Monday, May 18, 2015


At the end of our church gathering yesterday morning, our elders appointed Brandi and me as an elder couple in our church.  Greg asked us to come to the front, and he laid a towel over our arms to signify the role of servant leadership.  Then the elders laid their hands on our shoulders and prayed over us. 

Yesterday, I felt the Lord impressing on me 1 Timothy 4:12, but yesterday morning, I read the verses around it, and I really felt the Lord confirming this servant leadership role in my heart:

1 Tim. 4:11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in this role.  I know that the Lord has grown me so much in the last two years, serving as an elder in training.  And I know that I will never have enough wisdom; but the Lord gives generously:

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

I know that I will always need to depend on His grace.  But I know that He will supply, because He is abundant in grace.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity for us to serve our congregation in this role.  I know that you are working in us and through us, and I know that you will bring to completion that which you have begun in us.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your example.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence and power. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Uncle Larry's funeral

My Uncle Larry passed away on Thursday, and his funeral was this morning.  Funerals are sad occasions, but for those who believe in Christ, there is comfort for the family.  We sang the hymn, "Victory in Jesus". 

The preacher's words were accurate, encouraging, and challenging.  He pointed out that Uncle Larry was always reading, always studying.  He was a man devoted to learning.  He was humble and joyful. The preacher challenged us to follow Uncle Larry's example.  Indeed, I want to be such a man. I want to be consistently studying, genuinely humble, and abundantly joyful.

I think attending a funeral helps keep things in perspective.  A wise man numbers his days.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Uncle Larry.  Thank you for his example.  Lord, please comfort Aunt DB, and give her strength.  Lord, please help me be consistent in growing, and consistent in demonstrating the fruit of the spirit.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 8, 2015

wisdom is near (and good)

8:1 Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,    at the entrance, she cries aloud:
"To you, O people, I call out;    I raise my voice to all mankind.
17 I love those who love me,    and those who seek me find me.
...20 I walk in the way of righteousness,    along the paths of justice,
32 "Now then, my children, listen to me;    blessed are those who keep my ways.

There were a couple of things that were encouraging to me this morning.  First, wisdom is near (v. 2-3). Wisdom is where the people are.  Usually, when I am in a difficult situation, I feel like wisdom is so far away.  But I need to remember that wisdom is a personification of the Lord, and the Lord is with us (Immanuel), so wisdom is near.

Second, wisdom wants to be heard (v. 1, 4) and obeyed so that we will be blessed (v. 17, 20, 32).  We need to be diligent to listen, but our hearing is not limited by the Lord; He generously gives wisdom to all who ask.  And we will experience the blessings of enjoying fellowship with Him, as well as the practical blessings of righteous/wise living.

Heavenly Father, thank you for being near.  Thank you for being present.  Jesus, thank you for being Immanuel.  Holy Spirit, thank you for being with me.  I don't really understand exactly how, but I believe that we are with you and that you are with us.  Lord God, I praise you for your goodness and kindness.  You delight in us, and you desire and plan good things for us; you even bring us good things out of seemingly bad circumstances.  You are good, and you are good to me.  Thank you for your grace.  Thank you for sustaining me.  I love you.  May I dwell in the abundane of your goodness, grace, and love.  Holy Spirit, anoint me with your goodness; may I bear your presence and goodness to others today.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Devoted spiritual time

I think I am realizing that I need to be careful not to overcommit my time for multiple reasons.  If I allow my professional obligations to take up too muc time, then it decreases available time for spiritual work.  And spiritual progress takes time. No way around it.  I think I have been so busy recently, that I have limited my availability for the Lord to use me in His work.  I think we new flexible time in our schedules to be available for the Holy Spirit to use us in "spontaneous" events.

Heavenly Father, I want to be available for your work.  I believe that you have called me to be a professor and that you are using me in my vocation.  But I also feel like it is important for me to be available for you to use me in spontaneous ministry moments.  I want to seek first your Kingdom.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.