Alora's Surgery Date

We found out that Alora's surgery will take place on January 19th. She'll have to be in Charleston by the 18th. Please pray that we will be able to get into the Ronald McDonald House or at least, find cheap lodging near the hospital.


Virginia is for Lovers...

Virginia is for lovers...and time with family! Amy, Alora, and I arrived in at her parents house last night. We recieved a warm welcome from Jerry, Vivian, Ashley, Sammy, Jeremy, and Tiffany. I know that we are going to enjoy our two-week-stay with them.

An End to Moving

After taking a break (for Christmas), Amy and I were able to get everything moved to my Grandfather's house and storage. (Let me just say that I really hate moving. I always seem to get distracted and lose track of what we have to do.) I am not sure when (or where) we will be moving next, but for now we are enjoying our time with my Grandfather (and parents). I am so thankful that the Lord has provided us with family (and friends) who have been so willing to help us during this strange/difficult/uncertain time in our lives.


On the Move...

Thanks to the help of a lot of friends (Jonathan, Caleb, my dad, the Hissoms, the Lewis and others) we were able to move a majority of our possessions to Honea Path on Wednesday. Amy and I still have to pack up a few random items, paint a wall, and clean the house, but I'm sure we'll be done soon. I'll try to blog about a funny thing (involving the police) that happened to us on Wednesday night. Until then, have a great day!


A "Christmas" Album Recommendation

Among all of your other Christmas albums, you should be sure to pick up Andrew Peterson's, Behold the Lamb: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ. If you are looking for a traditional Christmas album, then this is not the album you want. But if you would like to hear a CD that beautifully recounts the story of redemption (filled with Old Testament messianic symbols/prophesies), then you should listen to this album. The album also features Jill Phillips and Derek Webb, among others. Enjoy.

Battling Defeater Beliefs

Recently, I came across an article by Tim Keller which I found to be very helpful in regard to apologetics/evangelism. The article contains some great thoughts about sharing the gospel in various cultures. Here is an except from the article:
Christianity is disbelieved in one culture for totally opposite reasons it is disbelieved in another. So for example, in the West (as we will explore below) it is widely assumed that Christianity can't be true because of the cultural belief there can't be just one "true" religion. But in the Middle East, people have absolutely no problem with the idea that there is just one true religion. That doesn't seem implausible at all. Rather there it is widely assumed that Christianity can't be true because of the cultural belief that American culture, based on Christianity, is unjust and corrupt. (Skeptics out to realize, then, that the objections they have to the Christian faith are culturally relative!) So each culture has its own set of culturally-based doubt-generators which people call 'objections' or 'problems' with Christianity. (Note: The type in bold was underlined in the original.)
The entire article is available here.



The past few days have been filled with changes, as Amy and I prepare to move. Here are a few changes that have been taking place in our lives:

*Sunday, 11th: Preached my last (?) sermon at Roper Mt. Baptist.

*Monday, 12th: We found out that our daughter has to have open heart surgery in Charleston, so we had to postpone our move to seminary. Instead of moving to Wake Forest, NC, we'll be moving to Honea Path, SC.

*Wednesday, 14th: We sold our home. Taught my last mid-week bible study at Roper Mt. Baptist.

*Friday, 16th: Started packing up our belongings.

*Sunday, 18th: Taught my last Sunday School class at Roper Mt. Baptist. Went to my last youth Christmas party at Roper. Had a farewell party after the evening service.

*Monday, 19th: Took our dog, Tozer, to the pound because we couldn't take him with us to Honea Path. (Hopefully, someone will adopt him. He really is an awesome dog.) Went with Amy to her last event/dinner at Miller Oaks (a retirement community where Amy assisted the residents).

Please continue to pray for our family as we seek to trust and follow the Lord. Although these changes are difficult/sad, we have peace in knowing that we can trust God to guide us daily.


Decentering the Self

"In short, confidence in the Bible as the infallible Word of God is not epistemological foundationalism tricked out with a few Bible verses. It has been and is a challege to Enlightenment idolatry, and it remains a challenge to postmodern idolatries. An infinite triune God who speaks to us in His Scripture is one who radically decenters the self. This is what flips the Enlightenment project upside down, and it does the same for postmodern posturing. This is because the Self is the central idol of secular man. In the old Enlightenment days, the Self was up in front of the classroom, pompously lecturing, and these days, that Self has checked into therapy. But moving from self-centered bombast to self-centered whining is not repentance." -Doug Wilson


Alora's Heart: More Than a Murmur


Yesterday, Amy and I took Alora to have her heart murmur checked out. Although most heart murmurs are not a cause for concern, we discovered that Alora's murmur is a sign of something more serious. According to the Pediatric Cardiologist, Alora has a congenital heart disease known as an Atrial Septal Defect. According to the Cove Point Foundation,
Larger ASDs, which are more likely to remain open, cause an excessive flow of blood into the right atrium, right ventricle and pulmonary artery (see animation). This enlarges the right atrium and right ventricle (dilatation) and causes high pressures in the pulmonary artery that will eventually distort its shape and may rarely damage the blood vessels in the lungs.The enlargement of the right atrium can result in abnormal heart rhythms. These effects are not reversed by closing the ASD after the damage has been done. Heart failure is likely when a person with an untreated ASD reaches young adulthood.

In order to correct the problem, Alora is going to have to have open heart surgery sometime in January. As many of you are aware, Amy and I have just sold our home so that we could move to Southeastern Seminary at the end of this month. Yet, we are having to adjust our plans so that Alora can have this important operation. Instead of moving to North Carolina, we will be moving in with my grandfather in Honea Path, SC. (He has graciously open his home to us, so that we do not have to worry about finding a place to rent.) This move will allow us to be close to my parents (they live across the street from my grandfather) and close to Charleston (where the surgery will take place.) After the surgery takes place, I assume that Amy and I will live with my grandfather until after the summer. (This will also be around the time when our second child will be born, Lord willing!) In regard to seminary, hopefully I will be able to take classes from an extention center in Anderson, SC. I do not plan on looking for a job until the surgery is over because I know that the next month will be a bit crazy for our family.


Amy and I praise God that Alora's pediatrician noticed a problem and helped us find out about this serious condition. We also feel so blessed because the doctor that we will be working with is a fellow believer! Our Lord is so gracious! We know that the Lord is going to use this time to grow and mature our faith in Him.

Here are a few ways in which you can pray for our family: Please pray that we will not worry and stress over this situation. Pray that our move to Honea Path will go well. Pray for the healing of Alora's heart (whether this comes through surgery or another way that pleases our Lord). Pray for our financial situation. (Thankfully Alora has full medical coverage that will not cost us anything!) Pray that I will be able to find a job after I move to Honea Path.

Thank you so much for your prayers and concerns. I will post updates and new information when it is available. If you have a website/blog, please feel free to link to this post so that others can be informed.


Praying for the Blacks'

Dave and BeckyLynn Black will be traveling to Ethiopia from December 13th to January 17th. If you would like to join in prayer for them, then an itenary/prayer guide is available here.

Understanding the Cooperative Program

Would you be surprised to know that only $0.02 of every dollar given to the Cooperative Program (it's a Southern Baptist thing) goes to overseas missions? If you would like to better understand how money is distributed when given to the Cooperative Program, then you should read Tom Ascol's latest blog entry here.

Shortage of Sand in the Sahara

"...if Jesus is Lord and cares for the poor and the oppressed, then we ought to have nothing to do with economic systems that do nothing but increase the misery of the poor, all done while pretending that they care. If we put a socialist government in charge of the Sahara, it would not be long before we had a shortage of sand." -Doug Wilson


Unoriginal Thoughts About Church Gatherings

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the Church; specifically, I've been pondering over the question: what should our Christian gatherings really "look" like? I am honestly trying to take a fresh look at the NT, and I hope that the conclusions I reach are unoriginal. Meaning, I hope that I can get past my own preconceived notions and can really grasp what the Scriptures teach us about Christian gatherings? So, here are a few of my initial thoughts and/or questions:

*Why do most churches only celebrate the Lord's Supper four times a year, especially considering 1 Corinthians 11:26: "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." This seems like something we should do more frequently. Why not celebrate the Lord's Supper every week when when we gather?

*Should we really call our gatherings "worship services," especially when considering these points: First, worship is not something that should be restricted to a few hours in the week. We should be worshiping when we gather together each and everyday by offering our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). Are we presenting a false dichotomy by referring to our gatherings as "worship services."
Second, the primary purpose of our gatherings seems to be for the edification of one another. Consider Hebrews 10:24, 25: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (NIV).

*The Body is not one member, but many. If this is true (and it is), why don't we allow more oportunities and flexability within our gatherings so that the whole body could use their spiritual gifts, as the Lord leads?

Of course, these just a few of my thoughts. If you have any insights or thoughts that you would like to add, I would appreciate your comments.


Thoughts About Moving

As Amy and I begin to box up our possessions and prepare to move from Greenville, I have been thinking about the time we have spent here. Although I am glad that the Lord is giving me an opportunity to go to seminary, I am still going to miss Greenville. This place has been our home for the last five years (and much longer for me.) Although we will miss the mountains and the city, we will mostly miss our family and friends.

In regard to family, I think that this move is going to be especially difficult for my parents because I am an only child, and this will be the first time in 23 years that I will be living more than an hour away from them. Yet, on the bright side, we will only be three hours away from Amy's family, as opposed to eight hours!

Amy and I will also be moving away from some of our friends. (Sanchez, are you ready to come visit us in NC? Travis and Abigail, we are truly going to miss hanging out with both of you on Sunday afternoons.) Yet, we will also be moving closer to other friends: Cecil (when he comes back to the States), Erynne, John, and Dawn.

I know that Amy and I will also deeply miss our church family. Over the last two and a half years we have grown so close to the youth and other members of Roper Mt. Baptist. It is sad to think that I will only have about three more Wednesdays to teach and fellowship with the youth before we move to Wake Forest.

Although Amy and I have so many things we want to say to each of the people who mean so much to us, those words will have to wait a few more weeks. But until then, please let these words linger in your ears:

We love you.

A Couple of Quotes

Here are a couple of great quotes from two books that I am currently reading:

The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll...

Reformission is ultimately about being like Jesus, through his empowering grace. One of the underlying keys to reformission is knowing that neither the freedom of Christ nor our freedom in Christ is intended to permit us to dance as close to sin as possible without crossing the line. But both are intended to permit us to dance as close to sinners as possible by crossing the lines that unnecessarily seperate the people God has found from those he is still seeking...The mission is to be close to Jesus. This transforms our hearts to love what he loves, hate what he hates, and to pursue relationships with lost people in hopes of connecting with them, and subsequently, connecting them with him. This actually protects us from sin, because the way to avoid sin is not to avoid sinners but to stick close to Jesus.

From Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson...

The end of all Christian belief and obedience, witness and teaching, marriage and family, leisure and work life, preaching and pastoral work is the living of everything we know about God: life, life, and more life. If we don't know where we are going, any road will get us there. But if we have a destination--in this case a life lived to the glory of God--there is a well-marked way, the Jesus revealed Way. Spiritual theology is the attention that we give to the details of living life on this way. It is a protest against theology depersonalized into information about God; it is protest against theology functionalized into a program of stategic planning for God.


Living Trustable Truth

In a recent post (Scripture: Authority and Inerrancy) Scot McKnight writes:
What I’d rather confess about the Bible is that the Scripture is true — and then I want the confession to go further to the point where the Scripture is trustable truth. And then we need to go yet further: do I live it out? Living trustable truth.

That is, God speaks and we can trust that God is speaking to us in Scripture. But, believing that is designed so we will trust it and live it out. I believe the Bible is trustable truth. We can trust what is said. If you tell me that you think Scripture is true, well and good — what I want to know is if you trust it by living it out. This is what Scripture is all about: it is God’s story that we enter into so that God’s story becomes our story. This only happens if we trust it by embodying it — in how we live. Living trustable truth. (Italics added).
In my opinion, this is where the "rubber meets the road" regarding debates about scripture/inerrancy/authority. Does it really matter if a person holds a high view of Scripture if he/she fails to live according to the truth of Scripture. (And I do believe most people who have a high view of Scripture are trying to live out the trustable truth.) I pray that we would each affirm that Scripture gives us the true word of God by living according to the true word of God.