Tuesday, April 18, 2017

From Sorrow to Hope Project

One of my goals for 2017 was to read a commentary on Jeremiah. I recently finished Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope by Philip Graham Ryken.

It was very clear and readable with an emphasis on God's glory and application to current events. It read like a series of sermons rather than an academic text, but drew from scholarship.
If I were to recommend a commentary on Jeremiah, it would be Michael Brown's from the Expositor's Bible Commentary series, but Ryken's was a very good read, and by far the most accessible commentary on Jeremiah I've seen.

I was looking for a commentary I could read daily in small sections, and Ryken's is formatted in ten page chapters for each section of verses tackled. It worked well as a daily devotional reading. It may be a little more academic than what most people want for daily reading, but I would like to see more folks try this. Not all commentaries are reference works. Some are meant to be read cover to cover and this is one of them.

One of the things that has helped me read through larger academic volumes is Goodreads.com. Goodreads lets me track my progress with update bars. After reading, I enter in the page number and watch the percentage and progress bar advance. It may not work for everyone, but I find small mental rewards like this motivating and rewarding. I hope you find a readable commentary, maybe the Preaching the Word series, a shot.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday Readings

This morning we went through a series of Palm Sunday readings. This is the first time I've read through these passages back to back and was powerfully moved by the experience. We read up to John and then prayed together after each passage. I was choking back tears at the end as we rejoiced together and looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ our King and His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.

2 Kings 9:13

Zechariah 9:9

Psalm 11:25-26

John 12:12-19


Mark 1:1-11


Matthew 21:1-11


Luke 19:11-40


Revelation 19:11-21
Revelation 21:1-7


Monday, April 3, 2017

Updated Giving Options

There are new electronic giving options available on my website, Including Stripe and recurring giving options. Thank you! :) Check them out here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I'm Getting Married!

I am so excited to tell you about my relationship with Tatiana Cortes, the most wonderful woman of God I’ve ever met. This month I asked her to marry me. She said, “Yes.”

As I have grown to know Tatiana over the last year, first as friends, I have grown in my admiration of her passionate faithfulness to God and His glory, her deep desire to abide in Christ, and her sacrificial love for our immigrant friends and neighbors. I am more impressed with her character every day. I spent a lot of time in prayer and asking for advice before pursuing a relationship with her. I remember describing her to my mentor Chuck Wood. He listened carefully, and then said, “If I were you, I would ask that girl on a date today!” She has been everything I have asked God for and more.

Tatiana moved to Hamtramck two years ago because of God’s call on her life to work with Bangladeshi people and demonstrates the love and Spirit of Jesus as a High School writing teacher in Hamtramck. She shines the light of Christ among immigrant high school students, co-teachers, and friends every day. There are so many miraculous stories I want to share from Tatiana’s life, but I will let her share in a special letter to all of you.

I have grown in Christ, been encouraged, challenged, and been deeply loved because God put Tatiana in my life. I am in love with her. I want to spend the rest of my life with her, partnering as family and in ministry. Beyond that, I know that this is God’s good, perfect, and pleasing plan for us.
There are so many ministry stories to tell from this month: Bible studies with young Bangladeshi men, loving fun with Syrian refugee families and children, trainings for upcoming events in Detroit. At one training, we even got to see a family of eight people surrender to Christ and be baptized the same day. A team from the training baptized the parents and then led the parents in baptizing their children! I’m rejoicing with the angels over more stories of decisions for Christ from this month. 

For me, none of these stories compares with the joy and triumph of knowing I have found the woman I will spend the rest of my life with. There is no doubt in my mind that together Tatiana and I will be more fruitful for the Kingdom, and God will receive the most glory from our lives. I’ve never been so convinced that the best is yet to come! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Cornerstone Reading Plan

My mentor Chuck Wood introduced me to the Cornerstone Reading Plan over a year ago, and I have been using it ever since. In fact, I can't believe I haven't posted about it sooner. It is actually an action step in my forthcoming book. Check it out.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, (Ephesians 2:19-20)

A cornerstone is the first stone laid in a building project and determines the angles and direction for the rest of the building. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone and a great place to start a reading plan.

1. The Gospels
You can start by reading one chapter per day in the book of Matthew.
After you feel comfortable reading one chapter per day and have success, you can start adding the New Testament writings of the Apostles, starting with the book of Acts.

2. The New Testament
Now you are reading two chapters per day, one in the Gospels and one in the rest of the New Testament. After you are comfortable with that and are having success, you can add the Old Testament books, written by the prophets, starting with Genesis.

3. The Old Testament
After success with that, you can add a chapter in the Old Testament, starting with the book of Psalms. This results in reading four chapters per day. After you finish the Book of John in the Gospels, you can cycle back to Matthew, and after you finish the book of Revelation in the New Testament, you can cycle back to the book of Acts.

If you follow this plan for fifteen months you will read through the Old Testament once, the New Testament two and a half times and the Gospels five times. This is a good place to start in saturating yourself with God’s word. Remember to listen and obey as you read.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Three Movement Leaders and the Word of God

I was helping my friend Daniel train laborers heading to Indonesia last week, and I was struck my a story he told about a movement leader in Southeast Asia.

Mike Shipman (author of Any-3) came to a crisis point in ministry. He responded by memorizing the Book of Acts.

This story is stunning because of the example of discipline, but also because it reminded me of two other movement leaders and their stories. Jeff Sundell is one of the leaders in T4T movements in Asia. He came to a crisis point and stopped reading any books, scrapped all his plans and started reading the Gospels and Acts 30 times per year. David Watson is one of the movement pioneers in DMM movements around the world. He came to a crisis point and told God that he wouldn't read or watch anything for a year--He would only read the Bible.

You can hear these stories in their own words on The Sent Life Podcast here.

You can subscribe to the podcast here.