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.