Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you.
I spend much of my time with my family and preparing to preach and teach God’s Word. I am currently serving as Senior Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Everson, Washington. In my spare time, I’m generally cranking out miles on my road bike, working out on the treadmill, or playing tennis or golf.
I earned my BS and MA degrees from Multnomah University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, Washington.
My personal mission is to positively influence people, impact the world one person at a time and to glorify God by enjoying him forever.
I am very excited about my new book, Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther. The book is a mixture of church history and pastoral theology, designed to encourage Christians as they proclaim the truth of God’s Word with courage and live bold lives for the glory of God.
What are you reading right now?
I am usually reading 5-7 books – a few which relate directly to my ministry context (systematic theology, historical theology, biography, preaching, leadership, biblical counseling, commentaries, etc.), a book devoted to history or current events, a large theological work, and a recreational read (usually a spy novel or thriller).
I am currently reading Folly, Grace, and Power: The Mysterious Act of Preaching by John Koessler, Romans: An Exposition of Chapters 2:1 – 3:20: The Righteous Judgment of God by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe by Anne Applebaum, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Hickman Edition) by Jonathan Edwards, and Shadow Pass by Sam Eastland.
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
I generally re-read works by John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, John Owen, John Frame, and John Piper. These stalwarts of the Christian faith feed my soul with their God-centered writing and love of gospel truth. Each author turns my heart to the cross and challenges me to dig deeper, preach with more boldness, and persevere in the Christian faith. Specific works that I turn to often include:
Institutes of the Christian Religion
The End For Which God Created the World
The Justice of God and the Damnation of Sinners
Freedom of the Will
The Pilgrims Progress
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners
Sin and Temptation – Volume 6
The Death of Death in the Death of Christ – Volume 10
The Doctrine of God
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief
The Pleasures of God
What biographies and autobiographies have you read recently?
The two most recent autobiographies I’ve read are Full Harvest by C.H. Spurgeon and God Took Me By the Hand by Jerry Bridges. I’ve also recently read George Washington: A Life and Alexander Hamilton – both by Ron Chernow, Madison: A Life Reconsidered by Lynne Cheney, The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Steven Lawson, and What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now? by Richard Ben Cramer.
Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?
The three biographies that have influenced me the most are Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by Iain Murray, and The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin by John Piper.
If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?
- Desiring God – John Piper
- The Holiness of God – R.C. Sproul
- Total Truth – Nancy Pearcey
- Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
- The Sovereignty of God – A.W. Pink
What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel?
The most helpful books for me include The Cross-Centered Life and Humility by C.J. Mahaney, Today’s Gospel by Walter Chantry, The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur, What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert, and The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ by Ray Ortlund, Jr.
What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus?
Anyone who has served in pastoral ministry for an extended amount of time can testify that experiencing hurt is a normal part of the ministry. Personal attack and criticism are not uncommon and must be dealt with appropriately and processed with gospel-centered wisdom.
I am constantly struck with the importance of being a humble man, especially during the difficult days. Proverbs 3:34 is a constant reminder: ”Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.” Three principles have helped to guide me in the way of humility:
Understand who I am and who God is.
It is the commitment to knowing God and knowing ourselves that leads to wisdom which is informed by humility. Calvin adds, “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves …”
Embrace the doctrines of grace.
When I believe what the Bible says about depravity, it leads to humility. When I believe what the Bible says about the sovereignty of God in salvation, it leads to humility. When I believe what the Bible says about the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, it leads to humility. And when I believe what the Bible says about a God who promises to preserve my salvation, it leads to humility.
Measure everything through the cross of Christ.
William Farley is helpful here: “The cross convinces us to make Christ’s substitutionary atonement our only boast. In other words, because of the cross, I can boast in God’ love despite the complete absence of personal merit. I deserve damnation.” Apart from the cross of Christ, my judgment is sealed and I am doomed. This truth surely leads to humility.
A recent vacation has reminded me about the importance of quality time with my family. As a high D, I am very goal-oriented and driven by tasks. I thrive on productivity but realize that achieving goals at the expense of my family is an exercise in futility.
God continues to remind me of the great hope, all because of the gospel. Jesus says, “In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b, ESV).
Every believer, then, is an overcomer (1 John 5:4). Christ-followers no longer fear the grave. They are no longer slaves to sin (Rom. 6:1-14). They have the ability to overcome evil (Rom. 12:21). They have overcome the devil (1 John 2:13-14). Christ-followers have an overcoming faith! “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5, ESV).
Hurt, humility, home, and hope. Four simple words that contain vivid reminders that help guide Christ-followers safely to the Celestial City.
Soli Deo Gloria!