Westminster Standards in a Month

Westminster Standards in a Month

NOTE: This is an updated post because I have revised the reading plan. 

I have put together a reading plan for the Westminster Standards based on Dr. Morton Smith’s book Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. 

From the Amazon website:

Morton H. Smith said that In today’s Church, sadly, there seems to be more emphasis on contemporary music and gourmet coffee than a real commitment to doctrine. Finally, in this wonderful handbook, Dr. Morton H. Smith lays out the standard for Protestant faith.

The reading plan is in PDF and Word DOCX format.  You do not need the book to follow the plan.  Download the reading plan below (in the attachments section below the newsletter sign-up form). 

News: Presbytery Approval and New Housing

News: Presbytery Approval and New Housing

Yesterday, I was alerted by the shepherding committee of Western Carolina Presbytery of their approval of the call of Fellowship Presbyterian Church to me to be their next pastor. Western Carolina Presbytery grants power of commission to the shepherding committee for calls that remain within the bounds of the presbytery. Since I already hold my ordination in this presbytery and since Fellowship is a member church of the presbytery it falls to them to approve or deny said calls. Yesterday they approved it. One more box checked off as we prepare to move. 

My wife and I took a drive to Newport TN to look at a house that was available for rent.  It is a beautiful two bedroom home with 2.5 bathrooms and a loft (I have already claimed it for my home study).  The living room has a fireplace (gas logs) and is spacious with hardwood floors throughout. The home looks out over a river and has an enclosed back porch.  The detached garage has been converted into a living area complete with a bathroom (man cave!?).  It is probably the best home we have rented over the years. Our plans are to rent for a year (or less, depending on if we can secure a house to buy in the area). I failed to take pictures as I was too busy conducting important business with the owner. The home is spacious and will allow for hospitality — something that my wife and I enjoy doing as often as we are able. Another box checked off.

We praise God for His provision.  The providence of God never ceases to amaze me. He is for His people and always works to supply all of their needs. 

Tomorrow, Lord willing, the congregation of Landis will approve the motion of the session to dissolve my pastoral relationship with them, effective July 31. It is a sad time for them (and us), as their future is very uncertain. However, they are God’s people, and He will care for them.  I will always cherish the memories of this church and the privilege I was given to shepherd them. 

Our immediate plans include the dreaded packing, renting a truck, loading our worldly possessions into it (and throwing away stuff we do not need).  We also have to pack my study at the church.  All of this before July 31. We also need to contact the utilities in the Newport area and get everything lined up.  Please pray for sustaining grace. 

User Registration

User Registration

You are now able to register with The Parchment as a “user.”  With this new feature, you can see your comments as well as provide a user profile for other members to view.  To register just click on the proper menu item under “Account” in the menu bar. 

I am seeking other writers for The Parchment. My main goal is to allow a wide range of topics related to the Reformed faith.  I have stringent requirements to be considered which will be released in a few days.  If you are interested in becoming a writer, please contact me through the comments section. The main requirement will be that you must be an ordained minister or elder in an NAPARC congregation.  I am also considering guest posts from seminary students.  Students who would like to contribute will be vetted on a case by case basis. 

Future Articles

Future Articles

Due to the announcement made the other day, my plans to write some formal articles on my blog have taken a backseat. However, I am planning on writing very soon.  These are a few of the topics I will be addressing.

  • When Should a Church Close? A Pastoral and Personal Perspective
  • Pastoring a Small Church: One Minister’s Observations
  • Lessons Learned After One-Year in the Ministry.
  • Experimental Preaching: What it is and Why it is Necessary
  • When Sheep Bite: Loving and Leading the Difficult Member(s).

I do not know when I will be able to submit a final edition on any of these topics.  It will likely come after I move to my new call in Newport, TN. 

Announcement: Acceptance of New Call

Announcement: Acceptance of New Call

View from the parking lot of Fellowship PCA

After much thought, prayer, and discussion with my wife and trusted friends I have accepted the call of the congregation of Fellowship Presbyterian Church, PCA in Newport, TN to be their solo pastor.  I am very excited and humbled at the Lord’s working to bring this opportunity to reality. 

It was not an easy decision. Though our hearts are breaking, and though we care deeply for the people of Landis, my wife and I believe this is the right time for us to make this move.  We have nothing but the fondest of thoughts for God’s people at Landis Presbyterian Church.  They have been supportive, kind, and patient with their young pastor (ministerially at least). It is our greatest desire to see Landis grow and become the salt and light the Savior says they are in a community that so desperately needs the Gospel    (Philippians 1:3-11).  We ask that you pray diligently for them and that God would abundantly provide for them. 

Our immediate plans are as follows:  I will continue as the pastor of Landis until August 1, 2017. Between now and then we will look for housing in the Newport, TN area.  Our plans are to rent a home for one-year and then purchase a house in the area. We are now in packing mode, both at home and in my study at the church. Lord willing we will be in our new home by August 1. Pending presbytery approval, the installation service will be August 13, 2017, at the church.  

I look forward to this opportunity and privilege to shepherd God’s people as they pilgrim through this world. It is humbling to think that the Great Shepherd of the sheep has entrusted His people to my care, and the care of godly elders. I look forward to what the Lord will do in Newport, and I am praying that His name would be glorified in all that we do and that many would come to the Lord Jesus Christ as result of the ordinary means of grace God has given to the church. Please pray for us as we make this transition and please pray for God’s people at Fellowship. 

My Reasons for Leaving Facebook

My Reasons for Leaving Facebook

The other day I decided to deactivate my Facebook account indefinitely. Some have indicated that they would like to read my reasons, so I offer them in this brief post. 

My decision for leaving Facebook is my own, and this article should not be construed as a list of rules as to why you should as well. I have no ability to dictate or determine how one uses their time and energy. We all have decisions to make in life and, as I am often heard saying, “life is about choices.” This decision is one I made, for me, and for no other reason.

My Reasons for Leaving 

First, Facebook is a source of stress, sometimes, due to the drama that usually takes place in the discussions and status updates of others. It is a place where people often vent and rant and spout off with little or no thought as to what impact their words will have. I have been guilty of this too often, and the best way for me to stop is to leave.  The medium does indeed control the message and debates on Facebook usually have little profit, at least in my experience. 

Second, Facebook has become a place where the potential to waste significant amounts of time is real.  Again, I am not speaking for anyone else. I am speaking for me.  Many of my readers know that I am a busy pastor of a small congregation.  As a result, I do almost everything necessary for the church to operate day-to-day. I prepare two sermons a week and write my own Sunday school material. I counsel and disciple young Christians and visit the members in their homes. That is my calling, and I have found that the hours I waste on Facebook take me away from those primary duties and responsibilities.  On top of all that, I am called to pray, as are all Christians. I seriously doubt the Lord will accept my excuse that I did not pray enough for the people He entrusted to me because I was on Facebook (or any other social medium). Christians are to redeem the time because the days are evil.  The potential to waste time is simply too great.  I have heard people tell me they don’t spend that much time on it.  However, if you add up 5 minutes here and 12 minutes there for an entire week, I suspect the time spent would be shockingly large. 

Third, Facebook has the potential to be a place to “promote self.” Again, I have been guilty of this too often.  I know of no other way to avoid that issue except to remove the temptation.

Fourth, I see little value in knowing every action, thought, etc. of people.  I know I can block them or remove them from my friend’s list or unfollow them.  For me, that is too much of a hassle.  I opted to stop the process altogether.  The flip side of this issue is that I have often engaged in this activity (for instance, check-ins to a certain location. Really? Do people care where I am?).   I am not that important and do not think I need to let people know everything about me — where I am, what I am doing – etc.

There are probably other issues.  The first two are the primary reasons.  None of these are profound. 

The Value of Facebook

There is value to Facebook, to be sure. It is nice to stay in touch with loved ones and friends who live outside your area. It is nice to see pictures of people you care for and hear what is going on in their lives. However, for me, that represents a very small fraction of why I am on it. Another benefit is seeing recommendations regarding books, articles, etc. from others. However, I can get that information through RSS feeds as well as Twitter (which does not require a ton of time at all because I set up lists and quickly scan valuable items). 

Those who read these reasons may disagree, and that is fine. Again, these are my reasons. I doubt anyone will care why I left Facebook.  Again, I am not that important.  I wrote this for my benefit.