Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Update on Our Busy Life

Nikki, Isaiah, and I will be moving to Louisville on August 6th.  We are extremely busy right now with moving.  Needless to say I am unable to keep up with regular blogging at this time.  Hopefully, once we get moved I should begin regular blogging again.  I do have a few book reviews that I am in the process of completing and may have a few posts within the next few days.  I just wanted to keep the readers updated.  Be sure to subscribe to this blog and add me as a friend on Facebook. 

Here are a few updates that you may be interested in:

  • I am pretty confident that I have a job at Chick-Fil-A
  • Nikki is still pursuing a job as a nanny (prayers appreciated)
  • We have committed to living in an apartment (email me for details)
  • I have signed up for all of my classes and have about 85% of the books
  • I am taking 4 (maybe 3) advanced placement tests on August 12th
  • My last Wednesday here is next Wednesday (August 5th)

Things you can pray about:

  • I have to shave my beard to work at Chick-Fil-A
  • God placing us in the church where He wants us
  • Pray that my relationship with my wife is strengthened in this time
  • Pray that I always am certain to make time for my wife and son
  • Pray that the gospel thrives through our lives
  • Pray that God will provide for us financially (there are still a few holes that are not filled)
  • Pray that God’s will is done and that He is glorified in all that we do
  • Pray that I stop being so stressed out and fearful

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What Year Is This?

The following bullet points where written to express the common hindrances to preaching in this age.  Your assignment is to tell me what year this came from and you get 3 bonus points if you can tell me who said it.  Some of the language has been changed to veil the time period.

  • The expansion of media access…which minimizes dependence on the local preacher and enables less attention to be paid to the preacher’s authority in the community.
  • Skepticism, suspicion and doubt…higher critical skepticism challenging the claims of the Bible…human reasoning becoming more of a trusted authority.
  • Shorter attention spans due to the frenetic pace of culture…
  • A renewed attention to rhetoric, eloquence, and scholarship for respectability in society
  • An increased preference for artistry over sermons…as other forms of art are sought to counteract the decline in church attendance
  • Time demands hindering sermon preparation and communion with God.  Pastors felt that they were spending their time doing everything other than prayer, preaching, and care for the people. 
  • The plagiarizing of sermons arising as a needed relief from the demanding pace of ministry.

I will cite these as soon as someone guesses the correct answer. 

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Week in Blogworld 07/24

John Piper has a new book out.  You can get it for free at DG.  Also check out JT’s interview with Piper concerning the book. 

Jay Younts from Shepherd Press has an interesting article on What Makes Bad Language Bad

Kevin DeYoung helps us young writers learn how to get published.  Check out part one and part two.  DeYoung also gives us a few points from Thomas Sowell On Writing.

Nathan Finn continues a series started a couple weeks ago: 15 Factors that have changed the SBC since 1979, Part 2.

Timmy Brister continues his response to Morris Chapman’s clarification.  In Part 3 Timmy outlines the history of what Baptist believe about saving faith.  I agree with Timmy theologically, but I have to say I think someone could just as easily go through 400 years of Baptist the believe just the opposite.  But the truth is all he has to prove to refute Chapman’s assertion is that there is a strand of Baptist thought that has been decidedly Calvinistic—and this he has done. 

Ed Stetzer interviews Jared Wilson on his book Your Jesus is Too Safe.  Great interview, great book, great responses from Jared.

I love this post by Piper:  The Bible Frees Us From Being Swayed by Overstatements

Enjoy this version of In Christ Alone: 

  (HT: Jared)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thinking Through the Deliberate Church Chapter 6

As always, if you are just joining the discussion then please check out the foreword, intro, and chapter one. You can catch up pretty easily. If you have yet to buy the book I would suggest buying it for a paltry 9 bucks, here.deliberatechurch

Quick Summary:

Chapter 6 is a very short and simple chapter.  The goal of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the difference between the Regulative Principle and the Normative Principle.  The regulative principle “states that everything we do in a corporate worship gathering must be clearly warranted by Scripture.  Clear warrant can either take the form of an explicit biblical command or a good and necessary implication of a biblical text.” (77)  The Normative Principle on the other hand states that, “as long as a practice is not biblically forbidden a church is free to use it to order its corporate life and worship.” (77)

Dever suggests that we ought to adhere to the Regulative Principle rather than the Normative Principle.  Again, it is worth noting that there is usually very little difference in content between the two in practice.  And as D.A. Carson has said, “there is no single passage in the NT that establishes a paradigm for corporate worship.”  Nonetheless, the only thing worthy of binding the conscience is Scripture.  Therefore, the regulative principle, Dever argues, is the most viable option. 

The rest of the chapter Dever makes note that “worship is the purpose of redemption” and as such God cares about worship and specifically how He is to be worshiped.  The chapter closes with considering four passages of Scripture and what they say about worship.  Exodus 20:4 shows us that God cares how he is worshipped not simply that He alone is worshipped.  Exodus 32:1-10 helps us to see that we cannot choose how we worship Him, “we are to worship in His way on His terms.”  John 4:19-24 helps us to see that you can only properly worship God when you worship Him as He has revealed Himself to be.  Finally 1 Corinthians 14 helps us to see that worship is regulated by revelation. 


If corporate worship is the goal of redemption, then it only makes sense that God would reveal to His redeemed people how He wants us to worship Him when we gather.”  (78)

Corporate worship—even charismatic worship—is regulated by revelation.”  (79)


  • Which do you think is the correct paradigm: The Regulative or Normative Principle?
  • Does your church seem to follow the regulative or normative principle?
  • The following two are from Dever.  Read 1 Corinthians 14.  What do you observe here about the dynamics of corporate worship?
  • Read Leviticus 10:1-3.  What was it that made God angry, according to the text? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ordination Service

This may not be the correct place and I'm not sure that Mike wants me to do this here, but I'm going to do it anyway. Mike Leake will be ordained to the Gospel Ministry on Sunday, August 2:00 at FBC, New London, MO. We appreciate the fine work, research, and labor he invests in this blog and I know you will want to lift Mike and Nikki in your prayers at this time.

I've had the privilege of knowing and growing with Mike the past several years. I am excited as God leads him in this next step of his journey with Christ. As an "old guy" its always a joy to walk beside my younger brothers in ministry and see them take hold of God's call in their lives. Mike brings fresh life into my walk with the Lord as he/I challenge one another to consider the ways of Christ, to use the minds God gave us to thoughtfully consider the Word of God, and to fall in love with Jesus afresh and anew.

God bless you Mike.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Buy INLOW CD online

inlow You may not like Christian Metal.  I have to confess I am not a HUGE fan but it is starting to grow on me.  One band in particular that I love is INLOW.  I might be a tad biased.  Two of the guys in the band the Lord blessed me with the opportunity of leading to Christ.  The other three guys I have also had a great relationship with.  I love these guys.  They represent Jesus really well.  While other Christian metal bands are not as “upfront” about their passion for Jesus, these guys are.  At their CD release show they were heard praying together before they began playing.  Furthermore, their lead singer (Caleb) proclaimed the beauty and gloriousness of Jesus in them getting their CD out…but he did not fail to mention that Jesus would have been glorious had they never cut a CD. 

Did I mention that these guys are not even 20 yet?  I am so proud of these guys and look forward to seeing God receive glory through their life of ministry.  I would like to encourage you to check out their website: INLOW ROCK!  And I would also like to encourage you to buy their CD.  It’s only 5.00 and you will be blessed and be a blessing.  These guys are trying to save up to go on tour and take the glory of God to the nations.  Help them out by purchasing a cd.

Buy INLOW: Prayers for only $4.99

Review of From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola

Author: Frank Violaviola

Pages: 320 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook

Price: 10.19

Genre: Christian Living/Theology

Quick Summary:

I first heard of Frank Viola in 1987 when he was pitching the Twins to the World Series. I was excited to review his book about Jesus. Then I discovered that this isn’t the same guy that pitched for the Twins. Of course I am joking. I had heard of Frank Viola a couple of years ago with his controversial book Pagan Christianity. I never read it. Now I want to.

From Eternity to Here is Viola’s attempt to chart the three overarching divine themes revealed in Scripture. Viola believes that the metanarrative of holy writ is this: “The Father obtains a bride for His Son by the Spirit. He then builds a house in which He, the Son, and the bride dwell together in the Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the bride live in that house as an extended household and they have offspring by the Spirit. The offspring constitutes a family, a new humanity called the ‘body of Christ’.” (19)

The book is divided into three parts. In part one Viola is unveiling the bride, in part two the house of God is explained, and part three is given to the presenting the body and the family. Viola explains it this way, “The first is the story of a God who is an ageless romantic, driven by one consuming pursuit. The second is about a God who has sought since eternity to have a resting place, a habitation, a home. And the third reveals a God from another realm who visits planet earth to establish a heavenly colony that will give Him visible expression.” (17) Every bit of this book is given to telling those three stories (that’s really one big story).

What I Liked:

Viola is a very good writer. He is engaging and though provoking. The chapters are not laborious. This is actually a very fun read. More than all of that, however, I love the fact that Viola is Christ-centered. His “afterthought” gives me chills in its Christ-centered nature. Everything revolves around Christ. If this is the only message of this book and the central theme that it is proclaiming then count me as a fan. But is that really all there is to it…

What I Disliked:

Viola uses phrases and introduces themes that are huge to swallow. This book is subtitled “rediscovering the ageless purpose of God”. If that is the case then I would expect a little more teaching and attempts to prove his point. I am not sure that I disagree with Viola but I am at the same time not certain that I agree. He does not labor to prove his point but merely states it as so. At times I think he is given to far too much “sanctified imagination” and interprets the Bible more like Origen would. Is that wrong? I am not certain. There are times when I would put a question mark over whole sections or write out to the side “sounds more like Gnosticism”. It seems like he has a “spiritual” understanding of things; almost like trying to talk to a “spiritual” person from the Word of Faith movement.

But then again there are entire sections of this book that I underlined and absolutely loved. So, I dislike the fact that I cannot decide whether this book is a 1 or a 5.

Should You Buy This Book?

I have no idea. Perhaps the best advice would be to buy it and use a ton of discernment. But that would go for any book I suggest. Part of me wants to say do not buy the book but rather by Christopher Wright’s book The Mission of God. But then another part of me says buy this book AND by Wright’s book. How about this? You buy it and then explain it to me. Is it weird and borderline Gnosticism or is it biblical and Christ-centered?

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. (Just because I’m not sure if it should be a 1 or a 5)


I have reviewed this book as part of the From Eternity to Here blog tour:

The following bloggers are posting a review or Q & A with Frank Viola on his bestselling book FROM ETERNITY TO HERE today, Tuesday, July 21st. You may order the book at a discount at – it’s also on audio book. Free discussion guide, sample chapters, interviews, and a free audio of the first chapter are available on that site also. Here are the bloggers who are participating:

Jay Becker -

Mark D -

Igniting Hearts - Kimber Britner -

Karyn -

Barefoot Preacher -

Every Day Angels -

FaithEngineer -

Kristen Schiffman -

CrossPointe: The Church at Bevo -

Crazy Love for God -

Amazima Ministries -

Down to Write Honest -

A Beautiful Mess -

The Blakes on a Mission -

Words by Jud Kossum -

Eric Jaffe -

Reconnect with God –

2nd Cup of Coffee -

Nolan Bobbitt Website -

Klappyanne -

Daveingland -

Randi Jo Rooks -

Ephesians Five –

Michael Bayne -

Encounter Church Helena Blog -

Thoughts B4 Conviction N2 Action -

Edevotion -

Seeking After -

Eric Powell -

Borrowed Light -

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday’s Ministry Musing: Hired Shepherds v. Jesus-type Shepherds

I have a young pastor friend that I am extremely proud of. (Not that I’m not proud of my other pastor friends, but this guy takes the cake right now). This is his first pastorate and it has not been a grand experience as of yet. The details do not matter. What pertains to this post is his attitude. The only thing that you need to know is that he is having to endure a dangerous disposition from an influential man in the church. Shepherd_in_Israel From what it sounds like this is the type of guy that could split the church.

My young pastor friend has decided that rather than leave town he is going to take the bullets for the sheep God has entrusted to him. Rather than being a hireling he is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. This guy is modeling the heart of Jesus: “12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:12-15)

I’ve known, and heard stories of, my fair share of pastors that leave when things get tough within ministry. “These people are not ready to follow my leadership”, I have heard. “I no longer am able to serve with joy”, some have said. “There is no future here”, has been offered. “I do not want to stir up anymore strife, for the sake of the church I will leave”, an admirable sounding excuse. I am sure you have heard some of these as well (or maybe even offered them). They all sound pretty good and may even be legit. Problem is they sound more like the hired hand than the Jesus-type shepherd.

If you are in the ministry for any reason other than seeing the glory of God displayed through the spread of the gospel to the nations then you will flee when the wolf comes. The hired hand looks for comfort. You can’t comfortably kill a wolf, you might even die from it. Jesus did but he took the wolf down with him. He destroyed the wolf through his death not through his comfort.

Whether it is money, ease, fame, pleasure, respect, power, notoriety, selfish ambition, pride, a jewel in heaven, a street of gold, or a really cool Pope hat, if this is your reason for being a shepherd you will run as soon as you see a wolf. Worse yet, you might befriend the wolf. Maybe you’ll cut a deal with the wolf. That way you can keep your title, most of your comfort, and only have to deal with a few sheep getting devoured. But that’s the hired hand. The Jesus-type shepherd isn’t satisfied with only 99. He goes after the lost sheep. He doesn’t sit by and let any of his sheep get devoured even if it means losing money, fame, pleasure, comfort, or the really cool Pope hat.

Pastor, you may have seasons where the wolf isn’t bothering with your sheep. You will have days when you can joyously tend to your sheep. And sometimes you might be called to a different sheep pen. But if you leave your sheep because things get tough then you aren’t a Jesus-type shepherd. One example then I’ll stop meddling.

Take the “I’m leaving because I do not want to stir up more strife, for the sake of the church I will leave”. If you are the one causing the strife then you aren’t being a shepherd anyway. That’d be like a shepherd having mutton for lunch and wearing wool underpants. So, yeah, maybe you should leave. But if there is deep conflict and it is because ungodly people are treating you in an ungodly fashion, or even if there are wolves in your DON’T leave the sheep at this time. This is when they need the shepherd the most. Take the bullet or rather the wolf bites, that’s your job. That’s why I am proud of my young pastor friend.

The hired hand leaves. The Jesus-type shepherd lays down his life. Which are you?

Also, I know this is not as black and white as I’ve presented it. Feel free to disagree and bring out the other side to this. This is called a “musing” for a reason…

Friday, July 17, 2009

This Week in Blogworld 7/17

This will be two weeks worth of stuff…I never got around to posting last week with church camp and everything else going on. 

I’ve never heard of Francis Grimke but apparently Thabiti Anywabile has.  These two things to guard against when taking a stand is worth checking out. 

Morris Chapman has offered a clarification on his words at the SBC Annual Meeting.  Timmy Brister responds…with more to come later.  Timmy also discusses a little about the Clark Logan resignation here.

If I read the post correctly, Rod Dreher asks, “How do we raise kids in a pornified culture”.  Zach Nielsen gives his answer

What a great quote here by Spurgeon about the Bridge of Grace.

Boundless has put together a couple of posts talking about Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  Check out Post #1 and Post #2.  Also check out Josh’s response

Nathan Finn has begun what looks like an interesting series: 15 Factors that have changed the SBC since 1979…that’s part one. 

Tony Reinke’s suggestions on indexing books is very helpful.  If only I had the discipline to listen.

The iMonk assess the Blogosphere’s Spirituality.  Helpful insights here.

Chuck Lawless has written an open letter to Older Southern Baptists.  I didn’t read it because I don’t qualify…that’d be like reading someone else’s mail right?

I’m a huge fan of Christopher Wright.  Recently he wrote for Koinonia a couple pieces on a false dichotomies in mission.  Check out part 1 and part 2.

Denny Burk provides a good commentary on Derek Webb’s new song/album

Good question and sound advice.  When do you begin the structural change toward elders?  Thabiti provides his answer and Michael McKinley offers his answer.

Carl Trueman talks about hurt mail as the new hate mail.

This question makes me laugh but it’s actually quite serious: How do I get black people to come to my church?

Here are three videos for your viewing pleasure.  I have yet to watch them all but they looked good…my internet connection is being weird and I would have to spend about 3 hours to view these 3 short videos.  If something is “off” or needs to be taken down please let me know.

  (HT: Garrett)

  (HT: Z)

  (HT: iMonk)

Thinking Through the Deliberate Church Chapter 5

As always, if you are just joining the discussion then please check out the foreword, intro, and chapter one. You can catch up pretty easily. If you have yet to buy the book I would suggest buying it for a paltry 9 bucks, here.deliberatechurch

Quick Summary:

Chapter 5 covers the issue of church discipline.  Few things are more neglected, abused, and misunderstood as the issue of church discipline.  This chapter (along with a few books) needs to be circulated throughout all churches.  I had read this chapter previously but after reading it again I was blown away by something I had missed the first time: building a foundation. 

Dever begins this chapter by showing the difference between formative and corrective discipline.  Formative discipline is like exercise; it is what you do to keep healthy.  Such things as Bible study, prayer, small groups, worship, are in place to help followers of Jesus to grow.  Corrective discipline is like surgery; it is what you do to regain health.  This can be as “simple” as a loving rebuke or admonishment or as trying as public church discipline.  Both forms of discipline are necessary for a healthy church.

“…before discipline can be productive, there must be a context of both meaningful spiritual relationships and structurally sound leadership.”  This is the part that I missed reading this chapter the first time.  I think my view of discipline was so transformed that I desired us to return to a biblical view of church discipline.  But as Dever says, “loving engagement in each other’s spiritual lives must be normalized in a positive and formative way before corrective discipline can be sustained.”  Furthermore, there should be a solid structure of leadership in place; otherwise it looks like only the pastor is pushing for discipline.  Such a thing prevents an “us v. him” mentality.

We are also given a couple tips to assist us in the process of corrective church discipline.  Dever suggests forming a “care list”.  He suggests presenting such a list verbally at a congregational meeting.  The “care list” does not necessarily mean that you are involved in sin, it only means you need prayer.  Making a person’s name available to the congregation helps in the process.  In such instances we ought to make it open for members to “privately air questions”. 

Another helpful thing is to teach beforehand what excommunication means.  Remind the congregation what it means to remove someone from the membership rolls.  What does it mean to treat someone like an unbeliever?  It does not mean that they are not allowed to come to church.  It just means that we cannot have biblical fellowship with them.  And certainly we would not allow known unbelievers to serve in church positions. 

Dever then closes up not only this chapter but the entire section by again reminding us to patiently teach and preach the Word of God.  Be patient!  And trust in the fact that Jesus is building His church.


“Neglecting corrective discipline can be deadly for a church.  No one likes the prospects of going under the knife.  But sometimes it is the knife that saves your life.”  (68)

“Sin needs darkness to grow—it needs isolation disguised as ‘privacy,’ and prideful self-sufficiency disguised as ‘strength.’  Once these conditions prevail, sin is watered with the acid of shame, which then makes darkness appear more attractive to the sinner than light.  But when we walk in the light by confessing our sins, we realize that we are not alone in our struggles, and we open ourselves to the protective rebukes and loving corrections that function as pesticides to curb the destructive and enslaving potential of habitual sin.”  (68-69)

“Healthy member relationships must be recovered before corrective discipline can be carried out realistically.”  (69)

“Without [a] context of deeply interpenetrating spiritual relationships, corrective discipline will be like walking up to a child whom you see only once a month and spanking him in the street.”  (69)


  • What does your church do to create an atmosphere of discipline?  What types of things do you do for formative discipline?  What does your church do for corrective discipline?
  • Dever suggests reading Matthew 18:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; and Titus 3:9-11, then answering this question: How should we treat disciplined members?
  • What do you think of Dever’s suggestion of a “care list”?
  • Do you have any appropriate stories that you would like to share about church discipline? 
  • What are your thoughts on this chapter?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Review of The Mission of God by Christopher J.H. Wright

Author: Christopher J.H. Wright

Pages: 585 pages

Publisher: IVP Academic

Price: 25.99

Genre: Theology/Evangelism/Biblical Theology

Quick Summary:

Christopher Wright’s hope in this book is that we might discover that “Mission is what it’s all about”. Of course he is not saying that the Scriptures are not Christocentric and glory of God focused. Wright spells out his thesis in the beginning, “our mission (if it is to be biblically informed and validated) means our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation.” And, thus, the book follows that flow.

Part One is foundational. In the first two chapters Wright attempts to formulate a missional hermeneutic (a way to understand the Bible and mission). Secondly, Wright lays the groundwork for mission by introducing us to the God of Mission. All mission flows from the fact that God desires to make Himself known. Thirdly, we look in depth at the people that God redeems and their continuing mission. Lastly, our eyes are opened to the arena for God’s mission.

From beginning to end this book is about God being on a mission and His call for us to join Him on that mission. Everything flows from mission.

What I Liked:

Wright is an amazing OT scholar. He opens up passages of Scripture and sheds light upon them in such a way that they come alive. He helps the reader to make connections that are not easily made, and does so without needlessly stretching texts. There are statements within this book that cause the heart to beat in worship. You will read things and be inspired to follow God in mission. You will read things that cause you to weep at the comprehensiveness of God’s plan and the beauty of its finality in Jesus. Even though it is 585 pages long—Wright never bores you.

His chapter on idolatry is worth the price of the book. There are sections of this book that would make me want to give it 6 out of 5 stars. One statement in particular blew my mind and I feel it necessary to share it with you as an example of what this book contains:

“Ultimately all that will be there in the new, redeemed creation will be there because of the Cross. And conversely, all that will not be there (suffering, tears, sin, Satan, sickness, oppression, corruption, decay and death) will not be there because they will have been defeated and destroyed by the cross. That is the length, breadth, height, and depth of God’s idea of redemption. It is exceedingly good news. It is the [banner over all of our] mission.”

What I Disliked:

It is not a boring 585 pages but sometimes a tad redundant. Wright is so thorough and makes his point so well that sometimes you want to scream out, “okay I get it!!!” In this way he reminds me of reading Jonathan Edwards. This book probably would be a very effective 350 pages. It took me so long to read through this book that it lost some of its momentum from early on. It is filled with such gold that it is worth the labor of panning for it; however, I would hate to see someone not purchase this book because its thickness scares them. This book is not only for the scholar, it is for every pastor and missionary; but it is also for every believer. I would absolutely love to see a condensed version of this book for those that are more casual readers.

Should You Buy It?

Even if it takes you a long time to read it, this book needs to be in your library and one that you read often. Buy a copy and take it slow, you will thank me later.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday’s Ministry Musing: Post-Preaching Depression

Have you ever been mightily used by God, get a spiritual high, and then the next day feel like a schmuck? Have you ever been running on a spiritual high for quite some time only to be blown away by an equally crushing period of depression and dryness? If so then you might be experiencing Post-Preaching Depression; or as Archibald Hart has termed it, “Post-adrenaline Depression”. Hart describes it this way:

“…what I was experiencing was a profound shutdown of my adrenal system, following a period of high stress or demand. It was as i my adrenal system were saying, “That’s enough abuse for now; let’s give it a break,” and shut down so that I had no choice in the matter.”

Sometimes we experience this because we are adrenaline junkies. Sometimes we experience this because there are seasons in our life when we must rely upon adrenaline (God gives it for a reason). The problem is that we often abuse adrenaline. We get addicted to the “high’s” and become pleasure-seeking adrenaline junkies. So, whether you are addicted to adrenaline or you just crash after big events there is wisdom in understanding post-adrenaline depression.

For me almost any time I preach I am totally spent afterwards. 23272824I typically preach on Wednesday evenings. After youth group is over I am exhausted. On Thursday I am drained for a little while but usually back up and running by Thursday evening or Friday morning.

This past week I was the Camp Director/Camp Pastor. It took a few weeks of late nights, stressful planning, and tons of adrenaline even to get ready for camp. Then there was a week of actually speaking twice per day and being responsible for over 100 people. Needless to say at the end of the week I was fully exhausted. I actually felt depressed at youth camp on Wednesday and Thursday and am only now beginning to “see the light”. I am having difficulty writing, preparing sermons, speaking to others, as well as battling feelings of worthlessness.

So, what do we do when we crash? How do we fight post-adrenaline depression? Hart’s suggestion may seem surprising: “cooperate with it”. He further explains. “When the adrenal system crashes its need for rejuvenation far exceeds my need just to feel good. In fact, the mood that it creates is deliberately designed to slow me down so that recovery can take place.”

Rather than fighting this feeling it is best to listen to its message. Try to relax. Do not try to find more adrenaline by ski-diving on your day off, just rest, do low-grade activity. As a pastor it may be wise not to take your day off on Monday (or me on Thursday) but rather do “easy” things in the office to recover. Take your day off when you could actually enjoy it.

Hart offers a few more helpful suggestions for dealing with this:

  • As soon as possible after the activity is over, go aside and relax for a while.
  • Allow the low mood to come over you, welcoming it as your friend.
  • Pay attention to what the “healing” process feels like in your body; it’s not really unpleasant if you interpret it as something good.
  • Continue to relax for as long as possible, without tackling any task awaiting you, giving priority to your recovery.
  • When you feel like it, mark time by doing routine, low-adrenaline demand activities”
  • If you are feeling depressed, accept the feeling as part of the recover process—it has no other significance, so don’t try to interpret your feeling or believe any of the negative self-talk that always accompanies it

What do you think? Good advice? What are areas where this thought can be developed further? How might this be difficult to follow? If you are interested in what Hart has to say I would suggest these two books: Unmasking Male Depression, Adrenaline and Stress.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Going to the Zoo

After a week of church camp and all the planning prior to it I am exhausted.  My wife, son, and I will be going to the St. Louis Zoo today.  Regular blogging will continue tomorrow.  Thanks for being patient.  Be sure to subscribe via Google Reader.

Friday, July 3, 2009

This Week in Blogworld 07/03

In the midst of a changing culture in Baptist life, Todd Benkert offers Things to Avoid in Baptist Disagreements

I’ve linked to these before, but now the entire list is compiled:  Ligonier Ministries has done us a great service by giving the Top 5 Commentaries for each book of the Bible.  Check out the list.

Michael Spencer steals all of my ideas about youth ministry.  Not really, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.  The iMonk gives his “model” of youth ministry.

It has been interesting to follow this “debate” between iMonk and Frank Turk concerning Mark Driscoll’s need to publicly repent.  See Turk’s Part 1, iMonk Part 1, Turk Part 2, and iMonk Part 2.  Be sure to read the comments on each of these. 

Bill Mounce answers a really good question: “How Rude Was Jesus?”

This is a very insightful point by David Fitch on Christendom evangelism.  (HT: Milton)

Not sure if I’ve linked to this before or not.  Pretty cool testimony from Korn’s Brian Welch:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thinking Through the Deliberate Church: Chapter Four

As always If you are just joining the discussion then please check out the foreword, intro, and chapter one. You can catch up pretty easily. If you have yet to buy the book I would suggest buying it for a paltry 9 bucks, here.   deliberatechurch

Quick summary:

If you want a healthy church then it is quite obvious that before anything else the church’s members need to be regenerate.  But, how do you ensure that every person accepted into membership is truly converted?  That begs a question though.  Is “church membership” even a biblical concept?  Dever will be the first to admit that “evidence is not abundant”, but there are examples in Scripture and thereby he also says, “it is clear, and it is consistent”.  I believe with Dever that church membership is biblical—perhaps not in its current form—but if defined as“a means by which we demarcate the boundaries of the church”, then I have to agree that it is indeed biblical.

The question is now asked, how do we make certain that those we consider “members” are indeed regenerate?  Dever’s first suggestion is to hold a new members class.  He also suggests having members sign a church covenant.  Sometimes it may even be beneficial to have members use the church covenant before partaking in the Lord’s Supper, or perhaps read corporately before business meetings. 

Another suggestion, and perhaps the most important, is a membership interview.  During this interview the “primary purpose is to gather” spiritual information.  A few things to look for are: 1) an explanation of the Gospel 2) previous church experience and why they left 3) are they biblically baptized 4) have they ever been disciplined by a church? 5) their personal testimony.  Dever also provides a helpful sample church membership interview form in the Appendix. 

This chapter closes with a couple words of caution.  First, caution is to not encourage the new members to “jump right in”.  For one we do not know their previous church experience.  There could still be serious misunderstandings of the Gospel.  Consider 1 Timothy 5:22.  Secondly, we have to realize that at the end of the day wheat will grow with the tares.  Even still we must be careful to not use this as an excuse.  “Don’t leave the front door unlatched”. 


“…it is surprising how careless many Christians and even pastors have become about the spiritual security of the local church.”  (59)

In regards to being intimidated when asked to explain the gospel in 60 seconds, “it is better for them to stutter in front of you now than to stand speechless before the Lord on the last day.”  (64)

“…if membership is a local church’s external affirmation of a person’s spiritual conversion, then the most unloving things we can do is mislead condemned people into thinking they are saved by conferring membership upon them too hastily”.  (65)


  • Dever’s church does a new members class before membership.  When does your church do such an interview?  Why might it be beneficial to do it before?  Why after?
  • Do you know your church covenant?  How does your church use it?  Do you even have one?
  • What do you think about the issue of church membership? 
  • What are we communicating as a church when we have ~650 members but only 150 actively attending?

The Need for Covering with Love in the Blogosphere

I am following a discussion at SBC Voices.  Todd Burus asks “why are so many in the SBC afraid of Calvinism”?  Perhaps, he chose a poor title; Calvinism: The New Racism?, nonetheless, I am convinced that the discussion has went a direction Todd did not intend.  Truthfully, there has been very little helpful interaction on this particular thread.

However, in following this discussion I think the Lord revealed to me something of my own heart.   When someone disagrees with, argues against, or even attacks something that I hold dear I tend to respond by nit-picking.  You actually see this quite a bit in the blogosphere, and I probably do not help the problem—I’ve been guilty of adding to it.

You see this quite often in comments about Mark Driscoll (whether for or against).  Person A leaves a comment that is not 100% accurate.  Rather than dealing with the 97% that is accurate Person B address the 3% that he/she can deal with.  Then the thread spirals out of control because Person B was also not 100% accurate with his comment about Person A’s 3%.  So, Person C comments and picks out how Person B was inaccurate.  By this time Person A rejoins the thread, defends himself and deals with Person B’s inaccuracies.   The whole time there is probably only 1% of the discussion that is actually helpful or useful. 

I will not pretend to judge your own heart.  But, allow me to be honest about my own.  The reason I deal with the 3% instead of the 97% is because it’s much easier to stay in my own comfort zone than to actually engage in a meaningful discussion.  At the same time I can look knowledgeable and not deal with the issues raised, what a perfect plan. 

Furthermore, this is a reflection of my heart that wants to be perceived as right (regardless of whether it really is true).  I am convinced that when I pick at the 3% (or even 43%) I am not truly loving the person I am talking with.  “Love rejoices in the truth”.  Doesn’t that at least mean that I am so happy for the 97% that is true that I am able to cover over the 3% with love? 

I understand there is another side to this.  If we let 3% of heresy slide then a little leaven will work its way through and that 3% will turn into 30% and then that 30% will turn into 90%, etc.  I’m just not convinced that such a slippery slope is true. 

The disciples and people surrounding Jesus often said some pretty dim witted things.  Sometimes, Jesus rebuked them.  Sometimes, he just let it slide and proclaimed truth without picking at the error.  So, I understand this is a difficult task to discover if something should be covered with love or dealt with.  But we ought to a least mull it over before ripping on someone’s error.  Most error is not intended to be malicious but only a result of being fallen.  I am convinced that actually engaging with gentleness, love, and respect looks quite different than what you see from us “truth warriors”.

Lord, change my prideful heart. 


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