2017 Goals


I didn’t think I would write an entry on new resolutions. I think that the word “resolution” brings a connotation of failure and it should be discarded. Goals seem more approachable. Anyway, for better or worse… my 9 goals for 2017.

  1. Blog consistently. Not setting specifics here. Not a once a week or once a month standard. Simply blog more, sharpen my writing, account the days, and be consistent.
  2. Daily Plan. This is a habit that I am fairly good at. I have used field notes for the past four years to record my days and plan my weekly schedules. This year I jumped on the bandwagon and bought a Hobonichi Techo for 2017. I liked Mike Rohde’s entry on Medium where he showed his process of the daily plan bar. It seems perfect for the Techo. Looking forward to implementing it. Lifehacker also had a great entry showing how Jerry Seinfeld keeps productive: Don’t break the chain.
  3. Read 35 books. I set a goal of 24 books in 2016. Using Goodreads for recording I surpassed my goal to a total of 31. Totally attainable. Included in goal no.3 is goal no.4.
  4. Read Beowulf. Either Heaney or Tolkien, even though I heard Tolkien never wanted his translation to be published.
  5. Less Facebook. Again no specifics. I know how much I use it as a filler in the boring moments. Rather learning that innovation and new ideas often come when the mind is wandering, how much have I used facebook to fill those wandering moments and thus lose those innovative ideas?
  6. Pray more. I love to pray and I love the idea of setting time aside in three different periods of the day for prayer.
  7. Read Daily Office Lectionary. Excited having begun the ESV Daily Office Lectionary through the year with dear brothers.
  8. Exercise more. 2016 was a good start.
  9. Financial Peace. Hannah and I loved taking Dave Ramsey’s FPU this past October. The tactics we learned have all ready blessed our 2016. We want to continue into 2017 hopefully paying off both cars.

Godspeed into 2017.



2016 Review

2016 is the year of finally feeling acclimated back into american life.

It began our first year of full time ministry where I had a stable, consistent income since we have been married. There are pros and cons to this. There were realizations for the both of us that there are costs to securing stability in the future. Costs that didn’t enter into our mind when we were living by faith, month to month, on the mission field. 2016 brought those realizations.

2016 brought our series in the Gospel of Luke on Wednesday nights. A spring of new gifts in personal study for me.

2016 brought a new endeavor towards education in biblical counseling. I saw how this was a lack in my pastoral experience and how closely it connects to simple pastoral discipleship in a body of Christ that experiences a diversity of sufferings and joys. The semester was a revelation in so many ways.

2016 brought another Israel tour in the books. This one was special to me in bringing two of my closest friends along. This year especially have I found closer kinship to friends that hold a deeper bond than any friendship in the past. I am thankful for them.

2016 brought a pregnancy.

2016 brought a miscarriage.

Both events cemented again that so much of our personal committments to Scripture are for the building up of foundations when sorrows come unexpectedly. Scripture gives us evidence to praise God in joy and sorrow.

2016 brought a new president-elect. Alongside came a desperate cry out for the reevaluation of american evangelicalism. Russell Moore does a great job of that in his book Onward.

2016 brought new revelations for personal need of sanctification, which acts out moreso in the day to day, than in the crisis, lightning-bolt experiences.

It seems every news, social media, or soapbox outlet is crying out for the death of 2016, and I can’t blame them, but what does 2017 owe us that 2016 promised? Aren’t the years that ebb and flow in sorrow or ease, feast or famine, peace or upheaval simply the result of of foolish sinful hearts under the staying grace of a merciful God? Even if next year brings even deeper difficulties, doesn’t the truth remain the same?


Thoughts on H.C. Q2


There are none righteous. We cannot deny the fact that our sins confirm our unrighteousness and therefore our disconnection from God. Our separation is our fault. My separation is my fault.

  1. Romans 3:9-10
  2. I John 1:10

The only true God has sent His only true Son that only in Him may I be free from my sin and separation from God.

  1. John 17:3
  2. Acts 4:12, 10:43

Once I was in darkness but now I am in the Light – so much so that it is part of my identity- to be a child of light. Same also was I once an instrument of unrighteousness, but now I am an instrument of righteousness  for God, His work, His kingdom, His family, His care, His victory, His heritage, and His inheritance.

  1. Matthew 5:16
  2. Romans 6:13

Thoughts on H.C. Q1


Whether we live or die, we now belong to the Lord. He possesses me and should have authority fully in my life.

  1. I Cor. 6:19-20
  2. Rom. 14:7-9

We have been ransomed from our futile ways by Christ’s payment on the cross. He has done what I could not do.

  1. I Peter 1:18-19
  2. I John 1:7-9, 2:2

Because Christ and the Father are one – I cannot be snatched out of His hand. I am protected from the evil one. All things that I experience in life does not escape the eyes of possessive God.

  1. John 6:39-40, 10:27-30
  2. II Thess 3:3

Holy Spirit works in my adoption into the family of God. He establishes the anointed

  1. Rom. 8:15-16
  2. II Cor. 1:21-22

Heidelberg Catechism Devotions

I have been spending time in my morning devotions looking at one question per day (Mon-Fri) in the Heidelberg Catechism. This morning I finished question 6, where I realized that my default spiritual state doesn’t look at the severity of sin in a completely scriptural way. I would rather look at my personal failures toward temptation, my lack of tact in conversation, and the rest only seem to be issues of my character, instead of absolute rebellion against my loving God, who created me for better works than this. My only response is to repent and worship. Thankful again for the law to show me how truly far I have wandered.

Points to draw upon

Day returned to work, having spent Monday and Tuesday at the pastor’s conference. I thought it might do me well for archival purposes to put down some points that I can draw upon in ministry.

Session 1:

Where is our gospel of grace most explicit? Is it easier to be moralistic rather than be grace-centered in my approach to ministry? Is the church more pharisaical than its ever been?

Galilee was predominantly gentile, so therefore it was primarily sinful as well.

Our western world doesn’t care about our moral standards.

We need to recalibrate to a radical gospel of grace.

“And, my last word of all is, again, a word primarily to preachers–indeed it’s a word to everybody in the sense that if ever you are putting the Gospel to another person, you’ve got a very good test whether you are preaching the Gospel in the right way. What’s that? Well, let me put it like this to you: If your presentation of the Gospel does not expose it to the charge of Antinomianism you are probably not putting it correctly. What do I mean by that? Just this: The Gospel, you see, comes as this free gift of God–irrespective of what man does.”  – M. Lloyd Jones

A fresh understanding and articulation of grace while presenting the truth of the gospel is essential. They cannot be divorced from one another.

We are all recipients of God’s grace and it is grace that sustains us and progresses us.

We are not OT prophets, we are heralds of grace.

Session 3:

Two carnal temptations for us today: Offense and Entitlement.

Defense against offense and entitlement: Grace and Truth

We are not OWNERS of God’s grace, we are STEWARDS of God’s grace.

Luke 17:7-10 destroys our sense of entitlement. We are exhausted but called to work for the glory of God.

Am I a disciple or a poser? Christ tells me to love them or resign from the ministry.

Grace and truth decreases the exercising of my rights for His ultimate glory.

Session 4:

“Justification by faith is the essential doctrine.” – Martin Luther

Paul pleased others above himself. Paul pleased God above others.

Jews and Gentiles are saved by the same terms of the Gospel. There is no prerequisite that we might add on to the salvation message, because our personal degree of sinfulness.

“Seem rebellious concerning the centrality of the Gospel.” – Martin Luther

TRUTH: “All men are created in the image of God, and thus, all live in God’s reality.” – O.S. Guinness