Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

War Eagle is disappointing to proclaim.

Auburn as a whole has been disappointing to me as a graduate. Not because the football team was horrible this year, but b/c the people who run the place (not the president or the administration, but the boosters or folks with money) have proven to be of no integrity. This article is very clear about the lack of integrity.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why Christmas?

Life seems more sensitive or tender during the last few weeks of December than any other time of the year. Perhaps it is the materialistic culture that we live in. Maybe is it our desire to be recognized or to please people. Could it be our unmet expectations? Or expectations that are ungodly? As I asses my heart I see evidence of all of these. Realizing this makes me scared to look to deep into my heart for fear of how corrupt it really is.

Thank you to my pastor for preaching the Word yesterday and engaging my heart with the good news of Christ!

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm a Horrible Husband

That pretty much sums up this post.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Picture Update

Conference in Virginia

The boat we will live on for a week in Brazil.

Random shots of our Home Fellowship Dirty Santa.

Thanksgiving with the Finn Family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lottie Moon

If you are a member of a Southern Baptist Church you will be (hopefully) giving to the Lottie Moon offering this month. Steven and I are thankful to you for giving because in a very short time we will be 100% dependent on the monies from the Lottie Moon Offering. If you want to know more check out this web site.
We are in Richmond right now at the IMB headquarters. Much of our time today is being spent in the library here at the headquarters. We are getting ready to watch a video about Northeast Brazil. Tomorrow we have physicals and interviews. We have been told several times that this candidate conference is the biggest one ever. There are 69 potential missionaries here this week!
All that to say please give to Lottie Moon because without you these missionaries cannot go.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

We made it One Year!

I have a lot of pictures to share of the last week! It's been a fun week! Steven and I celebrated one year of marital bliss on Monday.
The top of our wedding cake has been in the freezer all this time. I took it out to thaw on Sunday. It wasn't horrible tasting, but it wasn't good enough to eat. Note to self: don't freeze carrot cake for a year and expect it to be yummy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tree Time

Christmas tree decorating can be fun! Since I only have around 50 ornaments decorating the whole tree, lights and all only takes one hour. I watched Annie and had my Christmas cookie candle burning while doing the tree. This is a special tree to me because it used to belong to my G-Mom. She gave it to me when I had my own place. Now I get to pull it out of its box each year and think about how much I love her. I am also reminded of the times before that I pulled it out of its box. The first year I was living in Nashville with Molly. The second year it did not get opened because I was in process of moving to North Carolina. The third year I was at the Battle House where I took pictures of all my girls in BCM in front of the tree. Also it stayed up way past New Years because I was visiting Alabama and Nashville my whole break from school. This was also a significant time of taking down the tree because Steven came over to the Battle House for the first time to help me take it down. The fourth year (last year) it was put up way early because Steven and I were getting married on the 1st and wouldn't be back from our honeymoon until the 7th. We decorated it together at our first place a week before our wedding. The fifth year is 2008! Yay!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

let it snow

The only morning I was glad to wake up at 7am for class all semester! It was the last day of class. I open the blinds like I do every morning and gasp because this is what I saw. Steven jumped out of bed and came running to see what was wrong. Then, i made him come outside (not appropriately dressed) to take this picture of me and Gus.
In class that morning my prof thanked God for the white snow because it reminded him of the purity of Christ!

I also came across a good website that I would like to share:
See what you think.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Steven 11/12/81

Today Steven turned 27!
27 reasons why I love him: (in no particular order except for #1)
1. He loves Jesus
2. He rubs my back
3. He pops my back
4. He plays mancala with me
5. He like good music
6. He does the dishes
7. He works really hard
8. He pays for me to go to school
9. He proof reads my papers
10. He encourages me to work out
11. He prays for me
12. He has a great library
13. He is a great cook
14. He loves to travel
15. He loves to tell people about the Gospel
16. He rubs my feet
17. He loves me just as I am
18. He is organized
19. He serves me with joy
20. He is a planner
21. He is genuine
22. He loves the beach
23. He reads the Bible to me
24. He is driven
25. He seeks out wisdom
26. He desires discipleship
27 He is my best friend

Thursday, November 6, 2008


This is Dr. Al Mohler. He is pretty much one of the biggest blessings to the Church today. Emily and I went and heard him preach at Chapel at Southeastern. If you read his blog at or listen to his radio program you will know he is a really busy guy who gets hardly any sleep. For example, his blog is updated daily around let's say...2:04 AM, 4:36 AM, 2:56 AM. Times when normal people sleep. So in regards to his unusual talents, he can also read 5 books a week. He is pretty much an information vaccum.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall Fun

One of the first things I enjoy doing after moving to a new place is finding a good park to hike. Every couple of weeks I crave an afternoon in the woods. Saturday when I was there the tress were beautiful! I had a moment of excitement and a moment of sadness. Excited because God is sustaining the world evident by the changing color of the leaves, but sad because I don't know the next time I will get to see the vibrant colors during the fall. This time next year I will be living in Brasil where it is the same season year round. Don't get me wrong I LOVE summer, but I am always reminded of the creator when the brisk air, clear skies, and colorful leaves come. In this midst of all the change happening around me I know that God will never change. He is the keeper of promises!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I am in the middle of writing a lot of papers right now. For my class on Counseling Individuals with Problematic Emotions I am writing about the Puritans approach to depression. As I was researching I found a blog with this photo posted... I think it's funny so I thought you might too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Reflections on the Emergent Church: Should Gospel-Believers have reservations about God's Wrath and Judgement? - A Response to IanJMatt

I am going to respond to Ianjmatt.

Here were his thoughts and questions:

"Hmm. I think you have confused a few things.

If you read the opening chapters of Lost Message, you will see that Chalke and Mann are not denying 'original sin', they are asking whether or not focussing ont his is a good way to evanglise. Their phrase 'original goodness' is about the fact that the Father saw every human being as worth saving through His Son - that every person is someone God wants back. Really, your disagreement is one of practice, not doctrine, as that is what they were discussing at this point. Surely that is a lesser issue?

On the issue of wrath there are two distinction. Did the Father NEED to pour out his wrather upoin the son to forgive, and does He still act wrathfully after the sacrifice of the Son?"

Here is my response:

First, it would be wonderful to correspond with you by e-mail as well.

Second, thank you for your comments as they prove helpful to re-think my statements and to verify their validity.

Thirdly, you are right in that Chalke and Mann are arguing that original sin is not important to convey in evangelism. However, you are very wrong in that they are saying that don't believe in original sin. You are arguing from a literal standpoint from what is written, but judging from their further arguments and their own logic; that is what they are saying. Of course I am not shocked seeing that is what most in the emergent church do anyways; attempt at denying essential doctrinal truth so everyone can be "happy".

Fourth, the Father did need to pour out his wrath on his son in that there was no other way as Scripture speaks from Genesis to Revelation. He does act wrathfully on individuals today in order to get people to repent of their sins and believe the Gospel (Check out Luke 13 and the tower of Siloam).

Fifth, the Father will continue to pour out his wrath on sinners and sin itself as the Bible states that he will send his Son Jesus to judge the living and the dead. I believe Revelation is very clear that he will come riding on a white horse with a flaming sword in his hand to strike down all who oppose him. Really frightening unless you have trusted in Jesus and in that case, it will be glorious and beautiful as sin will be removed forever.

So in conclusion, I believe you have confused a few things.

First, you need to distinguish what is essential in the Scriptures that is a part of the Gospel (the finished work of Christ on the cross for sinners).

Second, you need to see those essentials as they are, essential and to not shrink back as Paul declared he would not do from declaring the full counsel of God (which is the Gospel and all its doctrinal teachings).

Lastly, you need to quit doubting Christ's work on the cross that is complete and that is was not for you and me that he died essentially, but for the Father's glory. As Romans states, "There is nothing good in us, nothing." He did not come to bring out the potential there is in us and he did not come to die so he could rejoice in us as if there was something valuable inside of our lives. Christ came to give glory to the Father that by his sacrifice you might come to the knowledge of his glory. That is the Gospel and he took our place as our substitute to pay the penalty we deserved.

Think about those things I just mentioned and read the Bible with it's "objective" propositional truth ianjmatt.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


No, unlike the rest of the world I am not talking about the candidate for the President of the USA. Steven and I are candidates for missionaries with the IMB!! We had our in depth interview yesterday and we passed. We received an invitation to the candidate conference in Virginia December 9-14 and we gladly accepted. This puts us in our new country around September 2009! Many more steps in the process are to come, but all looks good for smooth sailing. Thank you for continuing to pray for us!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reflections on the Emergent Church: Should Gospel-Believers have reservations about God's Wrath and Judgement?

I believe that there are a list of questions that could pertain to this discussion. Unfortunately all questions will not be discussed for the sake of space and your time in reading this. However, I do believe it will be profitable for your sanctification to revisit the main issues of: Why did Jesus die?, What ultimately is at stake when we marginalize the biblical thought of the wrath of God?, and Where does it fit within the framework of the Theistic Worldview?

Let's begin with the first main issue of why Jesus died.
  1. Galatians 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law be becoming a curse for us-for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree."
  2. Romans 3:25: God put forward Christ as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
  3. 1 John 4:10: In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
That word propitiation means Christ's death appeased God's just wrath. This is called penal substitution in that God paid the penalty that we deserved and substituted himself in the form of his son Jesus Christ in taking our place.

Two emergent writers Steve Chalke and Allan Mann refer to penal substitution as "a form of cosmic child abuse, " which they write, contradicts the statement "God is love" and "makes a mockery of Jesus' own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil for evil." I am very certain Peter had no issue with seeing the cross as a model for our suffering and as a payment for our sin as seen in 1 Peter 2:21-24.

You might think emergent church leaders would stop there, but you have to follow the logic of their thinking. Steve Chalke rejects original sin, claiming "Jesus believed in original goodness" in his book The Lost Message. His questioning is not, do I believe in God?, as much as does God believe in me? How similar does this sound to Joel Osteen? This is nothing more than a "new, cool, hip" version of self-esteem Gospel that is breaking subtle ground in the life of the church. "God wants to bring out the best in you? Your best life now! I am a Champion!" I know that might seem a little exaggerated, but when it comes to defending the Gospel of the Bible you must defend all tenets or teachings of Scripture completely and not just the ones people will listen to and feel good about. The wrath of God is not meant of us to "feel" good about ourselves. There is a reason God has his wrath aimed at mankind and justly so as a Holy God. When you threaten the glory of the Sovereign King, you come under his just wrath. God's glory was threatened and sending His Son to die to appease His wrath would satisfy Himself in getting the glory due his name and as a result, those who would repent and trust in his finished work would be saved from their sins. Isn't that love? Love that has power to justly destroy and justly save?

The wrath of God needed a solution and it would have to be the cross, Christ's sacrifice of himself, the blood spilled for the remission of sins, and the resurrection. This was all to happen to appease or satisfy our Holy God because of his love for those who would repent and trust in his finished work.

Now, what is at stake when the emergent church decides to marginalize the wrath of God? It results in the understanding that God is no longer a holy God who is angry with sin, who, in his great mercy, sent His Son to die on our behalf so that divine justice might be satisfied, but becomes a vulnerable lover who opens himself up to hurt and rejection in order to be with us because we are worth dying for.

Kevin DeYound and Ted Kluck in their book Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be), had some helpful observations in regards to why knowing and understanding the wrath of God is so vitally important to the believer's faith and growth in Jesus Christ.
  1. We need God's wrath to keep us honest about evangelism. In Acts 24:25 Paul reasons with Felix about the coming judgment and righteousness.
  2. We need God's wrath in order to forgive our enemies. Romans 12:19 is very clear that we "do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."
  3. We need God's wrath in order to risk our lives for Jesus' sake. Martyrs under the throne cry out, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (Rev. 6:10).
  4. We need God's wrath in order to live holy lives. Sometimes we need to "scare the hell out of people" by reminding them that hell is real and that those who live to the flesh will die to the flesh and that those who live to the spirit will reap eternal life.
  5. We need God's wrath in order to understand what mercy means. Only when we know that we were once objects of wrath will we know that we are now objects of His mercy and grace. Mercy is meaningless when there is no purpose for it concerning our salvation.
  6. We need God's wrath in order to grasp how wonderful heaven will be. If believers could imagine everyday what their lives would be like apart from Christ they would see themselves as objects of UNDESERVED mercy going to a UNDESERVED place.
  7. We need the wrath of God in order to be motivated to care for our impoverished brothers and sisters. The Gospel says that if we don't care for the least of our brothers we will inherit eternal punishment (Matthew 25:31-46).
  8. We need God's wrath in order to be ready for Lord's return. When we tremble truly at the coming judgment that awaits all of mankind, we will live as if our lives are ready to be given account for. Every word, deed, or thought will be seen in light of God's wrath that is coming where more people will be forced to bow while others willingly.
I know what some of you might thinking already, "Aren't we splitting hairs here? Is all of this really important?" Well this issue is only important if you care about being saved or knowing what you are being saved from. If the other religions are right and we have to do enough good things to get the gods to accept us, then we'd better get to our religious duties! But if the Bible is right, then God accepts us as his children totally out of Jesus' work of dying and rising again so we can have forgiveness and new life.

Now for a little honesty. I struggled with the doctrine of the wrath of God during my early years in college. I was so invested in my own self-esteem and what I "felt" was best rather than what I "believed" to be best in Scripture. The result was a denial that God could ever be angry with me. How marginalized did Jesus look to me during those days? Did he look like a warrior and triumphant victor over sin and death or a well-manicured, hippie-savior where everything is about love without consequences? It was then that I started to read the Grand-narrative of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation in seeing that propositional truth was necessary for me to base all "affections for God" upon so that what I believed to be true concerning love would be seen in light of what Christ has done already and why he did it. This would transcend the way I treated my roommates, family, and friends at that time.

There should never be reservations about proclaiming this aspect of the Gospel when sharing your faith in word or deed. Understanding this teaching in Scripture is vital for local churches to grow, be planted, and for believers to know more about their great and merciful God.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Power Words and Wonder of God

We returned yesterday from a jam packed weekend of learning about the power of words and the wonder of God. I was exhausted before we even arrived from the week of school, but I was amazed to experience God sustaining me and giving me attentive ears despite my weak body and need for sleep. Steven and I were so blessed to spend the weekend with the Parnell's and I really enjoyed getting to know them! I was humbled to see how God has provided for them in their short time as a family.
Here are a couple pictures from our time in Minneapolis...

The conference was challenging, refreshing, and full of rejoicing. The sessions are online and free to listen to. Desiring God ministries is where you can find all of them. If you only have time for one let me suggest Paul Tripp. I have read some of his books and listen to his pod cast. He gets right to the heart and our need to look within us to see our biggest problem.
However, you should listen to them all! It will challenge the way you say words, think about words, and the actual words that you say. Those things considered... I am really struggling to get this blog post complete because I am considering each word. I pray my words are glorifying God!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reflections on the Emergent Church: Is Propositional Truth Outdated?

I have yet to post anything in regards to the Emergent Church and so I'll humbly admit that any assessments or feedback that are given in regards to this post and those in the future are welcome. I will begin this post by saying that I am in no way claiming to hold all of the answers in regards to the Emergent Church or even it's relation to what Scripture says. But, I believe I know that logically and propositionally the Bible speaks very well that all things of which it says are true should therefore be held in higher esteem than which the Emergent Church deems. The main problems I have with the Emergent Church after reading a few books by some of its leading figures such as, Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, and Dave Tomlinson is that there seems to be a major shift from objective propositional truth built on the Scriptures to subjective experience built on the existential feelings of man. You might be asking what propositional biblical truth actually is. Propositional biblical truth is that which is specific and true about Jesus Christ's life and work throughout the Bible. From the beginning of the Old Testament all the way to through the end of the New Testament; Christ's life, works, death, and resurrection are the centerpiece of which salvation is built and sustained. So what is the problem here? Would not everyone in the Emergent Church confess to these truths? You would think, but the problem does not rest with their admittance to the biblical truth of Christ. Relevance of the truth in today's culture is what makes it difficult for those in this movement to accept biblical truth as propositional rather than what they believe as subjective diversity. Propositional truth to the Emergent communities divides, raises walls, closes conversation, and leaves people out of the discussion. When I think about their reasoning for wanting to re-translate all of the biblical language used in Scripture so that others will not be offended in order to be thought of more highly, it just appears cowardly. The emphasis is not on the foundational facts of the Gospel, but in being in relationship with Jesus. Making a propositional statement and not having propositional truth to back it up does not make logical sense. How can you believe in something and deny objective facts upholding the statement by which you claim to be true. The Emergent Church I believe is now more than ever about orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy. Instead of filtering the methods the local church would use to reach people with the Gospel through the Word of God first, God's Word is filtered through pragmatic exercises. I believe the thinking of the "modern" Emergent church can be summarized this way: The preference for ethics over doctrine, the reservations about God's wrath and judgment, the perceived need to re-translate the Christian faith for a new time, the devaluing of propositional truths, the chastisement of firm doctrinal boundaries, the understanding of missions as social compassion and not conversion (I will reflect on all of these six issues over the next few weeks) - these happen to all be impulses of the modern world. Any spokesman or leading figure in the Emergent movement has the capability to grab anyone's attention in regards to opening up conversation about the propositional truths of God and His Word. They are believed to be outdated and outweighed by the current culture and the times that are ever-changing. Propositional truth to the Emergent Church is just that, subjective according to the subjected felt needs of the conversation. Why does this matter for our life in Christ? If the Bible's meaning is open for discussion, then how I treat my wife and those around me all depends on how I selfishly feel in that moment rather than what the objective truth of Scripture says. Propositional truth is not outdated nor will it ever change as it reflects the character of God in that He is immutable and does not change either in His promises that He has made. If Scripture's truth is not definite, there are more issues at stake than just how we translate the message of Jesus Christ to those around us.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reflections on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia & Our New Status

Praise God for what he accomplished through our lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We left July 27 for Kuala Lumpur and arrived July 28 late that evening. The following morning we hit the ground running doing a lot of prayer-walking and meeting a lot of people in the neighborhood where we stayed at and especially at the University of Nilai nearby. Our role was to support Chris and Rebecca over in the city of Nilai (outside of Kuala Lumpur) and to provide resources, make contacts, and build relationships for the purposes of sharing the Gospel. We were able as well in the process to lead a few Bible Studies and a discussion group for unbelievers. Most of the University students we worked with were either International or Chinese. We did not engage the Malay people as much as we would have liked to because our main objective was to help reach the International University of Nilai as much as possible through Sports, Outreach Events, Conversations, and Small group discussions. The traditional Malay people are what the IMB believe to be an unreached people group who need more people to work with them. They currently are enslaved under Sharia Law, which makes it difficult for them to follow Christ and for those on the outside to reach in with the truth. There were so many Malays at this University who looked as if they wanted to participate in the things we offered, but just could not due to their religion and cultural values. Along the way we were able to encourage a large cluster of believing students who needed to be encouraged in their walk with Christ as they sought to witness and share the Gospel with their peers at school and in their communities. The end result of our mission was that enough work was done for another “Fellowship” (Church) to be started on another campus in the future by some of the nationals and the Unit we supported.

It is hard to say whether or not a mission trip was successful when it is God’s work and he is the one who truly makes things happen on his timetable. So with that in mind, I believe our trip was successful in that the Unit that was there who we worked with was encouraged by our work and also by the large amount of contacts we were able to make over the course of the trip. God really showed me how much he will use a friendly conversation with someone or even just the small amount of time we took to spend with a believer who lives under stricter laws than we do. It was a special thing for me to see when we began to lead some students from the University in some familiar hymns we sing in the U.S. and to hear them singing them with all of their hearts, but more importantly to hear songs they had written about God’s character and how he was showing himself to them. God has redeemed all cultures through his Gospel and desires for all nations to come and repent. I believe we were able to truly see many who had never heard of the Gospel before hear that message of hope.

Specifically, Christ showed me how powerfully he is working through the earthly powers in Malaysia. Despite Sharia Law and all that is going on politically and culturally in that nation, God is working mightily and is building his church upon his enduring Word. The character of God was on display through his eternality. God will outlast all earthly powers and he will accomplish his purposes because no hand will be able to thwart his sovereignty. Christ just taught me patience while I was there in being a faithful seed planter and allowing Christ Jesus to move in his timing to save peoples at the campuses we worked at.

There are so many stories to tell of what God did around us the whole time and so I will just tell two for the sake of space and time. First, Kristin and Emily were able to befriend a young lady from Mongolia, share a traditional Mongolian meal with her, and then to finally share the complete story of the Gospel. Being able to stand back and watch that relationship develop on both sides was exciting. Seeing Kristin branch out and totally go beyond her own comfort zone in getting to know Jackie was awesome along with seeing Jackie understand the Gospel through the two ladies’ testimony. Second, our objective in reaching out to the Nilai campus was to host an outdoor event in making contacts. We had a recording artist named Beau Bristow from the United States come and play his music in helping us make contacts. Apparently our event had such success that the University asked Chris and Rebecca to handle new student outreaches in the future, which would enable more contacts to be made and a greater window for ministry in the future.

God is working mightily in Nilai and is enabling his workers to make an impact for the Kingdom at the Universities there. We pray there will be a multi-generational church planted within walking distance soon that will include not just the students at Nilai, but the Malay people and that God would raise-up more young men to be committed to full-time ministry.

As you may have already heard from our previous newsletter last month, we have moved to Wake Forest, NC in order to better prepare for the mission field. We are excited about what the Lord will enfold for us and what we need to do now in order to prepare well for our season on the mission field. Emily is taking classes more intensively now that we are 2 minutes from the campus of Southeastern where she is trying to finish her M.A. in Biblical Counseling. While she is taking classes I am working and auditing a few Biblical Language classes in order to keep my Greek and Hebrew consistently right. At our local church we are actively involved still with the collegiate ministry in mentoring some students from Duke and UNC and we are also leading a Home Fellowship small group. We are excited about the opportunities God has put in our way so that we might prepare well for His great work overseas. Please continue to pray for discernment in our walk with Christ and as we seek the face of God in regards to the possibilities in Brazil.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trip Highlights

A friend asked me (Emily) the highlights of my recent trip and after sharing with her I thought I would share with you!

1. Sharing the Gospel with 2 students from Mongolia.
2. Worshiping God with 2 Muslim girls who video taped the whole thing.
3. Meeting brand new believers and answering some of their questions. (most from Kenya and China)
4. Meeting a Christian family from Mississippi living in KL b/c of a work assignment with Shell Gasoline and who are sharing the Gospel with Muslims and Buddhists
5. Talking with a man about good and evil and Christ from Vietnam who lives in GA (USA), but his wife and son still live in Vietnam (we were on the plane)

The pictures can be found on the post from Aug. 17.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Step at a Time

Sooooo.....we have some big changes in our life! Some are behind us and more are in front of us. Over the summer God closed a lot of doors and opened one big fat one so wide that it was impossible for us not to jump in with both feet.

As we have spent the past couple of years serving as Campus Ministers at UNC-Chapel Hill God has used us to challenge students in their walk with the Lord, to share Christ with International students who had never heard the depth of the Gospel, and to send students overseas on short-term mission trips. We love campus ministry and college students. Our plan was to stay there for at least 10 years or more. According to "our" plan we would finish a long season of Campus Ministry and then head to the mission field. But (my professor always says the "but" is the most important part) the problem was that "our" plan was not God's plan.

All that to say God gave us a clear command to obey Him and to be obedient and that means for us we must go. Go where? Wherever He says. And He is saying go lay down your life for the people that do not know about the hope only found in Christ. Go and tell the people(s) of the Gospel that no one else is going to. Perhaps a place that no one else is going to. Go to the nations. What nation? A nation that God has given us a passion for the people and culture. A nation that is worshiping false gods. A nation that needs to be taught and trained according to the Scriptures to make disciples. Maybe a nation you already love that God has given you a passion for.

Brasil is the next big change in our life! We have put in a job request with the IMB and are in the application process currently.

Yes this has been in motion for a while, but we also had to make some changes that would better prepare us for the big change to come. We are transitioning out of Campus ministry in order to 1. spend more time with our local church family since they will be our biggest support in Brasil and 2. for me to finish my M.A. in Biblical Counseling. This also came at a time when we had to renew our lease in Chapel Hill. Since our top two priorities were not located in CH we decided to relocate to Wake Forest so I would be close to school and where there is a larger part of our church family. Not to mention also it is a whole lot cheaper.

For now we are working random jobs to pay the bills and Steven is looking for something full-time. I am in school full time (feels overwhelming at times) and we are leading a Home-Fellowship in Wake Forest with our local church FBC-Durham.

We plan to use this blog as a tool to keep you informed on our progress and preparation for Brasil. We ask you to join us in prayer for the unreached people(s) of Brasil and to please pray for us as we prepare to go.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pictures are UP!

Check out all of our pics from our trip to Malaysia!

Find Steven in this one:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Gold

Team USA is loving all the gold... Michael Phelps is racking up. Most of you probably do not know that Steven is a HUGE Michael Phelps fan. This is what I found in my living room...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We're Back

I'll be posting a few times later this week in hopes of reflecting on more of what God showed us over in Southeast Asia and the work that God is doing there. Thank you all for your prayers for us and for the work Christ did. We are grateful for his abundant mercy in keeping us as we traveled home. August 7th might have been the longest day of our lives (literally). 2:00 AM - We leave from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai, China and arrive 7:00 AM. 8:30 AM - We head out into the city for exploration and food. 1:30 PM - We return to get our luggage out of lockers and check our bags for the flight to Atlanta, Georgia {USA}. 4:30 PM - Our flight leaves. (Time Change + 15 Hr. flight) 7:05 PM {EST} - We arrive in Atlanta. 8:30 PM - The students leave to Raleigh. Emily and I find tickets home for Friday morning. Emily and I leave for a hotel 11:00 PM. All of this still on August 7th. CRAZY! Christ preserved us and still is as we seek to make his name famous and to serve the church.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Stuck in ATL

After making it on every flight of our trip we were sure we would make our last one. Over booking it pushed Steven and I off, but the rest of the group made it home as planned. We are getting paid to spend the night in Atlanta. We leave at 7am on Friday (today). More blog when we get there!
Wearing the same clothes for three days on 3 contents is gross... just in case you were wondering!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mixed Emotions

Our time here is coming to a close. We are playing in the mini Olympics here on campus and then one more meal with new friends. Our day of Aug. 7 will be a long one as we travel back through China. We leave here at 2am Thursday which is 2pm on Wednesday there and arrive at 9pm Thursday there and 9am Friday here. Please pray for our travels.
Also please pray for a friend of ours back home who was in a really bad accident. He will be in the bed for the next 6 weeks and will have to endure a lot of physical therapy. More about that when we get home.
Time for team USA mini Olympics in Malaysia!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Loving Christ, the City, and My Wife

Today was an interesting time for us all as we were able to go into the main city of KL and see some of the amazing things that are there. Emily and I got up really early and commuted with Chan to KL to stand in line to get tickets for our group to see the famous Petronas Towers later in the afternoon. We then met up with our group and walked to an old Buddhist temple where we engaged a young lady with the Gospel and her beliefs. It was very unfortunate to hear her perspective on how to attain salvation and how it depends all on man's own efforts. Please pray for her. We then took a train to Pesar Seni which is an area of KL that contains many Malay markets that have arts and crafts. Our afternoon ended there and back at the Petronas Towers. This evening we spent time with Malay believers who are seeking to make an impact on their campus. Please pray for them as we encourage them tomorrow in that ministry is not just for vocational ministers, but everyone who has been saved by the gospel. Please continue to pray for our team as we are getting bolder with the gospel message and our students are learning to share more and engage the unbelieving students at the campuses. Also, today is our 8 month anniversary. So congratulations to Emily for being able to put up with me for the last 8 months! Amen. Come Lord Jesus! :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pray Requests

Well after a few days of getting used to the time change here in Southeast Asia, we are needing some prayer as we have hit the ground running already in engaging students with the Gospel.

Please pray for:

- Raymond (He has many questions about what it means being "born again" and Ben is right now talking with him about it. Pray for Ben to persevere and love him.)
- Jackie (She is from Mongolia and Emily and Kristen have a possible opportunity to talk more in depth with her as she has extended her hand to them.)
- Kim (Opportunity for the ladies to witness more with her.)
- Monu (From India and desires friendship with others. Pray that we can show him what friendship with Christ looks like.)
- Bible Study Tonight (There will be a good many unbelievers (10 or more) at this Bible Study discussion group at the house we are staying at together. We will host them and lead them through a discussion in Philippians.

That is it for now. Thanks so much for praying for us as we know you already are. I'm sorry I have not put up any pictures just yet. I promise they are coming as the camera is very busy capturing as many moments as possible.

All for now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

we made it!

Although we really weren't booked on two of our three flights we made it exactly as planned. We have had some set backs due to vehicles not starting, but we are flexible. Please pray that the enemy would not have victory through these unplanned set backs.
Pray for Adam our new friend who is a young believer. He will be hanging out with us while we are here. The family here is still getting settled in and needs some rest. We are planning a babysitting evening for them to have a night out.
We will blog again soon!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ready for 23 Hours?

I don't think we are ready for 23 hours, but we are going to have to be since that will be the amount of time we will be in the air from Sunday morning 10:45 until 11:45 PM Monday night. We are really excited about this trip and anticipate many things which God will do in our lives and others. Please pray for our humility and strong health as I (Steven) am not feeling to well right now with soreness in my throat and a little congestion. I lift up my eyes, from where does my help come from? It comes from Him who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121). Gladness and thanks for the one who sustains us and preserves our well-being.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pray for Us

This Sunday we will be traveling to Southeast Asia. Our trip will last from July 27 - August 7. Pray for us as we will be leading 4 students from UNC - Chapel Hill and from First Baptist Church of Durham. We will be serving with a Unit in hopes of reaching 2 campuses with the Gospel. Here are some things we would be greatly appreciate your prayers for:

1- Prayer for Steven, Emily, Kristen, Doug, Edwin, and Ben
2- Chris and Rebecca; our main contacts we will be working with
3- The Chans; nationals we will be serving with
4- The lost college students at the Universities we will minister to
5- The Connexion and Passion Conference we will be involved with
6- A church to be planted as a result of our work
7- Hearts of Servants, Thankfulness, and Praise for our team

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Junk Drawer

You know you have one. Or maybe even a closet devoted to junk. Where does it come from? Why does it seem to multiply rapidly? Steven and I were cleaning out the other night and decided our collection of cameras was a little reminder of history. The world is becoming so technologically advanced so fast I can hardly keep up. Anyways, this picture is dedicated to the billions of film cameras in junk drawers across the world and even old digital ones.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I am always looking for new blogs that offer interesting topics and make me think. Some of my professors at Southeastern put together a blog and in my opinion it is very interesting. Check it out and see for yourself...
Between The Times

Friday, July 11, 2008

Photo Update

July 4th was a crazy night as a intense storm rolled through Chapel Hill. Little did we know it was going to be the death of a huge tree in the yard of the Battle House. Steven and I documented the lightening struck tree...
I was blessed to see my best friend for the second time in a month. This never happens b/c we live far away...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Only In Other Countries

In light of our upcoming trip to SE Asia our featured country is China. A train is a major source of transportation there. They also like to get places quickly in China. From the airport to the city can be a long distance and take much time with lots of traffic. But not any more... thanks to magnetic levitation you can board the train at the airport and arrive in the middle of the city 32 kilometers away in 8 minutes. This train travels at 500kph! Even though the German's invented it, China was the first to use it. Maybe one day I'll experience for myself!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photo Update

We have been on vacation at the beach! It was refreshing and relaxing. Now we are back in the Hill working hard. Not many students around, but lots of incoming students visiting. We are also getting ready for our mission trip at the end of July. More of that to come... until then, here's some of what we did on vacation...

Steven's first trip to the Peach Park!

Steven's first time to Auburn and my first time since graduating four years ago.

Molly and I are open for business! Cakes made however you want for a lot less than the bakery down the street. A lot better tasting too. We'll even dress up and take a picture with it : )

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Church vs. Campus Ministries 2.0

I will attempt to answer a question posed in response to the first posting of this series. Please forgive me if I have overstated or oversimplified anything and I mean only to comment on what I currently am seeing in relation to this subject.

Question: "What is the biblical role of the church in reaching collegiate students?"

Answer: The definition of what a church is has been hazed over by ministries all over the world seeking to be relevant, but not really answer with the God-given response found in the Scriptures. Acts 2:42-47 is a good starting place and has much to say about what the multi-generational body of Christ looks like in coming together, listening to the Word of God taught, sharing all things, and praising God for all things done through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Obviously, meeting in houses is not the rule in determining whether or not a body of believers is a church. In some cultures and contexts where persecution happens or when even a lack of resources occurs this becomes permissable and even encouraged in order to not neglect meeting together as Hebrews 10:25 states, "as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." This is where many will say, "Can't ten college students who meet together every Tuesday night for Bible study be considered a church? They share things, they pray for each other, they hold each other accountable, and they teach the word. What's the big deal?!" Every New Testament instance of a body of believers or a congregation meeting together provides no contextual proof for peoples of just the same age group or generation. The multi-generational church is to meet together continuously in hopes of maturing into the likeness of Christ and for the building up of the body. How can a group of 19-year olds mature in Christ when all that is influencing them is themselves and not older men and women? Titus ran into the same issues as Paul challenged him (Titus 2) that older women needed to pour into younger women in discipleship because Titus was not in a position to do so or ever will be.

What this means then in regards to reaching the campus is that the local church needs to put Christ on display through the biblical framework laid out in the New Testament in being the church to the culture they are trying to reach. More often then not in most secular universities, getting on campus is very difficult and proves sometimes impossible for the private schools as well. The reason we have campus ministries today is because local churches abandoned ship and walked away from the culture and decided to start supporting agencies instead of their own people to go outside the camp and to do the work God has ordained them to do.

In light of all of this then, local churches that work through campus ministries to reach college students seems to be the best way currently for accessible purposes alone. But, this should not be so ultimately. Local churches cannot sit back and let agencies or para-church ministries do the work they were called to do. All local churches are going to have different focuses, aims, and goals, but each one near a college campus must have a missional purpose in reaching students for Christ and maturing them in Christ. This is their biblical role and when a campus ministry proves antithetical towards those goals, continue to pray that God would open a door for your local church to declare the mystery of Christ through another means.

Question: "What is the biblical role of campus ministries in reaching collegiate students?

Answer: The role itself is defined simply as being an extension of the local church or gateway, but not a replacement. A replacement for what? A replacement for what was discussed above. It is not the role of the campus ministry to administer the Lord's Supper or Baptism. These are reserved for who? You got it! The local church. This has gotten me now thinking about the difference between a "para-church ministry" and a "para-local church ministry". The difference between the two lies I believe in whether or not a ministry truly treasures and values the local church the way it should be for Great Commission purposes or if it hinders the local church from accomplishing its evangelistic goals or even pushes the church aside as if it isn't equipped and competent as a campus ministry to do relevant ministerial work. I would define a para-local church ministry as the former and a para-church ministry as the latter.

At Baptist Campus Ministry where we serve we have to think deeply about what our role is as a para-local church ministry and I think it is to make disciples of those who do and don't know about the Gospel and to mobilize them towards the Bride of Christ and to mobilize them towards reaching the unreached peoples of the world, all through the support of the local church. Many campus ministries would strongly agree with what I said in theory, but in practicality it doesn't work for them. There may be some viable reasons why it doesn't work for them practically from not having a biblical local church base to pull from all the way to not having churches who even care about collegiate ministry. But, there are also some who choose to not even care and to disregard what I've said in practicality because they view the biblical local church as an option to their ministry versus being a grid by which they filter their campus ministry through.

This is a paradigm shift. It doesn't happen overnight. It is an arduous process that takes dedication and patience in moving towards the eternal ends of reaching the world (college campuses) with the Gospel through the God-ordained means of the local church. If campus ministries don't take on this paradigm shift and move with it, they will continue to feed students with an apathetic attitude towards local church membership, involvement, and multi-generational discipleship. After college what is left? It won't be Baptist Campus Ministry, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade, Campus Outreach, etc. It will be the local church made up of the multi-generational body of Christ.

I believe this can happen through even BCM as we exist and strive to be a para-local church ministry commissioned and supported through the local church to minister to the university public sector here in Chapel Hill.

Soli Deo gloria!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Living in Other Countries

Our friends the Omondis live in Africa. You have to read their latest post on their blog. This is continuing our series of living in other countries. Look for more to come!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Living in Other Countries

This is too funny not to pass along! These "pushers" are hired by the Japanese government to push as many people as possible in to the subway. Could you imagine?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Church vs. Campus Ministries

The title should not surprise many as this is the likely case between many churches and campus ministries. I (Steven) was recently interviewed about the greatest challenges facing churches seeking to effectively minister to college students today. Here was my very brief response.

a. Disconnect between Churches and Para-church ministries.

There is huge disconnect between local churches and Para-church ministries built on what I would call “territorialism”. This would best typify what hinders the work of local churches to being active on the collegiate campus. This also hinders the work of Para-church ministries as more and more are finding it harder to minister within their context in “not being the church”, but doing the functions of a local church without the proper resources. The only way to reconcile the differences is for both to know their biblical role in reaching college students with the Gospel. The role of the local church is to be the church and the role of the campus ministry is to be the extension of the local church as defined in the Scriptures. I’ve seen through my experiences on both sides that both have trouble giving ground where ground needs to given and to work in the complimentary role God has graced each with. Scholar Dr. J.P. Moreland said the three most influential pieces defining our culture are the Media, Hollywood, and the Universities. If we can reach the students of the Universities we can reach the other facets of our culture. Partnership between the local church and Para-church ministries on campuses can be done and so there is hope for this, but it takes humility and work on both sides.

b. A lack of understanding of what college students actually face.

We can all say with honesty that college life fifteen years ago was totally different from thirty years ago as well as even fifty years ago. Today college life is changing as our culture progresses and for the church to be deficient in understanding the collegiate culture is dangerous. For it will result in a lack of understanding of what college students actually face in their academic and social lives, but also ineffectiveness in reaching them with the Gospel. In order to truly pursue people in general we must understand them and ask questions as to what makes them emboldens them today and not twenty years ago. At each campus today almost 30% of all college students are on anti-depressant drugs; up from 6% twenty years ago and almost 35% are attempting or are addicted to illegal substances. These are recent stats that should alarm any such person, but is the church up to date on these cultural trends that are affecting college students or is the church just finally discovering them? The church must take a more proactive role in clearly knowing how to reason through the Scriptures with Atheists, Agnostics, and other major World Religions in hopes of pointing as many college students to Jesus as possible, but also digging deep into their lives for relevance. This has been a challenge for churches in the past, but is clearly one in which the church can repent of being passive and start following Christ in obedience in knowing the collegiate culture students live in.

c. Failure to properly give college students a Global Vision for reaching unreached peoples.

One thing churches in general fail to do is give college students and singles before they graduate a Global perspective of reaching peoples who have never heard the message of the Gospel. It is the role of the local church to equip all its members of the Body of Christ to go and tell the Gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation the saving message of Jesus Christ. Most college students when they graduate are single, ambitious, passionate, and looking to make a difference in the world. What a more perfect opportunity and season in a college student’s life, but to go and spend two or three years in a place where the Gospel has never been! Mobilizing college students to go and live a short season of their life in a hard place is a difficult thing for churches to do as they are competing with the world’s offerings of high paying salaries, lucrative careers in research, and the goals of living a life of ease and comfort. Granted, these things are all nice in the context of knowing they come from God and He is the one who richly supplies. But, they should never become the end goal in life, as they should always be the means by which to fulfill the Great Commission through the local church. It is the mandate of the church to equip primarily for this task however challenging it may be, but it can be done by the grace of God.

More on this to come later.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

picture update

Old Auburn friends get together to celebrate birth!

Jenga record set by Steven!

Our church has a rose garden!