Calling Again

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In 1784 John Sutcliff, along with the Baptist churches assembled at Nottingham, called on churches to pray regularly for the reviving of religion in their day. They asked ministers and their congregations to spend one hour in prayer, on the first Monday of every month, to pray “that the Holy Spirit may be poured down on our ministers and churches, that sinners may be converted, the saints edified, the interest of religion revived, and the name of God glorified.” The call went out, no matter of denomination, and many answered the call. God answered their prayers and much was accomplished for the glory of God.

Next year will be the 230th anniversary of that call and I believe that our nation is in need of such a prayer call today. Therefore, I am seeking men and women to commit to praying “that the Holy Spirit may be poured down on our ministers and churches, that sinners may be converted, the saints edified, the interest of religion revived, and the name of God glorified.” What hour you decide to pray is up to you. If you would like to rise early or stay up late both are fine. If you would like to gather your family, invite a friend, meet together with fellow ministers in your town, or just pray by yourself all would be great.

John Sutcliff concluded the call by stating, “Who can tell what the consequences of such an united effort in prayer may be! Let us plead with God the many gracious promises of His Word, which relate to the future success of His gospel. He has said, "I will yet for this be enquired of by the House of Israel to do it for them, I will increase them with men like a flock." Ezek. 36:37. Surely we have love enough for Zion to set apart one hour at a time, twelve times in a year, to seek her welfare.” May we too have such a love for Zion.

If you are willing to commit to praying for 1 hour on the first Monday of every month in 2014 please fill out the form below. Only fill out the email address if you would like a reminder. 





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From Last to First: Advice from an Outgoing Seminary Student to Incoming Ones

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This coming week students will be moving to Louisville to start their first semester of their seminary career. I, however, will begin my final semester. In my three years here I have made some observations about seminary students and wanted to write down some advice to new students. This is not all of the advice I would give, just what came to me this morning.

Be Humble:
First, realize that you are here because other men and women have paid for you to be here. Southern in large part is funded not by your tuition, but by a huge number of people who will never walk on the campus, but who have for years and years given faithfully to the Cooperative Program. Older men and women who give, many out of the little that they have, so that you can learn Hebrew paradigms and eschatology. Honor their sacrificial giving by doing your best.

Second, understand that there are millions of Christians, many of whom are being persecuted, in other parts of the world who would gladly give much to be able to take these classes and sit under your professors. God in his great providence has allowed you to be here, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Acceptance into Heaven doesn’t require your Southern Transcript: 
Not that grades are not important, but they’re not. By all means do your best. Work hard, study hard, but realize that it is ok to get a B as long as you have done your best. One of the most freeing things I have heard a professor say was, “For some of you it will be a sin to get a B, because you slacked off and didn’t read the assigned reading and you didn’t work in this class how you should. BUT for some of you it will be a sin to get an A, because in your pursuit of that A you ignored your wife, and you didn’t lead your family, and your dishonored God in your pursuit.” Do well, strive for good grades, but make sure your priorities are right.

Be Gracious: 
We have really great professors at Southern. They are indeed wise and godly men who we can learn much from. But understand that they are men who still struggle. Many are pastors who might be coming into your class immediately following a meeting with a man who just revealed that he is leaving his wife for another woman, or maybe your professor’s family is going through difficult times and their home isn’t so harmonious, or maybe they sinned against someone and it is hanging on them. So, when a professor gives a dry and boring lecture that didn’t blow the doors off and make fireworks explode in your heart, show him grace.

There will be times when you will encounter another student who asks statements. Every time they raise their hand many will grunt and moan because you know what is coming. Just remember that you too are a sinner and you too do things that people grunt and moan about. Instead of writing a nasty Facebook post or tweet about “that guy” or leaving him a copy of the “When to Ask a Question” flowchart show that student grace.

Let your Yes be Yes:
The Student Covenant and Handbook are clear that, whether we are in class or on break, we are not to drink alcohol. You will not be the first person to complain about the alcohol policy at Southern, nor will you be the last. But to be a student you signed that you will abide by the covenant, so do so. If you do not like the student covenant and drinking or “christian freedom” are that important to you there are several other seminaries in the country that do not require abstinence from alcohol.

Love Your Church, and other Churches:
Join a local body and serve them. In the Louisville area there are a plethora of good churches; find one, join them, love them, and serve them. But don’t seek the high jobs. You should volunteer for nursery or to help mop floors or clean the bathrooms or visit the elderly. Ask someone what are the jobs they have a difficult time finding people willing to take, and then take those jobs. Don’t think that because you're a seminary student you automatically deserve a teaching position.

Too often I hear people extol the greatness of their church in such a way as if it is more superior than the others in the city. In some ways we sound like we’re saying, “I am of Highview," and another, "I am of Kenwood," and another, "I am of Sojourn." Are they not just churches? Each have their purpose, each are trying to serve God in their area, and none are better than the others. Instead of condemn the others because they are not your church, pray for them. Pray for your church, but also pray for the other churches in town. Think of how amazing it would be if revival broke out in the each of the Louisville churches!

Study Devotionally:
By this I don't mean that you should have a devotional time, while you should, but I mean that you should approach your study for classes, tests, and papers as a means God will use to shape you into the image of Christ. There will be the struggle just to get things done and a sense of dread as the deadline approaches, but in your study when you find something that encourages, convicts, or corrects you pause and meditate on it. Allow it to soak in. Seminary should be less like a data download and more like a potter's wheel.

Seminary is great. I hope that you don't make the mistakes I did.

O Lord, forgive, we pray thee, what we have been; 
sanctify what we are; and order what we shall be.  
What we know not, teach us; 
what we have not, give us; 
what we are not, make us; 
for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Amen

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Poem for Lauren on Our Wedding Day

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lauren

Beautiful in appearance,
Yes! Beautiful in form
But her beauty is much deeper,
Than the externals that adorn.

More beautiful than Byron’s night,
And Shakespeare’s sonnets incomplete,
For her beauty comes from God,
Where mercy, love, and grace all meet.

She’s beautiful in forgiving,
All the sins I bring,
And beautiful in talking,
For with wisdom it does ring.

So beautiful in caring,
For the condition of my soul,
So beautiful in reminding me,
That God, not her, will make me whole.

And beautiful in her walking,
tho the suffering way is trod,
Yes! Beautiful in her pursuing,
A holy life to God.

This beauty is more beautiful,
Than the color of her skin,
For skin will age and wrinkle,
But this beauty within
Will grow, increase, flourish, and flower,
For her beauty is from Him.

So this, my Love, I pledge to you,
and let all who read bear witness,
That I will love without reserve,
by the grace which God will give us. 

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Mother's Day

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day is not intolerable,
now that my mom has passed.

Because she's crossed the Jordan River,
and our God now holds her fast.

Her pilgrim's days are ended,
she's now living in his rest.

She sees him without hindrance,
a sight most truly blessed,

and I cannot wait to see her,
on Canaan's happy shore,

and we will there together,
worship our great God forevermore,

the gifts that I'd today give her,
would surely not compare,

with all she now enjoys,
in our Father's care.




Love you Mom, 
miss you much.
Your son.

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One is the Longest Number

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A year ago at this time I was getting ready to attend my grandfather’s funeral, but by the end of the day I will have buried my grandfather and lost my mom to a brain aneurysm. The year that has followed has seen its ups and downs. It has had valleys of depression and mountain tops of great joy. Season of grief have broken into seasons of laughter and rejoicing.    
In the first blog I wrote about my mom’s death I wrote that “Nothing unsettles the human heart like tragedy.” I still believe that statement to be true. This grief has shaped and matured me in ways that I could never imagine. But of all I have learned in this year I must say that that statement is not complete. Looking back on this past year I would change that statement to “Nothing unsettles the human heart like tragedy, but nothing confounds the soul like the peace and mercy and comfort of God.” 
There have been days when I felt all alone, but then I remembered, that “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:26–27) There have been days when I thought that I  could not stand this trial, but then I remembered, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3–5) There have been days when I did not think my prayers would make it to God, but then I remembered, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”(Romans 8:26–27) There have been days when I thought that my tears would never dry from this loss, but then I remembered, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
O that my soul would remember the Word of God so much more!!! 
His word is true, His word is faithful, He will accomplish it.

A year ago my mom died and now she is eternally alive, YES!!, more alive than I am! She is uncorrupted by death! Unhindered by sin! Seeing not through a glass dimly, but seeing him face to face! When I meet with the the saints on earth to sing the praises of our God I join with her, who is among the heavenly host, as we extol the Great God of the Universe! To paraphrase King David, She will not come to me, but I WILL go to her!”

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


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All To Him

Sunday, January 13, 2013

When my time on earth is done, 
And this race its end is run. 
Then this song anew I’ll sing, 
God’s grace is all! It will ring. 

All to Him and none to me, 
By His grace this grace I see, 
All to Him and nothing mine, 
By His acts I act in kind. 

As the moon it's not my light, 
From the sun it's borrowed bright, 
I have no glory in myself, 
Mine is an inherited eternal wealth. 

All to Him and none to me, 
By His being I shall be, 
All to Him and nothing mine, 
By His pleasure my pleasures I find.

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Hope-Filled First

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The first year, when you lose someone you love deeply, is filled with painful first; first birthday, first Mother’s/Father’s day, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas. They are the first without them. At each event you feel the pain anew and in a different, unexpected way. I am now approaching the first Christmas without my mom. And with every commercial of a happy family around a tree opening presents and smiling at one another I feel the pain. Although Christmas is going to be hard it is the most hope filled time for the one who grieves.  

Christmas is about the incarnation of Christ. It is about how the Word took on flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). It is about the one who was rich became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). It is about the righteous one who knew no sin came to be sin on our behalf that we might become righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). It is about the one who appeared to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). It is about our great high priest who has passed through the heavens that he might come in the flesh so that he can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-15). It is this last statement that provides such great comfort for those who will have a mournful, hope-filled Christmas. 

The second verse of O Holy Night, which rarely gets sung, points us to this very fact for it states,
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,

Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! 
What great hope and joy it is for the mourner at Christmas that the great King of Heaven took on flesh that he might feel our woes and sympathize with our weakness. When our eyes fill with tears this Christmas for the loss we fill, we shall remember that our Savior wept tears over loss and knows intimately the pain we feel. He can sympathize, but more than that our great High Priest has made it possible for us to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

More than this when it comes to the loss of a loved one who died in Christ may we remember that it was the infant in the manger who would climb the hill of Golgotha to make atonement for our sins and who would walk out of the tomb to prove that death has no hold on him or on those who are his. Death is a defeated foe! So while we shed tears of grief, it is a grief mingled with hope of the resurrection. Paul states, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5). There is a certainty of resurrection for those who have gone before us!

May we who have known loss this year come and worship him who has taken on our flesh and may we weep with him for he knows our griefs and is acquainted with our sorrows. May we remember that this Christmas we look on him with eyes of faith, but our loved ones look on him face to face. We will worship the Christ who came and is coming and they will worship him in his presence. We will look forward to the day that he himself will wipe away all our tears, they have had their tears wiped away. And with every song we sing we will join with the heavenly host, in whom are loved are now part, and worship the Savior. 

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About This Blog

This Road is a blog about the journey of salvation in one man's life. As salvation is not just a one time event but it is an ever increasing and always growing process until Christ return and he make us like himself. As I, by the Spirit, move from one degree of glory to another it causes reflection and musing that I tend to write about here. Also in hopes to pass on helpful and encouraging things that I have learned from others.

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