the weblog of Alan Knox


On endings and beginning in 2012 and 2013

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in personal | 2 comments

Like I explained in my post “New Years Resolutions?“, I don’t really do New Years resolutions… not that there’s really anything wrong with that. But, it is good to occasionally take stock – to look back at what’s been happening in my life and to look ahead at what may be coming soon.

Obviously, I do not know what’s actually coming next – not even what’s coming tomorrow, much less next year. I can make plans, but God directs my steps – when I follow his lead.

So, I thought I would take this opportunity to think about some endings and beginnings from the previous year (2012) and the upcoming year (2013).

Endings: In 2012, my employment with Southeastern Seminary ended. I’d worked in their IT department as a web developer for 10 years, and I loved my time there. I especially loved the people who I worked with over those years.

Beginnings: At the end of 2012, I began a new job with a new company. But, the job will really kick off in 2013. I’m already enjoying the new job, and I’m especially excited that my title begins with the word “service.”

Endings: My PhD studies at Southeastern Seminary were scheduled to end in May 2012. However, because of my employment situation, they have graciously extended my deadline until December 2013. So, my PhD studies will end in 2013 – one way or another.

Beginnings: We met some great new people in 2012. God has already used some of these people in our lives. We look forward to not only getting to know these people better, but also meeting even more new people in 2013.

Endings: Even as we met new friends last year, other friends moved away. And we really miss them! Of course, this wasn’t the end of our relationship with them, but it is the end of spending as much time with them.

Of course, I know that God’s love and grace and guidance will neither begin nor end in 2013. He will be just as consistent as ever!

Are there any beginnings or endings that you’d like to share with us concerning 2012 or 2013?

Link Love One Another

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in personal | 4 comments

One of the things that I love about blogging is the interaction, both in comments on a blog and between blogs through links. From the beginning of this blog, I’ve tried to link to other blogs often, to interact with people who have various viewpoints and to point my readers to good writers and topics.

About this time each year, I like to officially thank those people who also link to my blog. Unfortunately, I can’t personally thank each person who linked to my blog, especially since I don’t know every time that someone links here. However, if you’ve linked to my site in a blog post, or shared a link on Facebook, or retweeted a link on Twitter, or shared a link in any other way… Thank you!

I really do appreciate it, and I really do appreciate you.

During 2012, the following sites sent the most traffic to my blog, and I want to thank them also:

  1. The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia” by Arthur
  2. Dave Black’s Blog
  3. Some Church Stuff” by Dan
  4. Revisiting Scripture” by Tom
  5. A Pilgrim’s Progress” by Eric
  6. Cerulean Sanctum” by Dan
  7. Till He Comes” by Jeremy
  8. Coffee Trader News & Views” by Lindon
  9. From the Pew” by Steve
  10. Being Filled” by Chuck

Again, thank you all (both those listed above and others) who linked to my site and my posts during 2012!

Replay: Christmas ’93 and Eternity

Posted by on Dec 22, 2012 in discipleship, personal | 1 comment

Nineteen years ago today, my wife Margaret gave birth to our first child, a son who we named Jeremy. Six years ago, in honor of his 13th birthday, I wrote a post called “Christmas ’93 and eternity.” It has become a tradition to “replay” this post on December 22 each year. And, you know how strict I am about keeping traditions. So… here it is again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy remembering that day (although, I don’t think that’s possible).


Christmas ’93 and eternity

A few days ago, we celebrated my son’s 13th birthday by taking him to see the movie Eragon. He and his friends enjoyed it, though the story was a bit predictable for me.

Anyway, celebrating his birthday and preparing for Christmas reminded me of the Christmas of 1993. Our son was born on the 22nd of December that year. We brought him home on Christmas eve, stuffed in a red stocking. The next morning, we gave him his first Christmas gifts: clothes, a stuffed animal, and a full-size football (autographed by Bo Jackson, which is only important to half the population of the state of Alabama).

My wife was surprised that I would get my newborn son a football. But, he quickly outgrew both the clothes and the stuffed animal, but he can still play with the football! So, the football turned out to be a better gift than she thought at first. True, a three day old baby can do nothing with a football but drool on it. But, eventually, he grew to love football.

As I was thinking about his first Christmas and his first Christmas gifts, I wondered how often I focus on things that will truly last. I don’t even mean things that will last a few years or even a lifetime. But, how often do I focus on things that will last eternally? As I understand it, the only things on earth that are eternal are people. Do I give gifts that will make an eternal difference? Do I give things that will eventually fade? Or, do I give of myself to people who will last for eternity?

One day, I will join with multitudes around the throne of God. I hope that even this year I am giving eternal gifts.

p.s. Last year, we gave our (then) 12 year old son a special gift. We asked several men who had impacted his life to write him a letter. We asked them to tell him something that they wished someone had told them when they turned 12. We then took all of the letters and bound them in an album. It turned out to be a very special gift!

When I was a featured blogger…

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in blog links, personal | Comments Off on When I was a featured blogger…

Usually, on Saturdays, I “replay” one of my older blog posts. But, I was recently reminded of an interview that I did five years ago with a friend of mine for a blog called “Said at Southeastern.” The interview was in a post called “Featured Blogger: Alan Knox.” And, if you’re interested, here are a few more interviews that I’ve done: “Interview with Alan Knox” (by Dave Black from March 2007), “A Conversation with Alan Knox” (by Michael Halcomb from December 2007), and “Alan Knox: Conversations w/ Friends” (an audio interview by Dan Allen from March 2011). There was another interview from 2009, but unfortunately it’s no long available online. Enjoy!


Featured Blogger: Alan Knox

This month’s featured blogger is Alan Knox, a Ph.D. student at Southeastern. He has an excellent blog entitled The Assembling of the Church. We took the time to ask Alan a few questions that will hopefully encourage you to check out his blog. Enjoy!

Background Information:

Tell us a little about yourself
I’m 40 years old. I was born in Alabama and lived there until 8 years ago (except for college). I went to college at Georgia Tech and have degrees in Electrical Engineering. I love computers, reading, and spending time with people.

Tell us a little about your family
I’ve been married to Margaret for 19 years. We met in the fourth grade. We have two children – Jeremy (almost 14) and Miranda (10). We also have two dogs – Lucy and Aggie.

Does your family read your blog?
My wife reads my blog, and my children read if there’s something about them. Actually, to be completely honest, Margaret likes reading the comments. Yes, that means that she likes to read what other people have to say more than she likes to read what I have to say. 

Tell us a little about your walk with the Lord
God saved me when I was about 10. I wish I could say that I grew in grace and stature, but I didn’t. In fact, for many years I considered myself an agnostic. I never stopped believing in God, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant. Almost 15 years ago, I began to be discipled by several different men, each teaching me how to walk with God, both by their words and their example. Today, I try to walk with God in everything that I do. I recognize that I rely completely on him for growth and obedience.

About his Blog:

How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging since March 2006.

Why did you decide to start blogging?
I decided to start blogging to aid me in my studies. In May 2006, I began the Ph.D. program at SEBTS. I’m majoring in biblical theology with a focus on ecclesiology. Blogging gives me an outlet for much of my studies, to help me think through and discuss different ideas. But, this is not simply about theoretical discussions. I also practice much of what I discuss.

How did you choose the name The Assembling of the Church?
Well, I’m studying the purpose for the meeting of the church in Scripture. The title reflects that focus. I usually blog about the church. Other blog names that I wanted to use were already taken.

How much time a week do you put into your blogging?
The amount of time that I spend blogging changes from week to week. I write fast. So, it doesn’t take me as much time to think through these issues and write about them as you might think.

It appears that you spend a lot of time studying and thinking through your posts. How did you process this information before you started blogging?
I spend a lot of time reading – reading Scripture, reading for Ph.D. seminars, and “fun” reading. Usually, by the time I write a blog post about an issue, I’ve discussed it with various friends and family members. Sometimes, I simply write descriptive posts about things that have happened. Many of my ideas come from interaction with other bloggers. I especially appreciate commenters on my blog, even when they disagree with my views. I’ve learned a lot from interacting with them.

Do you or your readers have a favorite post or series of posts?
The most read post that I’ve written is called “The Church or the Organization” with a post called “Summary – Should elders/pastors be paid a salary?” quickly gaining ground.

If you could give us a list of several blogs you regularly read and enjoy, what would be on it?
I have too many blogs in my blog reader to recommend just one or two. I guess the ones that I would recommend are on the sidebar of my blog.

A personal update

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in personal | 13 comments

I include bits and pieces of personal information in many of my blog posts, but I rarely write a personal update like this one – maybe one or two per year. But, with many things changing in my life right now, I thought I would give my readers an update – for those who are interested anyway.

First, a continuation one a previous update. If you’ve been around my blog long enough, you know that I changed my eating habits and exercise routine about 16 months ago in July 2011. Over the next few months, I lost about 35 lbs. I’ve now kept that weight off for a year. I’m not dieting; I changed the way that I eat. For example, I do not eat fried foods at all, which is strange for a Southern boy like me. Oh, I may eat a piece of fried chicken (or something else like that) every couple of months, but I usually regret it. My body doesn’t like that kind of stuff anymore.

Also, I began running for exercise about that same time. I’m continuing to run about 20-25 miles every week. This year (2012), I’ve run several long distance runs including a 10 mile trail race, a 12 mile trail race, three half marathons (13.1 miles), and many shorter races. (No, I haven’t run a marathon yet. My longest training run is 17 miles. I’m considering registering for a marathon next spring, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.)

The big recent news, of course, is that I’ve changed jobs. I’m now working for a new IT company called CtiPath as a Service Delivery Manager. In the last few weeks, I’ve been flooded with new information, new processes, new tools, and new people. In many ways, my mind is spinning. But, it’s been fun. I’m really enjoying this new venture, and I’m looking forward to what God does through this new job.

So, what about school? As you may know, I’ve been in the PhD program at Southeastern Seminary since 2006. I’ve finished all my seminars, passed my comps, and had my prospectus approved. But, I’ve had very little time to work on my dissertation because I’ve had to work extra part-time jobs (along with my previous full-time job as a web developer for the seminary) in order to support my family. I have to finish my dissertation by this spring, or I will not be eligible to graduate (because of a time limit). Will I be able to finish? I don’t know. It depends on how this job goes.

So, looking back over the last few years, I’m not where I thought I would be. But, I wouldn’t change anything. I’m excited about where God has me and the direction that he’s moving me.

And, what about this blog? Well, I still enjoy writing and interacting with my readers. Plus, it actually takes very little time to write these posts. So, for now, I plan to continue blogging.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and caring about me and my family. I appreciate you all very much!

Learning about discipleship by leading a pace group in a half marathon

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in discipleship, personal | 2 comments

Did you know that Thanksgiving Day is one of the biggest (perhaps THE biggest) running day of the year? It’s true. In our area, there were two big races, one with over 1500 runners and the other with over 2000 runners. And, remember, I live in a small town. In Raleigh and Durham and other larger towns around RDU, there were even larger races.

Last week on Thanksgiving Day, I was given an awesome opportunity. I was asked to lead one of the pace groups for the Skinny Turkey half marathon (13.1 miles). What does a pace leader do? Well, it was my responsible to run the race in a constant pace in order to finish at a certain time. For me, I was asked to lead the group that finished in 2:30 (two hours and thirty minutes). Now, this is quite a bit slower than I normally run a half marathon. So for the week before the race, I practiced running at the slower pace.

During the race, I was responsible for encouraging the runners who wanted to stay with my pace group. Of course, we encouraged and cheered other runners as well, both those who were running faster than us and those who were running slower than us. (Runners are usually a very encouraging group!)

As I was running this race and leading the pace group (trying to keep my pace as consistent as possible and to stay on schedule to finish in 2:30), I realized that there were some similarities and differences between pacing a race and discipleship.

For instance, it was very important that I understood what was happening around me, how the other runners were doing, and to help those who were struggling as much as possible. I think this is similar to discipleship as we help one another follow Jesus Christ.

Of course, there is a big difference here as well. Why? Well, I could not change my pace in order to slow down for runners who needed to slow. Also, I was always the pace leader, but in life and discipleship, the one “pacing” often changes based on situations and circumstances.

Then, I started wondering what a “pace group” for life would look like. People would help one another along. They would “slow down” or “speed up” based on the group as a whole. Those who were stronger at any one time would help those who were struggling. Of course, at any one time, some of those who were stronger at one time could be the ones who need help later. Perhaps different ones would be stronger going “uphill” while others would be stronger going “downhill.”

Along the way, the group would help one another keep the “goal” in mind. But, of course, the “goal” isn’t 13.1 miles ahead; it is a lifetime of “running.” We rest together when necessary; we keep running together when we can.

Of course, that’s the church as it’s described in Scripture. I love it when God uses running to give me a glimpse of how his children should live together in Jesus Christ.

A Hymnal of Thanksgiving Carols

Posted by on Nov 17, 2012 in personal | 2 comments

A few years ago, our family and a friend were lamenting the fact that stores and radio stations were already playing Christmas music even though it was still weeks before Thanksgiving. But, then we realized that there really were no good Thanksgiving songs – at least, not like the foot-tapping Christmas songs. So, we wrote some Thanksgiving Carols of our own, to the tune of popular Christmas songs.

I’ve shared these on my blog before, but I’ve never shared them all in one post. I hope you enjoy these, and feel free to sing them with your family and friends around your Thanksgiving dinner… we do.


Silent Turkey
(to the tune of Silent Night)

Silent turkey
Golden baked turkey
Give me some breast
Give me a thigh
Add some ‘taters
Pile ’em high
And a slice
Of pumpkin pie
I will loosen my belt
I will loosen my belt


Something Smells
(to the tune of Silver Bells)

Something Smells
Something Smells
Have you just burned all our dinner
Should I spray
The stink away
And have a take-out Thanksgiving Day

Cooking turkey, cooking dressing
Cooking dish after dish
In the air there’s the smell of Thanksgiving
Baking brownies, and a few pies
We’ll have all that you wish
But eventually everyone hears


Tommy the Turquoise Turkey
(to the tune of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

[optional intro]
You know cranberries and football and dressing piled high
Pilgrims and indians and pumpkin pie
But do you recall the best part of Thanksgiving of all

Tommy the Turquoise Turkey (turkey)
Had a very shiny tail (like a blue whale)
And if you ever saw it (saw it)
You would think it was so swell (that’s swell!)

All of the other turkeys (turkeys)
Use to peck and strut about (like a turkey)
When they stood next to Tommy (Tommy)
They made sure that he stood out (pick Tommy!)

Then one cold Thanksgiving eve
Farmer came to say (Yo Yo Yo)
“Tommy with your tail so bright
I need you this very night.”

Then all the family loved him (loved him)
As they gobbled Tommy down (gobble gobble)
Tommy the Turquoise Turkey (turkey)
You’re the yummiest bird around (yum yum)
You’re the yummiest bird around (yum yum)


Here Comes Thanksgiving
(to the tune of Here Comes Santa Claus)

Here comes Thanksgiving
Here comes Thanksgiving
Long before Christmas Day
No jingle bells, no Christmas trees
No songs about a sleigh
We will eat and we will sleep
We’ll watch some football games
Cause it is almost Thanksgiving
And it’s long before Christmas Day


Giblet Gravy
(to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Giblet gravy, giblet gravy
What is it anyway?
Pour some on my dressing, please,
Don’t let it run away.
Giblet gravy, giblet gravy
What is it anyway?
Oh, I don’t care, I’ll eat it up
Cause it’s Thanksgiving Day!


Good Christian Men Eat Up
(to the tune of Good Christian Men Rejoice)

Good Christian men eat up
With fork and knife and cup
Give ye heed to what we say (gobble, gobble)
This is surely Thanksgiving Day
Macy’s floats and Pilgrim hats
You know Black Friday’s coming fast
Turkeys were made for this
Turkeys were made for this


The First Thanksgiving
(to the tune of The First Noel)

The first Thanksgiving the pilgrims did eat
And invited the indians to their feast
They all had turkey and venison
But they did not watch football; there was no ESPN
Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving
Let’s all sing some carols for Thanksgiving.

Today is my last day working for the seminary

Posted by on Nov 9, 2012 in personal | 5 comments

Today, Friday, November 9, 2012, is my last day of employment with Southeastern Seminary. I’ve worked in the IT department for SEBTS doing web development for 10 years (and 8 days to be exact). Monday, I begin a new job as an application consultant / developer for CtiPath, an IT company in the contact management center industry.

As I was telling my wife, Margaret, earlier in the week, this last week has hit me harder than I thought it would. You see, for the last 10 years, I’ve worked in an office with 3-4 other people. And, I’ve made some great friends during that time. You’ve even “met” some of them on this blog, although you probably didn’t know it.

I worked with one of them almost the entire 10 years that I’ve been here. I worked with others for a few years. Some have already moved on to other jobs, while some still work at the seminary. I’m going to miss these people!

While they are all technically adept and often helped me in my job, they are more important to me because of the way that we all helped each other grow in Christ. Our conversations, discussions, and even arguments have been extremely beneficial to me. They’ve taught me that it’s possible to remain united in Christ and to fellowship closely with people with whom you have theological differences.

So, to Gary, Tony, Jonathan, Stan, Lew, Dan, Theron, Glenn, Drew, Jason, and others… Thank you! And, I know that our relationships will continue past this job change.

I resigned from my job this morning

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in personal | 15 comments

This morning I did something that I’ve only done once before: I turned in a two weeks’ notice. I resigned from my current job working for Southeastern Seminary in their IT department, and in two weeks, I will start a new job with CtiPath.

My family and I are excited about this change. While I enjoyed working for the seminary – and I especially enjoyed the people who I worked with – the seminary pays very little, so I’ve had to work extra jobs for the 10 years since I started working for them. You see, at first, I came to seminary to be a professional, vocational pastor, so this job was supposed to be temporary. When my beliefs about “professional, vocational ministry” changed, I had to change the direction of my vocation as well.

Also, for the last several years, I’ve been in the dissertation phase of my PhD studies. I have not had time to work on my dissertation (or anything else) because of those extra jobs. Now, that should change. I plan to have more time to work on my dissertation.

What about blogging? Will my blogging change? Perhaps. I don’t know. Blogging takes much less time for me than many people think. However, it’s possible that my blogging frequency or schedule will change. We’ll find out in the next few weeks.

So, I just wanted to keep you posted about what is going on with us personally. This is an exciting time for us, and we’re looking forward to what God has in store through this new job.

My love/hate relationship with Bible trivia games

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in discipleship, personal | 9 comments

Have you heard that there’s a new game show called The American Bible Challenge on GSN (Game Show Network) hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy? I watched an episode a few days ago, and I enjoyed the show. There were some great questions from Proverbs during the final segment of the show.

The show reminded me of a board game that I was given for Christmas once. It was a Bible trivia game based loosely on the popular board game Trivial Pursuit… and I loved both the Bible version and the original Trivial Pursuit game. I’m not bragging… but I’m pretty good at trivia. I have a good memory and a brain filled with useless (or rarely useful) information.

I like trivia… I like Bible trivia. I love moving my little game piece around the board and filling the slots with the little multicolored pie wedges.

I once thought that my ability to recall tidbits of information about the Bible indicated that I was a spiritual mature person. I mean, if I know alot of stuff about the Bible, then certainly I’m a good follower of Jesus Christ, right?

But, of course, there are several problems with my thinking.

First, knowledge of tidbits of information about the Bible has nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, in many ways, these tidbits of information distracted me from actually following Jesus.

The second problem with my thinking is that the Bible (the Scriptures) were not written to provide people with tidbits of information. In other words, I was completely missing the purposes of the Scriptures.

So, I still have a love-hate relationship with Bible trivia… even the new show The Great American Bible Challenge. But, this time, I found that I was able to watch the show without thinking my ability to answer the questions (or not) was an indication of following Jesus Christ.

However, when I watched that episode of the game show… and while all the contestants were answering questions about the Bible… I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are they missing the point of the Scriptures? What are they teaching their audience about the Scriptures?”

What do you think?