Yesterday we continued our sermon series through the book of Galatians. We’re calling it Saving Faith. In this letter the apostle Paul challenges those who were distorting the doctrine of justification by grace alone. Judaizers, as we have come to know these false teachers, were teaching that the work of circumcision must be added to the finished work of Christ for salvation. Paul issues the strongest warning he ever gives to these teachers and to this church. To distort the true gospel is to have no gospel at all. To download the sermon manuscript from this past Sunday just click the link below:
This is the first year an a long time that professors won’t be dictating my reading. Therefore, I’ve put together a reading list that I hope isn’t too audacious for me. I have no clue if I will get to all of these. Pray for me.
This time of year most of the people who know I love fountain pens and handwriting (see the pictures below) are asking me loads of questions about gift ideas. Having been in the fountain pen and stationery world for over three years I forget how intimidating it can be to select a pen, ink, or paper. Here’s my humble attempt to offer you some gift ideas for those interested in fine handwriting, fountain pens, inks, and stationery.
Goulet Pens– I occasionally buy pens from Goulet because:
- They are a Christian family business and I like that.
- They go the extra mile when it comes to educating and serving customers.
Keep in mind they are a retailer and their prices reflect that reality.
Amazon- This is the cheapest place to buy pens, inks, and paper.
Fountain pens come in different “nib” sizes which reflect different line widths (relatively). If you’ve never wrote with a fountain pen before I would recommend either an extra fine nibbed Lamy or a fine nibbed Pilot or TWSBI. These finer nib sizes will be gentle on a variety of papers without bleeding/feathering.
Pilot Metropolitan- The #1 recommended beginner pen. Great quality. Great price.
Lamy Safari- My first fountain pen was a black Safari. This pen will encourage proper grip (some people don’t care for it, I love it).
TWSBI ECO– Pronounced “twizbee”, the ECO is a cool demonstrator pen (translucent) so you can enjoy watching the ink slosh around inside.
A mid-range pen costs $150?!?!?! Are you NUTS?!?! Yes, I realize that I just took someone’s breath away, but please understand that we are talking about heirloom quality tools here. And, except for the TWSBI, all these pens have a 14K gold nib. These nibs glide. Material cost, craftsmanship and rarity of these items make the price reasonable in my opinion.
Lamy 2000- This is my current daily writer. This pen was designed in the 60’s out of the bauhaus school in Germany. I can’t speak highly enough of it.
Pilot Custom 72- My first gold-nibbed pen. A fine nib 74 does wonderfully on thin Bible papers.
Jonathan, I see an entry-level and mid-range section, how expensive can pens be? Well, I’ve seen hand lacquered Japanese pens that cost over $5,000. Those are obviously one-of-a-kind collector’s pieces. I would consider $300 to be the starting point of high-end pens. A $300 pen isn’t likely twice as good a writer as a $150 pen. The price difference represents materials and design. Why would anyone pay $300 for a pen? I’d consider buying a pen in this range to mark an important achievement: graduation, an anniversary, or a business milestone. I haven’t listen any here because I doubt the average person reading this isn’t looking in this strata. If you are I can make some recommendations.
When it comes to inks there are a couple things you need to know. 1. If you buy someone a pen and a bottle of ink check to see if their pen comes with a converter to be able to use bottled ink. Ink quality is important, and I get better performance out of more expensive inks.
Sailor Ink– As a general rule I will like any Sailor ink. The performance for the price can’t be beat. While some colors aren’t my favorite, I haven’t tried a Sailor I disliked yet. Sei Boku is my standard blue ink and has superior performance on thin Bible papers.
Iroshizuku- Pilot’s premium inks. The bottles are gorgeous.
Paper matters more than you ever thought. Ball point pens have a viscous gooey ink that sits on top of our modern, cheap, thin paper. Fountain pen ink is water-based bleeds and feathers into cheap paper. Even Moleskine isn’t that great (gasp). Here are two wonderful selections:
Rhodia– Offered mostly in notebooks and pads Rhodia papers are renowned for their smoothness. Their Web Notebook is most similar to a Moleskine, if that’s your thing.
Apica- My personal favorite. Apica makes a variety of notebook sizes to meet every demand. I use their whopping A4 Premium CD notebook for my sermon prep each week. If you follow me on Instagram that’s the one you see most often.
Anyways, I hope this post helps. I’d love to answer any questions you might have. Over the last 3 years I’ve benefited from the knowledge of others in this little world and I’ll help you make the write decision. (Dear, Lord. Forgive me for making pen puns. Amen.)
This past Sunday we started a 9 week series on Christian doctrine at Lake Wylie Baptist Church.
The first sermon was entitled “What is the Bible?” We saw that the Bible is an authority we need, but it isn’t just an authority. The Scriptures are a conversation. They’re God breathed. We’re invited into relationship with him. Below is a link to the full manuscript:
Many who are curious about Jesus, and many who follow him, think of Christian behavior in purely legal terms (e.g. “God is the great lawmaker and judge. I must keep his rules!”) Though this view of Christian ethics is good and inspires respect, it can also be intimidating, or even frightful.
Thomas Keating, writing about prayer, gives an illustration of the work of the Spirit that I’d like to apply, more broadly, to Christian behavior.
The action of the Spirit might be compared to a skillful nurse teaching the adopted children of a wealthy household how to behave in their new home. Like waifs pulled in off the street and seated at the banquet table in the elegant dinning hall, we require a lot of time to learn and practice the proper table manners. Because of our earthly background, we tend to put our muddy feet on the table, break the chinaware, and spill the soup in our laps. To assimilate the values of our new home, profound changes in our attitudes and behavioral patterns are required. For this reason we may experience our nurse as constraining in the beginning and heavy on the “don’ts.” And yet she always seems to be encouraging in the midst of correction; never condemnatory, never judgmental, always inviting us to amendment of life.
Don’t neglect the image of the judge, but see yourself, also, as the adopted ragamuffin at the banquet table of your loving father. The call to holy living represents the Father’s intention to work through the Spirit to make you like his begotten child, Jesus.
In early March news broke that Florida pastor Jimmy Scroggins would nominate J. D. Greear to be the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2016 annual meeting in St. Louis. I wasn’t surprised. Under Greear’s leadership, The Summit Church has become a mission sending powerhouse in the SBC. I’m excited even for his potential presidency for one reason:
J. D. Greear’s candidacy sounds a call to young leaders in the SBC to recognize that our time is now.
Greear recognizes the need of the hour and referenced it in his explanation for accepting the nomination:
First, it is time for the next generation of Southern Baptists to take personal responsibility for the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This single line on Greear’s blog resonated with me more than any of his comments about higher profile topics (i.e. baptism, CP funding). Why? J.D.’s candidacy signals the transition from the generation of the Conservative Resurgence to the generation of the Great Commission Resurgence.
As a young Southern Baptist, I remember going to FBC Jax as an elementary student for the Pastors’ Conference and listening to Homer Lindsay Jr. and Jerry Vines hold forth. I remember when my home church invited both Paige Patterson and Junior Hill to preach in the same year. When we met Junior Hill at the airport he asked if I would carry his Bible. I nearly came out of my 12 year old shoes. I adored Adrian Rogers and made a special trip to hear his final sermon in Binkley Chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
As a child I viewed these men as pillars and buttresses of the SBC. Even living they had become legendary. The wars they fought for the soul of the SBC and the blood they spilled in giving up the praise of men in exchange for faithfulness to the Word of God deserved honor. But, a future without them never occurred to my 12 year old self. Adrian Rogers was synonymous with the SBC. How could you have an SBC without him? Yet, he’s been gone for a decade.
Whether or not Greear becomes the president of the SBC, his candidacy marks the shift, in earnest, to the next generation of SBC leaders. The day is here when 12 year olds in our churches need their own Homer Lindsay and Adrian Rogers. The generation of the Conservative Resurgence is not yet through with their mission, but I pray their faithfulness will be rewarded by seeing those for whom the SBC was defended take up the mantle and run the race.
As a young pastor who just accepted his first senior pastorate I have come full circle. When I started my time at Southeastern Seminary, to be honest, I was disenfranchised with the Convention. 25 years ago my home church rerouted most funds away from state convention, and traditional SBC giving programs. We supported Southeastern Seminary, IMB missionaries, and other agencies straight out of the offering plate. We didn’t send messengers to the SBC, or state convention.
Two things changed my perspective. First, Dr. Nathan Finn, a professor I highly respected, championed the SBC. He showed me we could love the convention, flaws and all, because that’s exactly how Christ loved us. The mission sending capacity of cooperative SBC churches can’t be matched by any other agency. We shouldn’t abandon it. The second thing that changed my perspective was a short conversation with my seminary president, Dr. Danny Akin. In early 2006 we were walking from Binkley Chapel to Stealey Hall at SEBTS and I’ll never forget him looking at me, almost emotional, and saying that the SBC needed Great Commission renewal. He didn’t care if he was the one that catalyzed it. He simply prayed and begged God for it. By God’s grace, and for his glory, God has been using men like Dr. Akin, Nathan Finn, and I pray he will use J.D. as our next president to call young SBC leaders to the unfinished task. After reading J.D.’s post I hear that call yet again. I hope to be faithful in answering it. It’s time other young SBC leaders answer it as well.
As you may already know, this morning I announced my resignation from the office of Pastor at Christ Community Church. It was a tough morning emotionally for us, but I’d love to share with you about what God has been doing in my heart and my family. On April 17th, 2016 Lake Wylie Baptist Church unanimously voted to call me as their Lead Pastor. How did we get here? The easiest place to begin is to post a copy of the announcement I made this morning:
Christ Community Family,
I just completed my 6th year as a pastor of Christ Community Church and I thank God for every moment here. In my time at CCC I’ve served in the children, student, discipleship, and now, lead pastor roles. Of course, my time here really began on July 15th 1990 when East Huntersville Baptist Church called Jack Homesley to be the Senior Pastor. I accepted Christ and my call to ministry here. You licensed and ordained me to the gospel ministry. Most of my life has been invested here at Christ Community. You have been my family and my home.
When Chelsea and I first came to CCC in May of 2010 we had no idea what God would bring us through here. Time and time again he has given me opportunity to grow as a pastor and build the deepest friendships we’ve ever had. I’ve served under leaders who have shaped and sharpened me for ministry. I’ve been able to baptize many of your children. Some of you I’ve led to Christ. Others, I personally mentored and discipled. I pray that God has used my efforts to draw you closer to Christ. I want you to know that he’s used you as an instrument to shape me for his purposes. I could not be the pastor I am without you
For well over two years Chelsea and I have sensed God moving us into a new season of ministry. We’ve always believed that God would eventually open a path for me to serve as a senior pastor and we now see that he’s made that path clear. Lake Wylie Baptist Church on the southwest of Charlotte has called me to be their pastor and I have accepted that call.
Today I am letting you, my family, know that on April 18th I gave my resignation to the personnel team from the office of pastor at Christ Community Church. My last day in office will be Sunday, May 8th 2016.
I know that Christ Community Church will continue to carry out the Great Commission of God for the glory of God. With the apostle Paul I can say with confidence, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” I believe that if you have eyes of faith you have already seen God refreshing and renewing our church.
Please pray for Chelsea and me as we make this transition. Thank you. I love you. I’m glad to have not only shared the gospel with you, but even my life.
You may have a few more questions:
Where is Lake Wylie Baptist Church?
Lake Wylie Baptist is located in the Steele Creek Neighborhood on the Southwest side of Charlotte, NC.
Why stay in Charlotte? Doesn’t Charlotte have enough churches?
No. Charlotte doesn’t have near the amount of churches needed to disciple the people God is sending to our city. I have long felt the need for thriving churches in the city of Charlotte. As Chelsea and I sensed God leading us to pursuing leading a church as a pastor we knew it had to be in Charlotte for a few reasons:
- 2,000 people move to Charlotte every year. This means that if we planted a new church of 1,000 members every month we would only be keeping up with half the population growth.
- 11 out of the 12 biggest pockets of lost-ness in North Carolina are in Charlotte.
- By 2030 there will be 2.1 million people in Charlotte. With that kind of growth we desperately need God to send laborers, pastors, and Godly church members to our city. We need to see a church planting movement in Charlotte that plants and revitalizes between 450-600 churches in the next 15 years just to keep up with the increase in population.
- My hope, in the coming years is to pastor a healthy church that is planting healthy churches and revitalizing unhealthy churches. We don’t need one more big church in Charlotte, we need a gospel movement. Part of how I fit in to that is the desire I have to shepherd other pastors. In the years ahead I pray God blesses Lake Wylie Baptist so that we can be a blessing to our city through acts of service and by training and planting young men and church members in new and established churches in our city.
Why Lake Wylie Baptist?
God has placed Lake Wylie Baptist Church in a unique place in our city. Out of several areas of new growth in the city, LWBC is positioned in one of the fastest growing zip codes.
Through the pastor transition at Lake Wylie God has gave the people there a purpose that is close to my own. We summarize that mission in three words:
- Upward– We do everything for God’s glory. The first focus of our church is worship. We look up to Christ.
- Inward– We are called to develop a spiritual community. Relationships and gospel accountability build us up and root us down into the gospel.
- Outward– We aren’t a place, we’re a people on a mission. We set our faces towards Charlotte. We aren’t here just to have a great church, but to build a great city through service and faithful gospel presence.
Will you be moving?
Yes. I won’t be driving an hour plus everyday through I-77 and 485 to that community. We’ve loved being in Mooresville, and we love our current neighbors, but we’ll be selling our home soon to live in the community God has called us to serve.
When do you start?
I have a few more duties to wrap up at Christ Community Church and then I’m going to take a little bit of a break between ministries. My first official Sunday at Lake Wylie will be May 22nd.
How can you help?
Pray for me: Though I have been serving in a lead pastor role at CCC for the past 10 months, this will be my first lead pastorate. I assured Lake Wylie that I’d make my share of mistakes. I’m not afraid of those. So, I hope you will pray for spiritual energy and endurance. The enemy hates it when God’s people submit to his will. I know that spiritual attack will come to me and the people of Lake Wylie as we seek God’s kingdom in Charlotte.
Pray for my family: We’re moving, but we’re also stepping away from many close friendships. CCC has been home for most of my life. Pray that God will unify us even more as we follow him. Pray for Chelsea as she will be standing beside me. Pray for my children. Lake Wylie will be their church home. I feel a great responsibility to be faithful for their sake. I want them to grow up in a church as wonderful as the one I grew up in.
Pray for Lake Wylie Baptist and Charlotte: LWBC is a wonderful church and I know that God is going to stretch us even more for his glory and our good. Ask God to give us patient endurance as enter the next chapter of our history as a church. Pray that God would help us disciple one another in order to make the name of Jesus non-ignorable in our neighborhood. Begin praying now for the movement of gospel filled churches we believe God is going to bring to the city.
Reach out to me: In the next few weeks I’d love to connect with you. I’m still a pastor at CCC. Stop by the office. My door is open and I will have time for you. I promise.