11 More Books

I shared in September that one of the benefits of my warehouse job is the opportunity to listen to podcasts, sermons, music and books.
As 2019 comes to an end I realized I listened to/read over 50 books.
The first 42 were shared on this post.
Here are 11 more books.
  1. The Accidental Creative by Henry
  2. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky
  3. Do More Better by Challies
  4. Expositonal Preaching by Helm
  5. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by Packer
  6. The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation by Moore
  7. Growing Up by Gallaty 
  8. Knowing God by Packer
  9. Life In The Presence of God by Boa
  10. Praying with Paul by Carson
  11. The Unsaved Christian by Inserra

As I share these books I am reminded of the following J.C. Ryle quote.


2019 End of the Year

At the beginning of 2019, we posted about Psalm 115:1 being our theme verse for this year.
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!"
Even with many challenges, we have definitely seen God working in 2019 through the provision of
  • Jesus Christ:
    • Through Bible passages, sermons, podcasts, books, and so many other resources, we have been reminded to make Jesus our treasure and time in His word our first priority.  
  • our church family:
    • God has blessed us with a great church family at Trinity Baptist Church.  The pastors have been an amazing encouragement.  Our small group has been such a blessing to our whole family.  Trinity has provided us with opportunities to serve God and His church.
  • work:
    • While David is still prayerfully searching for a ministry position, God has provided work that is helping pay the bills and provide insurance.  Recently, he also acquired his Michigan math teacher certificate.
    • Krista continues to work as a paraprofessional at Northpointe Christian School, where the kids go to school.  We are extremely grateful for how God continues to provide for them to be there.
  • housing:
    • Because of some financial help, we were extremely blessed with a great apartment close to school and church from October 2018 through October 2019.  At the end of October, we moved into a rental house one mile from our apartment.
As we enter 2020, we would appreciate your prayers for the following
  • housing:
    • In moving to the neighborhood, we are praying for opportunities to build relationships with our new neighbors.  Pray we would make the most of the opportunities God gives us.
  • work:
    • David is continuing to send out resumes for church ministry positions and as well as looking into teaching opportunities.
  • our church family:
    • It is our prayer that we can be a blessing to our church family.  David will be teaching and adult Bible class for the winter quarter.  Pray for other opportunities we have.
  • our family:
    • Please continue to pray for growing trust in the Lord as we live life together and seek the Lord in whatever circumstance he has us in.
We are so thankful for your prayers and encouragement!

For God’s Glory,
The Rodgers family


A Dragon in My Nativity?!?!

The first six days of Visual Theology's Advent reading focus on the fact that we need a Savior.

  • December 1st reading (Genesis 1:1-31) showed that before anything else God was.  This world is all about Him.
  • December 2nd reading (Genesis 3:1-13) focused on the fall of Man, the sin of Adam and Eve.
  • December 3rd reading (Genesis 6:1-8) showed that all people before the flood were sinful and deserved God's wrath.
  • December 5th reading (Psalm 51:1-19) contains King David's reflection on and repentance of his sin.
  • December 6th reading (Romans 3:9-20) shows that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The Gospel Coalition and Speak Life released a short video entitled "There's a Dragon in My Nativity," which does a good job of reminding us of the sin problem we all have.

At Christmas time, we often think about "good little" boys and girls receiving gifts from Santa Claus and others.
When in reality undeserving sinners receive God's gracious gift of His only begotten son, who would suffer, die, rise from the dead, ascend in into heaven and will return one day.
At Christmas, amid the lights and stars, let's remember Jesus came to glorify God and die for our sins.

While we haven't been as consistent as I would like with the Advent reading, we are still taking time to remind our family about God's purpose revealed in the Christmas story.


40 Books Over 10 Months.

One of the benefits of my current warehouse job is the opportunity to listen to podcasts, sermons, music, and books.
Recently I realized over the last 10 months I have listened to a lot of different books.
Here are the 42 audiobooks I have listened to.
  1. Amazing Grace by Metaxas
  2. Bonhoeffer by Metaxas
  3. Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky
  4. Center Church by Keller
  5. Counter Culture by Platt
  6. Discipling by Dever 
  7. Discipleship by Tozer
  8. Expository Exultation by Piper
  9. Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury
  10. Forever by Tripp
  11. Gaining by Losing by Greear
  12. George MacDonald by Lewis
  13. George Whitefield by Dallimore
  14. Gospel According to God by MacArthur
  15. Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Dever
  16. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinner by Bunyan
  17. The Great Divorce by Lewis
  18. Heaven is a Place on Earth by Wittmer
  19. How the Nations Rage by Leeman
  20. It's Not Supposed to Be This Way by TerKeurst
  21. Jesus Continued by Greear
  22. John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God by Piper
  23. Les Miserables by Hugo
  24. Letters to the Church by Chan
  25. Life Together by Bonhoeffer
  26. Lord of the Rings:  Fellowship of the Rings by Tolkien
  27. Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers by Tolkien
  28. Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King by Tolkien
  29. Missions by Johnson
  30. A Peculiar Glory by Piper
  31. Parables by MacArthur
  32. Prayer by Tozer
  33. Reading the Bible Supernaturally by Piper
  34. Reset by Murray
  35. A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by Marsden
  36. Suffering by Tripp
  37. Tale of Two Cities by Dickens
  38. Tech-Wise Family by Crouch
  39. Unsaved Christian by Inserra
  40. Unstuck by Perman
  41. When the Darkness Will Not Lift by Piper
  42. Your Best Year Ever by Hyatt


Pray With Our Eyes On God

Prayer Requests:
  • Family
We would very much apprecaite your prayers for Krista, the kids, and me during this time.  Pray our eyes would be on God not our difficulties.  
  • Job search. 
I would love to find a pastoral ministry job that would provide the opportunity for me to use my gifts and passions.  Pray God would show us possiblities.
Lord willing, my Michigan Math Teacher Certification should be done soon.  Pray this process would be clear and if possible quick and easy. 
As of right now (09.10.19), there are no new job possibilities in the future, which is disheartening.
  • Housing
We have begun the search for a more affordable rental, ideally beginning mid-October/beginning of November. 
  • Finances
While our current job siutation has provided some financial challenges, God has blessed us in so many different ways - assistance with housing, tuition, car repairs, and so much more.  
  • Church 
Trinity Baptist Church has been such a blessing during this time.  I have shared before about the small group that has been a help to us.  Pastor Brett's messages have encouraged us to trust in and glorify God in everything.  


Life is Hard AND God is Good

It was, and is, my prayer that the message - Life is Hard AND God is Good -  would remind followers of Jesus Christ of the hope we have in Him.  HERE are the sermon notes. 

As I was preparing for this message I read the following statement by James Montgomery Boice as he was preparing for a series on the Psalm.  
"I decided to make a point every day of acknowledging God’s goodness in some area to some person.”
Boice “realized how much time frequently went by without having praised God for anything.”

In studying Psalm 9, especially verses 9 and 10, I wanted to remind those listening of three things.
We need to run to God in times of trouble (v. 9).
We need to walk with God daily (v. 10a).
We need to remember that God will not abandon his children (v. 10b).
In Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, Mark Vroegop writes “Lament is how you live between the poles of a hard life and trusting in God’s sovereignty.” 

This sermon was so much more than just information that I researched.
This sermon has been a truth that I have had to process and am continuing to learn how to apply to my life.

At the end of the message, I wanted to share some practical things people could do to help them remember Life is Hard AND God is Good.

Run to God in times of trouble.  This is a model of lament prayer from Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy.
  • Cry out to him. 
  • Complain to him. 
  • Pray bold prayers. 
  • Trust in Him.

Walk with God daily.
  • Read your Bible. 
  • Meditate on specific passages of scripture for longer periods of time – http://www.fighterverses.com
  • Pray every day. 
  • Make connecting with your church family a priority.
  • Read articles and books that remind us of spiritual truths.

Remember God will not abandon His children.
  • Rehearse Biblical truth like those found in Romans 8.
  • Read Christian biographies.  Listen to Christian biographies.


Psalm 9

This Sunday, September 1st, I have the privilege and responsibility of preaching God's Word at Montrose Baptist Church.  I am preaching on Psalm 9.  The title of the sermon is "Life is Hard AND God is Good!"   Originally, I thought about preaching only Psalm 9:9 - 10.  These were the Fighter Verses for the week in which Shane asked me to preach.  In preparing, I realized it was essential to put these great truths in the context of the whole Psalm.  
It is my prayer that God would use this sermon to share about the hope we can know no matter what our circumstances are. 
I will be posting more from Psalm 9 this week.

Here are some devotionals/readings related to the sermon and Psalm 9.
  1. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) post "Life is Hard.  Jesus doesn't make it easier" by Collin Hansen on June 10, 2019
  2. "Unfair!" Fighter Verse devotional for the week of August 3, 2019
  3. "Run into the Stronghold" Fighter Verse devotional for the week of July 27, 2014
  4. My blog post "My Favorite Gospel Primer Entry" from May 18, 2017
  5. TGC post "Give Thanks... Always?" by Trevin Wax on November 24, 2010.  The Chinese Folk story I used in my sermon is here
  6. Pray the Word by David Platt on on August 11, 2017

Crossway's post about Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy by Mark Vroegop -

My review of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy -

A personal post about my learning how to lament in the midst of difficulties -



Be Here Until...

The preliminary result of my Michigan Teacher Certification exam for Mathematics is PASS!!
I have to wait for 5 to 6 weeks for the final results.
I have also emailed the Department of Education to verify that everything is ready for the renewal of my certification.

The plan going forward is to BE HERE
in Grand Rapids
with the kids at Northpointe Christian School
involved at Trinity Baptist Church

I am also going to prayerfully continue with the pastoral ministry search while beginning the search for a math teaching position.  I have shared before that my passion is for pastoral ministry but over this past year God has not provided this.

Recently, I read an article entitled 6 Distinguishing Marks of a Call to Gospel Ministry by Steven Lawson.  Here are the six marks:
  • Inner Compulsion
  • Loving Concern for Other
  • Overwhelming Constraint
  • Sobering Humility
  • Corporate Confirmation
Thinking through and journaling about these six marks has confirmed my calling to pastoral ministry.

At the same time, I need to pay bills and be responsible.  God has used and continues to use In On Time as a means for me to do this.  I also believe God has given me the ability to teach along with a passion for teaching. 
This is the reason why I am going to begin searching for a teaching position.

Now I want to point out a specific phrase I used a couple of times in this post.
Pastoral Ministry.
I did NOT write that I was looking for a ministry because I believe that even if I am not in a full-time pastoral position, God provides opportunities for me and my family to minister to others.  We want to make the most of these opportunities to minister wherever we are.
He also provides each and every Christ-follower with opportunities to minister no matter their occupation.

Another part of this "Be Here Until We Are Not" mindset includes making the most of opportunities to preach and teach.
This Sunday (09.01), I am going to be preaching at Montrose Baptist Church, where my friend Shane Miller is the pastor.
The passage I will be preaching is Psalm 9, with an emphasis on verses 9 and 10, which were the Fighter Verses the week of August 3rd.
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
The title of the message is "Life is hard AND God is good."

We would appreciate your prayers for the following...
  • wisdom and direction for my job search
  • more affordable housing after October
  • focused preparation time and clear
  • the kids and Krista as they begin the new school year at Northpointe Christian School


Learning to Lament

About two months ago, I wrote a review of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy.  In this post, I want to share some specific prayer helps from the book and some personal things from my life.

At the end of the book, Vroegop includes a Learning-to-Lament Worksheet along with several examples from Psalm 86 and 3.

I wanted to share the four parts of lament along with some specific ways you can pray for us.

Turn to God
Address God as you come to him in prayer.  This is sometimes combined with complaint.
Bring your complaint
Identify in blunt language the specific pain or injustice.  Why or how is often part of the complaint
Ask Boldly
Specifically call upon God to act in a manner that fits his character and resolves your complaint.
Choose to trust 
Affirm God's worthiness to be trusted, and commit to praising him. 


Here is a brief timeline to help you understand some of the things my family and I have been going through this last year.

September 2018 through January 2019
Struggled with what God has next for us after only one year at West Cannon Baptist Church.  See Everything For Good posts.
February 2019 through July 2019
Realized God has given me a desire to pastor his people. See Four Months and a Week and a Half post 
August 2019
Realizing even though God has given me a desire to pastor, the opportunity to do so has not happened.  After several "no"s from different church and saying no to a couple, I have expanded my search beyond pastoral ministry and the Michigan/Ohio/Pennsylvania area.  I am working towards my math teacher certification (The only thing I have left is to pass the exam.  Pray for this.)
Bold Asks
  • Help me and my family learn what you are teaching me during this extended time of uncertainty.
  • Many different ministry opportunities have not been working out for various reasons.  God help me find the job I need that will provide for my family.  While I would love for it to be a ministry job, I have come to the realization that this might not be the case.
  • Our apartment has been a blessing during this time but it obvious that we need to find a new home.  Give us wisdom as we begin that search.
  • The kids are going to begin the year at Northpointe.  With uncertainties about work and housing, there is a possibility they will be changing schools.  Krista and I have talked to them about this. Help Joel, Josiah, and Jadyn during this time.  It is my prayer that they would continue to build friendships at school and church even with the uncertainty.  
The common theme throughout these and other prayer requests is "Help in the midst of uncertainty."

The common theme throughout this last year, and longer, has been "In the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, God has blessed us in so many different ways."  

My personal prayers and journal entry today have been much deeper and personal.
I wanted to share the four parts of lament to help someone in their own prayer life during hard times.
I also wanted to share a couple of my personal "bold asks" to help family and friends pray for us during these hard times.  


Philippians 4

On Monday, July 29, I posted the following on Facebook.

"Would appreciate your prayers today.
I need to focus on God as it relates to the future, past, present.
I will post later tonight about some specifics."

I very much appreciate those who prayed and have been praying for us.  

Without going into a lot of detail, I wanted to share what motivated the post so you can continue praying. 

The last weekend of July and the month of August in 2017 and 2018 have involved a lot of big, hard changes.  A lot of thinking and evaluating going on for me right now.  

Pray my mind and heart would be fixed on God. 

We have some big decisions to make soon.  Also, I recently received some rejection letters from different ministries I applied to.  In following up on a couple of ministries/jobs I applied for through websites, I have seen statements like this,
"This posting is no longer available.  This is either because the employer has filled the position or the position has closed.  Click here to find more jobs like this one." 
There are always other prayer requests related to parenting and my current job. 
Pray that my family and I would glorify God in everything.

Pray that "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," (Phil. 4:7) especially as we see a lot of unknown before us.
Still sending out resumes and applications.
Still studying for the math teacher certification exam.
Still trying to make some connections to help in the job/ministry search.
Still trusting the Lord.

Photo Credit:  https://scripturetype.com


Thankful for Trinity's Sunday Morning Bulletin

I wrote the following in my journal before this morning's service at Trinty.  I would love to say I do this before every service.  I don't but I do think it is very important for not only the pastor but also the entire congregation to prepare for Sunday morning.

I am very thankful Trinity Baptist Church sends out the bulletin on Friday before the Sunday morning service.
It helps me in at least two different ways.

First, this morning before the service I was able to listen to one of the songs we are going to sing together.  A little private worship listening/singing prepares my heart for corporate worship.

Second, I read and thought about the passage Pastor Brett is going to preach this morning.  This was especially helpful today because
  • I know pedology, part of the sermon title, is not a misspelling.  It is an actual word - soil science.  
  • I can focus on God and His Word as I go into the church building for the church meeting with my church family.  The passage this morning is a very familiar one, Luke 8:4 - 15, the Parable of the Soils.  While reading through the passage I realized I have read and heard this passage preached many times. While it is very familiar, I don't want to go into the church meeting time focused on the fact that I know this passage.   I want to think about the following questions based on the study of Luke 8:4 - 15.
    • What do I, my family, and my church family need to be reminded of?  
      • about God
      • about God's Word
      • about mankind
      • about me, my family, and my church
    • What do I, my family, and my church family need to love or hate more?
    • What do I, my family, and my church family need to do as a result of studying this passage/hearing this sermon?
So, I write all of this to say I am thankful for my church bulletin because it reminds me that church is not about me. 
Before or during Sunday morning service, my mind should not go to "I know that passage and don't need to hear another sermon on it" or "I like/don't like that song."  
I should want to be with my church family to glorify God, grow in sanctification, and encourage others to glorify God and grow in sanctification.

I wrote this part shortly after the sermon.  

Pastor Brett said, "If you want the Word of God to change you, prepare your heart."
A practical way you can prepare for Sunday morning service is to study the passage the pastor will be preaching that morning and maybe even listen to and think through the words of one or more of the songs you will be singing with your church family.  

I have written about how to walk into church in several other posts.  HERE is the first one with several different links to different resources.


Summary of Patmos' Kingdom Messages

The Kingdom of God is amazing and also can be confusing.  In Acts 1:6, the disciples seemed to be more focused on the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.  Jesus told them to focus on God and His Glory as they went out into all the world as his witnesses.  Our confusion today, just like back then, is that we believe and act like life is about me, my desires, my plans, and my glory.  Here are three reminders I used to help the campers, staff, and myself live like citizens of God's Kingdom. 
The Kingdom of God is of INFINITE VALUE.  It is worth more than everything you own (See See Matthew 13:44-4619:13-30).
The Kingdom of God is under GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY (See Matthew 20:1-156:9-13).  God is the boss.  He is the good, loving, perfect, generous creator and sustainer of this world. 
The Kingdom of God can only be entered when one is GENUINELY REPENTANT (See Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43; 3:1, 7-9).  You must know that you have a sin problem, feel sorrow about this sin problem, decide to turn from your sin to God, grow in your obedience to God. 

To move from KINGDOM CONFUSION to KINGDOM LIVING, you must know and believe in, and live with the understanding of the greatness of the Kingdom of God, the sovereignty of God, and because of your sin, your deep need for God. 

During the final chapel session on Friday morning, we looked Colossians 1:9-14, which is Paul's prayer for those who have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Jesus.  A kingdom life bears fruit (v. 10), increases in the knowledge of God (v. 10), is strengthened by God (v. 11), gives thanks to God (v. 12).

In speaking on God's Sovereignty, I shared a way to remember the attributes of God when you pray.  The EIEIO's.

Pictures and more can be found on the camp Facebook page


More in One Week than Almost a Year

This week the posts have been about what I am speaking about at Camp Patmos.
Throughout the week I have been thinking about a lot of different things going on in my life.

A strange thing is that after yesterday’s (Thursday) chapels, I have preached/taught more this week than I have from September 1, 2018, through July 14, 2019.
This week has served as a reminder of how much I love doing those things and how important teaching and preaching helps you grow as a teacher and preacher.

Another strange thing about my preaching time at camp this year, I was unplugged.  Posterboard visuals and hand-written notes.  I used technology for a visual only on the last day.  (For your information it was the Who Will Be King? Gospel booklet.  If you know me this is kind of a big deal.

Poster on the wall behind me.

Photo of my hand-written notes.
I would definitely appreciate your prayers, as we finish up the week here at Camp Patmos and prayerfully continue looking for what God has next for us.  Part of my time at camp was spent filling ut some ministry-related questionnaires but we have no idea what is next.

Patmos Friday Morning

Thursday morning's parable was the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30).  One of the great things about preaching this parable is Jesus explained it to his disciples (Matthew 13:36-43).

This passage of judgment reminds us that God is patient in his judgment of the sons of the wicked one, even those who may appear to look like the sons of God but are not.  
There is coming a day those when those who have not genuinely repented and called out to Jesus for their salvation will be judged.  
This parable should move believers to 
JOY because they will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of God
SORROW because those who are not children of God will be thrown into the fiery furnace.

This parable is a call for believers to
WORSHIP GOD who has saved them
SHARE THE GOSPEL with those who desperately need to hear it.  

During Thursday evening's chapel, we looked at the common message at the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry (Matthew 3) and Jesus' ministry (Matthew 4)...
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

We are called to REPENT not merely REPEAT a prayer or outward action like raise a hand.

We talked about what GENUINE REPENTANCE is.
  1. Knowing that you have a problem and that problem is your sin.  Not your circumstances or someone else's action but rather your sin.
  2. Feeling sorry and sad for your sin, not for being caught in your sin.
  3. Deciding to turn from sin to God.  Realizing my actions and attitudes need to change.
  4. Changing your actions and attitude.  This is not about being perfect but rather a quicker repenter.
We need to understand that we are not saved because of our heritage or actions.  
You are saved when you repent of your sin and call out to Jesus to save you.

Pictures and more can be found on the camp Facebook page


Patmos Thursday Morning

We closed out yesterday’s God’s Sovereignty theme with cabin prayer time.

The morning parable was The Laborers in the Field (Matthew 20:1-15).
From a human perspective, it would seem like the master was unfair when in reality the master is very generous to the other workers.

In the kingdom of God, there is no room for envious comparison.
God doesn’t owe us salvation for what we did.
He gives us salvation despite what we have done.  Look at Ephesians 2:8,9.

In the evening we built on the theme of God’s sovereignty by looking at how to pray using the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
The first part of this prayer shows us that we need to focus on God.
Prayer is not first about the disciples’ needs or solutions to their problems.  It is about glorifying God.
The following mindset will help you focus on God and his glory.
Turn to God – Remind yourself of who He is.
Ask God – Bring your request to Him.
Trust God – No matter God’s answer is trust That He is working all things out for His glory and your good.  (This model of prayer is adapted from the book Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy

Today’s theme is Entrance into God’s Kingdom requires Godly Repentance.
The morning passage is the Parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 24
During the evening message, we will be looking at the beginning of John the Baptist and. Jesus’ ministries.  Both of them focus on the phrase “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Pray God would help me clearly communicate the difference between Genuine Repentance and mere repetition.
Pray God would open the ears and heart. Of the campers to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Pictures and more can be found on the camp Facebook page


Patmos Wednesday Morning

Yesterday we studied the reality that the Kingdom of God is of Infinite Value.

While studying the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:44-46) in the morning and the narrative about the rich, young ruler (Matthew 19:13-26) in the evening chapel, several truths were developed.
  • All things in life worth anything will cost something.
  • The one thing in life worth more than anything in this world costs everything.
  • In the parable, the man joyfully sells everything he has so he can get the treasure.  After being told he had to sell everything to get the treasure, the rich, young ruler went away sorrowful.
  • Jesus' call to salvation demands radical surrender.
  • The one who trusts in Jesus and what he has done is saved.  The one who trusts in himself and what he has done is not saved.
Today we are studying the Parable of the Laborers in Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-15) and The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
Our theme is the Kingdom of God and God's Sovereignty.  

Pictures and more can be found on the camp Facebook page


Patmos Tuesday Morning

Last night at the first chapel, I gave campers an overview of the week's chapel message.
Last night, the first chapel's title was KINGDOM CONFUSION and Friday's theme is going to be KINGDOM LIVING.
The in-between chapels are going to bridge the gap between confusion about the Kingdom of God and living for God in His Kingdom.

Here are a couple points from last night's chapel.
  • The verses were Acts 1:6-8 and Matthew 28:18-20.
  • In asking Jesus about the Kingdom of God, the disciples were asking if an earthly kingdom was going to be returned to a specific people, the Jews, at that time.  Their question was not big enough.  In Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells the disciples to take the spiritual message of the life-changing Gospel to all the world.  
  • We need to remember that the Kingdom of God is about God.  While that may seem like a very obvious statement, people often forget this truth and in their minds turn the focus of the kingdom onto themselves.  It becomes what can they get.
  • God's work is NOT done in your strength, power, and wisdom.  God's work is done through God's power, strength, and wisdom.
With this Kingdom Confusion idea of the Kingdom of God is not about me and what I want in mind, we are going to look at the first bridge concept this morning.  
The Kingdom of God is of Infinite Value.  It is worth more than anything we have or can imagine having.  
In the morning chapel, we are going to look at the Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price in Matthew 13:44-46.
In the evening chapel, we are going to look at Matthew 19:13-26, the narratives of the acceptance of the children and the rejection of the rich, young ruler.  

I would appreciate your prayers in general and for these specific things:
  • God would use His Word as I preach to instill and grow in the campers, staff, and myself an ever-increasing sense of value fo God and His Work in this world.  It is my hope that the campers would not only grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Kingdom of God but that they would grow in their desire to glorify God and celebrate the ways he is being glorified.   
  • God would use the counselors, the staff, the music leader, Krista, and me to bring Him the glory that He deserves and help the campers do the same.  

Pictures and more can be found on the camp Facebook page


The Kingdom of God

Christianity is an upside-down kingdom. 
The humble are exalted.  Mourners are comforted, and losers are keepers
This week, July 15 - 20, I am speaking at Camp Patmos for Junior (4th - 6th graders) Camp.

The theme for each week of camp is The Kingdom of God.

After an introduction message on Monday from Acts 1, each day is going to follow the same pattern.
The morning chapels' passage is going to be a Kingdom parable from Matthew.
The evening chapel's passage is going to be a passage about the Kingdom from Matthew.

Monday's theme is Kingdom Confusion.
Tuesday's theme is the Infinite Value of the Kingdom of God.  
Wednesday's theme is Divine Sovereignty and the Kingdom of God.
Thursday's is Genuine Repentance and the Kingdom of God.
Friday's theme is Kingdom Living.

Each day I will post the passage's used and some of the big ideas from the sermons.

I would very much appreciate your prayers during the week.  Here are some general prayer requests.  

  • Pray for the junior campers at Camp Patmos.  Pray that God would open their ears and hearts to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
  • Pray for the counselors and staff at Camp Patmos.  It is my hope and prayer that each year I speak at camp Krista and I can be an encouragement to those who are serving for the summer.  Pray the counselors would have wisdom, strength, and patience from God as they work with this specific group of campers and other campers throughout the rest of the summer.   
  • Pray for me as I preach each day.  In past years I went into camp having taught or preached at least once a week, so there was a rhythm.  This year I have taught or preached less than ten times.  Pray for wisdom, strength, and unction, that indefinable, indescribable something.  It is my prayer that I will clearly communicate the truth of the Gospel in a way that the camper will understand and be challenged by.
  • Pray for our family this week.  Jadyn will be a camper at Camp Patmos' Junior Week, the camp I am speaking at.  Josiah will be a camper at Camp Patmos' Pathfinders Week.  Joel will be attending Teen Leadership Conference at Clarks Summit University near Scranton, PA, where we lived for four years.  You can check out TLC at https://teenleadershipconference.com/ and Camp Patmos at https://www.camppatmos.com/.  The social media accounts for both will have a lot of pictures and updates.  
Pictures and more can be found on the camp Facebook page


Dark Clouds Deep Mercy

Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy is a difficult book to read.  Not only because it deals with the topic of lament, but even more so because it seems to go against so much of what we hear in "Americanized Christian" circles.  A self-centered message that says God is glorified when we get what we want.

Vroegop's connection of Biblical truth with personal stories helped me wrestle through the topics especially as it relates to my own personal struggles.
The basic explanation of Biblical lament - turn to God, complain, ask, and trust -  helps the reader understand what it is and how to pray lament prayers.  Vroegop walks the readers through these steps using various Psalms and the book of Lamentations.  The section on Godly, biblical complaining is especially helpful - come humbly, pray the Bible, be honest, don't just complain.

This book is a helpful resource for those who have gone through or are going through difficulties and those who desire to help others go through these times.  The four appendices are easily accessible resources.  Since reading the book, I have used these resources in my own life and to help other people.

Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy's focus on God and use of scripture are necessary, challenging, and often hard to hear in this self-centered world.  These Biblical, God-glorifying truths have been such a blessing to me.

I was provided a complimentary electronic copy of this book through Crossway's Blog Review Program.  Immediately after finishing the book, I purchased a hard copy.

Some other Lament resources:


A letter to those in ministry who are struggling

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been writing a letter to those who are in ministry transition, those who are not sure what to do about ministry, and those who want to help pastors who are in these places. 

Here are the very basics of the letter.  If you would like a pdf copy of the letter for yourself or someone else, click HERE

For those who are in ministry, in ministry transition, or not sure what to do about ministry, 
  • Stay in the Word of God
  • Stay connected with other believers
  • Be open with people 
  • Stay connected with a local church
To those who want to help pastors, pastors in transition and those who were pastors and aren’t sure what is next.
  • Remind him of the hope he has in Jesus Christ
  • Don’t play the comparison game or allow him to play it 
  • Pray for him
  • Talk with him about more than ministry
  • Take time to meet with him face to face


9 years ago, we were also expecting

This post came up in my Facebook memory yesterday.
The original post was from April 16, 2010. 
We were preparing for internship with some ministry, housing, and financial uncertainties.  We also were expecting a newborn (Jadyn) within the next month.  
When there is nowhere to turn, what do you do?
When you are at the end of your rope, what do you do?When things seem to be going well, what do you do?
When you are amazed at how well things are going, what do you do? 
In each of these circumstances:
Be strong.
Fight bravely.
Trust God. 
With no where to turn, surrounded by enemies, Joab, one of David's commanders, positioned Abishai, his brother against one side while he prepared to fight the other.
His advice to Abishai was "Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our Good. The LORD will do what is good in his sight." (1 Chronicles 19:13)

As we are coming to the end of our time, I have realized and need to continue to trust in the truth of this passage. 
I need to prepare as best as possible and trust that the LORD will do what is good in his sight. Whether it is housing, finances, ministry responsibilities or entering an internship with a new born baby, I need to trust in the LORD. 
God has proven himself faithful and amazing throughout our time here @ BBC&S 
Four years ago, I could not imagine how God was going to work circumstances out for us. 
He has over and over again.Now, I wonder the same thing as we prepare to go to Toledo for internship but I know who God is and what He is able to do.