12.17.2022

God's Glory: Genealogy and William Cowper

"My Story" by Big Daddy Weave


Biblical:

Knots in Jesus' Family Tree - www.gty.org/library/blog/B171206/knots-in-christs-family-tree-a-tale-of-four-outcast-women


Historical:

Insanity and Spritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint - https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/insanity-and-spiritual-songs-in-the-soul-of-a-saint

"God Moves In a Mysterious Way" is in Season 2 - www.gracemedia.app/hymnology/season:1

12.11.2022

God's Glory: Bible and Bunyan


Systematic Theology (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/systematic-theology/) is what we usually think of when we hear the words theology and doctrine.  The different section, usually around ten, with statements and scriptural support for what the Bible is (bibliology), who God is (theology proper), who Jesus is (Christology), who the Holy Spirit is (Pneumatology), who man is (anthropology), and so on.  

Biblical Theology (www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/biblical-theology) is examining theology as it is revealed in the Bible - progressive revelation.  

Historical Theology (www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/historical-theology/) is watching the development of theology throughout church history.

Finally,,Biographical Theology is looking how men and women lived their lives because of what they believed the Bible says about God.

Each of these theologies need to be rooted in Scripture.  What does the Bible truly say about God?  Not what did a person say about God? or What did a specific time in history say about God?

The Hidden Smile of God click for a free pdf of the book) is about the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd.

In today's class (12/11/22), we look at the life of John Bunyan.




12.04.2022

God's Glory in Our Stories

On December 4th, I started teaching a class entitled "God’s Glory in Our Stories." 



God has done and is doing so many amazing things in the lives of His people. 

We will be looking at testimonies 

  in the Bible (Biblical)

  throughout church history (Biographical)

  in our church family (Personal)

and what these real-life stories show us about our amazing God. 

Along with Biblical and historical teaching, individuals will have the opportunity to consider and share their own stories of God’s faithfulness. 


Each week of class will contain a Biblical, Biographical, and Personal element.

In some ways, this class is an experiment or a lab.  

The Personal part of the class is going to be dependent on the class members' willingness to share life with one another.

A schedule of Biographies has been set up but this has some flexible and can change depending on class discussions.

The Biblical portion of each week will look at passages that include people's life story (Matthew 1 - Jesus, Joshua 23, 24 - Joshua, John 9:1 - 34 - The blind man's testimony, Acts 7 - Stephen, Acts 22, 26 - Paul, Philemon - Onesimus)

  

This article, 8 Reasons to Read Christian Biographiesincludes some great reasons to read biographies.

It is my prayer that the class will challenge people to glorify God in their lives as they see how God has been glorified in other people's lives.

Below is the video to Big Daddy Weave's song "My Story."  This song is what I pray people attending the class would think about.  

Here are the first two parts of the song 

If I told you my storyYou would hear hope, that wouldn't let goAnd if I told you my storyYou would hear love that never gave up
And if I told you my storyYou would hear life, but it wasn't mineIf I should speak, then let it be of the graceThat is greater than all my sin

11.22.2022

Great Reminders from Joshua

As the year winds down, I am thankful for the way the calendar is set up. 

- Be thankful.
- Remember Jesus.
- Wrap up the old year and start a new year.  

These year-end reminders should be an ongoing lifestyle.

Be thankful for who God is and what He has done.  
Trust in Jesus.
As you reflect on the past, live in the now, and anticipate the future, be thankful and trust in Jesus.

This year has had its blessings and its challenges and God is good no matter what.  

Recently in Bible club and Children's church, God has used the book of Joshua to remind me of some BIG truths at the end of 2022 and I am very thankful for this.

The book begins with a repeated reminder to "Be strong and courageous."  

Chapter 1, verse 9 says

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.  (emphasis mine)


The people of God are strong and courageous because of who God is.

Then the story of Achan shows the seriousness of sin.  In Joshua 7:20-21, Achan says he has sinned against the LORD.

  • he saw the cloak, gold, and silver (not a sin)
  • he coveted them (clearly a sin)
  • he took/stole them (clearly sin)
  • he hid them in order to deceive God and others (clearly sin)
His personal sin had a wide-reaching impact.  Thirty-six soldiers died at Ai and his family was stoned with him because of his rebellion against God.

Sin is a serious problem for people because it is against God.

At the end of the book, it is a faithful man of God wanting to remind others of God's faithfulness and how they should live because God is faithful.

 He told them that the Lord your God has fought for you (23:3, 10).

He reminds them to be very strong (23:6). 

And then he says,

You know in your hearts and souls, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God has promised concerning you.  All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.  (23:14)

Chapter 24:1-13 is a rehearsal of what God has done. Followed by a challenge to fear the LORD and serve him in 24:14-28.


Fear the Lord and serve Him.

Remember,
  God is good.
  Sin is a serious problem.
  Fear God and Serve Him.

Once again, I am so thankful for God's Word and how it challenges me to grow.  

 

11.18.2022

November Prayers

Two November prayers

The first is from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers.
https://www.challies.com/quotes/a-prayer-of-praise-and-thanksgiving/
There are 17 different things listed in this prayer to praise God for.

The second is a Black Friday Prayer written by Scotty Smith and shared at www.thegospelcoalition.org
I made some modifications to the original content so the prayer could be used leading up to Black Friday, not just on the day it was originally posted.

If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Tim. 6:8 (ESV 

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt. 6:31-33 (NIV)

Click scripturetype.com for this graphic and a coloring page

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way. 2 Cor. 9:11 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, they should have called it Black Thursday this year, or Black Week, because before we even had our Thanksgiving coffee, the stores [will be] opening and beckoning shoppers with tantalizing markdowns on all kinds of stuff.  [We will wake up ] with more cyber deals in my email inbox than I can possibly shake 10 credit cards at.

I judge no one, Jesus, for I am as spoiled and covetous as anyone. I praise you that I’ve never had to be concerned about what I’ll eat, drink, or wear; and I’m very happy a lot of people will get some really great deals the next few days.

But on Black Friday, I’m especially grateful for Good Friday, and what you accomplished for us by your life, death, and resurrection. It’s only because of your finished work that we have peace with God—the Father who knows our every need and answers before we ask; the ├╝ber-generous Lord who gives us all things richly to enjoy, and freely to share; the One who satisfies our hunger, slakes our thirst, and clothes us—not only with cotton and wool, but in your righteousness and grace. We are wealthy beyond measure and deserving.

As we begin the season of Advent, grant us grace for seeking your kingdom first, and our fiefdom of self, last. Rather than spending more money and expending more worry on ourselves, where would you have us invest our time and treasures, talent and tears? Jesus, free us to love and serve others with joy during the season of Advent. So very Amen we pray, in your grace-full and glorious name.

 

11.01.2022

Picture Perfect Posts

A Facebook post I wrote tonight and wanted to share here for those who may not have Facebook.

Often times Facebook seems like the place for picture-perfect posts. THIS IS NOT THAT POST.  

It has been a couple of emotionally draining days. On Thursday, it was the 18th anniversary of my dad's death. It was a hard day and part of that was because Friday was Josiah's last football game of his first season playing. I was thinking about how much my dad would have loved to see Josiah play. 

Sunday was a good, but tiring day of teaching - Adult Class lesson on Jonah, a Children's Church lesson on Joshua and Ai, and leading a small group Sunday night. Ministry in the midst of challenging times is hard AND God is good. 


This week's Fighter Verses, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, is a good reminder at times like this.

[For] this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, ¹⁸as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

d 

9.25.2022

Bible Study for Growth 3

During the first two weeks of the Bible Study for Growth In Me and Others class, we have been developing a UNIQUE theme.
By saying a UNIQUE theme, I am not suggesting I have come up with a unique and new way to study the Bible.
I do mean the Bible is a UNIQUE book (week 1) and because of this fact, it needs to be thought of and studied in a UNIQUE way (week 2).


One quote that helps show the uniqueness of Bible reading and study is 
"No amount of advice on Bible reading techniques can compensate for minds that are not willing to humbly follow God." (Read the Bible for a Change by Ray Lubeck)


It is my prayer that as we continue this class study our minds will be challenged, our hearts will be stirred, and actions and attitudes will be transformed by God for His glory.

Next week will look at Seeing and Understanding God's Word.  The class will cover pages 11-21 in the workbook and chapters 4 and 5 in Reading the Bible for Change.

Also, the homework is READ THE BOOK OF JONAH and MAKE BASIC OBSERVATIONS..

9.10.2022

Bible Study for Growth in Me and Others

Starting tomorrow, I am teaching one of the new Fall Adult Christian Education (ACE) classes at Trinity Baptist.  It is "Bible Study for Growth in Me and Others."

The Bible is the most important book at Trinity and for life!  We believe it is of supreme and final authority.  

Because this is true, we want to offer classes like this that help people learn how to study the Bible. While classes that cover specific books of the Bible are important, God's people must know how to study the Bible to verify that what is being taught is true, like the Bereans.  Trinity offers four types of ACE classes:  Engaging God's WORD, Engaging God's FOUNDATIONS, Engaging God's WORLD, and Engaging God's WORK.  This Bible study class is listed as Engaging God's FOUNDATIONS because it is designed to grow the foundational skill of Bible study.  

This class will be looking at how to study with God's glory, the original context, proper interpretation, and the growth of one another in mind.  

Studying with God's glory in mind helps us remember this life and this book is not about us.  The Bible tells us who God is and how we should live in relationship to who He is. 

Studying with the original context in mind means there is an intended meaning in the text.  While there may be different applications, the meaning of the text is not subject to our current day and age. 

Studying with the growth of one another in mind is why the title of this class has "for growth in me and others."  The goal of this class and Bible study, in general, is to know God more and see our lives changed as we grow in this understanding.  In genuine Bible study, the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds to help us know and change.

This is meant to help people improve in their study of the Bible whether they are new believers or senior saints.




While there are several different resources recommended/suggested resources, the one REQUIRED book for the class is the Bible.  "The Bible is unique, which means it is set apart from every other book written and every other voice spoken."

During this first week of class, the big question we are going to ask is What is and isn't the Bible?

Some online resources:

8.28.2022

One Crazy Summer

This summer, my first on staff at Trinity Baptist Church, has been filled with so many blessings and some challenging situations.

In thinking about the highlights, I have grouped them into two categories:

  • ministry/personal connections
  • unified teaching
MINISTRY CONNECTIONS:

I love making connections between things that are being taught and ministries the church is involved in.  This summer there were several different connection points.  Some were planned, some were unplanned, and all were God-ordained.

We started the summer off with Vacation Bible School from June 13 - 16.  The Australian-themed Zoomerang study provided us with the opportunity to share a video from one of our missionary families - the Mayos.  It was great to hear what God is doing right now down under.  Another VBS connection was having Lisa Koppenhofer share.  She, her husband Hugh, and their children have been regular attendees at TBC.  Lisa was born and raised in Australia.  So, thankfully, we did not have to do false Australian accents all week.  We had someone who speaks "Australian" share about growing up there.  The final "program" connection was with a local ministry TBC recently began supporting,  Alpha Grand Rapids.  We raised over $1300 to help Alpha show the love of Christ to pregnant moms.

There were also a couple of "personal" connections during VBS week.  Three East Oakview Elementary Bible Club kids came to VBS.  Krista and I also had the chance to briefly reconnect with friends from West Cannon. 

Personally, I am very thankful for the workers from TBC who stepped up to help in so many different ways.

The connections continued after VBS.  God provided the opportunity for me to speak at Camp Michawana a couple of times this summer.  On the first Tuesday night, I spoke at Kids Camp there were two girls from East Oakview's Bible Club.  The other Tuesday night I connected with several kids from Community Kids, another ministry TBC supports.  Along with these two camper connections, it was awesome to be at camp where 19 people from TBC were serving in different ways.  Several of the Community Kids I met at the camp were also at the Community Kids' Bible Club hosted at TBC this summer.  

The VBS, Bible Club, Community Kids, Camp MIchawana connections were amazing!  Praise God for multiple opportunities to share with kids!!




UNIFIED TEACHING:

Two of my responsibilities at TBC are children/family ministry and adult Christian education.  This summer I was able to bring both of these together with a combined Summer study for our Sunday School class.  The adults and the 2-year-olds through 5th graders did the same Fighter Verses passage each week. While there have been challenges in preparing and planning the study, it is my hope that this study will help people see the impact of Bible memory and meditation along with equipping parents to do family devotions.  In July and August, we focused on Psalm 91, and in July, I taught a class of children and parents.  While there are a lot of ministry specifics I would like to share, I need to write about how God has been using Psalm 91 in my life.  

Today (8/28) was the last day of the combined study and I shared with the adults that it is my prayer that Psalm 91 would serve as an anchor, a reminder, that points each of us to God, our refuge and our fortress.  Spending the last two months in this Psalm has been such a blessing.  All too often my Bible reading becomes something to get done quickly.  This long, focused time in one chapter has been such an encouragement.  He is the Psalm.  
    
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands, they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him
I will be, with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life, I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Protection is in the refuge and fortress that is God himself.  (1 - 2)
Protection is with feathers and shields from the snare of fowler and pestilence.  (3 - 4)
Protection is during day or night (5 - 6)
Protection is from the judgment of sin (7 - 8)
Protection is in a dwelling place (9 - 10)
Protection is by angels and ultimately Jesus (11 - 13)
Protection comes from God  (14 - 16)

Throughout this summer, I needed reminders that God is in control.  This Psalm, with its Biblical truth and visual imagery, served as a constant reminder. 

God, my refuge, my fortress, my protector, my shield,
I have been reminded over and over again these last two month
that you protect.
Help me remember this in everything I go through.
Amen.

7.11.2022

A Midsummer's Night Update

I know August 7th is officially the midpoint of summer. 
But doesn't the middle of July actually feel like midsummer? 
FYI, July 15 is the midpoint of Meteorological Summer. 

I haven't posted an update in quite some time.
This lack of posting is NOT because nothing is happening.  Actually, quite the opposite.


In the "tent" Jadyn and Joel built in our backyard.

It has been almost a year at Trinity Baptist Church (TBC) has been great.  It really is amazing to look back and see how God has worked and is working.

Here is a ministry and family update.

MINISTRY UPDATE:

During this past year, God provided many opportunities to begin and grow ministries at and through TBC. 

During the school year,

I taught some adult Sunday School classes including Biblical Understanding of Contemporary Issues and Reading Letters Together - Philippians and Titus

With the help of Rochelle Visser, one of TBC’s supported workers, Krista, Jadyn, some others, and I started an After School Bible School at a public elementary school near the church.

 

This summer has also been filled with some great ministry opportunities including

VBS (Vacation Bible School) –

A combined summer study using the Fighter Verses, which includes a parents/kids class starting this Sunday (July 10th)

Also, I am going to be speaking at Camp Michawana a couple of Tuesday nights.

 

FAMILY UPDATE:

We continue to be amazed at God’s great provisions in so many ways – friendships, gifts, encouraging words, and all of these things and more coming at just the right time. 

  • Joel finished his first year at Grand Rapids Community College.  He has taken some photography classes and really enjoys going around Grand Rapids and Michigan to get pictures.  He is helping with the children’s ministry at TBC and does a great job with the kids.
  • Josiah finished his sophomore year at Northpointe Christian School (NPC).  This summer he went on a mission trip to NYC with our church.  The trip was a great opportunity for Josiah and the rest of the group to share the Gospel, help a local church’s pantry/meal ministry,
  • Jadyn finished 6th grade at NPC.  As I mentioned earlier, Jadyn helped with the elementary After School Bible Club.  It has been awesome watching her serve there and at VBS. 
  • Krista finished her 5th year as a para pro/intervention teacher at NPC.  She has also been an amazing help and encouragement to me in my ministry at TBC. 

While this update has been filled with a lot of great, positive things this past year hasn’t been without its challenges.

  • We continue our search for a house.
  • Parenting obviously has its good days and bad days.
  • As many of you know ministry is filled with amazing blessings and challenges.
  • There are the challenges of life in general

As part of TBC’s combined summer study, we studied and memorized 1 Peter 5:6-10.  

Here is the passage followed by a prayer you can pray for us.


Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, ⁷casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. ⁸Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ¹⁰And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

 

Here is a prayer based on this passage.

 

Lord God, you are mighty, perfect, loving, and victorious.

Because you are mighty, help us live a humble life for your glory.

Because you are perfect and mighty, help us remember that your mighty hand will lift us up at the proper time.

Because you care for us and love us, help us cast our worries and anxieties, of life, parenting, and ministry, upon you,

Help us be sober-minded and watchful.

God, we know that you are so mighty and powerful, and we also know that our enemy the devil wants to destroy us.

Thank you for the victory over sin and death we have because of you.

 

This victory helps us resist the devil and stand firm in our faith, knowing that there are believers all around the world going through suffering and challenges. 

 

Lord, God, restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.  

 

Amen.

 

Thank you!