Archives For Josh Cousineau

At 9am on May 3rd, Lead 2011 registration will open. We are excited to be welcoming Matt Chandler and Ray Ortlund, Jared Wilson and others to Auburn Maine this coming November!

We wanted to extend a $15 per registration discount to all of you who are part of our Affiliation map. To find out more information or to sign up click here. We will process all submissions and email you the discount code as soon as we can! To register for Lead 2011 click here.

Thanks for being part of what Jesus is doing in New England!

The Calling 2011

Josh Cousineau —  March 1, 2011 — Leave a comment

We are excited to announce The Calling 2011 in two locations this spring.

Core team members Josh Cousineau and Mark Gedicks will be the keynotes for The Calling 2011. If you would like to host The Calling at your church email us HERE or comment below!

We hope to see you in either Mass or Canada this spring.

Saint John, New Brunswick CA – $15ea April 30th

Haverhill Mass, – $10ea May 21st

Register HERE

Twitter & Facebook

Josh Cousineau —  February 25, 2011 — 1 Comment

Thank you for those of you supporting Gospel Alliance NE.  If you would like to follow more closely check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

There is a core reason why we felt led to create the Gospel Alliance New England. The overarching fact is that God has called us to bring Him glory in New England, and He is working in and through His church in New England. The great thing is that God is not just working through a single church or denomination. The movement is not A29, Conservative Baptist, Southern Baptist, Vineyard, Presbyterian or even non-denom in nature. No, God is working in and through all of these churches.

One of the great privileges I have working with the Gospel Alliance is hearing what God is doing in and around the greater New England area – how He is blessing churches, bring people to a true repentance, and bringing about a renewed passion and heart for His gospel.

Your Turn:
Now we want to share these things God is doing in and through His church with others. Starting in the month of February, we will be posting letters from churches around New England, and beyond, as to how God is moving. The hope is to connect you all with each other, encourage the body, and most of all bring glory to God.

We would love to hear from you about how God is moving- please email us HERE and let us know what God is doing. Please include your name, church name, website and any other social media connection points you may have.

Thanks, and we look forward to hearing what God is doing in your faith family and how He is bringing glory unto Himself.

Following up from my previous post, here is one more reason I find it worth my while to drive from Massachusetts to Maine on February 19 in order to teach a session on bracketing, and why I think it’s worth your while to come.

3. Because bracketing slows you down in your study of a passage so that you see things you’ve never seen before.

We often read the Bible like we’re on an interstate highway going 75mph. We blaze on through and don’t see much of the countryside because we’re in a hurry. Bracketing is your exit off the highway and onto the little country lane that follows closely the contours of the land and allows you to see things you’ve never seen before. It slows you down. And we really need to be slowed down. Most of the great truths in the Bible are right there in front of us if we will just pause, reflect, see, and savor them. Bracketing has helped me do this in my own study of the Word and in my preaching and teaching.

One of my goals for Saturday, February 19 is to give example after example of the fruit of bracketing, because seeing the fruit of a method is often the best motivation for learning a method.

Here’s one example. A couple years ago in my devotional time I read Isaiah 30.18: ‘Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, therefore the Lord exalts himself to be merciful to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him.’

My training in bracketing has created habits of mind that led me to ask a simple question: why and how does the second sentence of Isaiah 30.18 ground the first sentence? The first sentence says that the Lord is gracious and merciful. The second sentence says that the Lord is a God of justice. And the second sentence grounds the first sentence: Isaiah says the Lord is gracious and merciful because he is a God of justice. Isaiah is saying that the reason God is gracious and merciful is that he is just. Why? How do grace and mercy flow from justice?

I started looking for clues in the context, and I found a few. First, the ‘you’ to whom Isaiah 30.18 is addressed is Israel. Second, God is referred to in several places in Isaiah 30 as the ‘Holy One of Israel’ (30.11, 12, 15). Third, twice in Isaiah 30.18, God is referred to as Yahweh – his covenant name. So here’s my answer to the question I posed. The reason God’s justice grounds his grace and mercy to Israel is that God has entered into covenant with Israel. And once God commits himself to show grace and mercy to a people, following through on that commitment becomes a matter of his justice. He has made a promise, and his justice binds him to keep that promise. Mercy to his covenant people is not an onerous task for God. According to Psalm 37.28, the Lord loves justice.

This is all very good news for new covenant believers! God has committed himself to us. Therefore, God’s grace and mercy to us in Christ will never be taken away, because it is grounded in the very character of a just God who loves to be just. This is exactly what John assures believers of in 1 John 1.9. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ As surely as God loves his justice, he will continue to shower us with his mercy. Therefore (and this is the last part of Isaiah 30.18) all who wait for him are blessed.

To my mind, that is some rich fruit! That insight fed me for days. And I spoke it to God’s people to encourage them. I wouldn’t have seen the connection between the two parts of Isaiah 30.18 if I hadn’t been looking for those key connecting words like ‘because.’ There is much rich fruit in those little words. Bracketing teaches us to reap this fruit.

I’d love for you either to come on February 19 to learn bracketing, or to set yourself to learn it another time or another way. Josh Otte has already posted links to some good resources. I’d add just two others to those he mentioned:

  • Tom Schreiner’s little (and excellent) book Understanding the Pauline Epistles has a good chapter on tracing the argument of a passage.
  • Roy Ciampa (who teaches New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) has a website with links to various resources on discourse analysis (

**For more information about The Gospel Alliance New England Bracketing Regional check out our facebook event here

In this post, Stephen Witmer prepares us for our next regional event by exploring the importance and usefulness of bracketing Scripture. The Gospel Alliance Core Team is excited about this opportunity on February 19th to strengthen our understanding of God’s word together.

For event information and to register Click HERE

Here is a preview of what the event will be about:

‘Why devote a Saturday to learning bracketing?’

The question ‘Why devote a Saturday to learning bracketing?’ is a fair one, and I’ve already asked myself the related question that is relevant for me: ‘Why devote a Saturday to teaching bracketing?’ Our Saturdays are precious, with opportunities for ministry, rest, and family. So why give one up to learn bracketing?

What is bracketing, anyway? In a previous post, Josh Otte did a good job of explaining. It is a method of studying the Bible that focuses on tracing the flow of a Biblical author’s thought and displaying that flow of thought visually. It is very similar to ‘arcing,’ which is another form of discourse analysis in which the author’s argument is closely followed and then visually displayed on the page.

So, once again, back to our question: why spend a Saturday learning this particular method of studying the Bible?

In this post and the next, I’ll give you three reasons why I think learning bracketing is worth a Saturday (and, in fact, much more than one Saturday). I’ll begin with two general reasons today and then get more specific with a further reason (and a particular example) in the next post. Here goes:

1. Because you can’t be a good student of the Bible if you don’t know how to follow the flow of thought in a passage.

You can do word studies and grammatical studies, and you can research the historical and cultural backgrounds of a passage. You can study a passage backward and forward and ponder it for hours on end. Those things are all really valuable and important. But if, when you’re finished with your study of the passage, you can’t follow the author’s flow of thought, you haven’t really understood the passage.

This is why Thomas Schreiner, one of the leading evangelical New Testament scholars in the country, says: ‘I am convinced that tracing the structure of the argument in the Pauline epistles is the most important step in the exegetical process.’ Wow. That’s a big claim! There are some pretty important steps in the exegetical process, but Tom Schreiner says tracing the argument is the most important of them all. When a careful scholar like Tom Schreiner says something like that, I want to know more about what he’s talking about! What he’s talking about is what we’re going to spend February 19 learning how to do.

2. Because you can’t be an effective teacher and preacher if you don’t know how to follow the flow of thought in a passage.

This is related to point 1, but it’s a bit different. There are many teachers and preachers (I’ve heard some) who, very sadly, do not know how to read a passage, understand the way its logic and structure flows, and then communicate that to God’s people. Notice I’m not saying you need to know bracketing to be effective – I’m saying you need to be able to follow a passage’s flow of thought. Bracketing is one really good way to do that. If you have other ways of doing it, or if it is a skill that just comes naturally and instantly to you, fine! Don’t come on February 19. But if you’re looking to improve in this area, bracketing will help you.

When preachers and teachers don’t know or don’t care how to follow a passage’s flow of thought, a few things will likely begin to happen. First, their sermons or Sunday School classes will be disjointed, rambling, and only loosely connected to the Bible passage they’re seeking to preach or teach. Second, their preaching will ‘flatten out’ the passages they’re preaching – in other words, the richly textured contribution of each particular passage will be missed, and every sermon will begin to sound pretty much the same. This means their sermons and Bible teachings will be very boring. Third, when the Bible preacher or teacher isn’t drawing the content of the sermon or study from the flow of the passage, something else will enter in to become the focus. Often, some pet theme of the preacher or teacher will be the focus of the sermon or study.

This reminds me of the story John Stott tells in his book on preaching, Between Two Worlds. Stott says there was ‘a Baptist preacher who had such pronounced views about baptism that he simply could not leave the subject alone. One morning he announced his text, ‘Adam, where art thou?’ He then continued, ‘There are three lines we shall follow. First, where Adam was; secondly, how he was to be got from where he was; and thirdly and lastly, a few words about baptism.’” That’s funny, but let’s not dishonor the Bible that way! One great means of keeping the unique beauty and power of each passage before us it to use the tool called bracketing.

Here’s the way John Piper says it: ‘So arcing is important to help re-think an author’s thoughts after him and open the Bible in ways that, for me, it had never opened any other way…’ John Piper (like Tom Schreiner) is careful with words. And note that he says arcing (a cousin of bracketing) opened the Bible for him in a way nothing else had! I think maybe a claim like that from John Piper is worth some further investigation!

In the next post I’ll offer one more reason it’s worth spending a cold Maine day in February learning bracketing.

Save the Date | Lead 2011

Josh Cousineau —  December 21, 2010 — 5 Comments

The Lead conference started as a leadership training for my student leaders and adults in 2008. What my team pulled together that first year and our vision for what it would be has been blessed by God and He has done some amazing things. In 2009 we flew Tim Chester across the pond to join Jonathan Dodson as speakers for our first real shot at a conference. We really had no clue what we were doing, but God continued to work. As we looked at what was good, bad and ugly about Lead 2009 we came away with two key thoughts, the Lead Conference was going to be limited to a smaller size; providing connection with other attendees and the speakers. And we would only have 2 speakers each year. The reason for this is because it gives the speaker a better chance to unpack their topics, and it also allows us to hear great Bible teachers for more than 60min.

Just as in 08, 09 and this past fall we have been trusting God for the direction and leading of our yearly Lead Conference. God has opened some great doors and we are moving through them as God opens them. We are grateful to be part of what God is doing in New England and beyond and we are excited to welcome Ray Ortlund, Jr. and Matt Chandler next November for Lead 2011. Even though we don’t have everything finalized as far as topics, pricing and times we wanted to make sure that you have the dates locked into your calendar. Please stay tuned for more upcoming information on Lead 2011


RAY ORTLUND – Has received a B.A. from Wheaton College, Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, M.A. from The University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Pastor Ortlund served as Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois from 1989-1998.He was ordained by Lake Avenue Congregational Church, Pasadena, California, 1975. He currently serves as pastor at Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee (an Acts 29 church) and as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. He has been married to Jan Giles Ortlund for thirty-eight happy years, and they have four delightful children.Says, Ray: “I have the most wonderful wife, I love my kids and grandkids, and I love Immanuel Church. My dream is that God would use us for true revival in our city.”

3763_medium_img MATT CHANDLER - Serves as lead pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, TX. He describes his 7 year tenure at The Village as a re-planting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to over 5000 including two satellite campuses (Denton and Northway). Alongside his current role as lead pastor, Matt is involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and various strategic partnerships. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over ten years where he spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid, and Norah.

Location: 560 Park Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
Time & Date: Friday-Saturday, November 11-12, 2011
Speakers: Matt Chandler & Ray Ortlund, Jr. with Breakout Speakers to be determined
Registration Opens Feb 2011 Seating is Limited!

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Please Don’t Lie

Josh Cousineau —  December 16, 2010 — 3 Comments

As we quickly approach the Christmas season we as Christian parents are faced with a dilemma; what do we tell our kids about Santa? How long do we just ‘go along‘ with the fairy-tale that has been created. How are we to wade the water of fairy tale and truth about St. Nick, Santa and Jesus? For many this has become an amoral issue; it is not even a question we are asking ourselves. We tell our children all about Santa, the reindeer, elves and the whole rest of the Christmas crew, the whole time making mention of baby Jesus but only in passing form.

It’s somewhat of a strange phenomenon when you start to unpack it. No parent would encourage their children to lie, promote dishonesty or shading in the truth. Yet yearly we go along with the fabrication that is the modern day story of Santa. Now I am a supporter of St. Nick and the truthful telling of his story, not the made up Santa’s. There are many great things we can learn from him. Yet even with this truth in mind how much more should we be about the true reason Christians celebrate Christmas.

Why Jesus
There is more to it then simply telling the truth, as my title pleas. The real reason I teach my 5 and 3 year old the truth about Santa and Jesus is because when compared to Jesus, Santa is a joke. Santa gives mere gifts, Jesus came to give life. Santa only gives gifts if we are good, Jesus knows we can’t be good on our own and still gives us the greatest gift of all. Jesus, even as a baby, was more than our fairy-tale Santa can ever dream of being. So why would I encourage my children to live for something so small? Why would I build hope around something so temporal?

I want my children to see Jesus at the center of everything. To do this I need to let them know that they are going to be getting gifts this Christmas, but it is not dependent upon if they are good or not. It is dependent upon my love for them. Let them know that just like the gift we have all been given in Jesus, we will exchange gifts. Let them know the gifts don’t come from Santa but friends and family that have been blessed by Jesus to bless them, no matter how good they are. Everything I have worth giving to my children is rooted in Jesus, not Santa. My children need to know this, they need to see me depend on Jesus, not Santa.

Real Santa
I am not against telling my children about Santa, I tell them about him and may even get pictures with him, but I tell them about the real Santa, not the one that we have fabricated. (If you don’t know the story of the real St. Nick, read this post on The Resurgence, Saint Nicholas.) It is not cruel or mean to teach your children the truth about St. Nick, even if they spill the beans at school and break other children’s hearts. It is the loving thing to do. Teach them about St. Nick and his love for Jesus. Teach them that St. Nick can help us remember to be generous, just as he was and Jesus is.

The real St. Nick, Santa, would want you to worship Jesus not him, the reason he did what he did was because of Jesus. His parents raised him to love Jesus and this love caused him to give gifts to those in need, mostly children. Jesus was the reason behind his giving, and it should be the reason behind ours likewise. Pointing our children to the reason is needed if we are to have children that will not only be generous, like St. Nick, but also live their lives worshiping Jesus.

Our Role
Take charge of your family, read the story of Jesus and his missional birth, that saves sinners like you and your children. Learn about the real St. Nick and inform your family about who he was. But most of all don’t allow your family to be sold a small Christmas savior like the fictitious Santa, point them to the baby who was and is King of all Kings. The baby who is the giver of all gifts we have, ruler of all rulers and our Lord and Savior. Anything else is simply a lie and leading your family into a life where there is no hope of real joy this Christmas Season.

I am not saying what I have written above is perfect, I am only suggesting it might be better than lying to our children.

Merry Christmas
-Josh Cousineau

Here is a helpful article by Mark Driscoll, who says it much better than I did, we just happened to post on the same day. Also check out Mark Gedicks on Rethinking Christmas.

**This post was originally posted over at my personal blog –

We have been blessed to be part of what God is doing in New England. We have been blessed to be part of some great training here in New England with the Lead conference, The Calling and our Regionals. We have been blessed by ministries like East Auburn Baptist Church for helping us get started and allowing us to be part of bringing about renewal in New England for Jesus. As we look forward to 2011 and the things God has prepared for us, we are excited for the great things he has in store.

Although all the details have not been worked out, we wanted to start spreading the word on a couple of dates for some of our larger events so you can help us get the word out.

  • New England Summit - This Jan we will gather with leaders from all over New England to talk about church planting, re-churching and what God is doing in New England. The hope is that this time together will help unify us for the mission of Jesus in New England. Please pray as we meet.
  • Gospel Alliance Affiliation – We are about to launch a new affiliation program through Our hope is that this affiliation will help you connect with those who are like-minded in your area. It will be a simple form to fill out and then we will add you to our Gospel Alliance map.
  • The CallingAtmosphere Youth (the youth group of EABC) has hosted a yearly conference called The Calling. This year we are taking The Calling on the road. We are working on confirming a date in New Brunswick the end of May 2011 and will be in Massachusetts April 30th for this one day leadership training for youth pastors, leaders and students leaders.
  • Lead 2011 - We are very excited about Lead 2011 and what God is going to do through this two day conference. We have lined up two amazing speakers for Lead this year and can’t wait to share all the details with you (we hope it will be by Christmas!). But the one thing we can share is the date; November 11th & 12th in Auburn, Maine. Trust us, you will NOT want to miss this event.

Those are just a couple of things that are happening. We covet your prayers and support as we help bring people together for the glory of Jesus in New England!

If you can be of any help to the above, or would like more information please feel free to contact us in the comment form below, via email or on our Facebook group.

The intent of this series is to introduce you to the men who comprise the Core Team of the Gospel Alliance New England. Over the next couple weeks you will hear about their past ministry, current calling and heart for gospel renewal in New England. So far we have met Mark GedicksMatt GriseBarry Murry and Josh Cousineau. Subscribe to our RSS feed to meet the team and connect with the Gospel Renewal happening in New England.

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Sermons (4)

Bible Bracketing #1
(Part of the Bible Bracketing series).
Preached by Stephen Witmer on February 19, 2011 (Regional).
Bible Bracketing #2
(Part of the Bible Bracketing series).
Preached by Stephen Witmer on February 19, 2011 (Regional).
Bible Bracketing #3
(Part of the Bible Bracketing series).
Preached by Stephen Witmer on February 19, 2011 (Regional).
Bible Bracketing #4
(Part of the Bible Bracketing series).
Preached by Stephen Witmer on February 19, 2011 (Regional).
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I’m a New Englander through and through. Originally I’m from Rhode Island, so I’ve grown used to the fact that I’ll never be a true Mainer. But I love Maine and have lived here longer than anywhere else! Growing up I was that “good little church kid”—I loved going to church meetings and singing and listening to sermons. When I was 14, God showed me how radically self-reliant and self-righteous I was. I can remember that night Jesus rescued me and the Spirit gave me life and faith to believe the gospel.

At first I thought I might have a career as a musician but my pastor challenged me to get some theological training at New England Bible College first. I did. And step by step God confirmed my calling to pastoral ministry. My wife, Heidi, and I met and married at NEBC. She’s been my best friend and ministry partner ever since, helping me serve as a youth pastor and successfully finish seminary. And since 2005 we’ve lived in the Windham area where I serve as the associate pastor of Windham Baptist Church. We have two incredibly handsome sons, Zechariah and Caleb.


I’m really thankful to have done all of my theological and pastoral training right here in New England. I received my B.A. from New England Bible College in 2002 and then my M. Div from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2005.


Since 2005 I have been blessed to serve as the associate pastor of Windham Baptist Church. I have the unique opportunity of serving alongside of my best friend and mentor, Mark Gedicks. I love how seriously our church family takes the gospel in our gathered worship and our lives of worship. I also serve as an adjunct instructor at New England Bible College.


I pray that God will use the Gospel Alliance to promote gospel renewal (aka revival) among pastors and churches and Christians throughout New England. The GA can be a much needed servant to the Church to encourage and equip her to proclaim the gospel as the power of God for life and ministry and to remain unswervingly focused on the mission of God here in New England and beyond.


Hiking, playing guitar, re-writing old hymns and writing new hymns, reading J.R.R. Tolkien, studying biblical theology, and building furniture are a few of my favorite hobbies.


To see God-glorifying, Christ-centered, & Spirit-empowered churches all over the place! Unified by a commitment to exalt Christ not just on Sundays but every day. Passionate to pursue the the Missio Dei not the American dream. Overflowing in love for their neighbors and family and co-workers who do not yet follow or know Jesus.