Thursday, August 31, 2006

I got soaked today (twice)

Today was an interesting day of training. Of course, it began early as I've grown to expect. I had my very first written exam this morning at 6:00am. I scored 93% (thank you very much!). We had a "Group Ability Run" later in the morning after the sun had risen. The run involved all four platoons that are involved in various types of training at the Field Medical Services School of which I am also a student. I chose to run with the "medium" group which turned out to be a good choice. I ran well and finished among the front of the pack. That's where the fun begins. The 4th Platoon (of which I'm now apart) has a nasty habit of finishing the run with lots (and lots) of exercises. In the midst of that--Ernesto chose to start dropping huge quantities of rain upon us. So...there I was...exercising in the mud absolutely soaked. Later in the day we went outside to do pull-ups (in the rain, of course). For the second time in the day I was soaked. The way it works is that you do as many pull-ups as you can and then someone holds your feet to help you do a few more. I did the three that I can do and then began to receive my obligatory help. I chose, at that point, to let go with one hand and do two more pull-ups (assisted) with one hand. The surrounding troops roared with laughter and applause (always the ham).

Just so you know that I'm not suffering too much. My room is pretty nice. It's somewhat like a motel room in that I have maid service every day (no more making my bed). I have cable tv and wireless internet. I share a bathroom and a kitchenette with another chaplain. It's actually pretty nice. I'll get the camera out this weekend and upload some pictures.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

LeJeune - Day 1

0400: Alarm goes off. (That's 2am Windsor time)
0405: Secondary alarm (cell phone) sounds.
0410: Third and final alarm (watch) chirps.
0415: Shower & Shave
0425: Get Dressed (khaki uniform)
0430: Buff shoes and reinspect uniform for flaws.
0440: Watch Fox News.
0445: Head out to find "Chow" Hall (still very dark outside, hot & humid).
0500: Eat Breakfast.
0530: Search for correct school building.
0600: Begin school (Meet staff and lots of administrative paper work).
0900: Navy PRT (Physical Readiness Test) 1.5 mile run, push-ups, sit-ups. (finish first among five chaplains--under 12 minutes for run...)

The rest of the day was filled with classes and receiving equipment. I have a full pack (too many items to tell you about at this point) that I will get to carry around on several long hikes.

I finished the day about 4:00pm, grapped a quick nap, and joined my fellow chaplains for dinner. I prepped my uniform for the next day and was asleep by 9pm....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Camp LeJeune -- Travel Day

Let me just that I'm tired! I arrived into Jacksonville, NC last night at about 7:30pm. I picked up my rental car that the Navy provides (Kia Spectra) and headed for the base. It's a big base! I had to pick up a vehicle pass at the Main Gate and then head back to the section of Camp LeJeune where I'm training (Camp Johnson). I had trouble locating the quarters where I'm staying and the location of the key to my room. Let's just say that I was finally in my room by 8:30pm unpacking and preparing my uniform for the next day's adventure. I went to sleep early (9:00pm) knowing that the first morning of training would come early (6:00). That's 4:00 Windsor time!!! More to come...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

1/2 Million SBC $ Headed to Lebanon/Israel

A recent Baptist Press article describes the enormous amount of aid that Southern Baptists are pouring into the war ravaged areas of Lebanon and Israel. The following are a few notable quotes from the BP article.

"So far, Baptist partners in both nations have distributed $100,000 worth of supplies –- food, water, temporary latrines and showers, medicine and cleaning supplies -– to people displaced by the fighting. 'We never show any kind of favoritism,' a Southern Baptist relief consultant said. 'We’re distributing aid to anyone who has need, regardless of their faith.' An additional $250,000 has been earmarked to provide more of the same, as well as blankets and portable heaters for the region’s rapidly approaching winter. Food supplies are especially critical, which is why Southern Baptists also have purchased more than 250,000 cans of tuna fish. High in protein, tuna was an obvious choice because it’s already part of the Middle Eastern diet, the consultant said. The cans are slated to be shipped to Lebanon before the end of October."

"At a cost of $300,000, the tuna bumps the total amount of Southern Baptist aid to those affected by the conflict to $650,000, making it this year’s second-largest relief project."

“The main difference between other aid work and ours is that we’re not only there to provide assistance, but also to walk side by side with them, developing personal relationships while listening to them and ministering to their physical, emotional and spiritual pain.”

“I had a lot of anger directed at me because I was an American,” a Christian medical worker said. “But after you would allow them to vent for two minutes, it was very easy to say, ‘I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am His servant, and I am commanded to love you.’ And immediately they would say, ‘Welcome -– let us drink tea together.’ It’s easy to reverse their opinion.”

You can read the entire article here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'll be blogging from Camp LeJeune

I'll be flying to North Carolina on Monday to receive some training with the Marine Corp. I intend to keep a blog journal of how it goes. I should be able to describe my activities every day. I have been getting back in training shape over the past few months and I think that I am ready to go. My biggest hurdle to clear was in the area of pull-ups. We don't have to do them in the Navy but they are required in the Marine Corp. I only need to do three. The problem is that a few months ago, I couldn't do any. I'm pleased to report that last night I did four. I'm running three and one half miles in under thirty minutes as required. My sit-ups and push-ups are just fine. My training will be a combination of Physical training, Classroom instruction, and Field Exercises. I'll return home as a lean, mean, praying machine!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

USS New York built with steel from WTC

Here is something to be proud of! The USS New York is expected to launch in mid-2007. What makes this Navy vessel special is that is has been built utilyzing 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. According to Associated Press, "USS New York is the fifth in a new class of warship designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft. " The steel from the WTC was used in the bow of the ship. AP reports, "Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, La., to cast the ship's bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept. 9, 2003, 'those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence,' recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. 'It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.' Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the 'hair on my neck stood up.'"

The USS New York's motto? --Never Forget!

You can read the AP story here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Colorado Honored for Church Planting

The Colorado Baptist General Convention has been honored by the North American Mission Board as one of fifteen conventions who have led the nation in church plants over the past six years. Colorado ranks 7th in the number of new church plants and ranks 2nd in the percentage of new church plants. You can read more about it here.

You will also want to take the time to watch the video at the CBGC website. We are beginning emphasis on our state mission offering and the video features one of the recipients of these funds. Around half of our churches in Colorado are small enough to have bivocational pastors. These men are heroes who do an amazing job in serving churches while holding down a full-time job somewhere else. The video features a church of less than 100 attenders with a bivocational pastor who have managed to put together a health clinic in their community. It's simply amazing! Watch the video at the CBGC website here. It's my honor to be able to serve on the Program Committee of our state convention's Executive Board which gives me some influence into where our state mission funds are distributed. I can honestly tell you that your offerings to the Nicy Murphy Offering in Colorado are very well spent.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The "S" in "Blessing" (part 1)

The "S" in "Blessing" is SALVATION! The believer who is properly using their spiritual gifts will be seeking to save as many as possible. In fact, spiritual reproduction will be a natural byproduct of the believer's everyday life. 1 Corinthians 14:20-25 contrasts the results that one would naturally get from the exercise of tongues and the excercise of prophecy within the worshipping body of the gathered church.

Paul begins with an strong admonition to be mature in thinking. "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking . . . be mature" (v20). The text literally says to be perfect (mature) in your understanding (thinking). The admonition is needed because the Corinthians saw their giftings as an indication of their spirituality. Those who had the more obvious and flamboyant gifts (tongues) were considered to be the most spiritual. We make the same mistake when we spiritually elevate teachers and pastors simply because of their giftedness. As we will see, gifts are not proof of spirituality--but rather the sign of true spirituality is the ability to reproduce new believers. To be mature in thinking means to think like Christ thought (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus constantly spoke of the Kingdom of God as ever-expanding (reproducing). Just look at the kingdom parables for many examples.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Just a couple of things to share today....

I have officially become "old" today. I dropped of my oldest son for his first day of High School this morning. I walked him in, brushing past the goth kids dressed in black (what have I done?), got in a quick, "See ya later", and watched him disappear down the crowded hallway. Minutes later I walked my youngest son to his homeroom for his first day of Middle School.

If you like "Christian" satire....try

If you like church signs....try

If you like world champion football here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Who are you and where are you from?

I thought it might be fun (certainly interesting) to find out who is reading the blog. Somewhere between 15-20 of you stop by and check-out the post each day. Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself? Feel free to use an alias if you are needing to protect your privacy. Just share a little bit about who you are, where you are from, and what you do. I can't wait to hear from you.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The "E" in Blessing

The "E" in "blessing" stands for "Equip". A definition that is perhaps oversimplied would simply be "putting on equipment". When you equip someone you give them needed equipment.

My 9th grade son is playing football (actually he has been running a lot) and the season has yet to begin...just daily workouts in preparation. His equipment has consisted of shorts, a t-shirt, and his cleats, which are really all that he needs for conditioning drills and exercises. However, this past Friday he received an alotment of equipent consisting of pads, a helmet, a practice jersey, a game jersey, etc.--equipment that he will need to seriously play the game. Come Monday, the team will start hitting and playing more aggressively. A well-equipped player need not fear injury. With equipment on, the players will practce a little harder, run a little harder, and hit a little harder!

Likewise, a well-equipped church member need not fear injury. They can serve a little harder and certainly hit a little harder.

1 Corinthians 14:13-19 includes an inventory of equipment that we need to be passing out to each other. The discussion is wrapped in the vocabulary of tongues-speaking but certainly has application for those of us who do not possess the gift. The context is the gathered assembly of worshippers and so these are pieces of equipment that each of us should be seeking to distribute every time the church gathers together.

5 Pieces of Equipment that someone needs from you today:
  1. Prayer (v13-15)--Whether we are praying "in the Spirit" or "with our mind" our prayers are to benefit those around us. In the assembly we should be ministering through prayer constantly. The translation of the prayer offered in the spirit is important so that we can become involved in the lives of those for whom we are praying. Don't leave the worship service without lifting someone up in prayer. It's equipment that they need in order to hit harder. Take the effort to physically lay hands upon someone and vocally bless them through prayer.
  2. Singing (v15)--In the same way our singing is to benefit those around us. Sing loud, sing passionately, sing your praise unto the Lord! Someone in the worship service needs to hear you sing! Equip them!
  3. Thanksgiving (v16-17)--The Greek word for "bless" in the text is "eulogeo" (not sure if that is the right transliteration). It sounds a little like "eulogy" and carries the same meaning--"to speak well of". Our testimonies of thanksgiving both bring honor to God and bring encouragement to our fellw worshippers. The moment we pass out of a trial someone around us is perhaps entering into a similar trial. We can equip them to pass through the fire by sharing how we have overcome. Never hesitate to brag on God! God has placed someone around you who needs to hear your story. Equip them!
  4. Affirming (v16)--The text mentions the importance of "the Amen" in worship. We need to be quick to affirm truth when we hear and to affirm each other when God works within us. Every time you recognize God's activity--let our a hearty "AMEN"! It's equipment that someone around you needs to hear!
  5. Teaching (v18-19)--Finally we need to be teaching each other. The older women need to be guiding the younger women and older men need to be guiding the younger men. The cancer survivors need to be walking with the cancer sufferers. Empty nesters need to be spending time sharing their wisdom with new parents. Every one of us should have a person who is speaking into our lives and another person into whose life we are speaking. Teach! Mentor! Speak into someone's life! Equip them!

Let me challenge you today to be looking for someone that you can equip! They're already looking for you!

Friday, August 11, 2006

My Top Ten Favorite Blogs...

I thought I would pass on links to some of my favorite SBC blogs. I tend to take a peek at these just about every day. There are several others whose content I peruse each day, but these are my favorites (in no particular order).

#1 Grace and Truth to You,
#2 SBC Outpost,
#3 12 Witnesses,
#4 Baptist Blogger,
#5 Confessions of a Recovering Pharisee,
#6 Caught in the Middle,
#7 Coffeespoons,
#8 Purgatorio,
#9 The Arkansas Razorbaptist,
#10 OK Preacher's Christian Resource Center,

Please share your favorites. I hate the thought that I might be missing out on something really good.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Criticism vs Intercession

"When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God. God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede".

--Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The "L" in Blessing

1 Corinthians 14 gives clear direction for the proper use of spiritual gifts within the church. The gifts are meant to be a blessing to the church. Whenever we gather together as an assembly, we have at least two main purposes: to glorify God, and to bless someone in the body. Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians describes the nature of the church--a living body made up of diverse parts. Chapter 13 describes the essence of the church--sacrificial love. Chapter 14 describes the interaction of the church--mutual blessing.

The "L" in "Blessing" is language. In order to be a blessing to the gathered church, we must speak in a language that can be understood.

"But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?" (1 Cor. 14:6). Paul is not saying that tongues are bad...he has just stated through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that, "I wish that you all spoke in tongues" (v5). What he is saying is that the gift of tongues is a lesser gift because is does not easily build up the church. It is not easily understood! It would be better to speak one of the other speech gifts so that you will be understood and that the church would be edified.

Three illustrations follow:
  1. A song will not be recognized if a musical instrument is played skillfully (v7).
  2. Battle commands will not be underestood if a bugle is not played skillfully (v8).
  3. Human languages will not be understood if we are not trained to interpret them (v10-11).

All three of these illustrations support the point that sound is not necessarily helpful if it is not understood by the hearer. The application is obvious! Are you being understood? Are you speaking in a way that communicates clearly?

"So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church" (1 Cor. 14:12). There is nothing wrong with being zealous for spiritual gifts, in fact it is commanded in verse one, "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts . . . " What we need to do is desire and seek to add to our lives the gifts that build up the body. Look for ways to bless somebody! Speak in a language that can be understood!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Me and Dr. Blackaby...

Amazing! For the second time in my life I have been given the honor of appearing immediately before Henry Blackaby! Yesterday, I referred you to Okpreacher's blog where my answers to "7 Questions" were published. This morning, as I was reading through the blogs that I monitor each day, I made my way to Okpreacher's site and, low and behold, there he was....Henry Blackaby answering "7 Questions"! I "paged-down" and sure enough, there I was, appearing right before Dr. Blackaby. In fact, if you look carefully, I think you will see that my picture is actually a little larger than Henry's picture. At least my head is bigger (feel free to laugh). You can see it for yourself by clicking here.

Now as I said, this is the second time that I've spoken immediately before Dr. Blackaby. I have to go back a few years to tell you about the first time. I was in my final year at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth and my turn had come to preach in "preaching lab". This is a high-pressure situation where your fellow students, as well as your preaching professor, grade your ability to write and present a biblical message. Once you conclude your message, the students are all allowed to take critical "pot-shots" at you and many choose to take full adavantage of their opportunity to share their gift of discouragement. The professor speaks last and, of course, has the final word. I survived the volly of questions and successfully fended off the lame criticisms of my almost perfect presentation. I would proudly receive an A for my efforts!

Leaving the preaching lab, I made my way down to the chapel (as was my custom) to hear the day's speaker. That's when it happened--he was announced--"Please give a warm Southwestern welcome to Dr. Henry Blackaby". It took only a brief moment for my mind to realize the honor that had just been bestowed upon me...yes I, Dave Samples, had just spoken immediately before Henry Blackaby. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

In humble recognition of this honor, I know proudly provide a link to Dr. Henry Blackaby's website for your convenience. Click here. I'm sure it will only be a short time before Dr. Blackaby returns the favor....

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm answering "7 Questions" today

I want to refer you today to a fellow blogger who has honored me with a brief interview that he calls "7 Questions". You can find it here. If you look back through his archives you will find several notables who have also answered "7 Questions" including Frank Page, Ronnie Floyd, Paige Patterson, Morris Chapman, and others.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The "B" in Blessing

We are "blessed" to be a "blessing". You've heard the phrase, but in truth it is more than just something you might read in Reader's Digest. Our role as blesser is solidly biblical! 1 Corinthians 14 details eight aspects of being a "Blessing". Let's begin with the first of eight: "B". Whoever would be a blessing to the church would be first and foremost a "B"-UILDER!

"Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts . . . " (v1). Both of these verbs in the Greek text are imperatives meaning that this is more than just a suggestion--it is a command! You must pursue (continually hunt) love! At the same time, you must desire earnestly (strive for) spiritual gifts! Love is pursued by hunting for God. "We love because He first loved us". "The fruit of the Spirit is love . . ." Paul devotes a whole chapter (13) to defining the sacrificial aspects of love that can only be developed through an intimate relationship with the Father. We are clearly to be pursuing spiritual gifts with the same energy that we are devoting to pursuing love. Both are important! What is the purpose of love?--to build up the Body of Christ! What is the purpose of giftings?--to build up the Body of Christ!

Verses 2-5 compares and contrasts the gift of prophecy with the gift of tongues. The purpose of the comparison is to elevate prophesy as a superior gift. In the process of comparison the primary purpose of the gifts is made clear for us. The point is not to diminish or put down tongues but rather to elevate prophecy. In other words, prophecy is much easier gift to build up the Body with.

5 Biblical Statements on the Gift of Tongues:
  1. "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God" (v2). Tongues is inferior because only God understands the message. Men do not understand and the church is not edified as well as if the message is clearly understood by everyone in the assembly. Note that the tongue in which he is referring cannot be the foreign languages of Pentecost. Those pentecostal tongues were certainly spoken to men for their edification.
  2. " his spirit he speaks mysteries" (v2). Compare this with Romans 8:26-28. Again, tongues is inferior in the assembly because it's mysterious--not easily understood.
  3. "One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself" (v4). It's not a bad thing to "edify yourself"--it's just not helpful to the gathered church. There is a certain amount of "self-edification" in all of the gifts.
  4. "I wish you all spoke in tongues" (v5). Now here is where we have to remind ourselves about the inspiration of the Scriptures. This is not Paul's opinion! This is not even Paul's voice--it is the "God-breathed" Word. God says, "I wish you all spoke in tongues!". Tongues is not bad--it's a gift and God gives good gifts! Though tongues is inferior to prophecy--it is still a gift of God. Let us never dismiss what God desires to place in us as bad or unneccessary. Let us trust that God knows what he is doing. As a side, let me also declare that God has not chosen to gift me with tongues but I do know several wonderful godly people who possess the gift.
  5. "Greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying" (v5). The point is to speak something that will build up the church. In the assembly--use the gift of tongues quietly in your heart. If God gives you the interpretation--then share that with the Body that they may be built up!

8 Biblical Statements on the Gift of Prophecy:

  1. "...desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially tht you may prophesy" (v1). Strive to speak for God. Desire to be his ambassador!
  2. "But one who prophesies speaks to men" (v3). Prophecy is superior gift because it allows for the clear communication of God's thoughts and desires to the church.
  3. "...for edification" (v3). It builds up the church. Note that it's not truly prophetic if it tears down.
  4. "...and exhortation" (v3). It encourages the church. Note that it's not truly prophetic if it discourages.
  5. "and consolation" (v3). The idea is to comfort and motivate. It's not truly prophetic if it pushes people away. God's word is always redemptive in nature!
  6. " who prophesies edifies the church" (v4). It's all about building up!
  7. "Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy" (v5). Again, God's desire is that we would all be His spokesmen. According to the Authoritative Word, God wants you to be a prophetic voice.
  8. "Greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues" (v5). If I offered you a brand new tv set, would you choose a small portable black and white or would you choose the plasma big-screen? Ask God to give you a prophetic voice that you might build up the Body of Christ.

Whatever your gift--use it to build of the Body of Christ! Build with your singing! Build with your serving! Build with your giving! Build with your speaking! Whatever you do--BUILD!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The 10 Commandments on Your Fingers!

Many years a go, I saw a really creative memory tool for remembering the Ten Commandments. I saw this on a placement and I wish that I was creative enough to reproduce it for you. I've used it hundreds of times to help teach the ten commandments.
#1--Worship only God...Hold one index finger up signifying that there is only one God.
#2--Don't make idols...Hold up two fingers and make a scissors cutting
action with them.
#3--Don't take the Lord's name in vain. Hold three fingers up to
make a "W". Watch your Words!
#4--Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Hold up four
fingers. This is 4 people in a car with 4 tires on their way to
#5--Honor your mother and father. Make a salute with you whold hand
(5 fingers).
#6--Don't murder. Aim one finger (like a gun) at the 5 on the other
hand and say "bang".
#7--Don't commit adultery. Hold up five fingers. The hand with
only two fingers up represents a "V" for virgin.
#8--Don't Steal. Hold up eight fingers. One hand will only have
three fingers up. In the old days they used to cut off a thief's
fingers. This thief got caught twice.
#9--Don't Bear False Witness. Hold up 9 fingers. Only one is
down. It's 9 against 1. Who is telling the truth?
#10--Don't covet. Hold up all ten fingers and make a grabbing

That's the Ten Commandments on your fingers!