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.

Twitter Update

Monday, February 23, 2009


I came across this blog today. JD Greear is the Lead Pastor of the Summit Church in Durham, NC. I have never met him but have heard a lot of great things about his ministry through my buddy Andrew Hopper. It seems as if we have the same feelings and perspective about the issue of "Calvinism".

Check it out:

This is a hot topic of controversy right now. A lot of my dad's generation is scared to death of Calvinism because of the extreme hyper-Calvinistic representation. I completely understand the fear. My dad watched the ultra-reformed kill the Baptist church in South Africa. I do believe that there are some pros and cons to what is happening in the young evangelical reformed movement in our country. Read this article that came out in 2006 "Young, Restless, Reformed". This movement is nothing like the hyper-Calvinistic movement that has plagued many parts of the world. This movement differs from any previous movements because it makes much of God's sovereignty and much of the Great Commission that God has called us to.

Simply put...our focus needs to be ON CHRIST. I just got done preaching to our church about Paul in Athens. The Athenians were worshiping the false Greek idols. No different to what I am witnessing in New Orleans with Mardi Gras. Too much of anything can be considered "idol worship". This applies to Calvinism. I have a bunch of friends that consider it their mission to convert everyone to Calvinism. What the heck! I call that 'idol-worship'. WE FOLLOW CHRIST! Now we can take great principles from Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, Graham, Stanley, Warren, Driscoll, ________ (you fill in the blank). But WE FOLLOW CHRIST! I personally hate getting the question, "Are you a Calvinist?" But I (like JD Greear) am excited to know that my preaching and ministry makes much of God and His sovereignty. However, I also love that people get a little confused because I also make much of our churches effort, work, and ministry for the Kingdom of Christ. Much like the abuse that the terms "church" and "Christian" have encountered in our culture, the term "Calvinist" has also been abused. Let's not allow a few hyper-idiots destroy some good theological conviction from the Holy Scriptures.

To my anti-Calvinist brothers and sisters, stop labeling all of Calvinism with the extremist. A movement that makes much of God is not a bad thing.

To my Calvinist brothers and sisters, if you truly believe in following what Calvin taught regarding our lives in Christ...why are you walking around so proud and arrogant? If any theological conviction should humble you it is Calvinism. Salvation is by GRACE alone, through FAITH alone, in CHRIST JESUS alone. Start living like it.

I love how JD Greear put it at the end of his blog,
"God give me the head of a Baptist, the heart of a Pentecostal, and the feet of a Jehovah’s Witness".

Good stuff.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Who Are These Men?

This Sunday I am continuing our preaching series called "Be the Church". God has really challenged us as we have journeyed through Acts. This week I will be in Acts 6 & 14 and our focus will be upon leadership. There are three common aspects that I find in the book of Acts that connect with church leadership. Leaders meeting needs, leaders refusing the praise, and leaders continuing in the faith. Come and join us at Vintage if you are in New Orleans or you can listen through our Vintage podcast.

Since I became a Pastor/Planter of Vintage Church, God has been exposing a lot of pride in my life. This weakness and sin continually brings me to my knees in repentance. What is the balance between stepping up and taking a position of authority with confidence while remaining humble and focused upon the fact that only Jesus deserves the credit? I think we can learn a lot from the early church leaders in the book of Acts and most importantly how Christ himself lived on this earth. But there is no clear cut answer to this dilemma. Any leader in ministry that says that they don't battle with pride is living in denial. As a determined young pastor I am always being accused of pride, arrogance, stubbornness...you fill in the blank. If I choose to go against the flow or reject any form of advice or wisdom, people immediately resort to this accusation.

I have learned two major lessons through this repeating confrontation in my life. #1: I always need to be given a pride and arrogance gut check and I pray that it never stops. Thank you to all those (associations, networks, seminaries, churches, pastors, friends...WIFE) who have been used by God to hold me accountable. #2: Only I can discern the difference between my personal struggle with pride and obedience to Christ's call upon my life. God is calling men to stand against the crowd. God is calling men to push the limits. God is calling men to impact this world for Christ. Sometimes that requires some controversy and guts.

I believe that God has called me to love and serve New Orleans with complete obedience only to the Spirit's guidance and truth found in His Word. We are on the brink of a mighty movement of God's Spirit in this city. My greatest prayer is that I might be faithful to what He has called me to do. If that means sacrifice, so be it. If that means controversy, so be it. If that means submission and humility, so be it. I just want to be faithful to Him.

So again I ask, how do I follow God's call to be a leader for Him while protecting myself from the sin of pride? Not sure. But I am grateful to all of my friends who continue to keep me in line. Keep the advice coming. Even if you are way off, I need the daily reminders that this mission is not about me.

One example of this accountability came today from my friend Luke Johnson. Luke serves at our church with no strings attached as he also travels the country preaching the Gospel. Check out his ministry, www.lukejohnsononline.com. If you ever want a gut check for you or your church, give Luke Johnson a call. He sent me this poem. May God use it to help us stay the course.

“Who are these men?”

Who are these men? Famous in face
Who are these men? By people embraced
Who are these men? Do we really see true?
Who are these men, when no one sees but You?

Lord, in a day when men abuse Thy grace
Please raise up warriors who seek Thy face.
In ignoring Thy Word, they do as they please
Trusting in self, they live in their ease.

Strangers to anguish and foreign to tears
They vainly trust their degrees and years.
Some younger in age, their egos full-sized
Ever doing what's right in their own eyes.

They politic for position and jockey for fame
Only existing to promote their own name.
Spending all time to gain notoriety and mammon
But leaving so many hungry in spiritual famine.

Who are these men, who think themselves wise?
The answer in truth might leave you surprised.
Who are these men, and what do they give?
Preachers their name, and in pulpits they live.
- L.J., 2-12-09

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Legalism Sucks

This past week the Baptist Press decided to write an unfair article assassinating Mark Driscoll and his ministry. Check out the article:


Mark and his team were recently at the Southeastern Baptist Seminary in NC speaking at the 20/20 conference with CJ Mahaney and Daniel Akin. I want to encourage you to read this response article and also click on the various links throughout the article.


Thanks Southeastern for responding to the ridiculous legalism that was presented in the Baptist Press. No wonder so many guys are bailing on the SBC. Please don't allow a few idiots to dictate the convictions of our entire tribe. Most of us fall on the side of Southeastern's response. Our church is called to reach our Judea and Samaria through the partnership of NAMB and A29. You can here our partnership desire at the beginning of my message this past Sunday.

BE THE CHURCH: WITNESS (http://vintagenola.org/podcast/)

I agree that we should always be careful and use wisdom when trying to engage our world for Christ. Of course I don't see eye to eye with everything in A29. Being a part of this network allows me the blessing of interacting online with other A29 pastors around the world about any subject. Every subject is fairly discussed and assessed through the lens of Scripture. I have enjoyed reading the thoughts of Mark Driscoll, Darrin Patrick, Scott Thomas, Tyler Powell, David Thew, Eliot Grudem, Daniel Montgomery, and many others. I have been extremely impressed by the humility and fairness of this network. Most of the guys in the network don't agree with everything. But we dialogue with the purpose of being most effective in making disciples of all nations.

I say this with as much grace as possible. I don't have all the answers and my church has a long way to go. THE SBC IS AT A POINT OF CRISIS. Let's stop criticizing our brothers and sisters in Christ that are reaching our world for Christ. Last time I checked most of the churches in our denomination are struggling. Learn from these churches that are making it happen. You don't have to agree with everything and you don't have to participate with everything. That is the beautiful thing about the local church and on top of that a baptist local church. You are completely autonomous. We are praying in our city that God would bring thousands of Bible-believing churches that are tons of different shapes and sizes. I don't know if this is true in your city, but New Orleans isn't filled with a bunch of look-a-like suburban robots. This city is diverse.

I am all for attacking the false prophets of our day that we read about in I John. I have a feeling that when it is all said and done, I am going to make a lot of these heretics and so-called ministers in NOLA pretty mad. But when it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ, let's dialogue with the ultimate goal of unity for the cause of Christ.

This past week I memorized Philippians 2:1-2 with one of my friends. I'll let these words speak for themselves.

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind."