Dec 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today begins the Christmas Season. No the Christmas season does not start in December (or in November). Christmas officially begins on the 25th and goes for twelve days. So I would encourage you not to just celebrate Christmas today, but for the next twelve. Give to others and celebrate the great miracle of the incarnation. I also would encourage you to remember the words of Paul from Philippians.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
   and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.


Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)


Merry Christmas!

Dec 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve marks the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas. Advent is about waiting for the coming of Christ. Many of us just pass the time waiting for the holiday. We wait on presents, time off, good food, and time with friends. These are wonderful things and are all a part of this time of the year, but the observance of Advent is about the wait for Christ's first coming and the reminder that we are still waiting for His second coming. Even though the Christmas begins tomorrow and we will celebrate the miracle of the incarnation, we will still be waiting for the second coming of Christ if he does not come tomorrow. I'm reminded of what one of my high school Bible teachers said about the Bible. He said that the Bible tells us, "He is coming, He has coming, He will come again." Tonight we move from the remembrance of when he was coming to the time that he came. As you celebrate the coming of Christ, don't forget that he is coming again.

O Immanuel, our sovereign and lawgiver, desire of the nations and Savior of all: Come and save us, O Lord our God. Come, Lord Jesus.

Dec 15, 2010

Review of Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren

Why should someone look to the ancient practices of the church? Brian McLaren writes to answer this question in the first book of the Ancient Practices Series. In Finding Our Way Again, McLaren writes an apologetic for why we should look to the ancient practices of the Christian faith. The practices develop character. They help us to be more awake to the work around us. And they help us experience God. All of this happens so that we, as the title of the book states, find our way again. We can find our way back to the roots of our faith and bring the kingdom of God to the world. All this is possible by returning to, or at least learning from, the practices.

McLaren opens the ancient practices series, and does a good job of giving reasons to look to the ancient christian practices. Especially in the third section of the book, he does a good job of explaining what lies beneath. There are also parts of the books the are kind of confusing. I am mostly perplexed as to why he discusses other religions alongside Christianity. While some other religions share similar historical figures, I don't think that it was necessary to include them into a discussion of Christian practices. While I would recommend this book to anyone starting the ancient practices series, I would recommend it with the caveat that you might not always agree with what McLaren says.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Dec 9, 2010

Review of In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

The Bible gives us the instruction to pray continually. Many struggle with the idea of how this is achieved. One answer, according to Robert Benson, is in the ancient practice of fixed hour prayer. This practice, also known by names like liturgy of the hours, divine hours, or divine office, has been practice from the before the time of Christ. Jews practiced praying a certain times everyday. This practice carried on into the early church's practices and continued on through the centuries of church history. Benson points out that it hasn't been until recently that much of the church has not practiced fixed hour prayer. In Constant Prayer is the first step into a life built around the rhythms of praying the divine hours. Benson encourages, and sometimes pushes, the reader to a life bathed in prayer. This book teaches the reader how to take the first steps to joining in with all the saints past and present who have built their lives around the rhythms of fixed hour prayers.

This book is part of a series about the ancient practices of the church and is a great way to by introduced into the the ancient practice of fixed hour prayer. While he does not give a complete history of the practice, he spends the majority of the book sharing the affects of prayer in his life and others. This book is a testimony to why we should be participating in some form in regular prayer. Benson does include a sample "office" and a step by step explanation of what part of the office is. If you are interested in the practice of fixed hour prayer and would like to read about it first, this is fantastic place to start. It is easy to read and not very long. I would not recommend this for someone who wants a history of the divine office or who is ready to pray through the office, but this book is great for an introduction into the practice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Nov 13, 2010

Journaling with the Masters

This semester, I am taking a class called History of Christian Spirituality. The major assignment for this class has been reading Invitation to Christian Spirituality edited by John Tyson. This is a book that is a collection of readings from different Christian Writers from every century. It goes back as early as Ignatius of Antioch and as recent as Bishop Desmond Tutu. It is a fantastic read. I would warn you, however, if you decide to read it, that it is not something you just want to pick up and power your way through. It's really something that you will want to chew on.

Although it was assigned to me, I have had the privilege of reading through this book and journaling through it as well. I have spent the last two and a half months reflecting on the thoughts of Christians from the second century all the way through the twentieth century. Not every reading was easy. Some of them were very foreign to my Christian Experience because the include descriptions of visions and practices that I have never heard of or tried. Other readings were hard because they confronted my very comfortable 21st century Christianity and caused me to approach my faith in a new light.

If you haven't ever ventured into Church history, I would encourage you to try reading something from a different time period. It means that you will probably have to read something from a denomination or tradition that is not your own. It is a stretching experience, but you will be better because of it. There is a wealth of Christian wisdom waiting to be discovered in the fathers and mothers of the Christian faith.

I am really excited that my time in church history isn't over yet. My "homework" continues for the next month as I read from a spiritual master. I'll be reading from St. Basil of Caesarea and I'm sure that I'll share some of the wisdom gleaned from his writings.

I hope that you can find or have found someone who has gone before to learn from their wisdom.

Oct 31, 2010

The Other October 31st Holiday

St. Patrick's Day isn't the only Church holiday that gets overshadowed by other festivities. Today is actually a church holiday. No, not Halloween (even Halloween was originally the eve of All Hallows or All Saints Day celebrated by the Church). Most people treat Halloween as a chance to dress up and scare people, but October 31st is actually celebrated by many Protestants around the world as Reformation Day. On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This document, even though Luther may not have intended it to, sparked the Refomation of the church in the 16th century. For Protestant Christians, our heritage is traced back to Luther and his teachings.

If you, like me, are apart of the Restoration movement which was started by Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell. We are connected to Luther. Alexander Campbell was a came out of the Scottish Presbyterian church which owes its heritage to John Knox. Knox was trained in Geneva, Switzerland by Calvin and his teachings. Calvin was influenced by Martin Luther's teachings.

Martin Luther is one of the fathers of Protestant movement, so today when you are dressing up or handing out candy, remember what Martin Luther and others did so long ago to try to make the church a better place. Happy Reformation Day!

Oct 30, 2010

Review of Saint Francis by Robert West

From a wild youth to a beloved saint, Francis of Assisi had a very interesting life. Francis was the son of a cloth merchant in the 12th century. He lived a wild life and enjoy the wealth of his family. All of that changed after Francis spent a year as a prisoner of war and the illness that followed. Francis felt to call of God to rebuild his church. Francis began by literally rebuilding the church of San Damiano. From there he inspired thousands in his lifetime through his life of poverty and dedication to God's work. He fought for a simple life and peace in the world while preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen, including animals. Francis is one of the great men of the church, and his legacy has inspired generations of Christians to give all they have to serving God.


Robert West does a fantastic job of retelling the life of Saint Francis. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to explore church history or even to someone who is seriously studying the life of Francis. West walks the fine line of writing to the everyday person and also writing for the student of Church history. While this is not an exhaustive biography, it is a great way to step into the history of the Church and the men and women who have made a great impact. This is a fantastic book and will inspire anyone who reads it to live more like Christ following the example of Saint Francis.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Aug 20, 2010

logos 4 on mac

Good news for Mac users, Logos 4 is will finally be available October 1st. This is great news considering it's only be available in Alpha and Beta since Logos 4 was released just under a year ago. If you haven't used Logos it's quite wonderful and I'm happy that they are about to finish Logos 4 for Mac. Read more here, or check out Logos' website.

It's definitely a great tool for anyone who wants to study the bible. It is especially useful for anyone who is in ministry. I say this because I have a lot of friends who are in or going into ministry and a lot of those friends have macs. Now all of you will be able to use the full fledged version logos 4 on your mac and not just the alpha or beta versions.

Aug 3, 2010

Campfire

Last week I was at camp, and I had the privilege of speaking at campfire each night. The theme of the week was Look Up and the verse was Colossians 3:1. To go with the theme, we watched the movie UP, which has become a favorite of mine. The evening speaker spoke on Christ's word, way, worship, work, and witness. I connected my talks to his each day, but I spoke from Philippians 4:8-9. I connected this to Russell's character from the movie since he was a "scout" and scouts have a law, I taught that we have characteristics that we are trying to live up to. So, just to give you a taste of what I taught about here's my main idea for each night and a scripture to go with it:

Sunday Night: Whatever is True - The Truth will set you free from the lies of the enemy, John 8:31-47
Monday Night: Whatever is Right - Righteousness is not just about avoiding sin, it’s all about what is instead right, Matthew 25:31-46
Tuesday Night: Whatever is Pure - Purity of Heart leads to real righteousness and worship, Matthew 15:1-20
Wednesday Night: Whatever is Noble - Nobility in God’s kingdom is based on humility and not pride, Luke 14:7-14
Thursday Night: Whatever is Lovely and Admirable - Those who are admirable and compelling are worthy of following, Philippians 4:91 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

This is what I taught about each night, and I am so thankful that I was apart of this week. At the end of the week, 6 campers were baptized. This happened not because of my teaching or someone else's, but because God started working in the lives of the students at camp. I thank God for this week of camp and my chance to participate in how he work in the lives of that campers.


Aug 2, 2010

I love Camp.

Last week, I was at camp. It was great. I spent the week hanging out with kids, acting strangely, and speaking at campfire.

The students were some of the best I've had at camp. They responded well to lessons, they paid attention most of the time, and were all around fun kids. We played a lot of crazy games (usually games one of us counselors had made up).  They also raised over $1000 dollars for our missionary. Part of the thousand came from a t-shirt auction. All the counselors made t-shirts.
This is mine:
We played a game during the week called Jurassic Tag. Basically rock, paper, scissors with dinosaurs. So I made a shirt for it. The best part is that the dinosaurs glow in the dark.


 The acting strangely came at the talent show. Every year we put on a talent show for the students. The acts this year were fantastic. The strangeness comes from the antics that we insert, including the brick joke. Sam Davis and I ended the show with a pool noodle fight. Which to my knowledge there is no footage or photos of (Here's a previous fight on youtube).

My favorite part of the week is teaching, but I'll write about that tomorrow.

Jul 21, 2010

review of Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

John C. Maxwell is famous in the world of leadership, both inside and outside of the church. His newest book, however, is not primarily on leadership, but on connecting with people. In his newest book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, Maxwell digs deep into the world of communicating with people. Speaking from years of experience of communicating, Maxwell share his advise on how to go beyond communication and how to connect with people.  He argues that while everyone has the ability to communicate, whether through word, action, or some other form, not everyone can connect with their audience. He splits his book into two sections discussion the principles of connecting and what connectors do to stay connected with people.

Maxwell does offer some fantastic advice for connecting with other people. I believe that he also offers too much advice at points, some of which, in my opinion, may be detrimental. Some of his suggestions border on an attempt to tell people that they need to be popular before people will even listen, which I don't think is necessary. This book, however, is certainly worth a quick read. He is speaking from many years of experience, and while I personally my not agree with everything that he said, he does know a great deal about his topic.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jun 16, 2010

Review of Searching For God Knows What

People are searching, and Christianity is trying to give an answer for what people are searching for.  What if Christianity is not giving the best answer? That’s what Donald Miller is trying to wrestle with in Searching For God Knows What. He presents the idea that many of us have a formulaic view of God. We have made formulas, lists, and steps that tell us how to be saved and how to grow closer to God.  The problem is that these formulas don't require having a relationship with God and humans were made for relationships. People are looking all over for relationships that will validate who they are.  Miller preposes that maybe the relationship with the one true loving God who gave up his one and only son is the one that will changes peoples life and help them find what they’ve been looking for.

If you're a fan of Donald Miller, you know that this isn't a new book, but he has rereleased it.  Honestly, he didn't add a lot to it. There's a new introduction and his personality theory based on Genesis added after the book.  These are both great additions, but if you have read the book before, the book hasn't really changed. If you haven't read the book, I would highly recommend it. The book as a whole was a delightful read, as are all of Miller's books. This book is worth your time, it changed my view of faith when I read it the first time, and reinforced it this time. Donald Miller is one of my favorite living authors, and this book is one of his best I also highly recommend his newest book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years which I talked about here.






Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jun 14, 2010

Summer

Summer is officially here for me now. I finished my last homework assignment on Friday.  It was a great semester and I am happy that now I actually have time to write on the blog again and do a lot of other fun stuff.

May was really hectic for Lindsay and I.  She finished up here M.A. and graduated. Then the following Tuesday she started a new job. She's working a full time job here at LCU as an administrative assistant. Ironically, she works for the wife of the professor who I am a TA for.  We are very thankful for this job because it allows us to stay in Lincoln while I continue to work on my masters degree.  May was crazy for me because I finished up my spring semester while getting ready for my intensive class.  Meanwhile, I was trying to find some employment as well, which I did find. I am now a barista at Jamani Java in Bloomington, IL.  I was training last week and I am starting to work more regularly this week.  Even though I've worked in a coffee shop for 4 of the past 5 years, every coffee shop is different and does things different ways. It's exciting and I am very thankful for a job that doesn't end with the school year.

We're not quite sure of all the things we're doing this summer, so if you have any (cheap) suggestions let us know.  I do know one thing however, I will be doing lots of reading. Some for fun and some to get ready for this next semester.

May 3, 2010

Review of Plan B by Pete Wilson

Everyone knows the life can be unexpected. What do you do when the unexpected happens? Pete Wilson's new book Plan B tries to help you through those situations. What happens when you tragedy strikes or the unexpected happens? Plan B is all about helping you understand that you can make through those times. It won't be easy, but God is there and will see you through it. 

Plan B was a very encouraging book. He certainly doesn't sugar coat the tough situations in life, but he doesn't leave you with out hope either. He questions what do you do when you find out the worst news possible. He asks does God let these things happen. Sometimes he doesn't have answers, and I don't think anyone can really answer why, but Pete does what he can do and reminds us that God is still there and God is still in control. The best illustration in the book is when he shows God moving through the life of Joseph. No matter what God looked out for him. The only big issue I had with the book was the ending. The last chapter called "The Bow" talks about how there is no pretty bow to put on top and wrap up this book. The problem I have with that is the Bible ends with a pretty big bow on top called Revelation. Yes the book is scary, but God Wins in the end and his people win with him. These words of hope are the most comforting words we have as Christians. No matter how bad it gets, God wins. No more tears, no more sickness, no more sadness, no more need for a Plan B

I would recommend this book to people facing plan b situations, but I would also recommend they read Surprised by Hope by NT Wright afterwards. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Apr 22, 2010

Review of Wild At Heart by John Eldredge

Stated simply, this book is about men being men. In his revised an expanded edition, John Eldredge sets out to explain Biblical masculinity, arguing that men need a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. These characteristics make up the man who is Wild at Heart. Eldredge looks into the depths of men's souls to analyze what keeps them from being wild at heart. Throughout the whole book, he relies heavily on the Bible to make his case.  At the heart of this is the message that masculinity is bestowed by God. He emphasizes his point in chapter seven writing that, "True masculinity is Spiritual."

I approached this book wondering if another book about manhood was needed, but Eldredge hit a home run. I think that he had it right, however, that men need permission to be men. There many obstacles keep a man from fighting his battles, having adventures, and pursuing the woman in his life. In the beginning, I was skeptical that this would be all about being a tough guy and doing "manly" things, but Eldredge changed my mind when he said that Biblical masculinity is about being the man that God created me to be. God has endowed men with certain characteristics and responsibilities and in Christ we have the freedom to do those things. We all want to be like William Wallace and Elderdge says that we can. This is a fantastic book; I would recommend it to any guy looking to be inspired.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Apr 21, 2010

A weekend in Cincinnati

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Stone Campbell Journal Conference in Cincinnati.  I went last year (although I didn't write a post about it) and had a great time. This year, I had a great time as well.  I went there, first of all, to support my friends in the student paper competition.  Students from colleges and seminaries submit academic papers to this competition and the top three present their papers.  My friends David, Michael, and Nathan were all selected to present.  Michael presented in undergrad competition and his paper on the apocalyptic imagery of Matthew 13 won.  My friends David and Nathan presented their papers in the graduate competition.  Both papers were fantastic. David's paper was on the Celtic practice of peregrination and Nathan's was on the advancement of nanotechnology and it's affect on the world. Unfortunately, they did not win, but these papers, along with the paper that won, were fantastic papers and honestly, each deserved to win for one reason or another.  I also went to enjoy Skyline Chili.

This was not all that happened at the conference.  For those of you who are not familiar, conferences put on by journals or societies (like the Society of Biblical Literature, SBL, or Evangelical Theological Society, ETS) will typically consist of some main presenters and then a lot of other people presenting papers they have written in elective fashion.  This conference was hosted by the Stone Campbell Journal (if you're not familiar with the Stone-Campbell/Restoration movement, check out this).  When I was not hearing my friends present, I heard various scholars read papers and give presentations on different subjects.  The main theme of this years conference was Spirituality Old and New, which is fantastic because this is one of my main areas of interest.  The highlight was hearing Scot McKnight speak on spirituality in two of the main sessions.  I took copious notes and got some great (and funny) quotes.  My favorite quote was from his presentation on Spirituality in a Postmodern Age.  He said, "People who can combine Jeremiah, Thomas Paine, Max Lucado, Harold and Kumar, and Dr. Suess are postmodern. . . whatever that means."


The most challenging of his talks was on Spiritual Disciplines for Today. He left us with many thoughts, but the most challenge being that any discipline that does not lead us to love God or love others, is essentially a misused discipline.  I was certainly challenged by that, since many times I find my self using a spiritual discipline to make myself better and not to simply fall in love with God more.  So here's the question I want to leave you with, how can we better use our disciplines to love God and others and not simply do it to make us better people?

Apr 7, 2010

The Easter Season and Other Updates

The Easter season is upon us.  Most of us think of easter being one day, but it's really a seven week season known as Eastertide.  On the Fiftieth day after Easter, Pentecost is celebrated (see Acts 2).  Fifty days are to be dedicated to the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection from the dead and its impact on our lives.  This season is a time to remember the resurrected life in which we live.  Dustin said in sunday's sermon at Jeff St, Jesus' resurrection not only means that he's not there any more, but we won't be there either.  Because of Jesus defeated death, we in the end will too.  We live in hope of the future resurrection from the dead for all of us.  I would suggest that for the Easter season, we should all read through NT Wright's book Surprised by Hope. He discussed what impact resurrection has on our lives.  I'm going to start (actually pick it back up again) reading it as soon as I finish the book that I'm currently reading.  As a side note, if this interests you and you live in Lincoln, Jeff St Christian Church just started a series called "Beyond a Better Place" dealing with the impact of resurrection on our lives and what happens when we die.

I review for BookSneezeNow for the other updates: I joined a site called Booksneeze.com that distributes books to bloggers for free in exchange for a blog review and a review on a site like Amazon.  So you can look forward to seeing more book reviews from me.  The first one will be the Revised and Expanded edition of John Eldridge's book Wild at Heart.  I'm also hoping that I will be able to get a copy of a book called Plan B that they are making available on tomorrow.



Last update, this weekend, I'm headed to the Stone Campbell Journal Conference at Cincinnati Christian University.  So, there will be an update on my time there.

Have a good Easter Season.  He is risen...

Apr 2, 2010

Good Friday


It's Good Friday, and I don't need to add my own words to what this day is all about. Instead, I will leave you with this:


From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means,“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.  The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Sonc of God!”
 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.


You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Mar 25, 2010

Being an Introvert in the Church

Some of you know that I am an Introvert.  For people who knew me a long time ago, this may be a surprise because I talked way too much.  But, as my mom will tell you, sometime in Junior High I started talking less and answering questions with no more than 5 words.  This wasn't something I really understood until I was on my internship.  When I was faced with full time ministry, I realized how I function and somethings that might stand in my way.  My energy level is drained after spending time with people and it is replenished after quiet times spent reading and reflecting.  I'm still learning how to balance that so that I can be in ministry.  I learned very quickly on my internship that ministry involves relationships, but I didn't know how I was supposed to live in the balance of personal time and people time.

I also took an online test that I was directed to by my internship mentor and it told me that I was an INTJ.  It's not the real myers-briggs test, but it's pretty good.  Last semester, I took the Myers-briggs test and it confirmed the online test results.  After all this, I was still left with the question of what does that mean for me in ministry.  How does an introvert function in the highly relational world of ministry?  And that's when Lindsay and I saw an add in an IVP magazine for a book.  And I like books.

The book is called Introverts in the Church and it was written by Adam S. McHugh.  And as soon as I could get it from the library I did and I read it. It's a fantastic book.  It raises a lot of good questions for the church and gives hope to all of us who want to be involved in Church and don't know how to do it.  He legitimizes the introverted concerns I have, but also pushes introverts to step out of their comfort zones enough to grow and be stretched.

The fact of the matter is that churches and ministries are often led by and made for extroverts.  Often ministry positions are built for extroverts.  They are made for people who love people and spend all of their time working crowds, talking to strangers, and evangelizing on street corners (ok, so maybe not that last one).  Adam covers all of these topics and works through how introverts can be involved, lead, and even evangelize.  I was highly encouraged by this book and now feel like I do have a place in a society that praises extroverted qualities and thinks introverts to be very strange. I would certainly recommend this for any Christian who finds it hard to be an introvert in an extroverted culture.  Also, extroverted leaders may want to read this to figure out why some people seem so weird.

So, are you an introvert? What have you found to be hard about being an introvert in the church?

Mar 13, 2010

Learning from the past

Like I said in a previous blog, I've been teaching a class with a friend on the "History of Christian Spiritual Practices" which is a long way to say how spiritual disciplines where practiced in different parts of history. It was fun to explore history, and this week, I taught my last class on historical matters (I'm teaching one more, but it's on present day).

I have gained a deeper appreciation for those who have gone before in the faith.  I had the chance to study the time of the early church and the reformation.  Although I was unable to completely due justice to the amount of history I had to cover in one hour, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and was most moved by what people have done to keep the faith alive and to keep the church pure.

In the early church, men and women risked their lives just to be Christians.  They had to give up a whole way of living just to follow Jesus.  They were not accepted and most of time persecuted by those who did not understand or even hated Christianity.

Oddly enough, the reformation cause Christians to undergo some of the same persecution, but this time it was from the church.  People like Martin Luther tried their hardest to help the church be better.  Luther never intended to leave the church, but help it be what Jesus intended it to be. The church leadership of the day did things that were not moral, and Luther (amongst others) tried to reform the church, eventually he started another church based on the beliefs of scripture.

Although, they were not perfect people, the sought to make the church the best possible.  I am certainly thankful for everyone who has tried to make the church better, because I certainly hope to do the same.

If this interests you, I suggest you go rent (or buy because it's worth it) the movie Luther.  It's a fantastic movie, mostly historical, and very enjoyable.

Mar 9, 2010

Weekend Getaway

It wasn't really a weekend getaway, but the weather was great. Linds and I set out for Louisville, KY with 4 others to check out Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Sunday after church, we left Lincoln, and Dr. Estep drove us to Louisville. The best part was stepping out of the van in Kentucky and it was 61ยบ. We ate at a local restaurant, and then hung out some of Lindsay's friends who attend Southern.

We got up early the next morning, had breakfast,
and wandered around campus for a while. It was a beautiful day. We met at admissions, and they took us to the cafeteria for lunch and then gave us a tour. It was a very beautiful campus and would be a wonderful place to attend. Their library has hundreds of thousands of books. While it is still a ways off. It was a nice look into what might be the future of my education. Like I said previously, I hope to continue my education with in some sort of doctoral program. It might be at Southern, it might not. It was a nice place to visit, and I had a good time.


On the way back, we swung by Southeast Christian Church. It's a really nice church, and we were able to get a quick tour of the church. The have a lot of good things going on their. They are a very successful church and it was a cool to have a sneak peak into some of what goes on during a typical Sunday morning.



That was my adventurous weekend. I hope that your weekend was adventurous as well (or restful, if you needed that).

Mar 2, 2010

February is over.

February always seems like the longest month in the year. Thankfully, it's over. I am thankful because hopefully it will get warmer. This is one of the first winters where I have actively been wanting warmer weather since the end of December. I think it's because this is the first winter where I am paying for my own heating bill.

This has been a short and busy month. Great things are happening however. I'm almost halfway through my second semester of February. I love seminary and love continuing my education which is good because soon I'll switch to a longer degree. Currently I'm only getting a M.A. in Christian Education, but I'm switching to a Masters of Religious Education. In name it sounds the same, but it has twelve more hours added to the degree. Why am I switching? Because I like school. Also, because the longer degree gives me a better set up for continuing my education. I'm looking around, and have nothing even vaguely set in stone, but I would like to pursue a doctoral degree after seminary.

Other than school, I've started teaching. My friend David and I are teaching a class at Jefferson Street Christian Church. We are teaching History of Christian Spiritual Practices. I know, exciting name. We are looking back into history and seeing what Christians in history did to grow closer to God. It started with Jesus as the example of an everyday relationship with God. The we looked at the apostles and church fathers and their emphasis on baptism, communion, and the word of God. It's been exciting, I'll share more about it later, I'm teaching about the reformation a week from tomorrow. I'm learning to appreciate church history and just started reading Church History in Plain Language. I'd recommend this book to just about anyone curious in learning more about church history.

Hope this finds you well. Happy March!

Feb 10, 2010

I love books, especially when I have time to read them.

It was nice to be able to read some books over the break before school started. Unfortunately it has taken so long for me to tell you about it. But I'd like to share with you about the books that I have read the last few months.


First, I've been wanting to shamelessly promote my uncle's book, but I'm not just promoting it because it is my uncle's book. It was a fantastic and intriguing book. The book is called The Awakening and is a fascinating read about bioengineering. It is a fiction book about an young man name Art who finds himself at the center of a controversy dealing with science and bioengineering. Art a teen piano prodigy and orphan begins to look into his past and discovers much more than he ever bargained for. He and his friend dizzy dig deep into the conspiracy that turns out to be Art's past. The characters are well developed and the plot will keep you guessing. I don't want to reveal too much more for fear of ruining the story, but I will say if you are curious about what the future may hold or just enjoy a good thriller (and almost sci-fi) you will enjoy this easy to read (and hard to stop reading) book. You'll also be supporting a great guy. It's on amazon and on Facebook. If you want more info head over to www.theawakeningbook.net.

Secondly, I recently read a new book from one of my favorite authors. Don Miller recently put out a new book entitled A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I have loved everything that Don has put out before and loved this one just as much. It's an intriguing look into how we ought to be living from the perspective on someone turning his life into a movie. When Don was asked to turn his book about his life into a movie, he begins to look into what kind of story he's been living. If you've read Don Miller before, you won't be disappointed by this book. I would recommend this book to everyone especially to those who are into writing and reading good stories. This book will cause you to reflect on your personal story and if you are really doing all that you can do to make it a good one.

I also read a lot of books for school. Recently I read the Jungle as a part of the class I lead a discussion group for. That certainly is a interesting and depressing look into the life of an immigrant around the turn of the century. Just don't read it while you're eating. Most of my books, however, but most of them end up being more technical than fun reads.

I leave you with this question: what have you been reading recently? And did it cause you to rethink something or think about something you never thought of before?


Post your thoughts.

Jan 25, 2010

What I did on my Christmas Vacation...

Here's the promised post on the Christmas Vacation...

On December 20th, Linds and I embarked on our Christmas Vacation. We started our trip in Bone Gap, only staying their briefly, and quickly headed to Baltimore to spend time with Lindsay's sisters. Over the week that we were there, I think we celebrated Christmas (or at least had a Christmas meal) about once a day. The highlight of the Christmas festivities was the Christmas play put on by the children under the direction of my mother-in-law. It was very cute and a joy to watch. It really was just a jam packed week of hanging out with nieces and nephews.

We rode out with Lindsay's parents and her grandparents also made the trip out. And aside from sleeping on a futon for a week, it was a great trip. It had been since the wedding since we had seen most of her sisters and nieces and nephews. We had our fair share of playing Aunt and Uncle and truly enjoyed it. We can't wait to go back, although the beginning of school really makes it hard to travel longer than just a weekend.

From Baltimore, we drove back to Bone Gap and chilled for a few days before visiting Indy for the weekend. This was more Christmas for us and my family, although we really celebrated over New Years. It was very nice to be in Indy, it's a wonderful city, that I miss especially during Sundays in the football season. Go Colts!

The rest of the vacation we spent in Lincoln. We got a few weeks of rest combined with a little bit of work in the coffeeshop for me and the library for Linds.

Because it's Christmas, I ought to mention our favorite gifts. Linds is in love with her chair from Ikea bought with Christmas money from Grandma and Grandad, and I am getting frequent use out of my new coffeemaker (although the mugs seem to be in short supply after a few days of coffee enjoyment).

We have now gotten back into the swing of school. These last two weeks were the first weeks of full time school and work, and a return to the volunteer ministry gig at Jeff Street. I just started teaching the college students again and Linds is back to leading the choir. That's all for now from the frozen and windy cornfields of Lincoln. Soon, I hope to share with you what I read on my Christmas vacation.