Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the northern lights

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev 4:11

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis just amaze me. Only once have I seen just a glimpse, since most often it doesn't occur as far south as my home town of Platteville, WI.

As I was looking through these pictures I couldn't help but worship God for great and beautiful things in nature. These are magnificent sights to me and it doesn't cease to amaze me the great wonders the Lord has created.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rare Books

I just learned of a great source for rare books that has been put online. The Dallas Theological Seminary offers complete scans of rare books.

Some of the authors from the 225 rare book authors include:
William Cowper
Jonathan Edwards
Martin Luther
Robert Murray M'Cheyne
John Newton
A.W. Pink
Isaac Watts

It looks to be a good resource for the avid reader or those interested in old, rare books

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vintage Jesus

I've read many reviews of Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears over the past month. Some very pleased with the book, others disappointed in Driscoll's choice of crude or irreverent comments. Before I briefly address the topic of Driscoll's that seems to be most widely discussed in the blogsphere of the choice of words and comments, I'll share things that I thought were great about the book.

I thought Driscoll touched on some great questions and was very biblical in his responses. Some of the questions addressed in the book are:
Is Jesus the Only God?
Why did Jesus come to earth?
Why did Jesus' mom need to be a virgin?
What did Jesus accomplish on the cross?
Dis Jesus Rise from the dead?
What makes Jesus superior to other saviors?

The questions were all answered in a way that was easy for almost anyone to understand. The content was clear and concise, not beating around any bush or shying away from the truth or hard questions. As the book went on I thought I became more theologically precise. A majority of the joking was at the beginning of the book and maybe that was what made me take the second a half a bit more serious and I thought it was more focused

I did think at times Driscoll's comments were taken a bit too far, resulting in me having some apprehensions of who I might share the book with. But I would recommend the book on the basis of its theological insights. It was a great book that made me think and helped me to understand and better articulate the gospel and other biblical topics. And I will admit there was a time or two I laughed out loud in response to a comment.

I had heard another person say that the type of language Driscoll uses really dates the book. The current lingo may be a strength now, but in 30 years will people really follow what was being said, will they take it seriously? What would you think if reading a book from the 70's is Jesus called his disciples groovy or referred to something as far out? I would agree, making this a downfall of the book since some of his jokes are meant somewhat to make the point it may be a bit confusing years down the road to understand, but the biblical points and solid theology will remain with or without the jokes.

I will say after reading Driscoll's other books and now Vintage Jesus I am looking forward to Driscoll's forthcoming book Death by Love set to come out October of 2008

Here are a few other reviews (mixed reviews) of Driscoll's book from a few men that I respect.
Irish Calvinist - Erik Raymond
Locusts and Wild Honey - Don Elbourne - Tim Challies

Monday, April 21, 2008

Reflections on Jonathan Edwards

1703-2003 Reflections on Jonathan Edwards 300 Years Later was a great little booklet that, I believe, was given out at the 2003 Desiring God National Conference. The booklet gives just a brief overview of the life, study habits, ministry, and the exceptional women that were in his life.

What convicted me the most was they way we (or rather I) study the scriptures. Edwards's 28th resolution is
"Resolved: To study the scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same."

This comes as a rebuke to me.

John Piper follows by asking:

"How many of us have a plan for growing in our grasp of the whole terrain of scripture? Don't most of us use the Bible as a source for getting sermons and devotionals and personal devotional help? But do we labor over the scripture in such a way that we can plainly see that today we understand something in it that we did not understand yesterday?"

"I fear that many of us work at reading books on theology and church life with a view to growing, but have no plan and no sustained effort to move steadily and constantly forward in our understanding of the Bible."

That was a kick in the back side to get moving and study more in Scripture. I began last week in my morning devotional time going through the books of Galatians using John MacArthur's study guide to help guide. But just reading this has prompted me to think of ways that I can dive even more deeply into the text and pull out even more than I get from using the study guide.

If your able to get your hands on a copy of this booklet I recommend it. It's not long, but gives a great over view of Edwards's life and ministry and will challenge you as you read. By the way parts of this book were excerpts from "The Pastor As Theologian" a sermon/biographical sketch preached by Piper in April 1988.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What to do on a Sunday Afternoon

I went to Barnes and Noble this week (twice) and found several good bargains. But I've decided that since I bought somewhere around 7 books that I ought to get reading some of them or some of the others that I've been having on my shelf that I haven't gotten around to reading.

So today after a great worship service and lunch, and after taking some time to weed eat around my house I thought I'd take the rest of the afternoon to read.

On my list of books to read or finish in the next week or two are:
Vintage Jesus - by Mark Driscoll
The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell - by John Crawford
The Legacy of Sovereign Joy - by John Piper (my gym reading material)
Susannah Spurgeon: Free Grace and Dying Love
And a short book about Jonathan Edwards by John Piper

Lord willing I will finish up Vintage Jesus soon and post my reactions to the book here some time in the near future.

Friday, April 18, 2008

upcoming plans

We've had a couple of great weeks with the volunteers that have been here. A lot has been accomplished in the community and on the homes. But there is still so far to go. Still so many people that are living in temporary housing (FEMA trailers and campers, MEMA cottages, hotel rooms, etc)

It's very hard for me to ask people to work on my little house when there is so many people in Lakeshore that do not have houses and lost everything in the storm. So for now my house is stalled at the electrical and plumbing stages, since I'm sure I couldn't do that. But that's no big deal. It gives me more time to plan what I am going to do. Come the walls and flooring stage though, hopefully I will be able to do some of that on my own and with a little help.

For those interested...I drew up the plans on Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 6.0. My goal was to design a building under 200 square feet. The floor plan is pretty basic and flexible as far as getting up into the loft. Originally I was going to just use a ladder, but I have been talked into building an alternating tread staircase. I will probably build a book case on the back of the staircase and I have an idea for the table, but I'll. tell more about that if it happens. I am also still trying to decide what I am going to do as far as siding. I think I like the idea of a rustic cabin. If I do that I will probably go with T-111 for siding. I intend to sheetrock once things are ready inside and as far as flooring I will probably do some tile since we have a bunch of random donated tile. But for flooring in the loft I'm stuck...any suggestions?

You might notice that there is not a spot of the water heater on the drawings. I have plans for that as well...probably a little shed looking thing just off the back of the house. At one of the houses we rehabbed we did this and it seemed to work pretty well...If it doesn't make sense now hopefully once it is done I'll have pictures to explain.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Unreached People Groups

You may have noticed in the past few days I've put up a picture and information on my side bar under the heading pray for unreached people groups. There are a number of reasons I decided to add this...not just to make more clutter on the side of the blog (it just looks like clutter because I am not technologically savvy).

In December last year I began praying for unreached people groups around the world. I enjoyed praying and learning about different cultures, different people groups, and reading the stories and prayer requests of missionaries around the world ministering in to these groups. But even more importantly than what I enjoy is God answers prayer - prayers for missionaries ministering, struggling, discipling, teaching, and reaching out to the lost...prayers for people hearing the gospel that their deaf ears and blind eyes would be opened....prayers for new Christian converts dealing with persecution for leaving their former religion....prayers to send missionaries to regions and people group who have never heard the gospel and do not have a Bible in their own language...

There are several great resources to learn from and see prayer requests of missionaries and for people groups and countries that have little or no Christian influence.

The Joshua Project: A site highlighting the people groups of the world that have the least Christian presence in their midst and to encourage pioneer church-planters among every ethnic people group.

The International Mission Board: The SBC mission board has a page on the website devoted to prayer for people groups, missionaries, urban centers, strategic ministries, unengaged peoples, and countries.

Operation World: Is a great resource to learn about countries, but their primary purpose is praying for the countries of the world.

I'm sure there are many other great sites that have prayer requests for countries and people groups, these are just the ones that I happen to be familiar with. May I encourage you to add global prayers to your daily prayer time.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Side Note

Tonight I'm sitting back reflecting on the past few weeks. I'm just in awe of how great God is and how merciful he is to a sinner like me - showing me grace even when I fail him time and time again.

This past Sunday we had a guest preacher, Pastor Stacy Morgan, from Hammond, LA. He preached from 1 Tim 1:12-17 on grace, mercy, and the chief of sinners. It was a message the Lord used to convict me of my sin, but I was encouraged to hear of God's mercy and that I'm not alone in my sin (even though I know others sin).

Lord willing sometime this week I will be writing and getting out to family and friends an update of what's going on with me and the ministry at Lakeshore Baptist Church.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I've arrived back in Mississippi from Atlanta last night just before the worship service. Thank you to all who prayed for me as I traveled and went through the interviews at NAMB. Everything went very smooth and the interviews went well. It looks like, Lord willing, that I will be here in Lakeshore another two years this time as a US/C2 missionary through NAMB.

The interviews were are great time to get to know some of the other missionaries that will placed throughout the US and Canada. I met a really great couple that Lord willing will be serving in Mobile, AL which is just a short drive for me and also a young lady that will be serving at the Rachel Simms Baptist Mission in New Orleans. I am looking forward to getting to know them better as we serve in the same neck of the woods.

A few others that I connected with while I was there was a couple planting a church in Calgary Canada and a young man from Texas that was helping them in Calgary. I spent one evening with them and one other couple at a near by mall to get out of the hotel and chatting while we were waiting as interviews took place.

Overall my time in Atlanta was a great experience. Everyone here in Lakeshore did an amazing job as well. Things have gone very smooth from what I heard the first few days and today went good as well. We had a church from Kentucky frame up our 27th house which is very exciting. I haven't been out there yet, but look forward to seeing it. We appreciate your prayers and continue to pray for Pastor Don as he's in California and will be traveling to Kentucky this weekend to preach on Sunday then to attend the Together for the Gospel conference.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Interviews and 175

Today I am preparing to fly out to Atlanta early tomorrow morning. I will be heading to the North American Mission Board headquarters for 3 days of interviews and other meetings and formalities. I had applied for a US/C2 position to continue my work here in Lakeshore. I was invited to go through the interview process, but from what I've heard from JoEll, Pastor Don, and the folks at NAMB and the Mississippi Baptist Convention it sounds pretty promising that I will be able to continue here as a US/C2 missionary, which will be a two year missionary stay.

But as I prepare to head out so does Pastor Don. Greg will be flying in today to help James with the skilled end of things around here, but Liz and Britt will be heading up the unskilled groups. I'm confident they can do alright, but please be praying for them as well as Greg, James, and JoEll as we will be having about 175 people this week.

I too would appreciate your prayers as I head off to my interview. I know most of this is formality, but I am still getting a bit nervous. I will be returning Wednesday evening, Lord willing before the worship service.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Fridays view from in and out

I wish there was a way for me to say thank you more than just thank you. The team from Southside Baptist did a great job on my little house, chalet, cottage...Obviously there is still a ways to go. I'm trying to decide what I am going to put on the outside as far as siding..I'll either go with a rustic look or a doll house look. I'm not sure I could see it going either way. Maybe I'll paint it pink...even though some people think I'm a little nuts for thinking that.
I'm also still trying to figure out stairs and how furniture will go in there...but I have some ideas. I can't wait to move in or at least work on it. I hope to be able to do a few things in there during the construction phase. I'm hoping to have a part in doing the flooring...also something I am still trying to decide on.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday...gnat day

Well the clouds and the rain that was in the area Tuesday had passed making today a great weather day with a small passing shower. But the standing water and the warm temperature made it perfect weather for gnats. The little biting bugs that almost no matter what you do you can't avoid them..or..the stop what I'm doing and go inside kind of bug... But the team from Southside Baptist Church pressed on through the gnats continuing on my home. Today came shingles and windows and doors.

Wednesday - Day Three

Work continues on my little chalet in the woods. It's really taking shape. I must keep reminding myself as we tell folks whose homes we are rebuilding - this is the fastest part..then it will slow down. Even still it's very exciting.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday - Day two

Today the team from Southside Baptist Church put up the floor joists for the loft and started to get things ready to put up the gable ends. The porch is also taking shape. I'm so excited.
The rains came down in the afternoon halting the work, but I was able to go out to my cottage that evening, climb up onto the loft, and get a real feel for how my little house was going to look. This is the view of my front yard from the loft.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Monday..Day One

This week we have a few teams here (2 from Alabama, 1 from Florida, and another will be rolling in tomorrow from Florida) So far they have gotten a good bit of work done, but this week is especially exciting for me. A couple weeks ago when we realized we had a framing team coming in and probably wouldn't have time to get pilings in the ground Pastor Don told me to come up with a set of plans for a house under 200 square feet that I could live in. So I did...This week there is a team here building my little cottage! I know 200 square feet is smaller than my office in the church office - but it will be a place of my own and it will have a real bathroom :) It will also have a loft which isn't counted into the square footage - this is where I'll sleep. I'm so looking forward to the day I move out of the camper and into my cottage! I will admit, last night after the work crews had come in I went out to my little place with the girls and we sat in the house and day dreamed about how things would look in there. I deeply appreciate the kindness the church has shown to me and I'm so grateful the Lord has provided a more "permanent" home to stay in. Lord willing I will be able to show everyone the progress as this week and the coming weeks progress.