Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ 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


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

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 TWO: “2 Sermons, 1 Interview, and a Spinning Wheel”

Dr. Rick Holland, Shepherd's Conference 2009

Dr. Rick Holland, Shepherd's Conference 2009

Today was the most beautiful March day I have ever experienced in my life.  It was just a perfect day, sunny and warm.  When I got out of my car after finding a parking space on a nearby street this morning, I was almost overwhelmed by the aroma of flowers and blossoming trees and bushes.    The glorious morning continued with an outstanding message from Rick Holland, the Executive Pastor at Grace.  His message was sourced in chapter eleven of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.  Here are some of 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

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

I recently saw this video and thought it would be good to share with my readers.  This takes the testimony of Kirk Cameron and couples it with the teaching of Dr. John MacArthur in a clear presentation of the Gospel, the good news, about Jesus Christ.  This is what my life is all about: promoting and preaching this message.


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?