When I grow up…

I want to be like Dr. Russell Moore.

Source: SBTS.edu

No, this is not some case of ironic idolatry in which I am in awe of a pastor’s amazing speaking skills, love for the orphan, or overall intelligence.

(Though I do admire those qualities in him.)

All I mean is that, when I grow up (relatively speaking, that is), I want to be a pastor, academic, and author like Dr. Moore. I use him as an example because he is one of the only men I know who does all three, and I want to do the same.

Or maybe I’d like to be like Ed Stetzer. He’s a researcher, pastor, and all around neat guy, which is something I wouldn’t mind, either.

The point is…

Since I graduated in January, I have been running into a bunch of folks who ask what my plans are moving forward. Susie and I’s plans are somewhat complicated, so I thought I would go ahead and write a blog that explains some of our possible plans and what we’d both love to be doing in the future once all of our immediate plans get worked out and such.

Susie and I will be married on June 1, 2013. If you’re reading this blog and you don’t know much about us and our story, I encourage you to check out our wedding website for an abridged version.

After Susie and I get married, we’ll be off to the beautiful Sanibel Island for our honeymoon for a week, and then back in the midwest somewhere in order to attend something like a dozen weddings in as many weeks. The big question is: where will we be? To answer that question, I want to present to you a number of our possible options.

Option #1 — Chris attends TEDS on a full-tuition scholarship and Susie works full time in the foster care system or a related ministry opportunity

If everything was up to us, this is what we would be doing. I would attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School after earning the Kern Foundation Pastor’s Scholarship, which awards free tuition, and Susie would begin pursuing her dream of ministering to foster kids and families. This option is certainly plausible, but it hinges very much on what happens with the Kern Scholarship. I will find out if I make it past the preliminary round of cuts in a week or so. If I manage, by God’s grace, to make it to the second round, I will interview at TEDS in April and Susie and I will not know the outcome of that until early May, a month before our wedding. The timing could be better, but we’re not too worried about it. Patience is key and we know the Lord will provide regardless of what happens with the scholarship and any job opportunities she does or doesn’t find.

Option #2 — Chris attends TEDS on a full-tuition scholarship and Susie works full time at a corporate job, volunteering in the foster care system or a related ministry opportunity

This option is very similar to the first, the only thing that changes is if Susie cannot find a foster care job that provides enough money and benefits for us, she would work someplace that does and volunteer to get her experience in the foster care system. Not ideal, obviously, but still not a bad option as we would love to be in the Chicago area for at least a time.

Source

Option #3 — Chris attends SBTS and Susie works full time someplace

Basically I want to attend seminary ASAP and get my M.Div. because eventually I would like to go on to get my doctorate. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary comes after TEDS for the M.Div. because I’d like to get my two degrees from different places, and I’d love to do my doctorate at SBTS with Dr. Timothy Paul-Jones or someone else down there. So getting my M.Div. at SBTS is definitely an option, I think, but I would prefer to go to TEDS first. The complicated part of this is with Susie, simply because we’re less connected down in Kentucky than we are in Chicago. Also, SBTS would be great for Susie because of our proximity and possible access to Dr. Moore as Susie shares his passion for adoption and foster care. I am applying to SBTS in the next week or so, and will keep the blog posted about such matters.

Source

Option #4 — Chris gets a job in a church and Susie works full time someplace

Basically, this would just be bypassing the seminary deal for now as we get married and get settled together as a couple. I would love to pastor a church someday, so starting in a church right away, even without a graduate degree, wouldn’t be bad to get experience. It doesn’t matter where we are for this option, just as long as it fits for what we want to do.

Option #5 — Chris and Susie both work in ministry someplace

This option really is just the barebones, no pickiness, option that just says, “We want to work in ministry, we’ll do whatever we have to do.” This is really our attitude through the whole process, and in the end, though we definitely have our priorities as I have outlined above, we really just want to be used by God in ministry in some way or another. Whether it’s volunteering or our full time gig (though that would be optional).

About ten years down the road, here’s what we’d love to be doing:

I, Chris, would love to be pastoring a church in some form or fashion, hopefully getting the opportunity to preach here and there, teaching in a classroom setting (maybe something like Greek or church history or family ministry, ya know, the fun topics), and writing books for children that communicate biblical themes, writing books for parents who want to disciple their kids, or just writing all sorts of books in general. I love writing, I love teaching, I love helping people, all three of those loves are wrapped up in writing a book, so I think it’s something I’d love to do. I just don’t like academic writing, so expect any book I write to be intensely easy-to-read and practical.

Susie would love to be leading a ministry, to my understanding, that provides a constant loving relationship for foster children in some form or fashion. This could be both a physical location and a network of loving individuals that care for and disciple children/teens in the foster system who may not have any such constant as they are often going from one home to another, sometimes facing very difficult circumstances.

No matter what I, Chris, am doing, I want to do everything I can to provide Susie with this opportunity because I know it is something about which she is passionate and is a need that desperately needs addressed. The Church is called to care for the orphan, and while we would love to adopt, Susie wants to devote her life to the discipleship and ultimate salvation of children who often have no constant, loving relationship with family or otherwise.

Also in 10 years, hopefully we’ll have some kids ourselves! :)

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I hope this post didn’t seem too narcissistic, but that it has helped give you an idea of what we’re up against as the spring months quickly approach. We’ve got a lot of decision making, application filing, apartment hunting, and other tasks to do with a variety of possible locations in mind, so please keep us in your prayers as we eagerly prepare for our next step of life which, thank the Lord, will be together as a married couple.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Frontlines: The Battle for Biblical Manhood

The lack of biblical manhood in today’s Church is horrifying. One of the main contributors to this epidemic is surely the lack of understanding regarding what constitutes a biblical man in a number of life’s circumstances: sex, money, parenting, and others.

Men of Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas, on April 20th, 2013, Brookside Community Church will be hosting “Frontlines: The Battle for Biblical Manhood,” a conference by men for men to encourage men in the Church to live as biblical men in the home and the workplace.

The plenary speaker is a professor from Moody Bible Institute in Spokane, Washington, Chris Rappazini. In addition to two main sessions with Rappazini, you’ll get to attend three breakout sessions taught by teachers in the church, a continental breakfast, a snack, a cookout lunch, and a number of helpful materials to take home with you. The cost is only $20.

The conference is for men as young as middle schoolers. This would make for a great father-son day away for sure!

I hope to be there, and my hope is that you’ll come too. I know that these guys will bring the Word of God to the life of the men who attend this conference. You won’t want to miss it.

SIGN UP HERE.

Here is the gist:

WHO: Men from middle school and up
WHAT: A conference to learn about what it means to be a biblical man
WHEN: Saturday, April 20th
WHERE: Brookside Community Church in Fort Wayne, IN
WHY: Because men can always be reminded of what it means to be like Christ in everyday life
HOW: Register at the link above, pay $20, and come on out!

-CM

 

God is Always Good

I used to really struggle with worry. I tend to hold the belief that worry is simply fruit that grows on a tree rooted in idolatry. I hold this belief primarily because of my experience with worry. Whenever I find myself worrying it’s because something I value in that moment more that God may be taken away from me or not happen as I wish. So whether it’s comfort, or money, or health, or other circumstances, worry tends to rear its sinful head when I value something so much I forget the promises and purposes of God.

On Friday, I was downgraded from full time to part time at my job because of budget cuts (thankfully not because of anything I’ve done wrong). While this wasn’t completely unexpected, I could not help but be anxious as I drove down to Upland on Friday morning, knowing what the day likely held for me.

I’ll be honest: I was worried.

I was worried because come June 1st, I have someone else to take care of other than myself, and without the full time job I’ll make much less money between now and then, and Susie and I may not have our own health benefits.

This scared me…

for about 10 minutes.

And then I realized, “God never promised health benefits or a consistent job.”

That’s when it hit me: I was worrying about something I expect to accompany a marriage, not something God promises we’ll ever have!

God is always good.

He is was as good yesterday in my bummer meeting as he will be on the day I am blessed to pledge lifelong love to the love of my life on June 1st.

And though it may be scary to think about the fact that I have no idea where Susie and I will be after June 1st, and thought I have no idea what either one of us will be doing after June 1st, I know one fact about the time after June 1st that calms all fears: God is already there.

God is already present in our August apartment and October occupations.

This gives me peace, calms my worrisome thoughts, and expels the idolatry from my heart.

God is good, all the time, and the sooner you and I understand that, the sooner we’ll become more like his Son.

-CM

(Also, good news is that the great folks I work for would love to get me back full time as soon as they can. I am thankful.)