About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Perfect Timing

I love preaching and serving Christ like an Armenian and sleeping like a Calvinist. The mission that He has called me to at this point in my life has been completely joyous and completely frustrating. Over the past month we have seen a dead church in Uptown begin to wake up, and I have also experienced some of the thickest spiritual warfare in my life. I know that God has great things in store for us in New Orleans because of the attacks that we have encountered.....I will unpack these at a later time.

Paul encourages us to "rejoice in our sufferings". This is easier said than done. Christ doesn't promise us a limo ride. In fact, if you are serving Christ and you are "sipping on a martini in a limo" I highly doubt that you are obeying God's call on your life. Satan doesn't give a crap about those who are of no threat to him. When I played college ball, we never spent time scouting the bad players. We studied tons of tape on the studs from the opposing team. When the game started, we would do whatever we could to stop the star player from getting in the groove (double teams, elbows, blind-side picks, trash talking, biting, etc.). I was a pretty dirty player (mainly because I was white, thick, short, and couldn't jump). I had to find some way to get an edge. If you are currently experiencing no spiritual warfare, you are NO THREAT TO SATAN. Quit being a sissy, and man or woman up for Christ. This life in Christ is not about you. Act like it.

Why did I title this blog, "Perfect Timing"? Because in the midst of all this warfare (which may I remind everyone that the warfare and persecution that we face in America is nothing compared to some of our brothers and sisters around the world. Go to www.persecution.com and get a dose of reality. Mourn, weep, rejoice, and pray over the names. God's glory is being proclaimed through the suffering of man), God has given my wife, brother, and I a gift. We are leaving this Monday to join my dad's church in Israel. We will be in Israel for over a week. Here is the trips itinerary:

Day 1-Depart USA
Day 2-Arrive Tel Aviv
Day 3-Tel Aviv, Joppa, Caesarea, Megiddo, Nazareth, Tiberias
Day 4-Tiberias, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Caesarea, Philippi
Day 5-Tiberias, Beit She'an, Gideon Springs, Amman
Day 6-Amman, Petra, Aqaba
Day 7-Aqaba, Eilat, Dead Sea
Day 8- Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Jericho, Good Samaritan Inn, Bethlehem, Jerusalem
Day 9 - Mount of Olives, Walking Tour, Gethsemane
Day 10 - Model City, Shrine of the Book, Yad V'Shem, Jewish Quarter, Upper Room, Tomb of King David
Day 11 - Western Wall Tunnel, Jewish Quarter, Mount Zion, Upper Room, Caiaphas' House, Calvary, Garden Tomb
Day 12 - Jerusalem, Back to USA

I am so grateful to God for this opportunity to rest, learn, pray, weep, dream, listen, and refuel in the Holy Land. I am not sure if I had hit my breaking point but it was certainly getting close. God's timing is always perfect. I am praying that Jesus would unleash His presence upon my life as I travel the land where He walked.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bragging on Jesus!

The picture above is a picture of present day Corinth. The apostle Paul did an amazing work in this area as he spread the name of Jesus and planted a church. I love the passage of I Corinthians 2:1-5. I was directed toward this text in my Proclaiming the Bible class at Seminary. My good friend, Tony Merida, is one of our preaching professors and Dean of the Chapel. He is the Interim Pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, MS. God is definitely using him to spur me on in the ministry. Anytime he preaches God's Word, I feel like I have never preached in my life. I thank God for surrounded me with people like this. I thank God for pointing me to this passage. Read it a thousand times below.

"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

This was my passage for my first sermon at Valence Church. I titled the message, "Bragging on Jesus". Paul helps us see that this life is not about us, it is all about Christ. I was challenged to remind our church that if we had any hope of making an impact in Uptown, it was going to be because the members of Valence Church understand that this life is not about us...it is all about Jesus. God has definitely humbled me through this opportunity.

I am an extremely independent and self-motivated person. I always have been. Because of this fact in my life, it is difficult for me to accept help from people. But God has completely broken me of this stubbornness. With this new opportunity I have learned two important lessons. First of all, I recognize that I am completely unqualified to be a pastor of a church without the grace and power of Christ. Second of all, I recognize that I am completely dependent upon friends, churches, associations, etc. for help in the rebuilding of this church. This is exactly where God wants me and our church.

Paul reminded the Corinthian Church that he came to them in weakness and fear, and that Christ alone was his strength and power. The Corinthian people had begun to lose sight of the supremacy of Christ. Paul redirected all personal praise to Christ. The city of Corinth was very similar to New Orleans. It could have easily adopted the name "Big Easy". God used Paul in a mighty way in this city. I Corinthians 2:1-5 reiterates that when he came to Corinth, Christ took over.

Holy Spirit, I have to have you within me to equip me to do your work. Brothers and sisters in Christ, I need your prayers and partnership in order to complete the task. My good friend Travis has put up a website for the church, www.valencechurch.com. You can read about our church strategy and plan. Join us as we are going to have a blast "bragging on Jesus".