Sam's Story

About

Sam wears many different hats at the same time. He is striving daily to be a disciple of Jesus and a genuine worshipper of God. He is blessed to be the husband to Ann Chacko. He is the father of Nicole, Timothy and Micah. He is the lead pastor at LOFT City Church. He is also an accountant at Marketplace Ministries.

Read Sam's Story

I wear many different hats in life. To describe me would be to say that I am a disciple of Jesus, a husband, father, a pastor and an accountant. In 2005, God lead me to start a Bible study with a small group of second generation Indians in Dallas. WIth no intention of ever becoming a church, we met faithfully every week, in different locations, and studied God’s word together. God had different plans and over the course of the past few years began transforming this Bible study into a church-plant called LOFT City Church. God, in His grace and mercy, allows me to lead this group of -loving, risk-taking disciples of Jesus that are loving our community, our neighbors, each other and the world. Over the course of time, God has been bringing people of various denominations, ethnicities and cultures and we have become a family.

My parents migrated to the United States when I was three years old and I was raised up in Philadelphia and was blessed to brought up in a Christian family. Both of my grandparents were pastors before being promoted to glory. My father (the biggest spiritual influence on my life) has been in the ministry since the early 70′s both in India and in Philadelphia.

In 1997, through a series of events, I ended up at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK to study accounting. During my first year there, I went on a missions trip to India. During this trip, I strongly sensed the Lord leading me into full time ministry. I came back, finished up my accounting degree and worked in an accounting firm for one year. Then I resigned and​joined seminary ​and graduated with my Master’s in Divinity. During the course of these three years, the Lord blessed me with various ministry opportunities including being a youth pastor, hospital chaplain and mission trips to various parts of the world (including India and Africa). I’ve had opportunities to speak at various conventions and youth camps, especially among the South Indian community.

After finishing my degree, God led me to meet my future wife, Ann, and we were married in September of 2003. Our marriage was surrounded with incredibly trying and sorrowful times. Ann’s brother, Jaiby, drowned in a lake in Dallas just a week before our wedding. Needless to say, we started our marriage on some trying and difficult times, but the Lord has been faithful and brought us this far. After our wedding, we settled in Dallas. Over the last several years, we have seen the providential hand of God working in our lives in so many incredible ways. We have truly tasted and seen that God is good. He has blessed us with two incredible children, who bring so much life and energy to the Chacko home. Nicole was born in 2004,​ Timothy was born in 2007 ​ and Micah was born in 2013​. We currently reside in Rowlett, TX.

Since moving to Dallas, God’s used me to help start the Association of Biblical Counselors, a ministry that trains pastors and leaders on how to counsel from a Biblical perspective. I am also currently working with Marketplace Chaplains, a ministry that provides chaplain care to employees in various organizations around the country.

Besides leading the church, I’m passionate about my family. I am “super dad” – taking my kids to swimming, ballet and t-ball practises. I also love to read, eat good meals, and hang out with friends and family. Even though I live in Dallas, I will always be a die hard Eagles and Phillies fan. While I still like the Sixers, I see myself becoming more of a Mavericks fan.

I love the Gospel. It is what motivates me to live every single day. It motivates all that I do in ministry and life. I love discipleship and mentoring people in their walk with God. I get excited about pre-marital counseling and teaching people Biblical principles of having a marriage that honors God. I also love being in community. Church isn’t just a place where I lead, it’s friends, its family. I love where God has placed me and encouraged by the people He has put around me.

That is my story.

Blog

  • July 22 2014

    The High Calling of God

    If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25 If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do. Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to

    Categories: Church, South Asian Ministry Leaders

    June 15 2014

    What was the early church like?

      In preparing for the sermon on Sunday, I came across this quote from Tertullian, one of the early Church Fathers.  I love how he described what the church was like: For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the

    Categories: Church

    February 20 2014

    The Craziest Verse in the Bible

    Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!  (Psalm 137:9) There are some great, uplifting, motivating, challenging, life-transforming verses in the Bible.  The verse above is just absolutely shocking and even sounds repulsive.  There’s actually a verse in the Bible that says that a person that smashes babies against rocks are blessed?  Yup.  That doesn’t sound like challenging, motivating or life-transforming at all.  Yet, for some reason or another, God chose to include that verse in the Holy Scriptures. Why would God include this verse? In order to understand the significance of this verse, you have to understand the context of when this verse was written.  We don’t know who wrote this psalm,

    Categories: Life

    June 18 2013

    Lessons Learned: Ten Years of Ministry

    Ten years ago God enabled me to graduate from seminary.  That weekend was a memorable weekend for me in many aspects.  Not only did I graduate, but I met my future wife in person for the first time that weekend and knew she was the one for me.  We didn’t waste anytime and by September of the same year we were married.  Ten year and three kids later, we still recognize the sovereign hand of God working to bring the two of us together. However, there was another event that happened that weekend that has forever shaped my life.  That weekend, I knelt on the ground, and several pastors placed their hands on my head and ordained me for the work

    Categories: Church, Life, South Asian Ministry Leaders
  • June 10 2013

    Refugees, God and the Gospel

    I normally try my best not to engage in conversations that are unproductive.  However, tonight I saw something on facebook that made me boiling mad at first and then deeply grieved at how we as Christians don’t see what God is doing in our times because we are more concerned about ourselves and our safety. The image above is a post that was made on a wall of a friend on facebook.  Let me preface to say that I have known Anil since my childhood and we attended church together.  I admire his love and devotion for God and our nation.  I admire that he doesn’t just talk about missions, but that he has been on numerous mission trips.  I

    Categories: Church, Life

    May 29 2013

    Four Kinds of People

    Tim Keller with some thoughts that help us think through our own hearts and understand others: It is helpful to see that there are four kinds of people in the world: Law-obeying, law-relying. These people are under the law, and are usually very smug, self-righteous and superior. Externally, they are very sure they are right with God, but deep down, they have a lot of insecurity, since no one can truly be assured that they are living up to the standard. This makes them touchy, sensitive to criticism and devastated when their prayers aren’t answered. This includes members of other religions, but here I am thinking mainly of people who go to church. These people have much in common with the

    Categories: Recommended Resources, Theology

    March 11 2013

    Have you seen Jesus’ resume lately?

    I grew up in a culture that was driven by honor and shame.  In this type of culture, family means everything to the individual.  I was raised to bring honor to the family, and not shame.  Individualism did not have more of a priority than family.  The opinion and thoughts of family members mattered in every decisions that I made. The members of the church in Hebrews also grew up in a very similar culture.  Family was very important for them.  Let me give you an example of how important family was to them.  When we do our resume today, what do we list on our resume?  We list all of our accomplishments.  We list where we went to school. 

    Categories: Life, Theology

    March 08 2013

    Happy Birthday Timothy: My prayer for you

    Our son, Timothy, turns six today.  Words can’t express how full of gratitude and worship I have to God for blessing us with two kids, and another on the way.  This week I have been thinking about what I would pray over my son as he celebrates this New Year in his life. I was reminded of the biography of David Brainerd.  On his 25th birthday, he didn’t celebrate it with friends or a cake or a party.  In fact, he didn’t eat anything at all that day.  He went into the woods to be alone with God and prayed the entire day.  In his diary, he wrote the following entry that day: “Set apart for fasting and prayer, to

    Categories: Life
  • March 04 2013

    Do I want a boy or a girl?

      We are eagerly anticipating the birth of our third child in June.  One of the questions that we get frequently asked is whether we want to have a boy or a girl.  The question humors me because regardless of what I “want”, I really have no control over whether God is going to bless me with a son or a daughter.  But that question got me to thinking about what do I really have control over in life?  If you think about there is so much in our lives that we didn’t get to choose or have control over. I didn’t have control over what family I was going to be born in. I didn’t have control over the

    Categories: Life, Theology

    February 25 2013

    Feeling Overwhelmed?

      My life has been incredibly busy lately.  Working full time, pastoring a church, taking care of a family, preparing for a new baby on the way, life has not been slowing down at all.  My calendar is packed on a consistent basis and my to do list keeps getting bigger and bigger each day.   The joy of crossing something off of my list is only momentary as eventually a new task or meeting is added.  Sometimes that is discouraging, but lately I have found comfort in realizing another attribute about God.   I’ve come to realize that only God accomplishes all that’s on his to-do list. In scripture we see that only God gets everything done. God is the

    Categories: Life

    February 20 2013

    Looking into the mirror…

      A Hungarian Man by the name of Andres Tamas was captured by the Russians toward the end of World War II and imprisoned in 1945. Because no one could understand the sounds he made he was assumed to be insane and sentenced to solitary confinement in a psychiatric detention center three hundred miles east of Moscow. His regular attempts to communicate with the guards when they brought his daily rations were dismissed as mere gibberish and ignored. With the cold war over, Russia began to empty her overburdened prisons and so the Russian authorities finally brought a Hungarian psychiatrist to evaluate this patient, hoping to be able to turn over the responsibility of his keep to Hungary. After some

    Categories: Recommended Resources, Theology

    February 14 2013

    Do you love me?

      My favorite character in the entire Bible is the Apostle Peter.  There is something about Peter that we can all relate to.  Here’s a guy that genuinely loves Jesus and willing to do anything for Him.   This is the guy that thought he could take on Roman soldiers by himself when they came to arrest Jesus in the Garden.  This is the guy that boldly declared that even if everyone else left Jesus, he would never abandon Jesus.  There’s a lot to be admired in Peter.  Even the negative we see in his life isn’t because he was living in rebellion.  Often, he would stick his foot in his mouth.  He denies Jesus because of genuine fear for his

    Categories: Life
  • February 11 2013

    There’s a bigger danger than being persecuted or isolated for your faith

    Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 Many of us think that the worst thing that can happen to a believer is to be persecuted, rejected or isolated for our belief.  Those are things that our brothers and sisters are facing around the world, as many of them are losing their homes, families and lives for the sake of the Gospel.  They wake up every day knowing full well that today could be the last day that they see their families, the last day that they could enjoy freedom, and possibly the last day that they take a breath on this earth. Those are some very real

    Categories: Life, Theology

    February 04 2013

    Why your prayer life stinks

      In his book, You can change, Tim Chester expounds on four truths about God that are essential for a believer to grasp and believe.  Numerous sermons have now been preached on these four truths in the last several years.  In fact, during Advent 2011, we spent four weeks at LOFT looking over these four truths.  They have been labeled the “4G’s” These truths are so vital to the life of a believer because failure to believe one or more of these truths is the reason that we sin.  Every sinful behavior in our lives and everything negative emotion that goes on inside of us can be traced back to our failure to believe on of these four truths about

    Categories: Life, Theology

    January 31 2013

    Stop acting like you gave up something for Jesus

      I want to specifically address people that are in ministry, but a lot of what I am going to say applies to everyone who calls himself or herself a follower of Jesus.  I might sound like I am going on a rant here, but hear me out.  I think we need to be very careful of the message we communicate of the cost of following Jesus. Several years ago, I was in a conversation with an individual that talked about everything that he gave up to follow Jesus.  As he was talking about his old lifestyle – the parties, the women, the “good life” – he kept reiterating how he gave it all up to follow Jesus.  While listening

    Categories: Life, South Asian Ministry Leaders

    January 11 2013

    The sinful worship of “safety”

      When did we expect that the life of a Christian to be marked by safety and security?  It takes everything inside of me not to say something negative when people ask me the question, “is it safe?”  It’s been a question that’s been asked of me a lot in the last several years. Right now, we have a team that is working in the middle of the Red Light District of Mumbai, trying to share the Gospel with people that are held captive in sex trafficking.  I was asked recently if us sending a team there is “safe.” Back in May, I went on a mission trip to Kenya and through a series of events ended up in a

    Categories: Church, Life, Theology
  • January 10 2013

    Jesus Vs. World

      On January 20th, we are beginning a new series at LOFT on the book of Hebrews.  I have to be honest, this is a challenging book to go through, but one that I think will be very rewarding.  The theme that we are emphasizing during this series is how Jesus is so much better than anything else in the world.  As I was preparing, I began scribbling down some contrasts between the life that Jesus calls us to versus the life that the world calls us to.  They are two incredibly different worlds.   The Life that the World is Calling Us To The Life that Jesus Is Calling Us To You are a Electronic Cigarettes good person Your heart

    Categories: Church, Life, Theology

    January 08 2013

    Aiming Low is Sin

    “It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be Online Blackjack unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin.” Benjamin Elijah Mays, President, Morehouse

    Categories: Life

    December 25 2012

    Merry Christmas

    May God’s blessings be yours this Christmas. Be filled with wonder. Be touched by grace. Believe in the miracle of God’s love made flesh. And Online Casino may the miracle, glory, and wonder of this sacred season warm your heart this Christmas year. and through each day of the coming year.

    Categories: Life

    December 15 2012

    Connecticut: This is a spiritual attack

    We watched in horror and disgust all day the events unfold in Connecticut, where an evil murderer took away the lives of 20 innocent children.  As a father of two little children, one in 2nd grade and the other in kindergarten, my heart weeps for those parents tonight who are trying to process the loss of their child. All day there have been posts, interviews and blogs about what caused this senseless murder.  Gun control advocates (in good intention) have raised their voices about the need for a ban on assault weapons.  Those opposed have used the argument that guns don’t kill people, people kill people (and they are correct).  Religious leaders are speaking out and saying that this has

    Categories: Life, Theology
  • December 05 2012

    Asian American Religious Breakdown

      Pew Research Center has come out with the following graphic for Asian American and their religious breakdown.   Incredible mission field here in the online casino money United States for us to love and point toward Jesus. *Special Thanks to Philip Chan for making me aware of this chart.  

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders

    December 04 2012

    My Kids, The Gospel and Some Exciting News

      For all of last week, I had the opportunity to raise my children alone.  Ann’s sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Alexis, and Ann went to help her for the week.  The week alone with my kids helped me to reflect on how blessed I am to parent these two wonderful kids. My daughter, Nicole, is eight years old. My son, Timothy, is five. I’ll be honest, they haven’t had the easiest of settings so far.  Being a pastor’s kid is not an easy role, not just in terms of expectations that people have for pastor’s kids, but in terms of how life is played out for you.   Even more difficult is being children of a church

    Categories: Life

    November 29 2012

    You must die….

    It really is true: the health and success of your ministry really are a matter of death and life. If you are ever going to be an ambassador in the hands of a God of glorious and powerful grace, you must die. You must die to your plans for your own life. You must die to your self-focused dreams of success. You must die to your demands for comfort and ease. You must die to your individual definition of the payday loans savings good life. You must die to your demands for pleasure, acclaim, prominence, and respect. You must die to your desire to be in control. You must die to your hope for independent righteousness. You must die to

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders

    October 18 2012

    What was Jesus doing before creation?

      Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet have a new book called, Jesus – A Theography.  I’ve just finished the first chapter as of yesterday.  The book attempts to do a panoramic sweep of the entire Bible exploring how Jesus can be seen through the entire Bible. The end product of biblical Christianity is a person— not a book, not a building, not a set of principles or a system of ethics— but one person in two natures (divine/ human) with four ministries (prophet/ priest/ king/ sage) and four biographies (the Gospels). But those four biographies don’t tell the whole story. Every bit of Scripture is part of the same great story of that one person and that one story’s plotline

    Categories: Recommended Resources, Theology
  • October 16 2012

    Ten Commandments for Believers on the Upcoming Elections

    I wish he had written this back when the primaries were going on, because Eugene Cho has written a great blog for believers and how we should approach this upcoming elections.  You can read the entire blog here. This is great advice for us as believers to follow, regardless of which party we affiliate with.  Here are the Ten Commandments.  I also included some of his comments under each point. I.  Thou shalt believe that Jesus remains King.   Like I said in my previous post, regardless of who win’s this election, our hope and savior is not who lives in the White House.  It is in Jesus and only Jesus. II.  Don’t go to bed with political parties.  

    Categories: Life, Recommended Resources

    October 04 2012

    Is the election fixed?

    Last night while watching the debates I made the following post on Facebook/Twitter: Breaking News: This upcoming election is fixed, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1 ESV)” Pray and vote wisely, but know that there is one that is sovereign and in control no matter who is president. I have a love/hate relationship with politics.  I’m fascinated by it and can’t get enough of it, but at the same time, I am tired of all the division and chaos that comes out of our government offices. I’m about as conservative as you get in terms of economics, faith and

    Categories: Life

    September 12 2012

    I went to jail yesterday and have a confession to make

      I was at the Dallas County jail till about 2:00am this morning.  It was my first time ever being there.  I honestly wouldn’t mind going back (just not that late at night).  No, I didn’t get arrested or do anything illegal.  We are blessed to have a guy in our church that loves Jesus but unfortunately has a past.  He had been in jail before and is now on parole and due to some circumstances (some beyond his control, some his own fault) he missed some of his meetings and was arrested for violating his parole.  He spent several days there and last night was released.  I was there with his wife to take him back home. It definitely

    Categories: Church, Life, South Asian Ministry Leaders

    September 10 2012

    Indians and Dating

    I grew up in a traditional Indian Pentecostal family.  I’m also the son of a pastor.  Two topics that were always points of tension between the first and second generation were dating (cultural) and jewelry (denominational).  These are topics that I swore I would never talk about.  Till now. Recently, I sat down with a young couple that was going through some challenges in their relationship.  They have been dating for a while now and I think they are a great couple.  The young man is of Indian decent and a solid believer.  The young woman, on the other hand is non-Indian and a strong believer.  While counseling this couple it dawned on me that our generation has no idea

    Categories: Life, South Asian Ministry Leaders
  • August 31 2012

    Is Jesus really that amazing?

      Lifeway Research came out with a study this week about the challenge that believers have on sharing their faith. While most believe that they have the responsibility of sharing their faith, 61% gave never pointed someone to Jesus in the past six months. I’d love to hear your thoughts on why we are hesitant to share our faith with people?  If Jesus is our greatest treasure, the transformer of our life, the giver of hope, the promise of change, the redeemer of our souls, the substitute who took our sins, why are we hesitant to talk about him?  

    Categories: Church, Recommended Resources

    August 20 2012

    Yesterday was a disaster!

    Yesterday was a disaster at church.  It started way before church though.  We went to bed on Saturday night and discovered thar our roof was leaking in the house.  Then I woke up Sunday morning and I barely had a voice and could swallow anything.  I get to church and discover that our worship leader, Binil, was also not feeling well at all.  During the first song of the service, Binil’s guitar broke.  Then my wireless mic kept stopping in between the message.  I could barely raise my voice during the message, and it was quite frankly the worst message I’ve ever spoken (in my opinion).  During the message, Binil went to get new strings and didn’t make it back by

    Categories: Church

    July 28 2012

    You just never know…

    I have no idea where it came from but sitting on my desk today was newletter called One to One written by the Navigators.  It’s dated July 2011 and I don’t subscribe to their newletter, so I honestly have no idea how it ended up on my desk.  Regardless, there was a neat little story in there that I thought I would share with you. Navigator Henry Clay recently described a phone call he’d received some time ago.  The voice on the other end said: My name is Michael.  I was your boss in the dorm at Georgia Tech 30 years ago.  You shared the Gospel with me and I told you I wasn’t interested since I was Jewish.  A couple of weeks

    Categories: Church, Life, Theology

    July 20 2012

    Evil, Suffering and God

    We woke up this morning to hear the news of the tragedy in Colorado, where a man decided to walk into a movie theater and just begin shooting.   As of this writing twelve people are confimed dead and many more are in the  hospital. My heart breaks for the victims and their families as I’m sure yours  does to. I hope we are all committed to praying for these families and the  recovering victims in the days and weeks to come. These kind of shootings seem to be on the rise over the last several years, but it is aboslutely sickening, heart-breaking, and makes you wonder what God was doing during this time? If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering

    Categories: Recommended Resources, Theology
  • June 18 2012

    Kenya: Coastal Area

      Our second half of the Kenya trip was to the coastal area.  We were in areas that were predominately Muslims.  While walking on the beach or in the markets in the city, we were engaged in trying to find a person of peace.  We had some very interesting conversations while in this area, including an unexpected opportunity to present the Gospel in a Mosque to about 20 people (inluding the Imam and Chairman of the Mosque). Here are just a few of the pictures from our time in the coastal area:

    Categories: Life

    June 14 2012

    Kibo, Kenya: Update

      The first part of our Kenya missions trip was at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, working with the Masai tribe. We were able to work with a local pastor who has been ministering there for several years. The Masai believe in one God, whom they call Ngai. Ngai is neither male nor female, but seems to have several different aspects. Ngai is the creator of everything. In the beginning, Ngai (which also means sky) was one with the earth, and owned all the cattle that lived on it. But one day the earth and sky separated, so that Ngai was no longer among men. The cattle, though, needed the material sustenance of grass from the earth, so to prevent

    Categories: Life

    April 16 2012

    Austin Trip

    After living in Dallas for almost nine years, we finally were able to make a small trip to Austin.

    Categories: Life

    April 10 2012

    The Gospel and Consumerism: Andrew George

      It should not catch anyone by surprise that North America is a consumer driven society. In 2008, National Geographic published statistics# that Americans are estimated to live 77.75 years and consume 31,350 gallons of gasoline, read 5,054 newspapers (43 trees), discard 64 tons of garbage and use 1.8 million gallons of water. It should not surprise us that our consumer driven society has also infiltrated the ranks of the Church here in North America. There is much to be said about the existence of consumerism in the Church. How will the Church serve me? How will the Church meet the needs of my marriage? How will the Church meet the needs of my children? How will the Church …

    Categories: South Asian Ministry Leaders
  • April 05 2012

    Going to Kenya

    I wanted to share something that was on my heart and ask that you would keep me in your prayers.  Over the last several months the Lord has been working on my heart about the Middle East and North Africa.  He is doing an incredible work in this region of the world and many people are coming to the faith (often through the supernatural happening).  I’ve been praying for months about why God was giving us a burden for this part of the world. My wife, Ann, happens to work at a missions organization called East West Ministries.  They do a lot of short term mission trips to various parts of the world, including North Africa, Cuba and India.  Ann

    Categories: Life

    March 29 2012

    Where do you live?

      “Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you

    Categories: Church, Life

    February 29 2012

    The Gospel and Giving: Sam T. Varughese

      Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! One aspect that makes it so wonderful is the giving and receiving of gifts. There is so much preparation and presentation behind every gift that is unraveled this season. Some of them that began almost a year ago and some frantically completed just few hours before the big day. However, the sad fact is that the excitement and joy of giving dwindles down to a mere day. After that, its back to “normal life” as some say. It is undoubtedly a different experience of giving during Christmas, but giving should not be confined to a Christian’s calendar as an annual event. In a Christian’s life, giving is a response to

    Categories: South Asian Ministry Leaders

    February 17 2012

    The Gospel and Parenting: Stephen Daniel

    A work-in-progress Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Prov 22:6(NIV) Since I first agreed to write this devotion, I’ve had different thoughts about how the gospel relates to parenting.  My first thought was “Oh man! The gospel and parenting! This will be really easy to write about!” And then once I tried to get started writing, it became “Oh man! Who am I kidding? Who am I to try to write about the gospel and parenting? I’m just a father of a 7-year-old. What can I possibly say about parenting that will touch the heart of the reader?” To start out, I am a parent who

    Categories: South Asian Ministry Leaders
  • February 02 2012

    The Gospel and Singleness – Maureen Mathew

    When our society places such a high value on sex, friends with benefits, and cohabitation, it’s no wonder singleness has become increasingly difficult, especially among Christians. As singles we hear that singleness is a gift from God but most of us despise hearing those words. They seem like easy words to say by the happily married couple but a hard pill to swallow for the Christian single. So how do we accept this truth rather than allow bitterness to harbor within us? How do we find joy and contentment where we are? There are so many ways we can approach the topic of singleness, but today I want to focus on what it means to find fulfillment in God. It’s

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    February 01 2012

    The Gospel and Marriage – Deepak Reju

    The gospel and marriage…it’s hard to separate the two.   In the Bible, both are inextricably linked.  Let’s consider how the Bible ties these two ideas together.  The Bible uses marriage to remind you that your first allegiance is to Christ.  Paul writes, “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Cor 11:3).  That’s right….if you are a Christian, you have one husband—Christ.  Just as a faithful husband or wife is committed to his/her spouse, your loyalty is foremost to your Savior.  He is preeminent; and he is your greatest priority over anything and everything.  Gospel-centered marriages start with an abiding love for Christ. The Bible uses marital

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 31 2012

    The Gospel and Mission – Sujith Jacob

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10 A few years ago I went to a remote village in India with a team from Oklahoma City. We were in charge of having a couple of large outdoor meetings to create a platform to bring the local churches together and encourage the Christ followers in the area. The meetings were to start at seven and I was asked to preach that night. I was quite nervous and as I waited at the venue talking to Jesus, I saw people filling the grounds by the thousands. The sight of this large crowd made me totally cave

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 30 2012

    The Gospel and Culture – Tom Mathew

    If you are like me, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) probably led you to ask the question: REALLY GOD? How on earth am I supposed to do that?  For example, in Matthew 5:11 and 44, Jesus said the persecuted and the insulted for His sake are blessed, and we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  Or what about in Matthew 5:28, when Jesus took the seventh commandment up a notch saying a man who lustfully looks at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart?  My favorite is when Jesus tells us not to retaliate when someone slaps us on the cheek, but rather to turn the other cheek and

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology
  • January 29 2012

    Devotional: Fasting – Krissy Thomas

    I’m a preacher’s kid, so growing up in the Indian church we had all sorts of rules to follow. On Sunday mornings, we had a whole different set of rules.  Some of them included not watching TV or reading the newspaper before church, learning a memory verse, or always wearing our Sunday “best.” One of the biggest rules was that we couldn’t eat on Sunday mornings before church. I knew we were supposed to be “fasting” but I was never really sure why we were fasting. As a kid all I really knew was that I was hungry and wanted to sneak a little snack, even if it was just a piece of bread when nobody was looking. My brothers

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 28 2012

    The Gospel and Spiritual Warfare – Jeremy Mathews

    The Gospel introduces us to three aspects of spiritual warfare: 1) the defeat of the kingdom of darkness through Christ’s death and resurrection 2) the authority of the believer 3) the importance of healing and deliverance ministry as a tools for evangelism. Spiritual warfare is the clash between the kingdom of darkness (Satan’s rule over the earth) with the kingdom of light (Christ’s establishment of the Kingdom of God).  Through the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man handed over the reigns of the earth to Satan’s rule.  There is no doubt that humanity has suffered ever since from sin and its evil effects including suffering, abuse, disease, greed, and war, to just name a few.  Spiritual forces

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 27 2012

    The Gospel and Rest – Brice Johnson

    It wasn’t too long ago that I found myself getting busier and busier as I began taking on more responsibilities and duties. It came to the point where I had organized my day from the moment I got up till the wee hours I laid down with “good” activities: full time school, a couple jobs, church roles, small group leading, and trying to be a good big brother/tutor on the side. My days were packed as I ran around from one commitment to the next, trying to juggle and maximize my time. I felt that I was honoring God by utilizing my entire day and week with these things that were seemingly good, Christ-honoring things. When people asked me how

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 26 2012

    The Gospel and Prayer – Sabu George

    The gospel touches every part of our life – our heart, soul and mind. Only through the gospel can anything be transformed and renewed by Christ. Prayer allows us to touch the heart of God and apply the gospel to every area of our life in a deeper way. What would it have been like to be alive during the time of Jesus? How cool would it have been to tell your friends that you saw the 5 bread and 2 fish multiplied? What if you heard the sermon on the mount or saw Lazarus being raised from the dead? What if you received a touch from His hand? While we can only wonder, the apostles actually spent countless days

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology
  • January 25 2012

    The Gospel and Forgiveness – Matthew George

    It goes without saying that Jesus Christ stands in history as the most powerful person ever to have lived. His teaching, work, and life epitomize total perfectness; a claim no other religious leader in history can make. His life stands in history as the perfect example every human being strives for, every religious leader hopes for, and the world longs for. Along with His authoritative teaching, convincing miracles, and tenacious leadership, Christ also possessed the ultimate heart of compassion. He was moved seeing the sick, the socially marginalized, and the helpless. This perfect balance of truth and grace made Him more than a good religious leader; He was the incarnate Son of God! To pay the ransom for the sins

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 24 2012

    The Gospel and Power – Wesley Samuel

    I love the Gospel message: words of encouragement that it offers when I’m feeling down, words of correction that challenge me when I do something stupid, words of hope when I consider the world around me. However, one thing that stands out to me is power.What is power? The dictionary defines it as: 1) ability to act or produce an effect, 2) legal or official authority, capacity, or right. There are several passages of Scripture that stand out to me. One of them is Matthew 4:23 which says, “Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness” (NLT). For me, being

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 23 2012

    The Gospel and Purity – Jason Varghese

    John 8:1-11 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 22 2012

    The Gospel and Community

    OPENING REFLECTION: What are some aspects of the Christian community you engage with currently that you find most appealing and fulfilling?  What are some aspects that turn you and others off or away from community?  Pray that God would help us to discern and live out the good news of community that He has granted us within the Body of Christ. Acts 4:32-37 ESV 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.  33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology
  • January 21 2012

    The Gospel and Evangelism – Libin Abraham

    One of the verses that constantly bring me under reflection and contemplation is Philippians 1:27: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..” Paul here calls us to a life of equal weight when placed on a weight balance with the gospel of Christ. There may be several areas of our life that if we were to be honest with ourselves is not of the same weight or in other words, does not make sense when compared with the gospel of Jesus. One particular area for many is evangelism. There have been numerous helpful literature and books published in the last decade on evangelism and its “How To’s.” With all of these resources available, most

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 20 2012

    The Gospel and Worship: Bob Rao

    The Gospel creates authentic relationship with God. ‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’ John 17:3. Eternal life (true spiritual life) is an authentic relationship with God (therefore, spiritual death is separation from God). Eternal life is made possible to all people through the truth of the gospel. What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose again. Anyone who simply trusts that Jesus died for them and rose again is forgiven of their sins and receives the eternal, spiritual life of a relationship with God. By providing

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 19 2012

    The Gospel and Suffering: John Sleeba

    A few years ago, a student in our collegiate ministry learned that she had a brain tumor. I was shocked since she was only 20. She had surgery to remove the tumor and started chemotherapy. Remission looked promising but months later, doctors found a new tumor and she passed away. This was sobering for me as well as students in our fellowship. Everyone loved her and like many, I wondered why this was happening. Honestly, when it comes to suffering or hardships, we try to avoid it. If we experience it, we sometimes think there’s something wrong. Our culture teaches us that comfort is the norm and we should seek it and when we don’t experience the pain free life,

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 18 2012

    The Gospel and Authentic Living – Shoji Boldt

    “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:31-32 (NIV) Do you want to grow and be healthy? I invite you to open your heart and spirit, engage your mind, and pursue a more authentic life! This requires truth because with truth you can begin to take ownership for personal change and bring health to your self and your relationships. The Truth is the most essential component of change. Without truth we will continually live in a projection of reality. Our own projection can be missing some key things and it can be clouded by our past or extraneous things in life that just

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology
  • January 17 2012

    Devotion: The Gospel and Discipleship – Jayson John

    I hope this series of blogs has been informative and interesting to you. It can be easy to pass over what we are learning and say, “But there are so many bigger issues that we face today. Why spend so much time and energy on this?” Don’t forget that Paul, writing to a church where members were engaged in terrible sin and facing issues that you wouldn’t believe, made sure to write that the gospel was of first importance. (1 Cor. 15:3) We have a tendency to look for a quick fix in our lives, our families, and our churches. But if we can get back to the gospel on which we stand and by which we are being saved

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 16 2012

    Devotion: The Gospel and Freedom – Samuel Jacob

    Anytime I’ve heard about freedom that was connected to the Gospels it was in reference to freedom from addictions (pornography, drugs, alcohol, various lusts). While this is absolutely true, I rarely ever heard about freedom from the very thing the cross of Jesus Christ frees us from: working for our salvation. I realize that this may not seem like a problem in our culture. In fact, one might even say that many Christians don’t get involved enough in issues of social justice. However, the works for salvation I’m talking about is the subtle kind. It’s the kind that disguises itself in piety but it’s true identity is self salvation. It masquerades itself as repentance but behind the mask is independence.

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 15 2012

    Devotional: The Gospel and Holiness – Jason James

    Impossible. At least, that is our initial reaction to the daunting command of being holy. The call to be holy has often felt like a call to war, except in this case, we are completely unarmed. As a result, many have not only fled from battle, but also from the One who beckons us. There are normally two approaches to this command. While some grumble at the fact that He would call us to such a defeated enterprise, others are outraged at the fact that their peers cannot oblige. We either ask how He could demand such a thing, or how others are incapable of obeying. Nevertheless, in both cases of unbelief, what we really fail to believe is the

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 14 2012

    Devotion: THe Gospel and Purpose – Josh P.S. Samuel

    “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”-Jesus (Matthew 10:38)Matthew 26:36-46 When I received those rejection letters from schools in the mail, I was devastated. I thought it was part of God’s purpose for my life to get into that school program in order to prepare for the ministry of teaching. Before I go any further into my experience, let’s first consider the story from our Scripture reading as we consider Christ’s purpose, so we can better understand our own purpose in life. The Bible makes clear that humanity’s sinful nature brought brokenness between God and humanity; and Christ’s purpose was to mend that brokenness of relationship, so we might receive forgiveness of

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology
  • January 13 2012

    Devotional: The Gospel and Repentance – Jiju Mathew

    The apex of the gospel writers’ is that they looked forward to the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ and at the same time looked backward to the promise given by God. What we are given in this passage (v.2) is a profound declarative proclamation by John the Baptist: ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. John the Baptist is one of the last prophets at the crux of redemptive history who rightly points forward to the person who will indeed be the prophet, priest and king. The passage in Matthew 3:1-12 stands in a period of time where people are coming and confessing their sins and being baptized. This is in contrast to the people

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 12 2012

    Devotional: The Gospel and Our Identity – Mohan Zachariah

    au·then·tic adj [aw-then-tik] – made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original Everyone wants to be authentic. Pastors preach sermons about it. People attempt to live it. The thrust of most of the notions around authenticity in our lives and culture boils down to us calling people to being themselves. You have heard it said, or maybe you have even said yourself. “Be yourself” “Be true” “Be Real” True biblical authenticity has little to do with being “yourself” and everything to do with understanding where our identity originates. An authentic person increasingly resembles the ultimate original, God the Father. The Image: CREATED (Genesis 1:26-27)We are told in Scripture that in

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 11 2012

    Devotional: The Gospel and Sanctification – Ajay Thomas

    For most of us, a new year means a fresh start, a chance to move past our mistakes and do better. And perhaps above all the things we want to get better at, our relationship with God is at the top of the list. We go into a new year hoping that this will finally be the year where we get close to God and become a better Christian. We long to see real transformation in our lives and live more like Christ. So what’s it going to take? What’s the key? What do you need to do? Some people once asked Jesus the same question. “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (John 6:28) Essentially

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 10 2012

    Devotional: Centered on the Gospel

    Today, we hear a lot about the Gospel and the implications that the Gospel has on our lives and decisions. But what is the Gospel? In its simplest form, the gospel is all about the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus that redeems and restores all who believe. Jesus lives the life that we could not live (the perfect life), and died the death that we should have died (the worst imaginable death), and was resurrected from the dead, so that we can be restored into relationship with the Father. His resurrection and ascension into heaven, meant that God the Spirit could come and dwell in us and guide us in our daily living. God redeems a fallen

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology
  • January 10 2012

    New Devotional On the Gospel

    I’m excited about a season that we are entering into at LOFT. From the 10th through the 31st, we are beginning a season of fasting and prayer and seeking God’s face. During these next several weeks we are praying and asking God for wisdom, for open doors of ministry, for boldness in the midst of whatever we are faced with, and for clarity in presenting the Gospel to people God brings into our lives. To assist in this fast, we are excited about a devotional that has been compiled. Over the next several days, you will be reading some incredible devotions written by men and women from the South Asian Indian community. I have been blessed to call most of

    Categories: Recommended Resources, South Asian Ministry Leaders, Theology

    January 01 2012

    2011 – Come and gone

    A few nights ago, after the kids had gone to bed, I stayed up and began reflecting on this past year and wrote down all the things that I could remember from this past year.  Most were obvious blessings.  Some were trials that God turned into blessings.  Some were big things, some were small things (but important things to me).  Some were things that I could rejoice about, others were hard.  There were some incredible memories from this past year.  There were some incredibly painful from this past year.  Here is a sampling: We saw our daughter graduate from kindergarten. We saw our son start in school. Our kids spent a month away from us in the summer. Got to

    Categories: Church, Life

    October 11 2011

    Church Effectiveness

    “Ultimately, each church will be evaluated by only one thing. It’s disciples. Your church is only as good as its disciples. It does not matter how good your praise, preaching, programs or property are: If you’re disciples are passive, needy, con sumerist, and not moving in the direction of radical obedience, your church is not good.” Neil Cole

    Categories: Church

    July 01 2011

    Remembering Jason Blake

    Jason Blake October 24, 1976 – June 29, 2011 As I was leaving to work this morning, I learned that one of my roommates from seminary, Jason Blake, went to be with the Lord last night.  To be completely honest, I have had an extremely difficult time trying to process the loss of my friend.  I’ve been to many funerals, heard of many deaths, but this one was hard.  I think its because we lived together for 2.5 years and because he was more than just a roommate, he was a genuine brother (me and my other roommate, Wesley, even made him an honorary Indian so that he could be our roommate). I first met Jason in 2000, when he

    Categories: Life
  • June 21 2011

    Christmas is a Pagan Holiday!

    If you grew up in the same religious upbringing as I did, then I’m sure somewhere along the way you heard that Christmas and Easter used to be a pagan holiday.  If I remember correctly, in ancient Babylon, December 25th was the day that the goddess of nature was celebrated. The Romans observed December 25th as Winter Solstice, honoring the god of agriculture.  In 350 AD, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25th.  There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans to convert to Christianity. I remember when I was a member of a church here in Dallas, one Christmas the pastor’s entire sermon

    Categories: Theology

    June 15 2011

    What my kids are teaching me….

    In his book, Sacred Parenting, Gary Thomas dives into the spiritual dimensions of parenting.  It looks at what God does in our lives, shaping us spiritually, through parenting.  The book has had a profound impact on my life and how I view parenting.  There are so many things that my kids have been teaching me about God and my walk with Him. Last week, I woke up with a splitting headache and actually wanted to sleep in a bit.  Nicole (6) came up to me while I was lying in my bed and just prayed for me.  She looked at me and said, “You’re better now, because Jesus listened to my prayers.”  Yes, we do our best to teach them

    Categories: Life

    April 01 2011

    Why are you complaining?

    Here is a great thought from Thomas Brooks, a Puritan from the 1600’s.  Incredible reminder that murmuring and complaining isn’t for the follower of Jesus: “Is not Christ your treasure? Is not heaven your inheritance—and will you murmur? Has not God given you a changed heart, a renewed nature, and a sanctified soul—and will you murmur? Has He not given you Himself to satisfy you, His Son to save you, His Spirit to lead you, His grace to adorn you, His covenant to assure you, His mercy to pardon you, His righteousness to clothe you—and will you murmur? Has He not made you a friend, a son, a brother, a bride, an heir—and will you murmur? When you were dead,

    Categories: Life, Theology

    February 07 2011

    Mercy Prayer

    A Shelter in the Time of Story Paul David Tripp I have no resume to hold before you, no track record of accomplishments, no letters of commendation, no rights of birth or ethnicity. I hold nothing that would place you in my debt, nothing that could curry your favor, nothing that would obligate you. I wish unbridled zeal would commends me to you. I wish unbroken obedience would draw your attention. I wish model wisdom and model love would convince you that I’m worthy. But I have none of these things to offer you. I stand before you with shoulders bent and hands that are empty. I approach you with no argument in my mind or words to offer in

    Categories: Theology
  • March 30 2010

    How Can You Pray for Me?

    Last night, I received an email from a friend that I haven’t talked to in several months.The Holy Spirit was placing a huge burden on her heart to pray for me and, being obedient, she began praying for me, my family, my kids, LOFT, etc. When most of us hear that God is burdening someone to pray for us, we immediately think that something bad is going to happen, and we need prayer to avoid the bad things.As I was reading the email last night, I felt so encouraged because God is raising up people in different cities and communities to pray for me and for what He is doing through LOFT.Let me share a part of my response to

    Categories: Life

    January 08 2010

    The Name of Jesus is Always Controversial

    I know this is a few days old, but I finally have the opportunity to share my thoughts. Last Sunday, Brit Hume caused quite a stir when he said that Tiger Woods needs to convert from Buddhism to Christianity to find forgiveness and redemption from sin: The Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal – the extent to which he can recover – seems to me to depend on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, “Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a

    Categories: Life, Theology

    January 01 2010

    Reflections for the New Year

    Last night, we passed out these questions for everyone to reflect on, as we begin this new year.A new year doesn’t mean that life and circumstances have changed.We still face the same dilemmas and issues that we faced yesterday.It’s just a simple change on a calendar.However, this can be a chance for us to make some resolutions about things we would like to see change in our lives.Most of the time we make resolutions that are forgotten in a few weeks or months. I am indebted to Donald Whitney, professor at Southern Seminary, who has come up with 31 questions to reflect on my life.Let me encourage you to go through these questions, copy and print them out, and write

    Categories: Church, Life

    November 10 2009

    What my son taught me about worship

    If you come to LOFT, you will have noticed that Timothy, my son, will be in my hands while the worship is going on. It is something that he does every week without fail, till last week. He loves music and you should see him dance to the songs that come on the television. It is a sight to behold. The reason he is always in my arms is because from the place I am standing, he can have a clear view of the worship team, especially the drummer. From his father’s hand, he sees things the way his father sees them. Last weekend, he got distracted. There were some new kids there, and his sister was sitting with the

    Categories: Church, Life, South Asian Ministry Leaders
  • October 05 2009

    The Story of LOFT @ Connext2009

    During Connext09, I was asked to share in one of the seminars of planting a church for the second generation South Asian Community. Initially, I was very hesitant of doing this seminar because LOFT never started as a church plant with the intention of becoming a church. However, as I was sharing the story of LOFT, I was again gently reminded of God’s faithfulness and that HE works everything out beautifully. I wanted to share a few things I learned through our experience, especially to those who are praying about planting churches geared toward the second generation community. These are things that I learned over the last three years. They might work for you, or they might not. You can’t

    Categories: Life, South Asian Ministry Leaders

    October 04 2009

    Reflections on Connext 2009

      Earlier last month, I had the opportunity to attend Connext 2009.Sam George from Parivar International was instrumental in the organization of this conference, and has been a good friend of mine for the last several years.When Sam had initially invited me to come to Connext and share the story of LOFT in one of the workshop sessions, there was some hesitation on my part because I did not fully understand what the ultimate purpose of Connext was.I was under the impression that the conference was primarily for second-generation South Asians, yet the majority of speakers were from the first generation community.Honestly, only after I got there did I realize that this was a leadership conference for all South Asian

    Categories: Life, South Asian Ministry Leaders

    September 30 2009

    What if I grew up on a desert island?

      Francis Chan, has written a new book called, Forgotten God (Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit). This is one of those books that is extremely hard to put down. A paragraph that he wrote in the Introduction has been something I have been pondering on continuously the last few days: Perhaps we’re too familiar and comfortable with the current state of the church to feel the weight of the problem. But what if you grew up on a desert island with nothing but the Bible to read? Imagine being rescued after twenty years and then attending a typical evangelical church. Chances are you’d be shocked. Having read the Scriptures outside the context of contemporary church culture, you

    Categories: Church, Recommended Resources, Theology

    September 22 2009

    He Get’s It

    I had a great conversation at lunch yesterday with someone who has gotten really serious about his walk with God over the last several months. His frustration to me was that he is getting busy with ministry, but losing touch with those who he has been called to reach. I think he gets it!Most of our churches have this invisible force-field mentality. You can somehow enter into the church, but once you enter, there is no way you can ever get out again. The church designs all of their programs and events to keep the person involved in the local church setting. We like to get people saved and then force them to change everything from friends, language and preferences.

    Categories: Church, Life
  • September 15 2009

    Personal Reflection on Recent Events in the News

      Over the last 24 hours, I have had many numerous calls, texts, emails and conversations about some very disturbing news that came to light in the news about a brother who attends one of the local churches.  A lot of folks asked me what my thoughts were on the matter so I thought I would share the things that went through my mind. This person did a crime and deserves to be punished accordingly.There isn’t a question about that.Sin always has consequences. This person has hit rock-bottom in life. He has nowhere else to turn but to God, so there can actually be something good that comes out of this, something of eternal significance. A person who falls doesn’t

    Categories: Church, Life

    July 22 2009

    Gary Lamb: The devastation that sin causes

    One of the guys that I follow on Twitter is a former pastor by the name of Gary Lamb. He founded a church called Revolution Church in Georgia in 2004, which grew to over 1200 people. Amazingly, over 70% of that group were previously un-churched folks. On June 7th, he resigned from the church because he got involved in an extra-marital affair with someone from the church. You can read his resignation letter here. I have no excuses, no justification, and no one to blame but myself. I did exactly what I have preached against from the Revolution stage by letting my guard down and putting myself into a position to fall into sin. I’m so sorry. It’s truly is

    Categories: Church, Life

    June 04 2009

    Christianity is Changing

    The following is information from Mark Noll’s new book, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith. I haven’t read this book yet, but the first chapter is down-loadable for free. It is a book I will get, as soon as I can finish reading the other 30 books I have bought this year! In this book Noll explains how just a few decades ago, “Christian believers were concentrated in the global north and west, but now a rapidly swelling majority lives in the global south and east.” Noll lists some contrasts between Christianity today and Christianity of the past. I found this list both fascinating and encouraging. 1. This past Sunday it is possible that

    Categories: Church, Recommended Resources

    May 30 2009

    Why does discipleship matter?

    Continuing to look at Dallas Willard’s book, “The Great Omission”, he addresses the question of why discipleship matters and examines the following four points: Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that Jesus simply wants us to say a prayer and then be content with going to heaven. It does teach that Jesus wants to be LORD of every aspect of our lives. If we aren’t disciples of Jesus, we will never be able to do the good that God intends for us to do. By becoming a disciple of Jesus, we are enabled to understand our lives and to see how we can interact with God’s redemptive resources. Only discipleship to Jesus, through the Spirit, can bring inward transformation

    Categories: Church, Recommended Resources
  • May 13 2009

    The Great Omission: Introduction

    One of the most influential books that I have read over the last year was by Dallas Willard called Divine Conspiracy.It is a 448 page book that has transformed my thinking over the last several months.A few days ago, I picked up another one of Willard’s books called The Great Omission – Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship.I just started reading the book and thought that maybe as I went along, I would summarize the chapters in the blog for your benefit.I don’t know how I am going to do this yet, but most likely I will pull out a few points that I highlighted and then give some personal reflection at the end.   Introduction:   “There is an

    Categories: Church, Recommended Resources

    March 31 2009

    J.I. Packer

    Here is a fascinating video that J.I. Packer does for new believers and gives them some tips of what to do to keep their relationship with God strong. Packer is one of my favorite authors, having written number books, including Knowing God. I’ve been saved over twenty years, and the simple things that he mentions in this video is a challenge to my own walk with God. Just watching the video you can tell that Packer is not someone who just says things, but it is something that is practised in his own life.

    Categories: Life, Theology

    March 20 2009

    I Wonder What I Would Do?

    Cindy Winters extended forgiveness towards the gunman, Terry Sedlacek, who opened fire in a Maryville, Ill., church, killing her pastor-husband, Fred Winters: “I do not have any hatred, or even hard feelings, towards him. We have been praying for him. One of the first things that my daughter said to me after this happened was, ‘You know, I hope that he comes to learn to love Jesus through all of this.’ We are not angry at all, and we really firmly believe that he can find hope and forgiveness and peace through this, by coming to know Jesus. And we hope that that happens for him.”

    Categories: Life

    March 20 2009

    170 Foot Cross?

    A long time ago, I would have thought that this was a great idea. Everyone would see the cross, and it would serve as a reminder of God in their lives. Today, I would look at this cross and say this is a big waste of money. I wonder how many non-believers are being attracted to Christ because of this cross? I’m sure this was not a cheap project for this church to do, and wonder how could they have had a greater impact for the Kingdom with the money that was spent on the cross. How is this making any difference in the city of Houston, other than becoming a source of complaint and criticism of the church? Thoughts?

    Categories: Church
  • September 22 2007

    Your will vs His will

    Click to Play   We went around the UTD campus asking questions about destiny and what part God shoud play in the decision making aspect of life.

    Categories: Life, Theology

    September 21 2007

    SALT – UNT/TWU

    Last night, we had the privilege of attending a SALT meeting at UNT. The ride there almost got us killed, as a guy pulled into the main road without looking to see that there about 50 cars coming straight on, being led by me :). I had to swerve with one hand (had a coffee in the other) and get back on my lane without hitting anything. I had the opportunity to share some on relationships and the family unit. From the book of Philemon, I shared ten principles on how to have a godly relationship. I think its a serious problem that we in ministry do not value our families. Sometimes everyone else in the world will get more

    Categories: Life

What I Hold to be True

My Beliefs

Often people ask me about what I believe. Usually it’s so that they find something to argue with me about, occasionally it is because they are curious of where I stand on certain doctrines. The following is the statement of faith for LOFT. I believe everything written below and will gladly defend these truths. These are the essentials.

There are a ton of other things not listed that are often used as points of debate and division. I haven’t listed those. If you have questions on something specific, ask me. If you are looking for an argument, you honestly have come to the wrong person. I have my opinions and you aren’t going to convince me to change them, just as much as I am not going to convince you to change yours (if you are coming to argue). Plus, there will be a time when the Almighty will tell us everything, and I’m sure I will be wrong in areas and you will be wrong in areas.

Read Sam's Beliefs

I love theology and everything I do is driven by what I believe is sound theology. However, I am passionate about Jesus more and doing his mandate of being in mission and loving and pointing people to God. If you have questions, ask away.

1. The Holy Scriptures

We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, to be the verbally inspired Word of God, written by men in God’s control, without error and infallible in the original manuscripts.

a. We further believe that this inspiration is not in different degrees, but extends equally and fully to all parts of the Bible: historical, poetical, doctrinal and prophetical. We, therefore, believe in the absolute authority of the Bible in all matters of faith and practice.

2. The Godhead

We believe in one living and true God who is the Creator of heaven and earth; who is eternal, almighty, unchangeable, infinitely powerful, wise, just, and holy. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — these three being identical in essence, and possessing precisely the same attributes and perfections and worthy of precisely the same worship, confidence, and obedience.

3. The Condition Of Man

We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God in innocence and with-out sin, but that in Adam’s sin humanity fell, inherited a sinful nature, became spiritually dead and alienated from God, and of himself is incapable of remedying his lost and depraved condition.

4. The Person & Work Of Christ

We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ; that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, and is fully God and fully Man. We believe that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin, and made a curse for us, dying in our place that we might be forgiven. We believe that He died not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the entire world. We believe that He was raised from the dead in bodily form and that He ascended into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us.

5. The Person & Work Of The Holy Spirit

a. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the divine Person who convicts the world of sin; that He brings new life to those who are spiritually dead; that all believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit and thus placed into the one true Fellowship, which is the Body of Christ; that He in-dwells them permanently, seals them unto the day of redemption, bestows spiritual gifts upon them, and empowers them for service.

b. We believe the Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service. While all genuine believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. Being indwelt by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are theologically distinct experiences. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts his supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church of the first century are available today, are vital for the mission of the Church, and are to be earnestly desired and exercised.

6. Salvation

a. We believe that due to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; that salvation is only by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ through faith are declared righteous by God and thereby become children of God.

b. We believe the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the new birth, is that act of God by which the Holy Spirit imparts a new nature and a new spiritual life, not before possessed, and the person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus. The mind is given a holy disposition and a new desire to serve God, the dominion of sin broken, and the heart transformed from a love of sin and self to a love of holiness and God.

c. As the believer walks in the power of the Holy Spirit, these new realities become evident in a life characterized by holiness, compassion, and zeal.

7. The Church

a. We believe the New Testament Church of Jesus Christ had its historical beginning at Pentecost and is comprised of all true believers in Jesus Christ who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

b. We believe that the purpose of the Church in the world is to glorify God through worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances, the exercise of our gifts and talents, and the proclamation of the gospel both in our community and throughout the world.

8. The Ordinances

a. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances to be observed by all believers until His return: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and has become his disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself, and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual demonstration of a per-son’s union with Christ in the likeness of his death and resurrection. It signifies that a per-son’s former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts their release from the mastery of sin.

b. The Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ and have obeyed the ordinance of water baptism. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of his blood on our behalf, and is to be observed regularly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.

9. The Second Coming Of Christ

We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ in the glory of His Father to set up on the earth a kingdom in which He shall reign in righteousness and peace.

10. The Eternal State

We believe that at the moment of death, believers pass immediately into the presence of Christ and remain there in joyful fellowship with Him until the resurrection of the body at His second coming; after which they will be forever with the Lord in glory. We also believe that at the moment of death, the unsaved descend to Hell where they are kept under punishment until their bodies are raised at the final judgment, after which they will suffer everlasting conscious punishment, separated from the presence of the Lord.