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Google is AMAZING!!!

I’m preaching this Sunday on 1 Timothy 4:13, as I was collecting my commentaries today I came across a reference to a sermon that Spurgeon preached titled “How to Read the Bible” in which he references this passage of Scripture. Being a huge fan of Spurgeon, I immediately set about trying to find a copy of this sermon. I checked with Phil Johnson’s Spurgeon Archive, but came up empty. I than moved on to my Libronix Library. I have a ton of Spurgeon books in my Libronix library, as well as the most uber package that you can get but again I came up empty. I had pretty much resigned myself to going without the sermon when I remembered that Google is trying to digitize every book on the planet, so with renewed hope I searched GoogleBook and came up with this.
At this point I was officially amazed, but it got even better. I was reading through Mounce’s commentary on the Pastoral Epistles in the Word Biblical Commentary Series when I came across a provocative statement about the order of the nouns in 1 Timothy 4:13. I wanted further clarification, but all that was listed was the word “towner” and a page number. This obviously was referring to either a book or an article, but I had no idea which. So, without a whole lot of hope I searched Google with what little information I had and came up with this. After seeing the article, I realized that I did own this particular collection and within 60 seconds I had a printed copy in my hand and was busy with my highlighter.
Google is officially AMAZING!!!

April 08 2008 | Blog | Comments Off on Google is AMAZING!!!

"Family Based Youth Ministry" Review

I recently finished reading through Mark De Vries Family Based Youth Ministry.” While I read the version that was printed in the early 90’s, the ideas that De Vries puts forward are timeless and well thought out.

De Vries essential point is that Youth Ministries need to focus on ministering to parents, in order to most effectively minister to young people. On page 18 he writes: “One of the secrets to a lasting ministry with teenagers is to find ways to undergird nuclear families with the rich support of the extended Christian family of the church for these two formative families to work together in leading young people toward mature Christian adulthood.” It’s wonderful to find a book like this, which so perfectly summarizes what I’ve been thinking about youth ministry for 6 years now. De Vries is passionate about the church and he is passionate about the family. These passions come together in “Family-Based Youth Ministry” to form a vision for young people who are being lead to Christian maturity through the ministry of the church and the ministry of the family.

The book is well written and well organized for the average lay person or pastor to pick up and immediately begin to enjoy. One of my favorite parts of the book were the “Implications for Ministry” where De Vries lists several practical ideas for working out the implications of the chapter. I also appreciated his “Wild Hair” section where he gives one or two radical ideas to implement from the chapter. For example, after chapter 5 he writes: Make it a priority of the youth ministry that all of the parents receive a personal visit from some representative of the church each year to strategize togerher about the Christian nurture of their son or daughter.

“Family-Based Youth Ministry” isn’t without its faults. In reading through the book, it’s clear that De Vries approaches youth ministry from a psychological model and routinely refers to teenagers as adolescents who are not children and not adults, thereby contributing to the Myth of Adolescence. I was also disappointed in the lack of Scripture references throughout the book. This was so disappointing, b/c much of what De Vries is saying is biblical and could have easily been found in Scripture (Deuteronomy 6). The final disappointment was the lack of emphasis upon the preaching of the Word of God. Ultimately any program that we come up with, even a Family-Based program will be a complete failure if we lack the authority of the Word of God through the systematic explanation of Scripture. The danger is that we become self-help gurus who are offering our advice, rather that pastors declaring “Thus saith the Lord.”

Ultimately, there is a lot of good to be found in “Family-Based Youth Ministry.” The bad isn’t germane to his main point, it’s more of a missed opportunity. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone involved in or thinking about Student Ministries.

November 14 2007 | Blog | 4 Comments »

My Pastor Will Find Us

Collin just sent this to me and I laughed so hard I decided to post it here on the blog.

Two men crashed in their private plane on a South Pacific Island and both survived.
One of the men brushed himself off and then proceeded to run all over the island to see if they had any chance of survival. When he returned, he rushed up to the other man and screamed, “This island is uninhabited, there is no food, there is no water. We are going to die!”

I am a Baptist and I tithe. MY PASTOR WILL FIND US!”

The other man leaned back against the fuselage of the wrecked plane, folded his arms and responded, “No we’re not. I make over $250,000 a week.”

The first man grabbed his friend and shook him. “Listen, we are on an uninhabited island. There is no food, no water . We are going to die!”

The other man, unruffled, again responded. “No, I make over $250,000 a week.”

Mystified, the first man, taken aback with such an answer again repeated, “For the last time, I’m telling you we ARE doomed. There is NO one else on this island. There is NO food. There is NO water. We are, I repeat, we are going to die a slow death.”

Still unfazed, the first man looked the other in the eyes and said, “Do not make me say this again. I make over $250,000 per week.

October 02 2007 | Blog | 1 Comment »

Why Student Ministries (Part 4)

This will be the last post in the series “Why Student Ministries.” We’ve been looking at the question, “Why does student ministries exist?” You can find the rest of the posts here.

The fourth answer to the question “Why Student Ministries?” is: Student Ministries is the Church’s means of helping parents shepherd the hearts of their children. One of the foundational values that our Student Ministries department holds to is that we exist to help parents shepherd the hearts of their children. High School and Junior High students live under the direct authority and shepherding care of their parents. Due to this truth, one of the church’s primary means of ministry to parents is to help them shepherd the hearts of their children. This task is primarily accomplished through Student Ministries in many churches today. In order for Student Ministries to be effective, it must be intentionally focused on ministering to parents.

September 06 2007 | Why Student Ministries | Comments Off on Why Student Ministries (Part 4)

Why Student Ministries (Part 3)

The first two posts in the series “Why Student Ministries” can be found here and here. In this series we are looking at several of the reasons why Student Ministries exist and why it is vital for young people to be plugged into student Ministries.

The third answer to the question, “Why Student Ministries” is: Student Ministries is the Church’s means of connecting High School and Junior High students directly to a Pastor.

In 1 Peter 5:1-2 Peter writes, “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight…” In Paul’s list of gifts to the church in Ephesians 4:11 he includes the office of Pastors as a specific gift that God has given to the church for building itself up. The role of the Pastor is to shepherd the hearts of the flock and to equip them for the work of ministry. He does this through preaching, counseling, administrating, etc. but his ultimate goal is to shepherd the hearts of his flock to the glory of God.

Student Ministries exists as a conduit to connect High School and Junior High students directly to a shepherd who can oversee and care for their souls. In practical terms, it does almost no good to have a Student Ministries pastor if the young people in a church are not connected to him in some way. Student Ministries serves as the primary means of connecting students to their shepherd at their local church.

August 27 2007 | Why Student Ministries | Comments Off on Why Student Ministries (Part 3)

Why Student Ministries (Part 2)

This is part two in the series “Why Student Ministries.” In this series I’m looking at the reasons that student ministries exists. As I said in my last post on this topic, the principles that I am laying down are specific to the congregation where I serve but I hope that they are broad enough to be of use in other contexts.

The second reason for Student Ministries is because: Student Ministries is the Church’s means of providing an environment for students to practice the “One Anothers” outlined in Scripture.
As I continue to study and think about this concept, I become increasingly convinced of its veracity.
There is a tremendous temptation bound up in our salvation. Salvation is not a corporate happening, it occurs on the level of the individual. In other words, God saves individual people and incorporates them into his body (the Church). The temptation in this is that now that I have been saved individually by God, I now believe that I will somehow become sanctified individually as well. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Paul Tripp has rightly said that the Christian life is a community project. Believers need a community in order to refine one another (Matthew 18:15), in order to love one another (John 13:34) and in order to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10). These “One Another” commandments cannot be practiced outside of a community. The rugged individualism that so characteristically defines the American church is completely misplaced when it comes to sanctification, because sanctification is a community project. I desperately need a community to help me become sanctified. In the same way, teenagers desperately need a community in order to help them become sanctified. This then is the role of Student Ministries, to provide an environment where students can live in community and be sanctified. Ultimately this is the job of the entire church, across all generational lines. Student Ministries simply provides a specific environment for a specific age group to exist in community and to refine one another.
Student Ministries is the Church’s means of providing an environment for students to practice the “One Anothers” outlined in Scripture.

August 21 2007 | Why Student Ministries | Comments Off on Why Student Ministries (Part 2)

Why Student Ministries (Part 1)

One of the most important questions that any ministry can ask is “Why?” Why do we do what we do? I have been wrestling with this question for the past couple of months when it comes to the topic of Student Ministries. In light of church history, Student Ministries is an extremely recent development, so why is this ministry here? Is the church simply following along with a cultural trend? Or has the church adopted a para-church ministry mindset when it comes to young people? Is Student Ministries just another program that my child can be involved in, like Soccer or Boy Scouts? Over the next couple of weeks I’d like to address these questions with a response to the question, “Why?” These responses are specific to my local context at Emmanuel Baptist, but I believe that the principles are broad enough to have a wide reaching impact. One further clarification is that these reasons really only apply to churches that have Student Ministry departments in place. This is not a polemic in favor of the establishment of Student Ministries, rather it is a description of the reason Student Ministries exist as well as an encouragement to parents and students to get involved in this exciting ministry.

The first reason why Student Ministries exists is because: Student Ministries is the God-Ordained means of ministering to young people in the context of the local church. In other words, Student Ministries is the local church’s way of accomplishing member care for its Jr. High and High School students.

The local church has been charged with the task of “equipping the saints for the work of ministry.” (Ephesians 4:12). This task includes teaching a biblical theology and biblical worldview. It includes counseling the sheep through the various trials that arise in life. It includes reproving and rebuking the flock when they fall into sin and it includes encouraging and tending the flock. For many churches, Student Ministries exists as the church’s means of accomplishing this task for Jr. High and High School students. The natural corollary to this truth is that students who are not involved in Student Ministries are outside of this realm of care. They may receive this care from their parents, or they may receive this care from some other source but they do not receive it from the local church, the only body on earth which God has ordained and promised to build (Matthew 16:18).The point is that Student Ministries exists to provide member care for Junior High and High School students.

In a practical way, the local church relies on the Student Ministries department to provide member care for our Junior High and High School students. When a student is not involved in Student Ministries, the church is left blind as to that student’s spiritual condition.

August 05 2007 | Why Student Ministries | Comments Off on Why Student Ministries (Part 1)

Wild Waves

For the past few weeks I’ve been slowly working my way through the book of Jude. Today, I came to verse 13 which seems to round out an extended portion of pictures that describe the false teachers that Jude was contending with. In verse 13 he makes the statement that these men are like wild waves of the sea. As these waves crash about one another they create the foam of their own shame. Living near the Puget Sound I’m fairly familiar with sea foam. It is the natural result of the waves, being made of salt water, churning against one another. The foam is simply the result of what the waves are made out of. The same is true of false teachers, their shameful lives are simply the result of the sin inside of them churning around and creating the foam on the outside. Teaching that is opposed to the gospel will naturally lead to shameful living that is opposed to the gospel. This is where doctrine becomes so critically important in pastoral ministry. I find a tremendous temptation in youth ministry to simply teach something that will make everyone feel good. Tell a few funny stories, make sure that no one is offended and somehow the flock of students entrusted to my care will eventually become sanctified. The truth of the matter is that nothing could be further from the truth. If the flock is not firmly rooted in sound doctrine they won’t be able to produce good fruit. Not to mix my metaphors, but Bill Mounce is right when he says that roots produce fruit. Funny stores have their place and there’s certainly something to be said about not going out of your way to offend people, but without sound doctrine the flock is nothing more (pardon my mixed metaphor again) than a wave tossed upon the ocean and add a pinch of false teaching and that wave will begin to foam. That’s why doctrine is so important and why we must contend with false teachers.

July 22 2007 | Devotional | Comments Off on Wild Waves

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