Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Graduation Announcement

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a worker who has no need to be ashamed,
rightly handling the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15

As God graciously continues to teach me
to rightly handle the word of truth, he has
led me to a significant milestone

With great joy, I
Stephen Todd Young
announce my graduation from
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
with a
Master of Divinity degree
from the School of Theology
with a Concentration in Christian Ministry

Please celebrate this occasion with me
on December 11, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
on campus in the Alumni Chapel

A luncheon will follow at
State Street Baptist Church
2303 State Street
New Albany, Indiana

Thank you for your encouragement and
prayer as I continue to pursue God's calling in
my life. May God bless you according to
the immeasurable riches of
Jesus Christ!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What does it mean to be born again?

I recently had the opportunity to preach on short notice, and I wanted to share my sermon with you.

"Born Again: The Ultimate Metamorphosis."
September 6, 2009 at State Street Baptist Church


The Gulf Fritallary caterpillar is bright orange with black spines all over its body, indicating to predators that it is poisonous. This caterpillar looks incredibly ugly, almost alien or evil. Amazingly, however, as this bizarre creature matures, it finds a quiet and safe spot on the bottom of a leaf, for example, and it forms a chrysalis or cocoon. Inside this hard external shell, the Gulf Fritallary caterpillar undergoes an amazing transformation, changing from an ugly, poisonous, crawly critter to a beautiful butterfly. This amazing transformation is called metamorphosis. Today we will examine Jesus’ teaching in John 3:1-15 in an attempt to understand what it means for someone to be born again.

John 3:1-15:
3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

"What does it mean to be born again?"

I. A New Covenant Requirement:

In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
  • First, who was Nicodemus? He was a Pharisee, one of the most religious people of Israel, and he was a member of the Sanhedrin. The Chief Priest was a member of the Sanhedrin, and it was the group of seventy men that ruled Israel under Rome's watchful eye. They had jurisdiction over both civil and criminal matters.
  • How did Nicodemus approach Jesus? Nicodemus called Jesus "Rabbi" or "Teacher," and he seemed to recognize that Jesus was sent by God. He considered Jesus to be at least a peer, since Nicodemus (we will see shortly) was also considered a "teacher of Israel." Nicodemus, however, failed to see that Jesus was God's anointed one, the promised one sent to establish the kingdom of God on the earth.
  • How did Nicodemus respond to Jesus' statement about being born again? Nicodemus completely misunderstood Jesus. He had absolutely no idea what Jesus was talking about. This new birth Jesus referred to should not have been foreign to Nicodemus, however.

II. An Old Testament Expectation:

In John 3:5, Jesus clarified his statement for Nicodemus (and us): "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
  • "Born again" in verse 3 relates directly with "born of water and spirit" in verse 5.
  • "Seeing the kingdom of God" in verse 3 relates directly to "entering the kingdom of God" in verse 5.
  • Furthermore, in verses 6-8, Jesus explains that new birth is spiritual birth.
  • Once again, Nicodemus could not understand how Jesus could require such things for entrance into the kingdom of God. What about the Temple and the sacrifices and the Law?
  • Jesus, however, rebukes Nicodemus in verse 10. He calls Nicodemus out for not knowing his Bible well enough. Jesus criticizes him for not knowing what Jesus is talking about.
  • Ezekiel 36:25-27 is essential for understanding Jesus' statement in verse 5.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
  • According to the Law of Moses, the Israelites were required to wash their clothes and take a bath any time they became ceremonially unclean. In the new covenant, God cleanses his people and gives them a new heart and a new spirit.
  • Jesus understood from his Bible that this new, spiritual birth was the only way to see/enter the kingdom of God, and he chastised the "teacher of Israel" for not knowing what he was talking about.
  • In verses 11-13, Jesus addresses Nicodemus and his peers in the Sanhedrin and among the Pharisees regarding their failure to believe; they lack the faith required to enter the kingdom of God.

III. An Old Testament Example:
In John 3:14-15, Jesus describes the faith that is required for one to be born again.
  • Unlike the unbelieving Pharisees and Jewish leaders, the one who will see/enter the kingdom of God will exercise faith similar to the faith required of the people of Israel in Numbers 21:4-9.
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
  • This is the faith required to be reborn; you must look to Jesus.
  • "Just as those who looked upon the bronze serpent were healed, so those who look by faith to the Christ crucified are saved" (McFall, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, p. 774).
  • "That bronze snake on a pole was the means God used to give new (physical) life to the children of Israel if they were bitten in the plague of snakes that had been sent in as punishment for the persistent murmuring. By God's provision, new life was graciously granted." (Carson, 201)
  • Just as the bronze serpent was lifted up for the healing of God’s people, so Jesus was lifted up; both crucified and exalted. The double meaning of lifted up is intentional. By way of suffering, Jesus is glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father, and all that look to Jesus for healing from the venom of sin will be healed/born again (v. 3)/see the kingdom (v. 3)/enter the kingdom (v. 5)/have eternal life (v. 15).

"What will it take for you to be born again?"

1. A Clear Vision of Jesus Christ
  • Nicodemus came to Jesus in respect, believing that Jesus was a teacher come from God. He honored Jesus, and he believed true things about Jesus, but he did not see clearly who Jesus truly was.
  • Are you like Nicodemus? Do you believe Jesus was a great teacher, worthy of our respect?
  • That's not good enough! Jesus cannot be a great teacher, worthy of our respect, if he lied about who he was!
  • Jesus said he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through him! (John 14:6)
  • Jesus is God! (2 Peter 1:1; Titus 2:13)
  • Jesus is alive and seated at God's right hand! (Hebrews 1:3)
  • Jesus lived a righteous life and died to pay for your sins!

2. A Regenerating Work of the Holy Spirit
  • But you will never believe unless God's Spirit opens your eyes to see, opens your ears to hear, and gives you a new heart!
  • (Here I prayed for God's Holy Spirit to work on the behalf of unbelievers)

3. A Simple Faith in the Exalted Savior
  • If God's Spirit is working within you, you will simply look in faith to Christ; you will depend on Jesus to pay for your sins and give you his righteousness. You will be declared not guilty and adopted as heirs to the kingdom of God!
  • If you believe that Jesus is able to save you, and you stake your life on that fact, he will save you!
  • You must accept the pardon that God offers!
  • Repent and believe the gospel!
  • Then you will experience the ultimate metamorphosis; God transforms enemies into family, wicked, rebellious sinners into people bound for glorious perfection. You will become a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Who decides what we need to know?

The editors of the New York Times web site,, have recently encountered criticism for not depending on web site traffic to help them make editorial decisions. One competitor marvels, "What world are you living in if you don't know where your users are flocking to? How can you edit your website?"

This has direct parallels to the way that many church members feel about their pastors/teachers. How can we possibly determine what message to preach or teach unless we consult with our people? Maybe we need to consult with our listeners to draw more visits, to reach a wider audience, right? Maybe we need to play the marketing game a little bit better.

The fact is, however, that most people don't know what it is that they need to know. If only prioritized news stories based only on what would get the most clicks, then anything remotely related to sex or celebrities would always be headline news. Most people, however, expect news agencies to relay the most significant information first.

What do you need to know that you don't even realize is important? If I had bad news that related to you, would you want me to tell you or not? Some might choose blissful ignorance, but if a doctor walked into your room and said, "I have bad news," you would want to know, right?!?

Here's the bad news. You are not a good person. You are a bad person. Even if you pretend to be a good person, you really don't do anything that isn't tainted by selfishness or greed or lust, etc. You are what the Bible calls sinful. And you are not alone. The person you wake up with? Sinful. The person you work beside? Sinful. The lady at the checkout line at the grocery store? Sinful. The executive driving the Porsche? Sinful. The person typing this blog post? Sinful.

We are all broken! We are not functioning the way we were made to function. In the beginning, God made two people to love God and love one another. But they rejected God and started blaming others for their sin. Guess what! We carry on that tradition, that sickness, and the result of our sickness is eternal punishment from God. Why? Because God cannot stomach sin. It is like hair in his food. We are like hair in God's food!*

Are you ready for the good news? The doctor walks in with the bad news, like, "You have cancer." But what if there was an antidote? It's not really bad news anymore if he says, "You have cancer, but here's a shot that will cure you." Here's the good news regarding sin and our repulsive condition before God: Jesus never sinned and didn't deserve to die.

"That's it? How is that good news?" I'm glad you asked.

It is incredibly awesome, wonderful news! Jesus earned righteousness for those who depend on his righteousness, and he paid the penalty for sin for those who depend on his payment. Jesus of Nazareth, a man born in Bethlehem to a virgin girl in utter poverty, walked this earth as the only person ever to please God instead of making him want to vomit because of sin. Then, our representatives trumped up some false charges against him, sentenced him to death in an illegal trial, had him beaten half to death, and then hung him on a cross to finish him off.

Guess what? He really was God, and they shouldn't have convicted him of blasphemy, because he was telling the truth. So the Supreme Court of heaven overturned the ruling, and resurrected Jesus as the first of many brothers (Romans 8:29). Just like Adam plunged us into sin, Jesus leads us out. All you have to do is depend on his payment and learn to follow him.

Did you know that? Did you know that you need to know that? Just because it wasn't the most interesting headline doesn't mean you don't need to know.

So, to answer the question, "Who decides what we need to know?" God.

Read your Bible for the most important headlines.

~ Todd

* I heard Mark Driscoll use this illustration regarding tipping servers who did not perform well... it was memorable. You can preach the gospel with your tips.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Recommended Reading from 9 Marks

Photo by luis de bethencourt

9 Marks is a ministry of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, led by Mark Dever. I stumbled across their reading list for pastors and laity, and I thought I would share them. The reading list for pastors contains the following categories:
  • Church Discipline/Membership
  • Church History
  • Evangelism
  • Leadership
  • Missions
  • New Testament
  • Old Testament
  • Preaching
  • Study Tools
  • Systematics
  • Theology

The reading list for laity contain the following categories:
  • Aplogetics
  • Biography
  • Catechisms
  • The Church
  • Church History
  • Dating
  • Devotional
  • Discipleship
  • Evangelism
  • Marriage and Divorce
  • Parenting
  • Prayer
  • Study Tools
  • Suffering
  • Theology
  • Worship

You will need a book shelf like the one in the picture for all these books. :-)

~ Todd

Friday, July 10, 2009

Insanity Ensues

According to a recent headline, it appears that man's best friend has taken on a new role. A woman in Ghana has married her dog. Despite the fact that her family boycotted the "wedding," the "priest" warned those in attendance "not to mock the wedding but to 'rejoice with her as she has found happiness at last.'"

Are you kidding me? It is pretty clear to me that our world is out of control, and can you figure out who this priest and this woman are worshiping? They are worshiping individual happiness. It doesn't matter if you what you do is ridiculous in the eyes of your family, or despicable in the eyes of God, if it brings you happiness, you should do it--this is the "good news" that the world is preaching.

I would much rather hear that the ridiculous and despicable desires in my heart are radically offensive to God, and that he cannot stomach even the presence of my sin, but that he loved me anyway and devised a plan that would make his worst enemies his adopted sons! Because Jesus lived a perfect life and died an unjust death, all who depend on his sacrifice get his life credited to their account. God is pleased with us because of Christ.

So, let's don't be confused about the world. I expect men and women who don't know Christ to do incredibly wicked and perverted things, but don't be confused. If we are honest about sin, the gospel really becomes GOOD NEWS!!!!!

~ Todd

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's Happening?

For the five or so people that read my blog, I thought I'd give an update on life. I finished the spring semester at SBTS in early May, but I have been really busy with the only summer term I've taken in my 7 years at Southern. I have been working on the Applied Ministry requirement for my degree over the past 7 weeks, and I have been meeting with people, leading a Bible study, teaching Sunday school, visiting with people, discipling people, preaching, and even cutting grass as a part of ministry. It has been a busy summer. I still have quite a bit of paperwork to finish for the class, but I'm nearing the end of the ministry requirements; as an elder, however, ministry is never done!

I have also been practicing my photography skills. Here are a few of my recent shots:

Louisville, KYLouisville, KY by Night

Psalm 19Psalm 19, "The heavens declare the glory of God"

Stellar's Sea EagleStellar's Sea Eagle at the Louisville Zoo

African LionessAfrican Lioness at the Louisville Zoo

Steve LawrenceSteve Lawrence sharing
Two Ways to Live

You can find more of my photography on

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Biblical Theology at

Biblical Theology may be expressed as seeking to understand a particular portion of the Bible in light of all of biblical history. What role does a particular story, psalm, or prophecy have to do with God's intended purpose in revealing himself and his mission in the whole of Scripture? At, Miles Van Pelt, Craig Blomberg, and Tom Schreiner lecture in a series on biblical theology as it relates to the Old Testament, the Gospels, and Paul's writings, respectively.

I have not formally studied biblical theology, and I have read very little on the subject, but I am strongly convinced that our understanding of the Bible has been severly impacted by scholars who reject the integrity of the Scriptures. Many argue that the first five books of the Bible were written by various persons or groups, and that they were assembled much, much later. Others see more than one author for books like Isaiah. Not only does this undermine the integrity of individual books, but it quickly discounts views of the whole of the Old Testament as a cohesive document. If the foundation will crack, the whole will crumble.

Van Pelt demonstrates well the purpose behind the order of the Hebrew Old Testament, as opposed to the arrangement of the books in English. The order we see in our English Bibles seems to be traced back to Jerome as he sought to reach his Greek, western thinking audience who preferred a chronological, linear, logical arrangement, emphasizing chronology, authorship, and genre. The Hebrew Old Testament order, however, seems to exhibit different priorities.

Van Pelt shows how the original order of the Old Testament books fits nicely with the division of the New Testament books. He aligns Genesis with Revalation as bookends to the whole of Scripture. Next, he sees Exodus-Deuteronomy as the birth, life, teachings, and death of the covenant mediator, Moses. This fits nicely with the Gospels, the books that document the birth, life, teachings, and death of the covenant mediator, Jesus. Clearly, there are differences, but the similarities are striking. Next, Van Pelt sees a relationship between "the Prophets" -- Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve other prophets -- and the book of Acts. Both of these sections describe the history and preaching of the covenants. Last, Van Pelt shows the relationship between "the writings" -- Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles -- and the epistles of the New Testament. These writings record how we should live within the covenant.

I find this analysis fascinating. It helps me understand that there are some times that I will never be able to ask, "What would Jesus do?" He was unique, the greater Moses, and he mediated the New Covenant to us. Similarly, we cannot always ask, "What would David do?" He, too, was part of the Covenant history, and life for us will probably be different. God's design for David was to point us to a better King, Jesus. Daniel and Ruth, on the other hand, were good examples for us concerning how we should live as aliens and strangers in this world. This place is not our home, and we should seek to live life in a way that communicates this fact (1 Peter 1:1-2).

I am sure God has more to reveal to us concerning this! I want to know more!

~ Todd

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Fools for Christ?

photo by Jo Jakeman

I'm reading the books of Proverbs, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus in order to determine some personal development goals for an Applied Ministry course I am taking this summer. Being a seminary student, I am surrounded on a regular basis by people who would regard themselves as fools for Christ. Many have forsaken all to pursue theological training in order to prepare for service to their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Proverbs 18:2, however, smacks many seminary students (myself included) square in the mouth:
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
Ow! Man that hurts. Have I been a fool when expressing my opinions? Do my opinions weigh more than those of other students, much less professors? How can we students feel so bold as to argue over minutiae with men who pour out their hours every day on interpretation and research? Especially those students who attend The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary? We hold most, if not all, of the faculty at this school with the utmost respect, yet it seems like every semester professors must deal with at least one disrespectful, foolish, opinion-expressing student.

I don't believe there is anything wrong with pursuing wisdom and understanding, but I believe this proverb helps us see the line that divides the wise from the fools. Let us be seekers after the truth, and let us be ready to abandon any opinion that is not clearly supported by Scripture! Let us be fools for Christ, not foolish "Christians."

~ Todd

Friday, May 01, 2009

Akin Calls SBC to Repent of Selfishness, Reform, Worship Jesus

I just listened to Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, issue a call to repentance to the Southern Baptist Convention and the churches that it was designed to serve. He argues that, despite winning the battle for the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, the SBC has begun to splinter instead of unite. He has issued a call to unite around the great body of doctrine that Southern Baptists do agree on, and to graciously honor those who disagree on matters of secondary importance. Listen to his sermon here.

~ Todd

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Understanding Singing in Worship

I'm sure Justin Taylor has already pointed 100 million people at Bob Kauflin's message from the Desiring God 2008 National Conference entitled Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing? I am sure I missed out on this message for several months, and I wanted to share this with anyone who hasn't listened in. Kauflin gives us three ways that singing serves the Word:
  • Singing can help us remember words.
  • Singing can help us engage the words emotionally.
  • Singing can help us use words to demonstrate and express our unity.

He says so much more and his message is very helpful. You should listen, and tell me what you think!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Six Questions to Ask when Studying the Bible

I have been enjoying Mark Driscoll's audio and video resources, and I listened to a very helpful message he gave to a group of church planters at the Dwell conference in New York City in 2008. I decided that the content was so helpful that I wanted to take notes:

Six questions to ask when studying the Bible:

1.What does the Bible say? (The Biblical Question)
    • Driscoll and Acts 29 upholds Verbal Plenary Inerrancy - "the very words of Scripture in all of Scripture are without error"
    • Become someone who really enjoys your Bible
    • Make time to fast from internet, cell phones, meetings, radio, television, technology - seek silence and solitude to spend time with the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures - give yourself permission to be alone with God
2. What does the Bible mean? (The Theological Question)
    • Use commentaries, Bible software, books, etc. - check your understanding with reliable sources
3. What is going to make this passage stick? What's the hook? (The Memorable Question)
    • a word, i.e., hesed
    • an emotion, i.e., bitterness from the book of Ruth
    • an image, i.e., the throne from Revelation
    • a doctrine, i.e., providence from Joseph
    • a life study, i.e., Nehemiah
4. Why, or how, is there resistance to this truth? (The Apologetic Question)
    • Start with you, and ask God to convict you of the resistance you have to the truth
    • How do we answer the objections that come up so that people are left without an excuse
      • People will defend themselves, or find some excuse as to why they are the exception to the rule
      • "This was the hallmark of good Puritan preaching"
5. Why does this matter? (The Missional Question)
    • It matters for me, my marriage, my church, my city, etc.
    • The Bible is not just true, it is helpful! It's a better life!
6. How is Jesus the hero? Where's Jesus? (The Jesus Question)
    • The whole Bible is about our God, Jesus Christ. John 5 - if you don't love Jesus, you don't understand the Bible. Luke 22, 24, Jesus taught that the Bible was about him.
    • Prophecies about Jesus, Christophanies, types (2nd Adam, prophet, king, sacrificial system, priests, temple, tabernacle, shepherds, judges), similar ministries (greater Adam, greater Isaac, greater Able, greater Jacob, greater Joseph, greater Moses, greater Job, greater David, greater Jonah, greater Boaz, greater Nehemiah, greater Hoseah), Jesus is seen in the Old Testament in events (exodus, passover, atonement, propitiation, expiation), titles for God (Son of Man, suffering servant, first and the last, light the rock, shepherd, savior, lord of glory)
      • "Don't be excited about church planting or preaching. Be excited about Jesus and then open your mouth!"
      • "My goal is to tell you that the Bible is true and Jesus is everything. . . . That fixes so many problems"
      • "If Jesus isn't the reason that you go to the Scriptures, he will oppose you in everything you do."

I hope this is as helpful for you as it has been for me.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Recommended Reading from Mark Driscoll

I recently began subscribing to The Resurgence, a blog related to Mars Hill Church, and I found Mark Driscoll's series on Great Books to be helpful. Here are some of the topics:
The last post in this series was just a couple days ago (4/21/2009), so hopefully we will see more from Driscoll.

~ Todd

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Choosing a Commentary

Photo by austinevan

Have you ever wondered which commentary would be the best choice for a certain book of the Bible that you are considering teaching or studying? I have been listening to Mark Driscoll's sermon series on 1 & 2 Peter, and he mentioned a helpful resource for doing just that. Bet you can't guess the name. Yep, That was a tough one! So I decided to drop by and check out the site.

As I was typing in the url, I wondered, will it just be a big spreadsheet? How will they organize their site to manage ranking all the various commentaries. Well, you navigate the site by selecting a book of the Bible. Here's how the list of commentaries is ranked:

This site works toward resolving [the] tension [between busy, poor students and the plethora of expensive books] by enabling Bible students at all levels to make good, informed decisions about which commentaries they should purchase and use by providing a constantly updated biblography of commentaries on each book of the Bible and collecting reviews, ratings, and prices of commentaries from a variety of sources.

The most notable sources are the published books by D. A. Carson, Tremper Longman, III, John Glynn, and Jim Rosscup. In addition to these print publications, the web resources of John Piper's Desiring God Ministries, R. C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministries, and the Denver Seminary Journal are in the site. The data from these books and websites have been used with permission from the respective owners and aggregated to provide an average score representing a wider array of biblical scholarship than would be possible with a single book. These books are still extremely valuable and should be consulted directly along side of this website.

Scores and ratings alone cannot determine the best choices for an individual pastor or student, but we hope the combined resources available through this site points them in the right direction.

If you are looking for a commentary, you should definitely consult this site.

~ Todd

Monday, April 06, 2009

Practical Living for Your iPod

Justin Taylor recently linked to some of Paul Tripp's audio recordings on, and I have been listening to a series entitled "Survival Skills for a Fallen World." Seventy mp3 downloads are available on various ways believers can apply God's Word to every day life. Tripp has some excellent insight and these recordings have already been helpful in my own life.

Paul Tripp has written several books, including Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy.

Here's a clip of Tripp talking about his book, Whiter Than Snow:

I highly recommend these mp3s and books.

~ Todd

Update: Here's more from Paul Tripp

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Songs of Ordination

At my ordination last Sunday night, we sang two classic hymns, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God and Great Is Thy Faithfulness. These hymns reflected our dependence on God and his faithfulness and grace. I also asked our worship leader, Scott Lee, to sing a song based on Psalm 130, Out of the Depths, written by Bob Kauflin and recorded on the Psalms CD from Sovereign Grace Ministries. Here are the words:

Out of the Depths
Out of the depths, O Lord, I cry to You
When I am tempted to despair
Though I might fail to trust Your promises
You never fail to hear my prayer
And if You judged my sin
I’d never stand again
But I see mercy in Your hands

So more than watchmen for the morning
I will wait for You, my God
When my fears come with no warning
In Your Word I’ll put my trust
When the harvest time is over and I still see no fruit
I will wait, I will wait for You

The secret mysteries belong to You
We only know what You reveal
And all my questions that are unresolved
Don’t change the wisdom of Your will
In every trial and loss
My hope is in the cross
Where Your compassions never fail

The reason I wanted to hear this song at my ordination is because I don't understand why God has called me into his service. I feel much like the prodigal son who returned home as an unworthy servant, yet his father joyfully welcomes him home and restores him to full fellowship. I have many "questions that are unresolved," but this doesn't change the wisdom of God's will.

This song also declares my desire to depend on God and to trust his Word when I doubt and face fears and trials. "When my fears come with no warning, in your Word I'll put my trust." May my ministry be based on the truth of God's Word, and nothing else. By God's grace I will honor him with my life and service. We cannot ever earn his favor, but we can prove our love and gratitude. May God be honored and praised!

~ Todd

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reflections on Ordination

Sunday night was a warm, tearful, encouraging, emotional, spiritual blur. I wanted to reflect on the experience sooner, but hopefully I can get some of my thoughts down before they slip further to the back of my mind. First of all, I want everyone to know that my wife is the best spouse anyone could ever hope to have. She truly honored me, and I am so very thankful that Heather Leigh Brooks said yes so many years ago.

I can think of many people I wish could have participated, but I was so very thankful that so many of my church family, my close friends, my parents, and my parents-in-law could participate in my ordination to the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The evening began with Pastor Justin Guffey opening the service with one of my very favorite verses of Scripture, Romans 8:28. Then Pastor Justin and Roger Van Fleet, preaching pastor at State Street Baptist Church, delivered the recommendation from the elders that I be ordained to join them as an elder. Roger made clear that our long friendship was not the reason that the church sought to ordain me, but they recognized my desire and evidence of God's calling on my life.

My dad, Chuck Young, delivered the charge to the candidate, and he spoke encouraging words from Jeremiah 1. Pastor Roger then charged the church and administered the vows. I was then asked to kneel with Heather standing behind me, and all the ordained pastors and deacons in the church took turns laying their hands on me and praying for me.

After Pastor Roger introduced me to the church as Reverend Todd Young, he asked me to say a few words. I was not prepared, but I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father made me mindful of the Word to which I have been called, and I took the opportunity to briefly present the gospel and then thank my God, my church, my family, and my wife for their love and support.

From the sanctuary, we moved to Clark Hall to enjoy a time of fellowship. Debbie Bennett made the most awesome cake! It had Joshua 1:8-9 written on pages of a Bible, with "For the glory of God" written above and "Rev. Todd Young" written below. And it was made with butter cream frosting--the very best! We had chicken tenders and finger food, Diet Coke (thanks Roger!), and good conversations.

After a little while, I decided to peruse a scrapbook that my wife had made of encouraging notes and emails that people had written to me and given to her. I was blown away by the way my friends and family honored me. I guess part of that comes from knowing myself as the "chief of sinners." But all glory to God! He must increase, and I must decrease! I am only sinful without the Holy Spirit of God! He produces everything good in me, and for that I praise him!

I could not have asked for a better experience. A church family who loves me and recognizes God's amazing grace in my life. Moms and Dads who travelled hundreds of miles to be with us. A wife who honored her husband in the most godly way. Children who blessed their father with sweet, innocent admiration.

No one can deny, I am blessed beyond measure.

~ Todd

P. S. - God used my 8 year old son, Brandon, to illustrate the attitude we should have in giving. As I was opening a few gifts and cards, he walked up to me, handed me his allowance, and told me that he wanted me to have it because he loved me and wanted to give me a gift. I took it, because I wanted to honor his desire to show me love. I didn't need his money, and God doesn't need ours. You better believe he'll get his allowance back and then some.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mark Driscoll Sermon Series on 1 & 2 Peter

I am so impressed with Mark Driscoll. I know there have been good reasons why some have reservations about him, but I am listening to his latest sermon series on 1 & 2 Peter entitled "Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter," and he is preaching Christ in a very effective way. He's relevant for people who never read the Bible, and he speaks clearly and pointedly. He understands the text, and he communicates the meaning of the text. He tells it like it is, and I like it. You should watch/listen to this series.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Luther, Calvin, and Maple Syrup?

Last weekend was a combination of both. I had to prepare for an exam in Church History II on Monday night, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to go with my family to the Maple Syrup Festival in Salem, IN. I took about 400 pictures with my new camera, and we enjoyed making memories! Here's a few of our photos. Check out flickr for more.

We branded our log slice with a maple leaf!

Steam rises from boiling maple tree sap condensed to make maple syrup.

Monday, March 02, 2009

One of the Duties of a Disciple

Our church has been studying Mark Dever's What is a Healthy Church? (which I highly recommend), and he argues that the church's primary function is to increasingly reflect God's character as it is revealed in God's Word. One of the tasks we disciples must undertake is to make God's thoughts our thoughts. We are commanded in Romans 12:1-2 to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. What brings about this renewal?

Scripture. We must read God's Word in such a way that we understand and affirm what are God's thoughts and opinions, and then we must appropriate those thoughts and opinions. We must increasingly reflect God's character. How can we possibly do this unless we discover what God has revealed to us in his Word!?! We must spend time and effort reading our Bibles. We cannot merely breeze through God's Word and check a task off the list. What does Scripture reveal about me, and how do I need to change?

This is an urgent need in my life, and in yours. These are the words of eternal life (John 6:67-69).


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Do Members of the Catholic Church Know This?

I recently read in Justo Gonzalez' The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2 about the declaration of the First Vatican Council in 1870 concerning papal infallibility. Here's an excerpt:

"Therefore faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, for the glory of God our Saviour, the exaltation of the Christian religion, and the salvation of Christian people, the sacred Council approving, we teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that divine infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals; and that therefore such definitions are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church" (p. 298).

Wow. I wonder if most Catholic parishioners know that the church believes this, and what they think about it... I mean, even Peter, from whom they derive their authority, was quite undeniably not infallible; Galatians 2:11-14 tells us that he was in serious error and was corrected by Paul.

Personally, I prefer to be labeled "fallible," because I know me, and I know what the book of Romans teaches about fallen humanity. Infallibility is quite a presumptuous claim.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Evidence for God

Romans 1:20 tells us that God's "invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." Over the past week, God has been making his eternal power and divine nature known. And we stand in awe at his beauty and strength displayed at the same time by winter storms.

Here are some photos that help us see evidence for God's existence:

You can see more of my photos on my flickr page!

Friday, January 30, 2009

John D. Hannah on Theology

As I am reading the preface to the book, Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine by John D. Hannah, this quote sticks out:
For [the English Puritans], theology was neither a mere intellectual discipline nor the attainment of a body of knowledge; it was a means to an end--a godly life. Theology, then, may be defined as the distilled knowledge of God that is the foundation of a walk with God. No one can walk with a person he or she does not know; neither can we say we walk with God if we do not have an accurate knowledge of Him. Theology is not about an admiration of a series of gathered insights, however wonderful these insights may be; it is about responding appropriately and regularly to God.

It is very tempting to simply admire "a series of gathered insights" about God, but theology is much more. It is worship.

~ Todd ~