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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's a Military Cut...But a Little Longer

Just another reason why I am not in the Emergent Church Movement:

(click picture to enlarge)

My hair style is just not cool enough.

For more Emergent Church posters like this one see:
I am sure I will be sharing more of these in the future.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Of making many books there is no end..."

As I finished my latest book (see previous post), it brought to mind my reading goal for the year and the books I have gone through this year. For what it is worth, here are those books that I remember reading so far this year (each section is in alphabetical order by author's last name):


Title: Christian Reflections on the Leadership Challenge
Author: Jim Kouzes and Barry Pozner
Year: 2004
Pages: 125
Purpose: Doctoral Studies

Title: Being Leaders
Author: Abrey Malphurs
Year: 2003
Pages: 172 + Appendices
Purpose: Doctoral Studies


Title: Learning Theology with the Church Fathers
Author: Christopher A. Hall
Year: 2002
Pages: 273
Purpose: Personal


Title: Liberty of Conscience: Roger Williams in America
Author: Edwin S. Gaustad
Year: 1991
Pages: 223

Title: Martin Luther
Author: Martin Marty
Year: 2004
Pages: 199
Purpose: Personal


Title: In His Image: The Christ Clone Trilogy, Book 1
Author: James Beauseigneur
Year: 2003
Pages: 416
Purpose: Personal

Title: Three
Author: Ted Dekker
Year: 2003
Pages: 352
Purpose: Personal

Church Issues

Title: Patterns of Discipleship in the New Testament
Author: Richard Longenecker, Editor
Year: 1996
Pages: 284
Purpose: Doctoral Studies

Title: Unleashing the Potential of the Smaller Church: Vision and Strategies for Life-Changing Ministry
Author: Shawn McMullen, Editor
Year: 2006
Pages: 158
Purpose: Personal

Title: New Perspectives on Breaking the 200 Barrier
Author: Bill M. Sullivan
Year: 2005
Pages: 125
Purpose: Personal


Title: How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
Author: Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Year: 1972 (orig. 1940)
Pages: 346 + Appendices
Purpose: Doctoral Studies (second read)

Title: Developing Critical Thinkers
Author: Stephen B. Brookfield
Year: 1987
Pages: 254
Purpose: Doctoral Studies

Title: Quality Research Papers for Students of Religion and Theology
Author: Nancy Jean Vyhmeister
Year: 2001
Pages: 201 + Appendices
Purpose: Personal

With these thirteen books completed, I am reading two books and beginning a third:

Title: Introducing Christian Doctrines
Author: Millard Erickson
Year: 2005
Pages: 415
Amount Completed: about `1/3
Purpose: PPBI

Title: Mid-Course Correction
Author: Gordon MacDonald
Year: 2000
Pages: 237
Amount Completed: Just started
Purpose: Personal

Title: The Apocalypse Code
Author: Hank Hanegraaff
Year: 2007
Pages: 237
Amount Completed: Barely begun
Purpose: Personal/PPBI

On deck, to read after these three:

Title: Birth of an Age: The Christ Clone Trilogy, Book 2
Author: James Beauseigneur
Year: 2003
Pages: 323
Purpose: Personal

Title: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in the Wheel
Author: Renate Wind
Year: 1992
Pages: 180
Purpose: Personal

Title: Anointed to be God's Servants: Lessons from the Life of Paul and His Companion: How God Blesses Those Who Serve Together
Author: Henry Blackaby and Tom Blackaby
Year: 2005
Pages: 171 + Appendices
Purpose: Personal

My reading list after these is long but I figure as long as I can get up in the morning, I will continue to get through books. It is like Solomon said,
"Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body."

But I still enjoy reading.

Martin Marty's Martin Luther

I finished my book on Martin Luther today. Here is the specifics:

Title: Martin Luther
Author: Martin Marty
Year: 2004
Pages: 199
Cover: -->

This book was a nice summary on the life of Luther. Broken up four chapters, the book covers the major periods of Martin Luther's life:
Chapter 1: The Hunger for Certainty, 1483-1519
Chapter 2: Defining the Life of Faith, 1520-1525
Chapter 3: Living the Faith, 1525-1530
Chapter 4: The Heart Grown Cold, the Faith More Certain, 1530-1546

Marty Martin does a good job of showing the humanity of Martin Luther. Sometimes, because of him impact on history, many forget that Luther was a man with all too human appetites and desires. In fact, my favorite part of the book was when the author describes Luther's joyous relationship with his wife Katherine. Marty Martin says:
"Martin could speak ironic terma of Katherine as one who ruled over him, because she so well governed the household. His letters often included joshing and terms of endearment. Taking off from comments on biblical patriarchs and their fondling of spouses--Isaac relating to Rebekah was a case in point--Luther wrote that 'with the woman who has been joined to me by God I may jest, have fun, and converse more pleasantly.'"

It was an overall nice read. Good for a basic overview of Luther's life. To read a complete review of this book, click here.
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

How I Preach

I preached for my home church today, Heritage Baptist Church. Our pastor was on vacation and I filled in for him. As far as I know, it went well.

I was a pastor for five years before I went to seminary. I got experience speaking in front of crowds and I also gained experience in organizing my thoughts for preaching. However, I did not feel like I knew how to preach. I went to Seminary for the express purpose of learning to preach "better" and to learn the biblical languages.

My preaching professor at Seminary was Dr. Raymond Spencer. Dr. Spencer graduated from Southwestern the same time I graduated, only he received his doctorate when I received my Masters. In 2003, Dr. Spencer passed away.

Please take some time and click the following links to read about who Dr. Spencer was and what kind of man he was:
Dr. Raymond Spencer's Death Announcement
Who was Dr. Rayond Spencer

I preach the way I do today because of Dr. Spencer. I hope you have read about him from the above links.

This is what Dr. Spencer taught me about arranging my thoughts in a sermon.

First, he said a sermon should be equally divided into Explanation, Illustration, and Application. There are times when sermons are preached where one aspect that has been given more weight than the others. If Explanation or Exposition the majority of the sermon, it ends up a dry sermon. If Illustation is emphasized more than the other aspects, the sermon becomes more entertaining but not very spiritual. When Applicaiton is accentuated, it becomes an utilitarian exercise. All three should be present and utilized appropriately to communicate God's Word in a way that connects with those listening.

Second, he said each point of the sermon should be applicable. That is, instead of saying something like, "The Christian's Responsibility," Dr. Spencer preferred "Evangelism is the Christian's Responsibility" or "We Must Share Our Faith with Others." This leaves the listener with more than just some information but instead some action which they will be able to apply.

Third, by my observation, Dr. Spencer preferred expositional sermons. He realized that there were other kind of sermons people preached. However, if one was to preach a topical sermon, it should still be expositional. That is, find a section of Scripture that deals with the topic and work through that passage expositionally.

Fourth, these when put together it looks something like this:
Beginning Illustration

Point One (verses 1-3)
Subpoint 1 (vv.1-2)
Subpoint 2 (v. 3)
Illustration of Point One
Application of Point One

Repeart Point one and announce point two

Point two (4-8)
Subpoint 1 (v.4)
Subpoint 2 (vv. 5-6)
Subpoint 3 (vv. 7-8)
Illustration of Point Two
Application of Point Two

Repeat point one and point two and announce point three


Concluding Illustration

This is how Dr. Spencer taught me to preach. This is how I prepare sermons and preach them. I realize that there are different ways to preach through a text. I am not saying this is the ONLY way in which one can preach. I AM saying that it is really the only way I know how to preach.

If one knew this and heard me preach, I would think they could hear this structure in my preaching. I do not do as good of a job as I would like in every sermon. There are times exposition is strong but my application is weak. There are times I have helpful illustrations but my explanation needs work. However, I am always attempting to become a better communicator of God's word. And I think that begins with how I structure my thoughts.

Anyway...that is how I preach....for what it is worth.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What Do I Know?

I preached for a friend of mine today. Tony Magar is the pastor of Calvary Fellowship Monumnet in Monument, Colorado. Tony has viral pneumonia and I have preached for him last week and tonight.

Earlier in the week, I was praying over what to share with this body of believers if I was going to share with them this week. I felt the Lord lay something on my heart. Tony called me yesterday and he sounded like he still needed time to get better. So I began getting ready. He called me today and told me he needed me to fill in for him.

As I gathered my thoughts today, I started to think maybe I should preach something else. I thought, "Maybe this sermon would be better. Maybe this one is more convicting. Or maybe this one would preach better." What a dangerous trap preachers can fall into. I realize what I was doing and prayed, "Lord, I have no clue what these people need. What do I know? You know what has happened in their life this week. You know what word they need. I will preach what I thought you were leading me to preach."

So, I preached Psalm 119:73-80. I entitled it "Three Thoughts to Help in Times of Crisis." These three thougts are:
1) The Creator has a plan for me (73-74)
2) The Lord will do what is best for me (75-77)
3) Prayer is good for me (78-80)

When one is in the midst of trials or crisis, these thoughts will help the believer get through them.

Driving to the church, I prayed that God would just allow these words encourage someone. When we got to the church, I prayed with the worship band. We prayed God would work in the peoples lives through the worship service and sermon. I preached and I felt that overall it went well.

After the service, a man told me that the sermon was exactly what he needed to hear. He had lost his job this Tuesday and was going through this "trial." God gave me what I needed to preach so that at least one of His children would be encouraged with the truth that God is in control of his circumstances.

I was so happy that I listened to God and not to me. And I was reminded, again, of the awesome responsibility pastors have to submit to God's prompting instead of preaching whatever they feel like preaching. I know this and practice this. Today, I was just reminded how important of a lesson it is.

The Funniest Thing I Heard Today - 8.18.07

"Come along girls. And do get a wiggle on."

Mrs. Sarah Fenway, portrayed Ethel Griffies in the movie Thrill of a Romance (1945), with Esther Williams and Van Johnson (I am serious need of a movie with an explosion in it).

The Funniest Thing I Heard Today - 8.17.07

"Is there trouble amongst my girls."

Rev. Austen, portrayed by James Cromwell, in the movie Becoming Jane (Rhonda and Jessica made me go with them - and there was not one explosion in the whole movie).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Resume Distribution

As I indicated in an earlier post, I am back to square one in my search for where God would have me serve. I began to think about the places I have sent my resume and the many great people I have met in my search.

For those who do not know, the search for a pastor is a unique exercise. Each church is attempting to ascertain God's will for the future of their body. Each minister also is continually seeking God's best for his family and the ministry. Therefore, it is not just a examination of a resume or a comparison of differing personalities (or, at least it is shouldn't be). It is in fact an intense time of seeking God.

Because of the spiritual aspect of searching for a pastor, the process sometimes seems to move at glacial speeds. In my experience, from the time I submit a resume to the time an interested church gives me some kind of a response is ususally somewhere between four to six months. So beginning at square not exactly a exciting proposition.

Nevertheless, I continue to search for where God would have me serve. Because this has been on my mind, I began to think of all the places that I have submitted my resume. Some of these places have sent me a kind response telling me that they are searching for someone else. Some places I have had interviews and visits to the churches where I met with the people and preached for them. A few places have not responded to me at all.

I have gone through the places I have submitte my resume this year (2007) and a couple from last year. CLICK HERE to see the map. The blue pins are educational institutions to which I submitted my resume. The red pins are State Conventions or Associations where I sent my resume for various reasons. The green pins are churches I have sent my resume.

This map does not show the places the I have talked with over the last couple of years; only the 2007 year. You can click on the pin for information.

Please keep praying that God will clearly show me exactly where He would have me serve.

The Funniest Thing I Heard Today - 8.12.07

There were two men who crashed on a uncharted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They both survived the crash. Once they found that each other were alright, one of the men frantically searched the island for any means of survival.

After searching the island the man realized there was no source of fresh water, no food, and no means of escaping. He came back to the wrecked plane and saw the second man sitting and leaning against the fuselage.

The first man said, "There is no food, no water, and no way to escape. We are going to die here!"

The second man said in response, "It is OK. I make $250,000 a week."

Confused at this, the first man said, "I am not sure you understand. There is no food or water. We are going to DIE!"

The second mand said again, "Don't worry. I make $250,000 every week."

Irritate, the first man yell, "With no food or water and no way of getting off this island, we will not make it."

The second man sat up, looked the first man in the eye and said, "Don't worry. I make $250,000 per week. I go to the Baptist church and I tithe. They WILL find me."

My pastor, Ron Watkins

The Funniest Thing I Heard Today - 8.10.07

Hymns Of The Laodicean Church (God’s Frozen People)

The Laodicean Church announces publication of "Church Songs," whose title, according to the editor, was chosen because "We didn’t want to turn anybody off with threatening words that no one understands anymore like ’worship’ or ’hymn.’ People in today’s society get kind of uncomfortable with too much talk about things like commitment and dedication. They’d much rather have a religion that they can turn on or off at will. Our book seeks to meet that need."

Table Of Contents:

A Comfy Mattress Is Our God
Above Average is Thy Faithfulness
All Hail the Influence of Jesus’ Name

Amazing Grace, How Interesting the Sound

Be Thou My Hobby
Blest Be the Tie That Doesn’t Cramp My Style

God of Taste, and God of Stories

He’s Quite a Bit to Me

I Lay My Inappropriate Behaviors on Jesus
I Surrender Some
I’m Fairly Certain That My Redeemer Lives

Joyful, Joyful, We Kinda Like Thee

Lift Every Voice and Intellectualize
Lord, Keep Us Loosely Connected to Your Word

My Faith Looks Around for Thee
My Hope is Built on Nothing Much

O God, Our Enabler in Ages Past
Oh, for a Couple of Tongues to Sing
Oh, How I Like Jesus

Pillow of Ages, Fluffed for Me
Praise God from Whom All Affirmations Flow

Self-Esteem to the World! The Lord is Come
Sit Up, Sit Up for Jesus
Special, Special, Special
Spirit of the Living God, Fall Somewhere Near Me
Stick Nearby, It’s Getting Dark Outside

Take My Life and Let Me Be
There is Scattered Cloudiness in My Soul Today
There Shall be Sprinkles of Blessings

What an Acquaintance We Have in Jesus
When Peace, Like a Trickle. . .
When the Saints Go Sneaking In
Where He Leads Me, I Will Consider Following

Posted in the illustrations at