What I’ve been up to and why you haven’t heard from me

It’s that time of year again where I lament the fact that I have been missing out on posting lately. In fact, I almost had a post in time for Easter, but it didn’t come together when I wanted it to. So for now, you’ll have to settle for this year’s installment of “Where’s Jakob?” And no, I won’t be wearing a red and white striped suit while hiding among mythical creatures in strange environments.

Church

There are many exciting things happening with the Church in general and the youth ministry in particular. I have been working with the music teams every other week for almost a year now, and we have seen some good growth and connective-ness in the teams and individuals on them. We’re glad to be serving in this way!

Likewise, although the youth group remains small (numbers wise) we have had great chances to partner with other Churches to do fun and constructive events (snow camp, tubing, community service, etc).

School

Emmalie and I will be graduating at the beginning of May; she with an AA and I with a BA in Biblical Studies. We have been working hard at finishing which means many a long night working on homework and trying to squeeze time in together. With the end in sight, we hope we can finish well and continue to serve God as greatly as possible.

Life in general

I am still employed with the Home Depot and Emmalie remains at the local nursing home as the receptionist. The cool thing, though, is that she will be beginning a part time job as the Church secretary in mid-April. We’re excited about this and are looking forward to her extended ministry within the Church (she already teaches Sunday School faithfully!).

The Calling

Lastly, I have been working with the Gospel Alliance on the Calling Youth Conference for the greater part of this year. This is a one-day conference being held at our Church (FBC in South Portland) next Saturday which will hopefully see a good number of youth leaders, students, and even their parents as we seek to encourage and discuss the idea of the message of Jesus being the one thing that restores the brokenness of the world. (Shameless plug, for more information: www.callingyouth.com . There are free books involved as well: http://gospelalliancene.com/free-books-for-all-who-attend-the-calling/).

Thanks for listening in! As I mentioned, graduation is in May… we’ll see what happens at this blog site then!

My brother is 16!

Happy birthday to my younger brother, Jonathan!

jonathanI can’t believe that you’re 16! I hope today is an awesome time of… well, school. But then fun times with whoever you hang out with.

I’m honored to call you my brother and love your heart for Christ. Emmalie and I are praying for you, man. Thanks for still liking to spend time with us on occasion, and we look forward to more of that once you start driving. So get on that!

Love ya man!

Boycott Starbucks?

That’s what some well meaning Christians wish to do in light of Starbucks’ position on Gay “marriage.” Upon originally hearing of this, I wanted to find out what was actually going on. So after looking at some articles about what was being said, I found that Starbucks is simply doing what most other big corporations are already doing in the U.S; they are realizing that many Americans want homosexuality to be widely accepted and are acting in response to gain more customer loyalty. If we think about it, this is a similar tactic to what business did until about 15-20 years ago by being closed on Sundays. They realized their customer base probably wouldn’t be coming out on Sunday because many people would be in Church and were encouraged to not buy or sell on the Lord’s day. That being said, this is probably more of a marketing attempt on their and others’ part to gain a greater customer base.

Beat to the punch

Dr. Russel Moore (and probably many others) has already responded to this situation better than I could here:

…we don’t persuade our neighbors by mimicking their angry power-protests. We persuade them by holding fast to the gospel, by explaining our increasingly odd view of marriage, and by serving the world and our neighbors around us, as our Lord does, with a towel and a foot-bucket.

We won’t win this argument by bringing corporations to the ground in surrender. We’ll engage this argument, first of all, by prompting our friends and neighbors to wonder why we don’t divorce each other, and why we don’t split up when a spouse loses his job or loses her health. We’ll engage this argument when we have a more exalted, and more mysterious, view of sexuality than those who see human persons as animals or machines. And, most of all, we’ll engage this argument when we proclaim the meaning behind marriage: the covenant union of Christ and his church. (Read the rest, here)

Other considerations

Dr. Moore is spot on in his reasons behind not boycotting Starbucks (or Home Depot, or other business with similar ideals). In response to the situation and his points, I would ask a few questions:

  1. How many businesses in America do you think support things you disagree with? If you did your research, how many would you have to stop shopping at to maintain your consistency as a believer?
  2. How many Christians do you think work at Starbucks and these other businesses? How do you think this campaign is affecting the testimony that they have worked hard to establish there? Chances are, this will initially hurt the testimony of the Church in those individuals (not ultimately, though, as God is still sovereign in our weaknesses).
  3. Likewise, how much money do you think was spent by Christians in Ancient Rome on businesses and goods that likewise paid for the crucifixion of their fellow believers? This is, of course, more speculation than anything else, but should be considered as well.

All told, I’m not going to stop going to Starbucks (or working at Home Depot, or shopping at Target, etc…) just because of their stance on this matter. I want to pray that God will use me in every situation possible to show Himself as the great God He is. Finally, whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. If you cannot in good conscience purchase items from those places that you have found support the sinful things of this world, then for you it is sin. But do not cast judgment on those who see nothing wrong with such purchases (we’ll prayerfully try not to cast judgment on you!)

Around the blog roll

Towards the beginning of last month, I saw a few great posts around the blog roll that I thought would be great to share with everyone. I’m finally getting to the place where I can get some stuff out here, so here they are!

Are tattoos sinful? In short, no. Here’s a great handling on that topic |  http://thecripplegate.com/tattoos-and-skin-deep-hermeneutics/

Many people outside the Church don’t realize that Christians are physically persecuted outside of the U.S. This is worth reading and the links are even more worth looking into. (see also VOM’s Thirteen Three) |  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/02/06/60-second-summary-the-global-war-on-christians-in-the-muslim-world/

What happens when the Historicity of Adam is questioned? I’ve thought much about this recently and thought this article was a good demonstration of Adam’s importance |  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/02/07/reasons-to-believe-in-a-historical-adam/

There is much talk about working for the Kingdom of God as a whole and not one’s individual Church. While I agree on the importance of the Kingdom, here is a quick, great thought on why we need to remember our own Church family in the advancement of the Kingdom |  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2012/02/07/my-church-or-kingdom/

One year and counting!

That’s right! Emmalie and I have officially been married for one year. Here’s us at one hour:

And again 8 months in…

This year has been marked by the great and glorious grace of our Father. Only He could bring us together in love and unity and only He sustains us continuously to that end. Thank you all for your prayers for us as we have continued in this journey together. Emmalie, this is one year down, and countless more to go. I love you!

The Plan

It’s that time again!

Tonight, billions of people around the world will make New Year’s Resolutions. Tomorrow, about half of the resolutions made will have been broken. By next week, many of the rest will be toast as well. In light of this, I offer my reading goal for the year. This aspect of the blog has fallen slack over the past two years, but it’s my hope to build this up again!

12, not 60

A couple years ago I tried to read 60 books: 5 books per month. Yeah, that didn’t work. So I thought about trying for 24 this year (outside of school reading), but my wife lovingly told me it would be a good idea to stick with 12 (one per month). So, without further ado, here are the first four I hope to get through:

Golfing with God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth and Breakfast with Buddha are both comedic novels about life, death, philosophy, and theology. My supervisor gave them to me to read and I look forward to seeing what others have to say on these matters. Having read a few pages in Golfing I think I know where the author (Roland Merullo) is coming from on these. But more on that later.

Ethics is looking like it will be a great read. Dietrich Bonhoeffer never actually finished writing this book before his imprisonment in Nazi Germany, but the pieces that we have in a book seem to be worth a spot on every bookshelf.

Gospel Wakefulness: I have heard author Jared Wilson preach a few messages on this topic of Gospel Wakefulness- the idea that we can believe in Christ but not have a real awakening to the beauty of His grace. I look forward to reading more to this end.

I hope I can read well, for God’s glory, this year. We are to honor Him with all things, our minds included.

Lead Sessions are here!

Click on over to the Gospel Alliance site to get the Main Session Audios from Lead 11. There’s a lot of great stuff over there and if you haven’t heard of the Gospel Alliance NE, then you need to explore around a bit. These are some great brothers in Christ who have a great love for New England and the Church.

Lead is just one of the ways that these guys continue to minister to my heart. I have been encouraged in many great ways by them, especially in the most recent conference.