I just posted some notes and the message of Psalm 3.
It can be found here.
As always – I am frustrated that I did not have time to prepare better. However, I did learn a lot.
Hopefully – so did my congregation! 🙂
I am very much interested in the dating of Biblical books, especially as it pertains to Ecclesiastes and Job.
Usually – they are both dated late (especially Ecclesiastes). Of course – there are some scholars that date Ecclesiastes early – in the monarchic period. Two of these are Dan Fredericks (more recently in his commentary on Ecclesiastes) and Ian Young.
The debate on dating biblical texts is fairly intense. For some relevant links to this debate and also links to some useful articles on dating, see the latest post from Robert Holmstedt.
JoAnn Hacket, Phil David, Lemche, Tania Notarius, Lenzi, George Athas and even Bill Schniedewind pitched in (see the comments on Hendel’s response). This is certainly getting interesting.
I still think that we need to be humbler in the dating of some (most?) books…because in my opinion “we are working with no data” – to steal a quote from Thomas Lambddin (admittedly – I have no idea in what context he used it :().
Even though I was raised in a Romanian Baptist family without any access to the church fathers or the reformers (it was under communism when Christian literature was very scarce), I was attracted toward them from the very beginning. While many of the church fathers are usually associated with the Orthodox Church which was understood as being (mostly) dead in Romania when I grew up as a Baptist, there is no doubt in my mind that many of the writings of the church fathers are still very useful for the church. After all, the Holy Spirit has a history, and to read the Bible with the church fathers, the Reformers, and the Puritans is like having a bible study across the centuries.
This is a brief note to point out a few great articles by Tim Keller on theological engagement.
The first one is entitled Gospel Polemics.
The second one gives Three Rules for Polemics.
And the last one gives some very good guidelines from the the 17th century Scottish divine George Gillespie on how to Be Winsome and Persuasive .
I find all that I read very useful for any kind (not only theological) of debates and discussions.
By God’s grace I am planning to preach from the Psalter (selected psalms) for the next few months (years?).
In connection with this I opened a new blog: Preaching the Psalms where I plan to post my notes and (hopefully) audio sermons.
These days I am preaching at Wangsung English Ministry . Feel free to visit us! 🙂
Please visit my blog and leave your comments and suggestions. If you have some links to great messages on the Psalter, please let me know. I especially like the sermons of Dick Lucas (St Helen’s) at this point.
I hope and pray that my notes will be useful to English speaking workers who do not have access to the resources I have.
Open Doors has just posted the World Watch List. Much prayer is needed especially for North Korea, Iran, etc.
You can see the World Watch List here .
Here is some more information from the Open Doors website:
Each year Open Doors releases the World Watch List, a detailed analysis of Christian persecution worldwide. In this free resource, countries are evaluated and ranked according to the severity of persecution that occurred in the past year.
We offer the World Watch List free as part of our mission at Open Doors to inform and inspire others with the message of the persecuted. Join the cause of the persecuted and share the World Watch List with your friends and family.
I highly recommend it.
However – I still wonder if I should/would decline praying (even in a public place) if I am INVITED!? Perhaps an appropriate prayer may do a lot of good, even in a public context where many do not believe and share my beliefs!?
Having said that – I do believe that Dr. Stackhouse makes a very powerful argument for his point of view.
Yesterday I preached from Luke 15:11-32. This passage is usually titled “The Prodigal Son.” This title deals only partially with the content, and I believe that Tim Keller is correct when he says that a better title is “The Two Lost Sons,” for both of the sons are lost. In fact, the elder is in a more desperate situation.
However, Keller makes a strong argument that an even better title is The Prodigal God. Because the father in the story is the real hero and he is the one who lavishly shows his compassion and mercy.
The parable has many “elements” that also appear in the Story of Jacob as found in Genesis 25-36. The definite study on the parallels and contrasts is by Kenneth Bailey in Jacob and the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel’s Story. He nicely points out the parallels, the changes, and the contrasts.
One of the major contrasts is in the depiction of the father. While Isaac in the Jacob story is an inept and rather passive Oriental patriarch, in Jesus’s parable we reach the pinnacle of understanding of the father as a symbol of compassion and tenderness.
Bailey shows very nicely that (even) in the Old Testament, as a metaphor for God, “the word father is overwhelmingly a symbol of tenderness and compassion.” Out of the 12 times when God is described as the father of his people in the OT, seven times he is associated with redemption/compassion/mercy. A classical text is found in Psalm 103:13 – As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him (ESV).
What is even more ‘touching’ is when God the Father is presented as acting like a mother: As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you…(Isaiah 49:5). See also the classic Isaiah 66:13.
The compassion of the father in Jesus’s parable can be seen in the following scenes (from Bailey):
- He grants the unprecedented and unreasonable request the younger sons’ share of inheritance while he is still alive (in 2 contemporary cases from Persia and Syria, the fathers were deeply offended and gave the young men NOTHING).
- He allows the prodigal to sell his property – generosity beyond custom.
- He runs down the road to welcome him. A gentleman does not run, but a child, and the mother can be expected to do so.
- He endures the unspeakably painful public humiliation of leaving his guests, at a banquet in his home, and offers more costly love to a publicly rebellious son. Traditionally the father stays with the guests, but the mother could have rushed to plead for reconciliation.
- After the verbal insults from the older son, the father appeals for JOY rather than resorting to judgment and punishment.
These observations are very powerful and point clearly to the compassion and tenderness of God that this father represents. What impressed me again, was the depiction of the “father who acts like a mother” (see points 3 and 4). Of course God is neither male nor female, yet God in his compassion and tenderness is depicted as a father who acts like a mother.
Yesterday I watched Jim Sheridan’s movie In the Name of the Father. This was a powerful movie in which a broken relationship between a father and a son gets real and mended in a prison cell where they are locked together even though they are innocent (this is not the main point of the movie, but it is relevant here). The son begins to see and understand the love that his father always had for him, and ends up fighting for freedom “in the name of the father” who dies unjustly in prison.
In my opinion, the movie shows very well the strong emotions that exist in families in spite of their sinful behavior and fallen condition. Our Father, as seen from Jesus’s parable, is much more tender and compassionate than any earthly father (whether Oriental or Western). More than that, His love is perfect.
He sent his “elder son” to seek and to save the lost. How much more should we seek to live our lives with passion and purity “in the Name of the Father”?
HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY to all!
Thanks to Garry Simmons , I found a website where you can improve/review your Hebrew vocabulary.
You can find it here. The site is also useful for Greek and it has some links to other resources. Enjoy!
I recently read a story about a group of about eleven women who were asked if they were faithful to their husbands. Only one answered in the affirmative. Another one of them was also faithful, but was too ashamed to raise her hand to acknowledge that.
This is the kind of culture in which we live, a culture in which people are ashamed of fidelity. Al Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary is correct when he says that “we are an adulterous generation.” And this is confirmed by a spokesman of Generation X: “We are the first generation in which adultery is now not an issue. We have so little expectation of monogamy or of faithfulness, adultery is just no big deal.” Gladly, that is not true of his entire generation, but it does seem increasingly true of the culture at large.
However, in this context of unfaithfulness, when society considers adultery the modern/sophisticated (even mature) way to live, the Bible is again countercultural by insisting that the mature is the one who lives in obedience to God. And God’s word on this issue is very clear and direct: You shall not commit adultery! In an “adulterous generation” we are called to faithfulness in marriage.
Here is a great interview of Bono from The Poached Egg.
This is a heavily edited interview with Bhatti in Seoul, Korea. The editing was done mostly by a student from TTGST. For the interview I had about 5 written questions, but I also asked him some random questions when I did not forget what I wanted to ask! 🙂
A few months ago I had the chance to interview in Seoul the Federal Minister for Minorities in Pakistan – Shahbaz Bhatti. Bhatti came to receive an honorary doctorate in October 2010 from our school (www.ttgst.ac.kr). He was a soft spoken intelligent Christian man who has dedicated his life to defend the religious minorities in Pakistan. A few minutes ago I just found out from my wife that Bhatti was shot. Here is the news:
“Gunmen shot and killed Pakistan’s government minister for religious minorities on Wednesday, the latest attack on a high-profile Pakistani figure who had urged reforming harsh blasphemy laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam.
The killing of Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of Pakistan’s Christian community, was another major blow to Pakistan’s besieged liberals, who say the attacks are a symptom of an increasingly radicalised Muslim-majority public. Earlier this year, Punjab province Governor Salman Taseer was killed by a bodyguard who said he was angry that the politician opposed the blasphemy laws — and many ordinary Pakistanis praised the murderer.
Bhatti was on his way to work in capital Islamabad when unknown gunmen riddled his car with bullets, police officer Mohmmad Iqbal said. The minister arrived dead at Shifa Hospital and his driver was also wounded badly, hospital spokesman Asmatullah Qureshi said.”
This is again very sad news about a man that I knew personally, a man who has dedicated his life with all the risks involved to make Pakistan a better place. Unfortunately, this case proves again my point that true democracy is not possible in a truly Islamic state.
The following information is from his CV which was still on my desk when I found out the news about his death. I hope to recover the tape with my interview of Bhatti and post it soon!
Bhatti was about my age (42) and started to struggle for the downtrodden minorities back in 1985 when he was a college student. He mobilized minorities throughout Pakistan to spread the message of religious tolerance, unity and hope for the deprived people of Pakistan.
He was actively involved in the struggle for restoration of democracy and people’s rights. Anti democratic forces tortured, imprisoned, threatened and pressurized Mr. Bhatti on many occasions. Despite this, he has devoted his entire life (with all the risks involved) to serve the suffering, persecuted, victimized and poor Christians and other minorities from Pakistan.
He has also established skilled development centers for widows & poor women so they can earn a dignified living and has helped the poor and deserving students by opening tuition centers & counseling centers for them.
The list could go on and on (he received several peace awards from Canada, USA, Europe etc)…hardly reasons to get shot by some Muslim extremists.
May God forgive them and help them see the light.
You can find the BBC news about this here.
A relevant and urgent question often heard today is this: Is DEMOCRACY possible in Islam? The answer is rather simple: NO! Democracy is not possible and I can easily prove it by “sample A” – the impossibility of religious freedom
in a truly Islamic country.
The fact is that it is impossible to have religious freedom (the right to choose and change your religion as you wish) in a truly Islamic country! This cannot and should not be denied and there are countless examples to prove this. I will mention a very recent example still in the news (actually – largely ignored my mainstream media) and then I will exhibit some stats and facts to understand how Muslims think about religious freedom and democracy.
Note the following recent news from Afghanistan:
“In Afghanistan, where the Christian population is almost non-existent, one Christian is on the verge of execution by the government. His crime? Conversion from Islam to Christianity. Said (or Sayed) Musa was among 25 Christians arrested last May, four days after their Christian worship service was featured on Noorin TV, according to Paul Marshall, a religious freedom expert who has co-authored with Nina Shea the forthcoming book, “Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide” (October 2011).
[This is a book that I suspect will eloquently argue the same point and I hope to read it when it comes out! Meanwhile you may take a look at this excellent book by Samuel Zwemer: The Law of Apostasy in Islam. You can download it for free – written by a great Muslim scholar who taught at Princeton early in the 20th century.]
Writing for National Review Online, Marshall summarized the brutality experienced by Musa since his arrest: beatings, sexual assault and sleep deprivation. A letter from Musa has been smuggled to the West detailing his peril.
The Afghan government is defiant, insisting that citizens who convert from Islam to Christianity must be punished with death.”
For other specific cases of conversion in Muslim countries see here.
Now here are some recent stats from Egypt which show a real schizophrenia, or perhaps a simple lack of understanding of what religious freedom means.
When asked about the death penalty (see here) for those who leave the Muslim religion 84% of Muslims in Egypt said they would favor making it the law (this is 86% in Jordan which is considered a moderate Muslim country, but has the death penalty for apostasy!), 74% in Pakistan etc. What makes it schizophrenic is the fact that 59 % of Egyptians said that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government and about 85% said that they favor religious freedom (I cannot find the source but I remember reading that the number was very similar with that of Muslims who favor death penalty for those who leave Islam).
Now – how can you be in favor of religious freedom and also in favor of the death penalty for those who leave Islam??? Clearly there is a problem here, though I assume that those Egyptians don’t see the contradiction. The fact is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to hold both views, and the Muslims in Muslim countries overwhelmingly are for the death penalty for someone who leaves Islam =) there can be no democracy in a truly Islamic country.
For – if you cannot chose/change your religion without fear of being killed, there is no freedom and there is no true democracy. It is sad, but true!
[I would love to be proved wrong!
For those who think that Turkey is a model for Islamic democracy, please note that Turkey achieved some form of democracy as a secular state and they have clear cases of minority discrimination. See also the news below about two cases of conversion to Christianity.
On 18 April 2007, two Turkish converts to Christianity, Necati Aydin and Uğur Yüksel, were killed in the Malatya bible publishing firm murders. Having tortured them for several hours, the attackers then slit their throats. The attackers stated that they did it in order to defend the state and their religion. The government and other officials in Turkey had in the past criticized Christian missionary work, while the European Union has called for more freedom for the Christian minority.
For the view that death penalty for apostasy is not Islamic, see here.]
I just started another website to post some material related to this. You can find the new website here Preaching the Ten Commandments.
When I heard about the intention of the senior pastor I was not very excited. I never preached from the ten commandments and I was planning to continue my preaching through Genesis (the Isaac story), and later from Ecclesiastes. However, since pastor Steve Chang started preaching through the ten commandments while I was in the hospital (he preached through the first four), I had to continue when I came out, especially since he left for his sabbatical.
As I started preparing for my sermons I realized that there was a lot of wisdom in preaching through the ten commandments, as they reflect the character of God and as the law functions as a mirror that should lead us to God and the cross. (Of course – the law has other functions: map/guide, muzzle/restrain etc).
So far – I find these books the most useful for my preparation (my time is limited, partly because of my knee injury):
Keeping the Ten Commandments by J. I Packer – this is a good and brief introduction to the commandments from a great contemporary theologian.
Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis by Philip Ryken – this is the best resource for teaching/preaching I have found so far. It is very insightful and informed!!! He gives very good guidelines for understanding OT law and has a very good grasp of the Reformed catechisms (Heidelberg and Westminster) and of today’s culture.
Words from the Fire by Albert Mohler – this is also very insightful, but I find Ryken better.
You can get all of these 3 books on KINDLE (as I did), and that makes it much easier to take notes. If you can only afford two (or have limited time), go for the first two.
Two more books look useful, but I have not been able to access one of them in time though I wish I had it (it is not available in Kindle):
How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments by Edmund Clowney. I do not have access to this, but knowing Clowney’s theology and preaching I am sure it would be very useful. See the first review on Amazon for a good idea about this book.
The Ten Commandments in History: Mosaic Paradigms for a Well-Ordered Society also looks good (and I found it in my library), but I have not had very much time to look at this and I haven’t used it (almost) at all in my preparation. However, it seems worth looking at especially for its chapter on Jonathan Edwards etc.
My sermons (from the 5th commandment on) can be found here. They are from the early (10 a.m.) service because the second one is not recorded anymore. However, starting in March we will have only one service at 11:30 am.
Again – some material/notes for preaching the ten commandments should be poster here: Preaching the Ten Commandments.
Today there are 5 weeks after my operation. My ACL was reconstructed, my meniscus was repaired, and another ligament was reconstructed (PLRI?). They found out that this other ligament was (partially?) torn when they introduced the arthroscope (with a small camera) before the operation. For my ACL they used some of my hamstring for the replacement, while for the PLRI (?) they used an allograft (ligament from a dead guy L). That means I am now partially Korean! J
The first week was in a way the hardest, but it wasn’t terrible because I was sedated fairly well! J
I would say that the hardest thing during this whole process was the lack of sleep during the night. While this was no doubt due to the fact that I was sleeping during the day a few hours (what else can you do when you are in bed all day?), even when I skipped the daily naps (after 3-4 weeks) I had a hard time sleeping through the night. It was not because of pain. I was never in major pain, but it was uncomfortable to sleep with the knee brace and I just could not sleep well.
There were nights when I slept less than 3 hours (though I would sleep a few hours in the morning) and I am still having a hard time getting a decent night sleep, despite the fact that I sometimes take sleep medicine (doesn’t seem to have much effect). It is not prescription medicine.
At the five week point, my knee is still a bit swollen (and also my ankle), but I can bend my knee to about 120 degrees.
Next week I am supposed to get rid of the crutches. Praise the Lord.
I feel that I could walk without them now (?), but I will take it easy and follow the doctor’s advice.
For the past two weeks I have been preaching sitting on a chair for the first service (http://www.hcc.or.kr/worship1_2.asp; I am the nameless guy :)), and standing (on one leg) for the second (this is not recorded)! So far so good! I did not think the first time that I can stand in one leg for the whole sermon! Miracles are possible! 🙂
Over all – the recovery process is long and painful (the strengthening exercises are a bit painful for a person with terrible flexibility like me)! I hope and pray, however, that things will get better soon.
I can’t wait to walk without crutches and I hope and pray with many that the meniscus is healing well and the reconstructions are successful.
The surgery (with the roughly $1600 for the allograft) cost me about $5000. This is after the help/support from the national insurance. I just found out that my private insurance just paid about $3000, and they may pay a bit more after I give them the receipt from the allograft (that was only partially paid). In any case – so far I am happy that I may end up with less than $2000 from my own pocket. Praise the Lord!
Please pray for me so I can play in Brazil 2014!!! J
Well – really – play that I can be back to normal by 2012!
Thank you and many blessings to all!
One thing I remember about missions with Americans in Romania is the breakfast. The Americans liked Romanian breakfast, but after a while they had enough. It was too repetitive – almost every day we had branza (cheese = usually feta), pita (bread) si rosii (and tomatoes). [That does not mean that Romanians do not have other options for breakfast, but usually that is what we had during the summer]. This has a slight parallel to the food here in this Korean hospital. I do not know how hospital food is in other countries, but here it is very predictable.
[All I remember about the food in Romanian hospitals comes from my mother. She was always bringing me the best possible food, and that was not easy during communism when stores were mostly empty. I was drinking peach juice (nectar) etc. From all I remember, there was no food provided by the hospital. You had to bring your own!?]
There are three meals a day here and all of them have rice and kimchi. It does not matter if it is morning or evening, rice (mostly white) and kimchi are always on my plate. They always have a soup (and this is usually different every day), and two other small side dishes. There is a lot of variety for the side dishes!
Most of the food is quite spicy and real flavor (except the spiciness) is not to be found in this hospital Korean cuisine. Thank God for the food my wife brings me etc.
One thing is for certain – I am looking forward to go back home to some outstanding home cooking! But then again, like my mother, my wife is no regular cook! J
After a couple of days I was moved in the same room with 4 young guys (19 to 24 years old). They were all fairly athletic, which makes sense because this is a sports hospital. One physical therapist bragged that Park Chu-Young was here last month. Some of the doctors here have photos around the hospital with various famous Korean athletes (Park Ji-Sung etc.). At least one of them seems to be (or to have been) associated with the Korean soccer team.
What surprised me very much in this room was the almost complete lack of communication between patients. I can understand the lack of communication with me because of the language barrier (and perhaps also because of the age difference). But I was surprised to see that almost nobody was communicating in this hospital room.
This lack of communication became most evident when we watched Korea-Australia in Asian Cup 2011. While at that time almost everyone in the room watched the game and people cheered when Korea scored (it ended 1-1), again – there was almost a complete lack of communication.
This is a bit shocking to me, because in a Romanian hospital (I have never been in an American hospital) the patients would probably play chess, backgammon etc…And if there was an important football game, you can bet that they would argue about the line-up, the refs, the coach (in Romania every soccer fan is a better coach than the national coach J) etc.
Now – this is an orthopedic hospital and almost all of us are limping (a few had hand surgeries), so I can see how it would be difficult to play games. But not to argue during an important soccer game, or at least discuss the game, is very very surprising.
Some explanations from my friends:
- We were all too drugged! I suppose this is possible, but we weren’t that badly drugged after a few days.
- They were all expecting for me to open the discussion because I was the oldest!?
In any case – thank God that people are very friendly here, even if it is in a very silent kind of way! J
Here I am at United Hospital (any relationship with Manchester United is probably intentional) overlooking the Yang-jae intersection (about 15 minutes walk from my school and Onurri Church). I can see exits 6 and 7 of the Yang-jae subway station and KFC from my window on the 7th floor! Wave if you happen to be there! 🙂
I haven’t been in a hospital for about 30 years (I was in the hospital in Romania for hepatitis in 1982 or so). For less than two days (right after the operation) I was in a two-person room, but I was moved yesterday in a six-person room. I am told that my insurance covers this!?
It seems that the hospital experience is a family experience in Korea. Under my bed there is another bed that can be pulled out and used. One person in my room has his girlfriend (?) staying and sleeping there and one has his mother.
When I was in the two-persons room (I was mostly by myself because the other bed was empty) a new patient came. His mother, father, grandparents and sisters (?) also showed up and they filled the refrigerator (I only had some water and juice) probably feeling sorry for me for having so few things in the refrigerator (?).
It seems that family members can come and leave any time they wish (at least here; this is an orthopedic hospital).
There is no doubt that this society understands well the importance of family in the healing/comforting/encouraging process.
How sad that the church misses many times the importance of community/family in the healing process. It is never too late to learn and apply!
Isaiah didn’t want to visit me in the first day because he was very sad that his dad was in the hospital. When he heard that I was feeling better, he couldn’t wait to come the second day. He came the second day and did not really want to leave…but I needed the rest! 🙂
I finally feel that the toes to my right leg are fine…that is an improvement!
Apparently he is number seven on Gallup’s List of Widely Admired People for the 20th century!? I would put him ahead of JFK! J
In part II Greta asks him: “If you were to do things over again, would you do them differently?”
I like the “old man’s” answer: “YES! I would STUDY more, PRAY more, travel less, take less speaking engagements….”
[Here Spurgeon comes in handy: Learn to say ‘No‘; it will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon]
Bono talks about Aids, malaria, poverty etc.
Theology is not his strength, but one must admit that he has a genuine compassion for the poor and a passion for justice.
It is worth listening to this rock star’s perspectives and learn from him.
John Stott is a great Christian teacher and example for many of us. He certainly is a model of humility and passion for me. There are a few people I know who are so dedicated to help the Majority World get a firm grasp on the Scripture and Christian discipleship.
This is a much needed book for any Christian, especially the typical suburban American one who is all too happy to live in a nice neighborhood taking his children weekly to AWANA in a nice $30K + car with climate control, and who gives to mission sparingly (both of his time and money). In other words, this should be a great book for me, because it is a call to radical discipleship.
Here are a few highlights from the introduction (my emphasis):
“My concern in this book is that we who claim to be disciples of the Lord Jesus will provoke him to say again: “Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).
For genuine discipleship is wholehearted discipleship [radical came from radix = root – anybody whose opinions went to the roots and was thoroughgoing in their commitment]…
Our common way of avoiding radical discipleship is to be selective: choosing the areas in which commitment suits us and staying away from those areas in which it will be costly. But because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority.”
AMEN! Hard to argue with that!
In this book Stott looks at “eight characteristics of Christian discipleship that are often neglected and yet deserve to be taken seriously.” These are: nonconformity, Christlikeness, maturity, creation care, simplicity, balance, dependence, and death.”
I am already beginning to like this book and I hope to post more info about it soon.
You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am (John 13:13). It is time we OBEY HIM!
The great Reformed-Baptist theologian Dr. Roger R. Nicole died at 95 in Longwood, Florida. He was professor emeritus at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary where he taught for 41 years (unfortunately before I got there L).
Even though he never wrote a book (I was very surprised when I read that), he is a considered a “theological giant.”
I quote the comments of Timothy George and J.I Packer from Justin Taylor‘s blog.
“Roger Nicole is one of European Christianity’s greatest gifts to the American church. His role in the shaping of American evangelical theology in the latter half of the twentieth century was enormous and deserves to be better known.”
A few years ago Packer was able to summarize Roger Nicole in a sentence:
“Awesome for brain power, learning, and wisdom; endlessly patient and courteous in his gentle geniality; and beloved by a multitude as pastor, mentor, and friend.”