Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is your Chriastinity Radical or more like a Recliner?

Jon Shields recently contributed a powerful article on former NBA player, Manute Bol's, Christian faith. In it (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704853404575323043046894012.html?KEYWORDS=manute+bol) Shields writes, "...Bol reminds us, the Christian understanding of redemption has always involved lowering and humbling oneself. It leads to suffering and even death.
It is of little surprise, then, that the sort of radical Christianity exemplified by Bol is rarely understood by sports journalists. For all its interest in the intimate details of players' lives, the media has long been tone deaf to the way devout Christianity profoundly shapes some of them.
Obituary titles for Bol, for example, described him as a humanitarian rather than a Christian. The remarkable charity and personal character of other NBA players, including David Robinson, A. C. Green and Dwight Howard, are almost never explicitly connected to their own intense Christian faith. They are simply good guys.
Christian basketball players hope that their "little lights" shine in a league marked by rapacious consumption and marital infidelity. They could shine even brighter if sports journalists acknowledged that such players seek atonement and redemption in a far more profound way than mere athletic success."

 Be encouraged by Bol's example; more importantly come to put your trust in Bol's Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reflections on Pastoral Ministry (one week in)

1. I am not very good at being "slow to speak, quick to listen" (James 1:19). If I am going to love people well, the Spirit must sanctify my mouth.

2. A church needs a loving shepherd, not a decision-making leader. (And yet, a loving shepherd will lead and make decisions.)

3. If I fail to make the Word of God, properly interpreted and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the centerpiece of all ministry (visitation, preaching, counseling, vision-setting, etc.), then there is no way the ministry will be of the Lord.

4. A pastor is only one of the many gifted and called leaders within a church. A pastor without an elder board serving beside is a vigilante without accountability, guidance, or support. Praise be to God, I have godly men who want to do ministry together, not just delegate work to the pastor.

5. A pastor who does not pray to the Triune God is like a football team who ignores the coach (of Vince Lombardi-like abilities). Victory is unlikely, and foolishness will abound. Sad to say, I ran a few plays this week without my coach's wisdom.

6. A pastor who neglects his family disqualifies himself for leadership (1 Tim. 3:4). In fact, a pastor who strives to honor his family IS doing pastoral ministry. I will need to be a better father and husband in the weeks to come.

7. The Spirit must guide and move. The pastor is not the leader. God is. O Spirit, please teach us where you're working that we might join in your work.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Series in Matthew

For the two of you who wanted to keep apprised of my upcoming messages and how to download them, I thought I'd let you know that on July 11th I will be preaching for the first time as the officially called pastor of Cornerstone Church. I will begin preaching through the book of Matthew. All sermons can be downloaded at http://cornerstone-marion.org/cgi-bin/dir2.pl

Here are a few of the books I will be using to prepare messages:

D.A. Carson's Matthew Commentary in the Expositor's Bible Commentary - a classic work by a classy professor from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Hagner, D. A. Matthew (WBC), Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. - From the Word Biblical Commentary Series, an evangelical, word by word exegesis commentary series.      

Schreiner, T. R. New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ  - A Biblical Theology of the entire New Testament - to make sure as I preach Matthew, I keep the message within the greater message of the New Testament.

Wilkins, M. J. Matthew - From the NIV Application Commentary Series - for a balance of exegesis and application.

France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew (New International Commentary on the New Testament). G.R.: Eerdmans, 2007 - One of the newest and and most updated commentaries on Matthew (dealing with some recent scholarship issues) from a godly, British scholar.

Michael Green's The Message of Matthew - Another classic work.

A.C. Gaebelein's The Gospel of Matthew - an old-school Dispensationalist at work, with some superb observations.

Not to mention, John Stott's Sermon on the Mount and Martyn Lloyd Jones' Sermon on the Mount

Dallas Willard's A Divine Conspiracy - a book about making the Sermon on the Mount, practical for everyday Christian living.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Today, I start as the senior pastor at Cornerstone Church.

Just a few days ago, one of the family members of Cornerstone sent out this great youtube video by Pastor Mark Driscoll (thanks Lisa!). This is a fresh and apropo reminder as I begin day 1 of a ministry I pray lasts for a long time. May I be a good family member of Cornerstone Church.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The journey begins...

Dear friends,

Tonight Matt accepted the call to be the senior pastor at Cornerstone Church in Marion, Iowa (http://cornerstone-marion.org/)!  We are so grateful for your prayers, your wisdom, and your incredible support through this sometimes grueling and yet sometimes delightful process.  Our hearts are already inclined toward the people of this church and we are excited (though a little scared) about what the future holds.  Matt starts early next week after we take some time to travel to Indianola and Boone to see family and friends.  The first two weeks of work will involve lots of prayer and visitation but no preaching responsibilities.  He takes the pulpit July 11th.  We are now launching into house-hunting and getting settled into our new lives.  We would appreciate continued prayer for all of that!  We realize that the job search was really the easy part - now begins the heavy lifting.  (But praise God, Jesus tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light.) 

-Matt and Carrie

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Samuel is loving his stay at Grandpa Steve and Grandma Mary's house. Today he got to tackle his first flight expedition with a bit of string and a kite. Here are a few small photos my phone captured: