Glorifying God in the midst of trials!

These two professors are examples of godly men who are dealing with very difficult life circumstances in ways that are bringing honor to God.  On a personal I am very glad for the ministry both of these men have had in my life.  Dr. McGinniss was Old Testament and Hebrew professor.  Dr Decker was my Greek professor.
Dr. McGinniss
article:  www.dts.edu/read/trigeminal-neuralgia-how-god-helped-me/ (Click HERE or copy and paste link)
blog:      outsidemydoor.wordpress.com/  (Click HERE or copy and paste link)
Dr. Decker
blog:  ntresources.com/blog/ (Click HERE or copy and paste link)


Intentionally leading my children as a father, not as a pastor...

From the book Shift:  What it Takes To Finally Reach Families Today
This part is to pastors and ministry leaders as it relates to children and family ministries:

"I know.  I know.  All the meetings and people at church consume your time and energy, leaving none for the spiritual formation of your children.  Maybe you believe that working hard to make church a life-changing experience is the same thing as helping your children develop spiritually.  If you can just lead your church to have the best children's ministry and the best youth ministry, your own children will get everything they need spiritually.  You know that isn't true according to Scripture, but often this is the way we practice life.  If this is the case, recognize your personal need to adjust your life to God's plan.  Make it your priority to become the primary faith influencer of the children living in your home."

After read this quote I wrote "I need to be sure to disciple my own children."

In talking about and promoting parents being the primary disciple makers in their children's lives, I need to remember that I need to be listening to and living out that truth in my life.

I want to influence my children.
I don't want that influence to only be when I am at the church building in the role of pastor.
I want to influence them throughout each and every day and night as their dad!

The title of this post is "Intentionally leading my children as a father, not as a pastor..."
I have the unique opportunity to be the family ministry pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church.  So I am one of the pastors of my children but I want my influence to be so much more than that.


What I learned this Sunday during the sermon from my kids...

Pastor Duke preached a very challenging sermon Responding Right When Wronged this past Sunday (08.04).  I am so thankful to be part of a church that preaches the Gospel and challenges each and every person to grow.
In this post, however, I want to share what I learned from my kids this morning during the sermon.
First of all, let me provide some context.  Three times a quarter, EBC doesn't have class for the 1st through 5th graders.  The children sit with their parents during the entire service.  We provide sermon note sheets for the kids (Click HERE  for this sheet).  This is part of our goal to equip parents to be the primary disciple-makers in their children's lives.
So here are the three great lessons I learned (were reminded of) during the sermon this Sunday.
  1. My children are not perfect AND ... God uses me and others to help them grow into Christ-likeness.  As my middle child was squirming in his seat and playing with his sandals I was thinking he is not hearing.  And then Pastor Duke mentioned the New King James Version and my son stopped what he was doing and said "That is what my Bible is."  He then looked very intently at the verse Pastor Duke was talking about.  At another point, my son rested his head on my shoulder and pointed to a phrase I had written in my notes.  That phrase was "God gives us the gift of suffering."  Oh, how I want to learn that lesson.  Oh, how I want my children to learn that lesson.  My children need to be challenged to grow by me and others and usually, that is not an easy process.  DISCIPLESHIP IS NOT EASY.
  2. I still have so much growth and learning to do as a parent BUT... I know I have to lead my family and help other families.  I am the head of my family.  I am the leader of my family.  Am I leading my family to grow in godliness?  My responsibility to help other families disciple their children is not merely because I am a pastor at EBC.  I need to help other families grow BECAUSE I AM PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.  There are so many challenges in ministry but I need to keep pressing on and depending on the LORD.  Also, I need to remember that I need to learn from others and seek their help.  My shortcomings should not keep me from helping others grow and my pride should not keep me from seeking the help of others.  It is not about me being perfect.  It is about what God is doing in and through his people.  A DISCIPLE MAKES DISCIPLES.
  3. God is AMAZING AND... I need to depend upon him.  In so many different ways there were challenges and difficulties this past Sunday.  After the service, my kids were not little angels obeying every word their father said.  I was not perfect.  But do you know what God is good?  God is holy.  I want people to know Him.  A DISCIPLE POINTS OTHERS TO CHRIST.
My children are not perfect and they need to be challenged to grow and usually, that is not an easy process.  Discipleship is not easy.
I still have so much growth and learning to do as a parent BUT my shortcomings should not keep me from helping others grow and my pride should not keep me from seeking the help of others.  A disciple makes disciples.
God is amazing and I want people to know Him.  A disciple points others to Christ.
Parenting is a challenge
Spiritual parenting (disciple-making) is a challenge
BUT it is necessary because we all need more Jesus.


What a privilege...

It has been well over and year since I posted on here but I was thinking tonight that I have been blessed by God to serve at a great church, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, OH.

As I was preparing an email to go out to our Soul Care leaders, I was reminded of the great blessing I have to
  1. serve in a local church as a pastor.  I am in a position to disciple, help others grow in their knowledge of God and His Word, while helping others make disciples also.  I often forget what an amazing privilege and responsibility that is.  
  2. serve at a specific local church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, that has been such a blessing to me and my family.  Krista grew up at Emmanuel and I am thankful for the impact they have had on her.  Before Krista and I were even married, I was thankful for the ministry of Emmanuel.  Since being married, I have been so thankful for EBC's prayer and financial support while in the Dominican Republic and at Baptist Bible Seminary.  I loved being part of the ministry of the school for four years.
  3. serve as the pastor of family ministry and soul care since July.  While there are challenges to this ministry, I am so very thankful for the opportunity to try to live Ephesians 4:11, 12 by helping families and members grow as disciples and make disciples.  I know there are still things to think through and develop but I know that I and others need to be challenged to make disciples.  There have been many people who have been a great blessing and encouragement to me and my family.
I am looking forward to what God is going to do 
  at Emmanuel
    in my family 
      in me.
in the good times and challenging times.

What a privilege to serve my risen Savior.