Archive for August, 2007
August 31st, 2007 | Comments Off | Posted in » Pictures
Okay, so I’m a week late in posting these for Friday photos. Regardless, here’s a few of Jeffrey from his first day of preschool. One cool kid, isn’t he?
August 30th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies
It’s interesting how God speaks sometimes… He’ll say something clearly though Scripture, or He’ll whisper to us in prayer… sometimes He even speaks to us through situations. Rarely, at least in my experience, has it been through dreams, even though we find it happening all throughout the Bible.
I seem to have had that experience last night.
I can’t recall everything (nor do I think it really all that important anyway), but at its most basic level, the recurring theme was that I found myself trying to find a quiet place to sit down and read my Bible. Everytime I’d get started, something different would come along and cause an interruption. Children wanting to talk or play… adults with needs… even off-the-wall things I can’t exactly recall now. Regardless, the interruptions kept me from getting to the text. I distinctly remember, though, that I was looking at the book of Colossians, and that I was complete with chapter one, but unable to get to two.
You can imagine my curiosity this morning. I wasn’t sure what to expect… perhaps some divine revelation… perhaps something I needed to hear… perhaps something someone else needed to hear. The thought that God might be trying to speak to me was exciting, to say the least.
And then doubts crept in. I must be nuts… surely it was just last night’s dinner, or perhaps simply the immense number of things I’ve had running around in my head making me restless.
I read it anyway, and found this:
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Generally, this verse refers to guarding oneself against heresy… against giving in to beliefs promoted by godless men, forsaking the knowledge of Christ for something less.
It’s also used as a warning against worldliness… reminding us to forsake those things not of Christ, and cling wholly to Him.
I wonder, though, if we focus on the wrong portion of this verse, neglecting the thought of being captive?
Do we consider the following often enough?
– Am I a captive?
– What am I captive to?
– Is what captivates me something that honors God?
– Am I truly captivated by Jesus?
They’re humbling questions, without a doubt. I’m not certain that any of us can answer them in complete honesty and say we’re satisfied with what we find.
I guess the point is simply this… Scripture makes quite clear that if we’re to be captive, we are to be captive to Christ… slaves of Christ… servants of the Most High God. Somehow, by such, we experience freedom unlike anything we can imagine here on earth.
August 23rd, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Baptist Issues, Devotions / Bible Studies, My Life / Family
I hadn’t intended to write about Outpost, its detractors, or the like, but in light of the continuing buzz about the entire situation, I cannot get everything out of my head. All of it continues to weigh heavily in my heart, especially in light of Scripture, which often seems to present inconvenient truths.
Anyway, you’re only getting Scripture this morning… it’s sufficient to speak for itself.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails.
1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
1 John 3:16-20
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
August 20th, 2007 | 5 Comments | Posted in » Baptist Issues
Last Friday, when Micah announced he was pulling out of SBC Outpost, there was quite a bit of discussion about the state of Outpost, the tone of blogging discussions, and the like. The bulk of discussion really simply amounted to a “piling on” of sorts, expressing regret about Outpost’s tone or congratulating Micah (as well as Darren Casper and me, albeit to lesser extents) for taking a stand against such. While issues may exist, I’m not certain what happened Friday (and over the weekend) was all that productive.
Of course, Sunday I posted my rationale for leaving Outpost. Looking back at what I had written, I see I didn’t do much better.
To the Outpost contributors that remain, I must apologize publicly. While I tried to be gracious in posting my reasons for withdrawing, I’m afraid I did all of you a disservice… my words, while well-intentioned, appear now to me to look as if I were simply piling blame on you guys. I did not clearly communicate that, while the tone of some of the things written on SBC Outpost did indeed bother me, the response from Outpost detractors seeking to discredit the site was just as instrumental in my departure as anything written by Outpost contributors. I had to distance myself from that, not only because I anticipate my church commitments increasing as we enter uncertain times, but also for the sake of my sanity… the controversy and conflict we Baptist seem to thrive on is simply maddening sometimes.
Anyway, this is the last I’ll write on the subject. I hope and pray that all involved in blogging discussions will do so in the future in as Christlike a manner possible.
August 19th, 2007 | 6 Comments | Posted in » Baptist Issues, Church Stuff..., My Life / Family, Prayer Requests
Many of you have been anxiously awaiting this post, wondering why I decided to leave SBC Outpost. Given the controversy centered around the site in the past few weeks, that’s understandable. I’ll tell you now, though… if you’re looking for continued controversy here, you’ll probably find yourself disappointed by what I’ve got to say. It’s not in my nature.
In other words, this won’t be an expose on Outpost’s inner workings, the contributors, SBC politics, or the like. I simply want to state a couple things for the record about my motivation for hanging up my Outpost badge in order to prevent rampant speculation.
I must admit that at the time of my departure, I was disappointed and disheartened by SBC Outpost. I felt, in large part, that the site had missed the mark to which we stated we would aspire… “to provide interactive, substantive, and reflective dialogue for Southern Baptist churchmen and women to participate in shaping the future of the Southern Baptist Convention.” While there had been some tremendous dialogue on the site over the course of its existence, it appeared to me that for the most part, Outpost had become far less a tool for dialogue to build bridges of understanding, but moreso a wedge, widening the divide between Baptists. Heated passions, while good, appeared to result more often in cutting words than in iron sharpening iron.
All of this frustrated me immensely… division and discord are not something with which I deal well. It’s more my nature to try to bring peace in such situations, and I was simply discovering that I had neither time, energy, nor influence to do so… resulting in more frustration. Simply put, the site had been taking its toll.
The final straw, though, had nothing to do with the above. It’s the “teaser” I mentioned Friday afternoon here… Micah Fries, my pastor and close personal friend, is being lead by God to serve at another local church, Frederick Boulevard Baptist.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m happy for Micah. God has spoken clearly and directly about this to him, to the search committee at Frederick Boulevard, and yes, even to me. I’m completely at peace about the situation, even though it is a bit awkward, and though it presents a uncertain future for Missouri Valley Baptist.
I really don’t get it, because it’s really not my normal response to such situations. I’m one that likes to be able to take action… who needs to see the big picture so I can do my part. In this, though, all I can do is trust God and follow Him in whatever He asks me to do… and He’s given me peace about it. I’m quite excited, actually… we’ll be forced to walk by faith even moreso than normal, and I know from past experience that God shows up most powerfully in such times. Of course things will be difficult, but God is faithful and will see us through.
The reason this affects my participation at Outpost should be clear to you… I need to be free to focus on whatever it is that God wants me to do at my church.
It’s a blessing in many ways. With Outpost frustrating me, God made my response clear… to focus my energies elsewhere. God wants me to step away for a while, regain my strength, and see what’s He’s got for me next.
I don’t know for certain what this means about my future blogging endeavors. Toward the Goal will remain, of course, but other activities? I don’t know. I still believe firmly in the originally stated mission of Outpost. With talk going around about some sort of new collaborative blogging effort intended to fulfill that mission, I can potentially see God leading me to help in the effort in some manner. But I also know that God will have much for me to do at Missouri Valley in the coming weeks, regardless of the outcome of Micah’s call to Frederick Boulevard.
Time will simply have to tell, as God reveals His plans.
I will simply close with a request… pray, and pray hard. First on my mind is Micah (and his family). He’s like a brother to me, and he needs all of our prayers this week as he prepares to go to Frederick Boulevard in view of God’s calling… this has been anything but easy for him! Secondly, Missouri Valley. Micah announced the call this morning, and there are many in our church who are still processing this… some no doubt hurting. Lastly… Outpost. There is tremendous potential for God to use the site for good in our convention. Pray that God will work through it as He sees fit.
Thanks, and God bless!
(I said I’d close, but in re-reading this, I noticed that I left out one thing… please don’t get from this that I’m upset with anyone in particular in the SBC blog world, either at Outpost or elsewhere. I consider each of the contributors at Outpost a friend, and appreciate all of them, even if I don’t always agree with them completely. The same can be said of those who write in opposition to some of the postings at Outpost. Though I don’t know many of you quite as well, I know you are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I appreciate what each of you are doing out of your love for our Savior. One day, we’ll all be gathered around God’s throne, and I would hope that we’ll all have a good laugh looking back on our silly disagreements here!)
August 17th, 2007 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
Jeffrey had his 5th birthday this week… a fine subject for Friday photos, if you ask me.
Here’s a couple from his party…
August 17th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Baptist Issues, My Life / Family, Site News...
I know many of you are visiting Toward the Goal today, looking for the post I promised in a comment on SBC Outpost in regard to my reasons for leaving.
I hate to do this to all of you, but I’ve got to ask you to be patient… it will be a couple days yet. I plan to release it, at earliest, Sunday afternoon, although I may wait until Monday morning. My reasons for the delay will be apparent in the post.
How’s that for a teaser?
Seriously, though, I do appreciate your patience!