Playing Bluegrass in Europe

Hey y’all-

I’m heading to Europe with The Long Run Players. We’ve posted a blog about our needs for the trip.

Read it here.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff

Trust in the Lord

Hey y’all-

Right now, I’m trying to decide where God wants me to serve after graduating seminary. Should I apply for a pastor position back home? Should I apply as a missionary with an agency? Good questions….

I’m just working through this (see the entry on Solitude and Silence) with prayer and a lot of listening. Keep me in your prayers that I’ll be obedient to what God wants me to do….

Just thought I’d share.

Uncle Jeff

DWYL Lesson 9 – Day 5

Hey y’all-

  This is the time of the week where we look back and reflect. Here’s the question from the DWYL: Study Guide for the completion of Lesson 9, “What was the most meaningful part of this chapter for you? Was there a sentence, concept, or idea that really struck you? Why? Record your thoughts in the space below.”

 My Response: I think the part of Chapter 9 of Don’t Waste Your Life that struck me right between the eyes was this quote from page 177.

No, you don’t have to be a missionary to admire and advance the great purposes of God to be known and praised and enjoyed among all peoples. But if you want to be most fully satisfied with God as he triumphs in the history of redemption, you can’t go on with business as usual-doing your work, making your money, giving your tithe, eating, sleeping, playing, and going to church. Instead you need to stop and go away for a few days with a Bible and notepad; and pray and think about how your particular time and place in life fits into the great purpose of God to make the nationas glad in him. How will you join the great global purpose of God expressed in Psalm 67:4. “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy”?

  Wow. Know what I mean? I think one of the things we (as humans, Americans, evangelicals, Christians) have settled for is “less.” By “less”, I mean God has created us for His glory and we settle for so much less. It’s sad. And sinful. And John Piper is calling us to contemplate what God wants us to do for His glory and not our own. We are good at living for our glory. Well, I know I am…know how I know? Let me tell you….

  Every morning this is my routine, bathroom (if necessary), coffee, cereal…..see God in there anywhere? When I wake up, my first thought is for me. Sinful. I settle for my own glory rather than God’s glory from my first waking moment.

  Back to living for God’s glory and not our own. I think John Piper’s suggestion to search your heart for a few days with serious prayer, Bible study, and meditation. And then pursue what God lays on your heart is a great idea.

  Now, my youth are gonna say, “But we can’t take a few days and go away…” I know. But can you take your Bible (if you don’t have one, I’ll get you one) and a notebook and find a place to sit and think, and read, and meditate, and pray? Maybe the edge of a cornfield? Or a tree by a creek? Or a quiet place in the back of your neighborhood?

  This is a great idea that could be life-transforming for all of you. Seek God’s direction for your life and not your own. That’s awesome.

  Thoughts?

  Uncle Jeff

DWYL Lesson 9 – Day 3

Hey y’all-

  This is a day late (and even late in the evening), but I thought I’d go for it. Is that okay?

  Today, we’re looking at Lesson 9 Day 3 in DWYL: Study Guide. Question 8 is a thought-provoking questions. It reads, “In this section (page 163-64) John Piper recounts a portion of the history of world missions in the last century. He highlights what he calls the ‘joyful partnership.’ What is the ‘joyful partnership’? What is your role in this partnership? What is the main point that you think John Piper wants us to draw out of this history lesson?”

  My Response: I think an extended quote from Don’t Waste Your Life would be a good way to start. John Piper writes,

  And as God gives you wings to rise up and see the world the way he sees it, maay of you, I pray, will be loosened from your present situation-job, neighborhood, state, nation, plan-and be called to a direct engagement in this great historic, global purpose of God as a goer and not only a sender. Let no one who is devoted to local ministry or to a crucial secular engagement take offense at this plea. Rather rejoice. You are free to stay or free to go.

  I think John Piper is speaking to the tension many people feel about mission work. Some are called to stay. Some are called to go. But all are called to serve! ALL!!! Missions is not something done only in dirty slums in South America or Africa or Asia. Missions are done in Trimble County Middle School, Subway, Morgan’s Drug Store, Dairy Queen, Target, Wal-Mart, Kroger, McDonald’s, etc. Anywhere people gather to work, shop, eat, play or whatever is a great place for the mission work of the Body of Christ.

  Many times we get a real compartmentalized view of life and think certain things can only be done in certain situations. Look at your closet. Some people have dress shoes, casual shoes, water shoes, running shoes, baseball shoes, basketball shoes, soccer shoes, work shoes, and (even) walking shoes. See how compartmentalized we are about our shoes? I wonder how we can segment and compartmentalize things that are much more important….like our faith in Jesus Christ?

  Rather, John Piper is saying missions should be a “joyful partneship” between those who go far away to live as committed missionaries and those who stay in their local home to serve as local missionaries. Again, every obedient Christian is a missionary for Jesus Christ. Some of us are just rebellious against the Savior who died on the cross for our sins as a totally free gift of grace. Why are we so rebellious against the One Man who truly loved us enough to die for us?

  So, what is our role in this partnership? To stay and serve Jesus. Or, to go and serve Jesus. If you stay, then you wholeheartedly love, support, and pray for those who go. If you go, you accept the love and support of those who stay (and you accept their decision to stay as God-ordained just like the decision to go).

  That’s a start.

  Thoughts?

  Uncle Jeff

DWYL Lesson 9 – Day 1

Hey y’all-

  I’m back in Kentucky and taking a class at SBTS this week. Paul David Tripp will be teaching Biblical Counseling and I’m excited to hear what he has to say and learn all I can to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through counseling the hurting. Should be a good week.

  Also, we are on Lesson 9 in the Don’t Waste Your Life: Study Guide which corresponds to Chapter 9 in Don’t Waste Your Life. There are only 10 lessons, so we wrap it up next week. Very exciting….

  Let’s get to it. Chapter 9 is about world missions (we all live in the world, so we should all be involved in world missions) and John Piper asks, “In the space below, describe your current involvement in world missions. This would include prayer, financial support, mission trips, and current plans for the future.”

  My Response: This chapter is close to my heart because I have a desire to serve as a foreign missionary (Lord willing) sometime in the future. Where? Not sure. When? Not sure. Right now, my focus is my ministry at Bedford Baptist Church and loving these kids enough to tell them about Jesus and His love and holding them to the highest standard possible….God’s holiness. It’s where I am and where I want to be, but missions is always on my mind and in my heart…..

  This morning, I was in the gym at SBTS trying to work-out (I’m lame…and so are my workouts) when a friend from school walked in. He and his wife are leaving in nine days to serve as career missionaries in a primarily Muslim country that is closed to evangelism and the Gospel. They will be gone for at least three years before coming back for a visit and then, Lord willing, they will return and continue with their ministry over there. This world mission stuff is very close to me.

  Now, my involvement is not very extensive. As a Southern Baptist, I give to the Lottie Moon Offering for Foreign Missions and support the missionaries through prayer. Also, I try to tell my kids about missions and the need for our involvement…not just money and prayer, but going. As a youth group, we are taking a trip to another part of Kentucky to help build an emergency shelter in a few weeks.

  Personally, I am going to Canada this summer to help with evangelism and church planting. How? I’m playing guitar and singing with The Long Run Players. We’re jamming gospel bluegrass for the glory of God. Should be a hoot.

  What do you think we should do for missions? Foreign and local?

  Uncle Jeff