Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"One Pure and Holy Passion"

I loved singing this song during chapel at seminary.

John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology

In the evangelical world there are many false or at least distorted ideas about John Calvin. The reality is that this great reformer was much more than the austere theologian many make him out to be.

This being the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth, Reformation Trust has published an excellent book about the Calvin's life - John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology. The book is segmented into 19 chapters written by 19 current theologians. The authors include Thabiti Anyabwile, Jerry Bridges, Sinclair Ferguson, and John MacArthur.

This book is well worth the read because it offers a balanced look at the entire life of John Calvin. He is shown to be the man he was - a pastor at heart with a love for Christ and His church. I highly recommend this book.

To buy it, click here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Survey Compares How Liberals and Conservatives Differ on Matters of Faith

Click here to read the results from a new Barna Group Survey that compares political liberals and conservatives in faith matters.

The numbers from the survey are interesting, but also somewhat predictable. For example,

"Liberals are also far less likely than conservatives to strongly believe each of the following:

  • their religious faith is very important in their life (54% of liberals vs. 82% of conservatives);
  • a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by doing good deeds or being a good person (23% vs. 37%);
  • their faith is becoming an increasingly important moral guide in their life (38% vs. 70%);
  • the church they currently attend is very important in helping them find direction and fulfillment in life (37% vs. 62%);
  • their primary purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind, strength and soul (43% vs. 76%);
  • Jesus Christ did not commit sins during His time on earth (33% vs. 55%)."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quiz: Can You Identify the Theologian?

I recently found out about a website called Reformationart.com. This site offers artwork of various theologians and happenings from the Reformation and later times. I thought it would be fun to post pictures of some of these theologians, and then put together a short quiz.

Below are pictures of 18 theologians. I've broken them up into three groups of six each. The first group is relatively easy, the second is more difficult, and the third might be tough for you. The answers to the three groups are located at the very bottom of the post. See how you do, and then comment with your results. Do you know your theologians?



















Answers are below (scroll down.)

1. John Calvin
2. Jonathan Edwards
3. Martin Luther
4. John Owen
5. William Tyndale
6. George Whitefield

7. Richard Baxter
8. John Huss
9. John Knox
10. B. B. Warfield
11. John Wycliffe
12. Ulrich Zwingli

13. Louis Berkhof
14. Theodore Beza
15. Hugh Latimer
16. J. Gresham Machen
17. Phillip Melanchthon
18. Thomas Watson

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Did Jesus Die for Hitler?

"Did Jesus die for Hitler?"

This is an interesting question, but is also a somewhat inflammatory one. It carries emotional baggage because of the horrors Hitler directed during WWII. A better question is whether or not Jesus died for those who never accept Him as Lord and Savior. I think we (meaning biblical Christians) can all agree that Jesus certainly died for all those who have faith in Him. But what about those who never believe?

We can also agree that all those who do not believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior go to hell when they die. Jesus was abundantly clear about this.

Back to the question at hand: Did Jesus die for unbelievers?

The answer to this question is closely tied to whether Jesus' sacrifice on the cross produces actual salvation or potential salvation. If Jesus' death actually produces salvation, then He must have died only for those who would believe. Otherwise, everyone would be saved. Actual salvation only occurs for Christians.

If, however, Jesus' sacrifice does not actually save, but only potentially saves, then He could have died for Hitler or anyone else. He could have died for everyone who ever lived. If Jesus' death potentially brought salvation, then something else has to be added to Christ's work on the cross in order to earn salvation. In this view, what is added must be faith.

The problem with the "potential view" is that faith becomes a work, whereby man earns salvation through Christ's death AND his own faith.

The bible makes it clear that we are saved by grace alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Additionally, the bible tells us that Jesus' death actually procured salvation. He actually bore sin and paid for sin.

Isaiah 53:11-12, "He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

II Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

I Peter 2:24, "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed."

The bible tells us repeatedly that Jesus' sacrifice was enough to buy salvation. Nothing else adds to His work. This is one of the things that differentiates Christianity from all other religions. All other religions offer a works-based salvation. Christianity is grace-based. God has done all the work needed for salvation, and then bestows it as a gift.

If Jesus died for every individual, then His death only bought a potential salvation. This view suggests that Jesus' death on the cross was not enough. Faith becomes a work.

If, however, Jesus' sacrifice did actually purchase salvation, then no other work is required. His death was enough. This view holds that Jesus died for the elect, not for all individuals.

So, did Jesus die for everyone? Did Jesus die for Hitler?

The answer has to be a resounding "No." Otherwise, salvation is not of grace.

(So where does faith come in? Faith is a response to the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Faith does not earn salvation, but everyone who is saved does have faith in Christ.)

What should we do in response to this awesome truth? Fall on our faces in praise and thanks to the God who died for us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Holiness of God Conference Video Now Available

Video is now available from the 2009 Ligonier National Conference on the Holiness of God. Click here to watch.

Although we enjoyed all the speakers, there were a few that stood out. I highly recommend Sinclair Ferguson (on Friday and Saturday), Alistair Begg (Friday), D. A. Carson (Friday), and Derek Thomas (Saturday).

The Question and Answer sessions from Thursday and Friday were also very interesting.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"In Christ Alone"


What Glory is This?

While at the Holiness of God Conference in Orlando, we thought a lot about the amazing nature of the glory of God. As we departed Orlando, we were on a spiritual high. On the way home, we stopped at a McDonald's. We were greeted by this sign on the front of the restaurant. It is safe to say that this glory can't match up with that of God.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Going to the Holiness of God National Conference

Early tomorrow morning, Alice, Caroline, and I are leaving Savannah to drive the 4+ hours to Orlando, FL. We are all excited about attending the 2009 Ligonier National Conference, which this year focuses on the holiness of God.

I have admired R. C. Sproul for several years now and love his book entitled The Holiness of God. That book helped me see aspects of God's holiness that I had never thought about before. I highly endorse it to all Christians (Chosen by God and The Truth of the Cross are excellent as well).

The lineup of speakers is fantastic. In particular, I am looking forward to hearing Alistair Begg, D. A. Carson, Sinclair Ferguson, and R. C. Sproul. I highly repsect them all as theologians and men of God. In case you are curious, the schedule looks like this.

For those of you who cannot make it to Orlando but would like to hear the speakers, you can follow a live webcast.

As a bonus, we are going to be meeting up with some friends from seminary who will also be at the conference.

We thank God for this opportunity for growth and refreshment.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Who's on the Other Side of that Door?

This past Saturday, several members of our church family went out into our church neighborhood with the goal of talking to people and giving out bibles.  We have a goal as a church to offer a bible to someone at every residence in our community sometime in 2009.

I had the privilege of being in a group with one other man, and with my son, Bobby.  We had a great time together, walking from house to house and knocking on many doors.  It was interesting to say the least.

Every time we would approach a door, we would feel a little nervous.  However, we found that once we introduced ourselves and said that we were handing out free bibles (and not selling anything), most people were willing to talk with us.  Our ultimate goal was to begin a relationship and share the gospel of Christ.  We were able to do this a few times.

The reactions we received ran the spectrum of possibilities.  On the positive side of things, one lady opened her door and said, "Lately I have been thinking about coming to church."  We had a wonderful visit, and she did, in fact, visit with our church family on Sunday.

On the other hand, a different woman only gave us the chance to get a few words out before she exclaimed, "No!  No!  No!" and shut her door forcefully (almost a slam but not quite).  We shrugged and went to the next door.

Most folks were willing to talk to us in a cordial manner.  I suppose what saddens me the most is the number of people who believe in some sort of god and also believe they are "O.K." with their god.  This is based on nothing historical or factual.  Rather, it is just what they have created in their minds.  This is sad because these folks do not know the Lord, but feel comfortable with their lives.

In the end, the few hours spent outside with friends and meeting new ones was a great blessing to me.  I look forward to doing this again next month.  Is is always (that is not an overstatement) interesting to find out who is on the other side of that door.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Church Gatherings: Are All Things To Be Done for "Worship"?

When we really read the bible instead of relying on unquestioned traditions (in belief and practice), it can sometimes be a challenging and even painful experience.

For example, many of us would probably say that we come together as local churches in order to worship. Where I serve as pastor, we refer to our gatherings on Sunday mornings and evenings as "worship services." I even catch myself in the pulpit referring to what we are doing as "worshiping."

But what does the bible say we should be doing as we gather together? I'm not sure I'm ready for this answer.

I Corinthians chapter 14 describes for us in the clearest terms what the gathering of the church looks like. In 14:26, Paul writes this:

"What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." ESV

"What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." NASB

"How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." NKJV

Paul is clearly talking about the church coming together/assembling. What happens? Different people in the church do/offer different things mentioned above. But what is the purpose? Paul again makes this blatantly clear. Everything that happens is to build up/edify the church body.

Let's make this clear. Everything that happens when the church gathers is for the purpose of edification. Let's also take note that Paul did not write worship. He specifically wrote edification.

What can we take from this? Do we not worship when the church gathers?

We can at least learn the following:

1) The church should come together.

2) Church gatherings are made up of numerous people doing numerous things.

3) When the church gathers, the purpose of the activities is the building up of the body. Paul could not be clearer on this point.

4) Paul is quiet about the issue of worship. However, we can assume this is taking place because the church is composed of followers of Jesus, and all of life is supposed to be worship for followers of Jesus. Roamans 12:1-2 makes this clear, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." ESV

The bible often forces us out of our comfort zones. I Corinthians 14 makes us, if we are willing to really let scripture speak, think differently about what the purpose of church gatherings is. Yes, there will be worship. However, the gathering should certainly not be the only time of the week that a Christian is worshiping.

As we come together, let us think of it primarily as a time to edify our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we think this way, it ought to take our focus off self, and place it on others. It also ought to cause us to think a great deal about both what we say and how we say it in the context of the local church gathering.

One great verse for us to follow in all of life, and especially as we gather is Ephesians 4:29. Paul writes, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." ESV

What difference could the church make if we all lived (and gathered) according to this verse?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Thing Atheists are Good For

Atheists by definition believe that God does not exist (here's an example). Because of this, they look at the world from a very different perspective than theists do. In particular, they see through an extremely different lens than Christians do.

I disagree with atheists on almost all issues, whether they be spiritual, moral, educational, political, etc. This makes sense since the atheist sees the world as ultimately meaningless. Followers of Jesus Christ should see the world as having great meaning because God Himself created it.

Atheists offer little that is of value to this world. If they hold to a consistent worldview, then they must believe that their lives have absolutely no significance.

However, atheists are good for one thing: they stand for the existence of absolute truth.

Atheists not only believe that God does not exist, but they also believe that this is absolutely true. It is objectively true. It is true for everyone. It is, as evangelical apologist Francis Schaeffer famously said, "true truth."

Atheists strongly believe this. They argue for it. They have reasons (faulty, of course) for why they believe what they believe. They want everyone to believe what they believe. Atheists believe that if everyone would just reject the existence of God, then the world would be a better place.

While Christians should obviously disagree with atheists' conclusions, we can agree with them that absolute, objective truth exists. We can agree with atheists that God either exists or He does not. We can agree with atheists that God cannot be true or real for some people but not for others.

We can stand with atheists against today's scourge of postmodern thought. Postmodernism is a worldview that says that objective reality does not exist. What one person sees may be valid and real for him, while it may be completely different for others. No one can know anything for certain about all things.

Postmodernism stands against Christianity, but is more insidious than atheism. The reason for this is that a postmodernist will not argue with a Christian about the existence of God. He will simply say something like this, "It's fine for you if you believe in God. That's true for you. However, what is true for me is that... (fill in the blank)."

Postmodernists stand firmly against the existence of absolute truth. In fact, the only absolute they adhere to is that absolutes do not exist. Yes, there is irony there.

If there is no objective truth, then there is no room for discussion of anything that matters. If there is no objective truth, then there is no Christianity.

However, Jesus said that He is the truth (not the truth for only some people).

Therefore, we as Christians should agree strongly with atheists that absolute, objective truth exists. We must stand against postmodernism at all costs. This is what atheists are good for.

We must then sit down with the atheist next door and politely discuss the scientific facts - all of which point to biblical creation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Creations Don't Become Old Ones

In II Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (NIV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (ESV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (NKJV)

A logical question to ask is, "Do new creations ever become old ones?" This is what would happen if a person was once saved, but then later lost or rejected his salvation. Most Arminian traditions believe this is a possibility. This is what I believed while growing up.

I have to admit that it is troubling to think of a new creation reverting back to his/her old creation status. Just the language Paul uses of "creation" suggests permanence.

We can be thankful that John clears this up for us. In I John chapter 2, John is specifically discussing the issue of false teaching/antichrists. In I John 2:18-19, John writes, "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us."

Although John is discussing antichrists, what he is saying relates to the topic of salvation in general.

The language of verse 19 is particularly important. John makes it clear that if people went out (departed) from them (the church), then they were never of them (Christians). Why? The reason is simple: if they had been Christians, they would have remained in the church (when I use the word "church" here, I am referring to the universal church as opposed to any one local congregation). John continues by saying that these people went out that it might be shown that they were not Christians.

We can conclude from John's passage that people who once claimed to be followers of Jesus, but then later reject Him, were never saved in the first place. If they had been saved, they never would have departed from the faith.

This is encouraging because it shows us that if we persevere, we will never reject and/or lose our salvation. The bible makes it clear that those who persevere will be saved.

Mark 13:13, "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. "

Hebrews 3:14, "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end."

Let us all persevere in our love for God and neighbor, never fearing a loss of our salvation.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why am I Preaching on Matthew 5:10-12 next Sunday?

Why am I preaching on Matthew 5:10-12 next Sunday?

The answer to this question is quite simple. The answer is that this past Sunday I preached on Matthew 5:8 in the morning and Matthew 5:9 in the evening. By preaching through books of the bible, we as a church will hear all that God has to say in Matthew. It forces us, whether we want to or not, to hear the whole counsel of God's word. It also keeps me from preaching on only those topics that I enjoy the most or feel most comfortable with.

Additionally, studying through books of the bible gives us all a sense of how God crafted His word in shape and theme. My hope is that over time we (myself included) will all come to know God much more intimately through going book-by book. This should work itself out in our loving and serving both God and neighbor.

Most Christians Lack a Biblical Worldview

In a new research study by the Barna Group, the results indicate that most Christians do not hold to a biblical worldview. This is both troubling and ironic because the very foundation of Christian beliefs is the bible itself.

Barna found that only 19% of "born-again Christians" have a biblical worldview (in the American population as a whole, 9% were found to have a biblical worldview).

Other interesting (and sad) findings from the study:

"One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth."

"Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective."

"A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless."

As followers of Christ, these results should bother us a great deal. What is being taught in our churches when only 1 in 5 people who claim to be followers of Jesus do not fully believe the book that tells us about Jesus? Something must change in our own lives, in our families, and in our churches if these numbers are to improve.

To read the full article, click here.

To read more on the importance of a biblical worldview, click here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Joy that Comes from Pondering Our Forgiven Sin

It is safe to say that most, if not all, people in this world are chasing after joy. In our culture, the majority of the population seeks joy through the pleasures of the flesh. This comes in various forms, but the result is the same. Fleshly pursuits may lead to temporary, surface level happiness, but they do not bring sustained joy.

As we see in Genesis 3, fleshly pursuits often lead to anything but joy.

On the flip side of this, most people in our culture would rather do most anything but ponder their sin. In fact, avoidance of thinking about sin is very common. This is why so many people are seemingly always talking on the phone, texting friends, listening to music or playing around on Facebook, etc. These distractions keep them from having to be silent. When we are silent, we have time to both think about and feel guilt. When this happens, we must ponder our indwelling sin.

Many Christians do not even like to discuss sin. If you visit many churches today, the idea of sin is almost never mentioned. "Salvation" presentations go something like this, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Just trust in Him, and He will bring you joy and fulfillment as you receive His favor." That may sound nice, but it is not what we find in the bible.

In scripture, one chapter that stands out to me when thinking about sin is Romans 7. In this chapter, Paul struggles with the sin he still has in his life. We must keep in mind that this was an individual that we would probably all like our lives to emulate. Despite this, Pail admits to still struggling with sin. Toward the conclusion of Romans 7, Paul writes, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" The beauty for the Christian, of course, is that we have an answer to this question.

In Romans 7:25, Paul famously writes, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Then, in Romans 8:1, Paul says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." For Paul, joy comes after pondering his sin. Why is this?

The reason seems to be that Paul knows just how wretched sin is. He understands that He is totally unworthy of salvation and is still in desperate need of a Savior. Paul certainly remembers that he was dead in sin prior to God regenerating his soul.

When Paul ponders the depths of his sin, he can then rejoice greatly when he thinks about what an amazing salvation Christ has given him. Since Paul realizes what he deserves, and knows what he has received from Jesus, he has great joy.

If we will do as Paul did, we will also have great joy. We ought to spend time thinking about the depths of our sin and the great gift of salvation we have received.

If sin is "no big deal," then neither is salvation. However, if sin is an infinite abomination against a holy God, then salvation amounts to an infinitely valuable gift. This should bring us great joy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Compassion International

Our family recently began sponsoring a child through Compassion International. We are supporting a nine-year-old girl who lives in Bangladesh. Based on the information we have, she seems to have very little whatsoever in terms of material possessions.

It is amazing what only $32 per month can buy. According to the Compassion website, this money provides:

-Food and clean water
-Medical care
-Educational opportunities
-Important life-skills training
-Most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

We normally spend more than $32 per month on things we do not need. We are happy to be a part of using that money for something far more worthwhile.

Please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion.

Amazing Newspaper Resource

If you would like to take a look at the front page of newspapers all around the globe, there is now an easy way to do it. Click here to see an interactive map (presented by the Newseum site) that will let you quickly view headlines from newspapers all around the world. Just place your mouse over the dot that represents the city you want to see.

How Not to Mess Up the Great Commission Too Much

Click here to watch a great video (somewhat funny, somewhat serious) about missions.

Thanks Shannon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Finally Alive

It is refreshing to read a theology book that is well-written, interesting, and deals with a specific topic. In this text, John Piper discusses in depth the various aspects of regeneration. He spends much time talking about what it means to be born again.

This book is well worth the read because Piper manages to write in an engaging manner, while at the same time dealing with deep theological issues. One of the best sections of Finally Alive focuses on God's action in the regeneration process. Piper explains how God regenerates the human heart, making it possible for humans (who had been dead in sin) to respond to the gospel in repentance and faith.

Some readers of this book will not like it because Piper emphasizes God's sovereign action in the process of the new birth. The problem for those readers is that Piper supports what he says with scripture. Spending much time in I Peter and I John, Piper also talks about the new birth bringing about evidence in a saved person's life.

To learn about the publisher of this book, click here. To order it, click here or here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Helpful Biblical Worldview Website

As our country continues to transition from a Christian-based society to a secular one, the issue of worldview is becoming increasingly important. I meet Christians all the time who who have what amounts to a secular-naturalist view of the world. This is something we must battle against in the church.

What is a worldview? A helpful website named Christian Worldview describes a worldview this way, "Everyone has a worldview. Whether or not we realize it, we all have certain presuppositions and biases that affect the way we view all of life and reality. A worldview is like a set of lenses which taint our vision or alter the way we perceive the world around us. Our worldview is formed by our education, our upbringing, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and movies we absorb, etc."

I encourage you to visit this site.

Another Fun Theology Video

I realize many have already seen this video, but if you have not, it is worth your time.

What the Other Side Thinks

It is no secret that one of my favorite ministries is Answers in Genesis.

There are those who couldn't disagree with me more. Many secularist-evolutionists literally hate the idea that God has created all that exists. They therefore despise any ministry or organization that stands for biblical creation. One of those organizations/websites is named, and I am not making this up, No Answers in Genesis!

No Answers in Genesis! is troublesome because much of its website amounts to nothing more than name calling. Much of this is directed at Answers in Genesis. For example, if you look at the website, you will see the following words used to describe those who believe in a biblical creation: "ignorance," "a repository of the absurd," "pseudo science," "deception," "howlers," and "frauds."

Additionally, the No Answers! website portrays the debate as science versus Christianity. In reality, the debate rests between naturalist-secularism and biblical creationism.

Let us also remember that all objective scientific data supports a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2.

Because real science does not support evolution, the secularists are left with nothing more than calling names and shutting their ears.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Less than 3 Weeks to Go

Alice, Caroline, and I are attending the Holiness of God National Conference in less than three weeks. We are excited because we have never attended a conference like this before. Please let me know if you are planning to be there.

Two Years Later - God's Providence in Action

Two years ago at this time we were finding out for certain that our son had cancer. It was an extremely difficult time of uncertainty, doubt, and pain. As I look back, God providentially carried us through it all.

Let me back up a bit. Two years ago we (my wife, our three kids, and I) were serving the Lord in India. We had been in country for about four months, and were dealing with language learning and culture shock. Although it was certainly difficult living in a very different culture, we were hoping to reach a specific people group with the gospel.

That's when we noticed the strange bulge on the side of our son's neck. We were not initially concerned, but over the next few days Bobby's neck swelling grew larger fairly rapidly. The doctors in our city could not give a clear diagnosis, so we had to fly to New Delhi where we could get more accurate tests performed. After a few days there, we received the news we didn't want: Bobby had cancer.

The official diagnosis was Large Diffuse B-cell Lymphoma. That didn't mean much to me at the the time. I could understand that this cancer was in the family of Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas, but for the most part, I just knew my son had cancer.

After flying home to Savannah, GA, we had to quickly transition from culture shock in India to hospital life in the USA. We endured almost three months in and out of the hospital. Toward the end of May, we learned that Bobby was cancer-free. Praise the Lord!

We then began a rather strange odyssey of healing from cancer (emotionally), Bobby gaining physical strength, and us all wondering what the future held for us. We knew God was in control, but we didn't know what that meant.

Through all this time, God provided a free house for us to live in. God graciously used the generosity of Rothwell Baptist Church to provide us with a mission house to be our temporary retreat while all this was going on.

After seven months of this, Bobby was doing well. We believed by then that what God wanted us to do was to resign from the International Mission Board. With very mixed emotions, we resigned in January 2008. Now what were we to do?

In God's providence and sovereignty, He had it all worked out. In February 2008, I was told by a friend that a Southern Baptist church near Savannah was without a pastor. This was Chevis Oaks Baptist. I began preaching here on and off; this lasted for a few months. In June of 2008, the body at Chevis Oaks called me to be pastor.

Since that time, this church has welcomed our family in with open arms. We have been treated with an enormous amount of love and grace. What a great honor it is to be here.

Within the few months, God has seen fit to provide us with a house to call home. I realize this has little significance at a spiritual level. However, it is a great relief for us. We are thrilled to know where home (on earth) is. Our kids in particular are happy to be able to relax in a place that has some permanence to it.

We see now how God controlled all these events. He guided us through all that has happened. He cured Bobby's cancer. He led us home to the USA. He took us to Chevis Oaks. He has even given us a house.

We certainly serve the God of providence.