Saturday, April 24, 2010

An Open Letter to My Friends At Grace Community Church

Most of you know that my family and I have been north of Pittsburgh for the last 18 months serving at Grace Community Church in Cranberry Twp. Pennsylvania. Our last Sunday at Grace was March 27th and our leaving might have seemed a little hasty to some. Please read the entire post because it will answer some questions that you might have. What some of you know is that before we lived in PA, my family and I lived in Ohio for 7 years. During that time in Ohio, Beka and I fell in love with "Small Town America" while living in Galion (population 11,000) and serving at Gospel Baptist Church with Pastor Monty Trammel. Tears and mid-western pride fill me up everytime I hear "Small Town" by John Mellencamp.

I count it as a blessing that I come from a long line of preachers. I am humbled that God has used my family for so long serving the church. I don't hold that in a spirit of arrogance or entitlement but with great respect. My family is by no means perfect but for some reason or another God continues to call my family into the ministry.

I remember growing up in a pastor's home. Happy times much like any other - filled with bumps and bruises but also love and sacrifice. I received Christ on November 21, 1991 and was baptized (again!! 3rd times a charm!! ;) shortly thereafter. My mom and dad would tell you that my coming to faith was for real. Jesus dramatically changed me! *I love you mom and dad*

A few years later I knelt down again at the alter at West Chester Baptist Church (Cincinnati Ohio) and surrendered my life to full time ministry in November of 1993. *I love you Mickey and Susan*

Two years later I was home for winter break from college. My dad and I went to a little church in Southern Indiana for a Bible conference. I had been questioning whether or not I was really called into the ministry and was debating coming home from Bible college. It was there that I knelt again at an alter in that little Baptist church where God not only confirmed my calling into the ministry but also confirmed in me a call me to preach (December 1995). I'm sorry if this language is new to some of you but a "call to preach" is different in the fact the God calls someone specifically to pastor a local church.

I've not forgotten about this and have prayed over and over about when God would have me to pastor a church. I'll admit that I have been pushing it off because I've seen all that pastor's go through. It is no small task and not for the faint of heart. Most pastor's are under massive amounts of stress and on the "full stretch" at all times.

A few months ago Beka and I started to talk about pastoring a church and when we felt that time would come. I had no desire to do so right away and living in Pittsburgh has been great! We have awesome friends, a really great church, and some of the best teens we have ever had the privilege of working with! Like always I started to question being a Senior pastor of a church and really debated whether or not there was a need for another church in the United States - already being saturated with "steeples rising high above the malls".

I had been reading the Bible faithfully, seeking clarity, but clarity would allude me again driving me further into a spiritual fog. It wasn't until one day I was driving to the Y, spending some time in prayer and really asking God to show me that He was leading me to pastor. Immediately following my "Amen" I noticed a lighted church sign asking these words in bright red rotating letters.. "Do you love me?" Not wasting a second, I answered it back aloud saying, "Yes Lord, You know that I love you." The next flashing sentence jumped off the screen and answered back, "Feed my sheep."

I knew at that moment that Jesus was directing me to pastor. An awesome opportunity has opened up for me to pastor a church in Ashland Ohio. I had the opportunity to work with this group before but I didn't feel led of the Lord until recently. I'll admit that I did not know this until a few weeks ago nor at the time I left Grace.

Some of you have asked why we left without having secured a job or a place to live. God knew exactly what He was doing even though we didn't. Grace, nor Pastor Matt, forced us to leave. It was our decision and Grace has been very gracious to us in regards to our exit. Our decision to leave was not based on any other reason but for to seek God's will concerning the next step in our lives to which I have clearly stated above.

Some have asked questions about whether or not there was some moral issue on my part that might have been a contributor to our leaving Grace. I can stand before you in all honesty and tell you that there has not been. I have been faithful to my wife and family and I don't ever take them for granted.

Some have asked why we did not come to the platform during our announcement. I'll admit that this was my choice and just chalk it up to me being bad at goodbye's. :)

Some have asked if Grace has been fair to me and my family during this transition time. I can tell you that they have. I have been privileged to work with Pastor Matt and the rest of the staff at Grace for these past 18 months and they have blessed me and my family as we transition and wish nothing but the best for us.

I also wish nothing but the best for all of you at Grace and will sincerely continue praying for you all as you continue to see God bless as He already has! Please also keep us in your prayers as we are raising support to go to our next place of ministry. My phone is always open for you to call and our hearts will always remember our friends and loved ones at Grace..

We love you all sincerely and wish you nothing but God's favor and His richest blessings!

Your friends,

Tim Holman and Family

Monday, April 5, 2010

Are You Free?

I heard a song from Rich Mullins I hadn't heard before today called "Higher education and the book of love". This was quoted at the beginning of the song and thought you might benefit from it as well.

"What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be human? I cannot help but suspect that at one time in the history of thinking that people believed that it meant that we were spiritual and that we could make choices and were capable of aspiring to higher ideals... like maybe loyalty or maybe faith... or maybe even love. But now we are told by people who think they know, that we vary from amoeba only in the complexity of our makeup and not in what we essentially are. They would have us think as Dysart said that we are forever bound up in certain genetic reigns - that we are merely products of the way things are and not free - not free to be the people who make them that way. They would have us see ourselves as products so that we could believe that we were something to be made - something to be used and then something to be disposed of. Used in their wars - used for their gains and then set aside when we get in their way. Well, who are they? They are the few who sit at the top of the heap - dung heap though it is - and who say it is better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven. Well, I do not know that we can have a Heaven here on earth, but I am sure we need not have a Hell either. What does it mean to be human? I cannot help but believe that it means we are spiritual - that we are responsible and that we are free - that we are responsible to be free."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Are you "whole-heartedly" following after God?

I've been reading in Joshua lately and this verse stood out to me this morning...

ESV Online Study Bible Crossway: "Joshua 15:63 But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day."

Up uintil this point Israel had been able to drive out everyone that God had commanded in order to give them the land that God had promised Abraham. It is possible that what Israel "could not do" here in verse 63 (drive out the Jebusites from the land) was the first sign of spiritual slippage--failing to follow the Lord "wholly".

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tectonic Plates and Self Discipline

Up until now I can say that I have had little to no interest in seismic shifting and tectonic plates but all this recent activity has got me, and many more, thinking about the fact that we are at the mercy of either the environment (which is cold, arbitrary, unfeeling, and erratic), or under a sovereign God (who is just, holy, ignored, misunderstood, and above all loving).

NASA scientists have said that the 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have changed the entire Earth's rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet. "Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis," NASA officials said that the effects of the Chile earthquake moved Earth's figure axis by about 3 inches (8 cm or milliseconds).

Plate tectonics (from the Latin tectonicus - means "building") and is derived from a scientific theory which describes the large shifts in the Earth's Lithospere which is a theory building on the concept of continental drift (of which I know very little). The lithosphere is broken up into what are called tectonic plates and in the case of Earth, there are currently seven to eight major and many minor plates. The plate which shifted causing the latest earthquake in Chili is known as the Vazca Plate and is a part of the volcanic "Pacific Ring of Fire" being responsible for 80% to 90% of the Earth's volcanic activity.

*Disclaimer - I'm getting all my info from Wiki, Yahoo, and Answers in Genesis. Read the full story's here / here / and here.

We see in the book of Joshua how this prophet of God asked that the Sun stand still... and it did. Some offer alternate explanations *italics taken from ESV Study Bible* such as (1) a solar eclipse (problematic, however, as the sun and moon are described in opposition, not conjunction); (2) poetic imagery (a day that seemed prolonged by virtue of how much was accomplished); (3) a day in which the sun's heat was diminished (perhaps by cloud cover), allowing Israelite troops to continue fighting; and (4) a refraction of light (causing the light to linger until the battle was completed). An additional possibility proposed more recently suggests that (5) Joshua is exploiting the Canaanites' superstitious fear of a bad omen, related to the position of the sun and the moon “standing” on the opposing horizons (the sun “at Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Aijalon,” Josh. 10:12). None of these proposals are without difficulties, however, and each fails to do justice to the claim that there has been no day like it before or since (v. 14). Given the miracle-working God of the Bible, the traditional understanding is certainly possible (perhaps cf. 2 Kings 20:9–11, paralleled in Isa. 38:8, where the sun's shadow moves backwards 10 steps). Although there is not enough information in the narrative to determine the precise nature of this exceptional day, the author's emphasis in any case is on the extraordinary answer that God gave to Joshua's prayer, and on the fact that the Lord heeded the voice of a man (Josh. 10:14). Apart from the present context, the Book of Jashar is mentioned only in 2 Sam. 1:18.

With that said there are many cases of God commanding creation to do His will. Some instances were examples of Him moving on behalf of his people and some were only to show forth His power and ultimate authority over all things. I have no clue what all these recent environmental events mean for the earth or for us as humans but being a Christian I believe that God knows whats up with his creation and how to fix it if he pleases. In these troubled days, may it be said of us who follow after God that we looked to Jesus and put our entire self and cares upon Him.


On another note.. Lately I've had my nose in a book by J. Oswald Sanders entitled Spiritual Leadership. It has come to me by a qualified recommendation from more than one source. You would do yourself a favor by picking this book up if you are in Christian ministry. Here's a quote from the book pertaining to this blog post.

"DISCIPLINE - Without this essential quality, all other gifts remain as dwarfs: they cannot grow. So discipline appears first on our list. Before we can conquer the world we must first conquer the self. A leader is a person who has learned to obey a discipline from without, and has then taken on a more rigorous discipline from within. Those who rebel against authority and scorn self-discipline - who shrink from the rigors and turn from the sacrifices - do not qualify to lead. Many who drop out of ministry are sufficiently gifted, but have large ares of life floating free from the Holy Spirit's control. Lazy and disorganized people never rise to true leadership."

Those "large ares of life floating free from the Holy Spirit's control" are like tectonic plates in our lives. Yes the earth moves and stops at the sound of it's Creators voice, but unlike it we were created in God's own image complete with a will to follow Him.. or after our own desires. I have been in Christian leadership for a few years and have felt plates in my own life, and in the lives of others, shift with dramatic force. If I have learned anything from this it is to surrender to God these "areas of life floating free" even though the size of some of my short-comings may seem to be an irreconcilable force. As Spurgeon would say, "Look to Jesus and live!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Freebie Friday #2 Scripture Wallpapers_Via #theResurgence

I know I planned on having more Freebie Friday's than what I've had so far but hopefully this will be a little more consistent. Nevertheless if you've never been to than it is definitely worth your time going there and checking it out. It is a multi-hosted blog put together by Mars Hill Church in Seattle - Pastor Mark Driscoll

Via is the Resurgence?

The Resurgence is a movement that resources multiple generations to live for Jesus so that they can effectively reach their cities with the Gospel by staying culturally accessible and Biblically faithful.

One thing I love about them is that everything is free. For freebie Friday I thought I would send along a link of some awesome scripture wallpapers they have in the media section. If you're trying to memorize scripture this year than having these on your desktop is a great tool for that. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Monday, January 11, 2010

When was the last time you went to the library for something other than a movie?

Cameron and I were going through some of his school work today and were reading about how to research for a project. The book was colorful and interesting but it appeared to be old because it had pictures of a boy looking up info from a... wait for it... a real encyclopedia. I figured the curriculum was a little dated so I checked - it was published in 2009.

We then talked about how you can basically find everything on Wiki, Google, and YouTube but I felt bad for the library at the same time. "What will happen to our libraries", I thought? We have a great library here in Cranberry but I can't tell you the last time I actually went there to study something.

The writers of the curriculum had to have the same thought in mind in pitying our libraries. This is not an anti-plug for books with spines.. The Lord and my wife both know that I love my books but there has to be a better idea on the horizon for our libraries. Here's a quote from Seth Godin's blog I found interesting..


"What should libraries do to become relevant in the digital age? They can't survive as community-funded repositories for books that individuals don't want to own (or for reference books we can't afford to own.) More librarians are telling me (unhappily) that the number one thing they deliver to their patrons is free DVD rentals. That is not a long term strategy, nor is it particularly an uplifting use of our tax dollars. Here's my proposal: train people to take intellectual initiative. Once again, the net turns things upside down. The information is free now. No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others."


I agree with Seth. What are some thoughts you have on the future of the library?