Once again, this final “official” day of the Shepherd’s Conference was a bright, sunny, and beautiful California day. The first session of the day was begun with Grace’s Sunday night worship team, which is the more contemporary styled service. They led a really wonderful medley of songs all pointing to the holiness of God: God of Wonders, Indescribable, Be Unto Your Name, Holy Holy Holy, and Refiner’s Fire. John MacArthur followed this with some biblical reflection on God’s holiness in regard to evangelism. One particular quote I wrote down was “You have an ally in the heart of every unregenerate man, that is the law of God written on the hearts of men.” (Romans 1) He then encouraged us to use the law in our soul-winning to show man his need of a Savior in relation to God’s supreme holiness. Phil Johnson, director of Grace to You, then preached from Titus 2:7-8 on “Sound Words.” Here are my notes: Continue reading »
Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category
The first day of the Shepherd’s Conference found me driving in pouring rain up I-5 past a terrible car wreck, through deep puddles of water, and searching in vain for a parking spot on the Grace Community Church’s lot.
HA! A little rain isn’t going to ruin this day! I found a parking spot along the street a few blocks away, waited for the rain to subside, and walked to the church campus.
How do you describe the buzz of 3500 pastors from around the world all gathering together in one place? I don’t know. Electric, maybe? Everyone was giving off an air of anticipation. Lots of smiles, hugs, and refreshments all around. I found a seat on the organ side (for Janz) and waited the beginning of the first keynote. Continue reading »
Heather Hills Baptist Church, on the east side of Indianapolis, is seeking to add a male, full-time, associate pastor to begin as early as April 2009. Interested parties should contact the senior pastor Brian McCrorie at 317-894-7474 or can send resumes to bmccrorie (at) gmail (dot) com.
Heather Hills is an independent Baptist church in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches and the Crossroads Fellowship of Indiana. We are dispensational in our interpretation of Scripture, historically fundamentalist in our view of Scripture, and baptistic in our practice of Scripture within the local church. We have a strong desire to make an impact for the cause of Christ both locally and globally. We value expository preaching. We practice a blended style of worship, recognizing the importance of heritage while embracing contemporary expression, all of which is subject to the truth of Scripture and focused on the person and work of Christ. We believe that every member of Heather Hills is to be a minister, using his spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ.
Applicants should possess a strong desire for an equipping ministry, primarily in discipleship/spiritual development. A graduate degree is preferable along with some previous pastoral experience. Applicants must be willing to work as a part of a team and dedicated to the study of God’s Word and prayer. Those who make matters of opinion (Bible translations, musical style, etc.) a basis for fellowship need not apply.
Now, the real fun begins. I’ve said before that God has taught me to once again walk by faith and not by sight. Well, the faith part is more real than ever before as I am now officially unemployed. I’ve never had more uncertainty about the future than I have right now and never had more confidence in the provision of God than this moment.
So, phase two… Continue reading »
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)
Growing up, I always had a plan. I would become a preacher. A missionary. An evangelist. A secret agent. Whatever the boy in me thought was the most important, the most exciting–these were my pursuits and dreams.
When I was 14 years old, I lived in Scotland with my parents, who were missionaries. We took a trip that summer to visit missionary friends in Europe. My plan became to be a missionary to France.
In college, I was exposed to urban ministry and how God was working in the city. My plan became to be a church-planter in the great cities of America.
As I grew, the plans became more elaborate and researched. The determinations became more serious and focused.
I never became a missionary to France. I never started a church in an inner city. I never trained to be a secret agent. My plans were in shambles. There were times I questioned myself about planning at all.
But along the way, I learned some valuable lessons about life, particularly the life of a follower of Christ. I learned that WHAT I would do or WHERE I would go was not nearly as important as WHY I would do it and WHOM I would do it for.
As a young man, I had great dreams about what I could do for God. Everything was about having the biggest and best ministry with the most impact and renown. And sincerely, my dreams were about what could be done for God, not myself. But they were my plans. And I’m not sovereign or omniscient. Not a bit.
I still make plans. I believe in setting goals and trying to achieve them. I want to recognize my strengths and God-given abilities and develop them and use them in the most efficient way possible. But God changes things–sometimes when I least expect it. And I’ve learned that’s okay. In fact, I love to be surprised by God. He always gives good gifts.
So, here I sit, one week after giving my last update on the latest plans I have: to become a senior pastor. I have no doubt that God is in this transition in my life. And though I wait on His perfect will for my life, I am not anxious. Not at all. He is showing me that He will direct my paths. He is eliminating churches from consideration, and bringing new ones into my view. In fact, I’m even having some initial discussion now with a church that wasn’t even on my radar until this week.
It’s exciting, this living by faith. I never know what the next day, the next phone call, may bring. But I know the One who knew about it when He formed me in my mother’s womb.
How can I not rest in His care?
This Sunday, it will be announced that I am leaving Red Rocks Baptist Church. Continue reading »
At that time Matthew Murray was enrolled in the Youth With a Mission training center in Arvada, Colorado, preparing to go overseas with a ministry team.
How different was Matthew from the best Christian young people you know?
- Came from a “very, very” religious family
- Had an Uncle who is a pastor.
- Participated in Youth Missions training.
Fast-forward to Sunday, December 9th, 2007. Continue reading »
I apologize to my regular readers for my dearth in blogging in recent days. It seems that as the Christmas season approaches each year, I become mired in neck-deep details surrounding seasonal performances. Of course, then, there is my “regular” life too, which consists of helping my pastor shepherd a congregation full of needs. Oh, and there’s that family stuff too…
Due to the recent conversations here and elsewhere in the blogosphere, I have begun writing an article on the whole secular/sacred dichotomy. It has been good to think through this area again and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and mulling over them with you!
This morning, SharperIron re-posted one of my articles on thankfulness. If you haven’t had a chance to read it before, you can find it by clicking here. Hopefully, it will be an encouragement to you.
I wanted to just jot a brief note here to share what I am thankful for today. Continue reading »
Recently, I had the privilege to review a new CD by pianist Greg Howlett, Reflections on a Journey. I use the word privilege intentionally because this recording was a real joy to hear. As a music pastor, I receive numerous samples of music and recordings in any given year; and, I must admit, I don’t often look forward to the time it takes to review what is mostly average or below average quality work.
However, with Reflections on a Journey, I took a journey myself. When I was nine years old, I started piano lessons with Mr. Stanfield. I can’t even remember his first name because he was always “Mr. Stanfield” to me. He wasn’t the most advanced or educated teacher I have had, but he had more “heart” in his fingers than just about anyone I have ever heard or met. He was very good though–don’t get me wrong! Mr. Stanfield would sit at the piano in our church auditorium in Indianapolis, Indiana, and create a texture of music that always seemed to express the hymn in just the right way.
It’s been many years since Mr. Stanfield and I parted ways and I have been a piano teacher myself now. Though I can dazzle people with technique and ability, it is always the more mellow and familiar sounds that seem to impact my listeners.
Greg Howlett has that ability–to touch the strings of your heart–with his beautiful recording. Accompanied by the Nashville String Machine orchestra and a talented chorus, Greg has taken ten familiar songs and created a musical masterpiece along with orchestrator Steve Mauldin that you will want in your home library and church bookstore.
You can listen to samples by clicking here.
You can order the CD, watch a Behind the Scenes video, and learn more about Greg at: www.greghowlett.com.
I first met Jason Janz at Northland Baptist Bible College, in Dunbar, WI, where we both pursued our undergraduate degrees. I was a senior when Jason arrived at NBBC. He and I moved in different groups and I really didn’t get to know him at all my senior year. After my graduation, I was invited to stay on staff and become the director of the extension ministries department. I had some big ideas as to how to improve and expand the office; and to do that, I needed some personnel.
Well, before I had even moved in to the office completely, a sophomore named Jason Janz asked for a job. He got it. Continue reading »