Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Beauty of Simplicity

Wow. I don't even know where to begin. I am sitting on my couch looking at our bookshelf that is slowly being filled with more books. Books about theology, books about the NT and the OT, books about counseling, the kingdom of Christ, discipleship, the puritans, and so on. All exist for the purpose of aiding us to know Christ better. We've been checking out churches so we get a sermon every Sunday and a sermon at Chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And then I go to Panera Bread to use the internet while our power was out and next to me I hear a dad helping his 4 or 5 year old daughter memorize scripture. Behind me is a table full of guys memorizing greek or hebrew vocabulary. I go to Java Brewing Company, again because we had no power, and the first book I see sitting on the coffee bar is Kingdom of Christ, a book belonging to one of our seminary friends. I walk into the entrance to the weight room and I hear a dad say lovingly to his son, "Son, do you know why you received correction?" By the time we leave here I will probably have forgotten how to open doors for myself because the population of gentlemen, or nice people in general, is overflowing up here. We can't pick a church to go to because every one we've been to is proclaiming the truth of God's word and loving people (great problem to have by the way).

Let's just say, "I'm in a bubble." It is a great bubble. I'm thankful for such Godly examples all around me. I really am. And I am extremely grateful, once we decide on a church, for a Godly, bible-based church. But you know who I have come to respect more and more on a deeper level? My brother-in-law Sylas and his wife Shea. They labor faithfully where these things DON'T take place all around them. Sylas, week after week, Wednesday after Wednesday, walks right down into the basement of FBC Eldorado and faithfully proclaims God's word and exalts Christ among those students listening in. He doesn't stray from the text and he doesn't neglect the hard truths but proclaims them with love. Not only does he proclaim God's word there but he lives Christ among the people in Eldorado. It's not just his youth group that know him...the whole town knows Sylas because he's involved in their lives. Meanwhile, Shea is at home raising three of the most precious boys on the face of the planet (I'm a little bias), cooking meals, taking care of house and home and Sylas' needs so that together they can minister. I can't tell you how many girls have come in and out of that house receiving love and biblical counsel from Shea. They press on. They minister faithfully. They endure. We ate lunch with Brian Croft, pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church (where Ryan and Sarah attend) and when he began pastoring the church 5 years ago there were about 30 elderly people and dwindling. He said that on the first day he was going to preach he sat in the first pew before anybody arrived and he prayed. He knew that if this church was going to survive, it would only be by the grace of God and by the faithful preaching of God's word. So, Brian has faithfully preached and proclaimed God's word these last five years and by God's grace, 3 years ago, God kept the church that meets at Auburndale from dispersing. Now, Brian continues to preach God's word and strives to disciple and train up the men in his church to be pastors and teachers. Brian reminded me of Sylas as well. Two men, two very different locations, both standing on God's word and proclaiming the whole counsel of God. God blesses that.

I don't doubt that God has Jason and I in this 'bubble' for a time being for our good and our sanctification. I'm excited to see where God will take us after seminary and what God will lead us to do. But in the midst of this bubble, this ideal christian world, it would be easy to miss Christ. For the simplicity of the gospel to lose it's rightful place and be replaced with all kinds of spiritual disciplines and 'good things'. All these things I'm surrounded by are good things and they are because of Christ. I praise God that dads are helping their kids memorize scripture and that there are dads that are disciplining and correcting their children and that we do have books to read to help us learn. I am thankful for all these things. But it is Christ that meets my every need and sustains and satisfies me. Not what is going on around me. It is Christ and Christ alone. What a beautiful, simple truth.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To Live is Christ....To Die is GAIN!!!!!!

So, the ministry I used to be with is putting on this conference that is going to be AMAZING!! You should check it out at:

Piper is going to be there and David Sitton, founder of To Every Tribe Ministries, as well as Brett Harris. The title is "The Purpose Driven Death Mission Conference." Sounds risky but I know Jesus is worth the risk. Dr. Mohler has been teaching on a year of living dangerously...our lives should be lived worthy of the gospel no matter the risks, no matter the cost! Jesus is worth it! Well, check it out and go if you are able...I have no doubt that you will be blessed!!!

If anyone wants to buy my plane ticket to Austin I would be much obliged...I'm only half kidding...although I'm hoping I have a job by then...I've had one interview so far and am setting up another interview with another hospital...YAY!!! Love you guys!!!