Do More Better in 2016

DoMoreBetter3DCoverThis was originally at blog.emmanuelbaptist.com

I recently finished a called Do More Better by Tim Challies.

This book is filled with some real practical tips including two sections in the appendix entitled "Tame Your Email 6 Tips for Doing More Better with Email" and "20 Tips to Increase Your Productivity."  

There are also some free resources at http://www.challies.com/do-more-better Below are six great Productivity Catechism questions in the book.


Hope: A Long time ago, next year and beyond!

Three specific events have motivated my writing this blog post.
The release of the newest Star Wars movie.
The upcoming presidential election.
The 2015 Christmas series of messages and kid's lessons at EBC.

The Bible is the story TRUE, REAL HOPE found in Jesus Christ.

In Hollywood, hope is the theme of so many movies and TV shows.  The Star Wars phenomenon started with the promise of a New Hope.  Hope found in a young farm boy who would save his father and the universe. Great story but not lasting hope. 

Hope doesn't come in a movie theater.    
This dream of Hope is not merely a feel good Hollywood movie theme. It is something that motivates a nation

In 2008, then presidential candidate campaigned on the idea of Hope.   Whatever your politics, hope, REAL, TRUE HOPE, doesn't come from a political party or a specific candidate no matter what the position.  Hope doesn't come from the right person winning this upcoming presidential election.       

Over the last three Sundays I have been reminded over and over again of what real hope is at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

On December 6th, the kid's lesson was "God announces the coming Messiah in Genesis 3."   
The sermon was on the God-centeredness of God. 
In the Garden, Adam and Eve did not trust the fact that God is the best gift.  They wanted what they thought was better and it wasn't.  
Treasure Jesus! 

On December 13, the kid's lesson was "God announces the coming Messiah in the prophets."  
The big idea of the sermon was "God works for those who wait for Him."  
God, who is faithful, made promise and His people needed to wait on Him to fulfill that promise.
Trust in Jesus!

On December 20, the kid's lesson was "God prepares the way of the coming Messiah through John the Baptist."  
One of the application points of the sermon was speak of the light that others might see!
Share Jesus!

If you have Christ, you have REAL, TRUE, LASTING HOPE!
If you have a Hope problem, where are you looking for hope? 
Washington, D.C.?
The empty grave?

Only one of these three offer real hope!


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away?

One of the tasks I do at Emmanuel Baptist Church, and I love doing it, is writing up the weekly email we send out.  Not sure how many people read the whole thing but one of the reasons I love doing it is because it helps me focus on what God is teaching me in my Bible reading, lesson preparation, sermon listening and living life in general.

I wanted to share a couple of thoughts I had in my writing that email this morning, the day after Joel and I watched Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  [Disclaimer with no spoilers:  I REALLY enjoyed the movie.]

Below is part of the email I sent to Lauri, the administrative assistant at church.  My additional comments are in red.

Here is an email for today.
It may be a little long but as I was reading the advent (http://solidjoys.desiringgod.org/en/devotionals/the-christmas-model-for-missions) devotional this morning and thinking about Christmas, it was challenging to be short. 

Joel and I went to see Star Wars last night and it was a great story and movie
BUT I was thinking this morning about Christmas and the Gospel, I was thinking how much MORE AWSESOMER (I know, not great English) this story is. 
And my job, as a pastor, is to consider it, teach it, share it, trust it.  How much more personal it is than a story from “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”
Going off again on a slight rabbit trail.

I love the fact that Joel and I have some common interests like sci-fi, especially Star Wars.  
Even more so I am hoping and praying and trying to lead Joel and the rest of my family to love God.

Here is my personal, slight tweak to the David Platt quote to the left.
"My goal in parenting is not ultimately that my kids like the same things I love, or enjoy the same hobbies, or play the sports I love.  My goal is for them to love my Great God."

Anyways, here is possible email but know that if you edit anything out, you will be ripping my heart out  : )

Merry Christmas!!  God is with us!! Take the Word to the World!!
An appropriate seasonal greeting, our Christmas series title and 2015’s theme?
What do they have in common?

The advent reading on today’s advent reading on church app’s daily reading link and today’s  ekidzministry.blogspot.com post is entitled “The Christmas Model for Missions.”  The devotional is taken from John 17:18.
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

The devotional goes on to say 
“Christmas is a model for missions. Missions is a mirror of Christmas. As I, so you.”

At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God, the father sent Jesus, God the Son, to face danger and death for God’s glory!
Because of what Jesus Christ did in his life, death and resurrection and why He did it, we need to face dangers in this world.
But here is the big conclusion in the devotional.
The greatest danger a missionary faces is to distrust the mercy of God.”

We can and should take the Word to the World because God, himself, had a plan to send His Son
as not merely an example of self-sacrifice and love but even more so a personal, wrath-appeasing, life-giving Savior.
Then it was better that Jesus go, so that the Holy Spirit would come and we could go with His power to the ends of the earth.

Are you trusting in God?
What is your next step in helping EBC take the Word to the World?
As we celebrate the gift of God’s grace and mercy, Jesus, and prepare to enter a new year,
how are you planning to grow in your faith and trust in God?
For more go to today’s blog at www.blog.emmanuelbaptist.com


2nd Greatest Gift from God: EC chapel!

Yesterday (12/10) I spoke at the middle school and high school chapel at Emmanuel Christian School.
Last Thursday I shared a very similar message with Emmanuel Lights, EBC's senior saints ministry.  As you read on you will see the significance of sharing this message with different age groups.

Before talking about the 2nd greatest gift, I reminded the students and teachers of the Greatest Gift.  God, himself.
God the Father, graciously gave Jesus Christ, God the Son, came for the forgiveness of our sin and to give eternal life so we could have a right relationship with God.  
Jesus, God the Son, said that it is to our advantage that he go away, because he was going to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, the us so that we would have power and strength to do what God commanded us to do.

I have been reminded over and over again that we have Christmas because we are sinners in desperate need of a Savior and God provided His one and only Son to be our Savior, not merely a good example.

I shared what I believe is the 2nd greatest gift God has given us.
The Bride of Christ - The church.
Section 12 of the Gospel Primer reminds us that God through Jesus not only reconciled us to himself but other to one another.  We need to seek opportunities to build into other and allow others to build into us.
Hebrews 10:23 - 25 & Ephesians 4:11 - 16 remind us that each and everyone of us needs to encourage one another to grow in Godliness.

And this encouragement should not be based on demographics.  It is empowered by the Gospel!

While reading the book Compelling Community I was reminded over and over again that the church is a fellowship of believers/disciples.
It is not a group of people who vote the same way.
It is not a group of people from the same ethnic group.
It is not a group of people from the same age group.

The church is made up of sinner's who have been drastically changed by Jesus' sin cleansing, life changing truth.
Young and old and in-between need to be reminded of this!

My goal in teaching this to Emmanuel Light's and EC students was to challenge each listener to
understand what a great salvation we have in Jesus Christ
plan to build into one another's lives for the glory of God.


Hope, Faith, Security & Refugees

The issue of what to do with refugees is all over social media and is the talk of politicians.  What is a Christian to do?  I want to suggest a very easy answer to this question:
Don’t think there is a simple solution to this situation.
Quick note, I (Pastor Dave) have read the articles listed in this blog and tried my best to think through and communicate Biblical thoughts about this topic.  If you have any questions please email or comment below.
Some people say “Jesus was a refugee” so let everyone in.
Others say one of the government's roles is to protect its citizens and borders.   So don’t let anyone in.
These two positions, don’t promote conversation about the concerns around the issue.  As a matter of fact, they stop any further conversation.  Think about what these statements communicate.
– You would have let Jesus die at the hand of Herod.  How can you call yourself a Christ follower?
– You don’t care about the United States of America and her citizens.  How can you call yourself an American?
Both questions take the focus off God and put it on people.
I want to provide some resources to help you think Biblically and theologically about the refugee crisis.
Some articles, a quote from the Gospel Primer, a passage of scripture with some closing thoughts.  Please read through the whole post for a complete picture.
Online Articles to read and think about.
Some quotes from the “Heart for the Poor” section of The Gospel Primer
Like nothing else could ever do, the gospel instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially when such persons are of the household of faith.
When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ.
The gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me.

A passage from the Bible:
Ephesians 2:11 – 22 talks about the relationship between the Gentiles and the Jews.  The passage communicates that while the Gentiles were “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” they had no hope.  “BUT now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
There are questions and concerns about the border that politicians need to decide and work out.  Without a doubt, these verses in Ephesians remind us of what the church’s job is.  We need to proclaim that true peace and reconciliation comes from Christ.

Closing Thoughts
I know this post and the links in it don’t contain the specific answers you might want.
I do know these….
As a Christian, I am not to be motivated and focused on fear.
As a Christian, I am to place my hope in the Lord, who is sovereign over all creation.
As a Christian, I know that things I completely understand and things I don’t understand need to drive me to the cross in prayer and Bible meditation.
If you notice I have tried not to refer to a “refugee crisis” or “refugee problem.”
God in His sovereignty is using this “refugee situation”/”refugee opportunity” to help His church glorify His Name.
Are you using social media, your conversations, your prayer, and your thoughts about refugees and our government to bring glory to God?


Do vs. Did: The International Progressive Dinner 11/21

Last night (11.21.15), I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with 30 + international students and visiting scholars from China, Germany, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and some other countries I may have forgotten.

The basic principle of the message was "Christianity is not DO but rather DID/DONE."
The Christian faith is not about what we do.  It is about what Jesus DID on the cross.
Here is the story read at the Progressive Dinner:  www.radical.net/resources/language

There are messages here in Amharic, Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Indonesian, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Click HERE to read the story I read about the pastor and the two other religious men.

Below are a couple of pictures from the evening.

Pastor Paul gave some instructions to the group at the first house.

What a great opportunity to share the Gospel with
students and visiting scholars from 8 different countries.

Here is a multilingual worship song written and performed by a friend of mine, Josh Davis. 


Elementary Chapel, The Talk, Self-Control and Humility

What I shared @ ECS chapel on September 10 and November 12.  I posted this on our www.ekidzministry.com site as a parent resource.

I have had the opportunity to speak in chapel twice this year and have used this times to speak about two of the character qualities in the book Time for the Talk.

Zollos writes that the talk is not a specific one time conversation you have with your son.  It is  "a process that takes many years and can be profoundly rewarding." 

The book lists 6 character qualities that need to be clarified so you can develop an open discipleship relationship with your son.
Hopefully these definitions can help you help your child.

At the bottom of this post is the Psalm 34:10 song we sang.

This blog post and previous post  are designed to help parents develop a discipleship relationship with their sons and prepare for the talk.

On September 10th I spoke at the ECS elementary chapel.  
My main point was self control.
The verses used were 1 Peter 5:8; Proverbs 25:28; Galatians 5:22, 23

To pursue self control means to live according to the Spirit of God, choosing to glorify God with our lives and deny the sinful nature when tempted to do otherwise.

The big idea was "My life is not my own"
Self-control:  I do what is right even though I don’t feel like it.

Today, November 12th, I spoke again
My main point was humility.
The verses used were Psalm 34:10; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 2:4 - 5.

To pursue humility means choosing to accept the fact that your knowledge and abilities are limited and in light of that, you are regularly seeking help and graciously receiving advice and correction.

This idea of humility was connected with this month's theme of thoroughness ("I complete the job all the way.").

To get the job done, we all need help.


Family, Work and Life for God!!

This Sunday in EBC's Young Adult class we looked at Ephesians 6.
Here are the main ideas along with some additional quotes.

The Gospel Centered Family in Ephesians 6:1 – 4.
The main idea is "Paul provides instructions for the Christian household, covering matters of honor and discipleship."
"For those of you who are not yet parents, remember that the whole body of Christ helps train children. Paul seems to assume children are in attendance as this letter is read, along with others who may not be parents. This instruction is for everyone. If you are single, married with no kids, or married with moved-out kids, the kids at your church are, on one level, your kids. The church is a family (see 1 Tim 5: 1-2). What this means is you should love them, pray for them, teach them, and serve them— while recognizing the parents have a unique, special calling to do this." (p. 146)
God Focused Work in Ephesians 6:5 – 9.
The main idea is "Paul gives instructions to slaves and masters, exhorting them to glorify Christ with proper attitudes, work ethic, and a deep awareness of Christ’s lordship."
"Some have estimated that in the Roman Empire there were 60 million slaves (Stott, Ephesians, 250), or one-third of the people in a city like Ephesus. It was an accepted part of the Mediterranean world’s economic life."  (p. 159)

"In 1 Timothy chapter 1 Paul lists particular sins associated with the breaking of the Ten Commandments. The breaking of the eighth commandment (“ Do not steal”) is represented when he mentions “kidnappers,” enslavers, or slave dealers (1 Tim 1: 10)," (p. 162)
The God Empowered Life in Ephesians 6: 10 - 24.
The main idea is "Believers are called to stand firm in the midst of spiritual warfare by God’s power, with God’s armor, and in constant prayer."
"Do not look in the wrong place for strength. Our strength is not in our resources and ability, in how long we have been Christians, in how much we know about the Bible, or in how long we have been in ministry. Our strength is in our union with Jesus Christ and His mighty power (1: 19)."  (p. 176)
All quotes are taken from Tony Merida's Exalting Jesus in Ephesians (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), B&H Publishing Group.

Here are some resources related to several different areas mentioned in the Ephesians 6 lesson


Emmanuel's family ministry resource page:  www.ekidzministry.com
Why did God permit slavery?    www.desiringgod.org/interviews/why-did-god-permit-slavery
Gospel @ Work Conferences resources, go to www.thegospelatwork.com/resources/ 
EBC related prayer resources to help your prayer life.  blog.emmanuelbaptist.com/category/prayer/


Crazy Life with a Sovereign God

Here is one of our most recent family pictures.  (Thanks Jenn @   www.libertyphotographyofohio.com)

Now I want to talk to you about social media, this picture and the Christian walk.  I know a lot of people have written a lot about this topic but I want to take some time and share a general principle in the context of my family's life.  Please read through as I get to the point.

Jenn Kujawa did a great job of working with our family during a cooler fall day.  She even got Joel to show his teeth when he smiled and that is a huge thing.

But I want to talk about the black/white, crazy family picture.  If you have done family pictures formally or not so formally you have probably done a "crazy" family picture.   They are usually fun and sometimes even turn out good.  I love that one of us.

Here is where I get real honest.  That picture is "crazy" but it is not nearly as out of control as life sometimes seems and is in our home.  The "craziness" in our house is not as picturesque as that nice b/w photograph.  Tears are shed.  Voices are raised.  Temper tantrums are thrown.  And those are just some of the things I do.

In our social media culture it is real easy to go to the extremes.
Share wonderful, beautiful pictures and talk about how perfect life is.  
According to their posts, they appear to have no problems, challenges or difficulties.  Things seem to always work out just the right way in just the right time.  And by right way and time I mean the way they wanted things to work out at the time they wanted them done.
Blast anybody and anything that doesn't make me happy.
Everyone in the world seems to be against this person's happiness.  The bus driver, the older couple in the parking lot, the cashier, the cook, the waitress, the government, the pastor, the neighbor, that guy who sings that song "Happy."  They are all plotting against this person.

If you cannot think of someone that falls into these two categories, there is a good chance YOU are one of the two.  (O.K. that was meant to funny but with a hint of truth. )

Our communication with others on social media, in a small group or at church is not meant to show that we have it all under control.
Our communication wherever we are needs to show people the hope we have in our BIG God and our GREAT Savior Jesus.

I am thankful for skilled photographers like Jenn Kujawa, Sarah Kraft, Whitney Keeler, Bill Carr, Amy Kelly and Tim Benedict and others I may have forgotten who have done a phenomenal job of capturing "moments" and making my family look good in print and digitally.

I am even more thankful for an AMAZING LIFE CHANGING GOD who makes Himself look good in our lives.  In the good, not so good and bad.
I am thankful that while I was weak, powerless and His enemy, He showed His tremendous love by sending His Son to die for my sin (Romans 5:6 - 8)
I am thankful that on my best days, I still need God and His grace in my life.

Our social media status, our prayers, our attitudes and our interactions with others should reflect this Jerry Bridges quote:
"Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace.  And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace."

As I look at that "crazy" picture of my family and think about all the "likes" and comments it has received on facebook, I smile.
Part of the smile is because of how cute the picture is.
But most of the smile is because it reminds me of God's grace in the life of my family.

As a father, I have the awesome responsibility of pointing my kids and wife to Jesus Christ.
While at the same time realizing I fail in my own walk with God.
BUT in the pointing and walking, I need to be actively depending upon God's strength, wisdom and love.

As a pastor, I have an even greater responsibility of helping other families and individuals grow in their personal relationships with Jesus while growing in their relationships with other members of the church.
There are times when I know I fail in these tasks
BUT I also know I need to keep pressing on, seeking the Lord and seeking to grow in those areas I fall short.

There are times when I think a better representation of our family would be
Joel and Josiah at each others throats.
Jadyn laying on the floor crying.
Krista looking at me with a "What are we going to do now?" look.
And me pulling out my hair!

While I know that picture may not get very many likes or cute comments,
I do know that God is the one I need to be looking towards each and every day!
I want people to know that...
  I don't have it all together
  I am not falling apart
  I am trusting in the One who created the world.
  I am trusting in the One who defeated death and gives life.


God Helps Those Who Admit They Can't Help Themselves!

This morning I had a great opportunity to speak at the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil outside Planned Parenthood.
The basic message I wanted to communicate was that the message of Hope and Life is ultimately about the Glory of God.

While the planners were hoping for more people this morning.  I added some comments in my message to help put the event in perspective.  These comments are italicized below.

Here are my notes:

This morning we are here to be a voice for the voiceless.

I entitled this message God helps those who cannot help themselves.

Now you may have heard the saying “God helps those who help themselves.”
While many say this is their favorite verse, it is not a bible verse. As a matter of fact the message is anti-biblical.
  • It is a shame that we have to have prayer vigils like this. Why? 
  • It is a shame that we have to debate in government courts decisions like Roe v. Wade. Why? 
  • It is a shame that Emmanuel Baptist Church has a biblical counseling ministry. Why? 
  • It is a shame that organizations like the Pregnancy Center of Toledo have to use some of their resources to convince women not to have abortions. Why? 
  • It is a shame that we have to have ministries like the Daughter Project. Why?
But I am thankful for each of these things because we live in a sin cursed world and we need these organizations, ministries and opportunities to shine a light on these problems.

It is a shame that in this world we have to make a stand FOR what God has made SO CLEAR!

Read the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:2 – 12.

The message of the Beatitudes stands in stark contrast to the message of this world!

That is what I want to talk to you about this morning.

The beatitudes refer to how blessed the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are in need, those who desire righteousness, those who are merciful, those who are pure in heart, those who are persecuted.
The Bible says:  blessed are those who submit to God and His ways.

The world says: Get whatever you want whenever you want it however you want it!

But here is part of yesterday’s 40 days for life devotional.
“You are not your own,” Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 6. God alone owns us. While He entrusts us to the care of one another, He does not allow any human being to own another. 
A Southern California abortionist, James McMahon, once explained how he justified killing children after 20 weeks gestation by the process known as partial-birth abortion. 
He did not deny that this was a child, but rather asked, “Who owns the child? It’s got to be the mother.” The struggle over abortion is really a struggle over the dominion of God. The Christian individual, and the Christian Church, cannot sit idly by when others declare that God is not God.
1st Corinthians 6 is an interesting chapter because
the first part is about having no lawsuits among those who follow Jesus Christ
the second part of the chapter is about sexual immorality.

This chapter reminds us it is about what God has done and wants to do. 
He is the one who saves and He is the one who deserves the glory. 
Verse 20 says “So glorify God in your body.”
This life is not about our rights and our desires.
It is about God’s sovereignty.

The issue of abortion is not merely a political issue.
The issue of abortion is not merely a social issue.
The issue of abortion is not merely a physical issue.

Now I am thankful for those of you who are here for political, social and physical issues.

BUT I want you to know the reason I am here, and it is what I believe is the greatest reason is because abortion is a DOXOLOGICAL issue.
Let me explain what that means. 
This life and this particular issue are about giving praise to God for who He is and what He has done.

John Piper quote: “God is weaving human life in the womb in his image; don’t kill what he is creating.”

God has set the example by saving the weak and the powerless, US. 
As a matter of fact, God in his grace saved me when I called out to him and said that I was a sinner, I was His enemy.
Each of us is a sinner, an enemy of God, but we must realize the one solution to our sin problem is Jesus.

Romans 5:6 – 8:  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

As we go to prayer let us remember that the first thing we need to do is submit to God and determine to do things God’s way.
  • We can sign petitions
  • We can show up at rallies
  • We can hold signs
We MUST pray because it is God who does the work.
We MUST pray because it is God who sent Jesus Christ to died & raised him from the dead so that we could have eternal life, if we believe in Jesus Christ as the one and only way to heaven.  

While it would have been great to have more people here this morning, we must remember it is God who does the work.  
You may have heard the saying "God plus one is a majority."  Let me correct that saying.  "God is the majority."
You may have also head people talking about being on the right or wrong side of history" when it comes to certain issues.  I am here to say the most important thing is not being on the right side of history.  It is being on God's side.

It is about God receiving the glory He deserves.


Multiplying Groups

Before getting into Gaining by Losing, here is a reminder about the devotional connected with this week’s memory verse.  Click HERE to read the devotional entitled “A Dad’s Loving Advice.”
When Pastor Duke candidated at EBC, he preached about developing a church planting mindset.  This book Gaining by Losing gives some detailed explanation of what this looks like.  Here are some quotes for the book that were very challenging:
“We live by losing. We gain by giving away. What we achieve by building our personal platform will never be as great as what God achieves through what we give away in faith.” (18)
“You can’t really call yourself a follower of Jesus if you don’t see yourself as sent.  He sends each of us somewhere, to some group, to make disciples of those who don’t know him.”  (34)
“The question is no longer if we are called, only where and how.”  (49)
“Spiritual growth happens not by going beyond the gospel, but by going deeper into it.”  (60)
“Remembering the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ does more to compel generosity than a hundred sermons that pummel you with guilt or inspire you with promises.”  (61)
“One evidence of God’s Spirit at work in a church is when seasoned members begin to put their preferences aside to reach the next generation.” (90)
Bottom line is we want to be about glorifying God and giving so that more people would do that.
I was going to write a much longer post but in thinking about what I wanted to communicate, I came up with this statement.
I will be a worshiper and not a judge. I will focus on God’s glory and not my personal preference as I meet with my church family.
It is my prayer that each of us would be remember this.
Throughout this week there will be more posts about a church planting mindset.


"Happy Day" and "My Lighthouse" at Camp Patmos!!

These videos are from the combined chapel of Camp Patmos (www.camppatmos.com) Week #8!
The Pathfinders (middle school) and Juniors loved these songs!

To seek pictures from the whole week click HERE

This World Does Not Revolve Around You!!

Below the video are the character qualities Pastor Dave discussed with the Junior campers and a link to the powerpoints.

Humility:  I don’t know it all and can’t do it all!!
Faithfulness:  God does know it all and is all powerful.  I need to trust Him.
Selflessness:  This world does not revolve around me!
Self-control:  My life is not my own.
Here is the dropbox link for more on each of the lessons:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uso4xjsepciasmp/AAB_qm78TihxsTz5CK4elt-xa?dl=0


Read about Reading (alternate title: Read? I’ll just wait until the movie comes out)

I originally posted this at blog.emmanuelbaptist.com
No there is not a movie based on this post coming soon.
But I do want to remind each of us of the importance of reading.
As a Christian writing about the topic of reading, I must begin with an very obvious and necessary reminder.
In the book Lit!  A Christian Guide to Reading Books, Tony Reinke writes “Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book. Scripture is perfect, sufficient, and eternal. All other books, to some degree, are imperfect, deficient, and temporary. That means that when we pick books from the bookstore shelves, we read those imperfect books in light of the perfect Book, the deficient books in light of the sufficient Book, and the temporary books in light of the eternal Book.” (p. 26)
We, the pastors of Emmanuel Baptist Church, have recommended many different books.  We actually have several classes, like our current Christ-Centered Church study, that are based on books other than the Bible.  I was tempted to list some of them but decided not to AT THIS TIME.  However, if you have read a book recommended by an EBC pastor, post the title below.  You could even include a comment or two about the book.
One of the reasons we recommend books is because there is a lot of teaching on topics and specific issues we would like to do but we realize
Godly, Bible saturated books have been written on these topics
we and you don’t have the time to sit in a classroom to learn about every topic
we want to equip you become self-feeders.
Two online resources to help you read more:
Don Whitney writes “By reading one page per day you can read 365 pages in a year, or the equivalent of two full-length books. That may not sound like much, but it’s far better than not reading at all. Moreover, by some accounts this would place you above half the U.S. population in the number of books read each year.”
Here is an article by Tim Challies on how to read more.
For a post on how parents can ignite in others a love for book reading, click HERE



Thank You for Your Support!!

Krista and I want to thank you very much for your financial and/or prayer support for our Jamaica/Fairview Baptist Bible College (FBBC) trip. 

Here is a video summary our church put together of the trip.

We had a great week working on the administration building at Fairview! Krista was a painter most of the week.  I was a painter, stainer and drywaller.  We were able to put up office walls, lay tile, put in two student bathrooms, install windows and doors, and do A LOT of painting and staining! While we didn't get everything completed, the Jamaicans should have the work finished by May 1st.   You can read and see more about the work at http://ebcjam.blogspot.com/

The teens along with some adults taught the children’s church class at church two the two Sundays we were there.
I also had  a last last minute but great opportunity to preach the first Sunday there. 
We also were able to go into three area schools and share the Resurrection story and the hope we have in Christ.

One of the great truths I was reminded of during and after the trip is that God is doing great things in Jamaica and around the world. 
God is not dependent upon me to do what He wants to do.  However God does give me the opportunity to be part of His plan!

If you want to read more about the trip and check on the ministry at Fairview, you can go to http://ebcjam.blogspot.com/

I wanted to share a little bit of what I shared with Emmanuel after we got back.

Here is a picture of me with some of the students I had the chance to reconnect with on our trip.  And I want to use this picture to remind of the impact of your help on the church in Jamaica.

Many of us see homeless people around the city and look away or drive away.
Marvin, the FBBC on the right, saw the same man at the same corner on the bus route he regularly takes. 
One day Marvin decided to stop and talk to this man.  They have had several conversation about many different things including the Gospel.

When I first saw Marvin on this trip, he came up to me and said “Hello sir!  We need to talk about some ministry things.”   Later that we talked about how to share the Gospel with someone who says he is insane.
Krista also had the great opportunity to connect with one of the female students, Deandra, the only girl in the picture.  She is a Biblical Counseling major who is prayerfully considering going to Brazil, Canada or China to use what she has been learning. 

Marvin is a passionate young man who had a rough childhood but God grabbed a hold us his heart and Marvin wants to share Jesus with others.
Deandra has a gentle caring spirit who grew up in a pastor’s home.  She and her brother attend Fairview.

Casey and William are two unsaved gentlemen who were invited by area pastors to come to Fairview to work alongside us.

 Acts 20:24 is a reference I put at the bottom of my emails.  It reads “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Thank you so much for your support in helping us testify to the good news of God’s grace not only on our trip to Jamaica but also in our ministry in general!