Well I graduated from seminary on Friday. After graduation, Dr. Black told me I need to start blogging again, so I thought I’d provide a brief update:
We’ve been busy at work with planting a church in Denver, CO. You can check out what we’ve been doing at our website here.
Also, I’ve started blogging over at Tumblr, which allows for quicker blogging and making posts from my phone. Check that out here.
I also have been writing a decent bit outside of this, particularly over at Baptist21. You can check some of what I’ve been writing here.
Also, in case you’re wondering what I’ll be doing for the rest of the year before moving to Denver, I’m on staff at The Summit Church full time in preparation of them planting our church. It’s an incredible blessing.
First off, let me wish you a merry Christmas. It’s good to be back in Raleigh after traveling the past 10 days.
As part of a church planting questionnaire I recently filled out, I was asked to include the five most influential books that I’ve read outside of the Bible.
If you enjoy reading this is always a difficult question to answer. I often find my brain locking up when asked this question because I either want to pick the most impressive books (“I was just skimming Augustine’s City of God the other day and…”) or because there are so many that have influenced me. The list I gave didn’t necessarily include the most challenging or enjoyable books, but rather those books that changed the way I think about God.
Here were my five, including why they’ve been so influential:
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity – As a new believer and religious studies minor at USC, my faith was challenged continually both by friends and professors. One of my classes featured a professor who used J.D. Crossan’s (Jesus Seminar) notes and called me a fool for believing Job was a real person. Reading Mere Christianity exposed me to a logical explanation of the Christian faith, and was used by God to protect my new belief during my college years.
Tim Keller, The Prodigal God – The centrality of the gospel and its application to all people came alive to me in this book. I also found out that I had become an “older brother” in reaction to my “younger brother” behavior earlier in my life. Short, sweet, and simple, but it was like a glass of cool water during a spiritually dry time in my life.
John Sailhamer, Commentary on Genesis (Expositor’s Bible Commentary) – A commentary?! Yes! I read this my first month after coming to Southeastern. I picked this up after recognizing I was biblically illiterate compared to other students, and thought Genesis would be a good place to start learning more about the Bible. Sailhamer’s ability to capture the depth of the biblical text, Scripture’s overarching narrative, and that the Old Testament isn’t just a collection of stories that teach a moral rocked the way I read the Bible.
If I had read his The Meaning of the Pentateuch back then, which I’m reading now, I imagine it would have had the same effect. It is fantastic.
John Piper, God is the Gospel – What is our chief end in ministry? While we may claim it is God’s glory, it is so easy to allow the gospel to be another rung on the latter to reach another end – our own fame, success, or praise from others. This work by Piper kills the prosperity gospel (which tempts me daily) within the first few pages.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together – Bonhoeffer’s description of biblical community grabbed my heart and articulated beautifully what I had been thinking through for some time. I came to realize that biblical community is counter-cultural, and the way I treat my brother or sister in Christ is a reflection of what I really believe about the gospel.
In reflection, my list is fairly unimpressive. The authors are well known, most of the books are popular, and nothing is over a couple hundred pages long. However, the Lord used these five books to radically shape who I am today.
Any books that have shaped who you are today?
Check out our church plant’s new website at www.Denver2011.org.
In particular, I’d ask you to take note of Project 100, our attempt to have 100 people to commit to pray for our January trip to the city of Denver. Please consider praying for our trip and ask God to help us find a location, develop effective “links,” and grow in love for the city and its people.
Once we’re back from Richmond, my blogging frequency will increase. I promise!
I’ve found that all the time I once used for blogging has been invested in preparing for church planting. However, I don’t want to give up on the blog and once I get through finals (one more today and another tomorrow) I plan to restructure my schedule so that I can write more.
Three important updates:
1. We moved! We love our new apartment and living in Raleigh.
2. Check out http://www.denver2011.org – this is the site for our church plant and the full site will be up this week. Sign up for our newsletter which will start going out this week as well.
3. We’re parents! Meet Penny, the latest addition to our family:
Last week I mentioned where we’re going. Along with some friends, we’ll be planting a church in urban Denver, Colorado.
Now I’d love it if you would help us make all this a reality. We need all the prayer and support we can get, and want to share what God is doing in and through us with as many people as possible.
If you’d like to get updates, just comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I saw this over at Relevant. Please take the time to watch this video:
One of the most amazing parts? He was 14 years old when he started! As I prepare to lead a D-Now at the end of the month, I return to the wisdom of my professors Dr. Black and Dr. Reid who believe that young people are plagued by low expectations. As our country perpetually pushes back the age of adolescence into one’s late 20’s and early 30’s, there are a few like this young man who decide to reject passivity and accept responsibility, even when the expectation isn’t there.