Brian “BJ” Jennings, Example of Good Samaritan

I remember when I first met BJ. He was volunteering in the student ministry at Crestmont Baptist Church in Burleson, TX while I was attending Southwestern Seminary. Yes, that Burleson, home of Reba McIntire (or owned a huge mansion up on the hill anyway–or so I understand that to be the case. You know how rumors get started, right?), and American Idol’s first ever winner, Kelly Clarkson. Kelly was a high school student at the time and was actually at the event that I first met Brian–a DiscipleNow that my buddy, Rick Murray and I did together with his church, Crestmont and my church, Cedar Ridge Baptist Church (right down the road from Alsbury Baptist Church where BJ was on staff.)

I got a text last night from my buddy last night that he had just attended BJs funeral. It had been almost 11 years since Rick had been in Burleson. After Rick left Crestmont to go work for Student Life Camps, BJ became the student pastor at Crestmont. I graduated from Southwestern and saw him at a conference when he was at Crestmont. I honestly had lost track of BJ over the years. I thought that he might be serving in another church, but not necessarily a church right around the corner from Crestmont. But honestly, that makes a lot of sense–he was a Burleson boy ministering to Burleson kids. Pretty cool, really.

I think that you can see what kind of leader, believer, husband, and father BJ was from just reading the articles about the accident he was involved in on Father’s Day night. You can also see it in his son, Evan, at a press conference that was held at Alsbury Baptist Church where BJ was on staff. Amazing young man! Pray for Evan.

BJ had stopped late at night on a two lane road to help a lady with a flat tire. He was headed home from a graduation party for his son earlier that evening. He was hit and killed while being a Good Samaritan. That is what I remembered of BJ, a good samaritan. A great guy that would do most anything for anyone that needed help. He will be missed terribly in the Burleson community and especially with the Alsbury Baptist Church youth group and his dear family.

Please be in prayer for the Jennings family and friends there in Burleson, TX as well as Alsbury Baptist Church and the other churches in the area that were very well connected with each other “contending as one man” for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ed Stetzer – Politics, Pollsters, and Fox News

I have met Dr. Stetzer a couple of times in a church planting context in Missouri while a church planter. I say “met” by shaking his hand and maybe asking a few questions about leadership and church planting. I would hardly call him a close friend, but I do read most everything I can get my hands on by him about whatever he writes about–whether it be statistics, theology, missions, or even politics.

The last several days, he has had some really good posts about the election and the “aftermath” of Tuesday’s results. I second his emotion about it finally being over…may we all be a little nicer to one another and celebrate the UNITED States of America on Sunday as we celebrate our Veterans and their sacrifice for this country–the greatest country in the world.  Enjoy a couple of these posts (and a few selected quotes). Have a great weekend!

Ed Stetzer – People Have Spoken– What Should Christians Do Now?

So it is appropriate for us to ask the question, “What now?” Well, here are some observations and suggestions:

  1. We must face the reality that we may be on the losing side of the culture war. For decades, the “religious right” has focused its energies on winning the day through political means. But this year, voters in more than one state appear to have clearly passed referenda supporting gay marriage. This marks the first time for any state to legalize same-sex marriage by the expressed will of the people rather than through court rulings or legislation. While this certainly does not mean we should stop legal or political efforts completely, it does mean that we should begin thinking about what it looks like to be the church in a “post-culture war” era. We need to be prepared to defend the protection of religious liberty as we move into the future.
  2. The fight for the unborn continues. This year one of the major political parties, at their national convention, actually celebrated the right to abortion. This is a shift from the posture in years past, when at the very least it was seen as something that we hoped to keep to a minimum. (I mentioned that constant cheering for abortion rights at the DNC.) In fact, that same party actually removed the language from their platform that referred to keeping abortions “safe, legal, and rare.” Rod Snyder, of Young Democrats of America, said in our interview that President Obama does believe that we should work to reduce the number of abortions, but still, this development in the party that has secured the highest office in the land is cause for grave concern and even grief. We need to continue to fight for life through education, advocacy, ministering to women, and promoting orphan care in our churches. President Obama, I am ready to partner with you on the part where we start reducing abortions.
  3. The “Mormon Moment” is not something to be dismissed and forgotten just because the election is over. In recent days, much discussion has centered around how we should view Mormonism. I have made the case that while it does qualify as a cult in the theological sense, I do not think that we should use that language in general. Many people jumped to the conclusion that I was saying this for political reasons, in order to elect Governor Romney. However, this has been my position for some time, and it continues to be my position after the votes have been counted. This election has brought Mormonism to the forefront of people’s minds, and we should not forget our responsibility to reach out to our friends and neighbors for Christ. Just because the conversations die down doesn’t mean that the mission goes away.
  4. We must remain respectful and law-abiding citizens, regardless of this outcome. We exercised a tremendous right, perhaps the greatest privilege that we havea999purplethumb_2050081722-14730.jpeg as Americans. Over 200 years ago, a group of very brave men stood up against “taxation without representation” and fought to develop a nation in which its citizens could have a voice. We only need to look at pictures in recent years of brave men and women in countries like Iraq, dipping their fingers into purple ink and showing their happiness and pride over the right to cast their vote.We have that privilege. We exercised it this year. We will exercise it again. Regardless of the outcome, that is a great privilege and shouldn’t be taken for granted. We now need to go back to our homes, our schools, and our places of work and be respectful and gracious to others who have also used their voice.
  5. When our King returns, He won’t be riding a donkey or elephant. For those of us who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nothing has changed. The Gospel is still real, and we still serve a God who has declared victory over sin and death. Anything that we do through political means is not to hold back the darkness lest it will overtake us. Rather, the charge to the church is to advance a kingdom that has already prevailed. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, our King is still sitting on His throne.

So let’s all slow down, take a deep breath, and do the same thing we did yesterday–preach the Gospel, love people, and engage in God’s mission.

Ed Stetzer – Politics, Pollsters, and Fox News: Dont Create a “Conservative” Set of Facts.

I am going to move on from the election theme now, but my hope is that we can tone down the rhetoric (not just with those who have opposing views, but also with each other). I think we need to do better next time by not calling pollsters liars and not believing the unbelievable– even when it is on Fox News.

Pray for the Becks at Purdue BCM

beck familyPlease pray for the Becks today! They are serving Jesus in West Lafayette, IN at the Purdue BCM. Ben is my first cousin on my mother’s side. He and I were best men in each other’s weddings way back in the summer of 1995 (It was a very good year!). They are NAMB missionaries and I came across them on the Winter PrayerGram for students/collegiate ministries. If you think about it today, say a prayer for them and the students at Purdue that need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ while they are attending college.

Love you guys!!

Here is the PrayerGram (after the jump)

Read more

10 things for which I?m thankful?a not so traditional list

I am slowly getting around to reading some of my friends blog posts in my Google Reader. ?I came across this post from my high school friend Matt Wilkie. ?It is a powerful post on what he is thankful for . . . based on his travels “around the world with Jesus” to spread the Gospel.

Numbers 1 & 2 really hit me hard this morning as I sit inside in the warm typing on a computer with wireless internet. ?My how we take for granted what we have and how God has blessed us–why us, I will never understand!

1. I?m thankful I don?t have sores on my legs because of arsenic in my water supply.

2. I?m thankful we have enough food on our table so we don?t have to consider whether or not to sell a family member to those who might hurt them in order to pay for food for others in the family.

Arsenic in water can cause sores

Arsenic in water can cause sores

Check out the entire list on his blog. ?Amazing.

around the world with Jesus ? Blog Archive ? 10 things for which I?m thankful?a not so traditional list.

My Soul Friends::Darrin Patrick

The idea for this category came from Dr. Daryl Eldridge.?It is based off of the name of his blog–“My Soul Friends.” ?He is one of “my soul friends” too, by the way!

I first met Darrin at the Missouri Baptist Convention’s “Baptist Building” in Jefferson City, MO in the Fall of 2001 at a church planting assessment.? He and I were both walking through the process to plant a church in Missouri; Darrin in St. Louis and myself in Nixa.

My first thoughts about this guy were, “wow, this dude is pretty sharp” and “he knows what he is doing”–both were things that I didn’t feel I had going for me!? (Don’t let the “dumb jock” stuff fool you.? Darrin is a very bright church leader.)? I just felt like God had called me to plant a different kind of church in Nixa to reach people who were not churched. I thought I had my stuff together, but he was a whole lot further down the road with his church than we were with ours.

Darrin had been through several other “boot camps” and was describing the process to me and a couple other guys that were there for the assessment.? (I didn’t even know what a boot camp was, except that I watched my brother’s graduation from boot camp in Chicago from the U.S. Navy!)? From that first meeting, I knew that God was going to do amazing things through my “friend.” (I use friend very loosely because we are not close; I have just admired and kept up with him and his church from afar and the occasional time I would bump into him at conferences–that he was LEADING!!)

God has truly done an amazing thing in The Journey Church in St. Louis, but I think more importantly God has done in his life.? Darrin has been faithful to learn and grow in his walk with Christ as well as hone his “craft.”? I love to hear him teach his people on their podcast each week.? He has been

This sounds like a total love fest for Darrin–and I guess it is. However, there is nothing really “special” about Darrin.? He is simply a guy that takes the Gospel seriously and has followed God’s calling on his life to reach the nations for the Gospel in a city that he loves with a great passion.

Take a look at this interview (you can also download just the audio here) and you will hear his story and insights from his new book, Church Planter.? It is a great read…like sitting down across the table at the Baptist Building in Jefferson City in the fall of 2001.

Conversation with Darrin Patrick ? Justin Taylor.

Monday is for Missions…and mudpies

Wow, what an awesome day at Forest Park Carthage yesterday! ?We had a ton of new faces at both of our services. ?We also got a ton of people signed up for LifeGroups! Exciting things are happening here in Carthage!

Monday is for Missions…

  • Keep praying for Haiti. ?FP has had over 60 people interested in going on relief trips to Haiti. ?We have raised well over $1000 to go to Haiti.
  • FP has a group in Kenya this week. ?Pray for them as they minister in His name at the Mattaw Children’s Village
  • We just had a group get back from Fort Worth, TX yesterday that were working in the inner city with a church downtown.

Too good of a post to pass up on this Monday afternoon…Enjoy! ?This is from Matt Wilkie’s blog this week. ?Powerful!!

A few months?ago, I got my own?Haitian mudpie. It sits on my desk. This gift from our Haiti director,Kevin Rose, has reminded me to pray for the poorest people in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.


On Tuesday, like every other ?normal? day in Haiti, people in the poorest areas of?the country?were eating these for lunch. Some ate them for breakfast that morning and dinner the night before as well. They?re made of dried yellow dirt, vegetable oil and salt.

I?m going to type that again?they?re made of dried yellow dirt, vegetable oil and salt. They?re real mudpies. People eat them.

Then an earthquake hit.

I?m still processing things?but I for now, I wanted to mention the mudpies.

around the world with Jesus ? Blog Archive ? Mudpies for lunch Tuesday, and then?.

Haiti – Compassion International on Vimeo

I have some great friends at Student Life that I went to seminary with and have always been a HUGE fan of SL Camps!! [email protected] got an email from SL this afternoon sharing this video.

The email says this:

In November 2008, a Student Life team went to Haiti to spend time with the people and produce a film on the work of Compassion International in Haiti.

We hope this video will be useful in your time with students as you pray for the people in Haiti.

Compassion has close to 50,000 Haitian children in their projects in what is the poorest country in our hemisphere with over 50% of the 9 million people living on less than $1 a day. ?Compassion International works in Haiti to relaese children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty.

But now more than ever, they need your prayers and support after this devastating earthquake. ?We encourage you to have your students praying for this country this week and giving to Compassions’s Disaster Relief Fund. ?This fund allows their staff to provide food, clean water, temporary shelter, basic sanitation and medical attention to children and families in need.

Haiti – Compassion International from Student Life on Vimeo.

Operation Christmas Box–Alaska Style!

Monday is for Missions


I have a good friend from high school that is married to a Trooper in Alaska…the great white north of Alaska! ?You think it is cold here in the Ozarks last week! ?They have to scrape ice off their storm door…on the inside…to get in and out of their front door!

I thought this was really cool what their church did for Christmas to serve people who are less fortunate! ?Awesome stuff! ?Check out her blog as well. ?She doesn’t post too much because the internet is really slow up there, but each post is pretty interesting!


Icey & Spicey Tales from the Great North: Operation Christmas Box.

People existing on the margins of survival

I have a friend of mine, Matt Wilkie, that I went to Kickapoo HS with that has an awesome job.? He works with Convoy of Hope now as the director of the internship program.? He has such a huge heart for missions and the gospel extending around the world. Formerly, he worked for Book of Hope and traveled “around the world with Jesus”–hence the name of his blog.

You have to click on this link and read his post about the people of Peru “on the margins of survival.”? May we all pray for the solutions for getting the Gospel to “people existing on the margins of survival.”

around the world with Jesus ? Blog Archive ? People existing on the margins of survival.

Friday is for Friends…Go Habs!! Right Bradleyboy?

head_bradOne of my really good friends is Brad Daily.? The boys and I are watching the Montreal Canadians 100 year anniversary celebration game and I am thinking of he and his bride, Nora.

I first met him while I was serving at Hopedale Baptist Church in Ozark, MO.? He was a huge help to me in the student ministry as well as traveling companion on several trips, basketball watching, golf playing, early morning music store line crashing, and baby photographer when Taylor boy was born!(I know that really wasn’t even a sentence!)

He took an interest in video production and web development while he was living in Nixa, MO.? He then served several summers on staff with World Changers, a ministry of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (wow, we have some long names in SBC life, don’t we?).? While he was doing World Changers, he met some folks that had ties to the Kansas Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.? They offered him a position as a media guru (probably not his actual title) in their office in Topeka.? During that same year, Jenny and I felt called to plant a church in Nixa.? Brad created a promotional video for our church plant.? We are eternally grateful for his hard work on it.

Then, to go a step or two more, he built us several different websites for the church.? He is an amazing developer and brilliant with web developing (as you can tell from SlideShowPro Director.)

How did he get to Montreal?? Well, it is a pretty long story, but basically, he had several friends from Kansas-Nebraska, World Changers, and NAMB that got him up there.? Then he stayed, fell in love, and the rest….you know the drill.

This past fall, he and his beautiful bride, Nora moved to Nixa, MO.? (Nora and Brad met and married while Brad was serving as the communications director of the Canadian National Baptist Convention.) Make sure you check out Nora’s blog to record all of the fun details of a “Greek-Armenian-Canadian, french speaking Montreal native” living in the “sticks” in the Ozarks!

He has continued to be a very good friend all the way to Montreal, Canada by way of Kansas and back to the Ozarks. (Check out some of his handywork on and his recent venture at and SlideShowPro Director.)

Anyway, Let’s GO HABS!!? And let’s hear it for friends!!

habs100The Original Habs.