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The New City Catechism

September 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

New-City-Catechism

Growing up Southern Baptist, I never really heard about or knew about catechisms. A friend shared The New City Catechism with me and I started reading more about it. First, what is a catechism. Here’s the dictionary definition.

catechism

For students of church history, New City Catechism is based on and adapted from Calvin’s Geneva Catechism, the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms, and especially the Heidelberg Catechism. It consists of 52 questions and answer and it is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer. It is developed and promoted by The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church and is available as a pdf, as an interactive iPad app, and online. Here is an example of the first question. Each day has the question (the highlighted text is the shorter children’s version), a commentary, a video explanation, the Bible reference, and a prayer.

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After researching it, our family has decided to use this in our family devotions. I felt we needed to be more intentional is discussing how theology applies to real life. We are on week 5 and it has already created some great discussions in our family. The kids are memorizing the questions and answers each week, and we are discussing the commentary. If you want to find out more about it, check out this post by The Gospel Coalition.

Why a catechism? Here is more from their introduction.

At present, the practice of catechesis, particularly among adults, has been almost completely lost. Modern discipleship programs concentrate on practices such as Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism and can at times be superficial when it comes to doctrine. In contrast, the classic catechisms take students through the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer—a perfect balance of biblical theology, practical ethics, and spiritual experience. Also, the catechetical discipline of memorization drives concepts deeper into the heart and naturally holds students more accountable to master the material than do typical discipleship courses. Finally, the practice of question-answer recitation brings instructors and students into a naturally interactive, dialogical process of learning.

A Tough Eight Weeks

October 17, 2012 — 1 Comment

christian theology1I feel such a relief after finishing up another eight-week seminary class. I’ve been putting off taking Systematic Theology as long as I could, but I finally jumped in and finished it. I have to say, that it’s been the roughest 8-weeks of the last few years for me. The amount of reading and coursework were overwhelming, and it was a class that I simply didn’t enjoy. I’ve learned a lot in seminary, but this class really highlights some of the problems with the seminary experience for me.

As a practical, logical, left-brained thinker and former engineer, this class seemed to lack purpose and application. I’m sure it appeals to those who like philosophy, but for me it seems like a futile attempt to describe God in human terms. I am a little strange because I have always loved school and I even love the process of learning. I take 2 Timothy 2:15 seriously, and I think all pastors should be students of the Word. But this class was detached from real-life ministry. The goal of seminary is not to produce academic thinkers, but world changers who know how to understand, interpret, and share God’s Word.

Now, I can get back to blogging and serving God with energy and passion. I am blessed and thankful.

#EndOfRant  #BacktoRealLife  #3ClassesToGo

DrewBaptism

What a great weekend. We had a Cornerstone baptism service at Camp Dickenson on  the New River and we saw 17 people demonstrate their commitment to Christ through baptism. And the best part was that I had the opportunity to baptize my youngest son Drew. I’m thankful to be part of a church where lives are being changed!

I played backup for my son Luke at the Fiddler’s Convention this week while he played the mandolin on youth night. I was definitely a lot more nervous than he was. Here’s a little Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I enjoy making these special memories with the kids.

The Old Fiddler’s Convention in our hometown of Galax is the largest and oldest convention in the world. This is the 77th year and they estimate over 50,000 people come into our city each year for this week. Here’s an old post with some more info.

Rest

July 2, 2012 — 10 Comments

 

For the last ten days, our family took some time off. We went to the beach at Pawley’s Island, South Carolina and enjoyed just having fun. We played golf. We went fishing, We played in the ocean and in the pool. We ate way too much food. We laughed and we acted crazy. And we visited a church and worshipped together while on vacation. The last few years have gone by way too quickly, and this is the first time we have ever taken a vacation this long. We have been a little stretched financially  over the past few years and have only been able to take long weekend trips, so this trip was extra special.

I quickly realized that when I am under stress, I am not that fun to be around. I don’t laugh as much and I’m always thinking about problems and what needs to be done. Personal conflict especially bothers me, and as a pastor, there are always people who don’t like something you’ve said or done. It’s hard for me to not take it personally, so I’ve had to learn that I can’t please everyone and that I only need to focus on pleasing God. Getting away helps me to focus on what is really important in life. I love what Mark Batterson says: A Change of Place + A Change of Pace = A Change of Perspective.

I appreciate everyone stepping up at Cornerstone while we were gone. I really am recharged and ready to move forward. I can’t wait to share some of what I’ve read and learned.

It was also great to disconnect from email, the blog, Facebook, and twitter. I checked things a few times, but I didn’t worry about responding to everyone, and I didn’t worry about what everyone else was doing. Our society has become consumed with reading about everyone else’s activities, while neglecting their own families. I don’t want to make that mistake. I am blessed to have an incredible family. My wife and I have been married for 17 years, and our journey together just keeps getting better.

Here are a few more pics from the trip.

True Hokie

December 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

Our family spent the day in Blacksburg and Christiansburg finishing up our Christmas shopping and visiting Jennifer’s sister Sara and her family. I took the picture above while walking across the campus with our kids. Virginia Tech is really a special place for me. I spent four great years there, and I fell in love with the campus and the people.

Growing up I was a fan of the Hokies, so when I decided in 10th grade that I wanted to be an engineer, everything just started falling into place. Duke was the only other school that I applied to, but My heart wasn’t in it. I applied early and chose to attend Tech and I became a true Hokie. This great engineering school is just an hour away from my hometown where I now live. 

It was at Tech where I really started growing in my faith. I got involved with the local Baptist Student Union and was surrounded by some great friends who helped teach and encourage me. Many of my friends eventually found their way into full time ministry, so when we visit the campus it’s a constant reminder of what God has done in my life. God has always put the right people into my life at the right time. I would have never have guessed that I would end up as a pastor, but God was working out the plan every step of the way.

We still are able to visit the campus often, but it’s been over 16 years since I graduated. I’m troubled by the violence that has rocked the Hokie Nation and I still can’t understand why it has happened in Blacksburg of all places. This small, beautiful mountain town has a slower pace of life, one that is peaceful and quiet. But the people of Tech have pulled together. I love the mountains of Virginia and I’m so thankful that God has me here.

And finally, all I can say is Go Hokies!!! Let’s beat Michigan in the Sugar Bowl!

Physical Discipline

November 21, 2011 — Leave a comment

Have you ever looked down at the scale and wondered how the number got that high? For me, I finally took a long hard look and realized that I need to make a few changes. It’s not that I’m extremely overweight, but I am definitely heavier than I should be. I can rationalize it by saying that I’m still in decent shape. I can play basketball, go run a few miles, ride my bike, and I’m still relatively healthy. But the truth is that I have been undisciplined in my physical life. This summer, I was at the heaviest weight of my life. Since then, I’ve dropped about 10 pounds, but it was a wake up call to me.

I feel like I’m a critical point in my life, and I don’t want the demands of ministry to turn me into a fat and frustrated preacher. Since I want to be healthy and be around for my family for a long time, here are some changes I’m making.

  • Losing weight – I’ve already lost 5 pounds over the past week. I started Weight Watchers online for some accountability and it’s helping me really think about what I eat. I would like to drop about 20 more pounds. It’s been good motivation for me.
  • Exercise More – I’m going to schedule regular exercise times. This is tough in the winter, but I don’t have any excuses. Exercise really helps me clear my head and deal with stress and worry.
  • Regular Physicals – I’m 38 years old and I think the last physical I had was in high school. I’ve been to the local Urgent Care a few times, but I haven’t had a regular Family Physician since the mid 90′s. I’ve never even had my cholesterol checked.  That changed this week. I’m going to take advantage of my health insurance and start building a relationship with a physician. My family has history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other health problems, so I’m going to keep watch over my physical health.
  • Fasting – This may seem out of place to some of you, but I am going to start regularly fasting. Not for weight loss, but to help my discipline. I am spending these fasting days praying for our church and praying for my family. This is something I’ve been reading and studying about for a while, but I have never really incorporated it into everyday life. I’m getting more intentional about seeking God guidance for my life. This is just one way to help that.
  • Laugh and Play – Finally, this one is huge for me. I tend to be a pretty serious guy. I am going to be much more intentional about laughing and playing with my kids and wife. Life is too short to not enjoy it!
Let me challenge you to think about your health. Are you living a disciplined life?

Okay, you might read that the wrong way, but this is a good thing. My wife and 13 year old daughter are planning on going on a mission trip to Nicaragua next month. I am super excited for them, because I have been on similar trips for the past two years with Because We Care Ministries. This picture is of a little girl I met at one of the villages. When we arrived to fix a hot meal for the people there, she lined up and waited for her food. So many people are hungry and hurting, and we have a chance to meet both their physical and spiritual needs.

Mission trips really open your eyes to the world around you. I’m excited for both my wife and daughter since neither have traveled outside of the country. I’m also glad they will be learning and serving together. They will be ministering in the northwest part of Nicaragua, reaching out to remote villages to share the love of Christ. Our church has formed a strong partnership with this ministry, and we have sent numerous people there to serve. But the reality is that it’s also expensive to go on a trip like this. We’ve been saving, but we aren’t quite there. Here’s how you can help me send my wife out of the country :-)

Pray: Prayer is powerful and I ask that you pray for their trip (and pray for me at home with two boys for a week)

Cakes, Cheesecakes, & Desserts: My wife is simply incredible in the kitchen. If you are interested in having her prepare a dessert for you, please email her or call her and she will give you a price. All proceeds will go towards the trip. Also, she is a Pampered Chef consultant, so let her know if you would like to do a show.

Websites: Many of you know that I design websites in my spare time. I’m trying to do a few extra websites this month to help raise the money. If you are interested in a site, please go to FEDesign.net to find our more info.

And finally, if you simply want to donate to help us, you can send money through paypal by clicking on the link below.

 

 

I appreciate your help. We’re trusting God to provide the necessary funds to make this trip a reality.

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