Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Resolutions and thoughts on the future

My 3 Resolutions for 2009 were:

1. Read one book per week - successful
2. Read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice - successful. If you'd like to do this this year, here's a nice reading chart
http://static.crossway.org/excerpts/1581348150.1.pdf
3. Write one hand-written letter per week - failed (got to about 33, had a baby, and never got back to it)

My considerations for 2010 are:

1. Run (and/or use the elliptical) for 1,000 miles.
2. Read all of the Johannine Literature (John, 1-3 John, Revelation) in Greek
3. Complete a Marathon
4. Read 5 novels by Dostoyevsky
5. Bench press 225 lbs.

(I'm leaning toward #s 1, 2, 4)

Any thoughts, votes, other important goals?


Also, I have completed my 5th of 6 semesters at Denver Seminary. I have officially started the job hunt. So your prayers and recommendations would be most appreciated. We hope to be hired by a church before my May 2010 graduation.

Reflections on 2 Chronicles 31:1

"Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim adn broke down the high places and altars...until they had destroyed them all..." 2 Chronicles 31:1

The "this" is the celebration of Passover (cf. 2 Chron. 30). They celebrated God's deliverance of them at the hands of their enemies. They remembered the slavery that sin had had over them. They worshiped their Deliverer, YHWH, God of Israel. In response to this holy worship and remembrance, they looked around and saw multiple idols that they had foolishly trusted in. They destroyed all remnants of their false worship and returned to the LORD.

Let us return to our Lord in such a fashion. Might we measure the "success" of our worship services not on whether they were fun or if we liked them but whether they led us to abandon idols and serve the Living God???

Monday, December 14, 2009

So, I'm itching to know . . . Djibouti reader, please make yourself known

I have a regular reader from Djibouti, Africa (or at least someone who's internet IP goes through Djibouti). I don't know who this person is, but I'd love to know. Thanks!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"The Root of Joy" - Nehemiah 8:1-12

For the third Sunday of Advent, I preached a sermon on "The Root of Joy" from Nehemiah 8:1-12 at Hillcrest Reformed Church in Denver, Colorado. I personally was blown away by all the implications as they relate to Nehemiah 8:10's "the joy of the Lord [which He has toward us], this is our refuge/strength/stronghold/fortress."

Feel free to download the sermon audio: MP3 of "The Root of Joy"

Or for the pastors in the room, my chicken-scratchings manuscript is available here: Sermon Manuscript on Neh. 8:1-12

Friday, December 11, 2009

Roll-over!!

Big day for Caleb - he rolled over!! Twice over his left side and once over his right. He's getting to be a big boy!! video

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hi to the Johnsons and a little family silliness

After dinner, we got a bit silly. We also took this time to say happy birthday to Aunt Heather and to express our desire to see the whole Johnson clan (Uncle Jase, Aunt Heather, and cousin Sayers) soon! video

Aunt Heather reaches 30!!!


Today we celebrate 30 years of life for Aunt Heather (Matt's older sister). Heather received an early birthday present on Thanksgiving day, her first child Sayers MaryAnn Johnson. The pic is a bit old (her and husband Jase from Christmas last year).

Here are the 30 reasons we dropped in the mail to Heather on why we love her:

1. She is one of the most loyal people we know.

2. She consistently makes an effort to stay connected to us.

3. She is down-to-earth and practical.

4. She has a great, dry sense of humor.

5. She gives thoughtful gifts—especially the farm and animals, which are a definite favorite!

6. She is not afraid to say what she thinks.

7. She sure can keep a clean house. ;)

8. She appreciates beauty and art, and brings beauty wherever she goes.

9. She is a selfless mommy.

10. She tells great stories about growing up in the Proctor family. :)

11. She loves and respects her husband in a way that is inspiring to others.

12. She is a hard worker.

13. She is committed to the Proctor family as well as to her in-laws.

14. She makes some mean chocolate chip cookies!

15. She was kind to her little brother: driving him to school, not letting on that she could have still beat him up during high school, and just generally being seen in public with him.

16. She is a gracious hostess.

17. She is financially wise.

18. She has a generous heart.

19. She brings laughter to others through her keen sense of mis-direction. :)

20. She is a woman of honesty and integrity.

21. She is humble enough to admit vulnerabilities.

22. She is a great cook.

23. She loves her nephews!

24. She is a realist.

25. She is darn pretty.

26. She values good books and good movies, and likes to learn.

27. She helps carry on the fond memories of Grandma MaryAnn.

28. She is the kind of person that wants the best for other people.

29. She is a great listener.

30. She is a fabulous sister, sister-in-law, and aunt.



Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Heavy Subject - Abortion in the News

Two articles from today are worth your time:

The first, "Just How Pro-Choice is America?" by Jennifer Senior in the New York magazine gives a thorough history of abortion in America since 1973. Though Senior advocates for abortion, her writing effectively demonstrates just how unsettled America really is about abortion.

The second is a review of this article by Southern Seminary president Albert Mohler: http://ow.ly/K02g

His closing words are worth being recalled:

By any measure, Jennifer Senior has written one of the most honest, revealing, insightful, and important articles on abortion to appear in recent history. At the same time, it is one of the most troubling. Once again, we are reminded that the American conscience is not settled on the issue of abortion. We should be thankful that recent events and cultural developments -- aided and abetted by technology -- have made a real difference, helping and forcing Americans to understand that abortion is the killing of a human life.

In a very real sense, we should be thankful that the American conscience remains unsettled on this issue. A good and honest conversation about the reality of abortion is one of the best means of serving the cause of life. Jennifer Senior's honest article can serve as an incredibly potent catalyst for such a conversation.

Caleb's 4-month check-up and then some





Today at Caleb's 4-month check-up, he weighed 16lbs. 4.5 oz. (76th %ile) and is 25 1/4 inches long (55th %ile). Chubby boy!! :) Unfortunately, he could still feel the shots through all those fat rolls on his thighs, but he only cried for a few seconds. Here are some pictures from this last weekend. We made Christmas cookies together on our Sabbath - very fun! Samuel was in charge of running the cookie cutters, remaking the dough into a ball after every round of cutting out cookies, and his personal favorite - sprinkles! Caleb was supervising.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Hope amidst great trials: a word from Matt Chandler

Matt Chandler is a young and gifted pastor who has gained a reputation as one of the leaders of my generation. But over the last 7 days, his life has been turned upside down. To make a long story short, he went under the knife today to remove a tumor from his brain. I encourage you to read the blog post he made this morning before heading to the hospital: http://hv.thevillagechurch.net/blog/hvpastor/?p=357

Here are some of his thoughts on today's surgery and the trial of the last 7 days:

Here are some of the things I am thankful for in no particular order:I am thankful for the thousands of you who have prayed and fasted for my health. It has brought far more tears to Lauren’s and my eyes to receive this kind of attention from the Church universal than this tumor has.

I am grateful for the men of God in my life, namely John Piper who taught me to hold my life cheap and to join with Paul in saying “I don’t count my life of any value or as precious to myself if only I might finish my course and complete the work that He gave me to do to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. I’m nothing, I just have a job. God keep me faithful on the job and then let me drop and go to the reward.” Without this strong view of God’s sovereign will, I’m not sure how you don’t despair in circumstances like mine.

I am thankful for my wife Lauren. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’” “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

I am thankful for my children. Audrey the Beautiful, Reid the Valiant and Norah the Joyous. Being a daddy to these three is one of the greatest joys of my life.

The privilege of seeing and appreciating all of life through the grid of a heightened sense of my own mortality.

More than anything else I am grateful to my King Eternal, my Lord Immortal, for my God invisible. He alone is God. All Glory and Honor, Forever to You O God. I am overwhelmed in these moments by God Himself and the assurance of a future inheritance of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken and where all things are made new (Hebrews 12).

Christ is All,
Matt Chandler

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fascinating Insight for Growing and Stagnating Churches . . .

1) For thriving/growing Churches: A church that is growing, adding new members, and seeing lives touched by the Gospel does not need a lot of change. Sadly, people get addicted to the seeming change (which is really just the dynamics of adding new people). So they hire an innovator pastor. But when the innovator pastor tries to turn the ship too hard and too fast, he effectively kills all the established momentum.

Solution: If you church is doing well, find an established, wise, and faithful pastor. Someone who is willing to embrace the existing vision and ministry philosophy.

2) For plateauing/shrinking Churches: A church that has experienced minimal growth if not totally stagnation and decline needs a new vision; thus, a new visionary. Someone needs to rattle the system and cause the ship to get moving again.

Solution: If a church is doing poorly, it's probably time to change everything (well, probably not everything but it may feel that way). Bring in an innovative person who has not been molded by established practices, but someone who will bring a fresh view of ministry to the congregation.


From an August 2009 interview with Pastor Mark Dever interviewing Australian Dean (fancy word for senior pastor of a large Anglican church) Philip Jensen. You can click the link below for to listen to the entire excellent interview.

http://media.9marks.org/podpress_trac/web/509/0/interview20091201-Jensen.mp3