Sunday, April 27, 2008

Celebration Time!

Friday April 25th was my 28th birthday! Crazy to think in just a few years I will be the big 3-0! We made a weekend of it. Friday night Chris made reservations at this fancy place in Weehawken on the Hudson River. It has a wonderful view of Manhattan & we were there for sunset! He did a great job. Saturday we headed to the Woodbury Common outlet mall in NY State. It was perfect weather so we really enjoyed ourselves - yes even Chris enjoys shopping! Don't ever let him tell you otherwise. Fortunately the weather has been really beautiful for the past few weeks. Just a few Saturdays ago we also went to visit the live animals at Abma's Farm. We are hoping that Spring really is here :)

I also should say Happy Birthday to my twin sister Susan! I am truly blessed to share this day with her. She is my sister and my friend. I love you & miss you!

Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Round 2

As many of you remember,because Amanda told everyone, our first anniversary was spent moving accross America. Amanda wasn't thrilled with the fact we didn't go away somewhere special but circumstances didn't afford us that opportunity. Well...this year I have decided to make it up BIG time. Today I booked for us to spend August 1-8 in Rome. Our anniversary is the 6th so this hopefully will be perfect and hopefully get me out of the doghouse for last year:) If anybody has ever been to Rome and has ideas on food, sights, or anything else I'd love to hear it so that this can be a trip to remember.

Friday, April 18, 2008

T4G '08

This last Monday through Thursday I had the great opportunity to be in Louisville, KY for the Together for the Gospel Conference. One of my good friends from college, Ryan and I had the opportunity to catch up on life and hear some of the best thinkers in Christian circles today. I'm going to give you a brief summary of what I learned at the conference but if you'd like to listen to any of the messages I'd encourage you to go to and listen to them ASAP.

Ligon Duncan-- He spoke about the importance of doctrine and systematic theology. He talked about the importance of a pastor teaching his congregation to know doctrine and theology and to instill a passion for reading. Sound doctrine is crucial to the future of the church.

Thabiti Anybwile-- He talked about the importance of not seeing racial difference but focusing on our commonalities in Adam, Christ, and the church. He talked about the fact that although we may all look different we are all brothers by birth through Adam. If we are Christians then we are all brothers through Jesus and we are also brothers in the church, the body of Christ.

John MacArthur-- He talked about the doctrine of total depravity. He talked about how the Bible teaches that not only is man not willing to come to Christ but is unable. He talked about how when we truly understand how we brought nothing to God but that He saved us of His own choosing it will lead us into a tremendous since of humility and thankfulness for His love.

Mark Dever-- He talked about how we shouldn't add or detract from the Gospel. He talked about how we can make the Gospel kinder by taking out the sacrifice or how we can add to it by saying you must espouse something else (ie. must be a Republican or for traditional hymns). He talked about how your life story or you good deeds aren't the Gospel. The Gospel is very specific and always must be the center of what we say and do.

R.C. Sproul-- He talked about how Christ because a curse for us and took on the wrath of God for us. He talked about the importance of truly appreciating what it is that Christ did for us and how much it hurt Him to have His Father turn His back on Him.

Albert Mohler-- He spoke on the importance of the penal substitutionary atonement. He talked about all the distorted views that are around that try to say that the cross was something other then Jesus paying the penalty due a holy God in our place because we could never be able to pay the price demanded.

John Piper-- He talked about Christian suffering. He talked about how the Bible expressly states that if we are a child of God we will suffer. He talked about how it is important for us to step outside of our safe boxes and get uncomfortable. He talked about how he teaches his congregation all the time about suffering because he wants them to think theologically when suffering happens and that will only happen if they know how to react before it comes.

C.J. Mahaney-- He talked about how a pastors life should be overflowing with joy. He talked about how Paul was the most joyful man alive and in writing Philippians, from jail, he talked about joy. He talked about how joy is found in thankfulness, faith in God's plan, and love for God's people. He talked about how as Christians we shouldn't complain because when we complain we are saying that we have a better plan then the plan God has for us.

This conference was a great blessing to me in so many ways because I got to see these men that I know only from their writings in a personal time with friends and got to see them pour out their hearts about their love for Jesus and His people. They spent a lot of time talking about how it isn't about style or methods but it is about the Gospel. One quote that really stood out to me was when C.J. quoted C.H. Spurgeon. Spurgeon once said, "Whitefield and Wesley might be better preachers then I am but they don't preach a better Gospel". This is quite funny coming from the master preacher Spurgeon but his point is well taken.

This conference encouraged me to not worry about being this or being that but to be faithful to the message that God has given us and to trust Him to do His will. Too many times, and I am just as guilty as anyone, we think as preachers it is about us being funny enough or smart enough in our delivery but it is not about us but about the Gospel message.