One year ago I began an internship at Morning Star Baptist Church and unknowingly hitched my wagon to a typhoon. The wagon of course was simply proverbial but the typhoon proved to be a cyclone of Homeric proportions! The opportunity to sit at the feet of Pastors Jeremy Scott, Bob Bixby, and Jess Miller and learn firsthand from their examples was unspeakably gracious. It was their dedication to the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle (“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”) and not any merit on my part that prompted them to give me a chance, and for that chance I will be be eternally grateful. The first reading assignment I was given was Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever and it proved to be an indispensable ingredient for the mortar of my inchoate Reformed framework. The last year has found me learning to think, to walk, and to speak within this wider world due to the influence and the guidance of these faithful men and the vast hordes of books that they’ve assigned me to read week in and week out! Do not make the mistake of interpreting that last clause as a complaint in any way- I was always up for the task! I coveted assigned reading to such a fanatical extent that a sort of Pavlovian response would grip me as Bob would lay out my titles for a given week.
Bob: So you’ll have Dabney’s Systematic Theology…
Bob: And I’d like you to read this volume of Warfield’s articles…
Me: (licking chops) Mm-hmm, okay…
Bob: …and I’d like for you to tackle some more Hesselgrave. (hands me his copy of Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally) This book changed my life when I read it-
Me: -I’m all over it. (rubs hands together in disgusting display of avarice)
Bob: And if you have time left over, you can read Ashamed of the Gospel by Macarthur.
Me: (interminable silence) Is that it?
If awesomeness could be quantified, the calculations would demonstrate that this past year has been Rad X 10^23 (plus or minus a .01 margin of error). It wasn’t always a cake walk, but the difficulties, whether they came in the form of providential hiccups in the plan or outright monumental screw-ups on my part, have yielded their own fruit in my follow-ship with the Chief Shepherd in a way I could never have foreseen.
So now as bone chilling gusts breeze through freezing autumn torrents, whispering precious recollections along their courses, my affections are stirred to recall that first Fall intern meeting and the odyssey it began. This week I plan to reread Nine Marks to re-absorb Dr. Dever’s ecclesiological insights and to reminisce over that unforgettably amazing epoch of my life even as I work toward new heights of fantasticity with the elders of Morning Star and my fellow pastoral assistant Andrew. For those about to rock, we salute you!