Thursday, June 23, 2011

All the Pastor's of Goshen: From 1808-Present

This past week has been a busy one as Amanda and I have tried to finish up the cookbook (which is finally done!).  I worked on the history part and in the cookbook we have placed all of the pastor's who have served at Goshen Baptist Church over the past 200+ years.  I am the 55th pastor of Goshen and am honored to be among this prestigious list.  Here we have pastors, ministers, preachers, Ph.D's, professors, missionaries, parachurch leaders, and writers.  To read the stories of these fascinating men was a joy and I strongly encourage everyone to read our history book (one of the best local church histories I have ever read!!  Very thorough).

Anyways, here is the list and the years they served.

James H. L. Moorman – 1810-1815
2.    Christopher Wilson 1816-1817
3.    Samuel Anderson 1818-1826
4.    James H. L. Moorman 1827-1834
5.    Samuel Anderson 1835-1836
6.    Simeon Buchanan 1837-1858
7.    Darnell Dowden 1859-1867
8.    John Armstrong 1868-1870
9.    T. A. Robertson 1871
10.    Darnell Dowden 1872-1881
11.    Squire LaRue Helm 1882-1885
12.    Benjamin Fulton Jenkins 1886
13.    Ebenezer Hise H. Maddox 1887-1888
14.    C. M. Reid 1889-1890
15.    Wiley Blount Rutledge, Sr. 1891-1901
16.    J. F. Vines 1902-1903
17.    Daniel B. Clapp 1904-1906
18.    E. L. Rogers 1907
19.    J. I. Lewis 1908-1914
20.    J. E. Meng 1916-1918
21.    Evarts B. English 1919-1922
22.    H. L. Smith 1923-1924
23.    J. A. Hudson 1925-1926
24.    I. D. Eavenson 1927-1928
25.    H. L. Lennon 1929
26.    Gordon C. Whitely 1930-1936
27.    John Isom 1937-1938
28.    Carl E. Talbert 1939
29.    Ivan E. Boles 1940
30.    Fred E. Neiger 1941
31.    E. G. Cole 1942
32.    George Lovell 1943
33.    B. G. Bass 1944-1945
34.    Waldo Harris 1946-1947
35.    Robert Harris 1948
36.    Dr. Marvin Tate, Jr.1949-1955
37.    Charles Belknap 1956-1958
38.    R. L. Armsistead 1959-1960
39.    Tom Lee 1961
40.    Joseph C. Daniel 1962-1963
41.    Ron Brown 1964-1965
42.    Robert Sandford 1966-1968
43.    Joe Evans 1969-1970
44.    Gene Daggerhart 1971
45.    Lowell Fisher 1972-1976
46.    Paul Hindman 1977-1978
47.    Dr. Don McClung 1981-1983
48.    James Garrison 1984-1986
49.    Wesley Barton Gibbs 1987-1988
50.    Richard Meade 1989-1992
51.    Dr. Miguel De La Torre 1993
52.    Noel Jordan 1994-2000
53.    Eric Jackson 2001-2003
54.    Daniel Whitman 2004-2008
55.    Kyle McDanell  2008-present  

Friday, June 17, 2011

On Toilet Paper and Mission Work: Ezell's Report at the SBC

The Southern Baptist Convention met this past week concluding just the other day.  Though I did not attend, I have been trying to stay caught up on what has been going on at the national convention.  One of the parts I was most anticipating was the North American Mission Board report by NAMB President Kevin Ezell.  I anticipated his report because he has said before that he was going to have to level with the convention.  Southern Baptists, as he rightly stated, love numbers and have a history of inflating numbers to make us look bigger, better, and more powerful.  A lot of it is misleading.

I strongly encourage you to watch his report. I can excited for the future and direction of the North American Mission Board and this year our church will focus more on missions, mission giving, the Cooperative Program, etc.  With leadership like Ezell, I am confident that our money will not be wasted.  As Ezell shows, he has cut out a lot of the bureaucracy in order to free up more money and resources to go towards local and foreign missionaries.  That is music to my ears!!

Part 1:

Part 2:

My favorite line (and point) regards his line about Wal-mart toilet paper. If Wal-mart can track when each roll of toilet paper is sold, surely Southern Baptists ought to be able to track where they send missionaries, where churches are planted, etc. Dido Ezell!

For more:
Theology - SBTS: A Conversation With Kevin Ezell   
Theology - 8 Months In: Kevin Ezell Reflects On His Tenure Thus Far  
GBC - Repost - Facing Reality: How to Respond to SBC Decline

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Repost | A Letter & Gift From God: Palin's Letter on Trig & the Challenge of Down Syndrome

Former governor of Alaska and Vice-President candidate Sarah Palin needs no introduction.  Unlike anyone else in recent memory, Alaskan Sarah Palin has managed to remain in the news though her voice is limited to Twitter, Facebook, books, and appearances on Fox News.  Palin is an outspoken political conservative, but what I find most fascinating about her story isn't what she believes about tax cuts or ANWAR, but how her life changed with the birth of her Down Syndrome child named Trig Palin.

Palin admits in her book Going Rogue: An American Life that she had contemplated abortion due to her son's extra chromosone.  Most would, if honest with themselves, confess that raising a Down Syndrome child would radically alter one's life and present new life-long challenges and abortion (at least on the superficial surface) may seem like an attractive option.  But Palin, as we know refused to abort Trig holding fast to her pro-life convictions.

The reason this story is timely is because of the recent release of over 24,000 emails hacked from Palin's account and poured over by the mainstream media.  It is certainly fascinating that for many politicians we know virtually nothing (for example, we do not have current President Barack Obama's grades from college), but we are constantly bombarded with another attempt by the media and the left to uncover the smoking gun of a woman who has stepped down from her governorship in a state most in America ignore and is right now not a candidate for anything.  She just has her Twitter and Facebook account.  Even her reality TV show has ended.  What are we to gain with these emails?

Nonetheless, these emails have uncovered one gold jewel.  A letter, written by Mrs. Palin, has been released regarding the soon-to-be birth of their child with Down Syndrome.  Palin writes from the persective of His Creator.  As a Christian, I find this fascinating and encouraging.  Palin's language is right in seeing that Trig is not an accident nor unwanted.  God made no mistake by allowing him to have an extra-chromosone.  This does not mean that God rejoices in genetic deficiencies, but that He is greater than any deficiency.  In the letter, Palin seeks to portray God celebrating Trig's birth and thus encouraging the Palin family to celebrate his creation.

Portions of the letter had been released, but now the entire letter has been made available to the public and I strongly encourage you to read the entire thing.  This is not profound theology written by an academic scholar.  It is not a speech to be given by a sitting governor.  It is instead a letter written from a mother to her family as she herself struggles and joyfully anticipates the birth of her child who will have his challenges but bring with him unyielding joy.


To the Sisters, Brother, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Friends of Trig Paxson Van Palin (or whatever you end up naming him!):

I am blessing you with this surprise baby because I only want the best for you. I’ve heard your prayers that this baby will be happy and healthy, and I’ve answered them because I only want the best for you!

I heard your heart when you hinted that another boy would fit best in the Palin family, to round it out and complete that starting five line-up. Though another girl would be so nice, you didn’t think you could ask for what you REALLY wanted, but I knew, so I gave you a boy because I only want the best for you!

Then, I put the idea in your hearts that his name should be “Trig”, because it’s so fitting, with two Norse meanings: “True” and “Brave Victory”. You also have a Bristol Bay relative with that name, so I knew it would be best for you!

Then, I let Trig’s mom have an exceptionally comfortable pregnancy so she could enjoy every minute of it, and I even seemed to rush it along so she could wait until near the end to surprise you with the news – that way Piper wouldn’t have so long to wait and count down so many days – just like Christmastime when you have to wait, impatiently, for that special day to finally open your gift? (Or the way the Palins look forward to birthday celebrations that go on for three, four days… you all really like cake .) I know you, I knew you’d be better off with just a short time to wait!

Then, finally, I let Trig’s mom and dad find out before he was born that this little boy will truly be a GIFT. They were told in early tests that Trig may provide more challenges, and more joy, than what they ever may have imagined or ever asked for. At first the news seemed unreal and sad and confusing . But I gave Trig’ s mom and dad lots of time to think about it because they needed lots of time to understand that everything will be OK, in fact, everything will be great, because I only want the best for you!

I‘ve given Trig’s mom and dad peace and joy as they wait to meet their new son. I gave them a happy anticipation because they asked me for that. I‘ll give all of you the same happy anticipation and strength to deal with Trig’s challenges, but I won’t impose on you…

I just need to know you want to receive my offer to be with all of you and help you everyday to make Trig’s life a great one.

This new person in your life can help everyone put things in perspective and bind us together and get everyone focused on what really matters . The baby will expand your world and let you see and feel things you haven’t experienced yet. He’ll show you what “true, brave victory“ really means as those who love him will think less about self and focus less on what the world tells you is ”normal“ or ”perfect”. You will grow and be blessed with greater understanding that will be born along with Trig.

Trig will be his dad‘s little buddy and he’ll wear Carhartts while he learns to tinker in the garage. He’ll love to be read to, he’ll want to play goalie, and he‘ll steal his mom’s heart just like Track, Bristol, Willow and Piper did. And Trig will be the cuddly, innocent, mischievous, dependent little brother that his siblings have been waiting for in fact Trig will – in some diagnostic ways – always be a mischievous, dependent little brother, because I created him a bit different than a lot of babies born into this world today.

Every child is created special, with awesome purpose and amazing potential. Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed up world you live in down there on earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome. Doctors call it “Down’s Syndrome”, and Downs kids have challenges, but can bring you much delight and more love than you can ever imagine! Just wait and see, let me prove this, because I only want the best for you!

Some of the rest of the world may not want him, but take comfort in that because the world will not compete for him. Take care of him and he will always be yours!

Trig‘s mom and dad don’t want people to focus on the baby’s extra chromosome. They’re human, so they haven’t known how to explain this to people who are so caring and are interested in this new little Alaskan. Sarah and Todd want people to share in the joy of this gift I’m giving to the Palin family, and the greater Alaska family. Many people won’t understand… and I understand that. Some will think Trig should not be allowed to be born because they fear a Downs child won’t be considered “perfect” in your world. (But tell me, what do you earthlings consider “perfect” or even “normal” anyway? Have you peeked down any grocery store isle, or school hallway, or into your office lunchroom lately? Or considered the odd celebrities you celebrate as “perfect” on t.v.? Have you noticed I make `em all shapes and sizes? Believe me ,, there is no “perfect”!)

Many people will express sympathy, but you don’t want or need that, because Trig will be a joy. You will have to trust me on this.

I know it will take time to grasp this and come to accept that I only want the best for you, and I only give my best. Remember though: “My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts… for as the heavens are higher than the earth, my ways are higher than yours!”

I wrote that all down for you in the Good Book ! Look it up! You claim that you believe me – now it’s time to live out that belief!

Please look to me as this new challenge and chapter of life unfolds in front of you. I promise to equip you. I won‘t give you anything you can’t handle. I am answering your prayers. Trig can’t wait to meet you. I’m giving you ONLY THE BEST!

Trig’s Creator , Your Heavenly Father

HT:  The Blaze

And for my own enjoyment, here is my favorite clip from Palin's famous speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention of her daughter brushing the hair of Trig.

The Blaze - ‘A Down’s Syndrome Baby Will Expand Your World’: Sarah Palin’s Poignant, Moving Email About Her Unborn Son Revealed in Email Investigation  
Daily Mail - 'A Down's Syndrome baby will expand your world': How Sarah Palin imagined God talking to her in extraordinary and touching letter about her unborn son 

For more:
Blogizomai - When Politics Hits Home:  Sarah Palin and the Defense to Save Trig  
Blogizomai - The Threat of Trig Palin:  The Return of Life Worthy of Life 
Blogizomai - The Other 10%  
Blogizomai - Eugenics in the Present Tense:  The Reality of Eugenics in America Today - Part 2
Reviews - "Going Rogue" by Sarah Palin  
Reviews - "Sarah" by Kaylene Johnson

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 12, 2011 | Job - Saving Faith is Persevering Faith: Job and the Suffering of the Righteous

Though we are done with the book of Habakkuk, we are continuing our discussion on suffering by looking at various passages in Scripture on the subject.  The Book of Job is really the standard text, like Habakkuk, that seeks to answer the question of theodicy (the problem of evil).  I believe that if we understand Job, we will be able to suffer well.  Remember the three key doctrines of God that apply here:  Sovereignty, Providence, and Immutability (God does not change).  If God is Sovereign we can trust that He will be glorified in the end and no amount of evil or suffering will thwart that.  If God is Provident then we can hope that He remains in control and He will be glorified through us.  God remains on His throne and we are part of His plan.  Finally, if God is Immutable, then we have the assurance that the God of Scripture is still the God of today.

Remember, the God of the cross is still the God of the resurrection.


May 22, 2011 | Habakkuk 1:1-2:1 - Praying From the Watchtower:  When God's Answer Leaves Us Unsatisfied
May 29, 2011 | Habakkuk 2:2-20   
June 5, 2011 | Habakkuk 3:1-19  

For more:
October 18, 2009 | 1 Peter 2:21-23 - Christus Exemplar  
Stomach Virus and the Humanity of Christ:  Moore on the Suffering and Sick Servant
Theodicy as Evidence of a Theos  
Some Helpful Answers To Common Questions: DA Carson Weighs In
Sunday Night - "The Agony of Job and the Sovereingnty of God
Weekly Recommendation - "A Grief Observed" by CS Lewis
January 2, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-17 - "Be Cleansed":  The Great Healer & His Great Gospel  
MacArthur on Matthew's Use of Isaiah 53   
Theology - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Theodicy and God's Sovereignty

June 5, 2011 | Habakkuk 3:1-19

I know I'm really late, but here is the third and last installment of our series on Habakkuk.  However, we will continue the conversation regarding suffering well in light of the cross and the resurrection in the following weeks.  Last Sunday we discussed the book of Job and will go forward looking at Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Paul's plea that God would remove his "thorn in the flesh," and other important passages.  Suffering is a central issue to discuss in a fallen world and we Christians must look to Christ on the cross as an example.


May 22, 2011 | Habakkuk 1:1-2:1 - Praying From the Watchtower:  When God's Answer Leaves Us Unsatisfied   
June 29, 2011 | Habakkuk 2:2-20   

For more:
October 18, 2009 | 1 Peter 2:21-23 - Christus Exemplar  
Stomach Virus and the Humanity of Christ:  Moore on the Suffering and Sick Servant
Theodicy as Evidence of a Theos  
Some Helpful Answers To Common Questions: DA Carson Weighs In
Sunday Night - "The Agony of Job and the Sovereingnty of God
Weekly Recommendation - "A Grief Observed" by CS Lewis
January 2, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-17 - "Be Cleansed":  The Great Healer & His Great Gospel  
MacArthur on Matthew's Use of Isaiah 53   
Theology - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Theodicy and God's Sovereignty

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Internet is My Religion: Honest Idolatry on Display

This is what I mean when I say that every sin is our attempt to restore Eden and all of us are worshipers of some god.  At least Jim Gilliam is willing to admit that he is worshiping something.

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at

Church, we are failing miserably!

For more:
January 30, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-9:8 - Chasing a Tail Named Idolatrous: Our Enslaved Idolatry and How Jesus Sets Us Free  
March 6, 2011 | Matthew 9:18-10:5a - Be Ye Restored: The Gospel of Jesus & the Gift of Restoration - Audio  
January 2, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-17 - "Be Cleansed":  The Great Healer & His Great Gospel 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Year in IMB Giving: The Results Are In

As the annual Southern Baptist Convention begins to kick off this week, the Internation Mission Board (IMB) has released its annual giving.  Though there is a lot to rejoice in, there is a little disappointment.  I realize that we are in a recession, but lets be honest, we still eat out and many of us, though are belts are a little tighter, have cut back on things that have eternal consequences at the cost of temporal entertainment.

The numbers are reported as follow:

RICHMOND, Va. —“Will Southern Baptists be found simply marching around our denominational parade grounds, flexing our muscles and polishing our medals, while across this globe souls are being ravaged and hell gapes wide and eager?” asked IMB President Tom Elliff.

“God forbid!”

Elliff challenged Southern Baptists to greater missions involvement following the results of the 2010 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Doubts about the strength of America’s economic recovery and rumors of a double-dip recession didn’t stop Southern Baptists from giving $145,662,925 million in 2010 to tell the world about Jesus Christ. Every penny of the offering is used to support the nearly 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries serving around the world through IMB, providing housing, salaries, medical care and children’s education. The cost averages $46,700 annually per individual missionary.

In 2009, that support enabled missionaries and their national partners to baptize more than 360,000 people and start more than 29,000 churches

Some good news here.  360,000 baptisms is a great number but not enough.  29,000 newly planted churches is great, but let us pray for more.  It concerns me that we we haven't raised as much as we need for our many missionaries.  This year I want us as a church to focus on giving to the cooperative giving.  I am convinced (and my leadership has been lacking) that we do not care about the lost and dying around the world and it is clear by the fact that we do not care about the lost and dying in our own community.

This year, lets change it.

IMB - Lottie Moon offering tops $145.6 million in 2010  

Monday, June 6, 2011

"Without the Gospel": A Gem From John Calvin

This is just too good not to share.  It comes from the pen of one of the greatest theologians (like him or not) in Church history John Calvin.  It comes from the preface to the French translation of the New Testament by Pierre Robert Olivetan (1534).

Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God. But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free. It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.

It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone. For, he was sold, to buy us back; captive, to deliver us; condemned, to absolve us; he was made a curse for our blessing, sin offering for our righteousness; marred that we may be made fair; he died for our life; so that by him fury is made gentle, wrath appeased, darkness turned into light, fear reassured, despisal despised, debt canceled, labor lightened, sadness made merry, misfortune made fortunate, difficulty easy, disorder ordered, division united, ignominy ennobled, rebellion subjected, intimidation intimidated, ambush uncovered, assaults assailed, force forced back, combat combated, war warred against, vengeance avenged, torment tormented, damnation damned, the abyss sunk into the abyss, hell transfixed, death dead, mortality made immortal. In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery, and goodness all misfortune.

For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit. If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation [life] is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things. And we are comforted in tribulation, joyful in sorrow, glorying under vituperation [verbal abuse], abounding in poverty, warmed in our nakedness, patient amongst evils, living in death.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.

HT:  Tim Challies and