Just to let everyone know, right now I'm feeling encouraged. I have heard back from some contacts with Mission Service Corps explaining the process, how things work, etc…. Just to help everyone else who may be looking into this, here is the process:

You should go to www.namb.net and work your way into the MSC page. There you will find lots of information, as well as downloadable forms for applying to be MSC: the first step. One of the requirements is a recommendation from your Pastor (A Southern Baptist Church). If you are approved, you will be invited to attend an Orientation where you will learn about Southern Baptist, What it means to be On Mission, some about raising your support, and other areas, i.e. "are you really called". Normally Mike's organization will then try to match you and your skills with the needs we have on file, and put you in touch with the one that has the need. Once an agreeable match is found, you will be assigned.

 This is cool because I have a meeting scheduled with my pastor for Wedneday to talk to him. I want to find out from him what he wants to know prior to presenting us to the church. Part of my thinking is that this will help Cyndi and I better determine if this is what God wants or not.

I have one other tidbit to share too. While at the Ohio Evengelism Celebration, I spoke with Bruce Smith (the Associate Executire Director of the SCBO). I gave him my card, and we said we would be in touch. Well, today, I had an e-mail from him telling me of an opportunity in Cleveland. I have sent an e-mail and asked for more information on what the job entails; however, it appears to be a full-time position.

Please keep praying that God will lead Cyndi and I to where he wants us to go.

Sen. Robert Byrd Strikes Again

Well, it looks like Sen. Byrd (D., WV) is at it again. The Witchita Eagle has an article talking about how Sen. Byrd compared the Republicans to Nazis. His spokesman claims that what Sen. Byrd said isn't really what was meant:

Byrd spokesman Tom Gavin denied that Byrd, D-W.Va., had compared Republicans to Hitler. He said that instead, the reference to Nazis in a Senate speech on Tuesday was meant to underscore that the past should not be ignored.

Here is what the article has to say about what Sen. Byrd actually said:

"We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men," Byrd said. "But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends."
Byrd then quoted historian Alan Bullock, saying Hitler "turned the law inside out and made illegality legal."
Byrd added, "That is what the nuclear option seeks to do."
The nuclear option is the nickname for the proposal to end filibusters of judicial nominations because of the devastating effect the plan, if enacted, would have on relations between Democrats and Republicans.

If you want to view the entire text of the speech, it can be found here. I don't know if this is a transcript of what he actually said, or what he planned to say.

People of West Virginia, it is high time to wake up! Why do you continue to elect a man to office who does not believe what you believe?

Evangelism Celebration

Yesterday–1 March–I took 1/2 day off and went to Cedarville University to the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio Evangelism Celebration. I had found out about it on Saturday evening, and went down to try and get some information about Mission Service Corps. Well, we didn’t get together because of, I assume, the weather and a lack of communication. However, I got to hear some really good preaching and was able to enjoy the afternoon off. They had CDs for purchase, so I purchased several (I’m not rich so I couldn’t get them all) of them to have.

A man I did not get to listen to live (I bought his message on CD because everyone said it was so good) was Voodie Baucham. His sermon was entitled Why Do You Choose to Believe the Bible?. This sermon was excellent! Here is the reason he gave was taken directly from 2 Peter 1:16-21:

16For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Vodie Baucham shrunk it down like this:

It’s a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eye-witnesses during the lifetime of other eye-witnesses as their report of supernatural events that took place in fullfilment of specific prophecies. These eye-witnesses claim their writings are divine rather than human in origin.

 The second CD I bought was a sermon preached by Ergun Caner. This guy is awesome! For those who don’t know, he came to America with his family from Turkey. They came as missionaries of Islam to the Unites States. He was converted by a Southern Baptist RA who needed to earn a badge. He was disowned by his family. Eventually, his whole family converted to Christianity. He and his brother travel the country holding debates, speaking, etc….

THe third CD I purchased was a message from Thom Rainer on what the church needs to do to be more effective in today’s culture.

I have e-mailed ThePath and asked them about ripping the CDs to mp3s and putting them up on my webiste for free download. If I can, I will.

[Update 2012-12-25 22:11:38] The mission service corps link was bad.  I’ve updated it from http://sub.namb.net/answerthecall2/msc/default.asp to a correct address

[Update 2012-12-26 14:58:25]  The RA link was also bad.  I updated it today.

More on Movew Reviews

I wanted to post this to correct one thing I had said in a previous post. One of the things I do at church is teach a teen small-group study on Sunday nights. We got to talking about movies, culture, and the decisions that people make about what to see, etc…. One of the teens said that Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family had a movie review site. I had never heard of it before, so I went out and searched their site. Sure enough, I did find their movie reviews. It is called Plugged In.

My Utmost for His Highest

Well, today's My Utmost for His Highest reading really hit me hard today. The scripture used is John 4:11: 

The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

Here is the excert of the reading I received in the e-mail today from StudyLight.org

"I am impressed with the wonder of what God says, but He cannot expect me really to live it out in the details of my life!" When it comes to facing Jesus Christ on His own merits, our attitude is one of pious superiority – Your ideals are high and they impress us, but in touch with actual things, it cannot be done. Each of us thinks about Jesus in this way in some particular. These misgivings about Jesus start from the amused questions put to us when we talk of our transactions with God – Where are you going to get your money from? How are you going to be looked after? Or they start from ourselves when we tell Jesus that our case is a bit too hard for Him. It is all very well to say "Trust in the Lord," but a man must live, and Jesus has nothing to draw with – nothing whereby to give us these things. Beware of the pious fraud in you which says – I have no misgivings about Jesus, only about myself. None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus. We are rather hurt at the idea that He can do what we cannot.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will he able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them – "Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it."

This weekend, I was really bummed out, depressed, and overwhelmed. I feel like I'm supposed to do this Mission Service Corps stuff, but I end up and take my eyes off God–just like Peter did when he walked on the water–and get overwhelmed. Then, on top of that, I start to wonder if that is what God really wants me to do. Or, am I going down that path because that is what I want to do. Then, I start to wonder why no one has called me. Tons of people at work have resumes out, and they are getting called. Why not me?

Please pray with me that God will reveal His will to Cyndi and me. Additionally, pray for us that we will go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do.

Mission Service Corps

Last night, I sent out the following e-mail to several people with the North American Mission Board:

My name is Matthew Maxson, and I have a vision I would like to share with you. However, before I delve deeply into the main point of this email, I would like to take a few minutes of your time and tell you more about myself. I was born in 1977 and was saved as a young boy in 1984 in Beeville, Texas. My dad was in the military: we have lived many places. In 1986, my dad got out of the service and we moved to Missouri. In 1993, we moved to Williamstown, West Virginia. I attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia where I met my wife. We were married in January 1999, and I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science in May 2000. I went to work for Columbia Gas Transmission in June. Later that year, NiSource purchased the Columbia Energy Group. In October 2002, NiSource restructured the IT department and transferred us to Columbus. In my nearly five years at Columbia/NiSource, I have been involved in several different arenas and projects. My activities at NiSource have made me more aware of the technology available in the market, the different applications of these technologies, the use of computer consultants, and the cost and quality of these services. Currently, NiSource is evaluating outsourcing IT along with other corporate functions such as Human Resources, Finance, Accounting, Supply Chain, etc.. This has caused my wife and me to evaluate God's "next steps" for our life.

The Church should use any and all tools available to them in order to reach the lost and fulfill the Great Commission. I see The Church missing out on a great opportunity to use technology as a method of spreading the Gospel. Why? I do not think it is because they don't care about reaching those people.I think it is because of ignorance, fear of technology, and cost. Most people are either ignorant of the technology available or are too intimidated to try anything beyond their comfort zone of e-mail and web browsing. In a traditional company, when the employees do not have the knowledge or time to implement a solution, consultants are brought in. I have seen NiSource pay $200 per hour for consultants and think nothing of it. NiSource is among the Fortune 500 and can afford that kind of payout; however, in the average congregation, it is utterly impossible to pay $200 per day or even per week to a consultant for help with a piece of technology.

In 2001, I started Christian Computer Solutions to help churches with this problem. My goal was to provide technical consulting to congregations at a price much lower than secular consultants. At that time, my vision was to provide a way for a congregation to get help with technology at a reasonable price. However, as time went on, God matured my vision. I kept wishing that there was something more I could do to help The Church use technology to reach the lost. After we moved to Columbus, this feeling only intensified. I met with my pastor, Dr. Kent Spann, to discuss my feelings and to get more information about God's call on people's lives. At the meeting, I shared my vision with Dr. Spann and he offered several suggestions. One of which was writing a letter to the Executive Director of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. I wrote and mailed a letter, but having received no response to date, I have decided to share my vision with others-thus, this letter. Since then, I have shared this vision with Dr. Rich Halcombe (the MetroColumbus Baptist Association Director of Missions). He is excited about my vision, but the local association does not currently have the funds to implement it. This lack of funding has lead me to discover the Mission Service Corps. I found your contact information searching on the NAMB website.

My vision is this: Imagine a congregation (or missionary or other Southern Baptist group) that needs help with some piece of technology. It does not really matter what, it could be anything from how to bold text in Microsoft Word, to setting up an office network, to needing an application to track membership and giving to setting up a web page where sermons and other helps could be made available to anyone, anywhere. This is a service provided to them by the giving of others-either through the financial support of other Christians and the fees paid by those organizations who are able to pay. This opportunity will help them use technology as one "fishing lure" in a tackle-box of lures used to fish for men and fulfill the Great Commission. I hope this excites you as much as it does me!

I believe that God gives everyone in The Church different abilities and gifts. My knowledge of and ability to understand technology combined with my desire to help allow me to meet a need within The Church. God is calling me to utilize my technical abilities and desire to help to provide services to our churches. I would be most willing to meet with you, or your representative, to discuss these possibilities and how Mission Service Corps can help me fulfill my vision. Thank you for your time, this opportunity, and consideration of my proposal. You can reach me via telephone at 614.789.9333 (h) or 614.439.4620 (c), or via e-mail at matt@techs4jesus.com.

Well, guess what?! One of the gentlemen I sent it to called me last night about ten minutes after I sent the e-mail! We had a good conversation. He gave me some additional contacts at the NAMB. I still don't know much more than I did a few days ago; however, I am making progress. Please be in prayer with Cyndi and I that we are seeking God's will and doing what He wants. It doesn't really matter what we are doing…the biggest joy and satisfaction will come from being in the center of His will.

Movie Ratings

Have you ever wanted a source for better movie ratings than those given by the MPAA? Well, Common Sense Media does just that. I don't know if they are a Christian organization or not, but they seem intent on providing movie information that isn't available any place else.

Shroud of Turnin

WorldNetDaily today has an article describing how a forger could have easily forged the Shroud of Turin. Here is a link to the WorldNetDaily article. The article describes the basics of the process: 

began his experiment by painting faces on glass. The painted panes of glass were then set on top of linen and left in the sun for various lengths of time.

Mr. Wilson, on his website has more to say and has pictures of his experiences.

Why do I point this out? I’m a Christian, don’t I believe the shroud is real? Why would I want to cast doubt on something like that? Well, first off, I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus was the “God Man” (100% God yet also 100% man). He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life while on earth. I believe he was crucified, buried, then rose again on the third day. Why did he die? To pay a sin debt that I could not pay. For scripture references and more information about what I believe, please read the Baptist Faith and Message. Do I think the shroud is real? Just as I don’t believe most of the other relics the Catholic Church has are real, I don’t think the shroud is real either. But, in the end, it just doesn’t matter to me. If the shroud is real, my faith is the same. If the shroud is false, my faith is the same. My faith does not depend on seeing or not seeing things. It is built upon what the Bible, the Word of God, says.

[Update 2012-12-26 15:00:50] The link to WorldNetDaily was wrong.  I updated it.

Josh Hunt

Today, my church–Highland Baptist Church–had our Sunday School Revival today. Our pastor brought in Josh Hunt to speak. He spoke during Sunday School time, then again during church. Tonight, he is having an evening session too.

His plan is fairly simple: You find away to befriend people. You hang out with them. You become their friend them. Then, they are more likely to come to church with you. This isn't just his idea. There are scriptures in the Bible that talk about this same thing.

I Peter 4:9: Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

Romans 12:13: Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.


Saturday’s Thoughts

Last night, we had dinner at Logan’s Roadhouse. They have the best hamburgers! I don’t know what they do to them, but the beef has a great flavor. Since the movie we wanted to see wasn’t playing anymore, we decided to come back to our place and hang out.

Our men’s Bible study met at 8am Saturday. The Saturday group is doing a study on communication called Love Talkalt by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. The goal of the study is to help us learn how to communicate with our wife better. This communication will help our marriages grow stronger and allow us to be more effective for God.

Our church–Highland Baptist Church— is prepping to do a 40 Days of Purpose campaign. I’m excited about it! We are going to have small groups meeting around the city. I’m even thinking about doing one at work. I need to talk to my boss, but I think we can meet one day a week at lunchtime for six weeks. I think it will be particularly effective esecially considering the outsourcing (well, potential outsourcing) announcement.

[Update 2011-01-09 22:22:06] Edited the book link to the kindle version