Nov 28, 2008

Leaving for Disney tomorrow

First thing in the morning, Alison, the boys, and I will be leaving for a week in Disneyworld. We've been looking forward to this for a while. It's a great time of year to go with the Christmas decorations. It's also a great time for the boys. Nathan is 9, Drew is 7, and JD is 4. They should all have something they like.

I will try to post updates throughout the week depending on internet connectivity and times. If I don't, I'll see you next week.

Nov 20, 2008

Mark Driscoll on the theology of Joel Osteen

Here is a great clip from a sermon by Mark Driscoll on some of the theological flaws in the ministry of Joel Osteen. Definitely worth a look. It is my solid conviction that the culturized church in America today has long lost the art of biblical discernment that has allowed profiteers like Osteen to make millions of dollars with their Christian, humanistic, self-help mush.

Nov 19, 2008

No Shave November

At our church some guys in the Children's Ministry declared a "No Shave November". Speedy took the challenge to the Rick and Bubba Show and the guys on the staff there and Les and I set down the challenge to the guys on the staff at Westwood. None of the other guys (besides Les and me) were man enough to give it a try. (Kevin doesn't count since he looks like a modern-day Nazarite anyway.)

I thought I would post a photo for those of you to keep up with it. Most of you will not be too surprised since I usually don't shave but once a week anyway. Here is a link to the Rick and Bubba guys and their progress. I'll keep you posted. I'll be shaving probably on our trip to DisneyWorld in December!

If I can get a photo of our Pastor, I'll post it too!

Nov 11, 2008

Interesting Thoughts in the Reformed Theology Debate

Excuse the little theological aside for a moment. I have often wondered how much of my blog to devote to my personal ramblings on Red Sox baseball, MSU football (or lack thereof), and my family events; and how much to devote to my thoughts on theology, leadership, and church life. I read an interesting post today from Justin Taylor on his blog "Between Two Worlds". The blog dealt with a his reactions to some statements made at the John 3:16 Conference recently held and put on by Jerry Vines Ministries. Justin's blog are particularly directed at some statements made by Dr. Steve Lemke who is the Provost at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Justin's post can be read here.

While I have spent a lot of time talking and observing friends and colleagues from both sides of the aisle on this debate, this is of particular interest to me. First, I have long admired both Jerry Vines, long-time pastor at FBC Jacksonville, Johnny Hunt, pastor of FBC Woodstock and current president of my beloved Southern Baptist Convention, and Charles Stanley, long-time pastor at FBC Atlanta. All of these men are great expositors of the word and soul-winners. They have done much over the last few years to bring many into the kingdom of God. They deserve and have my utmost affection and respect. They are also representative of a generation of pastors who have helped shaped the SBC for many years. They have always been, first and foremost, men with the heart of pastors and soul-winners and their theology reflects that.

Secondly, Dr. Lemke is one of my professors at NOBTS and one that I have grown to respect, despite some of our theological differences. He is an extremely intelligent man. My first doctoral seminar was "Theological Issues for Ministry in the 21st Century" in which we covered the doctrine of God's providence and it's role in prayer. It was a challenging time. I spent hours in reflection for my paper and Dr. Lemke was very fair in grading my paper even though he disagreed with my conclusions.

Third, I have a huge amount of respect for pastors and leaders on the reformed side of the aisle such as Mark Dever, Al Mohler, John Piper, and C.J. Mahaney. These men have inspired me and given me much to think about regarding this topic. In addition, they have helped me to look deeper to God's Word for my answers and not just to the traditional upbringings of my church life or convention.

I have long said that one day I will post a blog entitled "Why My Calvinists Friends think I am Arminian and Why My Arminian Friends Think I am a Calvinist." That is for another day. I do think you should read Justin's blog and his reaction to Dr. Lemke. (This is mostly for my friends Dave, Jason, Michael, and you other Calvinist homers) Much to think about and much to debate - as long as we keep it civil and within the confines of in-house debates over coffee. One thing we can agree on is that there is a lost world that needs desperately to hear the message of Christ and we musn't get sidetracked from that mission.

Nov 4, 2008

The Best Decision I Ever Made

This past Saturday, I celebrated the best decision I ever made in my life. 11 years ago, my heart was stolen by a beautiful red-head as I sat across the dinner table from her at her dad's house. I was instantly captured. When I returned to Alabaster three weeks later as the youth minister of Westwood, I had two things I was excited about. First, I was about to begin a fresh start in ministry at a growing church. Second, I was about to ask out a beautiful woman for the first time in 5 years. Our first few dates were exciting and fresh. I knew quickly that I wanted to be with this woman for the rest of my life.

On Nov. 1, 1997, I stood before the church and made the commitment to love, honor, and cherish this woman for the rest of my life. Life has never been the same. She has blessed me by being a wife that holds me up too high most of the time. She has given me three incredible boys who bring new adventures everyday. She is my biggest believer and most vocal cheerleader.

Happy Anniversary Alison. I love you.