Monday, July 26, 2010

The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur

MacArthur causes the reader to consider the true substance of the conversations Jesus Christ had with the religous leaders of the day, specifically the Pharisee, Sadducees, et al. MacArthur's premise is that what we believe about Jesus will color how you think about everything else.

Too often today Jesus is identified as a pacifist, a philanthropist, or a docile teacher. MacArthur uses 218 pages (inclusive of Notes) to show Jesus' true nature revealed as one who declares truth without apology, with clarity and the offense of many who heard him.

The subtitle reflects MacArthur's intent: "What you learn from the bold confrontations of Christ".

The reader enjoyed reading the book. MacArthur is a favorite author of the reader and he uses his repertoire of high view of scripture and practical application that any reader can understand. MacArthur wrote eight easy-to-read-and-understand chapters to clarify that Jesus is not the meek and mild prophet, but rather a loving and yet bold confronter of all those who mislead people away from a right-standing relationship with God.

The book was interesting to read. MacArthur used historical context to explain the passages that caused the reader to understand the setting of certain passages of the Bible. The reviewer does recommend the book to anyone seeking to learn.

Note: Thomas Nelson provided the reader a complimentary copy of the book through the website of

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"A Guy's Guide To Life" by Jason Boyett

The subtitle of the book reveals its intent, "How to become a man in 224 pages or less". But the reveal on the back cover indicates one may not become a man simply by reading 224 or less pages -- or even after reading 224,000 pages on the subject. Boyett admits the journey to manhood takes more than the reading of a paperback book and the true process is a life journey.
The book is a Christian young man's handbook for life including subjects from simple ideas as "How to shave" to more complex issues as "How to talk to girls without embarrassing yourself". The book includes real answers for real guys trying to figure out how to live in the real world. The journey to manhood may be perilous, but these 224 pages will help Christian young men guide through it.
My Reaction
As a full time youth pastor, the reviewer often seeks resources that are relevant to life. Often times books become too involved in intellectually involving the reader while missing out on connecting with readers where they are in life. Boyett, however, keeps the attention of the reader using humurous statements that will keep a young person interested and intent to turn the page for more. The reviewer was overall impressed with the book and will be recommending it to high school young men (9-12 grades). The book was interesting to read and the author's humorous writing style kept the reviewer interested and focused on the material. And the book goes one step further in communicating biblical truth. Boyett refers to specific scripture and biblical principles of life. A major plus for the reviewer is Boyett's direction to the reader to discuss life issues with their parents. Often parents are left out of the equation but Boyett often implores the reader to the wisdom and guidance parents offer young men in their maturity through life.
This reviewer defintely recommends the book to parents, youth pastors, and young men interested in growing into maturity as men.
Special Note: Thomas Nelson has provided the reviewer with a complimentary copy of the book for this review. For more information, please visit Thank you!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Youth Camp is on!

June 21 will be a special day...a day in which the youth rental van will pull out and head to Fuge 2010 at North Greenville University in South Carolina.

In some ways the camp itself is a miracle of God. Just the fact that we are taking a van load of students and 2 adults is amazing. This summer camp is the camp that almost wasn't. I seriously considered cancelling camp due to a lack of registrations. I worried, I fretted, I became frustrated that youth were not signing up for camp. I never had this problem before, why now?
After a couple months of bickering within my soul and some spiritual warfare where the devil won a couple of fights, I resigned to the fact that I might have to cancel camp. You see, Satan is hard at work at trying to confuse and frustrate the effort of today's children and youth pastors. Why? Because he knows that if he can startle and scare us he will perhaps be victor of an incredible battle on the front lines of ministry...for the hearts, minds, and souls of today's young person. If he can discourage, frustrate, even anger the hearts of the pastors odds are his side will be closer to victory in the battle. And he almost won this one.

Almost! That's a key word in the last sentence of the above paragraph. And then I received a phone call from a fellow youth pastor in a nearby large Southern Baptist Church in Walker County. He asked, "Tommy, I'm calling you to ask you a question...something is happening here and after talking to some of my youth minister friends, I have become concerned about something...are you having a difficult time recruiting students to your summer camp?" I almost dropped the phone...who told him?... He continued, "...the reason I ask is because I've only had 8 youth sign up for my summer retreat. We normally have over 100 students attend but this year only 8...I am thinking I might have to cancel this year's summer retreat!" I don't know if he could hear my rushing blood or my thumping heartbeat, but I was stunned. I wasn't alone. Satan had me convinced the problem must have been me or my leadership. Almost! I suddenly realized CVBC was not the only church having a rough time recruiting youth to camp. It was like drowning until I realized I had a "swimming" partner. And God tossed in the life preserver!

Yesterday, June 11, I recieved a text message from Greg Spradlin, area director of the Lookout Mountain FCA. Every summer Greg's ministry has hosted an amazing week of sports ministry for 1st through 5th grade students called "Power Camp". His email suprised me almost as much as the phone call earlier. Greg texted, "I have had to cancel next wks FCA Power Camp. Too few pre camp registrations. Thank u for trying to get me high school athletes to be our huddle leaders!!!"
I in no way am rejoicing over the difficulties these 2 ministers are having within their ministries...its a shame, really. But, the news was God's way of showing me two things:

(1) I am not alone in the struggle...there are other pastors and ministers who are having the same issues.

(2) the 10 youth and 2 adults going to our camp are God's chosen 12. This is not to say anything...other than to say that God has something in store for us at this camp.

As to #2 I do not have the foggiest idea what He has planned. But, I am glad He led me to reconsider cancelling the camp. No, we won't have 25-40 youth as normal, but we will have the 12 He wants there.

So, please pray for these 12: Amie Hill, Tucker Hill, Chris Cronnon, Austin Bowen, Jordan Epperson, Blakely Epperson, Sara Edwards, Brittany Andersen, Kailey Ford, Peyton Vowell, Jessica Collins, and myself. Its not 25, not 50, not 100. Its 12...12 people chosen by God.

Pray also for my two friends mentioned above. Pray for all youth and children's pastors...any pastor for that matter. Prayer actually works. Encourage your pastors...they need it. Trust me on that one!
The reasons behind why church camps and FCA efforts are stalling still go unanswered. Perhaps the economy? Perhaps shorter summer break? Perhaps a lack of priorities? Perhaps none of the above?
I don't know what's happening, but all I can do is watch God work in these 12 and pray we won't have to go through this again next year.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Update

There is a newsletter coming to each parent of a young person on our Sunday School roll with information on April 2010 and a few extra dates. Be looking in your mailbox for this newsletter.

I request parent's email addresses. While I actually enjoy creating a decent little monthly newsletter and this will continue, there are times I wish I could send a quick email about details about the youth ministry and/or special events. Often things come up last minute that I need to get out to you (For example, we had to change our scheduled time for the last paintball outing we had...while it did work out and most everyone was able to hear the changed times, it would have been easier on my mind if I could have emailed parents quickly). SO, if you have an email, please email it to me at or (Sometimes the cvbchurch one sends message of your email being undeliverable, so perhaps the gmail one is best). Thanks ahead of time for your email address!

Some upcoming dates of special activities here:
April 23 -- We're off to the ballfield to see the Lookouts. Yes, the whole family is welcome to meet us there. Have the youth meet at the church at 6:00 PM and make sure they have at least $10 bucks (Tickets are cheap and this leaves some room for snacks, etc). We'll be back to the church parking lot as soon as the game is over (We'll call by cell phone as we are leaving the park to head to our vehicles to give you a heads-up as to when we'll be back).
May 15 - Chattanooga Ducks and Mellow Mushroom. Again, yes, the entire family is welcome! I've never participated at the Ducks before so I figured this would be a good chance to do it. We'll meet at the church at 2:30 and head downtown to the Ducks first ($20 bucks). After the Ducks, we'll walk over to the Mellow Mushroom on Broad Street to enjoy some pizza together (Yes, they'll need money to buy their food here too).
May 16 - Graduating Senior Recognition Day at AM morning worship service.
June 5 - Chattanooga Zoo and Lunch - I am trying to find simple and affordable activities and the Zoo is perfect. Costs are $6.00 (Kids 3-15 pay only $4.00 I think). Afterwards, we'll eat somewhere fast food. Again, the family is welcome!
June 21-26 - Summer Youth Camp. Our intent was another joint effort of area churches as last year, but location issues held this at bay and therefore I am working hard at locating an alternative camp location. For sure, this date will be the week of the camp. This has been the set date for over a year and I do not intend to change the dates at this late time. Parents, aside from Summit, which occurs in January, the summer camp &/or mission trip are vital to your child's faith development. I promise it is extremely important. You can guarantee that the weeks around June 20 - 26 will always be our camp time. This way you'll be able to schedule all the rest of your family vacations around this week.
Saturday Night Live - Every other Saturday night of the summer through mid-August(minus the nights I'll be on family vacation in July) we will open the gym and Youth Ministry Center for games, food (if people bring some to share!), movie nights, battleball games, etc. All of it is for the entire family...the times will be 8:00 - 10:30 PM. Spread the word and join us...the whole family is invited!
Finally, we are planning on a special family event to occur in the Fall...we haven't given it a name or a date yet, but it is generally a weekend revival with the family in mind (specifically youth, parents and siblings). We are working on a plan to include a fantastic, motivational, inspirational Christian speaker/preacher who specializes in family ministry as well as including a worship leader who is gifted at leading youth and their families to true worship. It should be a weekend to remember and a major goal is a special way to impact the families of young people in the areas surrounding our church. If you would like to join the special LEAD TEAM to help plan, promote, and prepare for this weekend revival, please call me (Tommy).

706-820-1911 Church Office
TommyVowell (Twitter)
I also keep a Facebook account

God bless you all!

Bro. Tommy