Archive for October, 2008

New Addition

If you’re a consistent reader of this blog, you’ll notice that I haven’t posted in about a week. Today is the explanation…

Last Saturday night at 10:42pm we welcomed our second daughter, Caitlin Carolyn Simmons, into the world. She was born 8lbs 8oz and both her and her mom are doing well. We’ve had lots of family in town and have taken a few days off to get our act together as a family of four!

Below is a picture of Abby with her new baby sister. Click here for more pictures.

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The Growing Strength of Jesus

I was reading Wayne Grudem’s section on “The Person of Christ” from his book Bible Doctrine and I came across an amazing quote. Here Grudem is speaking about the how “Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb 5:8). He writes:

Apparently as Jesus grew toward maturity he, like all other human children, was able to take on more and more responsibility. The older he became the more demands his father and mother could place on him in terms of obedience and the more difficult the tasks that his heavenly Father could assign to him to carry out in the strength of his human nature. With each increasingly difficult difficult task, even when it involved some suffering (as Heb 5:8 specifies), Jesus’ human moral ability, his ability to obey under more and more difficult circumstances increased. We might say that his “moral backbone” was strengthened by more and more difficult exercise. Yet in all this he never once sinned.

This made me think of two things. First, It’s a reminder of the biblical principle that those who are faithful to God in small things are entrusted with more opportunities of faithfulness. How many people I meet who want a lot of ministry or responsibility yet are not even being faithful in the things God has put in front of them now! May we be faithful in even the smallest and most mundane of life situations.

Second, this made me think about how enduring temptation without sin strengthens you to endure more temptation without sin, just like doing difficult exercise prepares you to do even more difficult exercise. The more we say “no” to ungodliness and sin, the more able to say “no” to those things when the pressure is even greater.

All of this makes me thankful that I have a Savior who was PERFECTLY obedient and never gave in, despite facing temptations much stronger and intense than I ever have. In my moments of weakness I can gather strength from this Savior and, when I fail, I can receive forgiveness and grace.

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Shameless Plug

I recently had the privilege of participating in an email interview with a blogger from the UK, Adam Bradley. He emailed me a number of questions related to my life and ministry and I answered them. You can read it here.

He’s also got a number of interviews with other leaders and church planters from other places, including the Acts29 Network.

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Exciting Week

This is an exciting week in the life of Second Mile Church and in the life of my family. My wife Molly was due with our second daughter yesterday and we’re still waiting…could happen any moment! Then, Sunday marks our first Monthly Preview Worship Gathering at ASU Poly. Our people have invited friends and it should be a great day. If you’re in town, we’d love for you to join us.

Here are some things you can pray for us this week:

  • That God would be glorified and honored by every word, action, and heart motive before, during and after Sunday’s gathering.
  • That many guests would join us and worship with us.
  • That our team would have a great time serving and trusting God despite the obstacles that will surely arise.

Thanks for your prayers!

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New Website Coming Monday

I’m excited to announce that this coming Monday our brand new website will go live. Thanks to the experience and skill of Church Plant Media, this new site will be a great way to communicate with you and help the community discover the church.

The site you’re experiencing now is simply a WordPress blog that we’ve used as a website in the interim. We’ll continue to use it as the church blog, but beginning Monday the address will be: www.secondmilechurch.wordpress.com. Those of you on RSS readers may have to adjust your feed.

I hope you’ll continue to read our blog…I expect to keep writing.

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Lessons from John G. Paton

Every year at his pastor’s conference, John Piper does a biographical message on some influential Christian of the past. They are typically very encouraging and insightful (click here for a full list). One of my favorites is his message on the life of John G. Paton, who was a missionary to the New Hebrides islands. This message inspired me to read Paton’s autobiography, which is absolutely riveting–it’s like reading an adventure novel.

Anyway, this is a great message about courage, faith, parenting, and enduring suffering in a way that honors God.

Click here to listen to the message.

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We Want God to Attend Second Mile

I read a great blog post by James MacDonald regarding the book he’s writing (tentatively called “When God Goes to Church”). His thesis is that God doesn’t attend many American churches because “His Word is apologized for, His Son is polished and marketed, and His power is not sought in prayer or even anticipated.” I’ve thought about this and realize how devastating it would be if we had church that God wouldn’t want to be part of because we felt like we could do it on our own. May it never be!

MacDonald continues:

I heard a pastor say recently that the past 20 years have been about “church done with excellence in the flesh is better than church done poorly in the flesh.” How insightful! How about church done according to God’s Word and in the power of the Spirit? How about church on fire, led by men on fire, burning a swath of God’s power across our land like a tornado across a Kansas wheat field? Where is the mighty prevailing church (Matthew 16:18) moving with God’s power, seeing lives transformed frequently and totally? Where is the church that sees miraculous answers to prayer and marvelous interventions of grace? I want to spend the rest of my days working to see the true church, the grace and truth church, (John 1:14) the spirit and power church, the overcoming, Christ-adoring, prayerfully dependant, Word-proclaiming church return to prominence. I believe it is only then that God will begin regularly attending the churches of our land. If that were to happen it would make ALL the difference, would it not?

Pray that Second Mile would be a church where God doesn’t just attend, but where he does manifest miraculous answers to prayer and marvelous interventions of grace.

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