Sunday, December 18, 2005

Reaching the Cities

If God were to tell you it is His will for your life to move to a large city to spread the Gospel, what would your response be? Some people might respond by saying: Lord, there is so much concrete, and the people, they are so rude. Lord, what about trees and grass, You know how much I love being outdoors. I sure would hate to leave the wide open fields and the forests where I go hunting every year. And Lord, that small church in small town, Alabama sure does need a pastor. Lord, I just couldn't go to a city.

While I do not doubt that the church in small town, Alabama needs a good pastor, I do question whether many people are ignoring God's call to go to the cities. During the past one hundred years a great shift has happened in American society and in many other parts of the world. People have become decreasingly agrarian and more industrialized. They have moved from the country to the cities, so much so that now the vast majority of Americans live in the cities. There remains a need for strong churches in the small towns of America, but there is a far greater need for churches in the cities of this nation.

My heart has been increasingly burdened for these cities lately. There does not seem to be any good reason to go anywhere other than the cities. (other than God's perfect will of course) My prayer is that millions of Christians would flood to the great cities to spread the Gospel, not with an attitude of condemnation, but with love and compassion desiring to see lost people changed from the inside out and molded into the image of Christ.

So where will you go? Will it be Miami, the gateway city to latin america and home to many who have relocated from the northeast? Will it be New York, one of the great multicultural cities of the world, with the kind of diversity to be able to send missionaries back to every country in the world. Will it be Montreal, the french capital of North America. How about Las Vegas, sin city itself? More importantly though, will you follow God whereever His perfect plan for your life calls you to go?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Does God Waste Time or Resources?

I found the blog posting by Dr. Wayne McDill titled "Does God Waste Time or Resources" quite thought provoking. The posting can be found at his website under the weblog page. As one who fits into the category of person he is speaking of, I would like to respond to several questions he poses. First, I will explain some of my background.

I became a believer during my first year in college. My major in undergraduate school was Information Systems. I spent several years working as a computer technician and a network administrator. Three years ago, my wife and I, through our study of scripture and prayer, believed that it was God's plan for us to leave our jobs and move to seminary. After moving, I have worked in management for UPS and am currently working in the computer field again as an operations manager.

Now, on to the issues addressed in Dr. McDill's blog.

The answer to the question of whether my college education was a waste of time and resources should be quite clear at this point. It was definitely not a waste. I have continued to use that training and even develop it further through my employment since God moved me to seminary.

I think a more basic question is "When does a believer enter into full-time ministry?" Although I did not think about this question much as a new believer, it has been one of interest to me lately. From my study of Scripture, I have found that every believer is called to minister full-time beginning at the point that they receive salvation.(Ephesians 4:1-16) Does this mean that every believer is to leave their job, move to seminary, and become a pastor. Certainly not. This passage makes it clear that being a pastor is one of the gifts that God gives to some believers. Pastoring is not a higher calling or a more full-time calling. It is a gift from God that has an equipping role within the body of Christ. The distinction that Paul makes here is not one of full-time or part-time or no time at all, but of function within the body of Christ. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers all have equipping functions in the Body. However, every believer is called to "the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ."

All this being said, I was a full-time minister from the point that I became a believer.

Why, then, did God send my family to seminary? I am convinced that it is for me to intensely study the scriptures in a way that was not happening in the church that I came from. While I am thankful for the education I am receiving at seminary, it would not have been necessary for me to attend seminary if the church were discipling and maturing believers the way that the Scripture commands it to do. (There are many reasons why the discipleship is not happening that I will not discuss in this posting.)

I enjoy ministering the in business world. I have had many opportunities to interact with unbelievers about my faith that would not have been possible if I spent all my time working in the building where the church meets.

In regards to church planting, there is a great need for people with professional skills working in the business world. It is a great place to build relationships with unbelievers and to disciple believers. When a believer spends eight hours a day with lost people, the influence of Christ on their life should become apparent to the unbeliever.

It is my opinion that we must reject the idea of some people being the "professional" clergy and every other believer being the laity. First, I have not been able to find this distinction in Scripture. Second, I see this professionalism as an impediment to the reproduction of new churches, since professional clergy must be paid as any other professional in their field. This puts a large burden on a new congregation to pay pastors that can easily go get jobs and interact with lost people while they work.

So, be comforted, my fellow believers who have spent years of your lives studying for and working in areas other than theology. Your efforts are not wasted and your Father desires to greatly use you to influence those you work with for the glory and honor of Christ.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tradition or Theology?

I read some disturbing news today. The International Mission Board trustees have approved some new policies for the selection of missionaries. The policies can be found at this link: The policies pertain to speaking in tongues and baptism.

The first policy states that "In terms of worship practices, the majority of Southern Baptist churches do not practice glossolalia (speaking in tongues)." And "In terms of general practice, the majority of Southern Baptists do not accept what is referred to as ‘private prayer language," "Therefore, if ‘private prayer language’ is an ongoing part of his or her conviction and practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC." The problem I have with this policy is that church practice is now determining the policies of SBC institutions. In this news article there is no Scripture cited. The evidence given for this policy is that it is the practice in the majority of SBC churches. This seems backward to me. Should Scripture determine the policies of SBC institutions? I think so. I can only think that the IMB has declared that the "perfect" has already come, since tongues have now "passed away." (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)

The second policy on baptism "establishes that candidates must have been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church of another denomination that practices believer’s baptism by immersion alone. Also, the baptism must not be viewed as sacramental or regenerative, and the church must embrace the doctrine of the security of the believer." Now everything in this statement sounds good up until the last phrase. Sure, believers should be baptized by immersion. Baptism should not be viewed as sacramental or regenerative. But, when does the doctrine of the security of the believer, or lack thereof, become a factor in whether a believer's baptism is valid or not. There is no evidence in Scripture for this statement. I think that the statement arises from the idea that there must be a "proper administrator" to baptize someone, an idea also foreign from Scripture. Who can administer baptism to someone else? I believe the Scripture says that any believer can. Matthew 28:19-20 was not addressed to pastors or staff members, but to all believers. Therefore, the qualification to baptize someone is to be a believer. Can someone be a believer and not understand that they are secure in their salvation? Absolutely. My wife is a perfect example. She did not come to understand the security of her salvation until several months after she was saved. Can the members of a church teach that believers are not secure in their salvation and still be saved? Absolutely. Therefore, the baptism being administered is still valid, regardless of the poor teaching on the security of the believer. Now don't misunderstand me, I do believe that believers are secure in their salvation by the power of God. But, I do not think that it is essential to hold to this doctrine to be saved.

So why the change in the IMB? I do not understand why policies are being approved that have no grounding in Scripture. May God help us to always make His Word the foundation of everything we practice.

Who are you thankful to?

Last night at our prayer service Jeff T. brought up a great point. In light of the thanksgiving weekend, he asked us to think about who we are thankful to instead of what we are thankful for. Many unbelievers and believers miss this point about being thankful. They may be thankful for their health, job, family, money, or good food. But rarely do you hear someone speak of who they are thankful to. As believers, we have our heavenly Father to thank for the mercy and grace that He pours out on our lives everyday. As you speak to your Father today, make sure you let Him know that it is to Him that you are thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dead Sea Scrolls

I noticed in the newspaper this morning that the dead sea scrolls are coming to Charlotte, NC. Check out their website:

If anyone knows of any good books about the scrolls to read before going, please let me know.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Monday, November 21, 2005


Welcome to Sharing in the Life! I have been wanting a place, for some time now, not only to publish some of my ideas, but also to enter into dialogue with others on topics that interest me. What are those topics? Let me preface the answer to that question by sharing some of my life with you. First and foremost, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. The relationship that I have with Him is the most important relationship in my life. I am also the husband of a godly, loving woman who has been sharing life with me for 9 years. I also spend time working as an IT operations manager for a college. These are only a few aspects of my life, but I am sure you will come to know me better in the future.

Now, back to the original question. What are my interests? I am interested in almost any topic surrounding Christianity and the Bible. More specifically, I am interested in the church. I enjoy studying topics such as making disciples, church leadership, church meetings, church planting, and the Lord's Supper. Since I believe that church practice should arise out of a thorough study of and submission to the Bible, I am also interested in New Testament Greek, biblical interpretation, and am beginning to study textual criticism and discourse analysis. Finally, I am interested in delving further into the topics of the role of the church in the sanctification of the believer and the effect of the Lord's Supper on the unity and growth of the church.

One may ask why I have named the blog "Sharing in the Life." It is my desire not only to share in the life with God through Jesus Christ, but also to share that same life, as well as my own, with you. (1 John 1:1-3) I also desire for you to share your life with me. My hope is that this blog will be a place where we can converse over these topics already mentioned, as well as others as they arise. I want to keep the tone friendly and encouraging, yet, at the same time, challenge the presuppositions and opinions that we all have when we study the Scripture.

Again, welcome to "Sharing in the Life." I look forward to talking with you soon.