It’s election season. As Americans entrusted with the hard-won privilege of self-government, we have a responsibility to participate in the process of electing those who serve us. Elections are wonderful and yet often unwieldy things. Elections are like giant negotiations between millions of diverse people as to who will lead all of us in a variety of roles: legislative, executive, and judicial.
The very nature of this mass negotiation means that total unity is never achievable. This is certainly true in the election of our nation’s President every four years. Yet, most of the time, a pretty remarkable degree of unity is found around at least two candidates, as various groups within our diverse nation let go of certain priorities in order for the chance to do good on others. America has worked exceptionally well.
Yet this election season reminds us that the political process is inherently tied to the people that engage that process. Winston Churchill put it this way: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried.”
Unfortunately, this election exposes the reality of an increasingly fractured—and, we must say, spiritually darkened—nation. The parties are pulling farther apart, and within parties there are sharper divisions. The nature of these divisions are often over matters of inestimable importance.
Yet there is a more dangerous prospect than the fracturing of the nation. If we’re not careful, the question of what to do in this election can harm not only the nation’s unity, but unity within local gospel churches.
Kevin DeYoung has done us all another favor by expressing some timely and needed ideas clearly in his piece, “Seeking Clarity in this Confusing Election Season: Ten Thoughts.” After saying that, for his part, he will not be voting for either major candidate, Kevin offers this exhortation to deference among brothers and sisters. We resonate with this spirit.
“This does not mean I think every Christian must come to the same decision in order to be a good Christian. There are simply too many prudential matters in the mix for Christians to be adamant that you absolutely cannot vote for so and so. Someone may think Trump is a lecherous oaf, but still conclude that his policies and judicial appointments have a better chance of being good for the nation. Likewise, someone may find Clinton’s position on abortion utterly deplorable, but conclude that Trump’s pro-life credentials are untrustworthy and that Clinton is less likely to be recklessly incompetent. Others may be convinced that an unpopular Clinton presidency may be better for conservative principles in the long run than a train wreck Trump administration would be. Some people may think voting third party is a waste. Others may figure it is one way to send a message that the system failed us this time around. Or maybe they really, really like Gary Johnson or Evan McMullin or whomever. Do I agree with all these arguments? No. But am I able to tell Christians that these arguments are manifestly unbiblical? No. They are conclusions that require prudential judgments. While our church might discipline a member for holding the positions Clinton holds or for behaving the way Trump has behaved, this does not mean we have biblical grounds for disciplining a church member who, for any number of reasons and calculations, may decide that voting for either candidate (or neither) makes the most sense. And if we wouldn’t discipline someone for a presidential vote, we should stop short of saying such a vote is sinful and shameful.”
Kevin has much more to say, and so much of it helpful. Read Kevin’s entire post here. Though it was written in the context of a different election, Kevin’s post, “What Am I Doing When I Vote?” offers us helpful distinctions for more careful thinking about what a vote is and isn’t. Evidence of Kevin’s perceptivity is the fact that this article from 2012 practically accounts for our present situation.
“First, I did not want anyone to think that the Gospel was tied to a political party. If I were to endorse a candidate, people would identify Christianity with that political label, and this would be a stumbling block to those of the opposing political party. Instead of endorsements, over the years I have preached on those issues which cross the biblical/political divide, such as abortion, the role of law, same-sex marriage, etc. But throughout I have always insisted that the cross of Christ must be held above political wrangling, particularly before an election. We must be able to say to Democrats, to Republicans, and to Independents, ‘All of you are lost forever if you do not put your faith in Christ.’
The second reason for my refusal was that I feared a politician I endorsed could turn out to be a disappointment, and I would then be embarrassed that I had lent my name (and by extension that of The Moody Church) to the man or woman who acted in an un-Christian manner.”
These are wise words.
If you read around the web or track with social media, you’ll be familiar with the strongly prescriptive and often condescending or dismissive spirit from all sides around the question who Christians should or shouldn’t vote for. Strong opinions are good, and even needed for robust self-government. But if we’re not careful, we can end up treating the voices of leaders we trust as a kind of extra-biblical papal authority. Let us remember that we account to God for our decisions, and let us with all seriousness live and vote like that is true.
Lutzer’s tone, along with Kevin’s, really is the spirit to model. Or at least it seems that way to this writer and Christian. Whatever you purpose to do this election, surely you have heard silly, misrepresentative, and wrong-spirited arguments against your decision. It’s good to remember, and even to self-consciously acknowledge, that not everyone who disagrees with you disagrees with you for those same reasons and in that same spirit. Kevin and Lutzer will likely vote differently, and yet they express their arguments and their disagreements reasonably and in a manner appropriate to the murkiness of the moment.
Finally, we simply must conclude with a word from Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. George, reflecting on the difficult options our political process has left us with, looks forward with perspective and offers these wise words on Facebook:
“. . . This is where charity is required. There is no point in getting angry at people for whom what is obvious to oneself in these appalling circumstances is not obvious. Every single one of us needs to do his or her best to think this thing through carefully and then follow the dictates of conscience, acknowledging and appreciating the fact that conscience might lead other reasonable people of goodwill to a different conclusion.
Whatever happens, whichever of these people is elected, those of us who believe in limited government, constitutional fidelity and the Rule of law, flourishing institutions of civil society, traditional principles of morality, and the like are going to have profoundly important work to do. And we will need to do it together. Let us not break the cords that bind us together in friendship and conviction.”
If that’s true for broadly like-minded Americans, how much more the church. As the Apostle Paul commands, let us eagerly “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Let us have strong opinions about this election. Let us speak and persuade and struggle together as Americans. Let us have stronger unity around the gospel as Christ’s church.
There are good men and women among us—even within our own church—who are serving or will one day serve in public office. Let’s pray for them, even as we pray for our national leaders. And if this election season leaves us disappointed, let’s not give up on participating. In a democratic republic, a nation ultimately get’s what it asks for. So let us not withdraw from the process, but participate all the more—with more wisdom, more attention, and more love for neighbor than we have before.
On October 9 we had the joy of witnessing the baptism of four sisters in Christ, two in each service. In case you missed one or both of the services, here are the video testimonies from those who were baptized. This time we did just one video for all of our baptism candidates.
As we listen to these testimonies, let’s remember together Jesus’ truly great commission to his disciples in Matthew 28:18–20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
This is the second in a two-part interview with Scott Meinema, DSC’s new Minister over the areas of Biblical Counseling and Community Groups. In Part 1 we learned a bit about Scott’s background, how he met Janelle. Here in Part 2 we’ll learn a bit about the larger influences on Scott’s life.
In this second part to your blog interview, let’s start with a question at the heart of what you’re coming here to do: what is your view of how discipleship takes place in a church?
Great question. By discipleship I assume you have in mind the activity of introducing others to Jesus and /or helping them grow to become more faithful and mature followers of Christ. Discipleship takes place many different ways in the midst of life on life relationships. In other words, parents modeling Christ and teaching their children is discipleship. Husbands dying to self and sacrificially serving their wife is discipleship. Older men and women modeling Christ and teaching younger men and women is discipleship. Christ followers exhorting, encouraging, and serving one another is discipleship. Confession of sin to one another is discipleship. A Pastor’s teaching and preaching is discipleship. Discipleship takes place in Community Groups. What takes place in the counseling room is discipleship. Discipleship takes place whenever we are living in a way that demonstrates Christ to one another.
Now, a few questions about influences on your life. What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?
Genesis, because it gives us so much insight into the glory of God, his character, and his attributes. I love Genesis because we see God’s kingship of grace, mercy, sovereignty, holiness, and creative omnipotence. In Genesis we catch a glimpse of Christ and the gospel in various places and we learn our condition and need for a Savior. There are so many things that can be learned about relationships in Genesis. But I also like John’s gospel because he takes us back to Genesis and gives us the rest of the story. John unveils the very Word who became flesh and tabernacled among his people. John helps us to see Jesus, the true glory of God, in a way that is purposely veiled in Genesis.
What book has had the most impact on your life, besides the Bible?
That is a toss-up so I’m going with Desiring God by John Piper. I was surprised to learn that my pursuit for joy was actually good. The problem was that I was looking for joy in all the wrong places. The idea that real joy comes from our enjoyment of God was something foreign to me. Up till then, I saw religion more as duty but not in a relationship to delight in. I saw God’s commands as counter-joy not as something to run to because they offer blessings, protection, and joy from a Father who loves us and wants his best for us. That book helped recalibrate my thinking to see that all of life should be about glorifying God by enjoying him. I like what Piper says: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”.
Tell us about the most influential sermon you’ve heard.
Well, I never heard it spoke but the most influential sermon I’ve read is John Owen’s “The Duty of a Pastor.” It is true North for anyone who ministers God’s word, particularly the pastor. Owen provides a rich buffet of truths but none more helpful for me then the point that the preacher (or counselor) must first and foremost preach to himself. In other words, it is difficult to lead others to a place you have never been to. The pastor must take in and apply the message to his own life first. He must not just think about it but feel it and act on it. He must experience the truth he is going to preach because that experience transforms and helps bring conviction to the delivery of the word.
Tell us a bit about one of two important mentors in your life.
One was a friend from when we lived in Chicago. God used Mark in my life to challenge my own knowledge of the Scriptures and of the God of the Scriptures. I recall one occasion when discussing a particular doctrinal issue, he asked if I had ever read the Bible with that one doctrine in mind? Of course I hadn’t and he proclaimed that I didn’t have a right to an opinion on that issue until having read to see all that God had said about it! Needless to say, I was not happy but went away and read with the goal of seeing what God said about the particular issue. To my surprise my previous opinion was way wrong. Mark helped me to think critically about the Scriptures, memorize the Scriptures and was the one who introduced me to John Owen for which I am grateful.
Another mentor would be our counseling supervisor, Dr. Bob Smith. I was privileged to spend over 100 hours in the counseling room with one of the early pioneers of the Biblical Counseling movement. Besides having a terrific command of the Scriptures, Dr. Smith is a faithful practitioner of the Scriptures. Week in and week out he faithfully applied the Scriptures to his own life and helped others do the same. He was transparent with his own fight of faith which made it easier for his counselees and trainees to be transparent and share their struggles. My favorite comment from Dr. Smith is when he would say, “my ears need to hear what my mouth just said.”
What was the most difficult time in your life as a Christian, and how do you believe this has this helped prepare you for the work the Lord has for you here?
We have had a number of difficulties throughout our marriage. I think it was John Piper who said that marriage is the most difficult relationship on the face of the planet. Marriage is one of God’s main sanctification tools. There is nothing like the marriage relationship to help us see our own selfishness. There is nothing like marriage that brings out my sinful and self-centered heart and need for change. There is nothing like the marriage relationship that provides me with opportunity to die to self and that can be difficult.
On the other hand, marriage can be joyful, wonderful and redemptive when marriage functions in the way our King intended. Seeing God’s goodness and sovereignty especially in the midst of our difficult circumstances and relationships is an important first step in ministering to others.
Okay, now a few left fielders we always ask our new ministers. What is the dumbest thing you did as a kid?
During the holidays my mom would make cookies, pecan cups and other deserts for the neighbors, friends and family. She would lock them in a freezer in a locked storage room so we would not eat them before they were handed out. She spent days baking dozens and dozens of these treats.
One year, I removed the hinges to both the storage room and freezer in hope of sampling a few of my favorite cookies and pecan cups. They were so delicious. The problem was that I couldn’t stop with one and this activity became a daily obsession over the next few weeks. Needless to say, there was very little left in the freezer when she went out there a few weeks later. We laugh about it now but my mom is in her 80’s and still recalls it with great clarity . . . and emotion.
Any odd talents that we should know about up front?
Not really but I can make the sound of dripping faucet.
That’s excellent and we need to hear it. What’s your favorite animal, and why?
Our dog, Addie. Addie is a Pointer / Brittany mix. She loves to run when she is outside and loves attention when she is inside. She is always happy and especially excited to to see me when returning from being away and she gets along well with our cat, Cassie.
Without going to the internet, do you know what a Lobo is? An Isotope? Carne Adovada?
I believe a Lobo is a dog of some sort. I remember UTEP playing New Mexico and the mascot was a Lobo. I am lost on the Isotope but I think it has something to do w/chemistry. Carne Adovada is Mexican dish of some kind.
And, for one last question, red or green? Green – can’t wait to roast our own!
Just a little over one month ago now, we introduced you to Scott Meinema on a Sunday morning. Scott was in town with his wife, Janelle, as Scott was interviewing for a role at DSC over Biblical Counseling and Community Groups. We were pleased, shortly after, to announce that we offered the role to Scott and he accepted. He and Janelle are making arrangements to move to Albuquerque before the year is out, and we’re thrilled.
Scott is quite busy with transition details, but he was kind to take some time out to answer a few questions for us. Here’s Part 1 of a two part interview. In Part 1 we’ll learn a bit about Scott’s background and family. In Part 2 we’ll learn about some of the more profound influences in Scott’s life.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Scott. How are you and Janelle doing?
We’re doing well. Our home is on the market and we are praying that is sells quickly. As you can imagine, there are a lot of things to do and areas that we are working to transition to others. We both wish this would all move along quicker but recognize God’s good timing in all of it. We are also trying to spend as much time with our children as we can before moving. That is probably the most difficult piece of the transition.
You’re not from Albuquerque, but you do have some roots in the Southwest. Tell us about those.
Janelle grew up in Bolder, CO and I in Tucson, AZ—which is also where we met and married. After six years we moved to EL Paso, TX, and lived there for five years before moving to the Midwest. Janelle’s parents still live in Tucson so were thankful that we will be closer to them once we move. We think of Albuquerque as a combination of Bolder, Tucson, and El Paso, as parts of it remind us of all three.
How did you first find out about DSC and what were your initial thoughts about the ministry job we posted?
We heard about the opportunity through the Ministry Connections portal at Southern Seminary. As you know, there are a lot of positions posted there and we scan it from time to time to keep current. I was drawn to the posting for a number of reasons. First, because DSC was looking for a Counseling and Community Group Pastor—these intuitively seemed to go together. Second because it appeared that DSC had thought through the type of person they wanted and what was of primary importance to them. Once I began to dig deeper by looking at the website, reading the statement of faith, and listening to sermons, I was drawn to the common ground and like-mindedness we appeared to share.
Now for a bit about your background. Much of your life has been spent vocationally as a leader in the business world. What are some lessons that have carry-over into ministry?
There are many lessons. One lesson at the top of the list would be that relationships are key to success in both. We were created for relationships—vertically and horizontally. Where we are in our vertical relationship with our Creator will have a direct and certain impact on our horizontal relationships.
In business, those organizations that are intentional and purposeful about serving and caring for the needs of their associates, customers, and shareholders are, not surprisingly, many of the same companies that are growing, have long term financial stability and where most individuals want to work. At the individual level, individuals who think and act in the best interest of their respective organization will often have a greater over-all impact and be of more value than someone who is mostly living for their own glory and praise.
In ministry, relationships are a primary tool for our sanctification and joy – I would suggest that these are directly tied to success in the Christian life. In other words, we cannot become like Christ outside the context of relationships. When people live for their own self-love, glory and praise in a family, community or church, conflict arises and things tend to break down and not go so well.
On the other hand, when we live for the glory and praise of our Creator things tend to go better and we experience more of the joy we were created to enjoy. In other words, as we find satisfaction in our relationship with Christ, it brings lasting joy and frees us from the enslavement of self-love and liberates us to love and serve others.
Another example would be the importance of strategic planning. In business, we develop strategies, road maps, SWOT analysis, and action plans that will help us accomplish our particular mission and provide particular value to our particular stakeholders (customer, associates, and shareholders).
It is similar in ministry and the building of the kingdom. We have the mission given to us by our King. We are entrusted with great resources and have the opportunity to accomplish the mission through particular strategies, tactics, and processes to provide eternal value to those we minister to. We prayerfully consider what our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are in accomplishing the mission. We consider various initiatives to help us to grow and change and move the gospel ball forward and have action plans to help us and hold ourselves accountable.
Aside from having a certification in counseling, you’re in the middle of an M.A. in biblical counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. What class have you enjoyed most, and why?
Probably our class on Marriage & Family, for a number of reasons. We enjoyed getting to know Dr. Jeremy Pierre, our professor. The class forced us to think through and articulate our position on divorce and gender which was helpful and timely.
You’ve been a counselor at a nationally-known counseling center at Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana, for several years. What are some of the most important things you want to teach community group leaders here at DSC, in terms of counseling?
A few things come to mind. First, we are all counselors because counseling takes place in conversations when one person with problems, questions, or issues seeks help from someone they believe has answers that can help them. Sometimes that is in a formal setting, like the counseling room, but mostly that takes place informally on the phone, in the kitchen, during the drive to school, over a cup of coffee, in an email, and over time. We are either good counselors or not-so-good counselors – but were all counselors.
Second, we are all counselees because we are constantly talking to ourselves as we experience the circumstances and relationships of life. We are all counselees because we live in conflict. Our relationships are often marked by conflict because we are marked by sin. We are counselees because we are constantly fighting to trust God in our particular relationships or circumstances. We are counselees because we experience suffering. We are all counselees because we need Jesus just like those we serve.
Third, we have access to the answers. God’s Word is our authority. It is our authority for truth—truth for how we should think, feel, and act in regards to the relationships and circumstances of life. Additionally, it is sufficient. It is sufficient in helping us understand the problems, difficulty, and suffering of others and it is sufficient to help us in assisting them to move towards change and growth.
Now, let’s learn about Janelle. We had a chance to meet Janelle during your visit with us in August. Tell us a funny story from the early stages of your relationship.
When we were dating she had this cat named “Puddins” that would randomly jump up on her outside screen door. One night we were sitting in the living room watching TV and Puddins attacked the screen door in a way that sounded like someone was trying to break in. Instead of demonstrating to her my courage and fearlessness, I yelled like a girl and provided Janelle with some doubt as to my ability to protect her and defend her from imminent threats.
How does she complement and strengthen you as a husband?
In many ways, but I’ll mention two. She loves and knows the Scriptures, is a great sounding board for what I am thinking, and is often helpful in details that I miss. In other words, she has an eye for details that I don’t have. Those details could relate to finances, relationships, or studying for an exam. Additionally, she is a great support. She looks for creative ways to help me be more productive, fruitful, and effective.
How do you like to spend your down time? Any hobbies?
We enjoy traveling together both with and without our children. We like riding our motorcycle and seeing new places together. The view from a bike is arguably better than the view from inside the car – in other words, the journey is as good, if not better than the destination. I also like to BBQ and smoke meat.
Finally, what do you look forward to the most as you look ahead to ministry at DSC?
Another tough question but I suppose the answer is best summed up in the word “relationships.” I am looking forward to meeting everyone, developing relationships, and serving the relationships that God brings our direction.
Good questions and thoughtful answers are important for healthy relationships, and our relationship as shepherds and flock are no exception. Together we share all of the benefits of salvation as God’s new covenant people: forgiveness, adoption, the Spirit, and on and on. Some are shepherds. But we’re all bothers and sisters. We’re a family. And so DSC’s elders are available in the halls around church, by email, and once each year we set aside an evening to take questions in the context of a corporate gathering. We call it, an “Elders Q&A.”
Our next Elders Q&A will take place on the last Wednesday of this month, September 28, at 6:30 PM with dinner together at 5:30 PM.
If you have a question, submit it. If you don’t, think of one and then submit it. Here are four ways to ask your questions:
- Submit your question using your bulletin Comment Card on Sunday and drop that in an offering box.
- Email your question to email@example.com.
- Communicate your question for the Q&A to an elder in person or through email. Click here for faces and emails.
- Show up with your question on the 30th. The elders will take some questions from a mic in the course of the evening.
Of course, we appreciate your questions early. This helps us notice recurring themes and spend our time in a way that best serves the congregation. Any questions that are not addressed at the Q&A will be answered through the DSC Blog or by email.
Get acquainted with DSC’s elders by reading their biographies on the Leadership Page. Also, audio from previous Elder Q&A evenings is available at our Messages Page under the topic “Elder Q&A.” For a few recaps from previous years, click here, here, here, and here.
At the very tail end of last year’s Elders Q&A we were asked about the morality of smoking pot should it become legal here in New Mexico.
As elders we might handle a question like this a number of ways. We handle it on the spot when we’re ready to be thoughtful enough on the question. We were all agreed as to our answer, but given that it was the last question of the night and given that it requires some careful handling, we said we’d follow-up with a post on the blog. We didn’t expect it would take us this long, but it’s been a full and fruitful year.
We’re glad now to give some attention to this important question.
First, I’ll mention some of the more helpful reads on the topic. For example, at The Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter answers the question, “Is Recreational Marijuana Use a Sin?” Then, at Desiring God, John Piper addresses the issue in his article, “Don’t Let Your Mind Go to Pot.” Ed Welch has a nice piece written from the concern of a biblical counselor. Then, there’s a very important piece at The Heritage Foundation, “Legalizing Marijuana: Why Citizens Should Just Say No.” That piece addresses a slightly different question than the one raised at the Q&A, but one we should consider, and the piece is built on a body of substantial research which shows what Marijuana does to the human body, to a human life, and to society, including especially the urban poor. Then, there are articles like, “Marijuana Is Harmful: Debunking 7 Myths Arguing It’s Fine,” based on a book by a similar title by Kevin Sabet, a former Senior Advisor in President Obama’s drug policy office. All of this is worthy reading for the person who wants a grasp on the matter from several angles.
In the course of all this research it seemed helpful to actually write something on the subject. So, over at Desiring God, you’ll find a piece titled, “Five Questions to Ask Before You Consume Cannabis.” Don’t think of this like a position paper from the elders, or an official statement like the “Statement on Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality” we released about a year ago. Do think of it as the Scriptural counsel we would provide to you in answer to the question, “Is it morally permissible for me to smoke pot?” Do think of it like the kind of reasoning and exhortation you might hear in a sermon where the topic is raised.
Here’s from the beginning and the end of the article.
Recent trends in the direction of the full-scale legalization of marijuana suggest that pot is undergoing a dramatic marketing makeover.
One cannabis branding firm put it this way: “There is a huge untapped market here. It’s about reaching nonconsumers: women, young people, business professionals, grandmothers and soccer moms.” Get ready: if it hasn’t already, your favorite show will probably feature marijuana in a way that makes it feel cool — whether in a joint, a pot-tart, a keefcat, or a pot-brownie.
This means that Christians will need to think more carefully about marijuana than most of us have until now. Not everyone will consume pot, but most everyone will be in a position to advise someone who is considering it.
So, brothers and sisters, don’t be intoxicated with popular culture’s messaging on this issue, and don’t seek the intoxicating artificial peace promised by chemicals like THC. But while life is hard and escapes are tempting, they are not the answer. Thankfully, Christ is our answer, and not only does he fill our hearts with himself but he forgives us for seeking life in the broken cisterns of chemically induced euphoric escapes.
Don’t get drunk with wine, and don’t intoxicate yourself with a plant. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, be sober minded, and stay alert for the coming of Christ — a euphoric experience in deed (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 1:13).
Read the whole thing here.
This is the second in a two-part interview with Tom Adams, DSC’s new Minister to Youth and Families. In Part 1 we learned a bit about Tom’s background, how he met Gina, and his love for students. Here in Part 2 we’ll learn a bit about the larger influences on Tom’s life, and some other random things as well.
You recently completed a Master’s of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity Seminary. What role did seminary play in your preparation for your new role at DSC?
Seminary played a vital role as it gave me the tools to do deeper Bible study and helped me to learn to be more gracious when I disagree with someone’s theological viewpoint. I thus strive to present the opposing view in its strongest form before I state the biblical reasons I do not hold to it myself.
What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?
I don’t have a favorite book, though I come back again and again to Genesis and Revelation, as they are the book-ends of redemptive history, and I find OT and NT narrative to be greatly moving and edifying.
What book has had the most impact on your life, besides the Bible?
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. It gave me an abiding joy and reverent fear for God’s Holiness. Furthermore, I praise God that He is the perfect, just judge and look forward to when He will fully, rightly judge all evil, wickedness and injustice, until death itself is destroyed and sin is no more for all those in Christ.
Tell us about the most influential sermon you’ve heard?
The most influential sermon I have heard was from R.C. Sproul when Gina and I visited the church where he serves in Florida on our honeymoon. He was preaching on the birth of John the Baptist and the evening prior his daughter-in-law had gone to be with the Lord after battling cancer. It was both moving, and honest, yet he preached the word faithfully and with a Joy and peace that only comes from God. The Lord was magnified and praised in the midst of the family’s grief and I saw how even then his commitment to expository preaching stood firm, yet the situation was not ignored but God was honoured through it.
How do you like to spend your down time? Any hobbies?
I greatly enjoy watching/playing football (England and Aston Villa in particular) as well as Cricket. I also like very much to watch classic 80’s movies from our youth with Gina. I love listening to and playing music, including alternative rock amongst other genres. I play rhythm electric guitar left-handed and enjoy learning music and singing/listening to great hymns as well as modern theologically correct and rich sung worship (such as Dustin Kensrue’s wonderful record ‘The Water & the Blood’).
Okay, now a few left fielders. What is the dumbest thing you did as a kid?
As a 14 year old on a Christian missionary camp in England I tried to retrieve the hat of a girl off another young man (who had playfully stole it from her) and so sprinted after him. Unfortunately, the entire camp (100+ youth) was walking down to the beach this particular evening and the dew had settled on the grass beside the country road we were walking down. Beside the road the grass went down a steep hillside for about 50 feet, so at full sprint I run around a group of girls who wouldn’t move out of the way though I called them to. As I did so my feet went onto the grass and suddenly I saw both my feet up in the air to my left and I proceeded to fall/roll down the steep hill gathering speed as I went until I arrived disheveled at the base covered in grass and dirt. At which point I looked up and the whole camp had stopped to enjoy a laugh at my expense. So yeah that was pretty dumb.
Any odd talents that we should know about up front?
I have a degree of hyper flexibility in my joints and hyper elasticity in my skin – don’t think that is a talent as such (other than at a freak-show I suppose), but there it is.
What’s your favorite animal, and why?
British Stag Beetle, because since a child I have been fascinated by insects and how God has made them to do such specific jobs in nature. This one is very rare (only lives as an adult in late summer), is endangered and I’ve never actually seen one in person.
Without going to the internet, do you know what a Lobo is? An Isotope? Carne Adovada?
Lobo – no idea.
Isotope – Whilst I am not a Chemist I think it is a different type of a Chemical element. Yet also here it is the name of your AAA Baseball team who are so named because of a Simpson’s episode, I believe.
Carne Adovada – I think this is a type of spicy (peppers?/Chilli?) beef.
And, for one last question, red or green?