This is a brand new series we are starting called “Get To Know” the contributors on Servants of Grace. The basic idea, as you will see is for you,1 our readers, to get to know a little bit about the people who write here on Servants of Grace. Today, we have the privilege of getting to know Jared Oliphint. Thanks so much Jared, for taking time to answer these questions. The questions are mine, but the answers are Jared’s.
Can you tell us about your journey with Christ?
I was raised in a Christian home by two of the best parents who have walked the face of this earth. I was baptized as a baby, was catechized and read Scripture from a young age, and grew up as a seminarian’s kid and then a pastor’s kid. It was an embarrassment of spiritual riches. But because of sin, pride, and a literal death grip on my own mental hang-ups regarding Christianity, I rejected Christianity until late in high school when the Lord humbled me and enabled me to submit my own thinking to his Word. I then went from a Christian high school to a public high school, to a Christian college to seminary, to the “regular” job market back to working at a seminary, where I continue to work, take classes again, and daily seek to live out what I believe.
What projects are you working on?
I’m currently a ThM student in Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, hoping to focus my research on the pactum salutis (covenant of redemption). I also work full-time at Westminster as Regional Coordinator, traveling all over while doing recruiting, alumni relations, and helping with social media while living in Charlotte, NC.
What ministries are you involved in?
A few other projects I’m working on are related to sporadic contributions to Reformed Forum. I have attempted to work on the “Philosophy for Theologians” show for Reformed Forum, but time and scheduling difficulties have made that less consistent than I’d like it to be. As far as church ministry, we are in the process of joining a fantastic church, Sovereign Grace PCA, and I hope to be involved in some evangelistic opportunities there.
How can we pray for you?
My primary hope in the midst of all that has been mentioned is to be a godly husband to my wife Jenny and good father to my year-old daughter, Senna. We have baby number two expected in May and covet your prayers for the baby’s health. Prayer is always appreciated for the regular struggles that come along with academic pursuits.
How can we connect with you online or to any of your other writings, published or otherwise?
I’m somewhat active on twitter at @jaredoliphint and try to post contributions through that format. At some point, I may publish a review of Kingdom Through Covenant I co-wrote, but that’s a ways away so twitter is probably the best bet for now. Thanks for asking these questions, Dave. I appreciate you and your work.
You can read more of Jared’s work on Servants of Grace here or on the Reformed Forum here
This is a brand new series we are starting called “Get To Know” the contributors on Servants of Grace. The basic idea, as you will see is for you our readers, to get to know a little bit about the people who write here on Servants of Grace. Today, we have the privilege of getting to know Vicki Tiede. Thanks so much Vicki, for taking time to answer these questions. The questions are mine, but the answers are Vicki’s.
Can you tell us about your journey with Christ?
As a Christian speaker, author, and teacher, I am passionate about encouraging and equipping women to face the inevitable challenges of marriage, parenting, and walking with Christ. I live in Rochester, MN, with my husband Mike and our three children, whom I homeschool. My husband is a child psychologist at Mayo Clinic and together we lead a small group in our home of couples who desire to grow in the first principles of faith and live their faith out in the context of their families, as well as in a vital church community. Too often today we embrace the gospel and yet fail to pay attention to His instructions concerning how we are to live. Christ’s design for His churches and His families is set forth for a purpose.
When I was in my early twenties, I met and married a man who was addicted to pornography. Because he refused to accept responsibility for his behaviors, did not seek restoration for our relationship, and continued a reckless lifestyle that was putting my life in danger, my pastor and a Christian counselor encouraged me to end the marriage. This was the most difficult thing I have ever done, but God used this time in my life to turn my attention toward Him and to give me a passion for ministering to women who are struggling in their marriages, pointing them toward restoration, which I believe is His desire.
In 1998, God brought Mike into my life. We married and my family grew. Together, we have chosen to seek and trust God in the difficult moments and to praise and thank Him in every moment. Because our marriage is strong and firmly founded in our relationship in Christ, we have often been sought out to meet with couples who need encouragement in their own marriages. As I speak for women’s events, retreats, conferences, and homeschool conferences, I am delighted to share the hope we all have in Christ. I’m especially excited to share God’s Word and the guidelines we have in Scripture for life as a family, especially in light of how those families are to live in the church community.
What projects are you working on?
I just completed a mini-book for New Growth Press called When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography, which will release August 2013. I’m also working on a new book called Women of the Promise (working title), which unpacks biblical womanhood as a natural response to Promise theology.
What ministries are you involved in?
I am very involved in my local church. I recently stepped down from serving as the coordinator of women’s ministries because of the increase in my speaking and writing ministry in the Church. However, I oversee the selection of discipleship materials for women’s ministries and coordinate our meals ministry.
We are also prayerfully seeking God’s direction regarding involvement with an amazing ministry called Tiny Hands International, which is a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the church in the developing world to help the poor overcome poverty and become lights of the world. They are committed to finding the greatest injustices in the world, and working towards relieving them however possible. They are particularly called to orphans, street children, and the victims of the sex-trafficking industry. They want to find those who are already doing the work, who are called and faithful, and help them do it in greater ways and with more efficiency. We do it all in obedience to, and for the glory of Jesus Christ.
How can we pray for you?
Our family is well aware that when we say “yes” to something, we are saying “no” to something else. It’s our desire to glorify God in all that we do, so we appreciate prayers as we seek God’s direction in our ministry and in our daily lives.
Because of the nature of my book and mini-book, When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart, I am often in the position to minister to hurting women. I covet prayers for discernment, wisdom, and protection of my heart. This topic puts us in the cross-hairs of the enemy and we have a keen sense of being in a spiritual battle for truth and purity. Involvement with Tiny Hands International and their business of intercepting children who are being trafficked will only magnify this battle. We are grateful for prayer.
How can we connect with you online or to any of your other writings, published or other wise?
MY BLOG www.vickitiede.com/blog
More of Vicki’s work can also be read here at Servants of Grace
This is a brand new series we are starting called “Get To Know” the contributors on Servants of Grace. The basic idea, as you will see is for you our readers, to get to know a little bit about the people who write here on Servants of Grace. First up, today we have the privilege of getting to know Dr. Brian Cosby. Thanks so much Dr. Cosby for taking time to answer these questions. The questions are mine, but the answers are Dr. Cosby’s.
1) Can you tell us about your journey with Christ?
I grew up in a Christian home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, hearing the gospel and going to church with my parents. But it wasn’t until 1999, when I was eighteen years old, that God saved me by grace after a long struggle with faith and the basics of biblical theology. I graduated the next year from high school and went to Samford University, where God continued to shape and mold me and it was during this time that he called me into the ministry. I attended and graduated from Beeson Divinity School during which time I married my wonderful bride, Ashley, and we moved to Atlanta to serve a PCA church as Youth Pastor. I served there for four years before moving to Signal Mountain, Tennessee last June (2012) to pastor Wayside Presbyterian Church. I have just recently completed a Ph.D. in historical theology, examining a puritan theology of suffering and sovereignty at the Australian College of Theology, Sydney Australia.
2) What projects are you working on?
I am currently working on some articles for the Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia, published as a joint project by Yale University Press and Eerdmans as well as an academic biography of the English puritan, John Flavel for the peer-reviewed publisher, Lexington Books.
3) What ministries are you involved in?
Other than pastoring Wayside Presbyterian Church on Signal Mountain, Tennessee and my family, I am involved in number of ministry initiatives such as denominational committees, contributor for a couple of online blogs, and member of several ministry boards.
4) How can we pray for you?
Please pray that I would continue to find my greatest joy in Christ, that I would treasure him above all else.
5) How can we connect with you online or to any of your other writings, published or other wise?
You can find more about my books at my Amazon.com author page or at waysidechurch.org. You can read Dr. Cosby’s work here on Servants of Grace by clicking on: http://servantsofgrace.org/author/bhcosby/
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What’s the one thing God is asking you to do right now—that you’re not sure you want to do?
Maybe you’re reading that question and thinking, “There’s nothing I can think of. I’m pretty sure I’m being obedient to what He’s asking.” Or maybe you’re reading the question and thinking, “Just one? Brother, I could give you a list.”
But seriously: Is there something you’re sure that God is asking of you that you don’t want to do?
Is it changing careers? Ending an unhealthy relationship? Confronting a loved one about sin you’ve noticed creeping into their lives? Confessing your own sin and asking forgiveness?
Capture whatever that thing is for a minute. Examine it. And, maybe, ask another question:
“Why am I afraid of doing this?”
What will obedience to God cost?
Reading Hosea some time ago reminded me of something important. Hosea 3:1-5 says:
And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” For the children of Israel shall dwell many days a without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
God tells the prophet Hosea to pursue his adulteress wife, Gomer—to redeem and purify her.
Just as God does for His wayward people. Just as God does for me. And as He does for all who belong to Him.
I want to be purified; to take my sin as seriously as Jesus does.
And to take holiness just as seriously.
God’s purification has a price: Obedience.
And sometimes it’s going to hurt.
But it’s worth it.
If you’d be so kind, pray for me today, would you?
There are a lot of books that are, by and large, regarded as classics. They’re the ones you just have to read—and if you don’t, you’re depriving yourself of great literature.
But are you really depriving yourself?
I’ve read a number of books that are considered classics (whether modern or legit), and some, like Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching and Preachers and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, are absolutely worthy of being called classics. But then there are others that I just don’t get the appeal.
I have at least two examples.
I cannot stand Moby Dick. Cannot stand it. I know that Melville is supposed to be the greatest novelist that America has produced, but I really didn’t find it to be that engaging a read. I first read it in high school as part of an independent study project, and nearly every time I picked it up, I fell asleep.
A few years later, I did give it another shot. I didn’t want to assume that I didn’t like it simply because I had a bad experience with it in high school. The experience reading it as an adult was not unlike pushing a boulder up a steep hill.
In a snowstorm.
“Call me Ishmael.”
Next one: Last year, I attempted to read The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. I say attempted, because, this devotional classic kept putting me to sleep. I think I managed to get 150 pages in before I put it on the de-read pile. I have not, as of yet, taken another stab at it.
Now I’m not saying these are bad books… they’re just books that I just could not get into, no matter how hard I try.
No doubt we all have them.
So what about you, dear reader? What’s the classic you just couldn’t get into?
(Originally posted at Blogging Theologically)