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Theology Matters – Psalm 78

Just the other day, I preached at Lighthouse Baptist Church where my father-in-law is the pastor. My family and I were planning a visit there, and he asked if I would like to preach. It’s not the best sermon I have ever preached, however, it is one that I am very passionate about, that theology matters and it begins in the home!

I hope you enjoy this and are edified by the Word of God!

Unity Amongst Believers

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6, ESV)

This particular Proverb has held a unique place in my heart, as it yearns within me to be more honest with myself, my wife, my family, my friends…with anyone really. However, today, after listening in on a conversation between some friends of mine (I was included, however, due to circumstances, I could not really participate), this kind of takes on a new meaning to me. It’s not a new meaning at all, really. This verse, in all reality, before it encourages me to do what I have mentioned above, is about the Christian and his or her relationship with their neighbors.


In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked, “which is the great commandment in the Law?” (v.36). And here is His response:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” (Matthew 22:37–40, ESV)

Proverbs 27:6 falls under that part of this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” A major point in this is unity. Unity amongst one’s family. Unity amongst the church. But, most importantly here, unity amongst believers with the aim to see His kingdom reach all of those around us.

Now, I am not going to go into any details, as I do not want to betray a confidence. However, I am going to talk about unity, and disunity.

  1. All Christian have (and should know) the same, common goal: The Worship of God. We need to worship God and God wants us to be used to share the Gospel, thus, Lord willing, bringing more into the class to worship God. (Matthew 22:37, Matthew 28:16-20). As we can find in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, it begins as such: Question 1: What is the chief end of man? Answer 1: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, (1 Cor. 10:31, Rom. 11:36) and to enjoy him forever. (Ps. 73:25-28).
  2. No two people in this world are ever going to agree on all the same things 100%, regardless of what they are (religious, philosophical, etc.). If you find me a person, man or woman, who says they have found someone who believes in everything they believe in 100%, I’ll show you a person that is looking at themselves in the mirror as they say that.

With that being said, disunity happens in so many ways, and one of them is slander and gossip at the result of two people or groups not agreeing 100% on certain things. When the disagreement become apparent, one group gets upset at the other, and things are said, statements are made, and they cannot be taken back. The damage is done. It’s okay to disagree on things. For example, reformed Baptists and Presbyterians (uh oh! I’m bringing up the Baptism debate!) have a HUGE disagreement on Credobaptism (Believer’s baptism) versus Paedobaptism (infant baptism). (If you want to know more about this, google it, as I am not going to start a discussion on just that). Baptists and Presbyterians disagree on the sign and seal of the covenant and how it is administered. However, it is not a salvific issue, i.e. someone can be saved and not get baptized. I have seen numerous debates online regarding this, always with a messy outcome. Despite these differences, Baptists and Presbyterians work together on the mission fields, in the local churches and their surrounding communities. The common goal the have is to see people be saved by God through His grace. For worship. And they strive together.

So, when issues such as this come up and cause division, it is not a God-made divisiveness. “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,” (1 Corinthians 14:33, ESV). The new Christian Standard Bible reads, “since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” (1 Cor. 14:33, CSB).

So, it saddens my heart and drives me to prayer when I see this happen over a disagreement. People aren’t maturing about things like this anymore as they grow older in age. Instead of walking over (or calling) the other person, they made light of the situation in a manner that does not reflect the Glory due to God the Father. It causes pain to see a brother in Christ weep over a lost friendship and ministry opportunities.

So, what to do? First, we need to check our pride at the door. As Christians, once we bring our pride into it, as soon as pride rears its ugly head, we just pushed God out of the way and put the religion of self in His rightful place in our lives. Secondly, we need to be like the Bereans were in Acts 17: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11, ESV). And what happened as they heard new things? They opened their Scriptures to see if Paul and Silas were right. And they were. And God changed their hearts and, “Many of them therefore believed,…” (Acts 17:12a). Where they could have let personal differences, or something, keep them from being ministered to, they instead did what we are called to do by their example: Pull out the Bible, God’s Holy Word, and see what it says. The Bible is our standard and should shape our thought processes. So, when we disagree with someone about a theological/doctrinal matter, the best thing we can do is God the Word of God and see what He tells us. For we must remember that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, ESV).

In the meantime, what am I going to do? Pray. I am going to pray for all those involved, as well as those reading this post who may need help with unity. I implore you to read the Bible each and every day that you may grow in Christ and NOT in self.

-Soli Deo Gloria

My Heart, A Factory of Idols

While famous pastor and theologian John Calvin is attributed with the quote, “man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols,” I personally know that this is a very true statement. And, I am learning that idolatry can rear it’s ugly head in many ways, leading to breaking multiple commandments, the first three in particular (Exodus 20:2-7). I will go into further explanation regarding this, however, not in this post. This post is intended to be relatively short.

Idolatry can appear in such things that one would think relatively harmless, even in such things that you are intending to use to glorify God!

In my case, it has come in the form of my FitBit Charge 2.

It’s a wonderful little fitness/smart watch thing that I use to tell the date, time, step count, and other things that I am doing, all to glorify God in making my body, where the Holy Spirit dwells in me, healthier and stronger in a physical manner. Now, how does this little thing lead to idolatry? A few weeks ago, I joined a “Workweek Hustle” step challenge through the FitBit app on my phone. I left after just over 24 hours because I was getting to frustrated…because I’m too competitive and I was losing. Now, I’m not a sore loser, I just don’t like losing because I like winning more(haha!). But, the problem was it was affecting me to a point where it wasn’t good. I took immediate action and stopped. It happened again, when I was in a daily challenge that my wife was in, and I wanted to win. I lost to my wife by just over 100 steps, and this really put a bad start to my next day when I realized I had lost. I was obsessed with the fact that I had lost, and that is something that isn’t healthy. I was spending the night before, when I was supposed to be doing my personal devotions, my quiet time with God, I spent it walking through our home, getting as many steps as I could. I did my quiet time, however, it was not the focus of my night. God was far from the center of my thoughts. My competitiveness, being pushed front and center by my FitBit, lead me to idolatry. For that night, it replaced God in my sinful mine in my sinful life.

God’s Word tells us the following, from Exodus 20:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:2–7, ESV).

I was committing idolatry not because I had a “carved image” of God, but because I put the God of self, as seen in my FitBit and competitiveness, before God, the King of Kings, the LORD my God who brought me out of the house of slavery.

Be careful, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Be careful and guard your hearts.




A Hope Deferred…

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
-Proverbs 13:12, ESV

Just the other day, I did something that I was not expecting to do: I declined an invitation to preach in view of a call to be the senior pastor at a small church in another state. Why was I not expecting to do this? Because I feel a strong sense of calling to the pastorate and this is the first church that has considered me for a pastoral position. And I really wanted to make it work. Now, why didn’t I go? No peace. None at all. I was having no peace about it and I was full of anxiety and stress. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a level of anxiousness that goes with most anything new, whether it be a job, a child, or anything. However, the anxiety I was feeling was almost to the point of an attack. And thus, it because overly stressful. There are many other reasons that go with the totality of circumstances as to why I did not go to this church that I am not going to discuss here, needless to say when all was said and done, there was no real peace about it.

Now, to the Scripture that is above, Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the hearth sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” My hope, my desire is to pastor a local church somewhere, at some point, whether it be as an associate pastor or senior pastor, I don’t know. But, that is my desire, my “hope deferred” if you will. If you look at the Hebrew of the words for “hope” and “deferred,” you see two starkly contrasting words. The word “hope” is “tohelet” (I hope I don’t offend some language scholar out there, I’m still figuring out how to do all the accents and other markings). And it means an expectation, a hope, and in this sense, of future events. It is my hope and expectation that, in the future, I will be, Lord willing, shepherding a flock of Jesus’ people. The word for “deferred” is “msk” which means to seize, to carry off. And in this case, I carried myself off.

However, my ultimate desire, one that is more important than that to become a pastor, my ultimate desire is to be obedient to God’s Will and His Spirit’s leading on my life. So, my “desire fulfilled” is that I strongly believe that I am being 100% obedient to God’s will in my life and for that of my family in the decision that I made. The Hebrew for “a desire” is “taawa” (once again, Hebrew scholars, don’t hate me. Leave a comment and help me learn!). This word means a longing, wish, yearning; a craving even. I, as a follower of Christ, need to be craving God’s will for my life.

So, as I am here, sitting in my nearly empty bedroom as we are getting ready to move, having turned down what I think would have been a sure bet at a bi-vocational pastorate position in a small Southern Baptist Church. And now, I am still relying on God, following His will for my life, where ever that may lead. Is it easy? No. Is it rewarding? Yes. God is providing and His provision is more than we need, even when we don’t think it is.


PredestinedDecals by ESV Bible Nerd

My wife and I have started an Etsy Shop over at, and it’s called PredestinedDecals by ESV Bible Nerd. There are some really fun things for sale on the shop, photos below! I hope you enjoy!



This is the one I currently have on the back of my 13″ MacBook Pro.

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The mugs are filled with root beer float, and it was tasty! There are mugs for all 5 of the Solas.

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“And then comes Monday.”

“Then comes Monday.”


A while back, I read Jared C. Wilson’s The Pastor’s Justification,” which was an excellent read, and I think that it would be edifying to more than just a pastor or lay leader, but to involved members and attendees of the local church.

The following excerpt from The Pastor’s Justification has been stuck on my mind for months now, and this is so true for any type of ministry, from preaching to teaching Sunday School, from law enforcement to child welfare work, and everything in between. It’s not always going to be Mondays that come, it might be any day of the week. However, we must be ready for that time of shepherding or ministry when it comes, when we are exhausted, when we might not really want any part of it.

“Then comes Monday. Many pastors take Mondays off because of the Sunday hangover. I do not. It is my worst day, so I refuse to give it to my family. Instead I work through it. It is a slog. Monday morning is when the e-mail inbox and telephone mailbox are thickest. Monday morning is when people still have questions or concerns or criticisms about Sunday. (They are starting their week full, remember? They came to church for the pick-me-up, and most of them got it.) Like everybody else, pastors are taking stock of what all must be accomplished in the week ahead. But Sunday was not a day of filling up for pastors, but pouring out.
On Monday mornings I enter my office at about 8: 00 a.m. and find that, like Sisyphus, the stone I spent the previous week pushing up the hill lay at the bottom again, ready for another go. Monday morning I must pastor. But what kind of must?
I am faced with this challenge: will I shepherd under compulsion, or willingly, as God would have me?
My first instinct is to make my shepherding contingent on my energy level. But really, my ability to exercise oversight willingly flows from my vision. No, not a vision for an “awesomely bold” church— at least, not at first— but of my God and for the flock of God that is among me.
How we see God on Monday morning will affect whether we oversee his church willingly or under compulsion. And how we view the people in our church will affect whether we oversee them willingly or under compulsion.
Our omnipresent Savior is waiting for me in the office on Monday morning. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” he says (Matt. 11: 28). I am plum tuckered on Monday morning. I face ample temptation to wallow. But Jesus promises rest. I may be a shell of a pastor at this time each week, but God is no less God. His might is no less mighty. His gospel is no less power. His reach is no less infinite. His grace is no less everlasting. His lovingkindness is no less enduring.”
(Wilson, Jared C. (2013-07-31). The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry (pp. 33-34). Crossway. Kindle Edition.)

This has been greatly convicting to me, in my spirit, because I have been there, not pastorally, but in other areas of life and ministry. I have faced this very temptation to take that next day off. And, I must admit, that I have succumbed to that temptation from time to time. My prayer for myself and everyone is that we face our “Mondays” with the strength that God will provide for us and not hide from them in our own weakness.




Learning Greek On My Own…

Well, it’s been a long time in the coming, but, I have, at this point, failed at self teaching myself Greek. Not because I can’t learn it, but because I have discovered that I need more accountability in actually DOING the learning. I will try again, however, I think I might audit the class at MBTS or SWBTS sometime next year.

A Most Prized Possession…



Many people have something that they prize more than anything else they have. Some have horses, some have cars, houses, or some other item of grandeur. Some have smaller things, like books, gifts, pictures, or other sentimental items. Myself? I fall into the sentimental category. Here is what I would consider one of my most prized possessions:


Yes, a stack of envelopes with dates on them. They start in early June and go through sometime in early August. The year isn’t on there, because they were for just a specific span of time in the summer of 2007. My wife and I, then newly minted engaged couple, were going on summer missions trips, two months, on opposite sides of the world. I in New Zealand and Australia, she in Peru. And it was a long two months. But, wife back then had a surprise for me, something super special. She would tease me regularly when we spoke on the phone (I lived in Florida, she in Kansas). And, it wasn’t until right before we began the training for our missionary endeavors that she gave me her gift. A card for each day of the trip. A card for me to open and read, along with bits of Bible trivia, for each and every day.

Here is a picture from my 26th birthday:


I enjoyed these cards. And I still do. I don’t know if my wife realizes it, but, some nights, when I cannot sleep, I pull these out and look through some of them, trying to remember what I was doing or where I was going while traveling on the other side of the planet.

Now, years have passed, we’ve been married since the end of 2007, and we have four children. We’ve moved several times and worked and grown a lot together. And I’ve matured a lot. There is one thing that I wish I had done differently when I was on that trip some nine years ago along with those cards. I wish that I would have been as eager to read the Word of God as much as I was eager to open the next day’s card. I never cheated. Not once. (It even became a team obsession, kind of, as I was a team leader and my missionaries loved the cuteness of the cards, thinking that it was so amazing!).

I am not writing to lessen the value of the cards that my wife wrote for me, spending countless hours of her time, allowing the unsecure me to feel secure in the love that she had for me. What I am writing about is that, as a Christian, my most prized physical and tangible possession needs to be (and is) the Word of God. Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, ESV). God’s Word, the Good News of Jesus the Christ, is the power unto Salvation! My most prized possession isn’t really a possession, but it is that great salvation that God has wrought in my life.

When I wake in the morning, I need to dig into God’s Word like some people need their coffee. Badly. I believe that not only does God command it for the Christian (Psalm 119:145-148; John 21:1-14), I know for me that it really helps set the pace and tone for my day. God knows infinitely better that I what I need. And often the Words I read from the Bible directly impact my day, sometimes without my realizing it in that moment.

So, the next time you go to pull out that prized possession, or take it for a spin, or a ride, flight, read, or whatever…ask yourself this: is my time with God as important? As breathtaking? Or am I committing idolatry in some way?

Now, I will still continue to pull out these cards from time to time, however, the daily eager expectancy to read something will be for the Word of God.img_2371

Adding To My Quiver

Psalm 127:3–5 (ESV)
     Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
     Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
     Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
       He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.


It’s right around 7:15am as I begin to type these words, and I am sitting off in the corner of the delivery room while my wife and the delivery nurse are timing contractions. The doctor was here a few short minutes ago. Her water is broken. She’s ready to have our baby. Baby Bradley number 4. And here am I, pondering on our life over the past (almost) 9 years of marriage…


Our nurse put it nicely, stating that she wishes more couples stayed best friends over the years of marriage, really keeping the youthful love alive after so long. What a nice compliment to have on such a joyous day. It put a smile on my face. And it really made me think, that since November 17th, 2007, on that glorious day in Liberty, KS when my wife and I wed, we have gone through so much, grown so much, experienced so much, and continue to love each other (and our children) so much.

When we first got married, out plan had been to have Roni stay on birth control and we enjoy each other and marriage for our first few years of marriage, I think our plan was 5 years. Then, three months later, I was like “Let’s have a baby,” And we were pregnant within the month. Since then, Roni has given birth to three wonderful children, ages 7, 5, and 2. And, amidst all that, had one miscarriage. The Lord has really brought us through it all. And, later today, my third daughter will be born (2 years to the day from my last child’s birth, they get to share their day).

God had worked so many ways in our lives, and we really have had more than our fair share of children. My quiver truly is full. Shortly after our first child was born, we began the process of becoming a foster family. Truly embracing James’ definition of pure religion, of visiting orphans in their time of affliction (James 1:27), we jumped headlong into it, taking our first placement a sibling group of four children. And it kept going on from there. Several sibling groups later, we ended up moving to Florida and working as group home house parents in a residential childcare facility for troubled boys. And Roni was pregnant with child number two. While there, my first and only son was born, amongst having 10-12 boys

A year later, we moved back to the Kansas City area and had the worst six months of our lives, six of the most trying months of our marriage, working with and caring for four developmentally disabled adults. You know those times in your life that you wish you could forget? Yea, June of 2011 to January 2012 is that time. Still, God stretched us and used us and helped us in many ways.

Later that year, we moved back to Florida (yes, this was after saying many times I would never move back to Florida after living here for so long). We took a position as House Parents with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in Jacksonville, FL, working with young girls in the foster care system. We loved being there, working mostly with preteen and teenage girls, and having our two children being able to experience being able to love on other kids in need. One of the most rewarding regular experiences for me would be when a new girl would come into the home, my oldest daughter would welcome them with open arms as her new “sister” into our family.

Our miscarriage came while we were serving as house parents. For us, it came as a surprise, as we were completely unaware that my wife was pregnant at the time. It was difficult, hard to know we lost a child, however, it was also a blessing in how God really carried us through that time. Roni and I were kept busy with taking care of our two children and the other six or so girls we had in the home at the time. It was in December of 2013 that we discovered that Roni was pregnant again, this time leading to our departure from the children’s home because we would have too many biological children to be house parents.

In April of 2014, we moved down to Southwest Florida. For me, it was a return to the area of Florida in which I grew up. For Roni, it was a new experience. She was pregnant with this move, giving birth exactly two years ago from today. And we are still involved to this day with child welfare. While we aren’t foster parents or group home parents, I work in the field with families in crisis to help find care for their children while they get back on their feet. And this position with Safe Families is truly a dream job for me. I get to combine my love for children with my love for Jesus.

Now, here we are, back to the present. Things are moving along. I couldn’t tell you at what pace, as I am clueless to such things, except to say that my wife began this process this morning already further along than she had ever been any other time she has come to the hospital to give birth. We are hoping for a quick delivery today, however, God is sovereign, not us. God does as He pleases (Psalm 115:3), and not us. We are hear feeling blessed that He has entrusted us with the stewardship of these children, created by Him (Psalm 139:13), in His image (Genesis 1:26).

Now, I am going to get back to paying attention to my wife and the process that is occurring that I know little about. And, when Katherine does make her grand appearance, I’ll make sure to add a picture here. And I can’t wait.

Soli Deo Gloria

The Last Piece of Meat


I’m fairly certain I have blogged about this before, however, today, this particular view on true love has taken on an entirely new meaning. Before I get into why, let’s catch up with what it means…


Years ago, in 2007, I traveled with the now-defunct Teen Mania Ministries’ Global Expeditions to New Zealand and Australia for two months doing short term missions in various locations of various styles. While I could go on and on about the ministry we took part in and how God worked in so many different ways, I am going to talk about one of the sessions that we have. I don’t remember the exact name of it (it’s been nine years!) however, it was about relationships. I was a Team Leader on the trip, and I served under some great Project Directors, of which Gus Kruse. During this breakout, it was a time where all of the male leadership sat with all the female missionaries while the female leadership sat with the male missionaries, and they would poke us (leadership) with questions. One of the questions was “What is true love?”

There were two responses that really stood out.

  1. “Willing to give birth on the jungle floor.” –X.X. (I have only his initials X’d out here, as he is a missionary in a relatively closed country. And I love this answer because it shows the willingness of a woman to go where ever God may call her and her husband, even if it means birthing and rearing children on the mission field.
  2. “The last piece of meat.” – Gus Kruse. This one stood out because it is a practical bite of advice on what is true, sacrificial love that can be witnessed and practiced in every day life. What does that mean? It means as a man, I am willing to give up the last bit of my food (or all of it) to make sure that our children and family are fed first. It means a mom would be willing to give up her food to make sure her children are taken care of. And, as for the reason I type these words today, it means as a homeless couple, the willingness to not eat at all for days on end to make sure their beautiful daughter has enough food to eat and stay healthy.


I serve in a ministry called Safe Families for Children. In this ministry, we help families get back on their feet by providing short-term non-foster-care placement for their children with volunteer host families. The parents still retain full custody, but the placement allows them to take intentional steps towards whatever is needed to be done, and often getting things done is hindered (not purposefully) by young children. The family that I met today is homeless, but happy. They are strong, yet vulnerable. They love their daughter with all their heart. As they ate the McDonalds that was given to them, they made sure their daughter, who had already eaten with the host mom, had whatever she wanted of their food, and they didn’t get upset or mad or have any negative reaction when she threw a chicken nugget on the floor or something.

The Last Piece of Meat

When I had spoken earlier in the week with a colleague who did the intake, she told me that when she met with the family, they were starving, because they hadn’t eaten since the day before when they had met with another one of our colleagues. That all the food they get goes to their daughter, and they only eat when she’s done.

The Last Piece of Meat

I wept that night when I went home, and I had yet to meet the family. I wept because of the sacrificial love that they have for their daughter. It’s not something you see often in this day and age. And it is beautiful to see as I have seen it.

When I met the family today, I saw a family who was loving and caring and strong, stronger that I could be at that moment, having to say goodbye and see you later to their daughter, again (they did so a few nights’ prior when placing their child).

So now, when I think of that phrase which I first heard uttered by Gus in the summer of 2007 in that little Korean Café in the bottom floor of the hostel in Sydney, Australia, “The last piece of meat,” this family is what I see, is what I think about. I praise God for people like them, and they aren’t a Christian family, yet they show sacrificial love. It is my hope and prayer that they do, one day, meat the Savior, Jesus Christ, and Lord willing, respond to His call on their hearts. In the meantime, however, I hope they continue to give their daughter that last piece of meat.

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