Remembering Rev. Billy Graham

“I want God to use me like that.”

Those were the first words I thought of after watching a Billy Graham sermon for the first time. To watch a Billy Graham sermon took intention, however. I am a millennial, and one that was not brought up in the church during my youth. This means that I did not hear of Billy Graham until I was a young adult, particularly after I repented of my sin and trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

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Credit: Thom Rainer

Even more so, after I came to faith in Christ, God called me to preach when I was 21 years old. I was so nervous and yet excited about the calling upon my life. After having yielded to God in this matter, I began to search out faithful, influential preachers. It was not long until I came across names like Matt Chandler, John Piper, and, of course, Billy Graham. Continue reading

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Update January 2018

Hello all!

It’s been a little while since I have written something on here, but I wanted to provide an update, and a hope for this blog moving forward.

First, a major moment occurred for me in December of 2017. I graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree. It took 3.5 years, and now looking back on this side of that season, it was well worth it. I’m grateful to God for the sweet season of theological education. I’ve grown as a disciple of Jesus, a husband, and a pastor, and have done so in ways I did not anticipate going into seminary. So that is done. The question of a doctorate has come up in conversation with others, including my professors, family, and friends. Certainly, I will be taking 2018 off from formal academic pursuits. I may, however, apply for admission to several doctoral programs and see what opportunities the Lord provides. Again, as of right now, seminary is finished, and we (my family) are rejoicing!

Second, another major moment has occurred in recent days. I have recently accepted the invitation to be the Senior Pastor at Freedom Fellowship in White Pine. We are in the process of that transition. I resigned from Crossroads after 14 great months there. It was bittersweet as my wife and I have grown to love deeply those brothers and sisters there. God, in his Providence, which is far beyond my ability to understand, orchestrated various events and encounters with people that led to us come to Freedom. I was introduced Sunday January 14, 2018, and will begin my ministry at Freedom on the 21st of January. We are thankful for the Spirit’s leading, and the grace and mercy of Jesus in all of this.

Third, 2017 was a tough year family-wise. There were some major health issues in my wife’s family. It’s been yet a season where the presence and power of Jesus was known and brought about tremendous comfort.

In light of the above, there should be some margin to pick up writing on this blog more. Yes, I know. “You’ve said that before.” Hopefully, now that I’m done with seminary I can make good on writing more regularly — perhaps shorter posts once or twice a week.

God is good. The grace of Jesus is enough. In all things, we rejoice and are thankful.

Grace,

dw

 

Reformation 500

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, rediscovered the biblical doctrine of justification by faith, and challenged the Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences and the system of penance. Luther stood boldly on the Bible, though it was in opposition to the tradition and teachings of the Catholic Church. While Catholics quoted previous scholars and theologians, Luther quoted Scripture. img_3846

He also believed that the Bible should be put in the hands of the layperson. Everyone should be able to read and understand God’s Word in their own language under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I am thankful that God use Luther to begin the process of returning the true Church of Jesus Christ back to the Bible and in rediscovering the life-giving theology found within its pages. Luther should be appreciated for his stand, but he doesn’t deserve the credit. He was the instrument God used to bring this reformation about. The glory belongs to God, and followers of Jesus around the world should praise the Lord for this history-shaping movement.

With that said, the Reformation is not over. We must continue the fight for biblical doctrine, and for making the real Jesus non-ignorable in our world. So, we press on in experiencing and sharing the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Luther said that his conscience was captive to the Word of God, and that is where he stood for he could do nothing else. We must say with Luther, “there, too, I stand. I can do no other. God, help me.”

Soli Deo Gloria.

Echoes of Eden

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There is an echo within our being that longs for that life which God has designed for us to live originally in the garden paradise of Eden. That echo points us towards a future Eden, the new heavens and new earth, where there will be perfected relationship with God and the family of God because of the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

8 Thoughts For Resurrection Sunday

Happy Resurrection Day! He is Risen! Jesus is alive!

I have a few brief thoughts to share with you about Resurrection Sunday: img_0239

(1) “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look — I am alive forevermore, and I hold the keys to death and Hades.” – Rev. 1:17-18

(2) “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” – John 11:25-26

(3) Read Matthew 28

(4) The whole of the Christian faith rests upon the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the  grave. Continue reading

Saturday: The Day of Silence

Here is what went on during the full, and seemingly forgotten day after the crucifixion of Jesus: tombstone

(1) Read Matthew 27:62-66 (very little is mentioned in the Bible about the events on this Saturday).

(2) The tomb is secured in fear that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body and falsely promote a bodily resurrection. The Roman seal, if broken, meant defying Roman authority, and was punishable by death. Roman soldiers were stationed at the tomb to add another measure of security. This means that the chief priests were well aware of Jesus’ prophecy of rising on the third day.

(3) Saturday is the only full day Jesus is in the tomb.

(4) Days were counted from sundown to sundown, which means Jesus was in the tomb 3 days. He was crucified on Friday then placed in a tomb (day 1). That subsequent Sundown would begin a new day — Saturday (day 2). Saturday ends the next sundown, and Sunday begins (day 3). Jesus arose that Sunday morning.  Continue reading