You(th) vs Hunger

The Authentik boys.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Gospel Grains with Alton Brown

Now this is just cool:

Gospel Grains – Sermon Intro from Johnson Ferry on Vimeo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big Dreams and Small Reality: Being a 20-Something Guy as Perfectly Explained by Bruno Mars

Like most guys, he has big dreams, which he explains in “Billionaire” (by Travie McCoy, featuring Bruno Mars):

I wanna be a billionaire so [very] bad
Buy all of the things I never had
I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen
Oh, every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights
Yeah, a different city every night
Oh, I swear the world better prepare
For when I’m a billionaire

But for most guys the reality is more like he explains in “The Lazy Song”:

Today I don’t feel like doing anything
I just wanna lay in my bed
Don’t feel like picking up my phone, so leave a message at the tone
‘Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything

You can’t have both. You need to choose which kind of man you’re going to be. Not necessarily a billionaire, but a man who pursues his calling from God (whatever that might be) with all that he’s got. Or you can sit around not doing anything.

But you can’t have both.

Guys, what are you going to do to change this reality in your life and push hard for the glory of God?

Posted in Apathy | Tagged | 2 Comments

Neighborhood Transitions

Ed Stetzer is doing a blog series on churches in transitional neighborhoods (part 1, part 2). He lays out three options (the second and third will be in upcoming posts, which I’m looking forward to seeing):

  • congregational relocation to a context more in line with their congregation,
  • intentional multicultural integration in one congregation, or
  • multi-congregational partnership in one building.

Pembroke (long before I got here) decided to pursue a hybrid of the second and third options. We have four different language congregations on our campus (English, Haitian,  Spanish, Korean), which is awesome. But something more amazing, I think, is that our English congregation is 55% black (with a large percentage being Caribbean), 35% white, and 10% Hispanic. By God’s grace, the cool thing is to see how closely this represents our community (the data is from the New York Times interactive demographic mapping site, which if you haven’t seen it, is suh-weet!):

One thing I love about our church is the beautiful tension of cultural and generational diversity we see every Sunday. It’s something only Jesus can create and only Jesus can sustain. We have not by any means figured out everything, but I’m grateful that we’re on the pathway to seeing God’s new humanity and Ephesians 2 as a reality, heaven breaking on earth.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

My Letter to Penn Jillette

I didn’t intend to publish this letter on my blog, but I couldn’t find anywhere to actually send it to Penn. So here it is, on my blog, right where he’ll see it ;-)

Dear Penn,

I thought about trying to write a witty opening line, to keep you interested, but this is all I could come up with. Watching you on Celebrity Apprentice gave me an even greater appreciation for you as an intelligent, thoughtful, and talented man. Cards on the table, I’m a Christian pastor (Southern Baptist, no less), but I am allowed to watch TV, as long as it doesn’t lead to dancing. I had been exposed to your career in various ways, but felt like I sort of “got to know you” through seeing you on Apprentice.

Watching you choking out an impassioned explanation of how Opportunity Village empowers people “who would otherwise just be thrown away” moved me deeply. Here I am, so many months later, reading the Bible on my Kindle and my thoughts wandering a little and I thought about it again. I seriously considered writing you a letter like this then, but I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t want to be another guy aiming for “the atheist who promoted proselytizing on YouTube.

But it has nagged at me off and on, so here I am. The general thrust of what I have wanted to say then and now is that my heart ached with you as you talked about human beings being “thrown away”. And my heart ached as I just wanted to speak into the TV and explain that the only basis for treating so-called “throw-away” people with the dignity Opportunity Village does is found in a Christian worldview. Obviously, you disagree with me, but I see no way that a Darwinian, literally godless framework can find room for compassion for the weak and the less efficient. Such compassion can only flow from the image of God the Creator stamped on our humanity and the vestiges of his compassionate grace that still rattles around our stony hearts. Such compassion in our society is a lingering remnant of a Christian worldview that had embedded itself in our society. In the same way, I believe your compassion for such people comes from the God you so famously don’t believe in.

Like I said, I’ve wanted to tell you this for awhile, and now I know at least I’ve said what I feel bone-deep. Obviously all I see is the “public Penn”, but if Public Penn indicates you truly, I am sure you are a compassionate and kind man.

Warm Regards,

Danny Slavich
Hollywood, Florida

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Judson Truman Slavich

We just found out our baby is a boy, and we are naming him Judson Truman Slavich.

We actually thought of the name Judson after watching Food Network Star. One of the dudes on Alton Brown‘s (and I love me some Alton!) team is named Judson. Laura said, “Judson, that’s cool name.” It rang in my ears and sat down on me, and I thought, “That’s it!” We had another boy name picked that just never seemed “right” to me. A cool thing: the name Judson carries a weight of Christian legacy. Adoniram Judson was sent in the early 1800s as a missionary to Asia. He was a Congregationalist when he left, but knowing he would meet the great Baptist missionary William Carey in India, he studied the New Testament’s teachings on baptism on voyage. After stuyding, he became a Baptist on the ship to India! He labored faithfully in Burma (present day Myanmar) for almost 7 years before anyone came to Christ. It’s amazing to see how God has blessed his faithfulness: there are now millions of Christians in Burma/Myanmar!

After we thought of Judson, Laura said, “What about Judson Truman?” Truman is the first name of Laura’s grandpa, Truman William Worden. He is the only living great-grandfather, and a godly man who by God’s grace has established a godly legacy in his family. Judson Truman. It sounds so strong, just like the two men who have carried those names.

And I am also stoked that our son will by God’s grace carry on the name Slavich. It makes me think of the heritage and legacy that I carry through this life. I’m proud to be a Slavich, and I’m glad that God seems to want that name to go forward for his glory.

So grateful to God, and so excited to meet this Little Slugger in person (and, yes, he will be raised to cheer for the San Francisco Giants!) ;-)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Judson Truman Slavich

We just found out our baby is a boy, and we are naming him Judson Truman Slavich.

We actually thought of the name Judson after watching Food Network Star. One of the dudes on Alton Brown‘s (and I love me some Alton!) team is named Judson. Laura said, “Judson, that’s cool name.” It rang in my ears and sat down on me, and I thought, “That’s it!” We had another boy name picked that just never seemed “right” to me. A cool thing: the name Judson carries a weight of Christian legacy. Adoniram Judson was sent in early 1800s as a missionary to Asia. He was a Congregationalist when he left, but knowing he would meet the great Baptist missionary William Carey, he studied the New Testament’s teachings on baptism. And then became a Baptist on the ship on the way to India! He labored faithfully in Burma (present day Myanmar) for almost 7 years before anyone came to Christ. It’s amazing to see how God blessed his faithfulness: there are now millions of Christians in Burma/Myanmar!

After we thought of Judson, Laura said, “What about Judson Truman?” Truman which is the first name of Laura’s grandpa, Truman William Worden. He is the only living great-grandfather, and a godly man who by God’s grace has established a godly legacy in his family. It’s awesome to be able to honor him, and I hope our son will be a great man like him. Judson Truman. It sounds so strong, just like the two men who have carried those names.

And I am also stoked that our son will by God’s grace carry on the name Slavich. It makes me think of the heritage and legacy that I carry through this life. I’m proud to be a Slavich, and I’m glad that God seems to want that name to go forward for his glory.

So grateful to God, and so excited to meet this Little Slugger in person (and, yes, he will be raised to cheer for the San Francisco Giants!) ;-)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Friday

A poem I wrote, called “Good Friday”:

On a day called Friday;
Which is also called Good–
The God-man hung
On the tree, under curse.
In dereliction, forsaken, he absorbed
Infinite wrath;
Separated, relating
Not as Son
But as Sin;
Spilling amnesty blood,
And rending the curtain.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How to Fight Worry

One way I fight worry is through a statement I wrote out to reflect on the nature of God and his love in Jesus.

1. My Father is sovereign. He controls all things.
2. My Father is good. He loves me, and he has proven this love in Christ.
3. Therefore, my Father is powerful enough and loving enough to provide for and protect me, without fail, every time.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Nine Reasons Why I Preach Expositionally

I am absolutely convinced that expository preaching is the best way to approach the most sacred task of pastoral ministry. The best definition of expository preaching I have heard came from Mark Dever, “The point of the passage is the point of the message.” Since I started at Pembroke, I have done what my preaching professor, Hershael York, at SBTS said to do: I have made it my “bread and butter.” I have preached through books of the Bible section by section, sequentially and consistently.  I have sought to simply unfold God’s Word to God’s people in an understandable and applicable way.

Here are some reasons why I am convinced of this type of preaching.

1. Expository preaching lets God set the agenda. God wrote the Bible through men exactly like he intended to. When we approach the Bible with the intention of preaching through it in the order it was inspired (to men) and expired (by the Holy Spirit), we are more likely to take God’s Word on its own terms. I used to wish that the Bible was more like a theology textbook, with chapters and topics. It’s good I wasn’t in charge, because God wove a beautifully complex and elegant story exactly how he intended.

2. Expository preaching forces me to preach Christ and him crucified every week. Every part of the Scripture points to and centers ultimately on Jesus, and a sermon that does not get to Jesus and the Cross violates God’s Word. No matter the text, the sermon will get to Jesus and call sinners to him. It is the most consistently evangelistic kind of preaching there is.

3. Expository preaching forces me to address things I might not. For example, on Sunday I preached from Genesis 34, which is the story of Jacob’s daughter Dinah being raped and her brothers slaughtering an entire city in vengeance. Just straight up, I would probably never have preached that passage in my entire ministry if I wasn’t committed to preaching through Genesis. And I’m glad I did, because God has used that sermon in our church in amazing ways. There is power in every part of Scripture. Likewise, it also prevents me from riding my favorite hobby horse doctrinally, or from picking my sermon based on how the week has gone.

4. Expository preaching keeps me in context. It helps to prevent me from cherry picking verses and using them illegitimately. It does the same for the hearers. For example, when I preached on Jacob and Laban at Mizpah, and we got to 31:49, “The LORD watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight,” I explained that this is not a “friends are friends forever” verse, but actually a warning between Jacob and Laban. One of our members told me afterward that a previous church of hers actually spoke that verse to each other as a blessing at the end of every service. Expository preaching helps provide proper context to every verse of Scripture.

5. Expository preaching shows Pembroke Road Baptist Church that I want to base everything about my ministry directly on the Bible. Of course, I am about a zillion miles from perfect in this or any other area. But I hope and think that in the past three years I have shown my commitment to be a “man of the Word” above all else.

6. Expository preaching models how people should read their Bibles. I am not taking pot-shots, but how many people approach their Bible like topical preachers approach their sermons? Topical preaching might give the audience a fish for the day, but I believe in the long run expository preaching teaches the church to fish for a lifetime. It gives them insight into how to study God’s Word. It helps them see that it’s not a big mystery, and that they can understand the Bible.

7. Expository preaching makes sermon planning less time consuming. When I have to preach a topical message, I spend a ton of time just picking out a passage or topic. That time would be better spent in study, prayer, and application of the Bible to God’s people.

8. Expository preaching provides depth and not just breadth. It helps people know Jesus and his Word more deeply. It speaks not just to the lost, but to the found.

9. Expository preaching creates Bible-soaked preachers. I found gold recently. I discovered that I didn’t have to divorce my personal Bible reading from my sermon or study preparation! It has freed me to study the Bible for my own soul before I feed it to others. It helps me view the text as urgent for “me” and not just for “them.”

I could say more, but I’ll stop there. I have committed myself to preaching expositionally, and I have seen God do great things through his Word. What are your thoughts? Have you been exposed to this kind of preaching, and what are your thoughts?

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments