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Building Blocks of the Christian Faith

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Over the years I have looked at a lot of materials that focus on the concepts of discipleship. From books and sermons about the general concept of discipleship and mentorship to books and sermons that try to give specific discipleship programs to actual discipleship books that are designed for either self-study or one-on-one discipleship.

In a study of those things, many cover some basic building blocks of the Christian faith. However, I wonder what you would include if you were writing such a book or if you were preaching on these building blocks. What things would you include?

Just asking,

Frank

Final Four Results and Final Standings of A Thinking Man's Tourney

Wow! Last night's overtime win by Kansas over Memphis was a pretty good game. For some reason, I found myself rooting for Memphis, even though I did not really care who won. I had the privilege of joining with some folks from church as we watched the game projected onto a screen in Steven Fleming's pad. It was pretty cool.

I know it is easy to second-guess a coach after the fact, but Steven can attest to the fact that this is not just second-guessing. I think Memphis should have fouled Kansas on the last play before Chalmers took the three-pointer. With only 10 seconds left, the only way Kansas wins that game is by doing exactly what happened. (Of course, I guess they could have made one free throw and then missed the second one on purpose and gotten the rebound and made a shot to tie - but that is more difficult than making a three-pointer.)

Since Kansas won the game and no one in the Thinking Man's Tourney picked Kansas, the standings remain the same as they were in the previous post. So, for the second year in a row - Congratulations to Sam Knisely for winning The Thinking Man's Tourney.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

On the Ordination Service of David Field

Monday, April 07, 2008

On Sunday night, March 30, I had the great privilege of being able to take part in the Ordination Service of Pastor Dave Field at Hardingville Bible Church in Monroeville, New Jersey. Dave is a great guy and I greatly appreciate his asking me to take part in this significant milestone in his life. I look forward to continuing to watch and rejoice as Dave walks and serves God - along with his wife Dawn and the rest of the family.

My part of the service included giving the "Charge to the Candidate", which is designed to be a challenge to the one being ordained concerning life and ministry. In preparation for this, I re-read the books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus, especially noting the commands regarding life and ministry that the Apostle Paul gave to these two young ministerial men. It was a good reminder of the types of things that ought to be our higher concerns in the realms of life and ministry and it was a challenge to me as I re-read these familiar passages.

Trying to narrow down the charges that Paul gave to Timothy and Titus into something that could be preached in 15-17 minutes is a bit of a task. There are around 50 different charges that Paul gives in these few short books. Some of them are repeated in the different books, some of them are unique to the situations, and some of them are unique to the addressee, but overall there is much in them that should apply to all of us who stand behind the sacred desk.

As I sought to narrow it down, I went with a little thematic view, taking a separate passage for each main point. My main points were all taken from common passages from the Prison Epistles and each is deserving of their own sermon. (Which may explain why I accidentally went over my allotted time by about 10 minutes - oops!)

I. Be a Pattern in Your Character (1 Timothy 4:12-16)

While the 1 Timothy 4 passage expresses this specifically, the same idea is included multiple times within these three books, both in specific charges to Timothy and Titus or in the concern for character expressed in the requirements for office that are listed.

As Pastors, we must be concerned that our character serves as a pattern to other believers. It is not enough to be able to stand up and give a "preaching performance." It is not enough to be able to "do" things. God is more concerned with our person than our performance. Repeatedly Paul focuses on what these men in leadership are like in their character.


II. Be Purposeful in Your Charge (2 Timothy 2:1-7)

Men in ministry have been given a special task - the edifying of the saints for the work of the ministry, the holding forth of the Word of Truth, the training of others who will, in turn, train others, the proclamation of God's Word.

If we are going to accomplish these tasks, we must be purposeful about it. We must be purposeful in our responsibilities, not allowing ourselves to be caught up in a lot of wasteful activities. As a soldier endures and a runner strives and a farmer labors, so must the man of God endure and strive and labor in the task that God has given us.

III. Be a Preacher who Continues (2 Timothy 4:1-8)

We are to proclaim as a herald the message of the Word. We are to be instant and ready whatever the circumstances may be. We are to carefully take the Word of God and use it to reprove, rebuke and exhort, being careful that the manner in which we do so is with all longsuffering and doctrine.

As Paul continued in this task until the end - so much so that he could confidently rest in the fact that he had fought a good fight and finished his course, so must the man of God continue in the task of faithfully preaching the Word of God no matter the circumstances.

If you are a Pastor reading this, may I encourage you to take a thoughtful re-reading of the Pastorals some time in the near future. It will do your heart good.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

P.S. In an earlier post I wrote regarding the Ordination Council and the process of preparation that Dave went through in regards to his preparation for that Ordination Council. (You can read that post here .)

Scoring update - with a twist from Andy Efting

Sunday, April 06, 2008

After last night's games, only one person has a chance to have the ultimate champion - Andy Rupert chose Memphis as his eventual champion.

The current scoring is:

1. Sam Knisely (217)
2. Matt Jury (199)
3. Frank Sansone (191/190)
4. Andy Rupert (188)
5. Ron Bean (180)
Andy Efting is still only 1 point away from Mr. Bean.

Speaking of Andy Efting - he commented on the last post that we should skip the bonus points for the seeds and rounds and just go with the number of games correct.

That would, of course, be changing the rules when the games are almost over, but maybe we should do that next year.

If we went by correctly predicted games, the leader board would be as follows.

1t. Sam Knisely (43)
1t. Matt Jury (43)
3t. Andy Efting (39)
3t. Andy Rupert (39)
5t. Ron Bean (38)
5t. Frank Sansone (38)

Of course, the entry from What If Sports (which has Kansas beating Memphis in the Final) would still be in the lead with 47 correct and the entry that simply chose the higher seed for each game would be in second place with 45 correct.

Anyway, most of us are now toast anyway since the games Saturday went the exact opposite of the way many of us had picked them.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Final Standings before the Final Four

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Leading up to tonight's Final Four match-ups of all number 1 seeds, the scoring for A Thinking Man's Tourney has adjusted a little bit.

The current standings are:

1. Sam Knisely - 217 points
2. Matt Jury - 199 points
3. Frank Sansone - 191 points (my other entry has 190 points)
4. Andy Rupert - 182 points
5. Ron Bean - 174 points
Andy Efting is sittin at 173 points, one shy of making the top five.

Interestingly, nobody has had their Final Champion knocked out and at least three players correctly picked the entire Final Four - Sam, Matt, and Ron.

For the sake of comparison, if you had just simply picked the higher seed team for every game, you would be at 208 points with all four teams remaining.

For those who are wondering, the WhatIf Sports computer (I mentioned it on this post) is beating all of us - it has 225 points with Kansas beating Memphis in the Final on Monday.

Just my thoughts,

Frank