Archives For Seminary

 

It’s Official! I’m a Ph.D. Student!20140128-093951.jpg

I can’t believe it. I got in. Wow!

This has been a journey.
As some of you may know, I was not the best or brightest student growing up. I did not have a passion or drive to go to school for any reason. I did not care for it or find any purpose in it. However after God called me back to school and eventually seminary, the doors seemed to come open and I asked God to push me through whatever doors He desired me to walk through. To be honest, I am not sure that this was the door that I had envisioned at the time. But I do know that where God leads, He equips. So I am confident in His steadfast help in this process.
Please be in prayer for me and my future studies. This average student can use all he can get. 😉

P.S. I will be working on a Ph.D. in Evangelism & Church Vitalization at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.

Masters of Divinity Graduation

As many of you may know, the close of a season occurred last Friday afternoon as I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (@SWBTS) with a Master degree in Divinity and a concentration in Evangelism. This has been a long time coming and a long journey to get here. Even though I was able to get through the program faster than Kristen and I expected, it has been 3 full years of long nights full of homework and papers along with the financial pressures that come with going back to school.

Although this journey has been a long one, it has been a great one. I have made friends in seminary that I would not have connected with other wise, I have grown in the Lord personally, and I have watched the Lord do things that are simply unexplainable. The Lord has been faithful in providing when He called me to seminary.

At this point, many people have wondered what is on the plate for Kristen and I in ministry and life.

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Well this last Sunday I began a pastorate at First Baptist Church Jewett, TX. Kristen and I felt called to Jewett last April and I accepted a call to be the lead pastor of this loving family of faith. We are now in transition to move to the city of Jewett over the next month as Kristen is still finishing the school year. As you can understand, this is a crazy time of excitement and joy, watching dreams and calling come to reality. It is a real adventure!

 In the near future I will post more pictures of the church and give some more details about the community we will be ministering to.

Please be in prayer for FBC Jewett, the community of Jewett, Kristen and I as we press forward to see what the Lord has in store for our family.

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Today was bitter sweet.

Today, I started the last semester I will have as a Master of Divinity Student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

This endeavor started almost 3years ago and has been a time of growth and exploration in ministry and education.

The day was quite nostalgic as the day progressed. I often found myself looking back on all the great times I have had and all of the hard situations I have endured while attending seminary. While also thinking how crazy it will be for this season of life to be complete. It is surreal to say the least.

As I was working through these thoughts, I found one thought to be above them all.

The thought was of the reality that God was present through all of it. He was present through the hard times, and through the good times. He was present with me as I was taking exams and writing papers, as well as with the professors as they are teaching future ministry leaders.

Because of this we owe Him all the glory.

My prayer as I embark on this final semester of my M.Div. is that I am able remember that God is present when I dont see Him and that I am able to honor Him by finishing well.

GradApp

Today brought and unexpected blessing! I turned in my graduation application to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

This is truly bitter-sweet.

I am so happy to be finished with the arduous work that comes with seminary life. The late nights of Hebrew home work and paper writing will finally come to an end. 😀

However I am truly going to miss this season of life. I have seen God do some unexplainable things in ministry and I have experienced God change me in all sorts of ways over these past three years. 🙁

Please be in prayer for me as we see what God would have for us in the next season of life.

 

Back to School at SWBTSSWBTS

I just finished my first day of my last year as an Master of Divinity student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I must say that coming to this school and experiencing the enthusiasm of the students and faculty to share the gospel is inspiring and exciting.

It truly is a blessing.

To all my fellow students, I hope and pray you have a great year and that God would use this time to prepare you.

To all my professors, I hope and pray you teach the students well and be willing to give grace as the students need.

Preach the Word! Reach The World!

CampusNews  Thorough Gospel presentations bear fruit

I just received an email from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and I was in an article with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Matt Queen (@DrMattQueen).

As you would think, I am pretty stoked. I was very encouraged by the kind words of Dr. Queen and his wise words of instruction. I hope that it is an inspiration for others to go and intentionally seek the lost.

Luke 19:10 – “For the Son of man came to Seek and Save the Lost”

You Can Read the Article Here!

 Or Download the PDF Here CampusNews Thorough Gospel presentations bear fruit

 

2 John 1:7-13 ESV (Bold Added)

[7] For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. [8] Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. [9] Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. [10] If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, [11] for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

[12] Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

[13] The children of your elect sister greet you.

As I have meditated on this and some of the other scriptures I have been reading in my devotional times, I have seen how important it is for believers to have a very proactive faith. I know that just about everyone who is a committed church attender will say “yes that’s true” or “I believe that.” After all most church going Christians have heard this message every Sunday as long as they have attended church.
 

So my question then becomes, why don’t we act on it more often?
 

I believe that sometimes this is credited to laziness but other times, it is simply because we don’t know where to start. Which is why I added an excerpt from the devotional below. Here the author outlines some great insight for people of all spiritual depths to get involved in God’s plan.
 

Connecting the Testaments Devotional (June 28th) Excerpt

John wanted the community to be aware of false teaching so they wouldn’t become confused or weakened in their faith. We, too, need to be intentional about the teaching we adhere to. If we are weak and troubled in our faith, we should seek out mature believers who can teach and minister to us. However, if we are confident in our faith, we should be ready and willing to share the message of salvation with those who need to hear it- both inside and outside our communities.

 

  • Be intentional about knowing what you believe and how to articulate it.
  • If you are going through a hard situation, seek solid Christian counsel from those around you and God the Father in prayer.
  • If you are solid in your understanding and okay, seek others to minister to through sharing the Gospel or discipling a person younger in the faith. There are many out there who need help and we must step up to meet the need.

 

Click Me To Find On Amazon!

Why don’t we evangelize? What is the gospel? Who should evangelize? What is evangelism? Why should we evangelize? Mark Dever’s book, The Gospel And Personal Evangelism, seeks to answer all of these basic questions about evangelism for the common Christian. In today’s Christian culture, evangelism has fallen by the wayside in terms of priority and is often seen as the one thing that the church always has on their to-do list but never gets around to actually accomplishing it. In The Gospel And Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever desires to answer some of the questions that people have about evangelism, clarify some of the terms that the church uses in evangelism, instruct his readers on how to do evangelism, and challenge all Christians to practice evangelism. Over all, this book aims to discuss the best news there has ever been given and how we should share that news with others.[1]

In order to accomplish this task, Dever’s book consists of answering the common questions by first asking them, and then answering them based on his own, personal experience. Dever also includes quotes from current and past theologians and helpful illustrations. Each chapter is titled as a common question that is asked by many within the Christian church. Then, the content of each chapter discusses the common answers with Dever’s refutations, illustrations, and comments based on the question being discussed. For example, Chapter Two is titled “What is the Gospel?”[2]. In the contents of this chapter, the author explains that there is some confusion among Christians about what constitutes the Gospel message and that a large amount of Christians do not explain clearly what the Gospel is when sharing with others. After this, Dever dives into the common answers or implied answers that non-believers receive when they are witnessed to and what implications those answer have. For this chapter, those assumptions would include; The Good News Is Not Simply That We Are Okay (the gospel is not simply a feel good message)[3], The Good News Is Not Simply That God is Love (the gospel declares that God is more than just love and has many other attributes)[4], The Good New Is Not Simply That Jesus Wants to Be Our Friend (the gospel is more than a relationship that needs to be cultivated)[5], and The Good News Is Not That We Should Live Rightly (the gospel is more than corrective action from sin)[6]. At the end of each chapter Dever concludes by answering the question proposed in the chapter’s title from his own opinion and view on theology. In Chapter Two, Dever writes the following.

 

“Here is what I understand the good news (the gospel) to be: the good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law in himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever trust in him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.”[7]

 

Overall, the author answers his thesis in a clear and consistent manner throughout the book.  Dever tackles all of the questions which he sets out to address in each chapter. However, because the author holds a reformed view of theology, some of his answers to the basic questions may cause some readers to have further questions about his interpretation of evangelism. This specifically plays out when Dever begins to address his application and methodology of evangelism in chapters four, five, and seven. (Ch. 4 – How Should We Evangelize?, Ch. 5 – What Isn’t Evangelism?, Ch. 7 – Closing The Sale) For example, because of Dever’s belief in reform theology, he holds the view that God’s regeneration precedes a person’s profession of faith and therefore presents a weak set of instructions for giving a call for those who are being witnessed to, to accept Christ. We see this in the way that he confirms the statement that accepting the gospel is a “journey” and further explaining that Christians should “Let people find the truth themselves. These days of simple tracts and surefire, sales-presentation evangelism is over.” [8]As a result of statements like this, the reader walks away with the impression that they are to politely talk through a gospel presentation without pleading the urgency of the matter with the receiver of the message and then simply rely on God’s sovereignty to redeem those who are unregenerate.

I find this troubling because, first and foremost, it is not consistent with Scripture. Jesus did not simply have a conversation with Nicodemus[9] or the Woman at the Well[10] and send them on their way to process the message. He challenged them on what they believed and then called them to repent and be born again or to drink of the living water. Jesus presented the message and called the hearers to make a decision. It also does not portray the urgency of the gospel which we see the Apostles use when witnessing to those who formed the early church in Acts. Secondly, these statements disqualify several forms of evangelism that are very effective such as preaching and door to door evangelism. Dever attempts to justify his position in Chapter Seven by explaining that his desire is to avoid any false professions of faith because of the emotional pressure of the moment. However, I would then desire to ask him how many people has he witnessed to that would have made the decision to accept Christ but did not, because he did not ask them to.

It is imperative that we call people to make a decision to accept Christ when sharing the gospel for two reasons. First, that they may have the opportunity to profess their belief in Christ and receive the forgiveness of their sins[11]. Second, if they do or do not profess salvation they are without excuse on the Day of Judgment when asked if they have heard the gospel message[12]. Aside from Dever’s theological position and the implications it has on his evangelism tactics, it should be noted that he did an excellent job of tackling some of the culture’s questions when it comes to evangelism and I would encourage others to read this book.



[1] Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2007). Page 16-17

[2] Ibid. Page 31

[3] Ibid. Page 32-35

[4] Ibid. Page 36-37

[5] Ibid. Page 37-39

[6] Ibid. Page 40-42

[7] Ibid. Page 43, Italics added.

[8] Ibid. Page 64-65

[9] Crossway Bibles., Esv Study Bible : English Standard Version, ESV text ed. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Bibles, 2008).  John 3

[10] Ibid. John 4

[11] Ibid. Romans 10:9-10

[12] Ibid. John 9:39-41

I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

Click to Find How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth on Amazon.com

Do you read the Bible sometimes and wonder what you were supposed to get out of it?

Do you know the differences between all the different Bible translations?
Do you know how the books of the Bible are different from one another and how to read them?

 

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

 

In this book Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart will equip you to find the tools you need to interpret Scripture, to find the best Bible translation for your needs and go through the books of the Bible based on their context and history. Through this book Fee and Stuart have equipped the common person to handle the Scriptures in the way they need to be handled for a sound interpretation. I would encourage everyone who is a believer to read and understand the content of this book.

 

Here is a copy of the table  of Contents for you to get a grasp of all the subjects that are covered.

 

Ch. 1 – Introduction: The Need to Interpret
Ch.2 – The Basic Tool: A Good Translation
Ch. 3 – The Epistles: Learning to think Contextually
Ch. 4 – The Epistles: The Hermeneutical Questions
Ch. 5 – The Old Testament Narratives: Their Proper Use
Ch. 6 – Acts: The Question of Historical Precedent
Ch. 7 – The Gospels: One Story, Many Demensions
Ch. 8 – The Parables: Do you get the point?
Ch. 9 – The Law(s): Covenant Stipulations for Israel
Ch. 10 – The Prophets: Enforcing the Covenant in Israel
Ch. 11 – The Psalms: Israel’s Prayers and Ours
Ch. 12 – Wisdom: Then and Now
Ch. 13 – The Revelation: Images of Judgement and Hope

 

I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

Back to School @SWBTS

January 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

As the school semester is starting up, I can’t help but realize how blessed I am to go to school. I realize that in the midst of it, it is hard. But it is worth it. I hope an pray that this year all of the men and women attending school realize the impact they will have on the world as they study and that God would give us the strength and guidance to not only get the work done but learn how we are to use this knowledge in building His kingdom.

Here are a few quotes I treasure about going to seminary.

“All the seminary in the world will not help you if you do not share your faith” – Page Patterson (Stated in the first chapel service I went to.)

“If God has called you to the ministry, He has called you to prepare for the ministry” – John Bisagno, Pastor’s Handbook

“Go to Seminary! Sure God can use an ax to do the job but He can use a sharp ax so much better” –  John Bisagno, Pastor’s Handbook (in reference to ministers not going to seminary)