Archive for the ‘Blogging’ category

2012 Band of Bloggers Audio

April 24, 2012

I haven’t had the opportunity to talk much about the 2012 Band of Bloggers fellowship this year because of other, larger projects colliding on the same season in the calendar this year.  We had a great gathering of 350 folks (sold out) and were able to give away 17 books per person (4 of them being e-books). Each year, I struggle to muster the energy required to do these gatherings, but each time they take place, I am reminded how much of a blessing the fellowship, books, and discussions are to folks who attend.

This year, the theme was on the “underestimated resurgence” with a look back on the past six years of the “young, restless, and reformed” movement and in particular the influence of blogging and social media played a role. Six years ago, I led the first Band of Bloggers fellowship in Heritage Hall on the campus of Southern Seminary, and so it is fitting that this year we could return back to our roots with the same panel speakers (Tim Challies and Justin Taylor) and include a few others (Collin Hansen and Owen Strachan).

The audio of the panel discussion was recently released, and you can download it by clicking here. I hope that you find it helpful and edifying to your interest and efforts to engage on the Internet, and especially through the blogosphere.

One Shining Moment

April 5, 2011

There have been some great moments over the past six years of blogging here at P&P.  The Ask Anything 9th inning rally comes to my mind.  So does the Puritan Reading Challenge.   Then again there is P2R Memory Moleskine.  And now there is one more to add, thanks to so many of you who worked the social networks of Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

Last night, it was declared that I was the winner of the 2011 SBC Voices Blog Madness.  It was a lot of fun, and I was really encouraged to see friends and family root my little blog on.  In order to even make it to the final round, I needed a substantial comeback in the 2nd round to edge out Dr. Russell Moore much to the chagrin of some folks.  But alas, the madness is over, and I realize what a great community of folks I have to connect with online.

This little win marks six years to the month that I started blogging.  2,100 posts later, P&P is still chugging along, and it seems like now that so much of that has become biographical.  Thanks for joining me in the journey and encouraging you in the gospel. It has always been my desire to make much of Jesus here.

For all of us, the best seat is the back seat.
For all of us, the best ground is the background.

Five Years and Counting

March 18, 2010

Five years ago this week, I walked into Boyce Centennial Library to find my friend Zach Mabry getting on a Xanga blog-ring which made absolutely no sense to me.  I had heard about blogging because of what had recently happened to Dan Rather, and I knew the potential influence they would have in our culture, but I can assure you that I had no idea that getting into blogging would result in over 2,000 blogposts and still kicking five years later.  That’s just crazy.

So I just want to take a minute to say thanks to all of you who have encouraged me with your comments, emails, and personal meet-ups over the years.  I can honestly say that over 90% of the people I know in the evangelical world have come either through blogging or Twitter.  This journey has been marked by some wonderful blessings, not the least of which are the people who have entered my life and are now some of my closest friends–guys like Joe Thorn, Nathan Finn, and Tom Ascol who, through blogging became a mentor and spiritual father to me and with whom I have the privilege to partner with in gospel ministry.

During this journey, there has been the development of Band of Bloggers (now going on the 4th year), the Puritan Reading Challenge (which was engaged by over 20,000 people),  the amazing ninth inning rally to catapult my crazy regulative principle question to #1 on Mark Driscoll’s “Ask Anything” website (which turned into a sermon series and book by Crossway), and somehow making it into the top 100 church blog listing.  But more meaningful to all this has been the faithful reading of so many of you who haven’t been dialing in to the latest controversy or sexy topic but rather have embraced the metanarrative I have sought to cultivate around the gospel of Jesus Christ and the mission of the church.  To hear of how some of the things I have written have personally encouraged you or proved beneficial in your church amazes and humbles me, knowing that this is God’s grace at work.

I don’t know how much longer I will be blogging in the future, but without hesitation I can say that it has been a rich and rewarding blessing to be able to share my thoughts, learn from yours, and seek to facilitate healthy conversation on important matters in the Christian life.  So thank you. And I hope that whatever contributions I attempt to make in the future will honor Jesus, advance the gospel, build His church, and encourage His people.  Grace and peace.

2010 Band of Bloggers | Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity

March 3, 2010

After having been prodded by several folks, I have been working over the past months to put together another Band of Bloggers gathering in conjunction with the 2010 Together for the Gospel Conference.  I say prodded because the amount of work placed on one person with limited time and no budget is challenging to pull off each year.  What began as a wild idea in 2006 as a seminary student has morphed into our fourth gathering with hundreds of gospel-centered bloggers being networked for encouragement, fellowship, and discussion of issues related to new media and the gospel.

The theme for the 2010 Band of Bloggers is “Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity” and I have asked Justin Taylor, Trevin Wax, Jonathan McIntosh, and Jared Wilson to address this theme with short talks and a panel discussion.  I am really excited about addressing this theme and the group of guys who have agreed to lead us in thinking how our lives on the internet face idolatrous temptations such as identity, power, acceptance, etc. and how we can remain faithful to the gospel in not only the substance of what we say but the form in which we write.

The gathering will take place on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 beginning at 11:00am at The Galt House in downtown Louisville, KY.  The $25 registration simply covers the cost of the catered lunch (which is not optional), and given the large numbers of people attending T4G and relatively few places to eat, this will be one meal easy to determine. 🙂  However, due to limited space I encourage you to register early.  There has yet to be a Band of Bloggers that did not sell out.

For those down with BoB, please consider helping us promote our gathering with embedding an ad, blog button, or banner to your website or blog.  In the coming weeks, I will be sharing on the BoB website those who are sponsoring this year’s gathering with free books and resources.  I hope to see you there!

Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity”
2010 Band of Bloggers Fellowship
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 :: 11:00am

The Galt House, Downtown Louisville, KY
(in conjunction with Together for the Gospel)


September 2009 in Review

September 30, 2009

Here are some of the leading blogposts at P&P over the past month.

1. Thoughts on Gospel-Centered Worship
2. Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It
3. Evangelism in Every ‘Place’
4. Gospel Workshops – An Idea for Your Consideration
5. The Jesus Storybook Bible
6. Good News, Not Good Advice
7. Tim Keller on Network Evangelism
8. The Three-Dimensional Gospel
9. A Snapshot of Gospel Centrality
10. Gospel Renewal Through the Fear of the Lord

Integrating Twitter with Facebook and Blog

April 30, 2009

In case some of you may be wondering why I’m writing these posts, I’ve been asked to give a little presentation today on the use of social media and online networking for church planters in SW Florida.  I don’t consider myself an expert, but if there are some ideas that I could pass along that would be helpful to a fellow minister, I’m glad to serve in that way. 🙂

What I want to bring out in this post is the process or flow between your blog, twitter, and Facebook and more specifically their integration.  My setup may be different from others, so consider this as one of perhaps several ways to integrate these mediums.

Step One: Writing

Home base is your blog.  It’s where your most substantive articles are going to be posted, your best ideas (hey, like this blogpost!) are shared, and ultimately develop a solid readership in the process.  Your blog posts should be well written grammatically, easy to read aesthetically (such as paragraph breaks, no crazy font colors, etc.), and capable of being read within five minutes (general rule is 500-1000 words; more than 1200 words need to be broken down into two parts).  You can have great things to say, but if it is not presented well, potential readers will be turned off.  Write well, format well, and present well.


2009 Band of Bloggers – From a Distance

April 22, 2009

For most people, going to lunch and paying $15 for your meal would sound like a little pricey.  For others who received $175 worth of books and two hours of gospel fellowshiping, that $15 is put in a whole new perspective.  Of course, I am talking about the 2009 Band of Bloggers meeting which was held today in conjunction with The Gospel Coalition National Conference.

When I was first approached by guys from TGC about doing a Band of Bloggers this year, I was rather opposed to doing it simply because of the work involved in putting it together.  BoB has not budget or staff and given my new ministry at Grace, I figured that it was a near impossibility.  Through the encouragement and support of TGC, however, I had a change of heart and moved forward last summer with the plans on putting this meeting together.  Today’s meeting would have never been possible had TGC not been so supportive and willing to partner so that it could be administered from a distance.

Shortly after the planning began, I found out we were having a baby whose due date was going to be close to the time of this year’s meeting.  However, I continued to make plans to attend, knowing that there was a possibility that changes could happen.  And, well, changes did happen.  Without going into too much detail, I was providentially hindered from attending this year, and for that I was really saddened.

From what I could tell by the tweets and correspondence of friends, today’s meeting went rather well, largely in part due to two great brothers: Owen Strachan and Ben Peays.  These brothers stepped in to invest time and energy for this cause that was beyond what I could have ever asked and embodied a kind of “togetherness” that animates the vision of Band of Bloggers.  I also want to thank Justin Taylor, Tullian Tchividjian, Tim Challies, Mike Anderson, Eric Johnson, Steve McCoy, and Tony Reinke for their presentations and participation in the panel discussion, and I look forward to benefiting myself from all that was discussed.  The crowded room and the generous support from the sponsors who donated 2,000+ books are a reflection of the continued success of BoB to fuel a gospel-centered vision in the blogosphere and network together for the spread of Jesus’ fame in both worlds–real and virtual.

People are already asking about Band of Bloggers for 2010.  More information and plans will be announced on the BoB website, but for now, if you would like to join this gospel-centered fellowship, be sure to join the BoB Directory where you will find a great list of gospel-centered bloggers.

Thanks to all of you who attended and was a part of the 2009 Band of Bloggers meeting.  While it was something held at a distance during this past year, my prayer is that it will cause us all to embrace the gospel and call to be Servants and Stewards.

POTW :: firsthaircut

March 13, 2009

View in Flickr (see it LARGE)

View in Flickr (see it LARGE)

View in Flickr (see it LARGE)

A couple of weeks ago, we took Nolan for his first haircut.  As you could imagine from the photos, it lasted all but of maybe five minutes.  The first and last photos are a before and after shot from the backseat of the car.  Things are going well on the family front, and Dusti is now 31 weeks in on baby Brister #2.  We still haven’t decided on a name, although several friends have proudly nominated their names in honorary fashion.

Tomorrow is a big day for me.  It’s my first attempt to complete a triathlon.  I’m generally in decent shape, but I have not trained regularly at all for this race, so I’m really nervous about how my body will perform.  The race starts Saturday morning at 8:00AM, and I am in the third wave to hit the water (@ 8:15am).  Plans are to leave Cape Coral at 2:00AM and drive four hours to Orlando and arrive just in time for registration, body marking, and walking through transitions.  I believe there will be a live-streaming of the race available here starting at 7:30AM.  And while I’m tempted to live-tweet the race, I think I will pass because I will be in survival mode most of the time. 🙂

Last but not least, I’ve got a favor to ask of you.  SBC Voices (actually Tony Kummer) is putting on the SBC Blog Madness where you vote for your favorite SBC blogs.  I’m in the “Eastern Division” and have to compete against the world-renowned iMonk.  So if you would be so kind as to go over there and vote for me, I’d really appreciate it!  Have a great weekend, everyone, and I’ll try to post some pics of the race soon.

Grace and peace.

My Random Year in Review Post

December 31, 2008

To be consistent with the randomness of this past year, I am going conclude this year in blogging with a random post reflecting on this past year.

2008 Puritan Reading Challenge

Something that initially was an afterthought on the way home from work became a full blown reading project.  Never could I have imagined to see so many people jump into a reading challenge involving Puritan Paperbacks!  Over 100 websites plugged the challenge, two publishing companies sponsored free books, one radio program jumped on board, and from P&P alone, over 20,000 people have considered the challenge.  From groups including a pastor network in Zambia to homeschooling moms in Japan to seminarians in London to small groups throughout the U.S., the challenge really showed the viral nature of a flattened world embracing a good challenge.  For that I am truly grateful.

However, due to providential circumstances, the second half of the challenge was difficult to administer.  For the first time in my blogging experience, I entered the pastorate, serving at Grace Baptist Church.  Over the course of the summer, I quickly realized that there were issues that I could not help (such as being homeless for two months and without my library) which made it virtually impossible to blog the challenge as I had been doing.  Then my fellow pastor, Tom Ascol, was struck by lightning, catapulting me to embracing responsibilities with a load that demanded my undivided attention.  Since then, I have hoped to contribute what I could to the challenge as a means of information and encouragement.  All in all, I reflect on the 08PRC with great gratitude and little sadness.

2008 Band of Bloggers: The Gospel Trust

Back in April, I hosted the second ever Band of Bloggers fellowship at The Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky with over 175 bloggers participating.  What most people don’t know is that this event was very close to never happening.  With no budget and very few connections, I had very few options.  Nevertheless, God opened the hearts of many gracious people, including the conference administrators of The Galt House to host this event at minimal cost. Moreover, seven publishing companies donated over 1,000 books to give away to those who attended the conference.  Thabiti Anyabwile, Tim Challies, Abraham Piper, and Phil Johnson were the guests panel speakers, and they all did an excellent job.  I am grateful for the wonderful outcome of this event and look forward to future possibilities of another BoB meet up.

Diversified Blogging

I have writing on multiple blogs since 2005, but I have since stopped blogging on Strange BaptistFire and Said at Southern and have begun two other blogs related to Grace.  In November, I began Sowing Grace–our church planting resource center and also the True Grace of God Blog–our church’s main blog.  I average 4-5 blogposts on each of these websites, so I encourage to check them out.  While I have been blogging less on P&P, I am blogging more on these sites.

Social Media (Facebook and Twitter)

When I first saw folks Twittering in late 2007, I was really dogging it. Who has time to do such a thing?  Six months later, I took the plunge and have enjoyed the networking with over 300 people and nearly 1,900 tweets.  Here’s a pretty cool stat analysis of my tweeting if you care to look.  Interesting note, 4 of the top 10 “Twitter Elites” in Cape Coral are me, Tom, Founders, and Grace. 🙂  A couple of months ago, I synced my Facebook updates with my Twitter updates, and that has fostered great discussion and networking on Facebook as well.

Regenerate Church Membership

Most of May and June was dedicated to blogging about the importance of regenerate church membership in support of Tom Ascol’s resolution which was eventually passed by the SBC in Indianapolis.  You can catch all the blogposts by going to the category on church membership.  I look forward to picking this pack up again next year.

Gospel and Mission

Some of my favorite blogging this past year came around the gospel and mission.  In March, I recruited some friends to write a series on missional work; in August, I took up missional margin (part 2); and in December, I wrote a mini-series on missional prayer.  There are other posts on the gospel, mission, evangelism, and church planting as well you might want to check out.

There’s probably a lot more to say about this past year, but these jumped out in my mind.  In the next post, I will share some new things I hope to do in 2009.  Thanks for reading, commenting, emailing, and offering encouragement over the past year.  Here’s a list of the places you can find me on the internet:

Provocations and Pantings || My Twitter || My FaceBook || My Flickr

Church Website || Church Blog || Sowing Grace || GBC Twitter || GBC Facebook

New Website for Grace Baptist Church

November 24, 2008

grace-logoThis week, we are announcing the launch of our church’s new website–a project that has been in the works for several months.  There are several things I sought to have in the design and template, including a WordPress integrated blog for the church, new podcast, embedded live-streaming, and a mullet-strategy design (business up front, party in the back).  The back end is a password protected section that includes a digital church directory, church calendar, daily devotional (Octavius Winslow’s Morning Thoughts), and more info tailored to church-specific needs, issues, and announcements.  It is a very small picture of what Mars Hill has done with The City (developed by Zach Hubert, now being marketed by Zondervan).

The next goal is to duplicate this entire website into Spanish (half of Grace’s congregation has Spanish as their primary language).  There are other aspects you might be interested in checking out, including our page dedicated to regenerate church membership.  Resources on this cardinal Baptist doctrine include the resolution passed in 2008, quotes/excerpts, bibliography, and books on church membership.  We hope to potentially hold live-streaming discussions on this topic in the future as well.  To read more of the new features, check out the latest blogpost.

Alongside the new website, I have been working on the Grace social media project with the creation of a GBC Facebook Group and a GBC Twitter.  These sites have been helpful to connect and leverage our influence on the internet, utilizing the tools available for the advancement of the gospel (we are currently doing a testimony challenge, encouraging all GBC Facebook members to write their testimony and post it before the end of the year).

The last project, one which have mentioned several times previously, has been Sowing Grace–the church planting resource center online.  There you will find information about current and future church planting developments as well as daily posts related to the work and life of a church planting church.

If you got a moment, check out the new church website, and let me know what you think (positive or negative).  Tom Ascol and I will be updating the church blog fairly regularly.  If you would like more information about the guys who created the template and design, check out Elevate.  They are a solid team of designers who give generous amounts of time to creating a quality website.

Website | Blog (RSS) | Facebook | Twitter | Sowing Grace | Flickr | UStream

Update >>>

What now?  Well, to cap things off, this Thursday the pastoral staff of GBC are running in the 29th Annual Cape Coral Turkey Trot. This is a 5k run (3.1 miles).  Tom actively works out; I haven’t run a mile in four years. He was struck by lightning this summer; I was struck by lightning in the 9th grade.  His was far worse. So that’s all the pre-race commentary. Who will win the race? Cast your vote!

Website | Blog (RSS) | Facebook | Twitter | Sowing Grace | Flickr | UStream

Why I Use Twitter

November 12, 2008

twitter-logo-6When Twitter first came on the scene, I was really skeptical of this medium (I still have a few reservations).  According to the Twitter FAQ page, Twitter is “a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

I began to tweet at the beginning of the summer (early June), and since then I have over 1,300 updates and 190 followers.  Since then, a number of friends, family, and fellow church members have joined as well.  Others that I have hardly known have developed into frequent correspondence.  Recently, I thought about writing down some of the reasons why I found Twitter to be a profitable medium, and here are six that I came up with.

1.  Networking

90% of the people I know in evangelical and Baptist circles, I know through the blogosphere.  Several them I have come to know better through Twitter, and others I am getting to know for the first time.  Twitter is allowing me an opportunity to connect with people whom I otherwise would have little to no interaction.

2.  Journaling (Instant Photo-Journalism)

twitter-logo-5I love photography, but one of the things I hate about shooting with a professional camera is all the post-production processing.  By the time I am through, the images feel outdated.  Twitter has afforded me the ability to instantly post pics via Twitpic in a photo-journalistic manner (albeit the images are not that great).  If you have a camera phone, this is really easy and fun to do.

When I originally started my blog, it was intended to be a journalistic update of my life and our family.  When it turned into an issues/topic driven blog, I minimalized the personal touch.  Twitter allows me to communicate with friends and family more about the ins and outs of my life, how they can pray, etc.  With the iPhone, I am able to Twitter in almost any location and any time of the day.

3.  Learning (A La Carte News)

Another cool thing about Twitter is the ability to get news and information about things from those in the Twitter network.  I guess you could say that it acts like a live RSS Reader of sorts.  I also post links and info to others I find important or worth reading.  In addition, I sometimes post quips or notes from my study that I hope are encouraging to those who “follow” me (much of which later finds its way on the blog).

4.  Plugging (Blog Redirection)

I use Twitter to plug new blog posts (from P&P & Sowing Grace) and Flickr pics when they are posted.  The ability to shorten URL’s through SnipURL, TinyURL,, and is.dg, makes it easy to maximize the 140 characters and provide a brief annotation about the link.  I usually generate 10-15 visitors from the Twitter plugging (not much, but I’ll take it).

5.  Listening (Dialogue)

One of critiques about Twitter is how narcissistic it feels.  I think, in general, this is true.  But Twitter can also be a great listening medium.  For instance, while drafting this post, I asked those who Twitter why they chose to do so, and I immediately received over a dozen responses.  I find that I learn a lot by listening to the responses of others in a two-way conversation where I am the inquirer and they are the informers.

6.  Laughing

twitter-logo-1I’m for the most part a pretty intense and serious-minded person, but I really enjoy a good laugh.  The commentary of friends, the goofy pictures, the witticisms, and totally random statements often serve as a pick-me-up or timely decompression valve.  For instance, here’s one that I thought was hilarious (Kevin has the weirdest and funniest tweets of anyone I know).

A little over a month ago, I created a Twitter account for Grace Baptist (we currently have 27 members on Twitter) as well as a Facebook group.  I use Twitter to make announcements, remind them of upcoming activities/events, provide urgent prayer requests, review outline from previous Sunday’s message(s), plug blogposts from church blog(s), express thanksgiving and appreciation, and share message title and text for upcoming sermons.

There are several applications I use in conjuction with Twitter.  Here they are:

Twitter/Facebook Integration – Tweets automatically posted on Facebook status
Tweetdeck – Desktop Interface for Twittering (nice because I have multiple accounts)
Twitpic – Photo sharing on Twitter
Twittelator – iPhone third-party application for Twitter
Tweet Scan – Twitter Search tool
TweetStats – Analyze statistics on Twitter

A new website called Twitip was created by Darren Rowse, author of Problogger, is a great resource for anyone wanting to get additional information about Twitter.

I am not a social media expert, nor do I pretend to know what the future holds for blogging and/or Twitter.  My guess is that those who used blogging as an internet journal will likely turn to Twitter, while those who use blogs as their main source for commentary and substantive dialogue will use Twitter to enhance their blog impact.  One thing that blogging has that Twitter does not is the SEO (search engine optimization).  Traffic to Twitter is basically inherent, while a well-established blog can generate accidental and intentional traffic from various sources, not the least of which is Googling. Nevertheless, it is accurate to say that blogging has taken a hit in 2008 while social media applications like Twitter and Facebook have seen exponential growth.

Some notable friends on Twitter include: Tom Ascol, Joe Thorn, Andy Crouch, Ed Stetzer, Thom Rainer, Steve McCoy, Jared Wilson, Daniel Montgomery, Mark Driscoll, Ligonier, Desiring God, and Tim Challies. There many other good Twitterers, but these are some you might recognize.

If you are looking to start, this post by Problogger might be helpful.  If you would like to connect with me on Twitter, here are the links:

* My Twitter (@timmybrister)
* GBC Twitter (@gracebaptist)

For those of you who do Twitter, why? What benefits are you receiving from this medium?  Has it replaced your blogging (if you have one)?  Any other reasons why you Twitter that I have not mentioned above?

Voting for What Needs to Be Said

October 9, 2008

So I am in another voting game, and I am losing pretty bad.  What do I do?  I call on my blog readers for some help–that’s what I do.  😉

Here’s the deal.  Over at Said at Southern, there is a contest for the best tag line, and I submitted several.  One made it into the final round, and it is “Because Some Things Just Have to be Said.”  I even gave a proof text: Acts 4:20.  🙂

If you care to chip in with a vote, you can go to this post, and select the second option (“Because Some Things Just Have to be Said”).  We’ve come back before, and I think another ninth inning might be coming on!

Moderating Comments

September 22, 2008

The blog is currently being overwhelmed by spam comments which sould have already been caught but are making it onto the blog.  As a result, I am having to moderate all comments, so if your comment does not show up promptly, it is because I will be approving them individually.  I don’t expect this to permanent but will likely continue for the days to come.  Thanks for understanding.


September 11, 2008

Thank you for reading my blog.

For the Time Being . . .

July 20, 2008

NOTE: For regular updates on Tom Ascol’s health condition, please see the comments section of this post.

For the past week or so, I have been wrestling where to go with the blog in writing series as well as keeping up with Blue Collar Theology and the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge (among other things). One of the desires I have is to share with you the journey I have been on that has taken me from a full-time seminary student/part-time 3rd shifter to full absorption into gospel ministry in the local church. All but the last two months of my blogging tenure has been spent in a seminary environment, and as a result, a considerable number of people who read my blog are fellow seminarians who will likely be serving in a ministerial context of some sort. Perhaps my journey, and retelling of some scenes along the way, could be profitable not only for the seminarians who are also making that great leap but also for the churches who would be receiving them.

But due to God’s providence, I have been led to a point where I understand that the place my blog is supposed to go is nowhere. At least not for the time being.

Many of you know already about the situation with Tom Ascol, whom I serve alongside here at Grace Baptist Church. Allow me to give another brief update on his condition. The last couple of nights have afforded Tom greater lengths of sleep time, which has been really good. However, the process has continued to be incredibly painful. The nerves in his body are beginning to regenerate at various parts of his body, and when they do, it is like great jolts of pain shooting to that area. So for instance, at one moment it could be his ankle, then later his hip, and a moment later his arm. It cannot be predicted when or where those jolts of pain come as the nerves regenerate, and so at any moment, things can turn from a moment of rest to restless pain. As I mentioned in the comments of my earlier post, the doctors are giving promising reports, expecting Tom to make a full recovery. But it will take time, and it will demand a change of pace and a season of rest. Please continue to pray for Tom and the Ascol family as I know they are really grateful for your support and prayers.

As you might imagine, Tom will not be able to receive email or phone calls for the immediate future. While I encourage you to comment and share your thoughts and prayers either in the comments here or on Tom’s blog, I do ask on behalf of Tom and the family that calls and emails be left to matters of necessity. I will be receiving all of his email, so I will be sensitive to respond to all matters that merit his (or his family’s) attention. I do ask that, given the circumstances, grace would be afforded to myself and others who will be attempting to administrate these tasks in a timely manner (he receives quite a bit more email than I do!). For all you Facebook users, you can also leave a message on his wall, or perhaps you could catch Tom twittering in the days ahead (though I would not expect him to).

Next Sunday, I will likely be preaching to our people on “God’s Providence and Our Pain” as I think it would be appropriate that we hear from Scripture on what God is doing here and how we can respond in faith to our loving and faithful Lord. If I may ask, please pray for me in the days ahead as well. I will be preaching and teaching 13 times over the next six weeks will be quite demanding, especially for a young novice like myself. 😉 Much of that will be a series on the prayers of Paul for the churches he planted–seeking to know what specifically Paul prayed and how prayer impacts church planting. Lord willing, our church will begin the early phases of planting a church about 45 minutes east of where we are located.

Lastly, we are finally at the point of closing on a home here and are expecting to moving in at the end of this week. This is a big praise, but the season of living in suitcases in homes of members has been immensely rewarding and encouraging. I know Nolan will look forward to having his own room! 🙂

As a result of all that God is doing here and the circumstances I find myself, (immediate) future blogging plans will be kept to updating you on the situation with Tom’s health and perhaps posting some stuff I have benefited from in my study. I embrace with joy the plans the Lord has for me in serving His people and look forward to allotting the overflow to spill out here. It is a privilege for me to serve God, His church, and our beloved pastor, and I thank you again for remembering us in your prayers.