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.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Leslie Update #2

Today was lots of fun. Kelvin storied again, this time it was on the Fall of man and Cain and Abel. He missed a few key points that the other kids in the disciple group caught on to though. Renee could see that they were talking about it and had them come to the front to go over the key points and clarify what had been left out. It was basically that when Adam and Eve sinned and were ashamed of their nakedness that God killed an animal to make their clothes and clothed them himself and that there has to be shedding of blood for forgiveness of sins. They got it cleared up though and kids even raised their hands and asked questions. Your mom even spoke and presented the Gospel.

The music performed by the older group of kids was great. It was a song that your mom’s group had written that corresponded to our key verse of the week about the vine and the branches, John 15:8, which is the verse on the shirts we had made for them. Our craft for today was the spray paint tie dye. They turned out pretty well, I think they had fun doing it, but the shirts were too dark of colors so it was hard to see the paint on some of them.

I was able to go back to the baby home today and see those kids again. So cute. I got a few pictures. Gave Margret's daughter Lydia a ride home, she works at the baby home. Tomorrow I hope to hang out with Renee’s disciple kids more. They seem really cool so I hate I haven’t had more time with them. I’m just in a different situation being in the craft room where the other “leaders” are with the same kids all day. I’m really enjoying it all though. Tomorrow we’re doing the picture frames.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Leslie Update #1

Leslie is in Kenya helping mom and a group of women from FBC Cherryville do a VBS. Her flights to Nairobi ended up being quite eventful. To make a long story short she had to make two stops that were not planned. One in Switzerland of all places. Anyway. They lost her luggage of course. So that is where her story picks up:

Hey!! The luggage came last night!! Everything was in it, we were all SO happy! Paul and Kari met us at Brakenhurst for dinner and then came back and spent the night with us. Paul, David and Zeb woke up at 4am to watch Carolina play in the Final Four. So, the airport luggage people said that my suitcase was on the manifest for a flight that came in on Sunday night at 9:30pm and told us they would deliver it by 11am yesterday (Monday) but we kept waiting and waiting and calling. It was never on the truck for delivery, then David talked to them at 10pm and they were on their way out to our area with it. Such a relief to get the crafts for the kids! We were beginning to run out of options for things to do.

Yesterday went really well. Kelvin, one of the guys that Renee disciples, told the first story in chapel about Creation. He did a fantastic job. Very animated and funny, the kids loved it and we were all very entertained too. It was impressive. All the sections went very smoothly and the kids seemed to have a good time. I think most of them were successful in learning the creation story and their verse for the day, Gen. 1:1. Our craft was the rubber bracelets. It was a little time consuming when there were about 14 kids in one group, but my time in Korea doing crafts came in handy for experience! It was so much fun. I can’t wait to get pictures tomorrow of all the kids wearing them.

We finished up with the kids around 12 and had lunch at 12:30 at the monastary. We had lentils with curry, rice, chippatis and cabbage. It was all very delicious. The other ladies seem to be ok there. I feel so spoiled that I get to stay in the house with Renee! After lunch the younger kids went home with some food that we bought for them, bags of rice, beans and corn. The older kids stayed and did some more stuff.

Renee, me, Betsy, Krista and Faith all left the group and went to a baby home that Renee volunteers at called In His Image. There were two little boys there around 1 and 1 1/2 and a toddler. They were all so cute! The little ones were just learning to use their legs and walk. They were very happy and loving. Then Renee, Krista and I met up with a lady named Teznia from South Africa. She’s about 25 and her husband runs ACTS safari company who has planned our safari. She lives next to the baby home and also volunteers there. We all got in the car with her and a Kenyan pastor named Alex and rode into a town close by to a hospital. That was surely an eye opening experience. So far from a hospital in the States...dirty floors, charts written up on the walls in marker going back three years, detailing the number of births, c-sections, maternal and baby deaths.

We were there to meet with a social worker about two abandoned babies. Renee and Teznia will possibly become their guardians so that they can be brought to the baby home. They wanted to go see the babies and do an assessment to see if they seemed to have special needs, because they won’t tell you that over the phone. Or they’ll just lie and tell you they don’t to get you to come anyways. They’ll also have to be tested for AIDS, they can not come to the baby home because they don’t have the staff/man power to take on that sort of thing. Krista came along because she has special knowledge about the special needs kids having adopted 3 herself. The babies were adorable and so tiny, only a few weeks old. We also saw a few others that were only a few days old. The conditions of that baby room were really sad. Looks like they may be able to bring them home on Wednesday and get them out of there! Then hopefully they can be adopted by good families and shown some love and attention.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Easter Video

This is a great little video put out by St. Helen's Bishopgate in London. I love the simplicity.


THAT'S EASTER Life to Death from St Helen’s Church on Vimeo.


The words, "a release from guilt," struck me the most.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Diversity

A couple of years ago we were riding the subway through Seoul and we ended up sitting beside a Korean woman in her 50s. She could speak English and began talking to Leslie and I. This woman had done some traveling and began telling us her thoughts on the West. At one point she said, “I like Canada better than America.” When asked why she responded, “In America there is too much diversity, too many different types of people.” My first assessment is that this lady probably had not seen that much of Canada. My second thought was, that is exactly the thing I love most about America (FYI for those who don’t know much about Korea, it is very mono-ethnic.)

I love diversity! As an inter-cultural studies major I love different cultures, races, traditions, perspectives, etc. One of my favorite American cities is Washington, D.C., and the reason I love it so much is not simply all the beautiful monuments but more for the variety of people living in that city. I have heard NYC and others are similar and I am sure I would love that about each of those cities.

My love for diversity extends to numerous other areas. I love that within the body of Christ there are so many different expressions of the way believers worship on Sunday morning. I have enjoyed worshipping under an acacia tree with a handful of Masai, in a mud building with the Kamba people, in a school atrium in Charlotte, a warehouse building with the Summit, in FBC Woodstock with 8,000 in attendance and in Yoido Full Gospel Church with over 830,000 members (the world’s largest). Each of these had different music styles, different cultural dress and different expressions of worship. Some dance, some raise their hands, some sway, some pray silently, some out loud.

My love for diversity also extends to different preaching styles. As long as the message is faithful to the text, doctrinally sound and Gospel centered. I have listened in person to the preaching of John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever, Andy Stanley, Robertson McQuilken, Steven Furtick, Ed Stetzer, Simeon Litik, Billy Graham, J.D. Greear, Danny Akin, David Crane and others. If you know much about preaching you know that nearly every method is mentioned between these different men. Expository preaching, Storying, topical preaching and other forms have all encouraged and challenged me at one time or another. As long as the Gospel is central I am happy to hear different methods. If it all sounds the same it would not impact the diverse audience it deserves.

It is uncertain if the Korean woman on the subway that day was a believer or not. But if she is I wonder how she squares her view with Revelation 7? “After this I looked, and behold, 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, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice. ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

Advance 09

John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Ed Stetzer, Danny Akin, Tyler Jones, Eric Mason, Bryan Chapell and J.D. Greear are headlining Advance 09 in Durham, NC. Here is a preview to the June conference. If you have picked up on my theological positions through reading this blog you can understand that I am uber excited about hearing these guys teach.