Matt Campbell – Reflections on Life, Ministry and Scripture

Authors worth keeping tabs on…
May 28, 2008, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Bible Study, Church, Resources | Tags:

When I was younger my siblings and I constantly made fun of and complained about the number of books my dad had at home, in his church office and in his car. Seriously, if you saw the amount of books in my Dad’s library you’d understand. However, it’s funny how much I am taking after my Dad because I am beginning to cultivate an ever growing library of my own. We kids still poke fun at my Dad, but I now immensely respect my Dad for his library because it displays that he was always learning (Even today you could find him in the middle of ten or so books at a time…it’s amazing). He is the best example in my life of a lifelong learner. He could use sermons over and over, but there is no need…he is always learning and developing fresh thoughts. He is 65, but definitely more progressive in his thinking/writing and farther on the cutting edge than I probably will ever be. From his example I learned being well-read is important if I am preach a lifetime.

—My mom actually wrote me the other day with URL to his new website. It’s still being constructed, but will begin posting thoughts soon—

In my father’s footsteps I love to read (this wasn’t always true). From his bookshelves and of others I respect I’ve discovered several authors worth keeping tabs on. Below are some a few of the authors that grace their shelves…and now grace mine.

Ministry and Leadership

Leonard Sweet

Tom Rainer

Theological and Scholarly

N.T. Wright

Eugene Peterson

Philip Yancey

Dallas Willard

Authors Having Passed

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Henri Nouwen

A.W. Tozer

Leeland Ryken


My Favorite Teams of All-Time…
May 23, 2008, 4:19 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In keeping with my last post let me share a few other favorites…my favorite teams of all-time. These are probably not the best, but by far the most fun I have watched. No need to post your criticisms…only “your ” favorites.

1. 1988 Oklahoma State Football Team. Remember Barry Sanders??? He was very fun for an 8 year old who loved college football, who lived in Oklahoma and who had a brother and sister attending OSU at that time to watch play. These are the glory days for my brother Thom and sister Linda. Actually, they may be the only days were remembering for OSU football…

2. 1994 Tulsa Memorial Chargers Boys B-Ball. Hands down the best high school basketball team (alongside 1995 Booker T. Washington) I have watched. They regularly scored 100-110 points per game. They were run n’ gun and packed out the gym at home and away.

3. 2000 Oklahoma Football Team. They were the Cinderella, undefeated, national champs. I could probably put about every other OU team on here…this is one year they didn’t get beat in a BCS game.

4. 1985 St. Louis Cardinals. I was only five when they played, but, man, I loved ’em. I could recite the number of every single player…top to bottom. Ozzie Smith was in his prime, Vince Coleman stole tons of bases, Jack Clark in the cleanup and Whitey Herzogg as the skipper. What a great team!!!

Favorite Preachers!!!
May 22, 2008, 3:35 am
Filed under: Preaching, Seminary, Uncategorized | Tags:

I am in the process of finishing up a Master of Arts degree in preaching. All of my class time is now done (although I am working to complete a thesis so that I can graduate) and I guess I never realized the toll classes had on me until I had no class to prepare for. It’s awesome. Rather than spending an hour or two after supper and/or staying up late I can now enjoy the evening without the stress of school work. Let me reiterate: It’s awesome.

One part of my classes I enjoyed was critiquing sermons. We critiqued each other, ourselves and other various preachers. Needless to say, I listened to a lot of sermons…some good and some not so good. Still, though, I enjoyed 90% of them and I will probably critique sermons for the rest of my life.

Anyway, a good friend and I were talking about our favorite preachers and I thought I would share a few my favorites here. Each of these men are superb preachers that challenge me, captivate me, teach me, convict me, etc. I must include that two or three of these were not so admired much by classroom standards, but it’s amazing that God uses them despite all the stupid issues seminary students (and even prof’s) seem to point out about their preaching.

A Few of My Favorites (in no specific order)

  1. John Ortberg ( Ortberg is the senior minister at Menlo Park Presbyterian in Califonia. The way he gains a listeners attention at the start is wicked awesome and his phraseology…wow-wee…is better than anyone I am aware of. It’s strange, though, because his preaching captivates me more with only audio, not as much on video. Strange…
  2. Jim Dennison ( Dr. Dennison is the teaching pastor at my oldest brothers church. I subscribed to their podcast about a year ago and find myself listening to the majority of his sermons. He is smooth, pastoral and has the heart of a teacher. I even subscribe to a weekly men’s ministry podcast where he tackles pressing topics (homosexuality, politics, etc.).
  3. Jon Weece ( Weece is a Christian Church boy in Lexington, KY. He and his church gained national attention when, in 2006, they did not hold Christmas Day services. Man, he got it good. Anyways, he preached probably one of the top sermons I’ve ever heard while I was at a Christ In Youth conference. Since then I usually stay tuned to what he’s preaching and what their current series is. He is an awesome storyteller and has a way about his preaching that puts him in a league of his own.
  4. Tony Evans ( Probably the most known of this bunch. Man, Tony can preach. He’s funny, piercing and extremely dynamic. All’s I can say is…”Tony can preach.”

Well…I could have named a lot of other guys I love too (Bob Russell, Fred Craddock, John Stott, etc.), but right now these guys have earned a way onto my platform.

Gettin’ Ready!!!
May 20, 2008, 2:42 am
Filed under: Baby, Church | Tags:

Nicole and I just got back home from our third and last session of birth class. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be so close with a baby (Nicole’s due July 1st)…and our first baby at that. I am new to this and I wasn’t ready for all the emotions and “needniness” (not sure if that conveys what I am trying to say – she just needs my help is all), but I have certainly learned to be humble and selfless while Nicole has been pregnant.

I didn’t grow up with girls around the house a whole lot because though I have one sister and three brothers, my sister is 15 years older than me. She was in college by the time I reached elementary school so I what I know of life was saturated with what I experienced with my brothers…this mainly consisted of hawking loogies, bragging about what was floating in the toilet, hitting fireflies with wiffel ball bats, etc. Needless to say this whole pregnant experience has been filled with my wife’s teachable moments. I can honestly say, though, that the whole birth progression is definitely the most incredible process I know of. I wouldn’t have said this a year ago.

As we sat in the birth class, though, I couldn’t help but be proud that we are part of the Church. In one session our teacher taught us how to prepare for post birth (meals, nursery stuff, etc.). But a lot of that stuff our church blesses us with. I bet that many in our congregation will bring meals once we get home, they are throwing a shower for us (which a few church friends are organizing) to help get us prepared, they are always offering encouragement and support and the list could go on. I am just so happy that I have a church home that loves us enough to help us and provide for us. If only all of the couples in our class had the church in their life.

Peace…Matt c.

Good Week
May 15, 2008, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Good Week, Oklahoma | Tags: ,

Boy, this has been a good week and am I ever so happy to have a good week. Our congregation has had a rough couple of weeks with very tough decisions, just as tough circumstances and lots of headaches taking up our energy. We lost a staff member, received overwhelming final numbers on our new facility and just a sense of tension loomed everywhere. It’s one of those times where it’s like you’re just trying to get through the week. I learned just how frustrating and discouraging ministry can be because it’s hard to even look toward next week let alone plan a few weeks/months out. I didn’t much feel like doing anything. So, let me reiterate how wonderful a week I am having (and Leclaire as well).

We got great news that the staff we lost landed a fantastic position, our remaining staff began planning and visioning for the future, my wife just keeps getting closer to her due date (she’s due July 1st with our first kid – a girl) and, to top it all off, I moved into a new office. My old office was terrible. It was a little space off to the side of stage. And…I am even going fishing on Friday. Headin’ to Jackson, MO to fish with buddy Lucas’ Dad.

I have capped off this night with two things: 1. Writing this post around a fire while drinking an RC and 2. The adding of an exciting video to this post. It is a compilation of Billy Sims runs while he was at Oklahoma. Before Reggie Bush, LT and even Adrian Peterson there was Billy Sims.

Peace…and Cheers! Matt c.

Study Resources
May 13, 2008, 4:31 am
Filed under: Bible Study, Resources

One of the primary emphases of my ministry is teaching. In fact, I would say it is the cental emphasis of what I do. I teach junior high students, high school kids, young adults and share a portion of the preaching responsibility with our sr. minister. So, I spend a good portion of my week in prep time getting ready for an upcoming lesson or future series that is in the que.

One of the questions I am constantly asked is what I use for prep. I must admit that I am a bit quirky on my study and prep time…meaning my habits are my own. However, let me point you to a few resources I use just about week in and week and that are always close by me when studying. And in the future I will point you to other resources that may be of value to you.

1. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Absolutely fantastic. This gives wonderful overviews of about any Biblical topic or idea (i.e. Shepherd, Obedience, Sabbath, etc.). It is fairly brief, but pretty stinkin’ thorough.

2. Bible Background Commentary. Offers good cultural background without having to search all over. I highly recommend this. There is an OT and NT available.

3. Playing With Fire. I love Russell’s attitude toward Scripture. He looks at things on a macro level here, fitting each part of Scripture into the larger story. His approach gets me fired up and I found myself reading and rereading his material.

4. Finally…get yourself this little pocket dictionary. It’s just good to keep something near you that breaks down all the big words (at least I need it in my world).