Monday, March 1, 2010

What are you reading these days?

Every once in a while I get asked the question, “What are you reading?” I am always glad when I am asked this question IF I am reading something at the time. No one has asked me lately, so I thought I would answer the question anyway!

I am reading my Bible. A year ago at Christmas my wife bought me a new ESV Study Bible. I love it, it is probably the best study Bible that I have ever owned or come across. (Apologies to you who love your MacArthur Study Bibles…) Right now, in addition to my reading and study in I Samuel for Sunday mornings, I am reading through the Pauline epistles. I try to read through a complete letter in a sitting. It is helping me to think “big picture” in each letter. My favorite Pauline epistle is Philippians. I find myself coming back to chapter 3 when I am getting “too big for my britches”.

I am reading a book on preaching written by some of my favorite modern day preachers. The book is titled “Preaching the Cross” and is a compilation of sermons given at the inaugural “Together for the Gospel” conference in 2006. Some of the men who have collaborated together are Mark Dever, John Piper, CJ Mahaney, John MacArthur and Al Mohler. I am so thankful for the resources available today to the pastor. I am also thankful for godly examples like these men, who stand firm on the defense and proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my desire to follow in their steps and be a faithful proclaimer and defender of the gospel.

I am also reading a book that was bought for me by a member of JIBC. The book is titled “Do Something” and was written by Miles McPherson. Mr. McPherson is not from my theological background and most likely would not be comfortable in our church and, most likely, I would not be comfortable in his church in California. This does not mean that I cannot learn from him and his book. Mr. McPherson’s premise is that we, in the body of Christ, have been equipped by God to accomplish something for Him and since He has given us all we need to get it done; we should be out doing it. It got me to thinking, if we, as a church, would each invest an hour a week in using our gifts, talents and abilities in His service through our church what an awesome thing that would be. Many are already doing an hour and more each week for which I am thankful to God. If we ALL got involved in this way, we could be an unstoppable force for the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, that is what I am reading right now. What are you reading? Take a moment and let me know what God is teaching you through what you are reading.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Is it just me, or have the last seven days been long and seemingly endless to you too? As I was reflecting this morning on my life in the past week, it seems that it revolves around SNOW! Between you and me, I am now officially tired of snow. Yes, it is beautiful to look at, I even enjoy pushing it around on my driveway from time to time, but it is no fun when your vehicle is buried up to its gills in it! One of the blessings of the past week is that many of us have had more time to reconnect as families which is a great thing. I think one of the things that has made the past week drag so slowly for me is that I have not had the opportunity to interact with my church family. There has been little of no connection with many of my spiritual family. We were designed by God to function in relationship with one another. When we are hindered in coming together, as we were this past Sunday and Wednesday, we are not able to experience the joy of encouragement and fellowship. When we come together as a church family this coming Sunday, I expect that there will be an excited energy, the kind of energy that comes when you are really looking forward to seeing the ones that you love. For many of us, it will have been two weeks since we have seen one another. It is my hope that by not having our time together this past week that we will be hungry to be together this week, that we will not take for granted the time that we have each week to spend together in praise of our Great God and hearing from His Word. Sunday is going to be a great day of reconnecting together as a part of the family of God. It makes me look forward to the day when God’s entire family will reconnect together for good in the presence of God. I am looking forward to reconnecting with you this Sunday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Facing any Giants?

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  When I heard these words come from the mouth of someone near to me that is facing a giant in their life, I was amazed.  We all face giants, some of our giants are emotional, some physical, but for the believer ALL of our giants are spiritual in nature too.  This Sunday morning we will contemplate David's battle with a giant named Goliath.  He could have also been named FEAR, because he put fear in every Israelite's heart except for David's.  What made David different?  I think the answer is in the words of Paul to Timothy at the beginning of this entry.  God does not give fear, God does not give confusion, God does not give anxiety, God gives us power, He gives us His never failing love and He gives us clear thinking.  Fear clouds our minds and is one of Satan's well used tools to cripple God's children.  No one invites a giant into his or her path, but God, in His infinite wisdom often places giants in our way so that we can witness and experience His loving care, His awesome power and His wisdom.  The next time you face a giant, instead of recoiling in fear, return to the loving arms of a powerful and faithful heavenly Father.  Hope you can be at JIBC this coming Sunday and learn how to face the giants in your life. 


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why Blog and Some Random Thoughts...

You may be wondering why our church needs a blog or maybe you are thinking “Doesn’t our pastor have enough to do already?” Like any tool, a blog can be very effective when used correctly. A blog is not a place to share news, nor is it a place to connect socially, but it is a place to share ideas, wrestle with tough questions and make commentary. This is my goal, to use the JIBC blog as a place to prompt us to think a little deeper about theological ideas, what is going on in our world and about life itself. I hope you will check back from time to time and read the blog. Feel free to join in and comment. That all being said, let’s get it started!

A Few Random Thoughts…

#1. I view with utter amazement the footage coming out of Haiti I wonder several things…

• How would I survive if I was a Haitian father of five children who had just lost everything in a devastating earthquake? Would my faith be strong in a sovereign and loving God, or would I be in despair?

• Human nature never changes… It is amazing to me that the profit-seekers have continued to seek their profit in the face of mind-numbing devastation and hopelessness. It makes me want to pray imprecatory prayers.

• It makes me wonder how many Haitian orphans my house could hold, my table could feed, how many Haitian children could fit in my arms…

• It makes me wonder if I, who have been given so much, am using what has been given to me to its fullest potential for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

#2. I love biographies. I love Christian biographies. Recently I finished a book I picked up at the Basics Pastor’s Conference last year titled “Heroes” by Iain H. Murray and published by Banner of Truth. It has seven biographies in it of some well known believers (Jonathan Edwards, C. H. Spurgeon) and some not so well known (Thomas Charles of Bala, Charles and Mary Colcock Jones). If you love biography, I would highly recommend this work to you. In our day when the word “heroes” is overused and underappreciated, this book shines a bright light on some real heroes of the faith.

And so we are off on our “Fresh Start”! Thanks for reading.

Pastor Dan

Sunday, January 17, 2010

First Words

Welcome to the blog of Johnstown Independent Baptist Church. While there will not be weekly updates, there will be enough changes to make checking in on us worth your time.
Like the name of the blogs says this is a Fresh Start. God wants you to experience a fresh start by trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. 2 Cor. 5:17 says that anyone who is in Christ is a new creature -- can't get any fresher than new!