Category Archives: Ministry

Praise God for True Religion at Kenwood (James 1:27)

I remember hearing John Hannah say at DTS: There are two things that you need to learn at seminary. First, the Bible is God’s word. Second, the Bible is the tool God uses to conform his people to the image of the Lord Jesus.

To see God’s word at work in the hearts and lives of his people is to see God do miracles. When we see people do what the Bible tells them to do, we should not take it for granted. We should not assume that’s just what people do. We should remember how selfish our own hearts are, contemplate how God by his Spirit has enabled these people to hear his Word, and worship God for the power he exercises in conforming people to the image of Christ, who laid down his life for us. It’s a miracle when a sinner acts like Jesus.

What a blessing and joy to see God’s mighty power at work: Jesus loved us by laying down his life, and I praise God to see the people of Kenwood Baptist Church living out true religion by caring for orphans and widows.

Here’s a beautiful picture of what you normally think of when you think of widows and orphans, and here’s another instance of a man caring for the “orphans” whose parents are alive but don’t protect them (in this instance I’m picking up on the way that Piper spoke of the women and babies affected by abortion as widows and orphans).

You want to see miracles today? Go read this post, and then go read this one, and praise God for his power at work in these lives.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Ecclesiology, Evangelism and Apologetics, Gospel, Ministry

Interview with Dan Born, New Pastor at Believers Church, Hannibal, MO

I first met Dan Born when he was a student at SWBTS Houston, and he and his wife Jenn were also members at Baptist Church of the Redeemer there. He left Houston to study at SBTS, then when the Lord moved the Hamiltons back to Louisville, the Borns were still here. Soon after the Lord opened a door of service for us at Kenwood Baptist Church, the Borns joined and served in a number of ways. Among other things, they revamped the church website.

Dan has recently been called as the pastor of Believers Church in Hannibal, Missouri. I’ve known Dan Born and Ryan Bishop since they began their seminary studies. Both started at SWBTS Houston and continued at SBTS. It’s a special joy to see them both called to pastor in the same summer, and Dan kindly answered some questions about the congregation he now serves.

Tell us about Believers Church: When was it planted, what is the makeup of the congregation, where and when do you guys meet, and what makes it different from other churches in Hannibal?

BC was planted in 2007. We meet on Sunday nights at 6pm in the building of Hannibal’s First Christian Church. At BC, we’re focused on being gospel-centered, missional, and reformed. We’d also say that we’re people-minded instead of programming-minded.

Did you feel a desire to minister in Hannibal in particular? Why?

Yes. I can’t tell you how many times in recent years I’ve thought: “I wish I would have learned this when I was in college.” Well, Hannibal is where I went to college. I’m excited about coming back and getting to pour into students who will go back out all over Missouri, the US, and the world. I’m also ready to plant some more permanent roots and really get involved in a community. Hannibal is a place that I could see us staying for a while. It would have been really hard for us to miss the Lord leading us here.

What do you see as the greatest need at Believers Church?

The gospel. Our greatest need right now is the same as it’s always been – the clear and consistent teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ as he’s revealed in all of Scripture.

What do you see as the greatest need in Hannibal?

The gospel. No matter how big or small the city, no matter its location in the world, it is filled with many people who need to hear the good news of the salvation we have by grace through faith in Christ.

Did the SBTS PhD program prepare you to pastor?

Even though I haven’t finished yet, it has certainly prepared me. One of the most profitable aspects of my education at Southern was that we weren’t simply taught what to think about the Bible. Instead, we were taught how to think biblically. I can’t overestimate how thankful I am to God for my time at Southern. Every aspect of my life, from my devotional reading to how we’ll parent our children, has been deepened and enriched by my time in Louisville.

How can we pray for you?

Pray for my transition from an academic environment to a pastoral ministry, pray for growing confidence in preaching, and pray for our continued trust in and reliance on the Lord for everything no matter what we’ll face in our new ministry.


Filed under Current Events, Discipleship, Ministry

Interview with Jason Skaer: From Pro Basketball to the Pastorate

You never know who is sitting in your class. When I was teaching at SWBTS Houston, I had the privilege of teaching Jason Skaer. It’s been an even greater privilege to see our friendship grow over the last few years, and he was kind enough to answer some questions about his conversion, how basketball (Oklahoma State, Rice, Austria, and the Rockets made the mistake of not keeping him) has helped him in the ministry. Whereas he used to talk trash at Michael Jordan, Jason now pastors The Church at Alden Bridge in The Woodlands, TX.

Fast facts: Jason was second off the bench on the 1995 Oklahoma State team that went to the Final Four, and he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate. His wife was a star basketball player at Rice and a scholar in her own right (if it doesn’t open to page 10, go to page 10 on the linked PDF). The best thing about Jason, though, is that he is a humble man of God who knows that God the Father exalts Jesus by his Spirit through the word.

Could you describe how you came to faith in Jesus?

Not growing up in the church I had very little Bible knowledge and consequently knew close to nothing about the gospel.  However, during my first year playing professional basketball in Europe I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover.  Thus it was quite literally through the power of God’s Word that I came to know Christ.  No tricks, no gimmicks, the gospel was good enough to convict and save.

Are there ways that basketball has helped and/or hurt your approach to the ministry?

Basketball has been immensely helpful.  There’s no “I” in team and that certainly holds true in the church.  It takes everybody working together and utilizing their gifts to grow a healthy congregation.  Stubborn persistence taken from the athletic arena has also served me greatly.  Helping plant and eventually pastor a new church is difficult work.  There will be days when the deck seems stacked against you.  But if you believe God’s called you to the task you can’t give in.  Too many ministers (and church members) throw in the towel during the hard days.  But as we’re experiencing now there is great fulfillment and joy in sailing through the storm and ultimately seeing brighter days.

Tell me about The Church at Alden Bridge.

The Church at Alden Bridge has a simple mission statement:  “Our mission is to be disciples and make disciples of Jesus Christ.”  This means we aim to both know God and make Him known.  Thus we are serious about discipleship and equipping our members while being equally passionate about reaching the lost.  In my experience churches are usually good at one or the other.  Either we’re good at equipping but offer a cold environment, or we’re really welcoming but have no real depth.  My hope and prayer is that TCAAB holds these two important mandates in balance.

What do you find most helpful as you prepare to preach?

The most helpful aspect of my preaching preparation is that I am absolutely committed to and passionate about expository preaching.  We simply march verse by verse through the whole counsel of God’s word.  For instance, we spent the last two semesters in James and this Summer we are working through Psalms 11-21.  I simply don’t have the capacity or creativity to wake up each Monday morning and invent some new catchy sermon series.  We believe that God’s Word is good enough for God’s people and it’s been my experience here that His Word is more relevant and penetrating than anything I could ever invent.  Thus in sticking with the Bible, regardless of how it gets delivered (which I work very hard on), I know for certain that the content is always good.

Tell me about the specific challenges of doing ministry in The Woodlands.

The Woodlands is a pretty affluent community and thus like other similar communities many don’t see a need for God.  We’ve built our identity around job and possessions and family and missed out on the Main Thing.  I will say however that with the recent economic downturn some of our idols have been taken away and many are now asking questions that only the gospel can answer.

What have you most enjoyed seeing God do as you have served The Church at Alden Bridge?

There are few greater joys than witnessing hungry people get fed the things of God.  We get lots of folks who are “tired of seeing the same movie every week” and looking for something deeper and it’s fun to feed them.  We also get lots of unchurched and unbelieving folks who stroll in on a Sunday not knowing what they’re looking for but get turned on to the truth of the gospel and it’s fun to feed them too.  God is building a church in this community that vindicates once more the sufficiency of His Word and it thrills me to no end to have the privilege of serving a work like this.

Thanks for taking the time to serve us with this interview, Jason!

It’s beautiful to see the Lord transform people. Glory to God for his mercy!

I recommend you check out Jason’s sermons here.

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Filed under Discipleship, Gospel, Ministry, Preaching, Sermon Audio

The Latest Issue of JBMW

The latest issue of JBMW has appeared.

Tom Schreiner has an important review of Philip Barton Payne’s new book, and a sermon that I preached a few years ago at Northwestern College (Minneapolis, MN) in their Chapel has been published. Every item in the table of the contents looks like an interesting read:

Denny Burk Editorial

JBMW Odds & Ends

R. Albert Mohler Jr. Boys Wearing Skirts to School? What’s Going On?

Jason Hall and Peter R. Schemm Jr. Marriage as It Was Meant to Be Seen: Headship, Submission, and the Gospel

Rob Lister “Husbands, Love Your Wives . . .” A Practical Suggestion and Tool for Husbands to Use in Leading their Marriages for the Glory of God

Owen Strachan Whither Men? A Response to a Recent Barna Study on the Increase of Female Pastors in Protestant Churches

Wayne Walden Galatians 3:28: Grammar, Text, Context, and Translation

James M. Hamilton Jr. Godliness and Gender: Relating Appropriately to All (1 Timothy 2:9–12)

Thomas R. Schreiner Philip Payne on Familiar Ground

Ben Reaoch Two Egalitarian Paths toward the Same Destination

Heath Lambert A Lack of Balance

Owen Strachan Insightful but Flawed Look at Gospel Women

Phillip R. Bethancourt Fatherhood Is No Accident


Filed under Bible and Theology, Marriage, Ministry, Women Ministry and the Gospel

Chris Castaldo’s Holy Ground

There are loads of Roman Catholics here in Louisville. Our neighbors on both sides of us are Roman Catholic, so I’m thrilled to see the publication of Chris Castaldo’s Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Roman Catholic. I would commend this book to anyone interested in seeing the gospel believed by Roman Catholics.

Chris was kind enough to stop by here for a blog tour for the new book, and I trust you’ll benefit from our exchange:

Jim, it has been a pleasure getting to know you over these past several weeks. Thanks for the privilege of this blog tour “visit.”

1.) Do you think Holy Ground would be a good book to hand to a Roman Catholic neighbor still active in the Catholic Church?

Yes, I wrote Holy Ground with Catholics in mind, with a commitment to representing them accurately and fairly. Catholic scholars and laypeople, including some author friends, read the manuscript throughout its composition and offered feedback to ensure that this was the case.

2.) Why did you write Holy Ground?

It’s mostly an outgrowth of my ministry at College Church. Several years ago I noticed some folks from our church were approaching Catholic friends in one of two ways: either attacking them like foaming-at-the-mouth pit bulls or with such open-mindedness that their brains seemed to have fallen out of their heads. Therefore, I taught a class entitled “Perspective on Catholicism” intended to bring more biblically informed balance. With the Lord Jesus as our model, the class sought to maintain the virtues of “grace and truth” in relation to Catholic friends and loved ones (John 1:14). The material eventually became a manuscript and, thanks to Zondervan, Holy Ground was born.

3.) Do you think evangelicals should actively seek to evangelize Catholics?

Yes indeed. And I also think that evangelicals must regularly evangelize evangelicals, and, for that matter, I must constantly evangelize myself. In other words, we need to reflect upon the gospel beyond the point of our personal conversion; every day I must remind myself of Jesus’ death and resurrection and who I am in light of that. Since man looks only on the outward appearance and the Lord looks at the human heart, I don’t presume to know the nature of my Catholic friend’s faith. Yet, precisely because I’m an evangelical—a person whose life is dedicated to embodying and proclaiming Jesus, the Evangel—I’m committed to evangelism, even among Catholic friends and family.

4.) What are the distinct features of Holy Ground that separate it from other such books?

Among evangelical books that address Catholicism, Holy Ground has a couple of features that make it unique. First, many such books convey an unkind attitude. The doctrinal emphasis of these works is commendable, but the irritable tone rings hollow and fails to exhibit the loving character of Jesus. It’s the tone that my seminary professor warned against when he said, “Don’t preach and write as though you have just swallowed embalming fluid. As Christ imparts redemptive life, so should his followers.” This life is communicated in the content of God’s message and also in its manner of presentation. Therefore, I seek to express genuine courtesy toward Catholics, even in disagreement.

Second, most books on Roman Catholicism and Evangelicalism emphasize doctrinal tenets without exploring the practical dimensions of personal faith. Important as it is to understand doctrine, the reality is there’s often a vast difference between the content of catechisms and the beliefs of folks who fill our pews. Holy Groundis concerned with understanding the common ideas and experiences of real-life people.

Hopefully, as a result of reading Holy Ground, people will have a deeper grasp of the gospel’s wondrous grace and more ardent commitment to the enterprise of embodying it as a vibrant witness among Catholic loved ones and friends.

Thanks again Jim for the privilege of this exchange. Blessings to you and yours!


Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, Evangelism and Apologetics, Gospel, Ministry, Reformation and Revival

Revelation 9-12, Four Recent Sermons

It has been my privilege to be preaching through the book of Revelation, and here are my four most recent sermons at Kenwood Baptist Church:

10-11-2009 – Revelation 12:1-17 The Seed of the Woman Versus the Seed of the Serpent

09-20-2009 – Revelation 11:1-19 Bearing Witness til Kingdom Come

09-13-2009 – Revelation 10:1-11 Eat This Scroll (and prophesy the history of the future)

09-06-2009 – Revelation 9:1-21 Trumpeting the End of the World

May the Lord bless his word!


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Eschatology, Evangelism and Apologetics, Ministry, OT in the NT, Preaching, Sermon Audio

What I Learned in My First Pastorate

Jesus keeps his promise his way.

The power of the Word of God.

The joy of loving people.

For elaboration, read the whole thing.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Church, History, Ministry

SBC Messianic Fellowship

For those coming in early for the SBC this summer, it would be great to have you join me on Saturday, June 20 from 1:25pm to 4:30 for two sessions at the SBC Messianic Fellowship Meeting. Come ready to study the Twelve Prophets! (some of them, anyway).

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Filed under Current Events, Gospel, Messiah in the OT, Messianism, Ministry, Preaching

Tom Schreiner’s Sermon from This Morning

My mentor, Dr. Tom Schreiner, preached a sermon this morning at Kenwood Baptist Church to install me as pastor there. It was a strong word from 1 Timothy 4:10-16. May the Lord seal it to my heart and bless you with it:

1 Timothy 4:10-16, Tom Schreiner: Installation Service for Jim Hamilton


Filed under Current Events, Gospel, Ministry, Preaching, Sermon Audio

Two Months of Sundays at Kenwood Baptist Church

In God’s mercy and kindness I have been called as the (bi-vocational) preaching pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church here in Louisville. As noted earlier, I’m thinking a lot about the book of Revelation these days, which influences the selection of the sermon series I’ll begin, Lord willing, on Sunday. Below is what can be expected for the next couple of months, and I am so grateful that Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner will preach an installation service at Kenwood on April 19.

May the Lord strengthen his people and summon the lost:

Revelation: Blessed Are Those Who Hear and Keep

April 5 Revelation 1:1–8 The Blessing of the Revelation of Jesus Christ

April 12 Revelation 1:9–20 Jesus Christ Risen and Glorious

April 19 Tom Schreiner Preaching, Installation Service for Jim Hamilton

April 26 Revelation 2:1–7 First Love

May 3 Revelation 2:8–11 Faithful unto Death

May 10 Revelation 2:12–17 Repent of Nicolaitan Teaching

May 17 Revelation 2:18–29 King Jesus Versus Jezebel

May 24 Revelation 3:1–6 Wake Up!

May 31 Revelation 3:7–13 An Open Door No One Can Shut


Filed under Current Events, Ministry

Logos Scholar’s Gold

I have recently come into possession of the resource rich Logos Gold. As I prepare to travel this weekend, I’m installing the software on my laptop. My suspicion is that most everyone younger than me, along anyone more techno-savvy than me (which includes most people), will prefer digital books to the printed and bound kind. I’m very grateful to have this program available.

Andy Naselli has thoroughly reviewed the product, and I can’t improve on his analysis. I can, though, pass on what might be the best compliment Logos could possibly receive.

The other day in my Hebrew Syntax class students were asking me about the various Bible software programs available. I basically said that if you have a Mac you should use Accordance, which I have never used, but about which people I know who use it are far more excited than I tend to get about computer programs. I can’t begin to summarize the enthusiasm I sense from these people about Accordance, and that informs this compliment that Logos received.

You see, in the back of the class sat a student with his Mac there on the desk in front of him, and as I’m going on and on about how the Mac people love to talk about Accordance, he raises his hand and says: “I’ve got a copy of Accordance that I’m looking to sell on the cheap.” I was in the midst of saying, “Let’s make a deal,” when one of the students in the class beat me to it.

So I said to this student who was dumping Accordance, “I don’t get it, why are you selling Accordance?”

He says: “I’ve got Logos. I love Logos. I heard so many good things about Accordance that I thought I should buy it and try it out. I tried it. Who needs it if you have Logos?”

If you’ve seen as many people as I have jubilate over finally getting a Mac so they can use Accordance, you know that’s a compliment!

Thanks to all the folks at Logos who seek to facilitate the study of the Bible.

May the Lord bless their efforts with fruitful students who put their products to faithful use!


Filed under Current Events, Ministry

Denton Bible Holding the Line

I am glad to see that Denton Bible Church is standing strong on the complementarian point of view by hosting an important series of messages on Women in Ministry.

If you’re in the Dallas area, I would encourage you to attend the events described below in the letter from Tom Nelson of Denton Bible. May the word of the Lord prosper!


June 4, 2008

Dear Pastor,

I’ve pastored for 31 years in Denton and have never had a reason to contact other pastors with what Denton Bible was doing—until now.

We are doing a 3-week series at DBC on the egalitarian issue, “Can a woman be in authority over a man in the local church?”“Can they serve as pastors, elders or deacons over a man?”

The teaching of the Bible is “no” (I Tim. 2:9-15; 1 Cor. 14:34);

The example of the Bible is that men lead;

The historic position of the church is that men lead;

Because of these, this has been our position at DBC.

In the last 20 years this has been challenged. Even within my own seminary—Dallas Theological Seminary—this has been challenged. But it is not primarily being challenged because of a difference in the interpretation of a particular verse (lower criticism) but rather a difference of hermeneutic (higher criticism); meaning that the Bible was true then for that time, but not for ours. The hole in the theological dike here is obvious: At what point do we say what is now “outdated”? Something is ended only if Scripture says it is ended.

With this in mind, DBC is doing a 3-week Sunday sermon series on the egalitarian issue from June 15 to June 29. In these three weeks, I and two other men who are tops in their field will address this issue.

On June 15 I will bring the message in the 2 morning services (9:00 and 11:00 AM). Our College Pastor will bring the message in the evening service (5:00 PM).

On June 22 we have invited Dr. Bruce Ware to speak at all three Sunday services (9:00 and 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM). Dr. Ware is Professor of Theology at Southern Baptist Seminary having previously taught at several seminaries most recently at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a highly esteemed theologian, popular speaker and prolific author. He has spoken and written frequently on a wide variety of gender role issues.

On June 29 Dr. Russell Moore will be speaking at all three Sunday services. Dr. Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President of Academic Administration at Southern Seminary. He is also the Executive Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement and Senior Editor of Touchstone Magazine: A Journal of Mere Christianity. He too is a frequent speaker and writer on gender issues and matters affecting popular culture.

On June 22 and 29 our 5:00 PM evening service will have the same men preaching to those (the younger crowd) of that service. It is not often that this issue is addressed. If we can be of any service to you men who support this tradition in your churches or to your churches, DBC would simply offer its services.

May God equip you in every good thing to do His will,

Tom Nelson

Senior Pastor


Filed under Bible and Theology, Ecclesiology, History, Marriage, Ministry

A Wedding Sermon

Yesterday I had the great joy of preaching at a wedding for one of the guys in our church, who is also a student at SWBTS Houston. At the encouragement of a couple friends who were present, I’m posting my remarks here. May the Lord be pleased to bless our marriages that we might be living pictures of the mystery of Christ and the church!


When God gave the woman to the man in the Garden of Eden, the words were pronounced, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). The harmony enjoyed in Eden was soon lost when the couple sinned, and God said to the woman as he pronounced judgment, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16). That curse is the origin of all marital difficulty. That curse is the origin of feminism. That curse is the origin of males who sinfully “rule over” their wives in inappropriate ways. That curse came because of human sin, and that curse threatens to make marriage hopelessly impossible.

What a depressing thing to say at a wedding!

But we aren’t hopeful about your marriage because we can make a joke and lighten the mood. We are hopeful about your marriage because when Jesus came, he died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. His resurrection shows that he has triumphed over the curse. He has opened the way to life.

All who trust in Jesus are justified before God and empowered to live in a new way, a way that is not doomed by the dreadful curse on sin.

Continue reading


Filed under Bible and Theology, Church, Marriage, Ministry

A New Ministry: SBTS in the Fall

In God’s great mercy I will be joining the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall. Here’s the story in the Towers Online.

Here’s what I said when I shared this news with our church family at Baptist Church of the Redeemer:

Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:16 tells us that every day of our lives is written in God’s book before they come to pass. God is sovereign over every day of our lives.

Acts 17:26, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place . . .”

Acts 17:26 is describing nations, and it states that God has determined how long a nation will exist and what its boundaries will be. I think the same is true of individuals: God has determined how long we will live on this earth and what the boundaries of our dwelling place will be.

Ephesians 2:10, “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 tells us that God has prepared beforehand good works for us to do.

2 Timothy 2:4, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

2 Timothy 2:4 tells us that Christian ministers are like soldiers. Soldiers receive orders, and they obey, seeking to please their superiors.

The circumstances of our lives have made clear that new orders have been given to me.

It has been a high privilege to serve Southwestern Seminary for the past 5 years. The students have been eager to learn, encouraging to me, and what a joy to see them enter the harvest! The administration has been generous to me, always showing a sincere pastoral love, and God blessed me with dear friends in my faculty colleagues.

It has also been an unexpected, unlooked for joy and privilege to serve at Baptist Church of the Redeemer for the last three years. I never intended to get swept up in a church plant, but God blessed us immensely through this group of families who wanted to plant a church. We are so grateful that we were drawn into this endeavor. We have never been happier at a church than we are at Redeemer. We have learned and continue to learn from our brothers and sisters, and I am spurred on by their godliness and devotion. What a privilege to serve such a people!

I would be a fool to choose to leave.

But it has not ultimately come down to my choice. Months of thinking over and praying through this possibility have made me certain that if The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary invited me to join the faculty, it would be the call of God to leave Houston and move to Louisville to labor in a different section of the Lord’s vineyard.

God has opened this door and has called us to this new ministry. We are sad to leave home, family in Texas, and most of all our church, but at the same time we are excited about what the Lord has for us.

Lord willing, I will take up the post of Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at Southern in the Fall of 2008. I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve in this role. May the Lord prosper his Word!


On a logistical note, if anyone is looking to buy a house in southwest Houston, let’s talk!


Filed under Church, History, Ministry