Archive for February, 2007
February 28th, 2007 | 17 Comments | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
God continues to bless the Stickley family. I’m delighted to announce that He has given us another sweet baby girl… Allison Grace Stickley!
Allison was born this morning at 7:42 AM at Heartland Hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri. She weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz., and measured 20 inches in length. She is absolutely precious (as you can see from the pictures below), and we’re all obviously quite happy!
Allison joins her big brother Jeffrey and her big sister Jenna to make us a family of five. Both siblings are very excited to have a little sister… I can only imagine what kind of fun things they’ll teach her! Nancy and I are a bit anxious about being outnumbered, but I’m sure we’ll catch on quickly.
We’d appreciate it greatly if you would keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
February 27th, 2007 | 3 Comments | Posted in » Baptist Issues, Christian Living
Based on the interest expressed from so many people in my last post regarding a potential online accountability group, I’d like to keep moving the idea forward. I still don’t have the number of people committed to this I’d like to see, but I don’t think it will be a problem to pick up a few more along the way as we develop this idea (here’s another invitation to make that interest known!).
So… next steps. I’m pretty satisfied with the name “The Nathan Network”, stemming from 2 Samuel 12 (thanks Wes). Moving on from that, the next logical step is to flesh this thing out a bit. It would seem to me that it would be good to start with the agreement we would expect participants to sign… a group accountability covenant.
I’d like to take a crack at that myself and give you all something to work with, but my plate will be VERY full over the next few days and I don’t see much chance of me getting to it very soon… not because I’m disinterested, but simply because Nancy and I head to the hospital bright and early tomorrow for the birth of our third child via c-section (we’re all very excited!). As such, it’s your opportunity to shine.
So, who’s up to the challenge of developing a group accountability covenant for the Nathan Network? Anyone? I’d love to see your thoughts about it, your wording for it, a complete draft of the covenant, whatever… just post your ideas here.
February 22nd, 2007 | 54 Comments | Posted in » Baptist Issues, Christian Living
In comments on my last post, I hit upon the idea of an accountability group for bloggers (and others) participating in online discussions, perhaps named “FBC Blogtown”. At it’s root, such a group would be intended to provide accountability relationships to participants, in hopes of cleaning up some of the vitriol we see in Baptist debates online.
Here’s a few of the ideas I was thinking of for the group:
– an accountability agreement that all participants would sign
– a website with a list of participants, their blogs, and contact information
– a blog aggregator (where snippets of posts from each participant, with links to posts, would appear)
– a private forum where participants could discuss issues related to blogging / accountability
– a small logo / banner that participants could place on their blog to identify themselves with the group
I don’t know where this will go… if it goes anywhere at all. I see immense potential in such a group, though… whether very limited in scope or something much more. But that’s the purpose of this post… to see what everyone thinks about the idea, and to develop it further if there’s interest.
Anyway… fire away. If you’ve got ideas, post ‘em here!
February 15th, 2007 | 18 Comments | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies
Matthew 18 set the Biblical standard for Christian conflict resolution. For most believers, it’s pretty clear cut… if a fellow believer sins against you, you go to him. If he refuses to listen, you bring a couple others along to address the situation. If he refuses to listen even then, you go to the church with the matter.
Pretty clear-cut, isn’t it? It would seem so, at least in the context of the local church when one person has clearly been sinned against.
Take a look again, and tell me how it applies in the blogging world, especially when you have two believers who are at odds with one another.
15“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
It’s an interesting question, isn’t it… one that I find a bit difficult to answer. If it’s a conflict involving me, it makes sense… I still need to go to the person one-on-one to be reconciled. But what is our role as observers to conflict, especially when we see two believers at odds with one another? How do we apply the Matthew 18 principles in this context? At what point must we intervene? Do we do it privately? Publicly?
Personally, I find these to be difficult questions.
What do you think?
February 12th, 2007 | 3 Comments | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies
Yesterday, we pretty much wrapped up our study of Romans in Sunday School, touching on the “personal greetings” section of this letter from Paul. It’s funny though… most of the time when we read this section of scripture, we tend to breeze through it… sometimes literally skipping to the end. After all, it’s just a bunch of personal greetings to people whose names we can hardly pronounce… not obviously full of deep theological concepts… it’s just easy to do.
Take a closer look though. If you’ve never really done so, you’re missing some valuable lessons about one of the most vital parts of our walk with Christ… the necessity of Christian community.
Take a look, and put yourself in Paul’s shoes, or even that of those people he wrote to…
1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 2I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. 3Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. 6Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 7Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord. 9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 11Greet Herodion, my relative. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. 13Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. 14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them. 15Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them. 16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
Did you catch what he had to say about these people?
“she has been a great help to many people…”
“they risked their lives for me…”
“worked very hard for you…”
“who have been in prison with me…”
“outstanding among the apostles…”
“tested and approved in Christ…”
“who work hard in the Lord…”
“who has been a mother to me…”
Has it ever dawned on you just how many people Paul singled out? And not just that… look at the great things he said about them. Amazing, isn’t it?
Paul’s life was clearly affected in a profound manner by these people. I’m certain that his walk with Christ was much closer because of this awesome community of believers, and moreso, that his ministry was more effective because of them.
Why do we modern-day believers have such a problem developing relationships like this? Is it possible that we, as individual believers, are far less effective in making a difference for Christ because of this fact? Does the lack of authentic Christian community have an even more profound effect in regard to the effectiveness of our churches?
Need I answer?
I didn’t think so.
So… “Got Community?” If not, why not?
February 8th, 2007 | 3 Comments | Posted in » Devotions / Bible Studies, My Life / Family
I don’t know about you, but often times I have trouble relating to Jesus. After all, He is the Son of God… the sinless Savior… the living Lord… the perfect Lamb. He has done so much more than you and I could ever hope… lived a life better than we could dream… followed God perfectly… there’s no way we can measure up. I guess it’s just that He’s both God and man simultaneously, and that I struggle with latter part of that combination… seeing Him with any amount of humanity with which I can relate.
I’m thankful that every now and then my eyes are opened and I can see Jesus in a fresh light again. This morning I experienced another of these moments during a radio sermon from Pastor Bob Coy (I really do enjoy his messages!), as he was relating the story of the wedding feast at Cana from John 2.
1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”
5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
I’ve heard or read this account hundreds of times, but there was something new this morning that stood out as Pastor Bob preached… the interaction between Jesus and his mother, Mary.
In the past, I’d always blown right past verses 3-5, never really considering what was going on, just realizing that Mary told Jesus about a problem, and that He ended up addressing the issue by performing His first miracle.
This morning was different.
Look at the dialogue, and allow yourself to visualize the situation and the interaction between the two. Here’s what I see…
In the middle of this grand wedding celebration… people dancing, smiling, eating, drinking… having a great time… we see Mary making her way through the crowd toward her son. He, of course, is surrounded by people… friends… talking and laughing with him, all thoroughly enjoying the party. Mary carries a slight look of concern on her face, and makes her way through the people, perhaps even coming up behind Jesus, placing her hand on his shoulder to get his attention, or leaning down to a seated Jesus, wrapping her arms around his neck and speaking into his ear.
“Son? Can you take a minute from your friends? We need to talk.”
Jesus politely excuses himself, and Mary leads him to the banquet table. She gestures toward the wine.
“Look… they’re running out. I know you can help. Would you, please?”
“Come on mom”, Jesus replies. “How’s this my problem? My time has not yet come.”
Awkward silence, and the two simply look into each other’s eyes. Mary looks at him with insistence, and a wry grin appears on Jesus’s face.
Mary calls for the servants.
“Do whatever he tells you to do.”
The rest of the story isn’t all that important to me… but that moment of humanity I see in Christ… it’s everything that matters.
I can relate to Jesus in that moment.
February 7th, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in » Church Stuff..., Upcoming Events
David is an up and comer in the Christian music scene, and is particularly known for his contributions to modern worship music. We’re definitely blessed to have him join us.
Be sure to spread the word, and be there if you can!