Welcome to The Navigator: Let’s Climb!

The Navigator is the new weekly  E-News for all Summit/Small Group Leadership.

I labored over what to title this weekly source that I sincerely hope will be encouraging and helpful.  Desiring this newsletter to complement the overall strategy of the Summit ideal, I wanted the title to communicate a primary and vital tool required to scale the summit successfully.

Researching “critical mountain climbing gear”, I discovered that, almost always, “navigation” was the first category of required equipment.  And for good reason.  It doesn’t matter how much food & water, shelter, gear, etc., you have if you’re lost and have no hope of finding your way out.

This is precisely why I’ve included as a weekly reminder in the E-news, above the image of the compass, the biblical reminder:

“Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, So I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence.” (Psalm 43:3)

Life is never a straight line, but something more akin to a roller coaster complete with the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and everything in between, sometimes making this adventure we call life discombobulating, confusing and downright scary.

Ever heard the phrase: “the blind leading the blind”?

As “shepherds of the sheep” we can only lead as we are allowing the Great Shepherd to daily lead us As you well know, being assigned the role of “teacher” by the Holy Spirit is a serious responsibility.  As James, the half-brother of Jesus made clear:

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

The “tag line” to this E-News sums up my objective in creating it:

Navigating life’s adventures through Biblical learning, critical thinking (and a little humor).

For almost 10 years, I’ve been writing my weekly Music Notes E-News to our music ministry database.  In addition to including resources to help us succeed in the areas of biblical teaching and learning & personal spiritual growth, The Navigator will parallel many of the components of my Music Notes E-News:  BHBC news & events; construction updates; theological commentary on cultural news & issues; Christian apologetics (defending the faith/knowing why you believe what you believe); articles on the hard sciences i.e. chemistry, biology, cosmology, astronomy, etc.; philosophical articles & blogs that will cause us to pause and think deeply; quotes; laughter; and what I call “Grace Notes”, which is a weekly devotional I author dealing with both cultural and theological issues.  (For this introductory edition, I’ve included one of each below.)

My overall desire and objective is to set you up for success by equipping you with resources for theological training as well as encouraging you by reminding you how mightily Christ is using you to provide truth, love and hope to the precious people Christ has entrusted to your care.  My chief passion is research, writing & teaching/preaching.  I will do my very best to equip you with the best, most effective material for helping your students think deeply and learn well.

As a youth pastor, I was responsible for the leadership of a youth ministry comprising 225 students and another 50 small group leaders.  It was akin to what one author describes as “dangerous wonder.”  (It was a blast.)  I am humbled to, again, move into that role.

Lastly, the weekly Navigator E-News will normally be fairly brief.  That said, due to it being necessary to include introductory comments, this inaugural edition is a little longer.  Sorry!

So, what follows is the official content of our very first Navigator E-news. Let’s climb!

 

THIS SUNDAY, July 1st

Preacher:  Gene Wilkes, president of B.H. Carroll Theological Institute; Arlington, TX

There’s a reason Dr. Wilkes is preaching this coming Sunday.  We are hoping to serve as a “partnering church/campus” with B.H. Carroll Theological Institute in the training of believers to grow deep and strong in their theological education.  You can read more about this very effective model of learning here.  Join me this Sunday to hear Dr. Wilkes in both services!

 

Soon, I will be contacting the leadership of each Adult Class for the purpose of setting up a time to share a warm beverage, getting to know one another better and giving you the opportunity to let me know how I can best set you up for success:  Do you need better resources?  Is your curriculum effective?  Is your classroom sufficient for your needs?  Is the AC working properly?  Do we need to change/modify something?  Would you like to install a wet-bar in your classroom?  (nix that last one)

I will also be bringing you up to speed on what I envision for each small group i.e. The Art of Welcoming; principles for shepherding the sheep; intentional strategies for outreach & in-reach.  These are most likely small group components you are already implementing.

It would be impossible to convey to you how vital the small group ministry is to the life of the local church.  People get lost in a crowd (big church); but they connect to a community (small groups).  It’s the small group where people find the intimacy of true biblical fellowship & community.

 

The elevator is working, but with a significant caveat:  sometimes it stops working for a moment, giving you the feeling that you’re temporarily trapped.  For many, this is humorous and not a bother.  However, if you have even the slightest problem with claustrophobia I would strongly encourage you to take the stairs.

I tour the 2nd floor regularly and this I know:  you will be thrilled with the size of the rooms.  They are huge.  Lots of natural light in every room, save one.  Ten new rooms upstairs; three on the first floor; one in the basement (the basement classroom – which is also huge – is designated for the Children’s Ministry.)

Very soon, we will begin the process of assigning you your new classroom. (I believe a couple rooms have already been assigned.)

Our hopeful move-in date is mid-August, in time for the beginning of the new Fall Semester (the week of August 19th).

A tentative dedication ceremony for the new building is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 7th.

 

My friends, you just never know….  Read on:

While leading at Super Summer (a giant youth camp) a couple of weeks ago, a precious teenager came up to me and said, “Six months ago I was suffering from severe depression and seriously contemplated taking my life. Your Facebook posts stopped me from carrying that out.”

I held him as hard as I could, looked him in the eye, and said, “Please promise me you’ll never harm yourself.” With joy in his eyes he said, “I promise.”

All of you who have suffered pain in your life: never be afraid to tell your story of hope! There are multitudes out there who desperately need to hear it.

 

THE MIND-BOGGLING UNIFORMITY OF THE COSMOS

Even the non-Christian physicist, Paul Davies, states that the universe has the appearance of design – hence, having a Designer.  I’m continuing to plow through “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson (non-Christian), who writes:

“This universality of physical laws (of the cosmos) tells us that if we land on another planet with a thriving alien civilization, they will be running on the same laws that we have discovered and tested here on earth…

Science thrives not only on the universality of physical laws but also on the existence and persistence of physical constants… If you do the math, you can determine that a star’s luminosity is steeply dependent on the universal law of gravity. In other words, if gravity had been slightly different in the past, then the energy output of the sun would have been far more variable than anything the biological, climatological, or geological record indicates. 

Such is the uniformity of our universe.”

 

Read this inspiring article about Stanford University professor, William Newsome, here.

From the blog:

“Your faith should be informed by science. It should not be replaced by science. Science can’t bear that weight. It can’t give you the things that you need from faith or well-reasoned philosophy. But your faith should always be informed by science.” Neurobiologist, William Newsome – the Harman Family Provostial Professor and the Vincent V. C. Woo Director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute; Stanford University School of Medicine

 

ON THE FAST APPROACHING HORIZON: (more info to come)

Wed. Evening Studies & Activities resume:  8/22

Church Wide Movie Night:  “I Can Only Imagine” – 9/30

UnApologetics Conference:  11/17

 

QUOTE of the WEEK:

“Christ has broken the power of Satan…henceforth evil spirits, instead of having power over us, tremble and are [terrified] at every true Christian.” John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

“Someone just honked to get me out of my parking spot faster. So now I have to sit here until both of us are dead.”

“You know you’re in a country church if over half your congregation thinks a cantata is an entree at Taco Bell.”

And a bonus…

 

GRACE NOTES:  The Intolerable Intolerance of the Dallas Mayor

The intolerance of the “tolerant” never ceases to amaze me.  Read the blog here.

Also,…

GRACE NOTES:  The God Who Hurts Us

The “problem of pain” (how a good & loving God can allow suffering) is the No. 1 argument for atheism.  And rightly so.  Although the Bible never gives us definitive reason for why seemingly innocent people (children, for instance) suffer, or why hurricanes and volcanoes are allowed to wreak havoc and devastation, God sprinkles clues throughout his Word.  But, most of all – he says, “Trust me.”  Read the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick