most of those slogans. Please add a comment with anymore that you can come up with. Really when looking for a slogan we should go back to the Bible. Jesus told us our purpose as Christians in Matthew 22: 37-39,

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.

How about this for our new SBC slogan, “The SBC, Loving God and His People”. Catchy, right?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Abandon Ship!

I really love old movies, especially Alfred Hitchcock. The movie Abandon Ship (1957) is also one of my favorites and it raises some very important ethical questions.
The premise of the movie is very simple. A large luxury liner is destroyed after an old mine collides with it. Only about 30 people survive. They are crammed into a lifeboat, with some holding onto the side floating in the ocean. The captain dies from injures sustained during the blast and the next in line Alec Holmes (Tyrone Power) assumes command. After a series of events, they realize they have little chance of survival with the boat so weighted down. Captain Holmes then orders the people that are sick or injured to be thrown overboard, so the strong can survive. The remaining passengers row for the nearest continent 1500 miles away. They eventually survive a storm and praise the captain for his bold leadership which enabled the strong to survive (the boat would have most likely sank if all the people including the weak remained during the storm). Just as they are praising him for his decision they see a ship in the distance and realize they are saved. They then began to turn on Homles and leave him with the sole responsibility. As they near the ship they realize that all the people thrown overboard are alive and have been rescued.
As they climb the ladder to the deck of the ship a voice over tells us that this was a true story and the real Holmes was found guilty for attempted murder and was given only six months in prison because of the extremely unusual circumstances. Then the question is posed, "How would you find Captain Holmes, guilty or innocent?"
This is great story about human emotion and suffering, but even more than that a story about ethics. In a similar situation, what would you have done? Would you have subscribed to the survival of fittest and thrown the weaker ones overboard? Or would you have remained moral and possibly cost all the people their lives? I hope in that situation I would have remained moral, but I can't say with complete certainty I would have not done what Captain Holmes did. What would you have done?

XXX Church Blog

If you haven't checked out XXX Church yet, you need to. These guys are helping people everywhere kick the porn habit through Jesus. Also check out their blog, especially the article on Rob Thomas, formerly of Matchbox Twenty, and his love of porn. The XXX Church guys are cutting edge, but they are making a difference in a cutting edge world.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Palmeiro Busted!!!

Is this really a surprise? Did you really believe him when he went before Congress and swore he never used performance enhancing drugs? I bet he is really sorry now that he got caught and it may keep him out of the hall of fame. This just goes to show you that lying never does anyone any good. I hope the MLB has a harsh penalty for him. Also this just goes to show you that almost everyone in the league cheats, except for my beloved Cubs.... ah awkward silence...... You guys don't happen to remember a guy named Sammy Sosa, Mr. Corked Bat. Oh, well as the old saying goes, if your not cheating your not trying, right, right, anyone!!! Palmeiro story here.

Goodbye Daisy...

Today is a very sad day for Kristi and me. As you may already know we took in a stray cat that had a litter of kittens. I had to take Cindy, the mother, to the vet today and I decided to take one of the kittens, Daisy, with me. Daisy was the first born and did not have a tail. I wanted to get her checked out because she did not see to have all the right equipment. My suspicions were confirmed by the vet, she did not have a way to expel her solid waste from her body. This birth defect would cause an infection and eventually cause a painful death. The only humane option was to have her put down. This was very sad for Kristi and me because we have become very attached to the kittens over the past two weeks. So, I guess as a way of coping with the event I am writing about it. You may think I am over-reacting since it was after all only a cat, but our pets sometimes become more than pets and often times we view them as family members. All I can say now is goodbye Daisy, we will not forget you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

No More Anonymous Comments...

I have taken back the ability for people to make anonymous comments. I first wanted anyone and everyone to be able to comment. I was hoping they would at least give a name or title when they made a comment, but I have found that people like to making anonymous comments because it keeps them from being responsible for their comments. I don't like the fact that people must join blogger to make a comment, but anonymous comments bug me more.

On a side note, I received an anonymous comment (consequently, I deleted it) saying that I had problems with my grammar. I want to get some feed back from you guys out there in the blogosphere, should a blog be polished and correct in every way or should it be a person's thoughts free from the normal constraints of grammar. This particular commenter made the claim that by having bad grammar in my posts, I am making all youth pastors look bad. What do you think?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Calling All Southern Baptists...

All Southern Baptists (especially younger pastors) please take the time to fill out the survey for next year's pastor conference. They are looking for our input, now is the time to give it. I have always felt we can not complain if we refuse to get involved, here's our chance. Survey is here.

Harry Potter - An Honest Look at Book 6

Since the very first I heard of the controversy surrounding the J. K. Rowling's book series about Harry Potter I have been interested. I wanted to investigate the books from a Christian point of view. As a point of reference I have read all the books. At first it was for research, but then I began to like them. I have enjoyed each one, but now I find myself troubled by books number 5 and 6, but not for the reason you might think.

The original argument against Harry Potter for Christians is that it teaches kids that it is ok to become a witch or wizard and they might become interested in the occult because of Harry Potter. I will confess this may be a danger with some children, but the danger is very small. Harry Potter is realized to be a fantasy book, much like the Star Wars series, Lord of the Rings, or even the Christian based series The Chronicles of Narnia. I admit the Harry Potter books are not Christian based or even pro-Christian. I believe they are neutral on the issue, I don't believe Rowling is trying to make a statement with these books or convert children to witchcraft. She is simply trying to write an entertaining children's book series. Which is were I find a problem. The books have all been in good fun, up until the last two.

In this last book we find very violent and graphic scenes. Scenes which I believe would be very disturbing for children younger than 8. The children reading these books have read several detailed description of death. The book also uses some crude language and we find a couple of the main characters "snogging" (making-out) several times. I am not a parent and do not confess to know the child mind very well, but I don't think I would let my five or six year old read or listen to these books as many people have. If you saw the news last week then you realized that people all over the country were lined up on Friday night awaiting midnight, when they could legally purchase the book. Many of these people were not geeks or insane extremists or even witches, but many were children. However much I enjoy these books, in the back of my mind I feel some uneasiness that children all over the world are reading these books.

And, no I do not believe these books are wrong for a Christian to read. If we throw these book out then we must throw out every other book or movie that mentions wizards, witches, or magic; including The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella. Let me know your thoughts on the subject of Harry Potter, especially if you have read the books.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So, we took in this stray cat...

Sounds like a joke right, but about a month ago, we took in this very small cat that was hanging out on our driveway during a thunderstorm. We checked around the neighborhood, put up signs and ads in the papers, but no one claimed the cat. We decided to adopt the cat. When we took it to the vet for it's shots we found out that it was pregnant. So, five weeks later we have a litter of kittens. The vet told us to expect three or four, in actuality Cindy (That's the cats name) had seven. That's right seven little kittens. It was cool to see the birthing process, although somewhat gross. I think we have homes for 4 or 5 of them, but it you live in the Chicago, IL, Lexington, KY, or Louisville, KY area we would happy for you to have one if you can provide it with a loving home. Drop me an email and reserve you cat. Here's a picture of them:

Back From Camp

We just got back from camp on Friday and I did absolutely nothing this weekend. You may or may not understand this, but after camp I was exhausted. I was able to rest this weekend, but now I have a cold, which probably is a result of not sleeping enough and not eating right last week. Anyway, camp was a blast. We had several of our students become believers, or recommit their lives to Christ. It was amazing, God moved in a mighty way. The job now is to enter into an intense disciplship period. I think they have realized the need for other Christian friend for encouragement and the need to witness to their friends. I am now praying that camp will not be a "spiritual high", but a life changing event. Check out our student website and the Lift website for pictures and updates. Since I have been out of it last week, I don't really have anything insightful to say about the world. I have to catch up on news, sport (Cubs, NASCAR), and everyone's blog. Thanks to all those that prayed for us.
This is my favorite pic. Matt, a new believer, worshiping God

Monday, July 11, 2005

Off to Lift Camp Central

I will not be blogging much this week, because I am at Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH. We are here for Lift Camp, which is summer camp for High School and Middle School students. We will be here all week having a blast and learning about God. Please pray that God will speak to each and everyone of us this week and that our hearts will be open to hear him. You can see daily updates of our camp experience here and daily updates from Lift Student Ministries here. Thanks in advance for all those praying for us.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Dancing with the Who?

Has anyone seen this new Dancing with the Stars show on ABC. I haven't, but apparently 15.5 million people did last week. This show came in second place in the rating behind the Pistons and Spurs championship game. I don't understand what the interest is with seeing "stars", and I use that phrase very loosely, dance around on stage in a contest. You can see Trista (Bachelorette), Evander Holyfield (Boxer), John O'Hurley (Seinfeld), and many other "stars" cutting a rug. Please can someone tell me why this is such a good show, I just don't get it. Go rent the last season of CSI or Alias on DVD instead of forcing your self to watch this junk.

Jesus and Buddha

The reason I haven’t been blogging for the last week is because I been spending a lot of time studying for the Bible study we have on Wednesday’s with the students. We ask the students at the beginning of the summer to write down a question about life, religion, the Bible, etc. and I would answer it from the Bible. One person wrote down a very intense question for a high school student: What is the explanation for the hundreds of things that Jesus said that are virtually identical to things that Buddha said? So all this week I have been studying and researching this topic. I didn’t really know that people accused Jesus and Buddha’s saying to be similar, but apparently some do.

I have linked the Bible study, worksheet, and PowerPoint game here. You can read the lesson for yourself if you want, but I will say two things, first there are not hundreds of sayings that are similar and secondly they are not identical, they are at best similar in theme. It would seem that people like to compare sayings of religious leaders, for instance I found books comparing Jesus with Muhammad, Buddha, and Lao Tzu. I also found books comparing Muhammad and Buddha among others. It is crazy to think these religions are even close, in my Bible study I not only discuss the reasons for similarities in the sayings, but discuss the differences between Buddhism and Christianity. They are different on ever theological issue like God, salvation, scripture, etc. This was a very exciting study for me to do, if it interest you please feel free to use for you own purposes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Logo- The Channel for Gays

MTV, owned by Viacom, announced that it has launched Logo, a channel for gay and lesbians. I first learned about this from Dr. Mohler's blog and decided to investigate Logo's website. The cable channel will broadcast anything from gay marriage reality shows to comedies and movies about gays. My first thought was this station will be no big deal because no one will watc it.
But as I pondered it some more, I realized that Logo will have the power of Viacom behind it. Viacom also owns CBS, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, UPN, VH1, CMT, BET, Spike, Comedy Central, TV Land, Showtime, and all the other MTV's 2, 3, etc. They also own many billboards around the country. The advertising power alone scares me and this is coupled with the power of MTV, who spends millions to research to determine what is cool, so they can stay on the cutting edge of culture.

When it comes down to it, this really scares me. My generation was one the first ones to never really know a time without MTV and you can see the influence it has had on our society. With this station, I can foresee many children and teens looking to it for answers about gays. This station will provide a constant stream of the homosexual worldview into our homes and it seems like their is nothing we can do about it. Homosexuality is and will become normalized, which is a very dangerous place to be. How can fight this channel? boycott, letters, preaching... I don't know off hand, but we have to do something. This channel is a huge victory for the gay agenda, and you are fooling yourself if you think they don't have an agenda.

What is Logo? (from the Logo website)
LOGO is the newest channel from MTV Networks, the force behind channels like VH1, MTV, TV Land and SpikeTV. LOGO is entertainment programming for lesbians and gays and just about anyone who enjoys a gay point of view. LOGO is for us, our friends and our family. LOGO is originals. LOGO is movies. LOGO is documentaries. LOGO is news. LOGO is specials. LOGO is the channel for Gay America. Finally.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Osteen - Living My Eternal Life Now!

Alright, I know it is time for me to get off Osteen, I will make this my last blog about him. I really don't wish him any ill will, but I want to point out one point of contention with his beliefs. Joel often preaches that Christianity will solve all your problems in this life and you will live a better life now if you become a Christian. I realize that Jesus is the answer to all things, but we are never promised a better or easier life when we become a Christian. Actually it is quite the opposite, at least for those living outside of the US. When we preach the gospel it must be about putting our faith in Jesus, who he died for sin; we must repent of that sin, and commit our lives to him. Christianity has become another part of our life like softball games and going to the movies, but is supposed to be a life altering change. It is not a part of life, but in fact become life. I have included an illustration from The Way of the Master (p. 95-96) by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron (Yes, Mike Sever from Growing Pains)

Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on because it will improve his flight. He's a little skeptical at first; he can't see how wearing a parachute on board a plane could possibly improve his flight.

After some time, he decides to experiment and see if the claims are true. As he straps the apparatus on his back, he notices the weight of it on his shoulders and he finds he now has difficulty sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the flight attendant's promise that the parachute will improve his flight, and he decides to give it a little more time.

As the flight progresses, he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him because he's wearing a parachute inside the plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they continue to laugh and point at him, he can stand it no longer. He sinks back in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fills his heart because as far as he's concerned, he was told an outright lie.

The second man is also given a parachute, but listen to what he is told. He's told to put it on because at any moment he'll have to jump out of the plane at 25,000 feet. He gratefully puts the parachute on. He doesn't notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor is he concerned that he can't sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without a parachute.

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt. 5:11-12) We are not called as Christians to have an easy life that is filled with all our wants and desires. We are called to share the gospel. That sharing will bring persecution. We as Christians should not be worried about getting things on this earth, but rather looking to the rewards in heaven.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:33)

NASCAR Sends A Strong Message

As most of you know I am a huge fan of NASCAR and occasionally I like to blog about it. There is a story I have been following in the news recently about Shane Hmiel, who raced in the NASCAR Busch Series. He tested positive in May 2004 for illegal drugs for the second time. The final word on his suspension has been handed down today. He will have to sit out the rest of this season and next season. He must also enter a treatment program. In 2007 NASCAR will review his progress in the program and decide whether or not he will be able to return.

This type of suspension sends a strong message to drivers. If they use any illegal drugs, they will be punished harshly. Shane has had to pay and will pay dearly for his poor choice. He will have sat out over two season, which will have cost him thousands and thousands of dollars in income, endorsements and sponsorship. If the other sporting leagues such at the NBA, NHL, and especially the MLB could learn anything from this, it would have to be that they must deal with drug use strictly and swiftly. Drugs are not a wide spread problem in NASCAR because of the strict policies, it just isn't worth sitting out two seasons to most drivers.

However, harsh NASCAR is in the suspension they are really trying to help Shane by making him enter into a treatment program. Now is the time for fans not to judge him, but rather come around him and support him. As a Christian, I intent to pray for him; my hope is that he will find the only person that can bring true healing, Jesus.

announcement of Suspension June 28th
AP Sports Story - June 22nd Story - June 2nd

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Joel Osteen - Clarified?

Joel has posted a letter to clarify his position on the nature of salvation. I retract my accusation that he holds to heretical theology. However, I still see a problem with the way he handled himself on Larry King. He is trying so hard to not alienate others that he is not preaching a correct gospel. We, as Christians, must be understanding and compassionate towards people of all faiths, but when our fear of offending someone conflicts with the gospel we must offend. The gospel itself is offending, it confronts people with a truth that is many times hard to take. We should not be afraid to offend, because it is not our job to make explanations for God, but rather serve him whole heartily. Joel is not a heretic, but he needs to be careful when he does interviews and even preaches, because Jesus said, "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." Matthew 12:36

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kudos to Yahoo, Pepsico, State Farm, and Georgia-Pacific

On Friday Yahoo shut down all the chat rooms that were created by its users, because some people were using them to seduce children. PepsiCo, State Farm, and Georgia-Pacific started this move after they dropped advertising with Yahoo because of nature of some of the chat rooms; one title was "Girls 13 Years Old and Under for Older Guys". I gotta say, that is disgusting. But I am very proud of Yahoo, even though it was because they were going to lose money, for shutting these chat rooms down. Yahoo still maintains the chat rooms that it started and continues to monitor them, but all user started chat rooms are deleted. It is unclear whether or not this feature will return. I for one am glad to see this happen, I understand everyone's right to freedom on the internet and blah, blah, blah, but when a 12 year old girl was molested and had pictures circulated in these chat rooms something must happen. I for one am for complete censorship of the internet like TV or movies. Thank you to these companies that stood up and said we will not support this junk on the net. Read the LA Times article here.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Joel Osteen- Happy Preacher or Heretic?

On Monday night I was flipping through the channels and came across Larry King Live, I usually don't watch his show, but I was very interested in his guest. It was none other than the smiling preacher himself, Joel Osteen. I used to think that Joel was a harmless happy preacher, focusing only on the positive, but the interview with Larry King does proves that his theology is heretical. Now, please understand me, I do not like throwing around the H-word very often, but in cases like these you have to call it like you see it. Please don't take my word for it read, the transcript on Larry King's website. Here a few of the low points of the interview:

KING: But you're not fire and brimstone, right? You're not pound the decks and hell and dam nation?

OSTEEN: No. That's not me. It's never been me. I've always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just -- I don't believe in that. I don't believe -- maybe it was for a time. But I don't have it in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.

KING: But don't you think if people don't believe as you believe, they're somehow condemned?

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I'm for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it's not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that's God's for you. You can live a good life no matter what's happened to you. And so I don't know. I know there is condemnation but I don't feel that's my place

KING: Do you share Billy's (Graham) beliefs of life after death in a sense of going somewhere?

OSTEEN: I do. I do. We probably agree on 99 percent. I do. I believe there's a heaven you know. Afterwards, there's, you know, a place called hell. And I believe it's when we have a relationship with God and his son Jesus and that's what the Bible teaches us. I believe it.

KING: But it doesn't quote a lot of biblical passages until the back of the book, right?

OSTEEN: It doesn't do a whole lot of it. My message, I wanted to reach the mainstream. We've reached the church audience. So I just try to, what I do is just try to teach practical principles. I may not bring the scripture in until the end of my sermon and I might feel bad about that. Here's the thought. I talked yesterday about living to give. That's what a life should be about. I brought in at the end about some of the scriptures that talk about that. But same principal in the book

KING: Because we've had ministers on who said, your record don't count. You either believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life, you ain't.

OSTEEN: Yeah, I don't know. There's probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you're a believer in God, you're going to have some good works. I think it's a cop-out to say I'm a Christian but I don't ever do anything ...

KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.

OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that...

KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just...

KING: But you believe your way.

OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.

KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he?

OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know.

KING: So you make no judgment on anyone?

OSTEEN: No. But I...

KING: What about atheists?

OSTEEN: You know what, I'm going to let someone -- I'm going to let god be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just -- again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your heart, and only god knows that.

Decide for yourself if he is a happy preacher or a heretic. Just keep in mind that it is ok not to want to judge people, but when it come to God judging people, we already know what is going to happen.

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 4

Today was the last day of the convention, we decided to leave the convention early and not stay for he last session on Wednesday night, but the day was not without it's share of "exciting" events. During the morning session, the messengers passed all the resolutions. This included the "controversial" public school resolution that was not as controversial as we were lead to believe. Basically it instructs parents to investigate its own school system for a homosexual agenda in the curriculum. This resolution is not dangerous by itself, but it can lead to future resolutions that instruct parents to leave the public schools. Also, a resolution was passed to end the boycott of Disney, which again I must say I didn't know we were still doing. So all of you mouse loving SBC member can come out from hiding.

After the first session, I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Seminary luncheon. The food was ok and Dr. Mohler talked about all the changes and great things about the seminary. The highlight, was seeing all of my old professors and friends from Seminary. After the luncheon we decided to head home, I guess I will just have to be content to watch Dr. Draper on the internet.

Overall the convention was good, there were great speakers, boring business sessions, and great reconnections with old friends. I hope to see many of you in Greensboro next year. Check out Steve McCoy and Justin Sok for some good blogging about the convention.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Young Leaders Summit Revisited

Tonight's session was not very exciting, probably the highlight was when "Mr. Resolution" Wiley somebody was nominated for 2nd vice-president of the SBC. He is known for bringing multiple resolution and making multiple motions, most that are not passed. He was up against Dr. Roy Fish from, I believe, Southwestern Seminary. You can probably guess who won.

So, instead of rehashing boring business events, I wanted to comment on the Young Leader's Summit. I have had some time to think and read what others thought about it. I do believe in the movement and I feel that this summit was a great idea, but I see something a couple of things in our younger guys that are huge problems.

1. I see a problem with the attitude in our younger guys, we have this "they owe me" attitude. This is very dangerous. These men in leadership are there because they worked to get there. They served on the crappy committees and paid their dues. We can not walk into the convention and demand to be put in places of higher leadership without first starting at the bottom. We have to earn the right to be heard, with that said the older men are starting to recognize that they need to listen to us and get us involved; the great thing is that they want us involved.

2. This leads me to the next point, since they want us involved why are we not getting involved. We have wanted so long to have a voice and now we have the oppurtunity to have one or do we only want a voice if we are in the higher positions of the convention? As I look around the convention hall I see mostly older men, I wonder where are even the men in there 30's and 40's. I saw one of the most respected SBC leaders in his 40's leave the convention after he spoke, not sticking around for the entire convention. I don't know what he is doing, he may have a legitimate reason for leaving, but I see a trend with some of these 30-40 year olds, they only want to be involved if they are speaking or on an important committee. We need to step up and be involved. Younger leaders need to first come to the convention and they need to be apart of the committees, even the bottom level of committees.

The most discouraging moment of the YL Summit came when Jeff Harris said, "I don't want to be on a committee or a board, that is not me" (not exact quote). It seems that these guys ask and ask for things from the SBC, but they don't want to pay the price. Yes, the SBC needs to work with us, but are we willing to work with the SBC?

Soon you should be able to see or hear the Summit at this link

Mystery of Annoying Six Flag's Guy Identity, Solved?

See what I mean!!! Posted by Hello

Anyone notice a resemblance between convicted former klansman Edgar Killen and that annoying Six Flags guy. I guess we won't see any new commercials. Posted by Hello

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 3

Today at the SBC convention was very different, there was less preaching so far, and more business. I stayed in the convention hall for a little while, I have never been to the convention so I didn’t know what to expect. During one point people are allowed to make motions that will direct the SBC to make certain policies or take certain actions if they are approved. For instance, one man made a motion that we send a letter to the Disney Corporation to formally end the boycott. Ok, wait a minute, I thought we already ended the boycott; I guess I was too busy riding Space Mountain. On a side note I think the opportunity for everyone to speak and make a motion is a great idea, you will of course get the crazy people, but everyone in the SBC no matter how big or small has a voice.

Anyway, after I left the convention, I went over to the exhibit hall and ran into a host of people I knew. This seems to be the social meeting place, I say Seminary Buddies, College Buddies, Mentors, Old Professors, and even people from the two other churches I have been a member of during my younger days. I also saw many booths and displays; some of the highlights are of course the massive LifeWay store which is displaying a new communications tool for small groups, Also, I learned that Media Shout has just come out with v.3, which I am very excited about. I stopped by the Southern’s booth and talked to few people. I didn’t understand what was up with Southwestern and Southeastern. Southwestern looks like it is recruiting for the army rather than a seminary and Southeastern seems more like a zoo, because it had animal displays of live monkeys and condors. Well, I guess we all know where the real learning institution is located. Tonight I am returning to the convention to see what big issues come up, I am waiting with baited breath for the public school issue, stay tuned for more updates.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 2

On the second day of the Pastors Conference I was able to enjoy several good preachers. I heard great men of the faith like Jerry Vines, Junior Hill, Adrian Rogers, and Johnny Hunt. They were all very inspiring and encouraging, but the speaker that had the most impact on me was Mac Brunson from First Baptist Dallas.

Mac gave a message from 2 Timothy 1:15-18. I will be very honest, this message drove me to tears. It convicted me greatly that I need to be about encouraging and building up others so we can be on mission to reach people from Jesus. He brought together the story of Paul’s mission to Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and how the people turned away from him. Paul visited this area, during all three of his mission trips and spent much of his time ministering to the people in this area. He saw much progress, but when he is writing Timothy at this point in his ministry, probably in jail or newly released, he is speaking about all the Christians in this area that deserted him. When he speaks about “all” of them deserting him, he is not exaggerating about all of them, he means all of them, even the ones that were thought to be faithful. So we see a picture of Paul, broken and in chains deserted by those thought to be strong.

This reminds me of many of our church today, they are not places of support, but rather places where we put on a fake persona of who we want people to think we are. We are more interested in gossiping about others, rather than helping others. While this revelation left me convicted, the message was not near over, Mac when on to complete the story. We see Paul, a broken man deserted by everyone he thought cared about him, except for Onesiphorus. We know from Philemon that Onesiphorus was a slave, but he was also a Christian and he loved Paul very much. So much in fact that he searched for him in Rome until he found him and instead of turning away from Paul, being ashamed of him, he stood by him. Not only did he stand with him, but Paul tells us that he refreshed him. A poor slave, with no education, no formal training, new only one thing, the love of Jesus was one of the most important people to Paul.

This spoke volumes to me, I immediately thought about church that I know. Are we places of encouragement, where a weary Christian beat up from the trials of life and the trials of sharing Jesus, can come a receive refreshment. Are we ashamed of Christian brothers and sisters that are facing trials? We should be like Onesiphorus and work hard at encouraging one another, we need to stand together united, working toward one common goal; telling people about Jesus.

Thank you, Mac for this message, I needed to hear it and I believe that all our church need to hear it. Please listen to this message when they become available at the SBC Conference Website.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Thoughts from the SBC Convention - Day 1

Today, I am in Nashville, TN where I am attending the Southern Baptist annual convention. Over the next few days I will be writing down my thoughts and observations from the convention. I have the pleasure of attending two very wonderful events today. The Young Leaders Summit and the 2005 SBC Pastor's Conference.

The Young Leader’s Summit was an event that Dr. Jimmy Draper, president of Lifeway, puts on. This Summit was a conclusion of sorts to a year long study that Dr. Draper has been doing to discover a way the SBC can connect with younger leaders (45 and younger) and in turn for them to step up and be leaders in the SBC. Dr. Draper has been touring the nation meeting with and dialoguing with youth leaders. This summit reported the findings. Youth leaders are looking for 5 main things from the SBC:

1. Mission and Evangelism: when I say that it doesn’t mean a method or structure, but a new way of reaching people in a post-modern culture that will meet them where their at.

2. Biblical Diversity and Inclusiveness: This is simply including more different types of people (Ethnically, Socially, Geographically, etc.).

3. Healthy Relationships: Young leaders are looking for new and healthy relationships not just with the people in the church, which by the way is key, but they are looking for relationships with older pastors that will take the time to share their wisdom.

4. Creativity and Innovative Approach: We need to be looking for new ways to creatively share the gospel in a changing world.

5. Convention Renewal: Young leaders are looking for a renewal of the convention where young and old can work together to reach people.

These are all great things that the convention needs to make sure they are working towards. The SBC needs the younger leaders to carry the torch, but I want to caution all of us younger leaders. We can not push aside the older generation, we need them, we need their wisdom, we need their mentorship. We can not think we know everything, because we don’t. Also we have to stop talking about getting involved, because they want us to be involved. It is time for younger leaders to step up and lead.

I realize this last article is running long, so in closing I will address the second event I attended, the Pastor Conference. We heard from three very good speakers. The first was by Don Miller, who is an 82 year old retired pastor and I honestly wasn’t that excited about this message, but the Lord convicted me that I needed to hear this message. This very old pastor came with a message of prayer, he took us through Jesus’ life and showed how Jesus prayed often and for a long time, then he shared about his own experiences and his own need to pray. If an 82 year old pastor needs to pray for two hours a day and if Jesus himself needed to pray often, then I certainly need to pray for more then I do. I am convicted to pray more, my measly few minutes in the morning aren’t going to cut it. Also Voddie Baucham and Ergun Caner spoke and both were very good and really inspired me. Check out all the messages on the SBC website soon. I really encourage you to listen to the messages.

Young guys, we need this convention very much, lets pay attention and get involved.

Also check out Justin Sok for more from the convention.

Friday, June 17, 2005

XXX Church's Ministry (Good or Bad?)

Most people know that the pornography industry is the 2nd biggest industry by how much money it makes annually and most everyone would agree that this industry is destroying men and women all over the world. Also, I believe that everyone would agree that these people in the porn industry need Jesus, but what can we Christians do about it? XXX Church believes it has the answer. XXX Church is a group that has a two-fold purpose., First to help people to stop using pornography through a relationship with Jesus and then through helping Christians understand the dangers of porn and give them valuable tools such as bible studies, free accountability software, etc. Second, they have a ministry to people in the porn industry, so that they might know that Jesus loves them and that he wants to have a relationship with them.

This group is very controversial, they are very on the edge and make many Christians uneasy. They set up booths at porn conventions and hand out free t-shirts that say "Jesus loves Porn Stars". They put out commercials out that are directed by a pornographer. Their logos and free promotional materials are edgy and gritty, but it may just be what people need to be woed away from porn. While handing out these t-shirts and other free materials they try to meet people and form relationships so they can share Jesus with them. They believe that if Jesus were alive today, he would be right beside them at the porn convention. I can't speak for Jesus, but we do know that he went to some pretty destitute places to spread his message. Check out their latest report from the convention and you can see that these people are real and they care about see people come to Christ.

Whether you agree with them or not you have to give them props for going to the people, down in the trenches for the name of Jesus.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What is up with my blog?

I have no idea why my blog is screwed up. Any suggestions from anyone would be helpful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Abstinence Research - What does it mean?

I was flipping through the channels yesterday and came across a Christian news broadcast. They were talking about this new study that was released by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. They were praising the research because it showed how abstinence programs were working. So I logged on to find out more info about this study. I found some articles that said the same thing as the news broadcast, but I also came across several articles that told me that this study proved that abstinence programs were NOT working. You can imagine my surprise, so I surfed my favorite talk show host and commentators for some clarity on this issue, but I found nothing. Then I went straight to the horses mouth and tried to read the report that the US Dept. of Health and Humans Services published, but I could not make sense of it. What does this all mean, how can we make sense of these mixed messages from the media.

Well, I still believe that abstinence works regardless of the research. I believe that the only biblical way for a person to engage in sexual activity is within the bonds of marriage. I come to a point that these facts really mean nothing to me. Regardless of what some number crunchers think, I believe that abstinence is the only way. It is the only 100% effective way to prevent STD's, pregnancies, and unnecessary emotional stress.

Students, stay focused on being pure and waiting for that special person that God has for you.

Youth leaders, don't let this report get you discouraged, keep doing what we know to be right; promoting the truths found in scripture.

US Dept. of Health and Human Services Press Release

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Culture of Death

In Dr. Mohlers commentary on Friday he comments on a topic that was far from my mind, now. When Terri Schiavo's life hung in the balance many of us rallied to her aid, we prayed, wrote our leadership, we held vigils, and we wrote in our blogs. I committed to only blog about that subject while she was still alive. I understand that she is dead and that we must move on, but there is a bigger issue at stake. What have pro-life supporters done since she died. I have done nothing; and I asked myself what can I do now. Dr. Mohlers quotes from a medical journal Dr. Phil McHugh. Dr. McHugh of the Johns Hopkins University makes many points about the death, but none so grave as when he points out that we are living in a culture of death.

It seems that ever where around us we see death not just in the media, but in ourselves and it is up to those of us that value life to stop this type of thinking. Life is important, it matters to God and thus should matter to us. I become frustrated when I try to comprehend what someone that wanted Terri to die might be thinking. I can't rationalize it in my head. We that value life, must stand up for it, everyday whether it is a child in the womb or a women on a feeding tube. Let's not let Terri's death become forgotten or else Dr. McHugh writes,

"The more this culture [of death] continues to influence our thinking, the deeper are likely to become the divisions within our society and within our families, the more hardened our hatreds, and the more manifold our fears. More of us will die prematurely; some of us will be persuaded that we want to."

Please read Dr. Mohler's commentary and let me know your thoughts.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Why NASCAR doesn't suck?

Some people are not fans of NASCAR, I am referring to the comments left to me by my former friend, DC on my last post. However, I happen to disagree and since all my buddies in the blogoshpere make lists, I wanted to give the top reasons as to why NASCAR doesn't suck.

1. NASCAR Rules cause I said so!!!

That is all you need to know. Where else can you see over 40 cars battle it out going speeds of 200 mph inches apart from one another; if they make just one wrong move then they will smash into the wall or another car. Maybe, I just like it so much because I am a redneck at heart and us rednecks must stick together, because a redneck without NASCAR is a just a guy with a number painted on his gut.

Please let me know how you feel about this national pastime, yes NASCAR is the true national pastime contrary to popular opinion that Baseball is the national pastime. Those sissy could handle two laps at 200 mph. Oh, and DC, I got nothing but love for ya.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Down on the SBC - Part 2

In this series I am attempting to explain the major components of the SBC and hopefully help people understand that the SBC is not inherently evil. Last time we looked at three very important aspects of the SBC; the churches that make up the membership, the network or seminaries and colleges that train church workers, and the Guidestone, which is the insurance and retirement arm that help the church workers find affordable insurance and smart retirement options.

This time we will look at the two missions group and the publications arm that is Lifeway. Starting with Lifeway, formerly the Sunday School Board. This group was originally set up to help churches with Sunday School curriculum. It has now blossomed into an organization that not only helps with curriculum, but many other needs of the church. They supply books, multimedia, VBS materials, etc. While I realize that Lifeway may have problems, it has changed a lot over the years to become more relevant and up to date. They have provided very good materials recently such as the Explore the Bible Adult Bible Study. This study is the more comprehensive and systematic, as the class explores the whole Bible book by book. Also we have seen some great things for students, an area that Lifeway has struggles with, like the new Fuel Bible Study. By using cutting edge music and video leaders can use the Fuel material to go throughout the Bible with students in two years. Not only does Lifeway provide these resources they also have stores placed throughout the states to help churches access the resources quickly. Lifeway also runs a few conference center for the SBC and helps organize many training seminars and conferences. Finally, Lifeway seeks out relationships from other manufactures, such as chair or pulpit makers, so that churches can save money. Lifeway is an indispensable part of the SBC, they provide resources from a trusted source that churches can work well with.

The SBC has two main missions organizations: North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. While Lifeway and most other parts of the SBC are self sufficient, the seminaries and the mission organizations rely heavily on the giving of the churches. The North American Mission Board targets exactly what you thing, North America. They focus on reaching areas that have no SBC churches or areas that SBC churches are dead or dying. They focus intently on the inter-city areas. They have averaged 1,700 new works and over 400,000 people baptized in recent years. Not only does NAMB start and support churches, they also are involved in many service projects through the US. One example is disaster relief; most all the kitchens where food is prepared for disaster victims, which is handed out by the Red Cross ,are SBC kitchens. Also, many of the workers that help the Red Cross are SBC. This is only one example of service, they also have the Baptist Builders, Literacy Missions, Hunger and Poverty Ministries, and the list goes on and on. NAMB is vital to meeting physical, emotional, and most of all the spiritual needs of people across the US.

The SBC also reached outside of its borders in a major way with the IMB. The International Mission Board has over 5,000 field workers on mission and works with over 34,000 volunteers to bring the gospel to over 2,000 people groups throughout the world. Not only do they minister to areas that are open to the gospel, they routinely try to reach those that are considered off limits. The IMB works hard to make sure that no missionary has to worry about funds. Most missions organizations want people to raise their support, but the IMB often provide for their missionaries, so they can spend all their time focused on ministering to people. People all over to world would not be reached if it were not for the work of the IMB.

These three parts are again vital to the SBC organization. They help so many churches afford resources through Lifeway and reach so many souls through NAMB and IMB. I could stop here and it would be enough, but there are two more main components; the Baptist Press and the Baptist Faith and Message.

Movie Review: Star Wars

I saw this movie the night it came out, but I wanted to take some time to think about what I saw and get other people reactions to the movie. If you haven't seen the movie then you may not want to read this as I may spoil things for you (As if you didn't already know the ending).

I for one liked the first two movies. I thought they were great in how they explained things and how they worked so well in setting up episodes 4-6. I went to episode three hoping to receive the payoff of my many years as a Star Wars fan. As I left the theater I felt tricked by my emotions. I enjoyed the movie and thought it was well made, but as I sat and thought about it, some of it didn't quite make sense. I eventually entered into a state of let down. There is no question these are the best graphics in a movie thus far and star wars is always sex free and swear free. However, this movie was more disturbing than the other movies with imagery and violence. The violence is not to much for a Middle School student, but parents should read the review by, before taking elementary school children.

The major problem that I had with the story is with the time line. The movie supposedly took place over a seven or eight month time period but it felt more like two weeks. I needed to feel more of the time lapse. Also, I thought the reason that Anakin converted to the dark side was not believable and it seemed his change was to quick. One minute he is think the the supreme chancellor is wrong and next he is bowing down, becoming his apprentice. If he was so filled with pride, why didn't he just kill the supreme chancellor and become emperor himself. I just could believe that he would leave the Jedi life, just for a hope that maybe, just maybe he could learn to save people from death. Don't even get me started on General Grievous, how annoying was he. Also, if the Jedi were so powerful, why did only two survive. Why couldn't more use the force and sense they were going to be killed like Yoda did? Anyway, so much for a good story.

This movie has already proved to be a blockbuster as it approaches the 300 million mark and it has only been out for three weeks. George, you did well, but you don't need to rush things. Your audience will appreciate a good story that is not filled with holes. I hope he continues to make more Star Wars movies, I will again be one of the first people in line to see them. I recommend it to anyone over the age of 12 or 13, any younger should talk about it with parents first.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Down on the SBC - Part 1

Lately, I have been hearing a lot of negative things about the Southern Baptist Convention. I realize that the SBC is not a perfect organization and there is a lot that they can do better, but I want to remind some people of its highlights.

For starters the SBC is composed of several different parts. The first part of the organization is the over 42,000 churches. Each church that is a member is more or less a partner. They are not controlled by the convention; rather they have aligned themselves because of their common beliefs. They freely give to the convention to support missions and other aspects of the SBC. All of the churches agree in some form or another with the mission and theology held by the convention or else they can leave at any time.

The second is its Seminaries and Colleges. The SBC has six major seminaries scattered throughout the country and a handful of colleges. These institutions exist to train missionaries, pastors, and church workers. They are a place where approximately 13,400 people come to train for ministry. This component of the SBC is very important in a world were colleges and universities are becoming increasingly liberal and oppressive to conservatives; the SBC institutions are a place were students can come and learn and seek the truth of the scriptures in an environment that believes that scriptures are truth and perfect. Aside from the rocky past of the seminaries, they are a great place to train. To keep the education affordable credit hours are subsidized by the monies that the churches give.

The final part of the SBC for today's discussion is Guidestone (formerly the Annuity Board). This part exists to help students, pastors, and missionaries with health insurance and retirement options. Because so many workers in ministry are considered self-employed, they are on their own to find insurance and retirement plans. The SBC formed Guidestone to set up plans and help students obtain affordable coverage for themselves and their families. They also set up retirement accounts helping church workers have money to retire on. As a member of Guidestone, it is nice to have a organization that you can call and will help you weed through all the insurance jargan and help you pick safe and reliable retirement funds.

In the next article we will look at the publication arm of the SBC, Lifeway and also look at the missions components; the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. In the final article we will tackle the Baptist Faith and Message and the Baptist Press.

My NASCAR Update

We find ourselves half way until the Chase for the Nextel Cup comes in September. With the most wins this season, Greg Biffle has a great chance at bringing home the Nextel Cup. He has four wins and has finished in the top ten in almost ever race. So why is Jimmie Johnson still leading the points race. Jimmie has only won one race, but has continually finished higher than Greg Biffle when Greg does not win.
This years winners have all been under the age of 37. We have seen many younger racers stepping up and winning; including Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards. The oldest guy in the pack is that ever annoying Jeff Gordon, with three wins. Jeff and team mates; Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers have been tearing up the track. How ever much I hate the Hendricks Motorsports crew, I have to give it to them. They have been phenomenal on the track. I just hope that Greg can keep it up and win.
I have been for the last few years a DEI fan, which includes Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Michael Waltrip, and Martin Truex, Jr. This team has not won a race all season and only Michael has come close. So what has happened to the team. Some people think that Dale Jr. has lost his focus and firing his crew chief didn't help. This team needs a serious togetherness retreat, complete with spa treatment and yoga. Hey, maybe Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick could join so they could cool off.
This year has been like any other and could possibly be very exciting. I hope Greg can keep up the winning and shut down the Hendricks four horsemen.

My Favorite Drivers:
Michael Waltrip:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
Kasey Kahne:
Jeremy Mayfield:

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A May Update

The month of May seemed to be the wildest month of my life. A couple that we love very much were married on May 14th. This trip back home was great because we were able to spend time with our family and friends, however this trip provided little rest for us.
Also, our church has been engaged in this stewardship of life campaign, which has consumed much of my time. This campaign is to raise money to expand our church facility. Through this we have been teaching what God's Word has to say about money and stewardship. I feel like I have been through the ringer as far as my personal spiritual growth. When dealing with money it seems that I think I have everything figured out. Lately God has been teaching me that the money and "stuff" that I have is not really mine, but I am rather a manger of it all. This principle seems simple enough, but actually making it work in real life is much harder.
As we come off this emotional roller coaster in May, dealing with some personal issues, we face some very difficult issues at church including: births, deaths, and a wide array of general problems. I was given the greatest honor by a church, which was to be ordained as a Pastor. This confirmation of the calling in my life was one that I am very humbled by.
I forgot to add Kristi and I also drove back home another weekend in May to see my brother, whom I am very proud of, graduate.
All of this is to say that May was a very busy month. But now as I sit here on the second day of June, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. God has taught me and stretched me, but all the while he has comforted me. As we are about to ask our church members for a commitment, I can't help but once again rest in the arms of the loving Father.

Lord, I want to say simply: Thank You.

Biblical Stewardship

I know that I have been out of it for a while, our church has been focusing on teaching stewardship. This has taken up most of my time. I have written a couple of small articles for our stewardship newsletter. I have included one of them below:

The idea of God calling on his people to make sacrificial offerings is not a new idea. Throughout the Bible we see God asking more from people than they are humanly willing to give. The biggest example of this is found in Genesis 22. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on an alter. Abraham, though reluctant to do the task was going to go through with it. God was testing Abraham, he was asking for his most prized possession. God stopped Abraham just short of taking his sons life, but this does not negate the fact that Abraham was willing to give his son as a sacrifice to God.
This Stewardship of Life Campaign is all leading up to June 5th when the members of CAF are going to be challenged to give sacrificially to God’s plan for our church.. Much in the same way God called on Abraham, I believe he is calling on our church to make a sacrifice for him. During this campaign, Kristi and I have prayed about our involvement. We feel that this is a test of our faith. Do we trust God enough to rely on him for our needs? As we made our pledge we prayerfully asked God to bless it. We believe that together as our church trusts God, we will see a mighty work done here.

Check out our stewardship campaign website:

Friday, April 22, 2005

Manhood II

Here are the rest of the marks of biblical manhood as put forth by Dr. Albert Mohler:

7. Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions.
8. Worldwide maturity sufficient to understand what is really important.
9. Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others.
10. Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society.
11. Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.
12. Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire.
13. Biblical maturity sufficient to lead to some level in the church.

Read the entire article by Dr. Mohler here: