I must apologize for my blog absence. I enjoy writing but have been very busy with family, work, school, and ministry. I hope to blog more over the coming months. I’ve already jotted out a few ideas and topics about which I would like to rant.
What’ve I been up to?
First, Whitney gave birth to our firstborn, Jackson Travis Turner, on May 1. He is a beautiful and happy boy. I am amazed how fast he is growing. Every day is a new adventure in parenthood.
Second, I am hard at work with my PhD at SEBTS. This fall I will enter the mentorship phase as I finish my coursework and prepare for comprehensive exams, prospectus, and dissertation writing. All that means that I have jumped some very difficult hurdles (e.g., Theological German). I am thankful for the difficult moments in my education as they have proven useful to understanding God’s word and have taught me more about perseverance and dedication.
Third, things at NRBC here in Suffolk, VA are going great. The students at NRBC are growing enormously in their relationships with Jesus. This past year we have witnessed a number of students accept Jesus as their Savior and get baptized. In fact, we just returned from camp and I can tell that God is using them to impact their communities and families with the gospel.
Finally, I just returned from speaking at a Fuge Camps in Philadelphia for 2 weeks. This was, in many ways, a dream come true. I attended Fuge Camps as a student, worked at Fuge Camps as a staffer, and have taken my students to Fuge Camps as a Pastor. Both weeks were amazing as I served with phenomenally talented staffers, was able to preach the word to attentive students, and participate in legit ministry in the city of Philly. The Gospel was proclaimed and lives were changed. Every time God chooses to use me, I am astonished.
All this to say, life has been crazy but good. Keep an eye out for new posts on here!
This past year has been quite an adjustment in many ways. I’ve been adjusting to the demands of being back in school. This is the first time I’ve gone to school while working “full-time.” I always thought I worked a lot in college and seminary but the increased level of responsibilities at the church in combination with the higher academic expectations of PhD courses has been daunting at times.
I’ve enjoyed teaching more regularly at Nansemond River Baptist Church. In fact, I just uploaded a recent series on “Discipleship” under the resources tab. I’ve been very happy to watch our church embrace a vision of shared leadership. I must say that I pastor alongside some of the most talented and godly men on the planet. In addition, the church has been very receptive to the Scriptures. I believe NRBC has a bright future as a church that embraces the Great Commission in every area of life.
This summer has been busy as we took the teenagers at NRBC to camp. Also, we’ve been using Dare2Share’s “Gospel Journey Maui” curriculum on Wednesdays. The thoughtfulness and openness of the discussion among our students has been an encouragement. I sense a desire among them to embrace a radical vision of obedience to the call of Christ.
On a personal note, Whitney and I have also been adjusting to a lot of things. Whitney will be starting classes at William and Mary this fall to pursue a Master’s of Higher Education. In addition, she starts a new job at W&M on August 18. She is very excited about all of these changes but they are changes nonetheless. In addition, God has been teaching Whitney and I a lot about risk, obedience, faith, and contentment. We are wrestling with what it means to leverage our marriage for the cause of Christ. It is scary to ask such questions but we are convinced that whatever we must sacrifice is well worth the reward.
I hope this fall will allow me time to post my musings on life, culture, mission, and miscellany. I know I have some music and book recommendations and I am rarely want for an over-the-top rant.
Thanks for reading.
So where have I been? Why the infrequent blogging? I suppose my lack of blogging frequency is a combination of other responsibilities, priorities, a tinge of laziness, and the ebb-and-flow of writing.
I am as busy as ever at the church. In addition, I am constantly reading and writing in my various PhD seminars. I am often worn out from reading and writing for school and have a limited amount of energy for blogging. Often I spend my “free time” just unwinding (hanging out with Whitney, playing video games, doing homework, or the like).
This blog is a creative outlet. A place where I can share my thoughts. As such I feel no pressing responsibilities to post with any given regularity. For those who read and check the blog frequently, I appreciate your patronage. I will try to post more regularly (if you have particular topics you want addressed, let me know!).
I’m thinking about developing a more regular blogging schedule (based on the example and admonition of my wife). She blogs about event and wedding planning and has a schedule of blogs (e.g., Flower Fridays, Dressy Wednesday, etc.). Any suggestions on particular topics I can write about (e.g., theology thursday, music monday, funny friday, web watch wednesday).
Thanks for reading. Give me suggestions for topics or regular series you would be interested to read.
It’s been a crazy couple of months. Whitney and I just got back from Harrisonburg where we spent the weekend ministering to high school students from Immanuel Bible Church. We had a lot of fun talking about the book of Jonah and asking tough questions about our own commitment to the call of God.
I think I have a chance to breath in the coming weeks, so I hope to get back on a regular blogging schedule. There are a lot of things to discuss!
Just browsing through the contents I’m excited to see the feature on Shad (one of my favorite hip-hop artists). I’m over Rob Bell and all of his pseudo-spirituality (“God is the God of the groove. We need rhythm in our time. It gives shape and color and form to all of life.” What does that even mean?!?) but I’ll see what he has to say (or not say) about advent.
The article I am most anticipating is “Deck the Halls (Not Your Family)” by my fellow Greenbrier Christian Academy alumnus, Jesse Carey. His article walks through the art of greeting (hug, handshake, fist bump, cheek kiss) and helps you avoid the passive-aggressive dinner table questions (so, when are you guys gonna have kids?). Most importantly it claims to help you “avoid the Clark Griswold meltdown.”
First, thanks to all of you who regularly read this blog. I apologize for the lack of updates in the past few days. Things have been extremely busy this summer between my regular church duties (“Sunday School,” “youth group,” office work, etc.), extra church duties (preaching), guest speaking (conferences, retreats, preaching, etc.), extra summer Student Ministry activities (camp, beach trips, and other such ventures)… On top of that I am gearing up to begin a new phase of study as I enter the PhD program at SEBTS.
As I get a breath of fresh air I hope to resume my habit of regularly blogging. This summer I have been teaching on “The Mission of God” to the young adults at NRBC. I hope to blog some thoughts about what I’ve been learning as I have studied the global reach of our great God.
This summer has also brought a few issues regarding my ministry to young adults into focus. I am planning to record a few insights related to the subject of emerging adulthood, morality, culture, and discipleship.
There are a number of other topics that have peaked my interest along with the usual fare of interesting music releases, news tidbits, and other creative things.
I might be able to add a few more sermons to the resources page and maybe a new book to my recommended reading list.
In any case, to keep you busy I have linked to a few funny videos that I have stumbled across:
If you need more serious reading, please check out this article (especially pertinent to parents of children and teenagers):
For those of you interested, I have recently added two pages on the site:
Many people have asked for books that I have found helpful. On the “Recommended Reading” page I have listed a random selection of books and tried to arrange them somewhat topically.
I’ve also added a “Resources” page that has a few sermons and notes on it. I hope to add more in the future as I collect them from various sources around the “interweb.”
Their customer service structure is so segmented and dysfunctional that I’m surprised anyone can get home phone or high speed internet service from them.
I am convinced that Verizon’s customer service setup is intentionally designed to make their agents and customer helpless. Follow me on a verbal reenacment:
First, the customer calls the Verizon customer service hotline and is greeted by an automated voice. Automated machines are not bad IF THEY WORK! After ten or so minutes of going through every possible automated menu the customer is reduced to screaming at a non-sentient machine asking to speak to a human being!
Finally, a customer service agent answers (after another five minutes of ’90s elevator music). The customer service representative is inevitably sweet, sensible, and harmless. However, they have no actual power to do anything. Customer service can merely transfer you to the appropriate department. There is no one stop problem solver. After talking to repair, billing, dispatch, dsl, phone… there is no end in sight. A mile wide and an inch deep.
Are you feeling the beginnings of my frustration?
After experiencing this situation I couldn’t help but compare it to my role as a pastor/elder in the church. I think there are a lot of lessons about communication and problem solving to be learned. The most significant lesson I learned was about empowering people to fulfill their duties. You have to trust the people in your company to use their wisdom, creativity, and skills to solve-problems and do their job. You cannot always limit them to pre-programmed responses.
In the same way, as a pastor, my job is to “prepare God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12). I think that churches often try to function like businesses and corporations with a top-down hierarchy when the Bible speaks of unity and equality. To be sure, there are leaders in the church, but they lead with a humble example and the result is that other Christians are equipped to do ministry. Each Christian is a fully-called, fully-capable, fully-commissioned minister of the gospel
You may have noticed an absence of posts the last few days. The simple explanation? My wife and I bought our first house! Between the walkthrough, closing, painting, and moving I haven’t had much time to write (or do anything else).
Needless to say, I will be back at it come Monday. I have plenty of thoughts on current events (think Men’s Figure Skating) and some book’s I’ve been reading (I’m on an N. T. Wright kick these past few weeks).
Hope all is well, here is a picture of our new homestead.