Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Holy Bible on the floor? A polite plea for greater respect for the Word of God

In the obituary-like announcement of the death of Kenneth N. Taylor (1917-2005), the founder of Tyndale House publishing company (1962) and translator of Tyndale's The Living Bible--a popular paraphrased Bible published in 1971 but since reworked and renamed the New Living Translation in 1996--Christianity Today magazine wrote on June 10, 2005,

Kenneth, eagerly attending Sunday school [in Beaverton, Oregon], was early impressed with the inestimable value of Scripture. He once saw his father accidentally drop a Bible; and with almost ceremonial gentility, [his father] the Reverend Taylor picked it up from the floor. Kenneth respected the Word, but he wrestled with archaisms in the King James Bible—a certain portent of future editorial tasks. As publisher and writer, he would similarly honor the Bible and its effective communication.

While risking the label of being a Christian legalistic or Bible idolater, I humbly and politely plead with my fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to show greater respect for God's holy, inerrant and eternal Word (Old Testament, New Testament) by not placing it on the floor or ground. If our actions speak louder than words, then this simple and intentional non-action would display for others--and especially those yet outside of "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3, New Testament), including those from other faiths (false religions)--the respect and honor due to God's sacred Word.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ministering to those in hospitals . . . Oakley F. Belden, Sr. (1927-2016) . . . new book: "Lessons from a Hospital Bed" (J. Piper)

On left: Oakley Franklin Belden, Sr. (1927-2016).
Louisville, Kentucky. April 2012.
What does a Christian do when he or she visits a hospital patient or someone in a hospice situation?

In general and in short, be a good listener, share a Bible verse or two, pray and be brief. In most cases, just your physical presence (i.e., taking time out of your busy schedule to show you care) is appreciated.

I--a "tent making" (Acts 18:3) hospital worker in the field of surgical instrumentation/sterile processing and infection control (November 2013- )--recently visited a dear and elderly friend (April 2012- ) in a hospice care center. Three of Oakely Franklin Belden, Sr.'s (1927-2016) last four days on earth I was able to visit. Each day I shared a Bible verse(s) and prayed for the longtime and beloved Immanuel Baptist Church (Louisville, Kentucky) deacon who was born the same year as my father (1927-2006) and who also served in the U.S. Army during W.W. II (1939-45).

"Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze straight before you."
Proverbs 4:25
"For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living."
Romans 14:7-9
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

In February 2014 and 2015, I tried to take Bro. Oakley to his first-ever University of Louisville Cardinals men's basketball game. The February 2015 attempt came courtesy of Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino's administrative assistant who gave us three complimentary tickets. However, a fragile 87/88-year-old Oakley had to cancel both times the night prior due to his health. O well. The Lord Jesus Christ was Oakley's greatest joy and treasure, not sports. Yet he was a big U of L basketball fan.

Relatedly, an excellent new resource by John Piper was published recently (February 2016) to spiritually instruct and encourage hospital patients. At only 80 pages and a $7.99 retail price, I highly recommend the pocket-sized little book Lessons from a Hospital Bed. The foreword is written by Joni Eareckson Tada. From Piper's Desiring God website, a discount is given for bulk orders of 100 copies.

Lessons from a Hospital Bed.
By John Piper. 2016.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Together for the Gospel, biennial conference for pastors . . . "We are Protestant: The Reformation at 500" (2016 theme)

What a joy to attend my third (2012, 2014, 2016) Together for the Gospel pastors conference, April 12-14, 2016, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. This also was my second time serving as a volunteer, being one among the 320 volunteers.

The combination of sound biblical instruction, sweet fellowship with attending friends from Canada, and 10,000-plus "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [our] heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19) makes the every-two-year conference truly special.

All plenary sessions, panel discussions and breakout sessions are available for viewing at the T4G website.

As a former nominal Roman Catholic who is deeply appreciative of the Protestant Reformation and its European leaders like Martin Luther (1483-1546) and others, I was doubly blessed by this year's theme of the Protestant Reformation. From now and throughout 2017, tributes and commemorations will be taking place within many Protestant denominations in honor of Martin Luther's bold protest against the theological teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther's nailing of his "95 Theses" on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, is widely considered the action that sparked the Protestant Reformation. The Latin-worded "Five Solas" best summarize the theological emphases of the reformers in regard to a sinner's salvation before a holy and righteous God:

Sola fide (by faith alone)
Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone)
Solus Christus (by Christ alone)
Sola gratia (by grace alone)
Soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone)

Begun in 2006 by evangelical leaders Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney and Albert Mohler---and with frequent guest speakers such as Kevin DeYoung, John MacArthur, John Piper and R. C. Sproul--the conference grows in attendance each time. 

For the 2016 T4G conference, over 10,000 attended from 43 countries, including 459 from Canada. About 19,500 "unique users" from 130 countries watched the livestream of the conference. Over 20 Protestant denominations were represented, with 41% from the Southern Baptist Convention (just 4 miles away from the downtown Louisville arena are the SBC's Boyce College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which total over 5,000 students). 48% attended for the first time, with 56% being under age 40. Over 200,000 free books were distributed, with each attendee receiving over 20 free books (thus, the registration fee just about equals or is less than the retail value of the books received).

The next T4G conference is scheduled for April 11-13, 2018, in Louisville. Registration will begin in late 2017. (The 2016 conference sold out, so be sure to register early.) If interest, time and finances allow,  T4G is a truly special and highly recommended conference to attend.

T4G at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. April 12-14, 2016.
Over 10,000 attendees from 43 countries and 20 Protestant denominations.
Friends at the T4G "Canadians Together for the Gospel" breakout session.
April 13, 2016. Watch the video of the session here.
Over 20 free books for all T4G 2016 attendees.
Read and be blessed!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pastor-Professor William "Bill" F. Kerr (1915-2003), a centennial tribute . . . "Tail of the Dragon," a motorcyclist's dream

Dr. William "Bill" F. Kerr
While attending the “Carl F. H. Henry: A Centennial Celebration” at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in September 2013, I was reminded of my first learning about the evangelical stalwart from William"Bill" Fulton Kerr.

As Henry (1913–2003) was departing Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1947 in order to help form Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, my new friend and mentor, Dr. Kerr (1915–2003), informed me—nearly a half-century later, at age 78 (and me a one-year-old Christian convert of 22 years of age) in 1993 in Port Angeles, Washington—that he was arriving at the Lombard, Illinois, campus in order to serve as the school’s new Associate Professor of Old Testament (but later changed to Professor of Theology).

That spring (1947), Kerr had just graduated with his Doctor of Theology degree from Northern Seminary. During his doctoral studies, he served as the seminary’s instructor in history and Old Testament (1944–47). Before the Old Testament teaching post was assumed, however, Northern Seminary instead appointed Kerr as Professor of Theology, thereby filling the post left vacant by the California-bound Henry.

With the centennial anniversary of Kerr’s birth in 2015 (September 6), a tribute to the beloved pastor-professor-author seemed in order. So I researched, wrote and delivered a paper/lecture on Dr. Kerr at the annual southeast regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina, served as host to the March 18-19, 2016, meeting. Dr. Kerr was a member of ETS, as well as the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature.

My paper/lecture was one of 42 presented along with three plenary sessions by professor, author and Christian apologist Paul Copan. Dr. Copan spoke on "God, Evil, and the New Atheism, "God, Evil, and the Old Testament" and "God, Evil, and Civilization."

For a copy of the paper entitled "In the Shadow of Carl F. H. Henry: The Life and Ministry of William F. Kerr," please contact Uncommon Christian Ministries.

Dr. Francis Kyle.
Lecture on friend and mentor Dr. W. F. Kerr (1915-2003). March 18, 2016.
Columbia International University. Columbia, SC.

"Tail of the Dragon"

While on the same, 12-day, 1,900-mile road trip to the American Southeast (Lebanon, TN; Asheville and Cherokee, NC; and Charleston, Columbia and Coosawhatchie, SC), I was able to finally ride the "Tail of the Dragon" on March 12, 2016. On my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom DL650 (a middleweight sport touring bike that I've owned since 2007), this was my first and long-awaited motorcycle trip to this historic and scenic region of the country. 

With 318 curves in 11 miles on the North Carolina/Tennessee border--and situated along the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest--this short stretch of the 582-mile U.S. Route 129 is popular with motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts. The Dragon has no cross roads, no driveways and trucks are banned. Sadly, and mostly due to rider/driver error, deaths occur on The Dragon--see stats here.

For a 27-minute "Tennessee Life" (production of the PBS-TV station in East Tennessee) feature story on The Tail of the Dragon that aired in May 2015 (episode 14), see here.

Deals Gap, North Carolina, the tiny community that lies at the mountain pass (2000' elevation) along the North Carolina/Tennessee border, is a must visit when beginning or ending one's ride on The Dragon.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Robbinsville, NC.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Robbinsville, NC.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Robbinsville, NC.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Embracing the Truth Bible Conference, 6th annual . . . March 8-11, 2016 . . . Hamilton Chapel Church, Lebanon, Tenn.

With the theme this year being "Set Apart To Do Holy Business for Our King," the 6th annual Embracing the Truth Bible Conference (ETT) takes place March 8-11 in the Gladeville community of Lebanon, Tennessee (25 miles east of Nashville). I will be attending the last two days of the conference as a first-time attendee.

Click here to view the conference flyer; here for ETT's schedule; and here for the ETT welcome letter.

[Post-conference update: to listen to the messages, see here.]

The conference's vision is "to help men as leaders 'to guard what has been entrusted to you' (2 Timothy 1:14) and to 'be strong in the grace that is Christ Jesus' (2 Timothy 2:1) and 'to share in the suffering, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ'" (2 Timothy 2:3).

Though primarily for men and especially for pastors/church elders, women also are welcome to attend ETT and be instructed and blessed. However, there exists an ETT-like annual spring conference solely for women. This year (2016), the Women of Grace Bible Conference is at the Holiday Inn (World's Fair Park location) in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, April 21-23. This year's theme is "Christian Women Growing in Grace."

ETT will feature, in total, 7 lectures and 9 sermons by 11 "Sovereign Grace" (Calvinistic Baptist) African-American (and some Caucasian) preachers from 6 U.S. states: Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

After the opening lecture and sermon on the evening of March 8, the daily format for March 9-11 (Wednesday-Friday) is to have one lecture (10:30 a.m.) sandwiched between two sermons (9:15 and 11:45 a.m.) in the morning, fellowship and lunch provided by the host church (1:00 p.m.), the afternoons free for rest or recreation, and then one lecture (6:15 p.m.) and one sermon (7:15 p.m.) in the evening. So it's like going to a multi-day music festival, but instead of music, the people are gathered to hear the Bible taught (lecture) and preached (sermon).

Once again, Hamilton Chapel Church is hosting ETT. The historic Lebanon, Tennessee, church was founded by newly freed slaves just after America's 4-year Civil War had ended in 1865. Hamilton's pastor (1992- ), Dr. Robert L. Spickard, Sr., "has led the congregation in tremendous spiritual growth over his fifteen year tenure at this church. He teaches about the election of grace, justification, salvation, and sanctification. He preaches about the sovereign grace of Jesus Christ. Under his leadership, he has taught us that we serve a sovereign God, eternal, and still on the throne."

In the African-American church tradition, the conference presider is Wayne Cornelius, the senior assistant pastor at Main Street Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

As always, ETT conference registration is free. But the conference organizers ask that attendees complete a simple registration form. "The cost will not be a burden to those who attend, but believe those who receive this wholesome manna will support us in seed to continue these efforts to share the  gospel." A morning and evening freewill offering will be taken each day.

If in the Nashville area March 8-11, consider this as your invite to attend and be instructed and blessed by ETT's "wholesome manna" from God's Word, preached by God's choice servants who are some of the boldest preachers I know. "The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1).

Elder/Pastor D. J. Ward (died 2008)
Main Street Baptist ChurchLexington, Ky.

The African-American Calvinistic Baptist ETT conference is the annual spring conference of the annual summer Sovereign Grace Bible Conference founded by the late D. J. Ward (died 2008) over 30 years ago (1985- ).

Prior to its current host church (2010- ) of New Home Missionary Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the SGBC was held where Elder/Pastor Ward served (1989-2008), namely, at Main Street Baptist Church (est. 1862 during the Civil War) in Lexington, Kentucky. The historic church is part of Lexington's African-American Heritage Trail.

All 11 ETT preachers were influenced by Elder D. J. Ward, either by Elder Ward's pastoral mentoring (thus, are a spiritual "son in the ministry" in the African-American church tradition) or by Elder Ward's sermons. For a brief biography on Elder Ward, see here.

Through my good friend Daniel R. Green (1947-2006), I first learned of Elder Ward relatively soon after my conversion to the Christian faith (Evangelical Protestant) in 1992 and while living in Port Angeles, Washington. I then first met and heard Elder Ward preach at a John G. Reisinger-founded John Bunyan Conference in Pennsylvania in 1996. I met and heard him preach again when I attended the 2003 and 2004 Sovereign Grace Bible Conference in Lexington, Kentucky. As with many others, so also did Elder D. J. Ward make a lasting impression on my life and ministry, especially as it relates to preaching and pastoring. (Read here for a April 24, 2016, tribute to Elder Ward in the Lexington Herald-Leader.)

The ETT preacher from Greensboro, North Carolina, is one of my favorites. A close friend of Elder Ward and blessed with a sharp mind and pastor's heart, he is one of the boldest and bravest preachers I know. David B. Morris studied classics and linguistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He became a Christian in 1973. After nearly twenty years of pastoral ministry, he entered an itinerant ministry of evangelism and conference speaking. He and Terri, his wife of 31 years, have six children. Click here to listen to some of Elder Morris' sermons. 

Another favorite "Sovereign Grace" preacher of mine who will be at ETT is Jim McClarty, the founding pastor (2001- ) of Grace Christian Assembly in Smyrna, Tennessee. (Not that it matters, but both Pastor Morris and Pastor McClarty are Caucasian men loved by the "Sovereign Grace" African-American churches that are primarily located in the American South.)

Pastor Jim McClarty
Grace Christian AssemblySmyrna, Tenn.

Evangelist David B. Morris
Greensboro, N.C.

Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee, USA

Lebanon is named after the Bible's reference to Lebanon
as there are cedar trees prevalent in the area.
"Cedars of Lebanon" (Judges 9:15, 1 Kings 5:6, etc.).
In Wilson County are the Cedars of Lebanon State
Forest and 900-acre State Park

The first Crackle Barrel Old County Store restaurant
and gift shop was in Lebanon, Tenn., 1969.
With over 630 stores in 42 states,
its headquarters remain in Lebanon.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"That I may be useful is my desire"

In his brief 27 years, James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) longed to be useful to God. The striving uncommon Christian did his "best to present [himself] to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). He sought to be "a vessel for honorable use" to God:
"Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use some for dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work."
2 Tim. 2:20-21
This desire of the Connecticut-born and Princeton University and Yale Seminary-educated Second Great Awakening evangelist is evident throughout his journals and letters--and what his contemporaries said about him--that are included in the once popular Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor (1833) and A New Tribute to the Memory of James Brainerd Taylor (1838). For instance, Taylor writes,
"My heart at times rejoices in the prospect of being useful to my fellow sinners, and at times it shrinks back from the many difficulties which rise to my view. The life of a faithful minister (and such may I be, if admitted to the office) appears to me to be more glorious than any other. He is prompted by true benevolence; he labors not to destroy men's souls, but to save them. He is engaged in a cause which must prosper, for Christ is the head [of the church, Col. 1:18]. He shall receive a reward according to Christ's promise [Rev. 22:12]."
~ age 18, November 16, 1819, New York City, letter to his parents in his native Middle Haddam, Connecticut
"The time necessary for me to go through the course marked out is eight years. I hope that in the discharge of my duty during this period [as a preparatory, university and seminary student] I may be useful."
~ age 18, November 1819, New York City, letter to his parents
"But while I set so great a value on a good education, I would not be understood to say that education is a matter of highest importance. Pure and undefiled religion [James 1:27] is the chief thing in the character of a minister of the gospel. Without it he cannot be useful."
~ age 18, November 1819, New York City, letter to his sister
"My wish is to glorify God [1 Cor. 10:31], and be useful to my fellow men. . . . If I can only be useful, it will be enough for me."
~ age 18, November 1819, New York City, letter "to a young friend"
 "I trust that I have not been called to this place for nothing. That I may be useful is my desire. If my heart does not deceive me, I long to spend and be spent for Christ [2 Cor. 12:15]."
~ age 19, July 12, 1820, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, letter to his fellow ministerial student friend 
 "And may I be an honor to my father, and to the mother who bore me! May I glorify my heavenly Father [1 Cor. 10:31] and be made a blessing to society! O may I not live like a cipher [a zero or a secret writing] in this world, but be made extensively useful. For this, let me ask your continual, earnest, united prayers."
~ age 20, December 1821, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, letter to his parents  
"I see nothing here to live for but to spend and be spent for God [2 Cor. 12:15]; and no longer than I may be useful would I remain here below."
~ age 22, May 1823, New York City, letter "to Miss W."
"Religion can be enjoyed in college. Lord, amidst so much iniquity, keep me spotless [2 Pet. 3:14], and make me useful." 
~ age 22, November 9, 1823, Princeton University (freshman), New Jersey, journal entry
"When I had given myself renewedly away to be the Lord's wholly [Num. 32:12, etc.], I longed to be useful, and felt willing to live and labor for souls." 
~ age 26, April 1827,  Trumbull, Connecticut, journal entry
"After all, I am a poor tool. Peradventure, my present hour [of serious physical illness and travels in the warmer American South] is to prepare me for greater usefulness. I know not the will of Him with whom is the future [James 4:13-15]. Enough to know that he now guides my footsteps."
~ age 27, April 19, 1828, Augusta, Georgia, letter to "his dear friends at the North"
"Should I recover [from tuberculosis], I shall look upon the varied dealings of God with me as happily preparatory for my future usefulness."
~ age 27, June 25, 1828, New York City, letter to family and friends in Middle Haddam, Connecticut

On the same day that the 27-year-old J. B. Taylor died of tuberculosis in the home of the prominent Southern Presbyterian John Holt Rice (1777-1831)--the home was located on the campus of Union Seminary (est. 1812) which itself was then situated on the campus of Hamden-Sydney College (est. 1775) in central Virginia--Rice wrote to Taylor's eldest brother and New York City businessman and Christian philanthropist, Knowles Taylor (1795-1850), on Sunday, March 29, 1829,
It devolves on me to perform a mournful service. . . . How mysterious this event! -- since it has appeared to me inevitable, that one so prepared for the ministry, and so desirous to be useful as our dear brother was, should die; the thought has often occurred to me, that there are services for very holy and devoted men, in a higher sphere, to which they are called, and where they do incomparably more for the glory of the divine Redeemer, and are more useful, than they could possibly be on earth. And while we are wondering that they should be cut off, and disappoint all our hopes of their usefulness, they probably do more in a day, in heaven, than they could do in a lifetime in this world. The Master had use for our brother above, and called for him. We would fain have kept him here. I confess that I never have seen a young man whom I so much wished should live.
Please join Uncommon Christian Ministries in prayerfully longing like James Brainerd Taylor to be made useful to God: "useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work" (2 Tim. 2:20-21).

Yet let's not make an idol out of usefulness: "My usefulness was the last idol I was willing to part with, but the Lord has enabled me to give even this up. I am now content to be laid aside, overlooked, neglected, and forgotten--only let his wise and holy will be done" (Cotton Mather, 1663-1728).

Philemon 1:10-11, New Testament

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Memberships: Investing Time and Money into Your Interests and Passions

January is normally dues paying time for my memberships. So at the beginning of each year, I evaluate my memberships in order to see if there are any I want to add or remove based on my changing interests, financial situation and geographic locale.

With a wide variety of interests and passions, there are many good associations, leagues and societies to support with my time and money. But with limited time and finances--and with only one life to live ("it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment," Hebrews 9:27)--I must choose and be intentional. This includes limited time to read the monthly, quarterly or annual periodicals published and sent by some entities as a membership benefit.

Below are the 19 entities I am a member of because I believe in and want to support what the non-profit entity stands for and does. Most (11) have annual dues ($20-$100), one (1) has a one-time membership fee, some (5) are academic in nature and some (8) are free based simply on gathering together because of mutual beliefs or interest. Six of the 16 entities have origins that date back to the nineteenth century, the oldest forming in 1803. The newest entity formed in 2000.

My fellow kingdom-minded Christian or otherwise, what are you interested in and passionate about? How can you go "about doing good" and bless an entity by your membership dues, involvement and/or advocacy and therefore increase an entity's influence by "strength in numbers (members)"?

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, 
especially to those who are of the household of faith."

"Jesus of Nazareth . . . went about doing good
. . . for God was with him."
Acts 10:38

"learn to do good"
Isaiah 1:17

Local Church & Denominational Affiliation
Immanuel Baptist Church (Louisville, Kentucky)
~ Member, 2013-
~ Est. 1887; "building a community from all cultures where Christ is King"
~ See David N. Theobold, A Great People's Church: A History of Immanuel Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, 1887-2005 (2005)

The most important membership in life is with a blood-bought local "church
of the living God, the pillar and ground [buttress] of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15),
and which has the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ
as her Head (Eph. 5:23, Col. 1:18):

". . . the church of God, which [the Lord Jesus Christ] obtained
[bought, purchased] with his own blood."

". . . you were ransomed . . . not with perishable things such as gold or silver,
but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."

~ Recommended resources: Bobby Jamieson, Going Public: Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership (2015); Thom S. Rainer, I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference (2013); Jonathan Leeman, Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus (2012) and The Church and the Surprising Offense of God's Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline (2010); and Thabiti M. Anyabwile, What Is a Healthy Church Member? (2008) . . . Online, visit 9Marks: Building Healthy Churches

~ Member, 2013-
~ Est. 1837; "The Body shall serve and assist the churches in their sovereign capacity by the providing of resources and the facilitating of cooperation so that both the Body and the churches may fulfill the Great Commission [Matthew 28:18-20]"; consists of nearly 2,400 autonomous churches; bi-weekly newspaper (print and online) Western Recorder (1825- )
~ State affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention (est. 1845, over 46,000 churches)
~ Immanuel Baptist Church is a member of KBC's Long Run Baptist Association (est. 1803)

Pastoral Fellowship
Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.)
~ Member (individual), 2011-
~ Est. 2000; "a unifying network for independent Reformed (and Reforming) baptistic churches to experience mutual edification [Romans 1:12], fellowship, cooperation and prayerful support in ministries and missions"
~ Membership includes annual regional (fall) and national (spring) conferences

ALSO: When time allows--and though no formal membership exists--attendee at:

Together for the Gospel (T4G)
~ Est. 2006; biennial conference for pastors; Louisville, KY; attendee, 2012, 2014, 2016; most recent is in April 2016 with the theme "We Are Protestant: The Reformation at 500"

Sovereign Grace Bible Conference (every summer, New Home Missionary Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN, formerly/pre-2010 in Lexington, KY; attendee, 2003, 2004, 2013)
-and- Embracing the Truth Bible Conference (every spring, Hamilton Chapel Church, Lebanon, TN; attendee, 2016)
~ Annual gatherings of African-American Calvinistic Baptist churches--and that are connected to the late D. J. Ward (died 2008), elder/pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Lexington, KY--throughout primarily the American South and Southeast; the two Tennessee conferences are also attended by many who are not elders/pastors--all are welcome and invited to listen to great Christ-centered teaching and preaching, and some of the warmest and sweetest fellowship that exists this side of heaven.

Theology (Protestant)
Evangelical Theological Society
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1949; "a professional, academic society of Biblical scholars, teachers, pastors, and others involved in evangelical scholarship. We serve Jesus Christ and his church by fostering conservative, evangelical biblical scholarship"
~ Membership includes receiving the academic quarterly Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS); presenting papers/lectures at ETS regional (spring) and national (fall) conferences; book and conference registration discounts
~ See Andreas J. Kostenberger, ed., Quo Vadis [Where Are You Going], Evangelicalism? Perspectives on the Past, Direction for the Future: Nine Presidential Addresses from the First Fifty Years of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (2007)

Missions (Protestant)
Evangelical Missiological Society
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1990; "exists to advance the cause of world evangelization. We do this through study and evaluation of mission concepts and strategies from a biblical perspective with a view to commending sound mission theory and practice to churches, mission agencies and schools of missionary training around the world"
~ Membership includes receiving EMS's annual academic book published by William Carey Library (e.g., in 2015, the complementary book was Diaspora Missiology: Reflections on Reaching the Scattered Peoples of the World, in 2014 The Missionary Family: Witness, Concerns, Care); presenting papers/lectures at annual regional (spring) and national (fall) conferences

History (4)

American Society of Church History
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1888; "a scholarly community dedicated to studying the history of Christianity and how it relates to culture in all time periods, locations and contexts"
~ Membership includes receiving the quarterly academic journal Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture; presenting papers/lectures at ASCH national conferences
~ See George H. Shriver, Philip Schaff [1819-1893]: Christian Scholar and Ecumenical Prophet; Centennial Biography for the American Society of Church History (1987)

Nineteenth Century Studies Association
~ Member, 2016-
~ Est. 1979; "purpose of this non-profit educational organization shall be to advance research and scholarship, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary studies, in all aspects of nineteenth-century culture"
~ Membership includes receiving the annual interdisciplinary academic journal Nineteenth Century Studies, and presenting papers/lectures at NCSA's annual national conference
--> NOTE: My areas of interest and scholarly pursuits regarding the "long" nineteenth century--chiefly America's antebellum (pre-Civil War) period--include the Second Great Awakening (1790-1830) and especially in New England and the Connecticut-born evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829); early years of the American Protestant foreign missionary movement (mostly the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, est. 1810); origins and growth of Evangelical Protestant theological education (1807- ); Lewis and Clark/Corps of Discovery expedition (1803-06); westward expansion frontiersmen, emigrant trails (California TrailOregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, etc.) and Protestant pioneer missionary activity in The Great American West; relations between Native American tribes and the U.S. government; and British and American involvement in the Middle East (mainly Palestine/Israel)

Filson Historical Society 
~ Member, 2013- 
~ Est. 1884; "Kentucky's oldest and largest privately supported historical society" whose mission "is to collect, preserve and tell the significant stories of Kentucky and Ohio Valley history and culture"; headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky; covers entire Ohio River Valley ("The First American West") and thus the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
~ Membership includes free lectures and archival research visits; members-only access to online podcasts and research tools; receiving the quarterly newsmagazine The Filson and the quarterly academic journal Ohio Valley History (published collaboration of FHS, Cincinnati Museum Center and University of Cincinnati)

Louisville Historical League
~ Member, 2013-
~ Est. 1972; "dedicated to promoting the appreciation and preservation of our cultural heritage and historic environment in the metro Louisville area [est. 1778]"
~ Membership includes free lectures

Motorcycling (2)
American Motorcyclist Association
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1924; "to promote the motorcycle lifestyle  and protect the future of motorcycling"; headquartered in Pickerington, Ohio; USA's largest motorcycle advocacy organization (over 200,000 members)--including for women riders--with an emphasis on "Rights, Riding, Racing"
~ Membership includes supporting AMA government relations/activism in Washington, D.C.; monthly magazine American Motorcyclist; online access to members-only area; AMA Roadside Assistance (for motorcycle and car); money-saving discounts at many motorcycle retailers, hotels and motorcycle/car rental agencies, and with certain motorcycle magazines and at certain motorcycle events and races (AIMExpo, AMA Supercross, Arenacross); riding events and rally opportunities with the AMA Premier Touring Series and/or with a local AMA Club; discount to annual AMA Convention and AMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (every October in Orlando, Florida), AMA Championship Banquet and AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days (every July in Lexington, Ohio); admission discount to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame (opened 1990)

Iron Butt Association
~ Member, 2015- 
~ Est. 1984; "The World's Toughest Motorcycle Riders"; "Dedicated to the Sport of Safe Long Distance Motorcycling"; over 60,000 members; one-time membership fee (no annual dues)
~ I became an IBA member after completing a "Saddlesore 1000" (1,000-mile motorcycle trip in 24 hours or less): rode 1,053 miles in 21 hours, Louisville, Kentucky to Dryden, Ontario, Canada, August 8, 2015, on my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom DL650

Public Safety (2)
Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS)
~ Member, 2016-
~ Est. 1999 by Louisville Metro Police Department; LMPD volunteers provide about 1,900 hours of monthly service

Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association
~ Member, 2016-
~ Alumni, LMPD Citizens Police Academy (led by Community Services Division), Class No. 27, 13 sessions, Sept.-Nov. 2016

Local Community Leadership
Louisville Leadership Center
~ Member, December 2016
~ Est. 1979; LLC "is a non-profit, member-oriented organization whose mission is to grow and connect a diverse network of leaders who serve as catalysts for a world-class community."
~ Alumni, LLC's 2.5-day "Focus Louisville" program, December 2016

Healthcare (Infection Control, Sterile Processing of Surgical Instrumentation) 
International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM)
~ Member, 2014-
~ Est. 1958; headquartered in Chicago, Illinois; "Instrumental to Patient Care"; over 26,000 global members
~ Is the international certification association for my "tent making" (Acts 18:3) Louisville hospital job (2013- ) as a Sterile Processing Technician--see my "Perspectives" op-ed articles in Infection Control Today magazine: "Reflections on My First 18 Months as a Sterile Processing Technician" (August 2015, pages 8 and 10) and "Just a Tech? The Benefits and Greatness of Being--and Remaining--a Sterile Processing Technician" (February 2016, pages 8 and 10)
~ Membership includes the bi-monthly newsmagazine Communique: A Publication of IAHCSMM and bi-monthly e-newsletter Central Source; discounts on IAHCSMM resources and for annual national conference; member-only online access to various sterile processing resources
~ See photos and feature cover article in IAHCSMM's September/October 2015 Communique (pages 56-60) of the hospital department I work at: "Triple Crown Certification: How One CS Department is Winning the Race for Quality, Safety and Professionalism"; also see here for additional information on the feature magazine article
~ See also photos and feature cover article in Healthcare Purchasing News, May 2016 (Vol. 40, No. 5, pages 10-17), "Jewish SPD Bolsters Package Deal within Regional IDN: Winning team weathers past, present and future in positive flux" (our department was HPN's "2016 CS/SPD Department of the Year"); see also here for the digital copy of the May 2016 issue
~ I initiated and helped organize the "Jewish Hospital: Past, Present and Future" program at Louisville's Jewish Hospital (est. 1903), August 21, 2016; co-sponsored by KentuckyOne Health and the Louisville Historical League; see's pre-event coverage "Jewish Hospital explains guiding principles, recent feats and new initiatives" and's post-event coverage "Presentation showcases Jewish Hospital Past, Present and Future"

Kentuckiana IAHCSMM Chapter
~ Member, 2016- ; vice president, 2016-17 (former secretary, April-Sept. 2016)
~ Est. April 2, 2016; regional IAHCSMM chapter for Kentucky and southern Indiana

Physical Fitness
Planet Fitness
~ Member (home club, Louisville, Kentucky), 2015-
~ Est. 1992; "a unique environment where anyone--and we mean anyone--can be comfortable. . . where a lasting, active lifestyle can be built"; headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire