1 Peter 1:1-12

We had a great discussion last night at our home group on 1 Peter 1:1-12.  Actually, we didn’t get past verses 1 and 2!!  We had quite a bit of discussion on the concept of "the elect" found in verse 1:

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance." (1 Peter 1:1-2, NIV)

We talked about the differing views on election expressed by John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius.  You can find a web page (the source I used to discuss this last night) with a summary of the two views and what I think is a balanced take on the matter here.  I will be glad to give you more detailed information from the commentaries and Bible handbooks that I have in my library if would like.  Please remember that this issue should not divide us as Christians.  We are told that we must have a personal relationship with Jesus to spend eternity with Him and that we should share the Gospel with those around us.  Don’t let Satan use this issue to attack our fellow believers.  Keep the questions coming, and we’ll grow from investigating the Bible to find the answers.

Baby Eleanor Photo Shoot

Mary and Bryan had pictures taken of Eleanor.  The photographer feature a picture of Eleanor and Bryan on her blog.  I think the pictures are wonderful!  You can access the pictures of Eleanor here.  Here’s what the photographer had to say about this picture…
I hope that all of you had a wonderful Father’s Day! Especially those who are celebrating it for the first time as a Dad.

I have had the priviledge of having a session with this one family, young couple "newly" married to me (I’m celebrating 10 years of marriage this year), and the Dad was so obviously "IN LOVE" with his newborn daughter. Just precious.



Church Planter Assessment

I thankful that we had the opportunity to spend time last night with Dr. Bob Brown (Church Planting Strategist) and Dr. Hugh Richardson (Associational Missionary) with the Shelby Baptist Association.  We enjoyed a great time of fellowship over supper and then went through a church planter assessment.  This tool is used to evaluate various areas in a church planter’s life that will have an impact on the success of the new church.  We discussed issues such as my spiritual journey, relationship building skills, building relationships with lost people, and how I relate to my wife.  I was encourage as we were asked to share ways God has worked in our lives.  I was humbled by the incredible task before us and reminded that God is in control.  The assessment identified some areas in which I need to ask God to help me grow.  Our time together was filled with laughter and tears as we discussed our journey through life.  It was a wonderful time and I look forward to developing our relationship with Dr. Brown and Dr. Hughes in the future.


1 Peter 1:1-12

We’ll be studying 1 Peter 1:1-2 in our Home Group this Wednesday (June 21st).  Please read through the entire first chapter a couple of times to see where Peter is going with this section.  Try to think in paragraphs.  What are the main concepts in this chapter?  Then read the passage for this week.  Try to summarize the passage in a couple of sentences.  Write down any questions you might have so we can discuss them Wednesday.  If you have any questions before then, let me know.  I’ll see you soon!


Church Plant Update

It’s been a while since I gave a progress update on the church plant.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Todd McMichen (Developing Churches Network) and with the staff at our sponsoring church (Westwood Baptist) over the last few weeks and we’ve begun to map out a strategy for launching the new church.  I have been blessed by the willingness of DCN and Westwood to lend their support.
We will begin our appeal to those feeling led to join us from Westwood in the near future.  We’ll let everyone know what God has been doing so far and ask anyone who wants to find out more to join us for an informational meeting.  Our core group will be formed from those who feel God calling them to help with the church plant.  We’ll begin a training process with the core group in the Fall and begin to corporately seek God’s will for the new church.  We’ll probably begin worship services with the core group in January with an appeal to the community for a public launch sometime in February.
It has been exciting to see God at work around us.  We’ve received encouragement from friends and family and have begun to see God working in people’s lives.  Several people have shared that they are feeling a tug at their heart to be on mission for God.  We have had people tell us things that can only be confirmation from God about where we should plant.  There is no doubt that God is calling us to start a new work and we can’t wait to see what great things He will do in the coming days!!

April and I will meet with Director of Missions for the Shelby Baptist Association and their Church Planting Strategist tommorrow night for a Church Planter Assessment.  It should be a helpful time that will clarify God’s call on our life and reveal some areas that we need to ask God’s help to improve.  I look forward to working with the Shelby Association and the Alabama State Board of Missions as we seek to reach Shelby County for Christ.

Please continue to pray for wisdom and strength.  Planting a church is spiritual warfare and we must remain close with the Lord through daily prayer and reading God’s Word.  Pray for the lost in Shelby County.  Approximatley 70% if the county is unchurched.  Pray for those who God is calling to go with us.  Pray for them to have courage and a peace about the task God is calling them to.

I’ll update you all in the days to come.  God Bless!!

Angel Kiss

Originally uploaded by gbhicks55.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the girls. I am trying the flickr photo sharing service and like what I see. It has an easy to use interface and tools to organize and share your photos. We’ll see how it works out!


Thanks to everone who has given me great feedback about my new website.  I think it’s a great way to share what is happening in my life and to hear from all of you!  I have to brag on the company that has made it possible.  SquareSpace it the hosting service I use that allows anyone to build a website like this with zero knowledge about website development.  You can snap together building blocks for the various site components you want to use and it magically appears on your site!  I’m sold on the service and would recommend it to anyone interested in have a website.  If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll be glad to help!


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Next Generation Leader

I just finished reading Andy Stanley’s book, "Next Generation Leader – Five Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the 1590525396.01._scthumbzzz_.jpgFuture" (thanks Chris!).  Andy did a great job of condensing some very good leadership principles into an easy to read book.  The book identifies five competencies that are essential for leaders to possess in order to be successful:  competence, courage, clarity, coaching, and character.  I was convicted in many ways by this book.  The first is the area of competency.  Andy writes,
"It is both natural and necessary for young leaders to try to prove themselves by doing everything themselves.  It is natural because, as a leader, you want to set the pace even as you demonstrate that nothing is beneath you.  It is necessary because most of the time nobody is around to help."
The trouble with that line of reasoning is that leaders end up allowing their time to be eaten up by things outside of their core competencies.  In other words, they spend an excessive amount of time doing things that they are not good at and will never be good at.  This concept can be boiled down to the motto, "Only do what only you can do." 
We are all given different spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8) and we should try to use them to the fullest.  It’s foolish to consistently try to do things that others will gladly do because they are gifted for that task.  Andy reminded me that we should operate within our strengths and surround ourselves with people who are gifted where we are not.
This is just a taste of the great information in this book.  I highly recommend it and hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have!