Count it all joy when you face various trials. --James the brother of Jesus

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Three Weeks Down

Well, I've made it through the first three weeks. The first day was rough. I was so nervous and I think the kids in my class were even more nervous that I was. We broke the ice well, but when I went home that first night I felt totally overwhelmed. I felt so incompetent. However, I went in for another day and things went a little better. I enjoyed a weekend to recover, and every day since then has been better. I have found that I really love teaching, and I love my class too.

I've had a few surprises about the generation gap that exists between myself and my students. I was talking to them about a book that we were reading together and we were just looking at the publication information. I noticed that the book was published in Wheaton, IL, and I said, "Do you know what's in that city? Wheaton College. That's where Billy Graham went to school." Do my surprise, I heard one of my students say, "Who is Billy Graham?" The sad thing is that he wasn't alone. I don't think any of them knew who he was, but a few started to have a light come on when I told them about Franklin Graham and mentioned Samaritan's Purse.

The other surprise came when I brought in a donation of a set of encyclopedias. Before telling the class I asked, "Do you know what an encyclopedia is?" and I actually had several who said they did not. I guess when you can look up anything that you want to on the Internet in a matter of seconds, a bulky set of encyclopedias is just not that practical. I did try to convince them, though, that what they would find in print in that set of books in our class is more reliable than what they would find in a google search.

During the second week of class I had to take a quick trip home to Illinois. My great grandmother passed away and her funeral was on Wednesday morning. We left after school on Tuesday and I was back in time to teach Thursday. By that time I felt comfortable enough as a teacher that I don't think I missed a beat when it came to the classroom for the remainder of the week.

The first few days I was mostly nervous because I didn't know how I was going to fill up a whole day with what little I had to say. Now, only three weeks in, I realize that the day is so short I can barely cover the things I need to in the short time I have with the students.

The first week or two I was probably too much of a push over when it came to keeping an orderly classroom. They all had so many questions and many of them were not pertinent to what we were talking about in class but I let them ask anyway and I did my best to answer. I've discovered that much of this was a waste of class time and I've started to be a bit more strict about how the classroom time is run. I'm sure it won't be long and we will have a good routine established and they will know what I expect.

My favorite part of the class is my time reading with them. We've started out the year reading Bruce Ware's book Big Truths for Young Hearts. It has been a great and fruitful time. We have already finished the chapters on the doctrine of Scripture and the Trinity and we're now beginning creation. The kids are enjoying it and it is probably the material where I feel most at home.

Three weeks in is pretty small considering I've got to keep this up till May, but I'm feeling pretty good about things so far and I'm looking forward to more surprises and more things that I can teach the wonderful kids that I have now come to know and love.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to School: A New Seat

In less than one week I will begin my first school year--as a teacher. I'll be teaching 5th and 6th grade and I have a total of 10 students. I'll be teaching a Bible class on Acts-Revelation (in chronological order), History of the US (1815-present), Grammar and Spelling, and 5th grade Math and Science.

This will be a very busy semester for me. Not only am I teaching all these classes, but I have a deadline to complete my thesis for the Master of Theology that I am enrolled in at Southwestern.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Classical Christian Education: My New Calling

Education has been my life. I have known nothing but school for as long as I can remember. After high school I immediately went to SBU. After SBU I went to Southern Seminary. After SBTS there was a year and a half break followed by returning to continue my theological education at Southwestern Seminary. I am now moving into a role on the other side of the classroom. I'll be a teacher. You can read about how this transpired here.

I have been preparing for the gospel ministry since I was 15 years old. I have had the desire to be a pastor for over half my life. Yet, through God's providence, that desire has been left mostly unfulfilled. I have been following what I believed God was calling me to, and I will continue to do so. In making this change of direction I do not believe for a minute that I will be leaving behind my calling. In short, God has called me to teach and preach the Bible, and in this new role I will be teaching the Bible daily. I hope that as time goes on and we get plugged in to a local church that opportunities for preaching will also come. I will keep busy with what God is giving me to do in the meantime.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Axioms for a Great Commission Resurgence

I got to listen to Dr. Danny Akin's chapel message at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary yesterday and he has some very important things to say about the Southern Baptist Convention. You can listen here, or read the manuscript here.

Update: 5/1/09

There has also been a website launched where you can sign up to show your support for a Great Commission Resurgence.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

So I Will Come

Come, sinners, view the Lamb of God,
Wounded and dying, bathed in blood!
Behold His side, and venture near,
The well of endless life is here.
Here I forget my cares and pains
And find a drink whose pow’r remains;
Only the fountain-head above
Can satisfy the thirst of love.

So I will come and view the cross
Where mercy answered righteousness;
The spotless Lamb of God was slain
For this unworthy, helpless sinner’s gain!

His thorns and nails pierce through my heart,
In ev’ry groan I bear a part;
I view His wounds with streaming eyes:
But see! He bows His head and dies!
Oh that I thus could always feel!
Lord, more and more Your love reveal!
Then my glad tongue shall loud proclaim
The grace and glory of Your name.

John Newton (1725-1807) / David L. Ward
© 2008

Listen Here

Friday, April 10, 2009

How to Do Family Devotions With Small Children

I'm thankful to a friend from Southern Seminary who shared this on his blog. Check this out.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Founders Ministries Blog: How to stay out of debt

Tom Ascol has posted a video with a little known secret for how to stay out of debt and stay there. Check it out.

Monday, March 30, 2009

John Gill Give Away!!!

I'm giving away a free copy of John Gill's collected works on CD Rom on my other blog. You can sign up here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why I Believe in Closed (Close, or Strict) Communion

The first thing that I must address here is terminology. Not all people mean the same thing by "closed communion." Some, when they hear the term assume that it means that only those who are members of a particular church are admitted to partake of communion. I don't believe in this, and I don't think that this is historically what is meant by the term "closed communion." What I believe this historically meant is that baptism is a prerequisite for communion. It's also called "strict communion." It is a practice that Baptists have historically been maligned for because we do not permit those who were so called "baptized" as infants to participate in communion in our churches--though we recognize that they may be genuine Christians. Baptists have been called bigoted for this practice. Even some Baptists have shied away from this practice because we don't want to offend our gospel believing friends. However, I think that if one is convinced that the Bible teaches believer baptism and wants to be consistent in practice, closed communion is the logical position to hold. There are more reasons for this than I care to go into here; however, I will list a few:

1) Everyone practices some type of closed communion. No one would admit unbelievers to the Lord's Table. One has to draw a line at some point, or communion would be a meaningless event.

2) All other denominations have historically seen baptism as a prerequisite for membership. Baptists are actually in agreement with the majority of the Christian tradition in maintaining that Baptism is a prerequisite for communion. I once went to visit an Episcopal church, just to observe, and when it was time for the "Eucharist," the rector invited "all baptized Christians" to partake. In practicing closed communion, Baptists do not practice anything different regarding communion than other denominations--we just disagree about what baptism is.

3) Baptists, by definition, believe that baptism is an ordinance for believers only. This means that when an infant is sprinkled it is NOT baptized at all. If a Baptist is consistent, he will not recognize an infant baptism, or even a sprinkling, a legitimate baptism at all. With this being the case it is not that Baptists are making a judgment about the salvation of those who are so called "baptized" as infants. We are making a judgment about the legitimacy of their baptism. If they are not baptized at all, then according to my reason #2 above, they ought not be admitted to communion in any church.

These are just a few arguments for why I believe in closed communion. This is not an exhaustive list, and I admit that I haven't even begun to make a Scriptural argument yet. The case that I make here is based on history and logic. I admit this, and I am prepared to use Scripture to defend the case that I am making here.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

New Audio: Does Jesus Scare You More than the Storm?

I got a chance to preach tonight at Lebanon Baptist Church in Cleburne, TX. My friend, Todd Peebles, is the pastor there, and he allowed me to come and share. I am very happy that we were able to record it and now I am able to share it. Click here to listen.

This is a message on the story of when Jesus calmed the storm from the account in Matthew 4:35-41. I believe this text teaches that Jesus is one and the same with the God of the Old Testament and that as such he exercises sovereignty over his creation.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Recording of My Preaching

I recently had a friend (Todd Peebles) here at the seminary record one of my old sermons to an mp3 file that I had previously only had on tape. The text is Psalm 15, and it was preached back in November or December of 2004. Right click on the phrase "one of my old sermons" above, and click "save target as" to download it. Or just click on it and you can listen to it stream.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Free Audio gives away a free audio book every month. I've been downloading them for a year now and have simply never thought to share it on my blog. I've benefited from several classics, and this month they are giving away Donald Whitney's book Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life. I read this book during my first year at Southern Seminary and it is a great overview of practical discipleship. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Here is a link to their site. You will also need to use the coupon code for this month: MAR2009.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Win a Premium Calf Leather ESV Study Bible

Several of my friends have already linked to this blog which is giving away a "Premium Calf Leather ESV Study Bible. Go to the site and register for your own chance to win.

Prospectus Approved!!! Almost.

I just met with my supervisor this morning about my prospectus submission. The significant aspect that needed revised was the thesis statement. I had originally proposed a statement that was too vague: "This thesis will argue that Gill's commentary on the Song of Solomon was written with a presupposition that the book is about Christ and the Church, and a presupposed ecclesiological vision flowing from other texts throughout the Bible." This statement was followed by a paragraph fleshing out what I intended which my supervisor said contained a better thesis statement: "None of Gill's ecclesiological claims flow directly from the Song, but in every reference to an ecclesiological claim within the Song, Gill draws support from similar images elsewhere in Scripture from which these claims are actually derived." I plan to make the necessary revisions and my prospectus should be approved early next week. My fear now is that I have overstated my claim. I use the word "every." While I know that this was extremely common, I will have to see as I write whether the claim can be substantiated.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New John Gill Blog

I have created a new blog and will probably be contributing to it much more than I do this one. It is a blog devoted to research on John Gill, a Particular Baptist pastor in 16th century London. That is who I am writing my thesis on. I have been joined by Allen Mickle and Jonny White, both Ph.D. students also writing their dissertations on Gill. You can find this new blog here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Features for my Blog

It has been a while since I've done anything new to my blog besides the occasional post. Those are also usually few and far between. However, I was just looking through the features available on blogger and I thought I would give some new things a try. First, I've added Adsense (pending approval). I don't know how successful this will be, but it may be a way to generate just a little side income. I'm not going to get too excited though. I have no idea who reads this blog anyway. Second, I've added a block on the side to show who follows this blog. As I mentioned earlier, I don't even know who reads this. So if you are a regular reader of my blog, please add yourself to my blog followers so I will get to know some of the people who read what I put out there. Finally, I thought it would just be fun to add a poll. This would also be a feature that would help me to get some idea of how many people see my blog. So if you don't want to show yourself as one of my followers, then please, participate in my surveys just to help me gage whether it is even worth it to post anything at all. The first poll that I have introduced is "Do you think that John Gill was a hyper-Calvinist?"

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