I have always had a strong bent towards capturing and organizing sermon and Bible study materials. I started with a simple indexing system of 4" X 6" cards in college (I have quite a collection), and then used various database formats. My first project involving the internet was the distribution of a Visual Basic software program called Biblekey. (If you search the web you can probably still find some shareware sites distributing this program.) My vision was to have various pastors compile their messages into compatible databases which could then be indexed and displayed via the front end program which I wrote. The only hitch to this strategy was that I ended up doing all of the tedious work of the compiling and indexing. The end product proved extremely useful and Pastor John Kapteyn (a Canadian Presbyterian minister) graciously hosted my material for free on his site, SermonCentral. I still use Biblekey extensively in my own study, but did not want to continue to try to support its installation and functionality on the rapidly changing PC platforms. In addition, it seemed that web-based delivery systems were the way to go.
I switched gears and decided to concentrate on developing my own commentaries in Adobe *.pdf format for ease of distribution and use. However, this has been at the expense of some of the topical indexing of my earlier database application. The goal will be to recover some of this functionality by converting to searchable html files over time. I chose the name of BibleOutlines because I think the Lord has primarily gifted me with an ability to break down the Big Idea of a paragraph into its component parts… and to show all of the linkages without losing the impact of the overall Big Idea. That is where I feel I make the most unique contribution and why I do not hesitate to quote extensively from other commentators (after the pattern of Charles Spurgeon in his Treasury of David) for some of the details of interpretation.
My personal testimony must focus on the gracious election of our loving God. He planted me in a Christian family and drew me to Himself at a very young age. I was born in Syracuse, NY but moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia in second grade. My family lived right down the street from the headquarters of the Unevangelized Fields Mission, which has consequently always held a special place in my heart when it comes to missions. I grew up under the faithful preaching of Dr. Howard Oursler at the evangelical Bala-Cynwyd Presbyterian Church (which sadly chose to remain in the United Presbyterian denomination as it started to slide doctrinally). My high school (Lower Merion) is famous as the launching pad for the career of Kobe Bryant. I only rose to the level of Sports Editor… not quite as much talent… but still fairly quick for a chess team star.
My relationship with the Lord really developed at Princeton University under the discipling ministry of the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship (see below). I majored in English as preparation for attending seminary. More importantly, I met Karen, my wife, and we graduated together in 1975 and married in the summer of 1976. I completed the M.Div. degree at Grace Theological Seminary in picturesque Winona Lake, IN. I was heavily impacted by the eldership model of Bethany Bible Church while attending seminary. They served sacrificially and proved to me that with sufficient humility and love a team of elders could function without exalting one man to a unique role above the others. Abraham Thomas, one of the elders and a former law student from India, has since returned to southern India and been used greatly by the Lord in a church planting capacity. Another elder, John Mike Thomas (not related), eventually moved to New York City to assume a pastoral role.
Upon graduation from seminary, Karen and I moved back to the Baltimore area to be near both sets of parents. I had rejected the traditional model of candidating for a pastorate and felt I was too young and unproven to meet the character oriented qualifications of NT eldership. I decided to enter into the business community and seek to move towards some type of team leadership in a local church. However, my experience has been that churches still gravitate towards some type of unique senior pastor role rather than developing what I believe to be a plurality with your unique functioning based on your giftedness.
Recently our family has joined with a number of other leaders to start an elder-led church in the Columbia MD area. Solid Rock Community Church meets at 10 AM on Sundays in the Homewood Suites Hilton at 8320 Benson Dr. in Columbia.Karen Apple
My wife grew up in an Air Force family that afforded her opportunities to live in both Germany and France before graduating from John Jay High School in San Antonio. Her father had a very successful career culminating in serving for two years as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. Karen came to know the Lord during her sophomore year in high school. Her only sister and her husband met in the same Princeton fellowship group as we did, and they now lead a PCA church in Mt. Airy, MD. In addition to homeschooling our own children, Karen has devoted much of her life to helping other moms homeschool their children.Apple Children
Our oldest daughter, graduated from the University of Richmond, passed her CPA exam, and is working in Baltimore for PricewaterhouseCoopers as an auditor. She is poised in every situation and takes leadership roles in various Christian ministries. She has volunteered her auditing services to Wycliffe for some of their overseas ministries – including areas of Africa and Malaysia.
Our first son, graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Operations Research and Financial Engineering. He worked for two different companies in the fast-paced financial sector in New York City. He married Rachel Price on December 16, 2006 in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee where they both are currently pursuing graduate studies.
Our third child just completed his English degree at Princeton University. He loves the theater and never lacks for friends or activities. Quick with the wit, Steve can size up any person or circumstance with an insightful analysis.
Our youngest is still very much Daddy's little girl... although her maturity beyond her years makes her adaptable to any situation. Julie will be attending Grove City College outside of Pittsburgh where she hopes to continue her passion for soccer and encourage her new friends in the Lord. Her set of close friends has been together for years and provides a great context for fellowship and fun.