Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Matt Chandler

Update: John Piper went to The Village Church and spoke on the topic of suffering. Listen to it here.

I have mentioned before how I love to redeem my spare time by listening to sermons. Matt Chandler is the first guy I go to on Itunes when I start downloading to my Ipod. This guy has had an enormous impact on my life over the past year or two. He has had a rough couple of weeks and the news today was not good. Please join with me in praying for this dear brother. For those who are unaware of Matt and his situation here is a bit of how it has progressed:

1) An awesome sermon from Hebrews 11 at Southern early this Fall.

Hebrews 11 Chapel Message at Southern Baptist Seminary on November 12,2009.

2) During Thanksgiving week the Village Church (where Matt is the pastor) released this statement.

3) Surgery was next, but before the surgery he wrote this and then filmed this clip.

Video from Matt

4) The surgery was a success; recovery and rehab started off well. But today...the pathology report came back. Here is that update.

It's a gargantuan bummer. Along with his family (wife and 3 small kids), he needs our prayer.
Have you noticed a theme in his preaching, writing and videos just referenced in this blog post alone? It's a theme of suffering well to the glory of God. Remember Hebrews 11 (don't skip over v. 35-38!) and that sermon at the top, which was given before all this started. It seems a lot like what Paul was talking about in Philippians 1, esp. vs 29 when he writes, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (30) engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had..." Jesus suffered, his disciples suffered (11 of the 12 were martyred and at one point John, the only one not martyred, was boiled alive!) and Paul also suffered. When people suffer well it is an amazing witness to the power of the gospel! Pray for Matt Chandler, but also, learn with me from how he is suffering. It remains a mystery to me...but God gets a lot of glory when his children suffer well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent Conspiracy pt. 2

Last year, I posted this entry which featured a really clever Christmas video by Advent Conspiracy. Before reading the rest of this post you may just want to go back and click on that link and re-watch the original video so that you can fully appreciate the new one.



Even CNN is reporting on this ministry. Pretty exciting stuff.

If you are reading this on Facebook and can't see the video, click here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Parenting Prep and Christmas Video

Weeks ago, when Leslie first told me she was pregnant I took the news like a good Masai, quite stoic and brave. Then when I was alone I began to think about how unprepared I am and how little I know about fatherhood. I went online and began to research good books to read. I am sure to read more but at the end of my initial research I ended up choosing three resources, Gospel Powered Parenting by William Farley and Pastor Dad by Mark Driscoll (for me) and The Jesus Storybook Bible (Deluxe Edition) by Sally Lloyd-Jones (for the kid). You can read a review of Gospel Powered Parenting, here and a review of The Jesus Storybook Bible, here. This is of course only the beginning of my study and preparation for parenthood but I thought you might like to check them out. Post any other books or resources you have found helpful in the comment section and I will look into them.

Since the Christmas season is upon us I thought I would post this little video. It is one of the resources available with the Jesus Storybook Bible.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

The wait is over!

For the 6 of you who were anxiously awaiting our big news here it is...We're having a baby!! I'm currently 12 weeks along and the due date is clocking in at June 10. Thomas and I are very excited and glad that we can finally tell everyone. I had an ultrasound on November 3 and everything looked good. We were able to hear the heartbeat which was lots of fun!

Thomas's parents will be able to take 2 weeks of vacation around the time of the birth and will also be taking 3 months of furlough from Sept–Jan in Wake Forest! SEBTS has a furnished apartment that they'll be able to rent that is minutes from our house. We just found this out yesterday and it's truly an answer to prayer.

I look forward to picking up my hiatus from blogging to begin sharing this wonderful adventure with pictures and updates. Thanks to everyone who constantly lifts us up in prayer, we'll be needing it now more than ever! Click here for belly pics, even though they don't look like much yet. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Calvinist Cartoon

I found this cartoon over at Calvinistic Cartoons and thought it was hilarious!! Is the fact that I found this so funny just further proof that I am becoming (or maybe I already am?), a massive nerd?
Hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving.



Just click on the image to make it larger.

Big Announcement Coming Soon....

Stay tuned for some pics and information on what's new with us! ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cool Videos and a Great Resource

I wish I was creative enough to think up something like this. Or a good enough writer to write something like this.

Perspectives from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.



While I'm on the topic of recommending cool video clips...let me point you to this one. It's Tim Keller, from Redeemer, giving a little preview of Counterfeit Gods.



While I'm on the topic of Tim Keller let me point you to a brand new resource. I try to "redeem my commute" (work is an hour and twenty minutes, round trip) by listening to sermons. My favorites are Matt Chandler, David Platt, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and sometimes chapel sermons from other seminaries. But just this week Tim Keller began releasing his sermons for free. I'm excited. Check 'em out here.

[If you are reading this on Facebook click here to watch the clips.]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Convicted by an Atheist

I saw this video (the embedding feature is disabled so click on the link) about a year or so ago on YouTube and thought it was convicting. Recently, we were talking about it in small group and I've seen it mentioned on some blogs I read so, I thought I would post it. Watch the video and read this quote and see if it doesn't make you think. This quote is from Kevin Harney's book Organic Outreach for Ordinary People.

If we believe there is a real heaven and a real hell, we should be moved to evangelize and to reach out in the name of Jesus. If we love people, our hearts should propel us. I heard one of the most convincing arguments for this from an atheist. His name is Penn, the well-known illusionist in the duo Penn and Teller. On his video blog, Penn tells about a man who came to him after a show and gave him a Bible and tried to proselytize him. Here is a portion of his response to that encounter [the rest is Penn telling the story]:

He said, “I’m a businessman. I’m sane; I’m not crazy.” And he looked me right in the eye and did all this. And it was really wonderful. I believe he knew that I was an atheist.

But he was not defensive and he looked me right in the eyes and he was truly complimentary. It did not seem like empty flattery. He was really kind, and nice, and sane, and looked me in the eyes and talked to me. Then he gave me this Bible.

I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward–and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself–how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.


I'm not going to lie to you, I struggle in this area. Partly because my classmates and co-workers are all believers; the current "Christian bubble" I live in forces me to be much more intentional...I rarely am. Pray for me!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Idol Worship on Nightline

Last night (10/5) ABC's Nightline ran a special which featured the American culture and our obsession with idols. The segment features Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll who has recently been doing a lot of preaching and writing on the subject of idols. It's short, only like 5 or 6 minutes long. You have to click on the link below, sorry I couldn't figure out how to just post it here.

American Idol Worship

This past Summer at Advance 09 he gave a lecture on "Ministry Idolatry" which I found to be one of the most convicting talks I have ever heard, you can watch it here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Prayer

At the Summit this past weekend, after a wonderful exposition on the immensity of God, Pastor J.D. encouraged us to pray this prayer throughout the week. I thought I would share it.

God, I have tasted thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more...I am ashamed at my lack of desire. Oh God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be more thirsty still. Show me thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wondered so long.
A.W. Tozer, Pursuit of God

P.S. I read this book while at CIU and it changed me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Hebrew Alphabet

As you know, I'm in seminary. One of the mental inflictions they have required is that we learn the original languages. This year I'm studying Hebrew. I'm terrible at it, it sort of feels like my brain is getting punched by an enormous, bling encrusted fist. Anyway, I took a quiz a few weeks ago over the Hebrew alphabet and did miserable. But if I had known about this fun little jewel beforehand maybe it wouldn't have been so bad.
I'll be watching this on repeat until I get it down. Come and learn the alphabet with me:

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Am The Rose

This is a clip from Matt Chandler at a Desiring God Conference earlier this year.



I am, in so many different ways, "the rose." This is one reason, among many, why getting the gospel right is SO important.

If you are looking for ways to "redeem your commute" (make the most of your time in the car), I suggest downloading some Chandler sermons to your Ipod. You can find them by searching for "The Village Church" or "Matt Chandler" on Itunes.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Devestating Effects of Assuming the Gospel

This is Matt Chandler at the Advance 09 Conference. It's only about 3 minutes long but it's good. One of the reasons people leave the church:



Moralism fails.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Morris Adams 80th Birthday

August 22nd the Adams family threw a surprise party for my Grandfather Morris. Mom and Dad saved up their vacation time and flew home to celebrate Pawpaw's 80th birthday. We had a great time. My uncles, Jimmy and Joel, did a lot of cooking. Jimmy built the cooker in the below pictures and stayed up all night the night before smoking the pig. It was delicious.

Well over a hundred people came and celebrated a life well lived. It was a great tribute to a man who has been such a hard working provider of his family. You can see more pictures here.

Jimmy's Cooker


Jimmy and the pig


Pawpaw and his cake, notice that the car is broken down and on a jack, since Pawpaw worked as a mechanic for so many years.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Multicultural Article


I was assigned to cover the Kingdom Focused Perspective Multicultural Conference for work last weekend. I wrote up a little article about it and then my awesome co-worker Melissa made it sing. You can read our article here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Multi-Cultural Church

Why is 11am on Sunday morning the most segregated hour of the week?

Dr. Akin recently said this at the Advance 09 Conference: "We can integrate the military, we can integrate athletics and the work place but we can’t allow the church on Earth to look like what it’s going to look like in heaven? I am absolutely convinced that God will not visit us with revival or with a great moving of his Spirit unless we get our hearts right about this particular area.”

The fact that so many churches are divided up by skin color or ethnic groups is a big issue for me. I hate it!

The church should aim to look like heaven in Revelation 7: “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'”

Well maybe people from every nation, tribe, people and language are not represented in your community, so they are not able to attend your church even if you would have them. The reality is though, your church would not have them even if they were. If you doubt it's true look at your church and then look at the community around it. Unless you are the exception, your community is way more ethnically diverse than your church. And chances are you and your church are doing nothing to change it.

But this church on the other hand is leading the way and providing a model for what church should look like.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Animals

Here are some pictures from my time in the Masai Mara with Mom, Dad, Zeb and the Burnhams. If we are friends on facebook you may have already seen these, but my Grandma hasn't and she reads my blog :) so this is for her and posterity. You can see more pictures by going here.
















Friday, July 31, 2009

Twittering the Gospel

A few months ago 9 Marks hosted a fun challenge to see who could present the Gospel best on Twitter. The challenge is that Twitter has a 140 character limit. Well a ton of people responded to the 9 Marks blog and gave a shot. It is quite fun to read through them all.
Dr. Akin took up the challenge in his message at the SBC Annual Meeting, it's good. Here it is:

"The Gospel is the good news that king Jesus died and paid the full penalty of sin. He rose from the dead and saved all who repent of sin and trust Him."


Pretty good. He also added this little gem.

"The person who has Jesus + nothing actually has everything.
The person who has everything - Jesus they have nothing. This is the Gospel."


This past Easter I attended church at First Presbyterian in Columbia, SC. Sinclair Ferguson is the pastor there and he asked this question in his sermon: "Can you put the Gospel on a 3x5 card?"

So many churches in America have replaced the gospel with religion. I love the efforts and the challenges of 9 Marks, Dr. Akin and Sinclair Ferguson to put an emphasis on the Gospel.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Awesome Sermon Series on Ruth

One of Thomas' favorite pastors as of late is David Platt. Phenomenal speaker, godly man, true to the Word. I stumbled upon a link to this series from one of the blogs I frequent and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a link to Platt's church, The Church at Brook Hills. If you have some free time listen to this series on Ruth. It'll truly bless your heart. ~ Leslie

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Africa depends on handouts


I read Al Jazeera. It's where I get most of my international news. I read this article and thought it was very helpful in thinking through some of Africa's food dependence. It is also refreshing to hear an African journalist critique President Obama. After spending the last month in two different African countries I would not have guessed any local journalist knew how to do anything but heap adulation on him. Anyway, this is not a piece against the President per se, it is about the dependency of African governments on Western handouts. It's good. Read it here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Teetotalar Weighs In

Tim Jones, a buddy, posted this as a note the other day on facebook. I read it and have been thinking about it ever since.

John Piper, a self proclaimed teetotalar, fought to have a total abstinence clause removed from his church's constitution when only in his second year of ministry.
The full article is available Here

"And this I know beyond the shadow of a doubt: God hates legalism as much as he hates alcoholism. If any of you still wonders why I go on supporting this amendment after hearing all the tragic stories about lives ruined through alcohol, the reason is that when I go home at night and close my eyes and let eternity rise in my mind, I see ten million more people in hell because of legalism than because of alcoholism. And I think that is a literal understatement. Satan is so sly. "He disguises himself as an angel of light," the apostle says in 2 Corinthians 11:14. He keeps his deadliest diseases most sanitary. He clothes his captains in religious garments and houses his weapons in temples. O don't you want to see his plots uncovered? I want Bethlehem to be a place Satan fears. I want him to be like the emperor in "The Emperor's New Clothes." And we will be the babes (not in thinking! 1 Corinthians 14:20) who say, "Look, he thinks he is clothed in white, but he is naked and ugly."

Listen as I uncover one of his plots.
Legalism is a more dangerous disease than alcoholism because it doesn't look like one. Alcoholism makes men fail; legalism helps them succeed in the world. Alcoholism makes men depend on the bottle; legalism makes them self-sufficient, depending on no one. Alcoholism destroys moral resolve; legalism gives it strength. Alcoholics don't feel welcome in church; legalists love to hear their morality extolled in church. Therefore, what we need in this church is not front-end regulations to try to keep ourselves pure. We need to preach and pray and believe that "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, neither teetotalism nor social drinking, neither legalism nor alcoholism is of any avail with God, but only a new creation (a new heart)" (Galatians 6:15; 5:6)."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Brevity and Eternal Life

This is from a blog called Downshore Drift, I thought it was a great summation of the death of two American icons and the "fleeting nature of life."

Two major icons from the 1970's and 80's have died today, according to internet reports. Michael Jackson has died according to TMZ.com (via Drudge Report). Apparently, he had a cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old. Farrah Fawcett also succumbed to cancer today. She was 62.

Was Michael Jackson a Christian? Was Farrah Fawcett a Christian? What happened to them when they died? I am not aware of any confession of faith in Christ or attempt to follow Jesus by either of them (UPDATE: apparently, Farrah Fawcett was a Catholic - I still don't know what Jackson believed). The Bible says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). The only way to Father God and to receive His love and forgivness for our sins is through faith in Jesus Christ. Apart from faith in Christ, we will all perish in our sins, separated from God. Hollywood and the media will tell us that the good life can be found when we are famous, popular, wealthy, and beautiful. Image is everything, they say. We believe it and we fawn over celebrities and movie stars and live our lives through them. But, Jesus says that that is not where real life is found. Real life, abundant life, eternal life, is only found in a relationship with Him. I pray that all those who hear about the death of these two celebrities today will think about the shortness of life and think about if they have been reconciled to God themselves through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Advance 09 (pt 1)



I'm attending Advance 09 this week in Durham. Yesterday was awesome and I am sure today and tomorrow will be more of the same. If you want to listen to the lectures from yesterday (4/4) go here. And the Matt Chandler lecture plus the panel Q&A is here.

Driscoll is speaking on, "What is the Church?" (You wouldn't think we need this lecture but WE DO!! There is so much confusion over the word "church" we all need this message. Driscoll was about 30 minutes in and suggested something kind of revolutionary to the Southern way of doing things that shocked one dude so much he audibly said "What!?" and all 3,000 of us heard him. Driscoll's rapid fire response was to say, "and that was the Baptist dude." It was hilarious! (Maybe you had to be there...listen to the podcast and maybe you will think it is as funny as I did.)
Tyler Jones is speaking on, "The Decline and Resurgence of the Church"
Bryan Chapell is speaking on "Christ Centered Preaching."
Matt Chandler rarely discussed his topic... he was all over the board, but it is great content and very funny!!

I'll summarize some of my notes in a later post.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Religion vs The Gospel (pt. 2)

I listen to A LOT of sermons. It's borderline nerdy even in my book, so most likely, if you are anywhere near the "cool side" of the spectrum you would straight up lump me in nerdville. Whatever...I'm not seeking your approval anyway. I go to chapel at least 20 times per semester here at SEBTS and most of them are really good. Outside of chapel Leslie and I have a great pastor in J.D. Greear. In addition to chapel and church I like to listen to podcasts when I am in the car. Some of the guys I'm listening to right now include Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, David Platt and of course John Piper.

A common sermon topic I have been hearing from some different pulpits over the last year is the idea of Religion vs. the Gospel. Each time I have listened to a preacher comment on how religion chokes out the Gospel and how often we get it wrong in the church, I have felt myself confronted and guilty. It is so easy to fall into "religion" but during the life and ministry of Jesus, He saved His harshest rebukes and insults for the Scribes and Pharisees who were the religious ones of the day. It is so easy to see this conflict in others from the past but we rarely to never see it in ourselves. These preachers have all done an excellent job, each in their own way, of helping me to see how religion has crept into the church here in America and all too often into my own heart as well. Since these messages have been having such a big impact on me I thought you might like to listen to some of them. These links take you directly to the sermon audio files, you can also find them on iTunes if you prefer to download them and take them with you.

Matt Chandler. The Village Church. 8/31/08. The Great Gospel.

Mark Driscoll. SEBTS Chapel. 2/5/09. 9 Distinctions Between the Gospel and Religion.

Hollie Miller. SEBTS Chapel. 4/2/09. 7 Differences Between Cultural Christianity and Biblical Christianity.

J.D. Greear. Summit Church. 5/31/09. Unexpected Opinion.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Johnny Hunt Podcast


I have written on this before but it never hurts to retell one's testimony.

In 1999 when I finally graduated from the legalistic, cage (seriously it's all fenced in with barbed wire and everything) that was Rift Valley Academy, I screamed "FREEDOM!!" like I was William Wallace. And for the next 3 years or so I took that "freedom" to do what I wanted to the extreme. To be honest it was not true freedom. What I thought was freedom was more like slavery. I was a slave to the sin I was involved in.

Then one Sunday night at FBC Woodstock, Johnny Hunt preached a sermon and prayed a prayer that God used to draw me back to Himself. I still remember pastor Hunt kneeling on the steps to the platform and praying, "God if you don't come down and do Your work this is going to be just another average Sunday night. Come and meet with us dear Jesus. Use your Word to change us tonight." He then proceeded to preach a sermon and God answered each of those requests. Johnny Hunt is a dear and precious man, I am thankful to God for his life and ministry. If pastor Hunt has a motto, it is this short prayer, "Lord, keep me close and keep me clean." What a great little prayer, I have adopted it as my own.

Johnny Hunt is now the President of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as pastor of FBC Woodstock. He has partnered together with Dr. Danny Akin, of SEBTS, to bring about a Great Commission Resurgence within our network of churches. Their vision is bold and broad in its scope. For the sake of making Jesus famous to the nations they are proposing that the SBC take a good hard look at itself and see if things could not be done more effectively and more efficiently. FBC Woodstock is a Great Commission church, they send out numerous workers into the mission field and have planted a number of churches here in the States. I don't know of anyone better to lead this initiative than pastor Hunt.

Recently Doug was able to sit down with Johnny Hunt and ask him some specific questions about the Great Commission Resurgence. If you are a Southern Baptist this is an interview that will interest you. Find it here.
If you would like to read the Great Commission Resurgence document you can find it here. If you find yourself in agreement with the statement feel free to sign it. You will notice that Dad and myself are signed on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"No, Mr. President"

You will find little that is original on this blog. Again today I am ripping off others. Here is a powerful video.



I like the way J.D. said it, "God give us courage to say what we must say, the humility to say it without judgmentalism, and the love to speak up for the weak."

This whole issue makes the below video on adoption all the more powerful.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Adoption

I saw this on Pastor J.D.'s blog and thought it was great.



"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." Romans 8:15-17

Christians, of all people, should understand adoption as precious. It makes me want to go and do likewise.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Jun's Wedding

We have already written about two fun events from this past weekend in Atlanta (see the Sauna and Aquarium posts below). Now we come to the reason we were in the dirty south to begin with...one of my oldest buddies and best friends, Jun, got married. Around 10 of my high school classmates from Rift Valley Academy were there. It was so great to see them. These are the people I grew up with and lived with through 6 years of jr high and high school, still to this day I relate to my RVA friends better than anyone. Jun and I have an extra special bond because we were roommates together for two years of High School and our freshmen year at Mercer University. I love this kid. He has been a true friend over the years. It was great to see him marry Esther.

The ceremony was done in Korean but they provided translation devices for us. Yo Sup and Azi were the groomsmen. After the wedding there was a large reception with huge amounts of Korean food. I gobbled down as much kimchi, kimbap, and noodles as I could get my hands on. Then we went back outside to watch Jun and Esther do the different bowing ceremonies. In Korea it is uber important to show respect to your elders. So they have a tradition where the bride and groom, dressed in traditional Korean attire, bow to the different individuals or couples who have played a part in raising them. It was pretty cool to watch and we made a short video of part of that ceremony. You can watch it under the video link on the right hand side of your screen. Here are some pics of the bride and groom and the RVA people who attended.


Jun and Esther


RVA people before the wedding. We were early the rest of the people filled the place up later on.


The Ahns


The groomsmen Azi and Yo Sup


Azi and I with Mr. Ahn. He called us "my sons"


All the RVA people with the groom in his traditional dress.


The Cranes and the Ahns

Did You Know 3.0

You know I love culture and that sort of stuff. Here is a video that blew my mind. It has some crazy statistics in it. Historically culture was slow to change and develop but not any more. Did you know that China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world? or that India has more honors kids than America has kids? Myspace has over 200 million registered users, if it was a country it would be the 5th largest in the world. There are 31 billion searches on Google every month. What did we do before Google? How did we look things up? It is sort of wild to think how fast things have sped up. Anyway. Watch this:

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Atlanta Aquarium

After a long, tiring yet still enjoyable experience at the Jim Jil Bang we spent most of Saturday in the world's largest aquarium. They have every sort of fish imaginable to non marine biologist like myself. The main attractions are the whale sharks, a manta ray and three beluga whales. The main tank holds more than 6 million gallons of salt water. In the petting pool a baby sting ray tried to jump up and kiss Leslie, you can hardly blame it. She freaked out, screamed and ran away. I had a good laugh. The whole place is pretty incredible. We walked past the Coke Factory to get to the aquarium so here are some pictures of both.


Leslie and the Coke man



The Coke Factory


A Beluga Whale



Shark



Thomas and Tuna



Jelly Fish



Whale Shark

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Korean Sauna

Jeju Sauna in Atlanta

Last weekend Thomas and I traveled to Atlanta for his friend Jun's wedding. Friday night we met him and some other friends from RVA (Thomas' African boarding school) for a night of games at Dave and Busters. We were having lots of fun until a storm caused the power to go off and reset all the games. They were out of commission and took a long time restarting so our energy levels began to wane quickly so we decided to move on to our "second place" as they say in Korea. This place would be where we'd spend the night, Jeju Sauna, the traditional Korean jim jil bang. There were 4 guys and 4 girls. When you go to the front desk to check in they give everyone a set of pajamas, pink (of course!) for girls and brown for guys. We then are seperated into guys and girls and go to our respective locker rooms. You're then expected to strip down and proceed to the showers. So here I am, miss country NC stripping down with 3 girls who grew up in Africa. I have to say, I think I fared pretty well!

Hot Tub

We showered, got in the bubbling hot tub, the non-bubbling hot tub, the cool pool, the steam room, laid on the slab of marble underneath the infra-red lights and showered again using the rough Korean scrubby washcloth. Then it was back to the locker room to put on the awesome pink elastic waist shorts and matching t-shirts and out to the common area to meet the guys.

Common Area Where We Slept

It was a large open room with lots of other rooms spread throughout. The other rooms were either super hot or cold. We all gathered into the cold room, which wasn't actually that cold since the air con wasn't working properly and decided we'd try to sleep there. They have stacks of mats, blankets and "pillows." I use the term lightly because it was actually a brick of foam covered in plastic. So here we are all 7 of us squeezed in this small room with our mats and blankets trying to go to sleep at 2:30am and Jun starts sawing logs...right at mine and Thomas's head. So he and I pick all our stuff up and cart it to the open area and sleep out there with all the other people. I'm sure we were a sight! Needless to say I had a rough night of about 5 hrs. of sleep complete with tossing and turning and limbs that kept falling asleep. Quite the cultural experience. It was super nice inside though, if you're ever up for an adventure I urge you to check it out, it's cheaper than a hotel for spending the night at a cost of only $25.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Introducing our new look!

We've been wanting to do this for a while and thanks to Eric our awesome webmaster at the Baptist building, the transformation is complete! Since I'm a designer Thomas and I both thought that our blog should represent us better! The banner is a good mix of who we are with the rice bowl and chopsticks for our time in Korea, to the wooden mask for Africa and the cup of coffee which we both love so much, and of course the travel elements of the passport, stamps and airplane drawing. I hope the 5 of you that follow our blog enjoy the new look!

Gospel Coalition, Audio and Video

All of the main sessions and some of the workshops from the Gospel Coalition are now available via audio and video. Truly, I don't know which speaker to recommend above another. This was without a doubt the best week of expository preaching I have ever heard. Click here to access them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Functional Centrality of the Gospel

This is taken from a workshop lead by Michael Bullmore during the Gospel Coalition National Conference.

A recently asked question - "What is the greatest, most crying need in the church today?"

Not just a biblical/theological literacy but a functioning biblical/theological literacy, especially a functioning gospel. I believe a local church is healthy to the degree that: 1) its pastor-teachers are able--accurately, effectively and broadly--to bring the gospel to bear specifically into the real lives of the people; and 2) its people have a deep personal understanding of and a deep personal appreciation for the gospel so as to be able to live in the good of the gospel daily.
One of the greatest challenges, yet one of the most important tasks, of pastoral ministry is to help people actually see the connections between the gospel and the thinking and behavior that make up their everyday lives. We know well the centrality of the gospel message but in order for it to have a functional centrality it must be clearly, carefully and consistently connected to the real issues--issues of thought and conduct--of people's lives, this kind of ministry is most greatly needed.

The heart of the gospel is: 1 Corinthians 15:3 -- "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures."

Some good verses to consider some implications of the gospel. "Gospel truths": 1 Timothy 1:10-11; Romans 5:1, 8:1, 8:32. "Gospel conduct": Philippians 1:27; Galatians 2:14, Titus 2:1; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Ephesians 4:32, 5:25; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gospel Coalition



This week I am in Chicago attending the Gospel Coalition. It is a conference for pastors and those studying to go into the ministry. Yesterday we were blessed to listen to the preaching of Tim Keller, John Piper, Phil Ryken and Mark Driscoll (these guys posted their notes online, click their name to read them). Today we are listening to K. Edward Copeland, Bryan Chapell, Ajith Fernando and I'm attending two workshops by Michael Bullmore and Crawford Loritts.

The topic of the conference is: Entrusted with the Gospel, Living the Vision of 2 Timothy. Basically the different speakers have been assigned a text from 2 Timothy and they are just preaching the book. There are so many young people here. The SBC has been noticing that younger men have been leaving their ranks and annual sessions for years, well I found them here at the Gospel Coalition. It is pretty exciting. You can watch the live webcast here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nasema Asante

Here's a video of Lydia, Maureen and Ruth from Renee's Sunday night group (and our VBS) singing a song we learned there. The title is Nasema Asante, Thank you so much.



Nasema asante (3x)
Ewe Mungu wangu

I give thanks
you're my God

Wewe ni alpha na omega (3x)
Ewe Mungu wangu

You are the alpha and omega
you're my God

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kenya

VBS Group

Made it back last night at 8:30pm. The past 12 days flew by and so much happened it's kind of hard to put into words, but I'll do my best. Thomas posted some of my earlier updates so I won't repeat those parts.

Renee with some of the kids

The week went really well with the kids. Renee's Sunday night group was an amazing group of young people. Their dedication to the Lord was really encouraging to see. The most popular crafts were decorating a picture frame and having their picture taken and printed.

Dismus with his frame

I took my small photo printer so they all got to watch their pictures being printed. It was fun to see the kids come into craft time having learned their verse for the day. We started each day with singing and chapel time where the story of the day was told. We covered Creation, The Fall, The Woman at the Well, The Dying Thief and the Resurrection. They heard the full Gospel presentation both in English and Swahili and we had one girl, Hannah, accept Christ. Many seeds were planted in the lives of these kids, ranging in age from 7 to 22. They had lunch as the monastery each day where the vbs was held and we sent them home with bags of rice, beans and corn. They also received a t-shirt that had the word VINE on it along with our theme verse John 15:8. Most of the children that came live in the Tigoni tea field nearby and we started noticing that quite a few of them had shoes with holes in them. This opened up the opportunity for us to bless them all with a new pair of Bata shoes. The man from the shop even came to us and measured all the kids' feet! The last day was wrapped up with lots of singing and dancing and a review of all the weeks' stories. It was sad to see the week end, but we know that their lives will be changed forever and that this is a week they'll never forget.

Dancing

Kelvin, Betsy, Krista, Robin, Ruth, Rose Marie, Lydia, Frances, Faith, Gabe, Margaret, Me, Maureen, Renee

Friday night Renee had the volunteers and her Sunday night group over for a cook out. We had Shalimar (Indian) grilled chicken, salad, potatoes, mangoes and pineapple. So good! Then we got up the next morning early and headed over to the Wilson airport in Nairobi.

Me boarding our plane

Me and Renee

Our Tent

Lions in the Maasai Mara

Giraffe

Water Buck

Jackson with some remains

We took a small 12 seater plane out to the Maasai Mara game park for a 3 day safari. We stayed at Ilkileani tented camp. We saw tons of animals: elephants, giraffes, wart hogs, cape buffalo, babboons, hippos, elon, topie, water buck, fox, hyena, crowned crane, vultures, a fox, lions! It was nice to have some down time after a busy 5 days with 50 kids. We were all able to relax, get some sleep, enjoy the scenery and eat good food. Monday we flew back to Nairobi and freshened up at the Baptist guest house. Then it was back to the airport to fly out to Brussels at 10pm. I had a connection in Chicago then was back in Wake Forest on Tuesday night.

It was sad saying goodbye to David and Renee. She has such a sweet spirit that after she's gone, it feels like there's something missing. I feel so fortunate to have the best in-laws anyone could ask for. Even though the week and a half flew by it was an awesome time and an amazing blessing, not only for the kids involved both spiritually and physically, but for everyone else involved in the process. Thanks to everyone who bathed us all in prayer leading up to and during the week. I praise God for the mere opportunity to make His name known to the ends of the Earth. I pray this trip encourages other members of FBC Cherryville to get on board with the Great Commission and that He sets them on fire for the nations.

To see the rest of my pics click here.