We live in a part of our city that is decorated with old homes. I suppose old is a bit of a relative term. Omaha is about a 130 year-old city, and many of the homes in our neighborhood come from those early days. Some of the streets are the old brick roads. We were in a neighbor’s home last night and they had pictures of their house in the first few years of the 1900’s. Seeing the pictures, roads, and homes reminds me that we are just here for a brief period. We are something of a tenant here in this neighborhood. Many own homes but in reality they are simply stewards for a period of time. There were people who came before us and there will be people who come after us.
I frequently look at the brick roads and older architecture with an eye to the church. I think of how we today are stewards of God’s Word. We have a responsibility to preserve and promote the testimony of the body of Christ. We have taken the keys from a previous generation to be the tenants in our own.
As I looked last night into the framed picture from over 100 years ago of a mom and her newborn I felt a connection. Here we were doing the same thing in a different time. These people are long gone now and we are here. We live, make our mark, and attempt to be good stewards; leaving things better …
I’m thankful that my friend Bob Thune and the church he planted and pastors just celebrated their 10 year anniversary. It is a joy to partner with Coram Deo here in Omaha for gospel advancement. In celebrating the occasion they put together this video that demonstrates their artistic skill, humor, and good beards.
Watch and laugh. Watch and rejoice. If you are a church planter, watch and identify.
This November Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Nebraska will host a Simeon Trust Workshop. I am very excited about this as I think about Omaha and its surrounding area. Like many others I am burdened for the gospel to go viral. We know that God uses preachers bring about such revival. Therefore, the training and refreshing of preachers is vital to gospel expansion.
What is Simeon Trust? They are workshops that help pastors and Bible teachers to learn methods of expositional preaching, be encouraged through sitting under God’s Word, and gather in small groups with the aim of sharpening each other’s teaching.
Below is a video from David Helm describing the Simeon Trust.
Personally, I have greatly benefited from the Charles Simeon Trust. The workshops remind Bible teachers of the importance of exposition while equipping us with the proper framework to do it ourselves. Unlike many courses on preaching Simeon Trust is not concerned primarily with the delivery of the sermon but the building of the sermon. You come out of the workshop refreshed in the power and primacy of God’s Word.
One of the ways they do this is by putting preachers together with other preachers. In smaller group sessions we sit together to deliver 5 minutes of “sermon work” on our text of Scripture. This covers the passage’s structure, emphasis, context, gospel implications, and principles. After delivering this the preacher is given feedback by another brother. This constructive feedback is gold.
The training in November is the 11th -13th. David Helm will be joining us along with …
There are a number of good conferences in my area this month. If you are nearby you may want to consider attending.
1. Carl Trueman Reformation Today: Three sessions on the Reformation with a leading historian and theologian. I am planning on attending this and taking a bunch of people from Emmaus. This event is hosted by Omaha Bible Church (info).
2. Paul David Tripp, The Heart of Parenting: Tripp is probably one of the most helpful voices in this conversation. I wish I were able to be there. This event is hosted by Evangelical Free Church in Grand Island (info).
3. Jim Eckman, Worldview Conference: Eckman is a former University President who continues to think through how to think biblically about current events. This is hosted by Cornerstone Baptist Church (info).
Prior to full-time ministry I worked for several years in a Fortune 500 company. As in most companies there were people who were highly respected experts. They were able to do their job well, advance, and experience great professional success.
At the same time, many seemed to do it mostly alone. They really seemed like loners who had their way of doing things and they did it well. One thing I remember is that not only did people keep their own trade secrets close to the vest, they also frequently knocked the ladder out from others trying to climb up with them. I am not describing a unique professional environment here. Many companies and professionals thrive on this type of competition.
Interestingly, as I was coming up the ladder professionally I was also considering whether or not full-time ministry was something that I should pursue. I would try to get time with church leaders to ask questions and get counsel. I found that my requests were largely ignored or worse—critically received. As I lived in the professional environment but was desirous of the ministry environment, I became frustrated (and embarrassed) that the church reflected an unhealthy and unbiblical business model.
It is the Thursday before Good Friday. I can’t wait to preach tomorrow night and then Sunday morning. I love preaching Christ every week, but there is something about the Resurrection weekend that is particularly special.
However, when I woke up this morning I was drawn to think about someone I don’t often think about: the liberal pastor. By liberal I am not referring to political affiliation but theological conviction. In particular, I am talking about those who either deny the reality of or diminish the priority of the cross of Christ and his resurrection.
There are many factors that make evangelism difficult. There is the internal spiritual alienation from God that renders the unbeliever unimpressed by God and therefore unresponsive to him in worship (Col. 1:21; 2 Cor. 4:4-6). Then there is the fog of worldliness that reinforces the heart’s unsubmissiveness to God and his Word (1 Jn. 2:16-17). We see this with the ongoing marketing of personal autonomy, self-discovery, and satisfaction in created things.
But there is another contributor to the fog that is very unhelpful. I am talking about the authority of personal experience. Today our personal experience and personal interpretation of that experience is the unquestionable authority that all must submit to.
Earlier this week I was talking to a number of unbelievers about Jesus. In the midst of the conversation one told me that he can see the future. He said that he has, on a few occasions, been able to see what was going to happen. He pointed to his buddy for confirmation and, as you’d expect, got the requisite head nod. I know that in this conversation I cannot slash the tires of his experience. If I even pull out the knife of reason or testing he will shut me down. Personal experience and our interpretation of it is the authority. We might call it Sola Experiencia.
If you read this blog then you very likely are rejoicing in the resurgence of church planting. This rejoicing leads to increased burden for gospel ministry to advance in all areas–rural and urban, affluent and poor. The gospel is for all people.
In our context, God has called us to plant a church in an urban, diverse context of Omaha. As we endeavor to be faithful we are reaching out to friends for help. This is why we at Emmaus are excited to welcome our friends from 20schemes to come for a Saturday morning training session on ministry in poor contexts. Mez McConnell will also preach on Sunday morning at Emmaus.
The details for the event are listed below. But here is the truth: it will be very helpful and very free. If you are anywhere near Omaha for the weekend of April 5th, then please come an join us. If you need a place to stay message me via the contact form.
Please register here.
here is the info—
Every ministry that endeavors to be biblical will ask the question: “How should we faithfully minister in our poor communities?” The question can be answered on multiple levels from the perspective of the individual Christian to the local church.
On Saturday morning, April 5th, Emmaus will be hosting 20schemes to consider how to faithfully minister in a lower income is a ministry based in Edinburgh, Scotland that is committed to seeing the poorest communities in Scotland transformed through the revitalization and planting of …
I was greatly impacted by a meeting that I had nearly 15 years ago with my pastor at the time. During the meeting I was talking about my desire for ministry and a great burden for the gospel to be clearly preached and central to all that we do.
In the midst of the conversation the pastor got annoyed. His annoyance seemed to be connected to my burdens and how they communicated a referendum on his ministry.
At one point in the conversation he said something that left a tremendous impact on me. He said baldly:
When you get old you come to see that things don’t work out so neatly. We’ll see if you have the same passion in 10 years.
A couple of days ago we had to turn on the air conditioner in the house. The temperature outside was over 80 degrees and the temperature inside was nearing the same. This I did even though it bristled against my prideful resolution to wait until May to hit activate the arctic cool. Less than 48 hours later we were in a Winter Storm Warning. You can’t predict this stuff.
I read where someone said this is like Narnia before Aslan, always winter and never Christmas. Well, maybe not quite that bad. This type of thing is not unprecedented in Omaha (or other cooler climates). It actually snowed 2″ on May 9, 1945. I heard recently of a town in Colorado getting snow on the 4th of July.
This type of exaggerated fluctuation helps to remind us of the instability of the world around us. Paul tells us that the creation groans (Rom. 8.22). We witness unpredictable wind, floods, hurricanes, tornados, heat, and cold. Amid the weather whiplash of the last few days we join the chorus with creation awaiting the final liberation and restoration through Christ. Until then we groan in the slush alongside of the wilted tulips.