New Internship Announced at Grace Baptist Church Cape Coral

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Summer is the perfect time for a church to evaluate their pastoral internship program and make improvements for the fall.

Every church will set up their internship a little differently. And while there’s no one “right way” to do internships, I’ve noticed some features that are common to every successful internship, such as a focus on personal character and ample opportunities to develop skills in a supervised environment.

Grace Baptist Church of Cape Coral, Florida, recently announced a new pastoral internship program. It’s very detailed and well thought out. Their program is “designed to unveil regular, day-to-day ministerial life and provide men aspiring to be pastors with an ecclesiological and pastoral grid for doing the work of the ministry.”

Their program is a paid position and is only 5 months long, requiring 50 hours per week. It’s basically a full time job and is going to look a lot different from a BAT internship at Cal Baptist University (4 consecutive semesters, 10-12 hours per week). It’s also content-driven rather than competence driven (one of our BAT distinctives).

Nevertheless, it may be a good fit for some pastors-in-training, or serve as a helpful model for churches to develop their own internship program.

Here’s a link with full details.

Photo credit: Stevens Construction Inc

Not of This World

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I just returned from a community prayer gathering in honor of the National Day of Prayer. What a sweet time of intercession it was. I’ve been to many such events in the past, but this was the best attended, and I believe the most fervent. All chairs were occupied, with many others standing under the pavilion. Ten pastors from evangelical churches across the basin led in prayer for the nation, for military, for education, for families, for law enforcement, and more. Then, I was asked to conclude with a final prayer. Here’s the Scripture I read, along with my prayer…

In 1 Peter 2:9-12, the Apostle Peter wrote these words to the believers scattered as exiles across Asia Minor, and to us today:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

Dear Father, these verses are a reminder that we are in the world, but not of the world. Some of us here have stickers emblazoned on our car, “NOTW” – Not of This World. But if we were honest, all too often, we think, and speak, and act, as if this world were our home.

Forgive us, Lord, for growing too comfortable in this place. Cleanse our hearts from the complacency, from the distractions, from the mirage of hopes and dreams we placed in this passing world.

O God, we confess that we have laid up too many treasures on earth rather than treasures in heaven. We have concerned ourselves more with our bank accounts than our heavenly inheritance. More with our physical health than our spiritual well-being.

As the culture rapidly changes, perhaps never before have we felt so out of place. We are like fish out of water. Finally, it’s beginning to sink in that we are Not of This World.

We thank you that from the moment we first trusted in Christ, our citizenship was transferred out of this domain of darkness and into the kingdom of your beloved Son. Heaven is our true home, and here in this land, we are just “passing through.”

We thank you for our adoption as sons and daughters, and recognize that we have far more in common with a Christian in Kenya, a Christian in Korea, a Christian in Khazakstan, than we do with an American who lives next door and spurns the name of Christ.

We know you have left us here for a short time, and we feel the same tension of the Apostle Paul, who said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…I am hard pressed in both directions.”

Thank you for this Town of Yucca Valley and the other communities of the Morongo Basin. We lift up to you our federal government, our state government, and our local government. We pray for our non-profit organizations like the Hi Desert Pregnancy Clinic and the Way Station.

And so, Lord, as long as you keep us here on earth, we will pray, and we will work, and we will serve. We will seek to be righteous, respectful, and upstanding citizens in our community, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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A Prayer for our Politicians

FlagsLast night, I was asked to lead the invocation at our Yucca Valley Town Council. Here’s what I prayed for our political leaders.

Sovereign Lord, If we could gather into one great heap all the leaders of this world — kings and congressman, diplomats and dictators.

If we could merge all the economies of this world – farmyards and football stadiums, stock markets and skyscrapers.

Your Word tells us that the sum total of all the nations would be “like a drop from the bucket, and counted as the dust on the scales” (Isaiah 40:15).

But “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. ” (Psalm 145:3). The greatness of this nation, and the greatness of our town, come from you.

Thank you for the elected leaders who sit before me tonight. Each of them is a “minister of God for our good” (Rom. 13:1).

Give them clarity of mind, compassion of heart, and conviction of spirit to do what is right even when unpopular.

Let them serve with joy as those who must give an account not only to their constituents, but ultimately, to You.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace, Amen.

Photo credit: Elentari 86

Principles of Christian Stewardship

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This month, I preached a short series on Christian Stewardship in preparation for an Estate Planning Workshop hosted by the California Baptist Foundation. I introduced four basic principles of Christian stewardship that will change the way you think about life and money. These include:

  • Ownership – Everything belongs to God. We are merely stewards of his grace, and will one day give an account for how we used and invested what he loaned us.
  • Opportunity – Giving is one of life’s greatest opportunities to show love to God and to serve others. It also becomes a great opportunity to imitate the gospel and to display integrity to a watching world.
  • Obedience – God has much to say in his Word about specific areas of stewardship. These helpful, practical, instructions reveal God’s will for our time, talents, and treasure.
  • Overflow – Far from a mere duty, God wants stewardship to flow from a heart of joy.

Now, all three messages are available for download or to listen online. Here are links:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Photo credit: David Castillo Domenici

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