Tag Archives: ministry

Hiking in 2012

In 2012 I am going hiking.

“Brilliant post Don, absolutely brilliant!” Yeah I know. Here’s the deal. I started Bible college in 2000 because no other school would accept me. One semester into it, I wanted to be a pastor/teacher/student of the Bible. My life has been a working towards that goal. Every job I have had was a step towards that goal, not a place of ministry. Sure I shared the gospel with people I worked with, but it wasn’t ministry to me. My life has been the pursuit of vocational ministry and until recently, that was my calling. Well, I say calling but it was actually my idol. You see, anything we put as ultimate other than God is idolatry. I sacrificed my family at the altar of vocational ministry. I sacrificed my jobs at the altar of vocational ministry.

In Genesis 22:2 God calls Abraham to climb a mountain and sacrifice his love. His son that he had waited for. God promised that he would raise up a nation from his offspring Isaac, and then asked Abraham to kill him.

God is calling me to go hiking with my idol vocational ministry and kill it. This year I’m going hiking.

Here is the hard part.

He might not provide a ram in the bushes.

Sometimes it is easy to act when we see a picture in the Bible already. We hear preachers ask us if we are willing to give up that which we love the most and we always say yes. We might nod in the affirmative as we hear the Word preached, but it is only because we know how the story ends…Abraham didn’t end up having to do it. There was a ram in the bushes.

Some of you need to go hiking with me. Pray about it. You might not find a ram.

 

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Our Town

78% of the music played in the family van comes from the Cars soundtrack. My son is enamored with all things Cars and whenever we get into the car, he asks Now, since the soundtrack is made up of regular music it isn’t usually a big deal. I have found that my ability to listen to the same song over and over grows as the  number of children grows. However a song that has been sitting on my mind lately is Our Town performed by James Taylor. This song speaks to the life of a town changing as society changes and the needs and desires of the people for their town changeas well. I began to think about the area that I live in. I grew up one town over from where I live now. After moving to various locations including out of state in TN, I ended up 15 minutes from where I grew up. So what is my responsibility? I have run into a few people that I knew years ago and in some cases have been able renew friendships. It leads me to wonder what my specific mission can be while here in this place. I am looking at a few local establishments and trying to see if there is an opportunity to live on mission in my community and to point to Jesus.

What do I see? I see at least two local bars that are close to both my house and the gathered worship location of my local church. What can I do in reference to these locations? I have a few ideas but I think that the best option is to hold a Fight Club in one of the locations on a regular basis. We can read the Bible, drink beer, and engage in bare knuckle brawling.

What are your thoughts? Any ideas? This needs to happen in this area. There are too many people who wouldn’t be seen in one of those locations and that is tragic. It’s time to fight.

-Cheers

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And You’re Point Is…

Why am I doing this? I yap about this and that, put it out there for people to see, and think of what I am going to say/quote next. Recently I have been thinking about how much my theology is getting blown up as I read more and ore Scripture. I think this has been somewhat of an outlet for me to write what I am getting hit with. My posts are more cathartic than anything as I don’t seem to raise a point…speak of it…then conclude my point. My blog seems to be more of a bucket for brain vomit. Even that line just kinda fell out of me just now.

Ok so, is that where I am headed? A simple bucket blog where I can let people into my life/mind. Is this going to me my creative ministry for a season…or forever? I want to be intentional in what I do, especially in this time in my life. There are many things that can crowd out my time from God and if you know me lately, the last thing I need is another time sucker in my life taking time away from God. We are stewards of time just as much as we are stewards of money. This blog needs to be intentional and meaningful no matter what the point is. I guess that IS my point. If this becomes nothing more than a place to use time…I pray that Jesus would lead me to repentance of that. So I pray.

I pray that my vision for what my life is honoring to the One who gave me life. A while ago Mr. Josh Otte was kind enough to be led by the Spirit and post THISteaching from CJ Mahaney about the use of our time. I screamed through it when I first read the post and both my wife and I were inspired…then I got busy. Huh…

After speaking to a good friend today about his recent organization of his intentionality. (That sounded more impressive than I was expecting). This good friend, who happens to be Josh the author of the linked blog, was able to stir in me a desire to do the same. Last year I wrote out many things that I wanted to accomplish but they all ended up being so specific that nothingwas accomplished as my life morphed. I look forward to the opportunity to do this in my life. To put intentionality in my life. When that happens…I will figure out what this blog thing will be.

Until then…bucket o vomit it is.

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Romans

So it has been quite some time now since I first realized my sin. As a child I knew that God was God and I was not, however, the sin did not eat at me. I did not have guilt before God, I only had guilt before man. I was upset that I had let someone else down. Later in my life, that sin that ‘so easily entangled’, was for the first time seen as between God and myself. I needed help. Jesus is the help I needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a guy, I can handle it. I grew up in an evangelical church that taught us the good way to live life in such a way that no one knows you are hurting. As M. Chandler says, “My friends all came up from being baptized quoting Romans while I just said…that was weird.” I didn’t however say anything about it since it was obviously my problem. People in leadership wore a cape…I wore a diaper. It wasn’t/isn’t about the heart, it is about knowledge and actions. We don’t talk about the heart much here in church. North or South it doesn’t matter. We don’t talk about the heart much. Jesus is calling us to a relationship with Himself and we continue to make it about what we can do for Him.

I was good at it. No rated R movies, no swearing, no TV past 9pm, no drinking the devil juice…I’ve even read Knowing God by JI Packer! I could do it all, and I still try to do it all, for the sake of pride. Romans 4-8 does not leave any room for pride.

Pride looks different from person to person. Pride takes on many faces depending on the situation and the company you keep. When the Pharisees would pray and thank God that they were not like the gentiles who surrounded them…they were merely using their context to act like us. Why do we call them lost, UN saved, UN churched, NON christian? With those very titles we are thanking God that we are not…lost etc. We look to them in the negative. Un, Non…

Romans 4-8 tells us that we all exist as one thing. Under God’s grace. The fact that people can breath God’s air, live on the earth God created, enjoy the sex God created…is grace. They can not enjoy any of these things however AS God intended, but they CAN enjoy them. Grace, what a powerful word.

I am convinced that it is because of a lack of transparency in my life that I am not closer to Jesus. I can fool everyone else, but I can’t fool God. Psalm 32:1-5 speaks volumes. Unconfessed sin decays the bones and kills your soul. Is this some sort of cleansing? No, you will not see me all of a sudden confess to killing a guy or bombing a bank. What I hope you see is some one who is starting to get it and who wants to find that place where it is ok not to get it but doesn’t let you stay there.

In his book Organic Church, Neil Cole makes a good case for bringing everything down. He takes many of his ideas a little too far, but the premise is solid. We need to get into a place where we meet with 2 or 3 people (same sex) and open our hearts. No more of this ‘small group’ stuff where we get together and do mini-church. We need life changing ministry form each other. We need to realize the power of the gospel, the power of Jesus, the power that the Holy Spirit can have on us and our relationships. The church needs to grow organically. We need to confess our sin (looking for another s word) in order to fertilize it.

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happenings

So, it has been a while now that I have sat back and reminised about my years in TN. When I arrived in the south as a long haired hippie yankee; I was immediately struck by the church covered streets of the south. Every where I looked I saw churches. Big churches, small churches, white churches, brick churches, traditional churches, contemporary churches…lots-o-churches.

I remember thinking that I was out of place. For so long I was in the minority to an exponential degree. Not only was I a christian, but I was a protestant! At one time the percentages were that Catholics made up 90% of all religion in Maine. The last 10% was EVERYone else. I have never seen that number substantiated by anything other than my high school experience but I can believe it.

Here I was in TN without any idea of how to defend myself against crazy rednecks who didn’t know the war was over! (Luckily I only ran into one and I quickly let him know I was born in GA so take it easy on me) With churches on every corner I started to live the life that I had never realized existed. Bible bookstores…wait the whole store is Christian? The Christian section in music stores is more than Michael W. Smith and Petra? I soon learned that Jesus was cool here and I just needed to relax and enjoy the ride.

I met some good people down there. Some of them I even have the opportunity to connect with on occasion thanks to facebook and the like. I am saddened by what has happened in my church down there and I pray that God has healed everyone involved. Other people that I was friends with have gone on to great things and I pray that God would bless and lead them.

That time in my life had ended when I started to feel a deep longing to minister to my homeland. I moved back to Maine to find exactly what I had left. This time however, I want to do something about it. Through my experience through EE and the new XEE (ask me about it) I am ready to help plow the fallow ground as Hosea says and reignite what used to be J. Edwards stomping grounds. I do not want to be like the south…they have their problems associated with their ‘spiritual affluence’ however, I do want people to meet THE Jesus and get THE salvation that He and only He offers.

We have been known as the black hole of Christianity for too long.

Thank you TN for igniting my fire…sack up gentlemen!

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Simplicity

Is it really that simple? Seriously, Jesus…is it that simple? It seems so hard to understand something so simple. How could God do what He did? Jesus, yes it really is that simple.

I read an interesting passage from My Utmost for His Highest yesterday. The basic thought was that God is always trying to simplify our lives not make them more cumbersome. We don’t need to learn more about Jesus as much as we need to unlearn about ‘other’. We have too much in our minds that is tacked to Jesus that we can’t fully rest in Him.

We do everything right..we don’t watch rated R movies, we don’t watch TV after 9pm, we don’t drink the devil’s juice, we listen to conservative radio etc. Yet why is our life so complicated? Sin for sure, but much of the complication comes from everything we bring to Jesus not what He brings to us.

We have a lot to unlearn.

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Late Morning

Daddy and Me
Daddy and Me

So here we are. Sleeping in until 7 AM!!!!! I am usually a 5am kinda guy but not with my little girl beside me. She had shots yesterday and so she ended up in our bed last night. I didn’t get to workout this morning but I was able to do this.

So many things to say so few gigs to put it on. There have been many different happenings in the last few weeks that have thrown me for a loop. Many things that I would love to see from God’s point of view as I search to find a future within His will. Things are happening and life will be changing here in a while. I wonder if the change will be hard to take?
I have been studying Reformed Theology recently and have come to the conclusion that it is not as evil as my upbringing has led me to believe. I first had my interest peaked while in college and there was a guy there who was all about the Reformed way of life. I was always intrigued by Mr. Keith D. and I wish I could hang out with him now to see where he fits into everything. I attended a Nazarene Church in TN which has roots in the Wesleyan movement. In fact, I can still picture the Wesley Study Bible that EVERYone walked around with. I remember being intrigued with the ideas that they had. Although never FULLY agreeing to what they were saying I can say that i felt at home there and was not looked down upon for my (correct) beliefs. As I came home to an Independent Baptist Church (read into that whatever you want) I was struck at how they were similar as much as different. Either way, it still didn’t click to me. I am finding myself drawn to the ideas of the Reformed tradition ore and more. A while ago I explained that I was liberal in my conservativeness. I was asked to explain that and couldn’t. I knew it in my head but couldn’t put it to words.  Then I found churches like Mars Hill (the good one in Seattle) and The Village in TX (give em the benefit of the doubt). These guys are reformed but not stodgy. They are what I thought I was but could not put words to.
I drink beer. Beer is ok.
People need to repent or face hell.
These two ideas can co-exist!
Yeah new-reformers! Check out their podcasts. You WILL be drawn to God.
So I think I need to start reading more R.C. Sproul. I never thought I would hear myself say that!

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