Starting the Spring 2015 Semester

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Hello friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. This has been due to the hectic nature of last semester and the many other time constraints that have taken precedence. I found out the hard way that I was too ambitious last semester and took too many hours! No worries, though. I did well in all my classes; I just didn’t have much of a life outside of seminary!

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Our journey has been exciting and eventful thus far. I’ve had some opportunities to do some pulpit supply work for some churches here in Kentucky and am planning to do more preaching work this year also. I had the privilege of meeting one of my heroes, Dr. John MacArthur, at the Expositor’s Summit in October.  It was my first time hearing him in person and I was absolutely thrilled to get to speak to him after one of his lectures. I have been privileged to hear many other well-known speakers as well such as Dr. D.A. Carson and Dr. Michael Youssef.

Katrina and I have enjoyed our break and time back in Tennessee at Christmas, but now it’s time to jump back in to another semester. Today was my first day of classes and I’m pretty excited about this semester. I’m taking fewer classes but the classes I’m taking are more advanced and related to my course of study. I’m taking Greek Exegesis of Matthew with Dr. Jonathan Pennington, Pastoral Ministry with Dr. Hershael York, and Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha with Dr. Jarvis Williams. I’ll be doing a LOT of reading this semester as well as translating passages from the Greek text of Matthew.

Continue praying for us that we will bear the burden of the coming semester wisely and well, that God will continue to open doors of ministry for us and that we will steward our time and opportunities in a way that is pleasing to Christ. Thank you for your continued prayers for us.

 

Books I Read in 2014

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SOME of my books for the Fall 2014 semester at seminary.

It’s been a good year of reading for me. I thoroughly enjoyed Tolkien’s books and am looking forward to starting the third book of the LotR trilogy in 2015. My seminary class load dictated that I put some of my pleasure reading on hold in order to read all the required texts for class, but many of them were quite enjoyable and I am glad that I read them. I managed to read Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Donald S. Whitney twice this year; once in the first printing and then I read the new, revised edition this fall. Here’s my list. Keep reading, friends.

    • The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
    • The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren
    • Transformational Church, by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer
    • Manhood Restored, by Eric Mason
    • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Donald S. Whitney (read twice)
    • Found: God’s Will by John F. MacArthur
    • Five Points by John Piper
    • What is Biblical Theology? by James M. Hamilton, Jr.
    • I Am a Church Member, by Thom S. Rainer
    • David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
    • A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller
    • Conviction to Lead, by Dr. Albert Mohler
    • Overcoming Walls to Witnessing by Timothy K. Beougher
    • Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer
    • Between Two Worlds by John Stott
    • What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert
    • The Great Commission Resurgence by Chuck Lawless and Adam Greenway
    • Tactics by Gregory Koukl
    • The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
    • The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn
    • A History of the Baptists by Roger Torbet
    • Baptist Confessions of Faith by William Lumpkin
    • Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life by Mark Dever
    • George Muller: Delighted in God by Roger Steer
    • A Foundation for the Future by Thomas Nettles
    • Democratic Religion: Freedom, Authority, and Church Discipline in the Baptist South, 1785-1900 by Gregory Wills
    • Differences in Judgment About Water Baptism No Bar to Communion, by John Bunyan
    • A Sober Discourse Of Right to Church Communion, by William Kiffin
    • Preaching with Bold Assurance by Hershael York and Bert Decker
    • Christ Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell
    • A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
    • The Bible, English Standard Version 
    • The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Start of the Semester at Southern Seminary

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August 19, 2014photo 1

Greetings friends!

Well, life is in full swing for us now. The semester has officially started and I am recovering from syllabus shock. Katrina is training on her new job also, so we are both getting acclimated to where God has placed us.

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Friday was New Student Orientation at Southern seminary. Katrina and I had a great time there. We got to meet some new folks, enjoy a good time of worship, and get exposed to all that the campus has to offer. We got to hear a great panel with Dr. Greg Wills, Dr. Hershael York, Dr. Tom Schreiner, Dr. Don Whitney, and Dr. Greg Allison. We are both very excited about the various opportunities in the upcoming semester for Katrina and myself.

Sunday, we attended Hurstbourne Baptist Church here in Louisville where Cameron Debity is the new lead pastor. Sunday was actually his first day preaching as the pastor. We were very happy to be able to share this special Sunday with him. Cameron is one of our own, as he hails from Tellico Plains, TN. We volunteers have to stick together up here!

Katrina is happy with her new position at the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. She is really enjoying being able to serve in the denomination and therefore be doing ministry as her job. I have several prospects lined up for work and ministry and we shall see which doors the Lord opens.

photo 2Today was my first day of classes and I think this will be a great semester. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Christian Preaching with Dr. Hershael York, Personal Spiritual Disciplines with Dr. Don Whitney, and Greek Syntax and Exegesis with Dr. Rob Plummer. Wednesdays I have Personal Evangelism with Dr. Bill Henard and Baptist History with Dr. Shaun Wright. I am also looking at attending a conference for seminary credit in October on George Whitefield and the Great Awakening. Judging by all my syllabi, I will be doing a LOT of reading this semester.

Dr. Mohler spoke at convocation in chapel today. It was a pleasure to hear him speak to the incoming student body at Southern Seminary. His sermon was “Do You Understand What You Are Reading? – The Christian Faith and the Call to Teach” from Acts 8:26-40.photo 3

I am particularly excited about the Expositor’s Summit which is also in October. Dr. John MacArthur will be speaking here on campus. This is very exciting for me as I have followed Dr. MacArthur’s ministry for a long time now and I’ve never heard him in person.

I’d better turn in for the night. Classes begin at 8:00 in the morning. Katrina and I would love to hear from you. If you would like to be added to my email list, send me an email request at ray.umphrey@gmail.com.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. Continue to pray for us that we will be used by God and that He will open doors for us to serve Him in Louisville.

Sincerely,

Ray Umphrey

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Here’s Boycat. He’s pretty lazy.

 

Louisville Life – August 12, 2014

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Greetings friends! DPP_0159

It’s been a few weeks since Katrina and I loaded up the truck and moved to Louisville, so I thought I’d update you on what’s going on with us. After preaching my last service at Reed Springs on July 13th, Katrina and I headed down to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a week of rest and refreshing. After our break, we came back to TN, loaded up a U-Haul, and made the trek to Louisville KY, July 24th.

10527581_492637907535226_1157492527933850605_nThere hasn’t been much to report the first couple of weeks besides unpacking, settling in, and learning the area. We’ve learned that living in a big city has some advantages, such as being minutes from everything. We really like our apartment and all of the neighbors have been very nice.  With God’s grace, we will adapt and survive in Louisville.

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We actually came back to Tennessee this past weekend for Jesse’s (Katrina’s brother) wedding. We are excited to welcome Mrs. Lindsey (Reed) Roberts to the family! We had a great time, but hate that we couldn’t stay and visit with more of our friends and family while we were down. We will be back soon and hopefully can spend more time visiting.

As most of yo10505353_325280150964326_8805999009658381810_nu already know, Katrina and I moved up here on faith believing that God had called us to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. We moved with some savings from the recent sale of our house in TN, but without any prospects for employment or income. I am thankful to be able to say that Katrina has accepted a job with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation this week and will be starting with them Monday morning. She is very excited. This job is really perfect for her situation right now. It is our desire for Katrina to be able to take classes part-time in the near future in order to finish her Bachelor’s degree.

I am also in the process of seeking a source of income that will complement my class schedule. I will be starting classes Monday morning at the seminary as a full-time student. We know that God will provide us the means to do whatever He desires for our lives. We are confidently waiting on God’s timing and provision. It is a blessing to watch Him open doors and provide for our needs in truly supernatural ways.

We would love to hear from you. I will be sending out regular updates via email and by posting on my website. If you would like to be added to my email list, send me an email request to be added.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support during this transition. Continue to pray for us that we will be used by God and that He will open doors for us to serve Him in Louisville.

Sincerely,

Ray Umphrey

My Farewell Sermon at Reed Springs

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My last sermon as pastor at Reed Springs Baptist Church, “Preparing for Spiritual Transition” from Joshua 3:1-7 – July 13, 2014.

1. Stay focused on the mission (vs. 1)

  • Be forward-moving and kingdom-focused
  • Philippians 3:12-15

2. Submit to God’s commands (vs. 2-3)

  • Success depends on obedience (Joshua 1:6-8)

3. Steadfastly rely on God’s direction ( vs. 4)

4. Sanctify yourself in expectation (vs. 5-6)

Sermon Video – “Perseverance in Ministry” 2 Timothy 2:3-13

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Video of my sermon “Perseverance in Ministry” from 2 Timothy 2:3-13 at Reed Springs Baptist Church, July 7, 2014.

1. Three models for ministry (vs. 3-7)

• The soldier’s purpose
• The athlete’s principle
• The farmer’s productivity

1. The motivation for ministry (vs. 8-10)

• Romans 10:14

2. A trustworthy motto for ministry (vs. 11-13)

• If we have died with Christ, we will live with Him
• If we endure, we will also reign with Him
• If we deny him, he will also deny us
• If we are faithless, he remains faithful

Sermon Video – “Totally Secure” Romans 8:31-39

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Video of my sermon “Totally Secure” from Romans 8:31-39 at Reed Springs Baptist Church, June 29, 2014.

1. If God is for us, who can be against us? (vs. 31-32)

• 2 Peter 1:3-4

1. If God justifies us, who can condemn us? (vs. 33-34)

• Romans 5:1; Rev. 12:10; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2

2. If God loves us, who can separate us? (vs. 35-39)

• THINGS THAT CAN’T SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD’S LOVE
o Tribulation
o Distress
o Persecution
o Famine
o Nakedness
o Danger
o Sword
o Death or life
o Angels or rulers
o The present or the future
o Powers
o Height or depth
o Anything else in all creation

Sermon Video – “No Plan B” Romans 8:26-30

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Video of my sermon “No Plan B” from Romans 8:26-30 at Reed Springs Baptist Church, June 22, 2014.

1. The Holy Spirit is perfectly praying for God’s purpose (vs. 26-27)

• Romans 8:22-23; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Jude 20

1. God will precisely position us for His purpose (vs. 28)

• Philippians 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 1:9

2. God has powerfully predestined us for His purpose (vs. 7-9)

• Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 2:10
• Five “past-tense” verbs:

o foreknew
o predestined
o called
o justified
o glorified

Sermon Video – “Abba, Father” Romans 8:12-18

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Video of my sermon “Abba, Father” from Romans 8:12-18 at Reed Springs Baptist Church, June 15, 2014.

  1. We have new life in the Holy Spirit (vs. 12-13)
  • Romans 8:5-9; Galatians 5:16
  1. We have a new relationship to God (vs. 14-16)
  • Romans 6:17; 1 John 4:18
  • abbá – an intimate term for “father”; almost never used for God.
  1. We have an inheritance with Christ (vs. 17)
  • Galatians 4:7 2; Timothy 2:11-13; Romans 8:18-23; Revelation 5:10

Sermon Video – “Going, Not Knowing” Genesis 12:1-9

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Video of my sermon, “Going, Not Knowing” from Genesis 12:1-9 at Reed Springs Baptist Church, June 8, 2014.

1. Grace calls us into the purpose of God (vs. 1-3)

• God’s calling to Abram (vs. 1)
• God’s covenant with Abram (vs. 2-3)

2. Obedience takes us into the purpose of God (vs. 4-6)

• Abram leaves for the land of Canaan at 75 years old.

3. Worship keeps us in the purpose of God (vs. 7-9)

• “built an altar” and “pitched his tent” will be Abram’s way of life