Archive for the ‘Contemporary Issues’ Category

Hello, Dalai!

The Dalai Lama, speaking at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, May 2010

On May 14th, I attended an event here in Indianapolis featuring a 75-year-old Tibetan watch repairman named Tenzin Gyatso. He is better known as the 14th Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet, who lives in exile in India. This was his second visit to Indianapolis; and, having just taught on Buddhism at Heather Hills, I decided to see first-hand what the Dalai Lama was all about.  There has always been a curious side of me in relation to people of fame, whether in religion, politics, sports, or entertainment.  I want to see beyond the mask.  This doesn’t always work out so well. For example, I remember when I was a pastoral intern in 1992, I went to a faith healing service with famed religious leader Ernest Angley. I made two mistakes: I took a video camera with me and…my mom. Continue reading

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Strategic Ministry Planning and Implementation

One of the first things I led as pastor at Heather Hills was strategic ministry planning.  Now, I know some people don’t like this sort of thing because they think we are limiting God or putting or plans before what God may have for us.  I understand that sentiment and logic; however, I believe both in God’s sovereignty as well as careful planning.  Throughout the process, we constantly went to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to direct us, give us wisdom and show us if we were on the wrong track.  Even now, in our second year of our ministry plan–the result of that initial process–we regularly ask God to show us if we are pursuing a path He does not desire for our church.  We believe in the sovereignty of God (Proverbs 19:21; 21:31; Zechariah 4:6; John 15:5).  The Church is His Church.  Jesus purchased her with His blood; it belongs to Him. We are His bride. Continue reading

Wading Back In

My daughter Christina at Lake Erie

Well, it’s been nearly 2 years since I became the senior pastor at Heather Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.  For most of that time, I have chosen not to blog regularly.  Frankly, I needed a break from blogging.  I got into blogging when it was “trendy” a few years back and really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with people I had never met from all over the country on a wide variety of subjects.

There was also a compulsion to speak.  Continue reading

Live From Hollywood!

hollywood_signToday, Deborah and I had the day off from the Shepherd’s Conference so we tackled two prestigious locations.  The first was the resting place of my favorite U.S. President.  The second was the resting place of the most famous sign in the world. Continue reading

SHEPHERDS, DAY THREE: “If we seek to please God, it does not matter whom we displease.”

Steve Lawson at Shepherd's Conference 2009

Dr. Steve Lawson, Shepherd's Conference 2009

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

SHEPHERDS, DAY ONE: “Step on the grass. Shoot a deer. Dig for oil. NOW!”

 

Dr. John MacArthur, Shepherd's Conference 2009

Dr. John MacArthur, Shepherd's Conference 2009

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

Live from LA! Shepherd’s Conference 2009

shepconfAs I write this, I am sitting in my hotel room in Burbank, California. I am eager to experience the Shepherd’s Conference for the first time. Each night, I will post a recap of the conference that day.

Why am I here? There are myriads of ministry conferences a pastor can attend in the 21st Century. I, however, am not interested in the latest ministry fads, the latest church growth techniques, or the latest superstar speakers.

I am interested in one thing, the passionate, expository preaching and teaching of the Bible. Continue reading