Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Bible Reading Plan


Another year has come and gone and yet another year I make no resolutions. This past year I challenged myself I read through the Bible in a year, tonight I will finish the reading it through. I really enjoyed this plan, given out by Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL last year as a challenge to their church. I read this year through the ESV Reformation Study Bible.

This coming year I intend to start the plan over starting at the beginning. This time reading through my ESV Study Bible and looking for a couple specific things as I read, which helps me to pay much more attention to detail.

I benefited tons and learned so much more as I looked at all the scriptures...I'm left with many more questions as I ponder the text. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to study, freely, the word of the Lord. I look forward to other studies I will be beginning in addition to the read through the Bible plan. My prayer from here on is that the Lord would give me more desire and a deep hunger to study, ponder, meditate, read the scriptures, that He'd reveal new things to me in each verse, and that he'd transform my life.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sermon prep for the Congregation - Consider how you listen


I was catching up on some blog reading this afternoon and was convicted by a couple of blogs posts written by Tim Challies on the topic of considering how we listen to sermons. I recommend giving both posts a read.

The first of the posts is excerpted from a George Whitfield sermon...These pearls of wisdom will help you listen to sermons in a way that will bring great blessing to your soul. Or as Whitefield said, “Here are some cautions and directions, in order to help you hear sermons with profit and advantage.”

The second post is a great list of ways we who do not preach can prepare for the Sunday sermon..."What we consider less often, I think, is that while a pastor bears great responsibility in preparing for and delivering the Word of God each Sunday, the listener shares in the responsibility. The church has no place for an audience. We are all to be involved in the preaching, even as listeners." - Tim Challies

Friday, December 04, 2009

Jake and USC football

I came across this video on a couple blogs I read, it's worth taking the 7 minutes to watch. It'll make you cry, least it did me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My list...part 1


A few years ago now I made a list, a list of what I would look for in a man that I would want to marry. Not the type of list I would have made in my early teen years...tall, dark, handsome....yeah you know what I am talking about. And a list that is more than just the obvious (at least obvious for me)...that he's man and a Christian. But a list coming mostly from scripture...I don't have the list any more, but to recall a few...

He loves his wife as Christ loves the church – Eph 5:25
He should love their wife as their own bodies – Eph 5:28
He'd live with his wife in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel 1 Peter 3:7

Then there were other qualities – not necessarily given in scripture as addressed to husbands but more general...
A man of prayer
self-controlled
be in accordance with sound doctrine
sound in faith, in love, and steadfastness
sober-minded

And the list went on...But when I was thinking back on the list this week I was convicted. Convicted that I need not be focused on searching for this man who fits the description or try to make a man fit that description and trust that the Lord would bring him if the Lord wills.

Rather, I need to focus on becoming a godly woman and wife. What are those things that I should be learning or reinforcing in my life that that will lead to that? So I began to prayerfully think on this and journaling my thoughts, some of which Lord willing I will be posting in the coming days.

But here me say, I am not erasing from my mind that list that I had written out about what type of man I want to marry. I still will use that as I do want to get just caught up in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship but because I am interested in getting to the man God had placed in my life and see if he may be that one who embodies these biblical characteristics.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Music new to me...JJ Heller

In the last week or so I have discovered the music of JJ Heller and she has quickly become one of my favorite musicians/vocalists. Her music can be found on itunes, jjheller.com, or amazon. One album, Wake Up The World, is available for free on noisetrade.com for a limited time. I highly recommend checking it out!


Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Pipers - Molly Piper

John Piper is a well known pastor and speaker, his son Abraham Piper has become a well known blogger. While I am grateful for John Piper's ministry and enjoy reading Abraham Piper's blog 22 Words I really appreciate the blog The Pipers written by Abraham's wife, Molly Piper.

Molly Piper blogs on many topics ranging from family, life's issues, crafts, books, home renovations, and possibly the saddest but most helpful - especially to those in a similar situation - is the still birth of her daughter Felicity and the grief that follows. I can't say enough about the blog, how much I appreciate her honesty in happiness and grief, her practicality of many of the posts (I've even learned how to fold a fitted sheet!)

I recommend The Pipers blog to anyone, especially women, those seeking godly wisdom from other Christian women, those grieving the loss of a child, those looking for practical ideas, mothers, young ladies hoping to be mothers...basically any woman.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lakeshore Baptist Children's Choir

The last Sunday of this month Lakeshore Baptist Church will be having the children's choir sing at the Sunday morning service. I am really looking forward to this, as are most of the children.

Pastor Don asked me about a year ago if I would be interested in leading a children's choir, I was a little hesitant at first but finally said I would. We began last winter, singing at the Easter service earlier this year. There was not a huge turn out in kids, though we had several that came very faithfully and we had a good time.

This semester I have been joined by Emily Elbourne, who is helping on piano, and a woman who recently began attending the church - Mrs. Joni. She is a school bus driver and has been very helpful in picking up children and just knowing many children and asking them to come. This semester has been very good so far. We have a many children join us in the choir, most of whom have never been to church here or anywhere.

I have had a great time with the kids this semester, as well as constantly learning. I have been streched in ways I wouldn't have thought. But it's been good.

When I was thinking about songs to sing I wanted the focus to be evident - Christ and the gospel. I was greatly encouraged by the music from Sovereign Grace Ministries and chose to use a couple of their songs this semester. One song that we've been singing and I think has become the favorite of the group is To Be Like Jesus.

To Be Like Jesus

VERSE 1
Love, joy, peace, and patience too
Grow in those who trust in You
All who put their hope in Christ
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Self-control and gentleness
Live in those who have new life

CHORUS
I want to be like Jesus
To walk and talk like Jesus
I want to live like one who follows Him
I want to love like Jesus
To give my all like Jesus
I want to live like one who follows Him

VERSE 2
I don’t always do what’s right
Jesus lived a perfect life
And for sins like mine He died
Teach me to obey Your Word
Help me to put others first
Holy Spirit, change my life

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Broken Silence - Ms. Lisa

I've never met Ms. Lisa, author of the Broken Silence blog, but I've been very encouraged by this wife and homeschooling mother of two. I check almost everyday to see if she has a new post up. I love reading her posts. She mixes hymns, theology, family, laughs, and helpful and encouraging snippets from books, scripture, blogs, and sermons.

I came across Broken Silence after Pastor Don had reconnected with his friend Tim, whom he went to high school with - Tim happens to be the husband of Ms. Lisa. I am sure glad to have gotten connected with this blog and can gain wisdom, insight, and sometimes just get a good laugh.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Currently Reading 10-31-09

Another week a few books read. This week I read through a couple of quick reads.

Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor by Robert D. Lupton
This was a great book that I think if very fitting for our ministry here in Lakeshore. The author focused on several situations but all in the realm of development and not just betterment. He emphasized the importance of development, as the old proverb goes "give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime"



The Milk of the Word: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Peter Barnes. The was a great, short systematic theology book. It focused on the Word of God, The Triune God, Jesus Christ, The Atonement, and The Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The book was as thorough as one can be on these topics in 80 pages. Nearly everything said on these had attached scripture references, as well as, helpful quotations from past authors and theologians. Overall a great book, I'd recommend it to unbelievers, new believers, and Christians who've been walking with the Lord a long time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Joyfully Home - Jasmine Baucham

I follow a lot of blogs, but some of my favorite blogs are written by Christian women. Most of whom are reformed in theology, but also share a lot of very practical ideas, stories, encouragement, and wisdom. Over the next several weeks I want to share some of them in hope of encouraging other women.

The first blog I want to direct you to is Joyfully Home written by Jasmine Baucham - daughter of Pastor and author Voddie Baucham. I met Ms. Baucham a little over 2 years ago at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL. I was impressed and encouraged by this young woman, who at the time was 17, with the way she cared for her younger brothers and was always happy to help her parents. It wasn't until August this year that I came across her blog. Ms. Baucham is a very captiving author who does not waste one single word and is wise years beyond her age. I've been very encouraged by her posts and I hope it does the same for you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Currently Reading 10-23-09

Okay, I know it seems like all I've been blogging about is the books that I've been reading. So I have. But I've missed reading books like I used to and since I have time to read when I am running at the gym and some evenings when I go home, I am trying to make the most of every semi-quiet opportunity.

From Religion to Christ by Peter Jeffery
This was a great little book, very solid. The author looked at the book of John chapter 3, Nicodemus's conversation with Jesus and lays out the gospel very clearly. I think this would be a great book for both believers and unbelievers.








Heirs with Christ - The Puritans on Adoption by Joel Beeke...the following is from back of the book...
The Puritans have gotten bad press for their supposed lack of teaching on the doctrine of spiritual adoption. In Heirs with Christ, Joel R. Beeke dispels this caricature and shows that the Puritan era did more to adovcate the idea that every Christian is God's adopted child than any other age of church history. This little book lets the Puritans speak for themselves, showing how they recognized adoption's far-reaching, transforming power and comfort for the children of God.



Restorers of Hope: Reaching the poor in your community with church-based ministries that work by Amy Sherman

In this book Amy Sherman challenges churches to get involved with mercy ministry she makes clear that a church that thinks it should not be involved in mercy ministry should really take a good look at society and more importantly the gospel. The book is very practical for leaders who may be wanting to get more involved with mercy minisrty or for ministries already ministering to their communities.



Evangelism: Doing Justice While Preaching Grace by Harvie Conn

This too was a great little book, only around 110 pages, but full of good stuff. It really focused on holistic evangelism - showing mercy and preaching the gospel together.





Sex, Sushi, and Salvation: thoughts on intimacy, community, & eternity by Christian George

I really liked this book. It is very solid theologically and very practical. He was right on when explaining the gospel and straight up with the reader on many issues focusing mostly on intimacy, community, and eternal issues. The theme of God's sovereignty over all things ran through the entire book as well as the urging for Christians to grow up and grow in their gospel-centeredness.

At times Christian George is a bit Driscollesque in his examples, so I am sure there are some folks out there that might not appreciate that. The one thing I was not crazy about was the place where some of the scripture references came from. Many came from the NIV which I had no problem with, but some came from The Message - a paraphrase of the Bible or I would say even more like a commentary. It is not a translation.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Currently Reading 10-4-09

This week has been a semi-productive reading week for me. I've finished a couple of books and still working on another.

The books for the week are:

Growing up in Grace by Murray G. Brett. I highly recommend this book. While reading I could help but tell myself...if you can't say amen, say ouch. Said a lot of amens, with an ouch!

This short book looks at the Christian life and the process of sanctification in a believers life. The challenge of this book as stated by Geoff Thomas in the foreward is this :
"This book addresses our consciences about the character ot our Christian way. Is there credible godliness? Is there a deepening, growing relationship with our Lord? Is the loce of Jesus Christ constraining our behavior - love so amazing, so divine demanding our souls, our lives, and our all - and are we giving the Lord affectionate obedience in return?"
Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper. This is a short biography of the evangelical member of Parliament who strove nearly his entire life to abolish slave trade and slavery in England







Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Carolyn Mahaney & Nicole Mahaney Whitacre.

These two ladies have written a book for both mothers and daughter on the issue of what it means to become a godly woman. The look at the mother/daughter bond and then in short chapters give many examples of godly living. Encouraging all the way the daughters to learn from their mothers, obey them and follow their example.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Glory to God Forever

Yes so this might be the week for videos, oh well.

I have really been enjoying the music from the band Fee. The video I posted earlier this week was one of their songs from their previous album, "We Shine"

I am looking forward to their upcoming album, "Hope Rising", which will be released October 6. The following song/video, Glory to God Forever, is song a from that album that I've enjoyed singing in worship to the Lord.



Glory To God Forever

Before the world was made
before you spoke it to be
You were the King of Kings
yeah you were, yeah you were

And now you’re reigning still
enthroned above all things
Angels and saints cry out
we join them as we sing

Glory to God, Glory to God
Glory to God, Forever

Creator God you gave
me breath so I could praise
Your great and matchless name
all my days, all my days

So let my whole life be
a blazing offering
A life that shouts and sings
the greatness of the King

Glory to God, Glory to God
Glory to God, Forever

Take my life and let it be
All for you and for your glory
Take my life and let it be yours

Glory to God, Glory to God
Glory to God, Forever

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shocking Abortion Video

I came across the following video on Voddie Baucham's blog.

The following is what Mr. Baucham said to introduce the video:
Those of us involved in the pro-life movement probably won’t find this video all that shocking. However, pro-choice advocates (and those who voted for president Obama) will probably find this video offensive... and that’s okay. Those who support abortion must be challenged; they must be forced to answer the question posed by this video.
Take just a couple minutes to watch this video and share it with others.
(This is not the video that shows the abortion procedure, though this is still heartbreaking and thought provoking)





Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Running, 5ks, and my thoughts


I've never been one for running, in fact I used to hate it. I hated running the mile in school, I never ran just for fun, and when I went to the gym I would choose to do anything else but run. With a little encouragement this past spring I began jogging at a community walking track here in Bay St. Louis. A few weeks after that I decided to run in a 5k race during the Bay Bridge Fest. I finished. It was not a great time. Though I wasn't last, which made me happy.

This past weekend I gave myself a chance at another 5k. This run was for Waiting for a Cure a benefit for those who are battling or have battled breast cancer on the Mississippi Gulf coast and sponsored by the Gulf Coast Running Club. Again, not a spectacular finish, but I took 2 1/2 minutes off my previous 5k time and it was fun meeting new people.

I hope to continue running, though its still not my favorite thing to do, I feel good after I am finished. And that out weighs how I feel when I am actually running. I am thinking about running another 5k later this year, we'll see if that happens.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All Because of Jesus



All Because of Jesus
-Steve Fee

Giver of every breath I breathe
Author of all eternity
Giver of every perfect thing
To You be the glory

Maker of heaven and of earth
No one can comprehend your worth
King over all the universe
To You be the glory

I'm alive
Because I'm alive in You

And it's all because of Jesus I'm alive
And it's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covers me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive

Every sunrise sings Your grace
The universe cries out your praise
I'm singing freedom all my days
Now that I'm alive

It's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
Covers me and raised this dead man's life
Yeah, it's all because of Jesus
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because of the blood of Jesus Christ
Covers me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
I'm alive, I'm alive

Thursday, September 24, 2009

God's glory and depression

We're told you are not supposed to struggle
that Christ is in sovereign over all things.
I know that's true and believe it full
but from time to time I struggle still

Depression is that with which I battle
some days it gets me more than others.
some say it's all caused by sin
never can it be else than that.

I do sin and it does contribute
but must I rule out there must be more?
I wish there was a way to fix change it all
but it must be God's sovereign plan

I often fail to see why depression exists
but I know its for a reason
that God would be glorified above all things
in all life and emotions

I mustn't fall into woe is me
though often tempted to do so
Need to recognize the bigger picture
God's glory and sovereign rule.

I'm grateful for all life's struggles
as hard as they seem.
They ultimately sanctify the believer
and let God's glory be seen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Currently Reading 9-22-09

I am always interested in what others are reading. I am always looking for a new book. But I thought I would share the books that I am currently reading. I am trying to limit myself to the number of books I read at one time, because I have a bad habit of starting several books and then forgetting to finish many of them.

When Helping Hurts (How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself) by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

The two reasons the authors give for writing this book are thought provoking:
1. "North American Christians are simply not doing enough. We are the richest people to walk the face of the earth. Yet, most of us live as though there is nothing terribly wrong in the world."
2. "Many observers...believe that when North American Christians do attempt to alleviate poverty, the methods used often do considerable more harm to both the materially and materially non-poor. Our concern is not just that these methods are wasting human, spiritual, financial, and organizational resources but that these methods are actually exacerbating the very problems they are trying to solve." pg 28

Is God Really in control (Trusting God in a World of Hurt) by Jerry Bridges






This voice in My Heart (A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith and Forgiveness) by Gilbert Tuhbonye

This is the story of a Brundi Tutsi that survived brutal attacks in his home country when a Hutu mob invaded his high school. He was the only Tutsi survivor of that attack, but suffered severe injuries. He went on to become a world-class athlete.

Friday, September 18, 2009

You Never get Beyond the Gospel

In Tim Keller's article The Centrality of the Gospel he claims that most Christians have not used the gospel in all areas of life. Many think the gospel is mainly for unbelievers. I couldn't agree more with what Keller has to say. We need to continually re-discover the gospel...

Paul is showing that we never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced”. The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s but the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.

We are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience, but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal.3:1-3) and are renewed (Col.1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom.1:16-17). It is very common in the church to think as follows. "The gospel is for non-Christians. One needs it to be saved. But once saved, you grow through hard work and obedience." But Col.1:6 shows that this is a mistake. Both confession and "hard work" that is not arising from and "in line" with the gospel will not sanctify you--it will strangle you. All our problems come from a failure to apply the gospel. Thus when Paul left the Ephesians he committed them "to the word of his grace, which can build you up" (Acts 20:32)

The main problem, then, in the Christian life is that we have not thought out the deep implications of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life. Richard Lovelace says that most people’s problems are just a failure to be oriented to the gospel--a failure to grasp and believe it through and through. Luther says, "The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine....Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually." (on Gal.2:14f) The gospel is not easily comprehended. Paul says that the gospel only does its renewing work in us as we understand it in all its truth. All of us, to some degree live around the truth of the gospel but do not "get" it. So the key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. A stage of renewal is always the discovery of a new implication or application of the gospel--seeing more of its truth. This is true for either an individual or a church.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The privilege of hearing the gospel

It is a great privilege to hear the gospel. You may smile and think there is nothing very great in it. The damned in hell know. Oh, what would they give if they could hear the gospel now? If they could come back and entertain but the shadow of a hope that they might escape from the wrath to come? The saved in heaven estimate this privilege at a high rate, for, having obtained salvation through the preaching of this gospel, they can never cease to bless their God for calling them by his word of truth. O that knew it! On your dying beds the listening to a gospel sermon will seem another thing than it seems now.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 6)


I could write much more on Literacy and the Gospel as I continue to think about the topic. But I think I will make this my last post. I have read many articles online, I think this one written in Baptist Press briefly sums up some of my thoughts.

Christianity is a book-religion. That is, all of its revelation about God's redemptive work in Christ is mediated to us in letters on a page. We don't have photographs, telephone lines through time, or a living oral tradition. We have the Scriptures. Apart from them, we have no saving knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Because Christianity is a religion of the book, where it spreads so too does a concern for literacy. That is why when Christianity expands it borders, it is often accompanied by the building of schools and other institutions of learning. Where literacy dies, so does a knowledge of and a love for the Bible. Does it not make sense to interpret a decline in reading as a trend that works against the Gospel?

I believe the pervasive and invasive entertainment culture (TV, Internet, movies, etc.) smothers serious thinking and the reading of entire books. Americans by and large don't read serious books because they are entertaining themselves to death. There simply isn't time to read the Bible, much less books on theology or doctrine. Besides that, when you are conditioned to be in a constant state of being entertained, reading non-fiction becomes a chore and a bore.

Our hearts tend to fixate on vanity. It will be that way until the great day of our Lord's return. If we would be faithful to Christ, we would be conscientiously doing everything we can to work against these currents in the culture and within our own hearts. It may mean throwing our televisions away. It may mean spending less time on the Internet -- perhaps even reading less blogs. Whatever it takes, it's worth it to redeem the time and to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (Ephesians 5:16; 1 Timothy 4:7-8).
With all that has been said, I still believe we must go to those who cannot read and share the gospel with them. We need not wait until they are literate to share Christ with them. We can use teaching literacy as both a means of sharing Christ with them and helping them to grow in their relationship with Christ by reading the scriptures.

It is my prayer that we in America would turn off the tv's, the computers, the music and pick up our Bibles. I pray that as the Lord leads people would begin literacy programs, ESL classes, and come up with other ideas on how to increase literacy. I also pray people would go on mission to other countries to promote literacy and to translate Bibles for those who have none. Let us consider literacy as a gospel issue.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 5)


Some have said sharing the gospel is the most important thing and should not focus on literacy. I agree that sharing the gospel is of utmost importance. Some argue that the majority of first century persons were illiterate, but Christians took the gospel to them and spread it orally. Praise God for those believers.

I understand that first century Christians and unbelievers were mostly illiterate and even today it is possible to be a Christian to be illiterate and grow in a relationship with Christ. But I believe literacy is very important in the process of sanctification and think it should not be ignored. I believe scripture is clear that we should be reading his word.

We are told in scripture to meditate on the word and to do what is written in it...how are we to do that if one can't read?
Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

We know that scripture reveals to us that knowing the scriptures helps us to understand Christ. How can we deepen our knowledge of Christ and who he is without being able to read and comprehend the words of scripture?
2 Timothy 3:15-17
and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
The mysteries of Christ are revealed in the scriptures...
Eph 3:3-4
How the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
I believe literacy ministries can serve people in different ways. I do believe that bringing the gospel to someone is more important than just teaching a person to read. But literacy ministries can bring people to a place where they might not have come before and hear the word spoken to them there. Becoming literate will enable them to read scriptures on their own. If an illiterate unbelievers becomes a Christian being able to read will allow them to grow in their relationship with Christ. We should not neglect the gospel, but should promote literacy among believers and unbelievers that they may not only heard but read the sweet gospel message written to us in the scriptures.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 4)

The following are excerpts from an interesting article written by Dr. Philip Ryken, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philidelphia, PA. The full article can be found on Tenth Presbyterian's website

The reason for all this literary illiteracy is not hard to guess. We are living in an accelerated culture of perpetual distraction, the multimedia age of the sound bite and the instant message. Our unprecedented global connectivity gives us an immediate interchange of massive amounts of information. However, most of this information comes in small packages. Everything seems to be getting shorter—articles, paragraphs, sentences, even words. For a reader who is used to rapidly scanning short emails or clicking through news headlines on the Internet, a long text that demands sustained thought can quickly become a source of boredom, impatience, or frustration......

In some respects, a decline in literary reading poses little threat to the church, where literacy has never been a prerequisite for understanding the gospel. In fact, most of the early Christians were unable to read the Bible for themselves. Literacy was a social benefit that only the educated elite were privileged to enjoy. In those days communication generally took place through the spoken rather than the written word. Nevertheless, people could still hear the Bible read in the public worship of the church. They could also understand the Bible. Although the Old and New Testaments contain many deep truths about God, the basic plan of salvation is something even the simplest person can understand. Christianity is not intellectually elitist.

Nevertheless, it still needs to be said that reading the Bible for full comprehension requires a higher level of proficiency than bare literacy. To begin with, the Bible is a long book, and people need to have the confidence to read it in full. Furthermore, nearly all of the literature in the Bible has a rich depth of complexity. The biblical writers are rarely ever content to say only one thing at a time; more typically they invest their stories, poems, histories, epistles, and other literary forms with layers of meaning that require careful scrutiny and quiet reflection for full understanding. The Bible both demands and rewards our best reading and thinking.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 3)


I am on to day three in my look at literacy and the gospel. I do not know how much longer I will continue to look at this issue. But my heart has been pricked. Today I want to ask whose responsibility it is to teach the children to read.

Whose responsibility is it to teach kids and adults to read? Many have said it is the schools systems and the government's responsibility. My question is why is it their responsibility?

Shouldn't it be the parents responsibility? I believe it is their responsibility. But what then about parents who are functionally illiterate themselves. Should they just allow themselves to remain illiterate and not be able to teach their children? Well, I have no easy answer. I am still thinking about all this and struggling through it all myself.

I know I am speaking as one who was blessed to have parents and grandparent who taught me to read from an early age. I did have decent schools that aided my parents in helping me learn. I do not have children of my own, so who I am to say that it is a parents responsibility to teach their child? I know life is busy and parents have to work to support their families, leaving what seems like little time to sit to read. It's nice to just sit and relax in the evenings and not have to work on kids homework or read to them.

It has been my prayer that the Lord would reveal to me ways I can help this problem facing our county. I have no answer yet, and I know one person cannot begin a ministry for everything that they see as important. I know what I would like to do if I have children one day, but what about until then. How can I use what the Lord has gifted me with to make His name be known and His word read in Hancock county.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel (part 2)

I've been reading a lot of the statistics on literacy in the United States. Some of the statistics greatly surprise me, but further my concern for those who are functionally illiterate in the US and Hancock County.

Statistics from Begin to Read
  • Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. The fourth grade is the watershed year.
  • 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
Statistics from National Right to Read Foundation
  • The number of functionally illiterate adults is increasing by approximately two and one quarter million persons each year. This number includes nearly 1 million young people who drop out of school before graduation, 400,000 legal immigrants, 100,000 refugees, and 800,000 illegal immigrants, and 20 % of all high school graduates.

Statistics from Education Portal
  • 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their child
  • 20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level.
  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare can't read.
  • Approximately 50 percent of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as balancing a checkbook and reading prescription drug labels.
One statistic that really hit close to home with the number of drug and abuse problems in our county...
  • To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states actually base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Literacy and the Gospel


This past weekend's sermon at Lakeshore Baptist has really stirred me to prayer. My mind has constantly wandered back to what Pastor Don said Sunday while preaching from 1 John 2:12-16. He reminded us that God has revealed Himself in the written word, therefore literacy is a gospel issue. Being able to read allows us to know God through reading His word. There are a lot of thoughts I have on the topic of illiteracy. It breaks my heart to read the literacy statistics in the united states. I know Literacy is often thought of in third world countries especially when we think of taking the scriptures, translating, or translating a Bible for a group of people who have no written language.

Surprisingly illiteracy is a problem in the United States, but especially to where my heart is drawn, Mississippi. I knew there was a literacy problem, it's not been a sceret. But I was shocked when Pastor Don mentioned statisics (sea coast echo article & MS Department of Education ) from recent tests for elementary students. In our county almost 70% of the elementary students passed the profiency test in language arts. That means over 30% failed.

That number is alarming to me. There are a lot of other statistics linking literacy to crime, work, etc. Maybe I'll post some later.

This leaves me wondering and praying. What can do I to help? I see the importance of being able to read and growing in Christ through reading his word. Join me in prayer, pray that the Lord would reveal to me what it is that I can do. I want to see Hancock county come to faith in Christ and see each of them grow in their relationship with Him through reading His Word.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I've been lied to!!

All these years I have been told there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... Not true. All I found today at the end of the rainbow was the silver slipper casino and at the other end wal-mart! See for yourself! ......... or maybe I did find two big pots of gold ;)


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Choosing Thomas

I can't help but post this. Praise God for this couple who did not abort their son Thomas because "he was their son" knowing that after his birth he would soon die. This video moved me to tears for this couple, for Thomas, and that God choose to take a lowly thing in the eyes of the world and show truth.

Psalm 139:13-16
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Take the next 10 minutes and watch this video.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What is the Glory of God?

As Pastor Don preached from 1 John this morning I was reminded of an article I read just yesterday on the glory of God.

The article I read was from the Desiring God website. On the glory of God, John Piper states...
The reason it is so important is because in the Bible I don't know of any truth that is more fundamentally pervasive than God's zeal to be glorified, which means his zeal for us so to think, so to feel, and so to act as to make him look as glorious as he is. We don't add to his glory...

What is it? I believe the glory of God is the going public of his infinite worth. I define the holiness of God as the infinite value of God, the infinite intrinsic worth of God. And when that goes public in creation, the heavens are telling the glory of God, and human beings are manifesting his glory, because we're created in his image, and we're trusting his promises so that we make him look gloriously trustworthy...
Read the rest of the article from Desiring God

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Katrina...four years later

I've been reflecting a lot today on the anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the gulf coast affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. People were displaced by the storm, lives were lost, and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed. I was in Wisconsin when Katrina made landfall beginning my last year of college. And never in a million years did I think I would find myself on the gulf coast of Mississippi four years later.

I shared my journey to Lakeshore back in January this year in 5 blog posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

I've seen God do amazing things here and in my life in the past four years. I could talk all day on things I've learned and experienced while in Lakeshore, but I want to highlight just a few things....
  • Cajun cooking is much better than northern food
  • God is Sovereign over all things, even over storms that bring destruction.
  • God works in the most mysterious ways.
  • When you think you have it all together and everything planned out, God's will will be made evident, often with plans you never thought of.
  • God uses the most unlikely of people to do huge tasks. Bringing glory to Himself.
  • Though the storm affected everyone on the gulf coast, Katrina also has impacted and changed the lives of many who've come to the coast to help in relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts - including mine. I never though something so far away from me at the time could have any impact on me.
  • God's given me friends, some who are as close to me as family could be. Thanks guys.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Exposed before God

It is great to be back in Lakeshore and hearing the word preached. It had been two weeks since I was under anyone's preaching.

Last night as I listened to the sermon from Luke 6 I was extremely convicted. There were several things that got to me, but one thing in particular was being poor (in spirit as the gospel of Matthew records). This being recognizing that I am spiritually bankrupt, that I've got nothing and there is nothing I can do to earn favor before God.

Had that been the only thing preached, I would have said, sure I think I have come to that point. But then as Pastor Don continued to speak, he said in just a quick sentence that this is like being naked before God. That got me thinking.

What if I was naked in public, how humbling that would be to bare it all to the world. Thinking about things in that way, I would say that I have not totally come to realize that I am spiritually bankrupt. Yes I admit that I am a sinner and know that God has saved me, but daily do I bare those things to him? I think there is sometimes that I try to do things on my own, attempting to hide my weaknesses and sins from God...the only one who can conquer those things.

Another statement from the sermon related to baring it all was “Deep seeded happiness comes from a full admission of our sinfulness”....In other words the only way that I can truly be happy is by baring it all before God, coming clean of my sinfulness and confessing them before God.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Series on Social Justice and the Poor

Kevin DeYoung, the author of the blog DeYoung, Restless and Reformed, has begun a series on Social Justice and the poor. I've read the first post in his series and am very interested to see where he is going to go from here with the series.

His reasons for this series are:

1. I want to learn. I’d like to take some time looking at the major texts that talk about the poor and social justice and see what they say. I’m sure I need to be convicted and corrected (and you may too). A blog provides a good medium for serial exploration.

2. I think there are some exegetical mistakes, overstatements, and sloppy thinking being promoted in an effort to arouse our passions for social justice and the poor. Perhaps a careful, slow look at a number of different passages can help put our concern for the poor on more solid footing.

3. When we see poor exegesis in a lot of Christian thinking about the poor and social justice some of us can tend to write the whole thing off as misguided do-goodism or liberal social gospel. This is a mistake. The Bible does say a lot of justice and the poor, but if we are to be convicted and motivated by truth, we must pay more careful attention to what the Bible actually does and does not say.

(From DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More for Scripture Memorization


I just came across Forever Grateful Music. These are cd's by Mark Altrogge that are scripture memory songs. I do not have any of the cd's yet, but I am looking at buying the pack of 8. For me singing scripture has been the easiest way for me to memorize scripture.

The newest cd is "Through the Waters" which features 20 scripture passages from the ESV all set to music. You can here the songs on the webiste as well.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Relying on God

As I have been speaking at churches this week the one passage that I've shared at every church is 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. I've heard pastor Don preach this passage before and I have read it before. But as I've been reading it over and over I am made more grateful that we have a God who we can rely on in all circumstances and that we do not have to rely on ourselves!

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New York OMC

I am over half done with the On Mission Celebration here in upstate New York. It has been a great week. The Lord has been magnified and I pray glorified this week. I will write a bit more when I return but here's a few pics from the first half of the week.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

My idol worship

The dearest idol I have known
Whate'er that idol be
Help me tear it from Thy throne
And worship only Thee

William Cowper
from "O for A Closer Walk with Thee"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Method for Prayer - Matthew Henry

I was browsing articles online and came across this great link. It is Matthew Henry's Method for Prayer (Online Edition).

The following are 13 reasons (listed on the website) it would be good to read this booklet as we learn to pray to our Holy God.

  1. Praying scripturally will teach us what prayer is, even while we do it.
  2. It will correct "shopping list" views of prayer which abound in the Christian community.
  3. It will begin to solve in our own minds the question of "unanswered prayer."
  4. It will remind us of just how much there is to pray about day to day.
  5. It will teach us of the extreme urgency of prayer
  6. It will return proportion to prayers long on petition, but short on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving
  7. It will instruct us how best to pray for ministers, missionaries, and one another.
  8. It will show us the proper way to approach God in prayer.
  9. It will remind us of the good things that God does for us (which we, more often than not, take for granted)
  10. It will remind us to always give thanks to God (which, paradoxically, is so important for our own assurance of His faithfulness in answering prayer).
  11. It will begin to engrave in our minds biblical patterns of thought which can help immunize us from the enticing folly of the world's view of life.
  12. It will force us to rehearse the solemn warning and precious promises of God (which will do eternal good to our souls).
  13. It will move us from our inherent man-centeredness in prayer to a biblical, God-centered way of praying.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Abortions in China


My heart has been aching as I ponder the topic of abortion and the number of lives lost each year. We know since the Roe vs. Wade court case there has been nearly 50,000,000 (that's 50 million). 50 million since 1973.

While that is shocking and makes me angry and sad. I recently read an article about the number of abortions in China. the official China Daily newspaper reported that each year in China 13 million surgical abortions. In addition to the surgical abortions, 10 million abortion pills are sold. That is 23 million abortions in one year and that only is the registered abortions. The report states there are many abortions done in unregistered rural clinics.

In less than 3 years Chinese women have more abortions that American women have had in 36 years.

I believe we need to stand against abortion in the US and fight for the lives of the unborn. But my heart yearns for answers and aches for the murdered unborn in China. Is there anything we can do as believers to stop abortions in other countries?

For now I'm praying for the country of China, for Chinese women who have lacked sex education, and praying for more education and that the value of human life, which begins at conception, will be valued among the Chinese.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rebuild Lakeshore T-Shirts

Many people have suggested and asked if we would make up a Rebuild Lakeshore T-shirt. Well that time has come. We have t-shirts available for purchase $15 plus shipping. Please fill out the t-shirt form below and mail it to Lakeshore Baptist Church.

Shirts are chocolate brown and available in small, medium, large, x-large, and xx-large.

The funds from the t-shirt will go to Lakeshore Baptist Building fund.

T-shirt form

Mail forms and checks to:
Lakeshore Baptist Church
PO Box 293
Lakeshore, MS 39558

Monday, August 10, 2009

Going to New York!


Next week I have the privilege of traveling to New York to speak to 10 different churches in the Central New York Baptist Association. I will be speak Sunday Aug 16 in the morning and evening, then Monday - Saturday nights, and again on Sunday Aug 23 morning and evening.


I will be sharing my conversion, my call to the ministry, my experience and what the Lord has been doing in Lakeshore, what the Lord has been doing in my life, and future plans.

It is going to be a busy week, but I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Highlights from this summer


I wanted to share some of the highlights from my summer here in Lakeshore, I will try to be brief.
  • The last couple of weeks with Allison. (though her leaving wasn't a highlight, the time we got to spend together was.) BTW Al, you need to come back I am going through snow ball withdrawal...it's pretty serious.
  • Setting up the event tent in June. That was the most dirty I've ever been in Lakeshore.
  • Learning/Directing/helping put up a fence on the church property.
  • Learning to tile floors
  • Watching the baptism of Tiffany, one of our church members.
  • Having my best friend from college come with a group from her church.
  • Meeting the hundreds of volunteers that had never been to Lakeshore before.
  • Reconnecting with the volunteers that returned to Lakeshore.
  • Watching people stretch themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of and succeeding.
  • Listening to Pastor Don preach the word. He wrapped up Ephesians, went through a series on the distinctions of a healthy church, and began preaching through the book of 1 John, in addition to the sermons in Luke we've been going through on Wednesday nights.
  • Seeing old friends whom I wish I could see a lot more.

Friday, August 07, 2009

I'm back!!

Well...I never really went anywhere. But apparently totally slacked on the blogging.

Nearly a third of the year has past by since I blogged last...and now that I say that to myself it hits me it has been a long time. Therefore I will be brief and highlight some things in the coming days.

Much has happened in the last four months. Literally hundreds of volunteers have flowed through Lakeshore Baptist, several homes were completed, others started, and progress moved forward a great deal on the others.

We are moving forward on the new bunk house, Lord willing that will be near completion soon. We've also started on the Mercy House and we are looking forward to the great things God is going to use both of the buildings for.

I am certainly blessed to be a part of this ministry and the things that God is doing through us. The Lord did great things this summer, one being, He put together a great summer team in addition to the amazing team I already serve with. I am grateful for the long term summer volunteers He brought this way - Emily, Josh, Betsy, Sonja, Kristen, Jayme, Liz.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

PVC wins

This is Sonja last summer entertaining herself and others by shooting pvc into the air. This time isn't so successful and the PVC wins.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

failure to pray

The following quote hit me hard Sunday morning...

"When you fail to pray you are saying, 'God I do not need you'." - Pastor Don Elbourne Jr.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tricks to memorizing scripture

I came across this post Sunday and it could not have come at a better time. In this post Demian Farnworth gives a list of 18 tricks to help with the memorization of scripture. There are a few in this list that I have never tried, but may give a whirl in the coming months.

Here are just a few examples. Check out Fallen and Flawed for the complete list and explanations on each technique.

Visualize while you are reading.
Create anchor Words
Recognize Patterns
Stagger

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My niece, Kailey

I must post a few pictures of my little niece. She will make one in May. I've only seen her 2 times since she was born. I wish it could be a whole lot more! For Christmas I gave her an LSU outfit. It took her a little while to grow into the suit but now that she's a bit bigger, my sister just shared the pictures with me. Unfortunately LSU has the same colors as the Minnesota Vikings so she has some explaining to do in Packer country, but that's all good. I will try to make this little Wisconsinite into a die hard LSU fan.

She's learning to sit up on her own, falling over is funny.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

All Moved in!

I moved into my little home a couple weeks ago. I failed to post about the move for multiple reasons...but I will say that I am completely thrilled! I finally got everything moved out of the camper and into my new place. I will post a few pictures of the completed inside once I get everything put away. But here's a few pictures of the working in progress

This is some of my favorite girls, Jayme and Liz, working on the tile in the loft. Another favorite, Allison also did a great deal of work with Liz laying and grouting tile. Thanks ladies!

Painting and hook up electrical
A look up into the loft

Big thanks to all the volunteers that helped with every step of the way. And an even bigger thanks to Lakeshore Baptist Church for building this great place for me to stay while I am serving in Lakeshore.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

spiritual depression and Psalm 4

John Piper speaking from Psalm 42 on Spiritual depression and the gospel. He's got good things to say on speaking to yourself in this short sermon clip.

Lord willing, soon I will have a few original posts, but until then be encouraged by this.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gospel in 6 minutes

I know most of my posts lately have not been original as of late, but I've set out to focus on the gospel for many reasons. This particular posts I found very helpful from the Desiring God website


What's the Gospel?

What’s the gospel? I’ll put it in a sentence.

The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.

That’s the gospel.

You Can't Outgrow the Gospel

You never, never, never outgrow your need for it. Don’t ever think of the gospel as, “That’s the way you get saved, and then you get strong by leaving it and doing something else.”

No! We are strengthened by God through the gospel every day, till the day we drop.

You never outgrow the need to preach to yourself the gospel.

How the Gospel Strengthens

Here’s an illustration, and I use it not because it’s any big deal to speak from my life, but because it’s what I walked through and where I most pointedly in the last year experienced the power of the gospel to make me strong. (Many of you are walking through things much heavier than prostate cancer—much heavier.)

Do you remember the verses that I shared with you back in February that were almighty for me? It was that moment right after the doctor says, “I think we need to do a biopsy,” when this stab of fear comes. It didn’t last long, mercifully.

And then came—what? 1Thessalonians 5:9-10. It’s just as pure gospel as you can get.

God has not destined you for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,who died for you so that whether you wake or sleep you will live with him.

Settled. Peace like a river.

The Gospel Is Perfect for Your Needs

That’s just gospel—perfectly timed, perfectly applied, perfectly suited to my need. That’s why the Bible is so thick—because there are so many different needs that you have. And there are suitable places where the gospel is unfolded for you, so that if you immerse yourself in the whole book, always with an eye for what Christ has wrought for you and purchased for you in this thick, glorious history of God’s interaction with people, he will give you what you need.

Therefore, everything in me says, and I hope to say until the day I die, “Now, to him who is able to strengthen me, according to Paul’s gospel, to him—to that God—be glory forever and ever.”

God came into history in Jesus Christ; he died in order to destroy the power of hell and death and Satan and sin; and he did it through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Plea to Believe

I know that there are people reading this who are not trusting Jesus Christ, and therefore can only expect condemnation. So I’m just going to plead with you here at the end, lay down that rebellion. Lay it down. And simply embrace the gospel that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Righteous One, died for your sins. He was raised on the third day, triumphant over all his enemies. He reigns until he puts all of his enemies under his feet. Forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God comes freely through him alone, by faith alone.

I plead with you, don’t try to be strong in your own strength; it will not be there when you need it. Only one strength will be there—the strength that God gives according to the gospel.

Don’t put it off.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Gospel and Mercy Ministry

Pastor Don brought the word from 1 Peter last night and touched on a topic he's preached a lot over the past couple years, that being mercy ministry. The following little clip is Don explaining mercy ministry and the gospel.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Can't get enough of the gospel

I just can't get enough of the gospel. The gospel that saves and justifies man from sin when he responds in faith is the same gospel that encourages, challenges, reminds, and sanctifies believers. Here's the gospel message from the words of Jeremiah Burroughs and found on monergism.com

The gospel of Christ in general is this: It is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. More largely it is this: As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again...Namely, the second person of the Trinity takes man's nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction by keeping the law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him...And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and they they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Humbling - the theology of suffering

I am humbled each time I hear Joni Eareckson Tada speak, this brief presentation is no different.

Her presentation begins about 5 minutes in.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Free Don Whitney book

Each month Christianaudio.com gives away a free audiobook. This month they are offering Don Whitney's book Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life. To get the free download type MAR2009 into the coupon box.

Monday, February 02, 2009

War of Words - rebuilding your world of talk.

I have been reading a great book, War of Words, by Paul David Tripp focused on the topic of getting to the heart of communication struggles. It has been very, very convicting for me thus far, yet very helpful. I do admit I have along way to go in communicating in a way that is always glorifying to God. Tripp in chapter 8 of the book gives very practical tips on changing the way you communicate or "rebuilding your world of talk". The list is:

1. Don't give into regret.
  • Don't be paralyzed with "if onlys"
  • rest in God's sovereign wisdom
  • The God who forgives also restores, rebuilds, and reconciles
2. Embrace gospel hope.
  • Don't allow self to look at our communication struggles as giants that cannot be defeated.
  • We are recipients of grace that abounds wherever sin does.
  • Trouble does not mean that God has forsaken us.
  • God's power is not only in us, but at work in us!
3. Examine your fruit.
  • What fruit is produced by your communication?
4. Uncover your roots.
  • "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks"
  • People and situations do not cause us to speak, we do!
5. Seek Forgiveness.
  • What specific sins of communication is the Lord calling me to confess to Him or to others?
6. Freely grant forgiveness.
  • We need to be willing to let go of another's offense before God.
  • We need to be willing to forgive anyone who comes seeking it.
7. Change the Rules.
  • A specific commitment to a new way of speaking needs to follow sweet obedience of forgiveness.
8. Look for opportunities.
  • Situations you once dreaded now become opportunities to experience the enabling grace of the Lore and exercise newfound character and obedience.
9. Choose your words.
  • it is folly to speak in haste
  • think before we speak!
10. Confess your weaknesses.
  • One sure sign that we have not really understood the gospel is when we continues to be afraid of, discouraged by, and unwilling to accept our weaknesses.
  • Christ came precisely because we are weak!
11. Don't give the Devil and opportunity.
  • We can commit ourselves to the courage of honesty.
  • We need to commit ourselves to the humility of approachability.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Journey to Lakeshore, Part 5

When I arrived in Lakeshore, I did realize what I was getting myself into. I thought I was going to come for the summer help out in any way I could, then go on from there and get a "real job". I remember a woman from West Virgina talking to me that first summer, asking if I had looked into the US/C2 program through NAMB. Honestly my thoughts at that point were, how can I decide if I want to stay here another 2 years...that is a serious commitment and a long one at that. Two years seemed like forever...what if I decided Lakeshore was too difficult or not for me.
Who would have guessed that the Lord laid it on my heart to stay "a little bit longer." First it was for a semester, then another semester. Then I decided I wanted to grow up a little and make more of a commitment, so I decided to stay for a year...thinking I would leave around June of 2008.

But the Lord got a hold of my heart and turned it totally toward Him and helping at Lakeshore Baptist Church. I went ahead and made the commitment to stay another 2 years as a US/C2 in the Spring of 08. Not seeing it now as a long time...actually now seems very short.

I am into the 8th month of that commitment and June of 2010 seems like it is fast approaching. I am not sure what the Lord's plans for me are after this appointment is over, but it is going to be very hard to leave Lakeshore (if I do) - a place that has become home for me. I can't begin to explain all that the Lord has done in my life while I have been in Lakeshore...that would take another 5-10 days of blog posts. But I'll leave you with this...He's been faithful and merciful, conforming me more into his likeness and has blessed me with a great pastor and church family here in Lakeshore.