Never Again

“I’ll never again be so short sighted to limit God’s use of me to one area.” 


I used to wonder if I would ever be a Pastor again. I don’t wonder anymore.

I believe with all my heart and soul that I will never be a Pastor again. I believe this not out of bitterness from events in my life but after understanding that God’s call on my life just doesn’t mesh with he popular idea of Pastor.

I’ve been a Pastor. I was a church-planting pastor. A bi-vocational church planting pastor. The little church we planted grew from four families to over 100 regular attenders each week. The growth wasn’t because I am so great in the pulpit. It was simply God blessing the preaching of His word. That little church was split and destroyed by my best friend at the time. I wonder sometimes where that little church would be if he would not have split and destroyed us…

Following the death of that little church I was bitter, angry, and confused. I wasn’t just angry and bitter toward my onetime best friend. I was angry at God. Not only did I feel like I had failed God, but felt that in some way God had failed me. After realizing how disgusting the thought that God had failed me was, I repented and tried to heal

I wondered if I could ever be used by God ever again. It was a very difficult time for my family. I trusted no one, valued no one, and contemplated suicide more than once during that period. It has been a difficult process but a needful one. During the process I have had many ups and downs. I harbored desires to be a Pastor again – to preach regularly.

We lost out church six years ago this July. I’ve mostly healed from that experience though I still struggle sometimes. I had hoped to stay preaching and have had some opportunities to preach here and there. I did my best to remain authentic and transparent in the pulpit. That got me some interesting emails and comments, but I tried to remain true to the person God has called me to be. But now, simply filling a pulpit that doesn’t seem to be in my future either. I haven’t preached in about two years (July 2016) and doubt that will happen again. So what happened?

God moved.

I followed.

Far too often we think that serving God after Seminary includes some sort of Pastoral ministry, professor, or other similar type of position. But I have come to the conclusion that type of thinking is exactly wrong. I’m convinced that as I follow God, more and wildly different opportunities will be presented to me. I doubt many of these opportunities will look like the traditional things I expected when graduating seminary. You know, things like graduate, become an associate pastor, youth pastor, or other type of pastor. These positions eventually lead to a Senior (Lead, Teaching, etc.) Pastor, then continued ascent up the church ladder by getting bigger and bigger churches to Pastor. I’ve come to reject this model. God can (and does) work in that way. But I think far too often we expect hime to work that way for everyone. And that is where we can really handicap ourselves.

So what am I going to do? I don’t know. All I know is that I am willing to do anything in service to Him. Whether that means being a traditional pastor (I don’t think so!), a pulpit filler, or continuing to write books, teach seminars,  or do something else, I am willing.

How about you? Are you willing to do anything for God’s glory or just some things?

I’ll never again limit my vision for what God has for me. Whatever that means for me and my family – wherever that takes us, we’ll go. I have no idea how this is going to play out, but I am convinced that it will play out to the glory of God. And I am pleased with that.

I’ll never again be so short sighted to limit God’s use of me to one area.

Never again.

Never again.

A new year, old delays!

My grand plan to redesign my website has hit a bit of a snag. But fear not, I’m working on it and hope to have it done before too long. But, in order to prepare for that, I’ll be posting an article each week that will eventually be available for download.

I hope that the articles I post in the next few weeks are helpful and an encouragement to you.

New Year, New Website Design

I am busily redesigning my website to repurpose it from simply a blog to a more well-rounded source of free instruction in God’s Word. I will still have the blog as part of it, but I will also have areas for discussions, (hopefully) downloads, and other fun and edifying things.

I appreciate your patience as this redesign takes place and the form and function of The Bald Theologian changes. The thing that won’t change is my commitment to providing an education in the Bible for no charge to the learner. All you will ever need to take a course of mine is a heart that is willing to learn and work through the course materials.

Here is to a new year, a new website, but an old commitment to boldly proclaim the bald Word of God.


New Years 2017 – A Resolution worth Keeping

So 2017 is here (technically this is New Year’s Eve but since I plan to be sleeping when the new year begins I figured I’d post this now) and time to roll out the New Year’s Resolutions stuff.

Resolutions – you know, those things we resolve to accomplish to  do in the new year but never seem to do? Yeah, it is THAT time again. I’ve never been one to make a resolution at the new year. I may have done it a time or two but I never really meant it. But this year is different for me. I am going to make one resolution that I hope to keep throughout the year. I intend and will do my best to keep this resolution  in the coming years.

My resolution is not about weight loss, though I certainly be a pound or ten lighter. My resolution has nothing to do with saving money. In some ways my resolution may cause me to save less money. It doesn’t concern being kinder, gentler, or easing back on my conservative views. It isn’t about finally getting my book published or being a Pastor again. It has to do with something much more important than those temporal things. My resolution has eternal implications and eternal consequences.

So what is my resolution? Before I get to it, a particular passage of Scripture comes to mind:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NASB


I resolve, beginning this year and continuing through the rest of my life to continually place myself on the altar for God to use as he sees fit. I will place all of me at His disposal.


But what does this mean?

Simply put, being a living sacrifice means that I sacrifice all in service to my King and God. But what is all? Well, it is everything. This includes my desires, the money I earn, the life I lead, the aspirations I have. It means every nook and cranny of my life is places on the altar as a living sacrifice.

The practical implications of this are numerous.

One thing that must occur as I do this is that I must dismiss my plans. That does not mean that I simply wander through life without  a plan. It doesn’t mean that I wait for God to miracle a direction for my life. It does mean that the ideas I have for my life come under the headship of Christ. I resolve no longer to ask God to bless my plans, I resolve to ask God to bless me with His plan for my life. So though I have one seemingly simply resolution of for this new year and for years to come, there are actually other resolutions that are contained within the simply one above.

As a part of my main resolution,

I resolve to place my desires and aspirations on the altar as a living sacrifice. This does not mean I do not have desires and aspirations. I certainly have them. For instance, I finally have the desire to pastor a church again. I desire to preach much more than the once a year I currently preach. I want to teach more. I want to disciple more. But those desires must be on the altar if I am to do things God’s way. I resolve to continue to prepare to be a pastor – with all that entails – as I wait on God to open a door somewhere to be that Pastor again. I may never be a pastor again. With that desire on the altar means that I’m OK with that outcome. And I am OK;

I resolve to reorder my life to study God’s word deeper and in a more meaningful way. I resolve to share the knowledge God has blessed me with. Anyone who desires to learn what I know is welcome to that knowledge;

I resolve to place my family, my church life, and my work life on the altar as a living sacrifice. Finding balance between many competing interests is difficult if not impossible. This is especially true for those of us with a large family. The demands of being the sole wage earner in a home to 10 folks is daunting even on a good day. Things are expensive these days. With 8 kids, a wife, two guinea pigs, two parakeets, two cats, a dog and many hens and many ducks puts a strain on the family budget;

I resolve to be spent by the time my body dies. I will not hold back but I will not simply do something for the sake of doing it. My activity shall be God-directed, not me directed. To be spent means I shall do all that God calls me to do. I shan’t do things in my own power. I shall do things under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit.


My life is not my own. I’ve known that for quite a while. Now I will continue to live like that. Everything I am, I hope to be, or hope to do is part of being a living sacrifice to God. It is part of renewing my mind. It is about living life in a God-honoring way. It is living a Christ-centered life rather than a self-centered life.

This is my resolution not just for this year, but for all years to follow.

So, help me God. I’m going to need Your help.

The Amigo of Grace – again!

Grace delivers us from bondage to laws

and frees us to enjoy God in an enriching

and satisfying relationship


In order to grasp the reality of God’s grace we must first understand the reality of our own sinfulness. If we are convinced that in spite of the little vices which we all have, we are basically good people deserving of God’s favor, then we shall see no need for His grace. If we believe that God is obligated to let us enter Heaven because we have tried to keep His laws and done the best we can, then grace is totally unnecessary. The whole concept will appear absurd. But if we accept God’s assessment of our lives—that we are unrighteous, deceitful, desperately wicked, guilty, condemned sinners, incapable of measuring up to God’s standard and unworthy of His acceptance—then a deep appreciation for His grace will begin to dawn on our sin-dulled minds. We will get to know the God of all grace.

We learn a valuable lesson about grace from observing God’s gracious actions toward us in salvation. Just as the root meaning of the New Testament word involves joy and pleasantness, so we notice that God’s grace has an uncanny way of transforming the unpleasant into the pleasant. He takes an unbeliever, chained to his wretchedness and sin and bound for the bitterness of an eternal hell, freely gives him the lovely garments of Christ’s righteousness, then assures him of Heaven’s glory and beauty. What a transformation! That is God’s grace for salvation.

Then He continues to act toward us in grace. Not only does He bring delight to our drab existence by giving us the gift of eternal life, but He keeps on giving us good things to meet our needs and brighten our lives. For example, He gives us the resources to build us up and set us apart more fully to Himself, progressively replacing the ugliness of our daily sin with the attractiveness of holy living. That was Paul’s message to the Ephesian elders:


And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which

is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those

who are sanctified – Acts 20:32 NASB


That is grace for sanctification.

Sanctification is not slavishly submitting in the energy of the flesh to somebody’s man-made list of do’s and don’ts in order to enhance our own reputation or earn points with God. It is laying hold of God’s gracious plan to become more like Christ for His glory and praise. Grace delivers us from bondage to laws and frees us to enjoy God in an enriching and satisfying relationship. We will be motivated to please Him from within rather than pressured from without. We delight in pleasing someone who never stops giving good things to us.

God also provides grace for Christian service. We have a tendency to get carried away with our own abilities, and we begin to think that God is rather fortunate to have us on His team to do His work. We may feel that He is obligated to prosper us when we do serve Him. Those attitudes often lead to failure. The Apostle Paul admitted without shame that he was unworthy to serve Christ: “I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power” (Ephesians 3:7; cf. also 2 Corinthians 8:1-2).

We do not deserve to have the pleasure of serving the eternal God, but He has bestowed that privilege on us by His grace. We serve Him not to obtain His favor, but because we already have it. Any success we may enjoy will be the gift of His grace. He freely gives us the abilities and strength we need to serve Him. He transforms our feeble, bungling, embarrassing, unpleasant efforts into an effective, satisfying, and rewarding ministry that brings glory to Him. It is all part of His gracious actions toward us.

Grace – The First Amigo

An Undefinable Word

Grace is a subject that is broad and deep. I could take years examining the word of God and not adequately plumb the depths of grace. If I had an unlimited vocabulary and perfect writing skills, I would not be able to adequately communicate the beauty of His grace. There just are no words for it. So I will do the best I can to share what I have learned. But to describe it accurately is to try to accurately describe a beautiful sunset painted on the canvass of the sky. To adequately communicate its affect on the human souls is more difficult than to describe in detail the joy of watching one’s child be born…or their first intentional smile!

A Theological Description

God’s grace is that perfection or attribute of God that enables Him to have mercy on us. It is that part that strives with a rebellious person like me…and you. Like every other perfection (or attribute) grace just isn’t an adjective, it isn’t even just part of God. Grace IS who God is. Just like He is love, righteous, holy, just, etc. God is grace and He sheds His grace on us. Now how He sheds grace on humanity can be different but make no mistake that all of humanity experiences God’s grace one way or another.


Important Distinctions

Common Grace

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.                   – Matthew 5:44-45 NASB

Common grace is shed on all mankind, not just the elect. We see it in not only the rain cited in Matthew 5, but also in the healing of diseases, feeding the hungry, withholding judgement of those who scoff at God, murder others, and commit all sorts of unrighteousness. We even saw it at the beginning of man’s rebellion when God was gracious to Adam and Eve by making them clothes and graciously allowing them to live rather than execute judgement on them immediately. God’s common grace is that grace that everyone enjoys whether they recognize it as being from God or not.


Saving Grace

But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.  – Acts 15:11 NASB


The saving grace of God is on full display during the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. In Acts 15 the Council has been convened to discuss the issue of gentiles getting saved. A question arose that centered around the issue of whether the gentiles needed to become Jewish and hold to the Law before they could be saved. It was an honest argument that later turned into a legalistic requirement by some. Anyway, the result of that discussion is the verse quoted above: ALL mankind are saved by the grace of God.


In Ephesians 2 Paul states

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.                                            – Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB


Some Questions for Thought

God’s grace is what saves us. So what does this have to do with justification and sanctification? And what about security? Can we once saved ever be not saved? Does God’s grace keep us as well?

All these questions are good ones that need straightforward answer. They all will be addressed in the next few weeks as we continue to consider the three amigos of grace, justification and sanctification. It may get a little tangled, but there are very important things to understand about these three amigos and how they apply to life. We’ll also be able to understand how each is distinct from the other but how each works with and enhances the other. I hope you stick around for the ending. It is really awesome.

And I do mean AWE-some



The Three Amigos

I’m at about 35,000 feet in the air as I write this article. I’m flying to a conference in St. Paul, Minnesota that will take a week of my life. This type of thing isn’t necessarily the most fun I have on my job, but it is part of my job. Sometimes understanding why I have to leave my family for a bit of time is difficult. Like this time. I just don’t always understand the need for me to go somewhere. But my job demands it, so I go. I plug away and work hard to get through it, not just slog through it –  but get through it well. Why? Because everything I do, even the things I don’t fully understand – I do for Christ my King.

This article is the first in a series that examine the relationship between grace, justification, and sanctification. The reason I am examining these three amigos is a dear brother in the Lord asked me a question. I didn’t have an answer for him and I struggled a bit forming one. But I kept going. Not just to get an answer, but for the glory of Christ my Savior and King. Do I fully understand everything? Nope. Does my lack of understanding in any way detract from the truth of God’s word? Nope.

My plan is to examine each of these three important doctrines. I will then put it all together in (hopefully) one article that will try to put these three amigos together. I hope I communicate the truths I have discovered well because, quite frankly, they are nothing short of awesome. So let’s jump in and discover God’s wonderful three amigos – Grace, Justification, and Sanctification.

These three doctrines are important to understand on their own. It is also important to understand how each of them interacts with the others. And not for just these three essential doctrines but for all essential doctrines. Getting that done is not always easy – well, truth be told, it is never easy. But it is important because none of these doctrines works its way out in our lives in a vacuum.

There is a logical progression of sorts in the order these doctrines become effective in the life of a believer. This is only a logical order since there is very little (if any) time between these doctrines becoming active in the life of a believer. The logical progression of these three amigos can be illustrated simply



As I said before, this is simply the logical – not chronological – progression. In real time, the three amigos essentially happen at the same time but do have an affect on each other throughout the Christian’s life.

I hope you  enjoy this short series concerning these three very important doctrines. As usual, we will proceed as fast as the subjects allow. I’m in no hurry to get these done. I am, though, wanting to communicate precisely and clearly the subjects. I trust you will profit from this.