July 25, 2007

Taking a Break

So we haven't updated this in a long time. I think the main reason for me was that I was feeling like this was something I had to get done, rather than something I was excited to do. So, I decided to take a break. We are having a good summer. I have had a few opportunities to preach and am currently working on a sermon for this Sunday. Here's the essence of it:

Scripture: Gal 6:14-16

Subject: Should we place our boast in circumcision?

Compliment: No, circumcision is nothing, our boast must be in the cross of Christ through which comes new creation.

Exegetical Idea: We should not place our boast in circumcision, but in the cross of Christ through which comes new creation.

Homiletical Idea: Where your boast is, there your heart will be also.

Purpose: Listeners should understand that our efforts at attaining the fruit of the Spirit, living by the Spirit, walking in step with the Spirit, and following Paul’s rule are derived from the cross of Christ and how much of our pride, boast we place in it. Listeners should feel a sense of relief that they are not dependent on trying to produce their own fruit, but only keep the cross of Christ as their source of pride.

This is how I developed my sermons. It's based on Haddon Robinson's Exegetical Preaching Method. He was my prof at seminary and is well known as one of the best preachers in the US. Hope all are well. Come visit.

May 18, 2007

Parent's Post

My Parents put up a nice post (with lots of pictures) about their trip out here with us. You can go to it by clicking on the "Mom and Dad" link on the left hand side of the page under Friends.

April 18, 2007

So busy, but so close

I have one assignment left to complete and will finish officially next Tuesday, April 24. Kim and I have been extremely busy looking for apartments, but we found one. Here are the pictures from Craigslist of the apt. We will be living in Watertown, MA, which is about 20 minutes from the church and 45 minutes from Kim's work. We promise to much more faithful as soon as summer rolls around here. We'll post more pictures once we set up the apt. Oh and by the way, it is a working fireplace. We're stoked :)

March 25, 2007

Downs & Ups

Once again the March Madness brackets have been a humbling experience. once again I was in first place after the first day and then fell an amazing 50 some places onto the second page of our listings. Once again, my stinking brother will defeat me. Most amazingly my sister is in first place having correctly selected all four of the final four teams. Life is in warp speed right now as I try to finish my reading, two sermons and two papers for the semester. I am very much enjoying getting to know the Westgate family as I am visiting two to three couples/ individuals a week. Our home fellowship group are preparing to host a prayer room the Tuesday of Holy Week (April 3). If you have any ideas or have experienced a prayer room before, let us know by leaving a comment. We promise to be more faithful once the semester is over and we have moved. Love for you to pray for us concerning that as our budget will be tight and housing is EXTREMELY expensive out of here. Out of control expensive. Oh well. We know that if God has called us here, he will provide the right place for us. Take care everybody!

March 13, 2007

1,005 Days and Counting

Last Thursday, March 8, Kim and I celebrated our 1,000th day of marriage. Although Kim didn't know it, I knew it. We ate dinner in Boston's South end near the theater district. We ate at Masa's; a swank, trendy, no one over 40 admitted (at least it seemed like that) place to be. We ate in the two person booth in the middle of the picture. Kim had the tuna and said it was the absolute best tuna she has ever had beating out the great tuna she had in Costa Rica on our honeymoon. I had the steak frites and they were marvelous. We do not go into to Boston to eat all that often. Perhaps a few times a year when we have guests visiting. It was a great treat. My mother will be happy to know that we used the gift certificates that she gave us for Christmas of '05. I wanted to use it for a special night rather than any old time and last Thursday was that night.

March 06, 2007

God's Names & Ours

Tonight for our home fellowship, I plan on speaking to our group about the many names that God has given us to describe Himself in the Bible. Here is a great website with many of those names: http://www.ldolphin.org/Names.html. It includes Scriptural references as well. Some of my favorites are Jehovah-Shalom: "The LORD our Peace," Jehovah-Tsidkenu: "The LORD our Righteousness," and El Roi, "God of Seeing." Since many of the kids in our group don't realize that Biblical names revealed an aspect of that person, I am going to have the meanings of all the kids' names in the group, and we shall see if they can guess who's name means what. For a great site to find out the etymology and history of first names, check out: http://www.behindthename.com/. Two questions: 1. Do you have a favorite name for God? 2. What does your name mean?

March 01, 2007

Jr. High Sunday School

One of my unexpected duties at the church has been to be the temporary Jr. High guy. I am leading the Friday night youth group and the Sunday school as well. Friday night "Stuff" is pretty set as I have found a great interactive series that goes through specific books of the Bible. We will be going through Galatians and Philippians.

But for Sunday morning we decided that one of the best things we could do was to teach them how to meet with God daily (a.k.a. "quiet time," "personal worship," etc.). My hope is to teach them one aspect of what that looks like each week and then to do a "quiet time" with them in the classroom with the hope that they then could take it and do it during the week with an excitement that might be missing at their age.

Below are my thoughts concerning what I hope their time looks like generally speaking. Talking with Bruce, the other associate pastor, I think we felt that if we can have them commit to ten minutes a day, it would be a great success. So I am looking for feedback from my faithful readers as to your thoughts on the following outline that I am going to give to the kids, practice with them and explain to them over the next three months. Do you practice these things? Is there something I could add or may not be necessary? Thanks for your comments.

Meeting Daily with God

1. Because God loves meeting with you and spending time with you
2. To get to know God better and enjoy Him
3. Help us discover how God wants us to live
4. Help us survive the daily "stuff" of life

The Necessities
-Make a commitment to God to meet with him daily
-Create a plan: a quiet place, a quiet time, What will you do?, What will you read? etc.
-Have the right attitude going into it or ask God to give you that right attitude.

1. Prepare to meet with God (1 minute)*
1. Ask God to search you for anything you need to confess to Him.
2. Confess all known sins
3. Thank Him for his forgiveness and acceptance of you
4. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help during this time and for the rest of the day.

2. Worship God (2 minutes)
-Here are some ideas:
-Sing to God
-Play an instrument to God
-Read a Psalm back to God
-Praise him (tell him what you love about him)
-Something else? Light a candle, write a prayer, draw etc.

3. Listen to God (4 minutes)
1. Read the Bible from your reading plan (slowly, at least 2 or 3 times)
2. Ask what’s the main point of this passage?
3. Reflect on what God may be saying to you through this passage’s main point.

4. Talk with God (3 minutes)
1. About what you just read, how you can apply it and to give you the strength to live it out in your life.
2. Share with Him what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, worrying you, what your excited about, what your thankful for, whatever!
3. Pray for others (maybe make a prayer list); ask Him to show you how you could help meet someone’s need.
4. Ask God to open your eyes so you can see Him at work around you and to show you how you can join in.

5. Live out your faith and Look for God at work around you throughout the day!

[Other Ideas you could use]
-Journal your way through your quiet times:
-Spend time really focusing on an important verse/ phrase/ word of the Bible and repeating it to yourself.
-Use your body: raising your hands to God, clapping, bowing down, kneeling, lying down before him, etc.
-Memorize a verse or a passage.
-When you pray, don’t talk the whole time. Spend part of it just being quiet before God listening to Him and sensing what God’s Spirit may be saying to you and then ask Him about it.
-Be flexible. Don’t feel like you have to do it the same way every time. Try out some other ideas.

*Time can certainly vary and you can adjust as you see fit, but make sure to include 1-4 during your time.

February 28, 2007

Full Times 2

Who would have thought being a full-time student and working full-time would leave me with little time to blog? It's been a busy couple of weeks, but good weeks all in all. My first two days as an official associate pastor were spent cleaning my office. A humble, but necessary work. And now my office looks great, but no pictures until I get my books in there. I have a number of books to bring and am taking them over one suitcase each day. It's strange to go from 80% school/ 20% church to 80% church/ 20% school. But since I am pass/ failing two courses, I can afford to keep those numbers. I think Kim and I are enjoying the invitations into members' homes. We have some very talented and devoted members at Westgate. I'll try to be better at little post more frequently, but no promises!

February 08, 2007

At least 75%...

At least 75% of the 28% of the members of Westgate have voted for me to be their next associate pastor. What this means is that I was voted in last night. 25% refers to the number of members needed to hold a vote and 75% was the amount that needed to vote in favor of me. So today was my first day as an associate pastor. It was a humble start as I spent most of it cleaning out my office, which had been used for temporary storage. We are very excited to begin and covet your prayers as I adjust to this position. I do have some anxiety, but I think that just comes with starting a new position, especially one with such responsibility. It's going to be a busy three months until I finish school, but it's only three months! I'll keep you informed.

February 06, 2007


One might guess that our lack of new posts might be due to the start of a new semester, but one would be incorrect. On Saturday Jan 27, my Grandpa passed away. Kim and I were actually up in Maine spending the weekend with her cousin Wendy, hubby Josh and their three kids, before they move back to the Midwest. We immediately left for home, flying out early on Sunday morning and were able to be with our family by that evening. Monday was tough on our family not only because we spent the day at the funeral home for the visitation, but also because a vicious flu was ripping through our family. Grandma and several other family members were not even able to attend the visitation because she was so sick. The local VFW post held a very nice service Monday evening as my Grandpa served in WWII. Everyone except for one cousin was able to make the funeral. I was asked to speak and so I did. I spoke on 1 Thessalonians 4:13 where Paul exhorts his listeners not to grieve for their dead like those "who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." In addition, I mentioned how we can receive comfort right now in God's promise to us found a few verses later in 5:10, "He [Christ] died for us so that, whether we are awake [alive] or asleep [dead], we may live together with him." I was barely able to get through what I wanted to say (by the grace of God only). As many of you know, I have always been very close with my Grandparents, so this has been very sad, but I am very thankful for how much quality time we were able to have together, so many great memories, and rejoice that I will see him again one glorious day in the future. [By the way, in case you were wondering what my Grandma is doing in the picture, I think she was hoping that there actually five in that picture! But since it has been well over nine months since that photo, I believe we are in the clear!]

It was ironic that I had actually purchased a ticket to fly home last Wednesday, but had to eat that ticket once I had heard the news and we left a few days earlier on Sunday. I was flying out because I purchased a car from my Aunt Darleen (her "big red tomato"). So instead of me driving 15 hours back by myself, Kim drove back with me after the funeral. We split the trip into two days and stayed the night at Niagara falls (Luxury suites are very cheap weekdays in the winter!) The second car is necessary now that I will also be commuting to work daily like my beautiful wife. The vote is tomorrow night concerning the associate position, and i will inform you promptly on it. I also have the sermon I gave on New Year's Eve on CD, so once I figure out how to put it on the site in audio form, I will do that in case any of you need some good preachin' for your MP3 players!

January 24, 2007

Associate Pastor

I am an official candidate for an associate pastor position at my current church and will be officially voted on at the all-church annual meeting, Feb 7. Based on the positive support which followed the official announcement at last Sunday's service, it appears very likely that I will be voted in. The primary focus of the position is in two areas: discipleship and visitation/fellowship. I will also be involved with outreach as well and for the time being working with the Jr High Youth Group in an interim basis until a long-term worker is found (Our current youth leader just informed us of his departure, so the church is figuring out a transitional phase so as not to lose too much momentum in the Sr & Jr High groups). So, Kim and I are preparing for a future here in Massachusetts. I am flying back to MI next week to pick-up my Aunt and Uncle's car that they graciously sold to us. Once I return, then Kim and I need to go the DMV and become official citizens of the commonwealth [This last sentence was set to the "Darth Vader" music from Star Wars.] I will begin full time next month, but we will continue to live here until I finish my last semester here. I have three courses, but I am pass/failing two of them so as to lighten the load. But I believe it will be extremely doable. Kim will continue to work at her job here as well. Kim and I ask you to be praying for us during this time as we enter into a new stage of our lives together. If you want to visit Westgate's website, the link is on the left-hand side under "Favorite Sites."

January 17, 2007

21st Century Parents

That would be my parents and that would be about them having their own blog site: http://www.upnorthmillers.blogspot.com/ They have a very nice post on our trip home for Christmas, including a bit on the mysterious creature we saw on the side of the road. Was it a lioness? (It seriously looked like a lioness That was my first thought and that of my mother as well.) A moose? A female elk? Some sort of hideous half-breed experiment gone wrong? We shall never know. Indycousins, I keep trying to get Kim on here to tell about the party, but my parents post may be all you get unfortunately. But here are a couple of pics from the party.

January 11, 2007

Springing in January!

January 6, 2007. South Hamilton, MA. My friends Mike (pictured) and Bill (not pictured) and myself are throwing the football and Frisbee on our campus in T-shirts and shorts. Jan 6!!! It felt like the first day of Spring because so many people were out and about jogging, playing with kids, babies in carriages, kids on bikes, etc. It actually hit 70 degrees, so it's not like we put on shorts to be cool b/c it is Jan. It literally was too warm to wear jeans. The avg temp for Jan 7 here is 33 degrees so we were 37 degrees above avg, which as you might guess was a record. The cold has set in now and I am sad. But what a day it was on Saturday!
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