Friday, July 29, 2011

“I belong to the church of Christ; not a branch or wing of it, or a party in it; but to the church itself.  I propose never to stand associated with one special wing, branch, or party of the church.  My aim is to preach the gospel, to do the work of an evangelist, teach God’s children how to live, and, as long as I do live, to live as nearly an absolutely perfect life as possible.”
– T.B. Larimore.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on Him."
—Hudson Taylor, missionary to China

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity."
-Leonard Ravenhill


Friday, July 22, 2011

Is it just me?

Several times in my life I have given people advice to go in one direction, and then I have promptly turned and gone in the opposite.  Sometimes this advice was relational, sometimes behavioral, sometimes spiritual.  What is about human nature that makes us defy good judgment and common sense and invite disaster?  I think the answer to that question lies at the heart of who we are as people.  We are rebellious given our fallen state and it was rebellion that caused the situation to begin with.

Parents will tell you that often times the fastest way to get a child to do something is to forbid it.  Even as children, we want to know if we really will get punished; if we really will be injured and heartbroken.  I think back over the vast majority of sins I have committed in my life and, largely, they were intentional acts of disobedience.  One might argue that intent behind the thought, word or action has a large part in determining whether it is sinful at all.  Why do I choose evil when I know what the consequences will be?

Some might say because sin brings pleasure for a season and I think the Bible would agree with that.  After several run-ins with serious sin, however, it looks like we would be tired of the pain and emotional turmoil.  John Wesley taught the doctrine of Christian Perfection: that we can reach a point where we cease to sin or even desire sin.  How can this be?  I believe this point can only come when we have matured to a point to see sin for what it is: evil that separates us not only from God but from each other.  If we can fully realize that essential truth then we have a much great opportunity to look temptation in the face and refuse its offer.

I am still growing in that direction and I hope you are as well.  Let us press forward and onward toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy 40th!

My dear friend, Bobby, has turned 40 today.  Bobby continues to work with the congregation I grew up in both with youth and now as the pulpit minister. 
When I was a young teen, Bobby was a great encouragement to me by taking me to youth events, church camp and allowing me to help with the ball teams he coached. 
Since those early years of our friendship, Bobby and his wife have two sons of their own and they have influenced countless numbers of people, young and old, for Christ. 
Bobby and his family have truly been a blessing to my life and the life of my hometown. 
I pray that God will continue to use his life to lead others to a more abundant way of living.
"Someone asked will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved?
It is more a question with me whether we — who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved." 
-Charles H. Spurgeon


Book Review: Rumors of God

I recently read Rumors of God by authors Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson.  Both men are pastors/ministers within the community church movement.  One is a teaching pastor at a suburban Chicago megachurch and the other is a church planter at a large NYC congregation.  The book is well laid out with short, compact chapters.  Each chapter covers a different aspect of God's desire for contemporary Christians.

Rumors of God is an attempt to call the modern church and individual Christians to live beyond the ordinary and find the life that God desires for them.  The authors refer to these ideals as "rumors" because while we believe in theory that God is working in our time few of us see His genuine presence in our own lives.  The book is largely a critique of modern/postmodern cultural and how it has negatively impacted the church.  Issues such as competition and consumerism are evaluated and compared to Biblical teaching.  The book uses lots of Scripture references and allusions to make its application to the present day.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  I felt like the book would appeal to especially to urban Christians in large churches.  Many of the authors personal examples from ministry would occur much more frequently in cities outside the Bible Belt.  The book points us as Christians in a higher direction and more toward what God truly desires of His people.  In discovering the truth of the "rumors" we may find that God is much different than we had previously imagined.  The book prompts personal investigation into who God is and what He desires for His children.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life changes and perspective

Those of you who know me well know that I am not the best at romantic relationships.  In college I dated a lot of people for various lengths of time.  Currently three of my former girlfriends who were all significant in my life and growth as a person are now married and expecting their first child. 

This fact has made me realize a couple of things: one, that I would not change any of those relationships or how they turned out.  These three ladies are now each happily married and very happy in their locations, careers and families.  I am not married, as you know, but am in a quite content season of life as a single person doing a job I love. 

Secondly, I am glad for the ability to remember good times in my dating relationships.  Each of these women were enjoyable to be around, good at listening and are genuinely caring people.  Just because we did not form lasting romantic relationships does not mean I do not still think highly of each of them. 

Finally, I realized that I have changed a lot since college.  Obviously, my health problems have played a part in those changes, but I think the maturity that has come in the last five years has radically altered the way I view life and relationships.  Since leaving college dating behind, I have had a positive, adult relationship with a wonderful woman.  While that relationship ultimately evolved from a dating situation to a mutual friendship, I learned so much about what I want in life as a result.

For along time I was ashamed of my dating behaviors in college.  I was inexperienced and immature.  Now I realize that past mistakes do not have to define my future in any area of my life.  I am looking forward to whatever life has to offer and hope that the lessons I have learned will enable me to meet its challenges.
"What is dead may be dormant, and what is barren may be about to bear, and wild things can somehow find a way to bloom."
-Ann Voskamp

Monday, July 18, 2011

"The great tragedy of materialistic America is not financial abundance, but spiritual poverty."
-Rumors of God

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Totals

This site (as of the last ClusterMap total) has been viewed in 67 countries around the world as well as the vast majority of U.S. states.  Apparently, we have quite a readship in Ohio who (other than TN) wins for total hits at over 300 individual uploads.

As always, thanks for reading!

Directions for the Way

My Garmin GPS has finally stopped working after months of poor health.  I love a GPS because it can be a guide in unknown territory and give you a sense of course, direction and position no matter where you are.

We all need direction in life.  Many of us were taught certain principles by our parents that guided us into adulthood.  Perhaps coaches, grandparents and teachers further lent direction to our formative years.  We desire and need direction in all areas of life: social, career, family and, of course, spiritual.  It is the search for direction that ultimately finds itself as its own reward.  Jesus spoke of Himself as "the Way."  Notice He did not say He was the destination. In the same passage (John 14), He notes that the Father is Who lies at the end of a journey with Him and no one gets to the destination unless he or she goes in the right Way.

My advice is that we learn to enjoy the Way in life.  As we follow along the path that is laid before us, let us not miss the journey by only looking for the reward of the destination.  God has a great desire that we should learn many things in this life; some from revelation and many through experience.  If you find the Way, finding the destination will surely follow.
"To love another person is to see the face of God."
-Les Miserables

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pilate

Tonight I will be speaking on the Alamo church of Christ Summer Series.  As speakers we were asked to tailor our lessons around a character from the New Testament that we don't often hear lessons about.  After a couple of thoughts, I decided to speak on Pontius Pilate.  I can honestly say I have never heard a lesson centered around Pilate and his role in the Gospel narrative.  I have found preparing for this lesson challenging and it has caused me to exam the death of Jesus in new ways.  I am not sure how much I have learned will be conveyed to the congregation tonight, but I hope some small measure of knowledge can be transferred.  Here's hoping we all re-evaluate these familiar passages from time to time and come away with a deeper, fuller understanding of what God has done and is doing for us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"We all want a love like a country song...of course, some of us get Tim and Faith love and others get that George and Tammy type."
"Christ came and lost everything that He might heal the wounds that we have from losing things.” -A.W. Tozer

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's Wedding Day!

Congratulations to Paige Hughes and Aaron Vaughn whose wedding is now just a few hours away.  Paige is the first of my cousins on this side of the family to be married.  I am so fortunate to have known Paige and Aaron and been asked to be a part o the ceremony.

Love you guys!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Be sure

Dear Reader,

Be sure to check out A Holy Experience (link in sidebar).  In today's entry, Ann brings a story of near tragedy that is overcome by the help of family.  Great post!

Be blessed,
-Will
"The temptation of the age is to look good without being good."
—Brennan Manning

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blog

Many times on this blog I am expressing my personal opinions or responses to situations I have faced in life.  Other times I am making general observations about life, faith and other topics.  I fear that some readers take these observations personally which is not how they are intended.  Often I am merely writing to satisfy the need to express myself and am not intending to draw any conclusions on the matters of which I write.  If you enjoy the blog, I am glad.  If you find what I write here offensive, feel free to contact me about it or find other sources of online reading.

I hope many of you will continue to read and offer your thoughts.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pray for study

This Thursday, Lord willing, I will be meeting with some Mormons to talk about the Scriptures.  This is my fourth or fifth meeting with LDS missionaries, but only my second with these two guys.  Our first meeting lasted over an hour and they seemed open to discussing some deeper issues.  Most of my encounters with LDS members in the past have led to mutual respect but no lasting results.  For some reason I feel that at least one of these young men may be different.

Please pray that I will have God's Spirit and God's words as I speak to these young men.  Imagine what great missionaries converted LDS members would make?!  We are slowly building up to some important questions and I hope that we will find common ground in the truth of God's word.

Thanks for all you do.
"God cannot lead you on the basis of information you do not have." —Ralph Winter

Sunday, July 3, 2011


"God never takes away anything that He doesn’t replace with Himself."
 -Jacquelyn K. Heasley

Saturday, July 2, 2011

When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying, "You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages."
To that, Calvert replied, "We died before we came here."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Incomprehensible

One thing I like most about God is that He is incomprehensible.  God has no boundaries, no gender (as a Spirit), no limitations (other than ones He imposes on Himself), a being with no regrets, no mistakes, no equals, no companions, no weaknesses...it's pretty remarkable.

Knowing what little I know about God leads me to a state of awe mixed with fear.  He is beyond everything yet right in the middle of everything.  Faith makes it possible to see Him and He has not left Himself without witness.

Praise!