Confessing my addiction…

If it’s possible to be “addicted” to books, then I am most definitely addicted.  Soon after I became a Christian (in 1992), I discovered the joy and benefit of reading good, Christian books…and my interest in them has only increased over the years.  As a youth minister, I was required by my mentor to read three or four books a month.  As a college and seminary student, I was required to purchase and study many books for my classes.  Now, as I continue to read, study, teach, preach, and write, books are extremely important to me – only slightly less important, really, than air and food.

Without thoroughly-researched, well-written books at my fingertips (and, of course, THE book – the Bible – which supersedes all other books in it’s importance in my life), I would feel very insecure.  With my limited memory and limited knowledge, I would never feel equipped to impart information to others, because I would be afraid of interjecting my personal opinions in place of what is true and factual, or at least getting the facts badly jumbled in my efforts to communicate them.  Ray Bradbury’s classic novel “Fahrenheit 451” (which imagines a culture in which books are illegal), is a truly horrific story for me, because a world without books – I think – would be a terrible place.

Fortunately, though (…or unfortunately, depending on how you’re looking at things…), there is an ever-increasing number of truly excellent books that are well-worth reading.  The novice reader, who is not really well-informed about what’s available and hasn’t learned what’s most edifying to read, will often make very poor choices in books.  This, of course, is clearly illustrated by the fact that “fluff” books are continually the best-sellers in the popular bookstores.

Many people will choose to read the “easiest” books that they can find for pure enjoyment and escape from the daily drudgery of life, and – for some – they are quite content to read these simple books throughout their lives.  This is unfortunate, though, because the better books – even the better fiction books, if that’s your preference – have so much more to offer to us than the books that are written for the sole purpose of making money and achieving celebrity status.  This is not to say that only difficult books should be pursued (though they are often more rewarding), but rather that truly good books should be our primary interest.  And if you have any trouble determining what those “good” books are, then you need only find an experienced book lover that you respect and ask their advice to start learning about them.

An appreciation for excellent books is a wonderful thing, and something which I wish every person in the world shared with one another.  How wonderful it would be if everybody realized how much our minds can be sharpened, our wisdom deepened, and our lives enhanced by committing ourselves to investing the energy and resources in the reading of good books!  For me, however, my realization of this years ago has turned into something of a problem for me now.  I find myself – as I said – “addicted” to books.  It is all but impossible for me to walk by a book display in a store – no matter what kind of store it is – and not at least look to see whether there is some new title which I might be in urgent need of.  If you could see my current library, though, you would know beyond doubt that I’m not in “urgent need” of ANY more books!

Recently, in applying for my new insurance policy, I needed to have an estimate for the value of my personal library, as well as for our other possessions.  All in all, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200 books.  There are some small bookstores that don’t keep that many titles in stock at a given time!  Needless to say, this poses a problem for Karen and I as I struggle to get all of the books into bookcases (I believe I have 15 or so large bookcases.), particularly since we are now living in a small church apartment!  So, I find myself having to – out of necessity – say goodbye to a small portion of my book collection.  Needless to say, this is a slow, difficult, and at times painful process.

Some of the books are admittedly outdated and less valuable to me now.  Most, however, are at least “good” if not truly “excellent” books, and these are much harder to sift through.  Deciding which ones to sell or give away is something like deciding which body part to let go of.  Is there one finger that’s less necessary to me than the others…perhaps one toe that doesn’t play too significant a role in my ability to stand or walk?  Hardly!  Yet, when I’ve assembled and filled every bookcase that will possibly fit into our apartment and I still have stacks of books all over, then changes must be made.

Anyway, I share this with you partly because I know that many of my minister friends have had to deal with a similar “book addiction” as I have, and perhaps you have some useful tips to offer to me in this time of personal struggle.  To other readers, though, I want to share that – in spite of the spacial complications that my book collection is currently causing in my life – I have, nonetheless, been greatly enriched by the good things that I have read.  Most of my knowledge and a great deal of my conviction is due to God working in my life through the things that I have read.  Reading is such a fruitful exercise – so much more so than the TV and movies that most of us enjoy far too often these days.

If you are comfortable checking books out of the library and returning them when you have finished reading them, then you will never risk having to manage your collection as I am now.  Besides, it has taken me many shopping sprees over a number of years to reach the point of having more books than I can comfortably store.  Whether you buy books or borrow them, though, please hear my challenge to READ GREAT BOOKS!  There are so many books to choose from, and the effort required to read them is so richly rewarded.  I once stumbled upon a quote, though I can’t recall the source of it, which said, “The man who can read but doesn’t is no better off than the man who can’t read.”  True indeed!  Please make time to read good books, and be blessed as a result.


Who’s Next?!

I’m deeply concerned about the fact that many of our greatest and most biblically faithful preachers and teachers are dying off!  When I think of the most respected Christian leaders in the world at this present moment, I am saddened to realize that many of them have given the last public message that they will ever give, and that – in reality – the new generation of “great” Christian leaders looks vastly different from the great preachers that we are losing.

Our great, beloved evangelist, Billy Graham, has officially retired from public ministry.  Arguably the most effective living Bible teacher, John R. W. Stott, is now 89, in declining health, and living in a retirement community south of London.  Thankfully, Dr. J. I. Packer, who many (myself included) consider to be our greatest living theologian, is still healthy and active….but at the age of 84, for how many more years will he be able to teach others?

Even among preachers, many of the best in our day will soon be retiring.  Consider, for example, Charles Stanley and Ed Young, Sr.  Both of these men preach sermons deeply grounded in Scripture, and both of them are fathers to sons who are also growing in public recognition as pastoral leaders.  Yet, in an effort to reach “their generation” more effectively, Andy Stanley and Ed Young, Jr. both tend to prefer on-stage theatrics and props to faithful, expositional  preaching of God’s Word.

I have seen Ed, Jr. – during his various televised “worship services” – use a live game of “ping pong” to illustrate marital conflict, an on-stage Ferrari to illustrate “a lust for material possessions”, and even a bed – on-stage, with he and his wife sitting next to each other on it – to preach a message about sex.  Does this new style of communication hold more appeal to younger adults?  Apparently, it does, or their churches wouldn’t be filled to maximum capacity and building additional “satellite campuses” (…an increasingly popular trend among young church leaders, I’m afraid) for their churches.  Still…is it better?  Does it honor God – and God’s Word – as well as the preaching of their fathers?  I think not.

In the Falwell family, the “theological baton” has already been passed.  Dr. Jerry Falwell, a faithful preacher of God’s Word (though admittedly a bit more “politically involved” and quick to speak than he might have, at times, needed to be), died very suddenly a few short years ago, and his son, Jonathan, was immediately thrust into the position of senior pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church.  The couple of times that I bothered to watch Jonathan Falwell preach on the church’s TV program, he had a giant, human-sized Blackberry on stage with him, and used the graphics on that machine’s screen as his “power points” for the talks that he gave (I hesitate to even categorize those messages as sermons…).  I can’t speak on behalf of the audience present in the worship service there, but that approach – as well as the content of his presentations – held absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever.  Is this really the future of “evangelical” preaching?  Should it be?

Oh, how I miss the passionate, biblical preaching of the late Adrian Rogers!  I did not agree with Bro. Rogers in every point of his doctrine (primarily in his opposition to a couple of points of Calvinism…), but there are few – then or now – who have been able to proclaim the truths of God’s Word with such clarity and conviction.  Not long before the death of Dr. Rogers, we lost the wonderful, rich preaching and Christian example of Dr. Stephen Olford.  I pray regularly for the Lord to help me grow into a preacher who honors God and His Word as did these two great men of the faith!

Sadly, we also just lost another great biblical expositor – Dr. John Phillips – who wrote so many wonderful biblical commentaries and books that preachers make good use of.  At the risk of planting a rather unpleasant thought in your mind, just how many more sermons will we be blessed to hear from such great expositors as R. C. Sproul….John MacArthur….Jerry Bridges…Haddon Robinson….Warren Wiersbe…or Jerry Vines?

Clearly, time keeps ticking on, and we all are assured to die, so long as the Lord tarries a bit longer prior to His final return.  So, we shouldn’t really be surprised to see these men leaving us – and we shouldn’t too deeply mourn their leaving us, since they are promised such blessings of eternal reward and joy in the life to come, and we will – in the Lord’s time – join with them, provided that our own souls are genuinely entrusted to the love of our Savior.  Still, while I do – in a sense – celebrate the final “homecoming” of these great men of the faith, I can’t help but be increasingly troubled as I see the increasing trends among pastors and church leaders today.

It seems very clear (unfortunately) that young ministers following in the footsteps of the truly great preachers of the past are in frighteningly short supply…and, worse yet, many churches are actually SEEKING leaders who are more attuned to the cutting edge cultural trends of our day than the deeply-rooted biblically-based ones of the past.  As a young minister myself, I certainly appreciate youthful vibrancy, fresh ideas, and new passion in a ministry setting.  However, even I realize that no amount of cultural savvy or insight into the latest “church growth trends” will ever surpass the faithful, consistent, deep preaching, teaching, and application of God’s Word, and I am shocked and afraid to see how few ministers in my age bracket seem to share this conviction.

I am very pleased to say that – in spite of this sad state of affairs – there is still hope!  For me, the hope lies in the fact that there are still many young, yet widely respected, Christian preachers who hold up God’s Word above all cultural trends of our day.  In my mind, that is reflected in the mature preaching and leadership of such men as Alistair Begg, Bryan Chapell, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan (my friend and “pastoral hero” from Mississippi), Thabiti Anyabwile, Steven Lawson, Philip Graham Ryken, Derek Thomas, and – of course – John Piper.  I am also increasingly encouraged by the really young guys (closer to my age) who are already taking bold, biblical stands for Christian truth.  Consider, for example, the two celebrated books by (my new friends) Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck, boldly titled, Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) and Why We Love the Church (In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion)….talk about a desperately needed breath of fresh “spiritual” air in our day!

And, of course, I am always newly encouraged whenever I meet a pastor – no matter the size of his church or the fame of his name – who knows that the church rises and falls according to its devotion to the Word of God.  I am encouraged in this regard by my new father-in-law, Stephen Rumley, whom I may not agree with on every point of doctrine, but whose commitment to Scripture and biblical church leadership (and family leadership!) keeps me in constant awe.  I am encouraged in this way by numerous other pastors I know who stay true to Scripture in their preaching and lifestyle, even when there’s increasing pressure from their church members to follow a more worldly approach.  And – most of all – I’m encouraged, because God’s simply not finished with all of us yet.  He’s continuing to teach, mold, and mature all of us – me included – into precisely what He wants each of us to be.

The church is STILL alive and well (contrary to what some writers of our day would have you believe), and we are STILL his choice instrument for growing disciples and changing the world increasingly into the likeness of Heaven (however far we still have to go!).  Yes, we are certainly losing some of our most beloved examples of Christian leadership, but their powerful legacies will hopefully linger – through their recorded sermons, books, and the lives that they have personally impacted – long after the Lord has called them home.

I’m convinced (and believe that the Bible teaches) that the greater our faithfulness to Him in this life, the longer the legacy that we leave behind will be a blessing to others – and the longer we will be “remembered” for the ways that God used us.  May we all continue to seek to be biblically faithful in the days to come, may we desire to listen to the preachers and teachers who are most devoted to searching the Scriptures (Even though listening to them might require a bit more effort on our part, it’s ALWAYS worth the effort!), and may we never lose hope that, while the Billy Graham’s, John Stott’s, and J.I. Packer’s are nearing the end of their pastoral journeys, there are still a few undiscovered “David’s” in our midst, and God is faithful to raise up just the teachers we need in just the time we need them.  Praise be to God for His FAITHFUL men!

Contemporary Christian Music – Beneficial or Not?

As soon as you mention the phrase “contemporary Christian music” (hereafter abbreviated as “CCM”), people generally respond with great conviction either in favor of it or not.  On one hand, many Christians feel that CCM is a fantastic tool for evangelism and that it provides them with a variety of pure, uplifting music for their listening pleasure.  On the other hand, many other believers (I’m assuming that most non-Christians aren’t big fans of CCM.) argue that it is simply not as good as most secular music, and that they would rather listen to music that’s GOOD – regardless of their personal theological disagreements with the song lyrics – than listen to music that they don’t like simply because it mentions the name “Jesus” here and there.  Being a life-long music lover myself (as well as one who plays guitar, has spent many years working in Christian retail, and previously worked as a party D. J.), I see the wisdom in both sides of this “debate” (if it’s even reached that level of significance), and feel that I have a few significant thoughts of my own to contribute to the conversation.  For several days last week, I attended the “Unity Music Festival” here in Muskegon, featuring a whole slew of popular Christian music performers, and it has reminded me again that this is a conversation worth having, because – well, even Christians listen to music!

So, I suppose the question that I really want to begin with here is this – “Should mature, thinking Christians listen to popular Christian music?”  One natural response might be, “Why not?”  In some sense, music – like art, literature, and many other artistic modes of personal expression – is simply a matter of personal preference.  You like what you like, you don’t like what you don’t like, and it really doesn’t matter who sells the most CD’s.  We’re all different, we all have different life experiences, and some music appeals to us more than other music.  So, with this in mind, it may be that we really “can’t help” what we like or don’t like – that’s just kind of the way it is.

What we CAN help, though, is what we listen to enough times to decide if we like it or not.  For example, if a professing “Christian” declares that they “don’t like Christian music”, does it really mean that all Christian music sounds just alike (which it doesn’t), or does it simply reveal that the individual has not yet heard any Christian music that he or she has determined to continue listening to?  Furthermore, does this kind of crass statement indicate that the person doesn’t like the whole idea of music that sings about biblical themes, regardless of whether the music is good or not?

Christians know that the Bible calls us to guard our thoughts, and to be selective in what we listen to or contemplate on a regular basis.  The most commonly quoted verse which pertains to this is Philippians 4:8, in which Paul writes, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  Truthfully, what is more praise-worthy or excellent than God and the rich teachings that He has given to us in Scripture?  Nothing at all!  Still, does this biblical truth require us – as faithful Christians – to only listen to songs by Christian artists, recording on Christian record labels, who sing songs explicitly about God?  I don’t think so.

Since the Christian music industry has grown into an increasingly lucrative business market, there is increasing reason to suspect that some people (though I certainly don’t think the majority!) have stepped into the world of Christian music purely as a business venture.  It’s a disturbing thought, but a likely one, nonetheless.  On the other hand, who’s to say that a Christian who happens to also be a talented musician can’t record on a mainstream label?  Are Christians really “forsaking God” if they write songs about life and love, with little direct mention of God, provided that they aren’t contradicting what they  believe to be true about God?  The simple truth about the music industry is that there is a lot more ungodly behavior in the CCM groups and organizations than we care to admit, and there are more Christians involved in secular music than we likely realize.

What is my goal in saying these things?  I am hoping to help build a bridge between Christians, so that they can begin to develop an appreciation for music that may vary from what they have personally opted to listen to.  Some people say, “If you listen to anything other than Christian music, you’re toying with sin.”, while others declare, “Christian music is shallow and inferior to mainstream music.”  There is some element of truth in both of these perspectives, but neither is a completely accurate picture of music today.

Thankfully, CCM has come a LONG way since it was first begun a mere forty or so years ago.  Today, there are Christian musicians in every musical genre who are singing songs about their faith.  Yes, much of it is still simple and in the “pop” style – but not nearly all of it!  Regardless of what style of music you prefer to listen to (rock, rap, blues, folk, alternative, etc.), there is definitely something for you in the world of Christian music.  Your frustration shouldn’t be that it doesn’t exist, but that Christian radio stations don’t play it!  Unfortunately, many Christians don’t learn about all of the great music that’s available to them because radio stations are so limited to playing (often because of contractual agreements) the same top radio singles over and over again.  That is truly sad, and it hinders many people from enjoying Christian music who might otherwise do so.

Back to my original question, though – “Should mature, thinking Christians listen to popular Christian music?”.  To those who might argue, “no”, I must reply by asking, “What else do you suggest that we listen to?”.  Now, many of my pastoral / scholarly Christian friends would make a strong argument for the fact that much of Christian music is lacking depth in lyrics, to the point that they might even be embarrassed for other Christians to learn of them listening to it!  They would go on to argue that secular music offers many more thought-provoking artists who are more worth listening to.  There is truth to this kind of thinking, but – thankfully – CCM has improved significantly in this area.  Many talented musicians have learned how to apply both their minds as well as their hearts to their songwriting abilities, and the result has been a growing number of Christian singers who definitely have good things to say and teach to us.

In terms of Christian musicians with thought-provoking lyrics, I suggest researching the profound truths in the music of Rich Mullins, Caedmon’s Call, Indelible Grace (who are known for modernizing great hymns of the faith), Todd Agnew, Switchfoot, Brandon Heath, and Leeland, among others.  To the Christians who think that “secular” music should be forgotten and ignored, I encourage you to consider the profound, theologically-themed ideas found in the music of U2, Bob Dylan, Collective Soul, Five for Fighting, and – one of my favorite musicians of any style – David Wilcox.  I am confident that people who are willing to step out of their “comfort zones” a bit will find new reasons to appreciate some artists that they might have previously opted to ignore.

So, I suppose my “argument” here is that there IS – today – a great deal of good and even thought-provoking music in the CCM scene (in addition to some that’s certainly less worth listening to…), just as there are some mainstream musicians that Christians should have some appreciation for (along with many less beneficial ones).  It’s good to learn how to appreciate music for the quality of its songwriting and the “truth content” of its lyrics, regardless of which songs you most prefer to personally listen to.  Remember that “all truth is God’s truth”, and God can help you understand something true about Himself regardless of what human source that truth comes from.

Also, there is clearly a growing measure of respect for CCM – even among reputable Bible teachers and scholars – and we no longer have to be embarrassed to go to Christian concerts.  Dr. John Frame, a theology professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, has authored two significant books considering the value of contemporary music in the context of church worship.  My friend Dr. David Naugle, a professor at Dallas Baptist University,  has been very open about being a full-fledged “fan” of the band Switchfoot (as am I), having seen them live over twenty times  – and even hosting them once for a concert in his own backyard!  The list of Christians who acknowledge music as a valuable tool for teaching and self-reflection is growing, and I for one am extremely pleased that this is the case!  The music that appeals to me most is not determined as much by what record label releases the CD, as it is by the integrity of the singer or group who produced the music, the thoughtfulness of the song lyrics, and – of course – the appeal of the music itself.  I hope that this is the case for my readers as well, and that you will always think in a way that honors Christ, and listen to music that you enjoy, but which also helps you in your endeavor to serve Him more faithfully.

Why “Echoes of the Elect”?

For my first official “post”, I want to offer a bit of explanation about why I chose the name that I did for this site.  For many of my “Reformed” (or “Calvinistic”) friends, a word like “elect” is a common part of our theological language and is simply making reference to a basic biblical truth, namely that GOD initiates our salvation.  However, many of my non-Reformed friends (and, being a Southern Baptist who grew up in the United Methodist Church, I have many non-Reformed friends…), this word makes them uncomfortable and perhaps even makes them think that they’re really not going to like hearing what I have to say.  Needless to say, this point of “division” among my Christian friends troubles me.

I do not imagine that, in the space of a few sentences here, I will persuade all who read this to fully embrace a “Reformed” perspective on theology – and I’m really not even setting that as my goal.  However, I do want to begin by trying to calm the waters a bit, and encouraging all who read this to acknowledge that the word “elect” – and the doctrine of “election” – is not some “new” idea that is intentionally contrived to stir up controversy, but rather that it is simply a basic, theological term straight from the pages of Scripture.  Furthermore, you do NOT have to take on the title “Calvinist” in order to acknowledge that this is true…you simply have to believe what the Bible says.

From a “human” perspective, salvation involves individuals who (1) recognize their sinfulness; (2) believe in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; (3) confess their sins to the Lord and trust in His atoning work on the cross to accomplish their salvation from their sins; (4) make this decision public, submitting their future lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:9; etc.).  However, the Bible clearly teaches that we don’t go through this process in our own strength and abilities….and this brings us to the doctrine of “election”.

The ESV Study Bible (a truly fantastic resource!) introduces this doctrine very simply, as follows:

“From God’s vantage point salvation begins with his election of individuals, which is his determination beforehand that his saving purpose will be accomplished in them (John 6:37-39, 44, 64-66; 8:47; 10:26; 15:16; Acts 13:48; 16:14; Romans 9; 1 John 4:19; 5:1).  God then in due course brings people to himself by calling them to faith in Christ (Romans 8:30; 1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:9).” (p. 2531).

In our own abilities, we are truly incapable of “saving” ourselves.  If we are saved purely by praying a prayer, then that implies that the power to be eternally saved is in our hands.  Yet, the Bible teaches that, as a direct result of the Fall in Genesis 3, we are all born “dead” in sin.  In other words, our human tendency is to do as we please, not as God pleases – all of our thoughts and actions are tainted by sin, and we are therefore incapable of saving ourselves.  Just as a man trapped deep in a pit cannot rescue himself, neither can we pull ourselves up from the depths of sin in which – apart from Christ – all of us live (Romans 3:23).  Only someone separate from us – greater and stronger than us can offer us the salvation that we need.

So, God – who alone has the power to save – elects to save whom He chooses.  Why doesn’t God “choose” to save every single person?  That’s a question for God alone to answer.  Clearly, the Bible does tell us that God DESIRES for all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), but this is not to say that salvation is completely in our hands and that God is merely waiting to see which way we choose to go.  On the contrary, Jesus teaches us that, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44).  Even the Old Testament paints a beautiful picture of Christian salvation in Ezekiel 37, when the Lord leads the prophet Ezekiel to the Valley of Dry Bones, and teaches him that “dry bones” can not breath life into themselves – only the Giver of Life has this power.  Similarly, we can not save ourselves, for we are “dry”, dead in sin, and totally incapable of accomplishing our own salvation.

Simply put, those who live their entire lives and reject God to the end have nobody to blame but themselves, for God has made His presence clearly known throughout the world (Romans 1:18-20) and yet, most people choose to live and die in their own sins.  On the other hand, those who experience true salvation and come to a life-altering knowledge of God’s love, grace, and mercy have nobody to thank for their salvation but God (Eph. 2:8-9), for it is God’s Spirit who draws us, opens our eyes to our sinful nature, and convicts us of our need for Him, and – of course – it was Jesus who paid the ultimate price for our sins, and God the Father who sent His only begotten Son to do so.

Can people be truly saved from their sins without understanding the doctrine of “election”?  Of course they can.  If an individual truly surrenders his or her heart to the Lord and trusts in the work of Jesus on the cross, then they will be saved.  However, since the Bible does call us to continue studying, meditating upon, and growing in our knowledge of His Word, it’s also good to move beyond the stage of simply “being saved”, and to learn about the good, deep doctrines of the faith which are taught in the pages of Scripture, such as the doctrine of “election”, which reminds us that God is the one who initiated our salvation, and that we are to be forever thankful to Him for the great gift of salvation!  After all, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jn. 4:19), and the real definition of salvation is, “…not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 Jn. 4:10).

Regardless, whether you agree with and understand the doctrine of “election” or not, I write for you.  It is certainly not required that you share my theological convictions in order to read (and hopefully enjoy!) reading what I post on this blog.  I strive to not limit my reading to only authors with whom I agree at every point.  In fact, reading beyond our own convictions helps to stretch us, and sharpen our convictions in what we do believe.

That’s actually where the “Echoes” part of my title comes in; We need to continue listening to the great ministers of the past, and benefiting from the knowledge and biblical wisdom that their writings impart.  We must allow their voices to “echo” right into our contemporary setting, and help us remember how to stay faithful to the teachings of Scripture.  So, please feel free to read, post a comment (Please be considerate and kind with your remarks!), and perhaps even grow a bit in your theological knowledge.  I am hoping to post excerpts from classic Christian writings, write some reviews of books that I feel have something significant to teach us, and possibly even feature some brief articles by other “theologian” friends of mine.  I certainly hope that you will benefit from what is written, and that it will truly glorify the One who has called me to use my gifts and abilities for His glory.

Welcome to my new “blog”!

I am so pleased to welcome you to my brand new “blog” site!  This is certainly new to me, but I’m very excited about (finally) venturing into this new web-based territory.  I am passionate about writing, and my deepest desire is to write things that will bring glory to God and will help others grow closer to Him.  So, please, come on in, share your thoughts with me, and let’s read, think, study, and grow as we travel together in our Christian journey, and consider what the great ministers and theologians of the past still have to teach us.  Thanks for visiting the site….and may we have many great conversations ahead of us on here!