We are entering into the time of year in which most everyone is making resolutions and goals for the new year. Many will be resolving to get fit, eat healthier, make more time for family, etc. Though I myself have set goals in the past (and failed to reach them), which is why I even hesitate to write this… I will set one particular goal for 2017. Apart from seeking to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus, be a more Christ-like and gracious husband, and graduate from seminary in December, I am resolving to read the Bible every day with the intention of journaling through the Bible with the goal of tweeting my thoughts and reflections on my daily reading. Continue reading
This time of year makes me feel somewhat different than most other times of the year. There is something about the spirit of this season that produces a different attitude in the demeanor of many.
It is… festive. Lights are strung up. Decorations are lavishly placed all around. Jolly Christmas music is played in homes and in shopping malls. And last but not least, one staple of the Christmas season is put on display – the Christmas tree. These trees come in many sizes. They are decorated in a variety of ways and colors. The Christmas tree is important to this season. In fact, there are many songs about Christmas trees that show its importance for this season. One of which has the line, “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches…” Continue reading
Difficult situations will either bring out the best in people or the worst in people. Difficult situations will either unite people and strengthen their resolve, or sadly and more commonly, difficult situations divide people and cause much finger-pointing. It is the latter that has been shown to be true in this present election season.
The 2016 election cycle has caused much controversy, to say the least.
In the midst of all of the controversy that has been swirling around, some of that has involved Dr. Russell Moore. Russell Moore has been a pastor, professor at Southern Seminary, conference speaker, and commentator on culture as it intersects with the Gospel. Currently, Russell Moore is the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), which is the moral and public policy agency of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC; emphasis on “moral” is mine). This means that Dr. Moore serves Southern Baptists in being a representative and influential voice in Washington D.C. Continue reading
To claim to be tolerant/accepting of “all views,” politically or philosophically, except for views that disagree with yours is the epitome of hypocrisy. It says, “I’m tolerant of your view unless you disagree with me.” This kind of “Tolerance,” with no room for disagreement, is actually demanding uniformity, without question or discussion. It’s just as exclusive as the views the “tolerant” dismiss; it’s just hidden underneath fancy rhetoric and logical fallacies. Every worldview, to some extent, is an exclusive worldview (in that there are affirmations and denials of certain principles). The real issue of living in a diverse society is to ask and answer the question, how do we engage and dialogue one another with respect, even if we disagree? (and there is always someone who disagrees with you).
As we live in a diverse society where there are so many worldviews that are different from one another, understanding the true nature of worldviews will be key as we engage with others.
It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to post anything. I have written several things to share but have yet to find time to edit and publish them. I want to quickly give an update on what’s going on and what the Lord is doing in my life.
First, I am deep into another semester at Southern Seminary. Thankfully, after this semester, I will only need 7 classes before graduating with an M.Div. (which is exciting). The online program at SBTS has changed some to allow for more classes to be taken in a semester (which can be a good thing). So instead of 3 16-week courses, the online program allows for 4 8-week courses. You take 2 classes for 8 weeks then you get a 1 week break then you take 2 more classes for 8 weeks to round out the semester. I did this at Liberty University, so I am familiar with the faster course pace; and believe me, cramming 16 weeks of material into 8 definitely increases the pace and workload, which is why my activity here has slowed significantly. I hope to be done with classes either by the end of the summer of 2017 or early fall of 2017 (graduating in December of 2017). The schedule from here on out looks favorable. That’s what is going on in school: lots of lectures, reading, tests crammed into 8 week sections.
Second, I have recently accepted an associate pastor position at Crossroads Community Church in Newport. Two Sunday’s ago I made the announcement of my acceptance of this position and announced my resignation. It’s been a bittersweet ordeal. The student ministry I have led for the last 2.5 years has grown leaps and bounds. Nothing there was going wrong, which is what made the decision difficult. Many students, parents and other members are sad to see us go. The students’ responses made this even more difficult because as they wept, we wept. However, after much prayer and counsel, the decision to accept the call to be the associate pastor of CCC was clear. The Lord, in his timing, was opening this door. My wife and I are excited, and a bit nervous. It’s a town I am vaguely familiar with, so it will still be pretty new. Style-wise and structure-wise its a very different church than any I’ve been in. Again, a little nervous, but very excited. I am certain that the Lord is calling my to preach and be a senior pastor one day, and this next chapter in my life is one where I hope to grow in being a pastor and in preaching. Actually, I will request your prayers. I am preaching for 7 consecutive Sunday’s when I arrive at CCC on November 6 (there are 3 morning services each week). This has been the biggest change since I last posted anything on here. I hope to update more as we transition and begin to minister at CCC.
Third, in light of the events above, I am being ordained this upcoming Sunday at Leadvale. It is my last Sunday there. I will be preaching in the morning, and ordained in the evening. I am hoping all will go well.
Fourth, personally everything is going well. Marriage is going well. Family relations and situations are going well. I’ve already mentioned the school situation. My walk with the Lord is steady. In what very little free time I have, I am listening and learning much about discipleship from guys like Jeff Vanderstelt and Robby Gallaty via YouTube videos and podcasts.
In sum, everything is going well. I am extremely busy, but managed to carve out some time in the midst of watching some lectures to write this. I am praying all is well for you too.
He is the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace… Get up from your beds of sloth; rise from your chambers of ease; go forth, go forth and pray, to labor, to suffer; go forth to live in purity, leaving Babylon behind; go forth to walk with him alone, leaving even your kinsfolk and acquaintance if they will not follow with you. Wherefore tarriest thou at home when the King is abroad? “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, come ye forth to meet him…”
Today let your eye rest upon him. Let your eye behold the head that today is crowned with glory, wearing many crowns. Behold ye, too, his hands which once were pierced, but are now grasping the scepter. Look to his girdle where swing the keys of heaven, and death, and hell. Look to his feet, once pierced with iron, but now set upon the dragon’s head. Behold his legs, like fine brass, as if they glowed in a furnace. Look at his heart, that bosom which heaves with love to you, and when you have surveyed him from head to foot exclaim, “Yea, he is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.”
Within the atheist are the remnants of that ruined castle. Paul says so. They have the truth but hold it in unrighteousness. Their conscience tells on them. You (an atheist) may say, “I don’t believe in God.” Let me tell you something, my friend. God doesn’t believe in atheists (Romans 1).
– Derek Thomas // Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC