Matt Campbell – Reflections on Life, Ministry and Scripture

Giving Thanks
November 25, 2008, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Church, Family, Oklahoma, Seminary, Thankful | Tags:

10 Reasons I am giving thanks this season (in no specific order):

1. My father and mother (Bill and Sue). Few people are as blessed as I am to have the quality of parents I have. I don’t mean to sound arrogant at all, but it’s the plain truth. My parents loved me and my siblings and gave us a wonderful childhood and prepared us for our lives out from under their authority. My parents parents raised five children, teaching them live simply and walk humbly with God in view. They are as involved in each of our lives today as they were twenty years ago. I am thankful for them

2. Music. I love driving by myself late at night with good music like Coldplay or U2 on the radio while I sing, strainging to reach all those high notes. It’s especially good when it’s warm yet just cool enough to drive on the interstate with the windows down. It takes me back to the days of college, traveling to and fro the church served at the time. Good times!

3. Books. I love to read authors who write from a Christian perspective concerning a Biblical theme. In particular, I love Eugene Peterson, N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard. These guys get me jazzed about teaching and preaching! Writing is very tedious work for me so I admire reading the work of those who continually pump out something new and fresh.

4. College football. This past weekend was the finest representation of why I am thankful for college football…the Oklahoma Sooners. Might I add that this weekend I am as equally thankful (bedlam week – OU vs. OSU). There is just something special about waking up on Saturday morning to watch College Gameday, work around the house a bit, eat some lunch and then settle in for the days games. I am also thankful for the system in place. Call me crazy, but I like the BCS. I like the fact that it makes people pay so much attention to what is going on (strength of schedule, wins/losses, the strength of a teams conference, etc.). It makes for better radio conversation, tv analyst’s have more to talk about and, hey, it just creates a lot of fun for the sport. Not to mention that the majority of the time the system works itself out. I could go on, but let’s go to the next.

5. My wife, Nicole. Nicole makes my life special. I think back to as many memories as I can and the majority of the time she had a hand in making that memory. She is a gift…she’s my gift. We have a daughter together (for which I am forever grateful). We have a home together. We have a church home together. We have best friends in each other. And we have a life together. What more could a man ask for than a woman who loves him enough to wash his dirty underwear? Anyways, I married way over my head.

6. My childhood. My life is filled with memories of a wonderful childhood. Being the youngest of five I grew up envying three older brothers who loved baseball, fishing, Jesus, church, wiffel ball and backyard football. Wouldn’t you know that many of my memories come from one of those. I had a great childhood!!!

7. Leclaire CC. I kind of fell into this situation by the grace of God? Wouldn’t you know that Leclaire fits me and I fit Leclaire. This congregation has allowed me to mature as a man and a leader while I was fairly green coming into this situation. I reflect on five of years of serving here and notice the ways in which my life seen fruit from serving. These are good and Godly people led by a great staff and leadership team. I am thankful to be here.

8. My dog, Boomer. This little guy has brought some serious joy into my life. If I wrote a book on him, which I could very easily, I would be sure to mention the time I saw my neighbor at the grocery store and she told me Boomer was on the roof. I would also be sure to include the time he got skunked at 3:30am. Or what about the time he got beat up by the neighbor dogs who happened to be 5 times his size (a jack russell vs. great dane and boxer). He spent a few days in the hospital after that one. Perhaps I might include his love for Nicole’s lotion and hate of the vaccuum. More than anything I’d be sure to include that he is a cuddler who loves to sleep under the blankets and sighs quite often as he goes to sleep. Or I could just write for a while about the terrible gas he always has.

9. The Bible. I have always loved Scripture, but at this point in my life I have a certain respect for it that I have never had. The greatest catalyst in my love for Scripture was a class I took at Lincoln Christian Seminary entitled “How to Read the NT as Literature.” Our teacher, Dr. Bob Lowery, had rented out a campground in the middle of nowhere where we were to meet all week long. It was during this intensive style class that I began to see Scripture as a beautiful piece of art into which God had woven his story. I was assigned the task of studying Matthew’s Gospel and reporting to the class that which I learned concerning plot, characters, conflict, etc. That intensive week branded me in a way no other class ever had. I love God’s word…it’s beautiful.

10. I am thankful for life. I am able to experience life because God is creator. I am thankful is creative as a creator. While we are all in the image of God we are all unique. He loves diversity. I am thankful He made us with the capability to love others who may seem different. I am thankful He sent His sent to show us how to live properly and to be life for us. Not simply for the Jew, but for the Gentile so that ev’ry tongue and tribe and nation might hear of His goodness and mercy. I am thankful for a great God who made a way in wilderness…who shined light in the darkness…who set a bridge over a great canyon. Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him.

Happy Thanksgiving! Peace…Matt c.

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.