Monday, October 30, 2006


What good is having someone who can walk on water if you don't follow in his footsteps? *Author Unknown

The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same. *Billy Graham

Lord - refers to God as master.

Savior - A name for Jesus that means he saves people from sin.

It seems to me that many of us can fully accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. We have come to understand and believe that we are sinful and in need of someone to rescue us from that sin. That person is Jesus.
On the other hand it seems that there should be a sharp contrast in what our lives look like when we accept Jesus as our Lord. When we accept his Lordship over lives. When we live life viewed through the lense of Jesus Christ. When he is our Master we are willing to surrender ourselves to him because of the trust that we have that his plan is better than our plan. "His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts."

When I think about the 2nd quote above I think this is exactly what the disciples did. They decided that they believed in Jesus Christ enough that it shaped how they lived, breathed, walked and talked. Jesus reigned supreme in their lives. Their lives were patterned after what they had heard and seen in Jesus in the years they spent with him before his death.

All of this, to me, gives perspective to the 1st quote above. The answer is that it does no good at all. We proclaim that Jesus is the Savior of our sins, but it doesn't stop there. People don't just need a Savior, they also need a Lord to reign over their lives. They need a King who is Master and Commander of all they are. I know this is the case for me. It seems to me that the power in Jesus walking on water is that we have access to the same power in our lives today.

If Jesus is Lord it changes everything. Many of us have received the blessing that comes from being saved. But to commit our lives to Jesus as Lord means that we, like disciples before us, pattern all that we do after "The Way, The Truth, and The Life." In a sense it seems that accepting Jesus as Lord is a proclamation that we have accepted him as Savior. In other words, when we live out our belief that he is Lord and this is reflected in us it is as though we are professing our belief that our sins are forgiven. Jesus is more than just Savior, and we need to live this belief by stepping out of the boat and following his footsteps onto the water.

May God grant us the ability to embrace surrender and fully accept his Lordship in our lives.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Christ Formed In Me

"You wouldn't have written this five years ago," was my wife's statement to me after she read my final draft of what would become my first Grad School paper.

The truth is now that I think about it, she is right. When I finished my undergraduate work five years ago I knew that the last thing I wanted at the time was to keep pursuing more education. I was ready to "get my feet wet" and experience ministry seriously and not just think about it like I had done for the 4 and 1/2 years at ACU. And "get my feet wet" I have done.

In the Spring it will be five years in full-time ministry and what a ride it has been. I was thinking about my time here in Huntsville the other day and how God has stripped and refined me in ways that I never thought possible. To put into words how much I have grown is a difficult task. I understand more fully why so many people jump into ministry and then quickly decide the water is not for them. I have thought this so many times I can't even count them and yet by God's grace I am able to continue on in the ministry that he has called me to here in Huntsville.

I wouldn't have written that paper five years ago because I had no clue what I was doing (and still don't some days.) Christ has been formed in my life in unexpected and exciting ways over the last several years. I talk differently, think differently, and Lord willing that translates into living differently. On most days I fall terribly short but am encouraged by the fact that God uses weak and broken people.

The thing about ministry is that you set out to touch other people's lives with the love of Christ and if you don't stop every once in a while and look around you don't realize that the life being touched the most is your own. I have been blessed with great friendships with adults and students and co-laborers who I know will be lifelong partners in ministry. I have two men who I consider my mentors and two of my biggest encouragers. I have seen students graduate and go to college and come home different people because of what they are experiencing away from home. I have seen my wife, L, move to new heights in her own personal ministry with people. I have the huge honor of being called DAD by two kids who, I am afraid, minister to me more days than I do for them.

And so what started out as a paper on ministry and scholarship turned into a paper about the journey that God has taken me on for the last five years. I long for good scholarship now more than ever before. I see the need to keep reading and learning and pursuing the most mysterious, powerful, awesome being in all of creation. And yet somehow ministry is what has led me to see this more clearly. This is such a revelation because five years ago I would have never been able to tell what the purpose of "continuing education" was.

But it seems to me that the more I pursue God the less I know and understand about him. Not that studying or reading makes you able to understand God more, but rather the more you pursue God the more you realize the distance that you still have to travel. "School" really becomes a place of growth, reflection, and learning. It is more about spiritual formation, God breaking into my life, than it is about a degree or having more books on my shelf.

As I wrote in my paper, "Beginning to understand the necessity of spiritual formation and its role with scholarship is beneficial for me because it has caused me to realize that I am in need of more than just learning but am also in great need of being formed into the image of Christ. I need to orient my entire life around the person of Jesus, and it seems that pursuing this task through scholarship makes sense. I realize that ultimately I am only going to be able to give people what is being poured into me through God’s Spirit. I know that in my life spiritual formation, apart from Graduate School, has not happened to the capacity that I desire either because of laziness or busyness, or both."

Some people think that continuing to learn is a waste of time. "Churches need people who are down to earth and relevant." I guess when a statement like this is made it is assumed that people who continue to learn can't be relevant. This, in my mind is why ministry is so important alongside scholarly learning.

"Scholarship needs ministry and ministry needs scholarship. It is not that ministry is less significant without scholarship or vice versa. It is that ministry is in need of people who will be dedicated to the task of serious theological work. However, serious theologians need people who are living out “real life” ministry experiences everyday in order for there to be appropriate balance. Ministry and scholarship must be constantly intersecting and launching me into a pursuit of God and a pursuit of his mission in the world. "

And so as I pursue God I will, by his grace, learn a few things along the way. I look ahead with anticipation to drinking deeply from God's well and to the ways that spiritual formation will happen in my own life. I am committed to pursuing God, no matter how difficult the task until, as Paul says to the Galatian church, "Christ is formed in me."


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And So It Begins......

Well.... After attempting to put this off for almost a year now I am finally diving into the world of blogging. I am doing this not because I assume that people want to know what I think but mainly as a place for me to put my thoughts. A place to discuss things that are on my mind with people who may be thinking similar things.

I have also grown increasingly convinced of the value and necessity for me to express things that may be rolling around in my head that never get the chance to come out. I know everyone processes in different ways and I think that the truth is none of us probably process enough.

Think about this: how often do we actually sit and think about the day's events at the end of the day. For me the answer is rarely. I stay busy with my "To Do" list and going from this conversation to the next that often do not slow down enough to think about how things that happen throughout the day affect me.

I need a place where my thoughts and my heart can intersect even if it is just for a few minutes. I place where my thoughts on God, faith, Jesus, My Family, ministry, hobbies, etc, can be expressed. I am hoping that this can be that place. I look forward to the journey that this online journal will take me on and welcome anyone who may want to walk with me as I enter this new pursuit. Ultimately, I want this to be a tool that helps me pursue the life that Jesus calls alll believers to. This life is found in him and him alone and is a life that he promises if we seek we will find. This is a small part of my attempt at learning what it means to "have life, and have it to the full." Welcome to my journey.