Thursday, December 14, 2006
Anytime I try Something New, I secretly wish and fervently hope that I have some blistering raw untapped talent at the Something New. I have always wondered if women do this, but I suspect it is something practiced only by males. Regardless, I always imagine that at my first time out trying Something New, I will emerge a natural, a previously undiscovered prodigy who completely conquers the Something New with amazing, effortless perfection.
As I stood at the bottom of Copper Mountain and watched skiers and snowboarders glide (so smoothly!) down the final yards of the slope, I convinced myself this was in fact the case. This was my time to shine. Years of fruitless Something News had all lead up to this moment. While my brother and some of his buddies imparted tips on the basic mechanics of “rippin’ it up,” I listened, nodded, and said “uh huh” and “gotcha” a lot. All the while, inside, I became more and more confident that this would be the Something New by which I would burst forth in wunderkind glory. My unrealized snowboarding talent would be unleashed at last, a real Cinderella story. Shaun White would have nothing on me.
My first challenge, though – before the unveiling of my dormant snowboarding skills – was to actually get to the top of the slope. To get to the top of the slope, you have to ride a “lift.” Getting to the lift involves strapping only one of my two feed onto my board and awkwardly hobbling/skidding/loping along the turnstiles to the lift. (The sensation was not unlike that time long ago when rollerblading was my Something New, and I ended up gripping the rink rails for most of the evening.) Once the turnstiles are successfully navigated, you actually have to coordinate your peg-legged hobbling/skidding/loping in such a manner as to not miss or be struck and killed by the rotating lift. Determined that none of these things should happen, I totally managed to stick the landing, if only by the narrowest of margins. I was off to a good start. Butt firmly in seat, kung-fu death grip firmly on lift rail, I began my ascent.
Continued next post...
Monday, December 11, 2006
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with snowboarding, allow me to explain the raw elements of this sport. Even though I am only a one-time snowboarder (snowboardist? snowboardiac?), I feel my experience has lent me enough knowledge to share with you. It is really quite simple. Snowboarding involves, as you may have guessed merely from its name, some snow and a board. Basically, it meant strapping a board that was the approximate height of my wife to both feet and hurling myself down an insanely steep and snowy mountain. By hurling, I mean falling, tumbling, rolling, scooting, careening, and/or any combination thereof.
Let me say, before I elaborate on my snowboarding experience, that I am a man. I do not mean that I am the man. I only mean that my gender is male. Although it may surprise some of you, when males are trying something new, they typically do not want to give the impression that they are new at it. In fact, males often will actually go to great lengths to give the impression that they are thoroughly familiar with things they know absolutely nothing about.
This was the case for me as my brother, an avid ‘boarder who was treating me to this adventure, took me to an equipment rental place where he gets a military discount. Not wanting to be immediately pegged as a newbie, I approached the fifty-five-year-old lady behind the counter of the equipment rental office with just the right combination of confidence and nonchalance. It did not take me long to realize I was in over my head. This revelation came right about the time the fifty-five-year-old lady behind the counter of the equipment rental office told me I was “goofy-footed.”
Me: (adopting a slight Californian surfer-ish accent for unknown reason) “Yeah, my bro is taking me snowboarding, but I don’t have any gear with me. Can you hook me up with a board here?”Gear eventually procured, initial humiliation eventually past, it was off to the slopes of glorious Copper Mountain, a couple hours drive outside of Colorado Springs.
55yol: “Sure. You need boots, bindings, and bibs too?”
Me: (realizing I have no idea what 55yol just said) “Umm… absolutely. I think. Hey, my son has a bib. Would that work?”
55yol: (laughs politely) “Righteous. Hey, which foot do you lead off with?”
Me: (awkward pause) “I really like my right foot.”
55yol: “Cool. So you go goofy then, right?”
Me: (awkward silence)
55yol: (apparently confusing my silence for deafness and speaking slightly louder to compensate) “You’re GOOFY?”
Me: (more awkward silence, followed by a nervous grin and a shrug that clearly says I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing here. None.) “Yup. Uh huh. I sure am.”
55yol: “Yeah. You’re goofy-footed. I thought so. Right on.”
Me: (nodding wisely) “Mm hmm.”
Continued next post...
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Good Will Hiking points out that most of the media coverage of this event centers around allegations that this being a case of racial profiling and religious infringement. He also references this article, which gives a much different opinion: Given that Islamic terrorists continue their obsession with turning airplanes into weapons of mass destruction, it is nothing short of obscene that these six religious leaders ... chose to turn that airport into a stage and that airplane into a prop in the service of their need for grievance theater. The reality is, these passengers endured a frightening 3 1/2-hour ordeal, which included a front-to-back sweep of the aircraft with a bomb-sniffing dog, in order to advance the provocative agenda of these imams in, of all the inappropriate places after 9/11, U.S. airports.
While I think the author makes some interesting and valid points (assuming her facts regarding the details of the incident are accurate), I can't help but wonder if this particular reaction is simply indicative of a spreading paranoia regarding Muslims.
At any rate, this is the first thing I've read referencing the word "Islamophobe." So it's got that going for it.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
This is an interesting clash of America's Christian tradition versus cultural/religious inclusiveness. Read the rest of this article from Travis McSherley at BreakPoint.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
This one is supposed to tell you what your evangelical worldview is. The results are in. It reads a little like a fortune cookie, but apparently I am Reformed Evangelical:
Here's the evangelical worldview quiz. But the fun didn't stop there; I took another one to see if I was Chalcedon compliant. Very revealing:
| You scored as Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.|
Are you a heretic? Take the quiz.
[HT: Barabbas, Monergism]
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
"Here's some bad news for your marketing efforts: You lost your domain and a porn site snatched it up. Too bad you just handed out fliers at the local Apple Harvest Day with the old site--now sending lots of unexpecting potential visitors to a porn site. Doh.True story. It happened to Hope Community Church in Dover, N.H. The mix-up happened when the church was switching Internet service providers and the ISP that sold the url admitted fault..."
[HT: Church Marketing Sucks]
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Click the link above to see where your salary falls on the global scale. If it's anywhere close to accurate, prepare to be surpised... and grateful.
[HT: The Point]
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I have some concerns about that alone, and many of you may agree or disagree with me on those matters (complementarianism or egalitarianism). However, my main concern is this church leader's view of the Gospel. From a Time magazine interview with Ms. Jefferts-Schori:
Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven? We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.That's a very politically correct attempt not to offend anyone with the Gospel; Ms. Jefferts-Schori's answer regarding this Gospel presents Christ merely as a means (among others, she infers) to an end. In reality, we need not assume anything about how God saves people, for God has already made it clear that salvation is in Christ alone.
Monday, November 13, 2006
What the DG conference was for straight-up quality theology, DRIVE was for the practical how-to side of church organization, structure, and production. Stanley and crew were basically hosting the conference on this premise – “We don’t have it all figured it out, but for our church in this area, here is how we got where we are.”
Here are just a couple things I took away from the conference and will be thinking about:
- God works through organized systems. NPCC and other churches with a high emphasis on production, structure and strategy are often accused of being “too corporate” because they utilize “secular business strategies” in reaching people. Andy made a great point, though (my paraphrase) - “Corporations like McDonald’s and Coke have reached their ‘great commission’ - they’re everywhere. …The multiplication table is not in the Bible. That does not mean it is not true, not useful, or ‘secular.’” Their leadership structure is clear and straightforward. Everyone knows exactly who they report to, what is expected of them, and what their specific role is as it pertains to the whole. This type of organizational leadership structure is an admited weak point for my own church. It was refreshing to see it in action.
- Don’t underestimate the value of relevant production. These guys utilize media production better than any church I’ve ever seen. I personally like videos, lighting, visuals, graphics and such used in worship services. On a much smaller level, I use them in my own ministry, and would like to use them more. But I’ve definitely seen them used and overused in ways that are distracting and self-defeating (and probably done so myself). These guys put a lot of time, effort and money into creating a solid production - an immersive environment - from beginning to end, and from what I saw, every single element pointed to and supported the message or teaching for each particular session. It wasn’t just a big show; by the time you got to the message, you were completely drawn in. My paraphrase of Andy on this point – “In this area, our church is competing with golf courses and movie theaters. We place a high value on excellent production because by doing so, we give the type of people we are trying to reach a reason to listen to our message.”
Those are just a couple things I found particularly interesting and thoughtworthy. For a more complete review of DRIVE '06, head over to TonyMorganLive - he has five posts of smart things Andy said.
Monday, November 06, 2006
This year at drive, we are going to pop the hood and take a look at some of the not-so-glamorous but important aspects of church life. Stuff like, your decision-making processes, meeting structures, staffing, budgeting, and volunteer development. The Monday through Friday stuff -- the stuff that gets churches into trouble if it isn't managed well.Ought to be interesting.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Cash recorded a cover of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt” and released it on the album American IV -The Man Comes Around. The music video that followed was amazing. Footage of Cash, humbled by age and illness, sitting alone with his guitar or at the head of a banquet table, is interspersed with footage of Cash as a younger man, loved ones he lost along the way (or would soon lose), and images of Christ.
Trent Reznor’s lyrics (except for one omitted obscenity) were redeemed by the voice, imagery, faith, and life of Johnny Cash. For what its worth, the music industry responded. Artists from Bono to Justin Timberlake declared the video the most powerfully moving work the music video medium had ever produced.
While I believe that one day culture (music, values, art, relationships, etc.) will be fully redeemed/recreated, “Hurt” seems to be the perfect example of how followers of Christ can begin redeeming culture in the present. I wonder what would happen if we would follow Mr. Cash’s example by getting knee-deep in culture and redeeming it from within.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I think it's safe to say that if the Lord hates Halloween then he must despise Chick tracts. When a well-intentioned but overzealous Christian gives these "comics" to a child it must be, as Chick would say, a "slap in the face." If you are the type of person who does this on Halloween I only have one word to say to you: repent.I'm all for redeeming Halloween. I'll even be dressing up as yon mountain hillbilly to give out candy to neighborhood kids at our church's Trunk-or-Treat event. I don't even mind folks passing out tracts (although I generally question their effectiveness.) Perhaps Joe's statement above runs a little hot, but this article does make a good point; these Halloween tracts sensationalize fear, and I don't think that's the way to win children to Christ. At least I know I wouldn't care much for my son getting one of those.
Irrational fear is an overrated motivational tool, especially when you're trying to win the hearts and minds of children. Just look at my example. Twenty years later I'm still creeped out by the thought of the Chick comics. While they might have had the intended impact -- to scare the living hell out of me -- they did so by appealing to an unncessary fear of Satan. [Read the full post]
[HT: Between Two Worlds]
Monday, October 30, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Whichever side of the fence you fall on regarding the celebration of or participation in ye olde All Hallows' Eve, Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, offers a thorough history of the holiday. As far as should Christians participate or not? Say they:
"Some members of Mars Hill opt to avoid Halloween altogether because portions of its mixed up history prick their conscience. Others see it as a truly americanized holiday, not specifically Christian but essentially 'American' like Thanksgiving or Presidents’ Day, and have no conscience issues participating. Others still draw various lines in between..."Hooray for balanced views! If you're interested, check out the whole article, Gimme Some Sugar, Baby: The Holy Hellish Hodgepodge History of Halloween. I learned some stuff. Mainly, that October 31st is also known as “Reformation Day” and commemorates the day in 1517 when Christian reformer Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses challenging the doctrine of penance, the authority of the pope, and the use of indulgences.
"For those who have shunned Halloween because they were simply told it was evil, or for those who have participated and never bothered to weigh its appropriateness, your pastors would encourage the employment of godly wisdom, discernment, and a sense of our shared mission as Christians. Our abstinence or participation in regard to Halloween should not be derived from fear, misinformation, or pressure but rather from a sincere love of Jesus..."
[HT: Power of Change]
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
With documentation of gay or lesbian behavior among giraffes, penguins, parrots, beetles, whales and dozens of other creatures, the Oslo Natural History Museum concludes human homosexuality cannot be viewed as "unnatural".
"We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear -- homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature," an exhibit statement said.This is the worst argument I've ever heard for homosexuality. If you don't want to read the whole article, I'll give you my one-line synopsis: since certain bugs and animals exihibit homosexual behavior, it's natural and okay that humans do as well.
I wonder if gay folks would be offended by the kind of logic presented by this exhibition. This guy makes a good point, though:
Obviously, animals do many things (such as mate in public, lick their own genitals, use the bathroom in public, murder and even eat their own) ... and we do not base our morals and standards of conduct on what we see animals doing. However, there is something kind of humorous in the way that the press has now equated gay people with penguins, giraffes, beetles, and whales.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
"Too often in dating relationships we think and act like consumers rather than servants. And not very good consumers at that. After all, no one would ever go down to his local car dealership, take a car out for an extended test drive, park it in his garage, drive it back and forth to work for several weeks, maybe take it on vacation, having put lots of miles on it, and then take it back to the dealer and say, 'I'm just not ready to buy a new car.'"If you've been lookin' for love in all the wrong places, you should read the rest of the article.
"But so often, that's exactly the way men treat the women they're dating. Endlessly 'test driving' the relationship, without any real regard for the spiritual and emotional wear and tear they're putting her through, all the while keeping their eyes out for a better model."
Monday, October 23, 2006
Now that you've imagined it, see it for real here.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Actually, all of this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I am going on vaction this week with my wife. We are leaving our spry young'un with his grandparents and heading south to the Mexicoast. Nos vemos en una semana ... mas or menos.
In the meantime, comment on the post below, hit me up with the sweetest license plate ever, or check out the boy's site for some video shennanagins. See you in a week.
Friday, October 13, 2006
"Community within church walls is great, but it makes for an easy excuse to avoid outreach outside the church building. The digital world is no different. 80% of church visitors come because they were personally invited by friends. Now we have a fancy term for it: social networks. And now we have an incredible way to engage our social networks: MySpace.com.Church outreach via secular vehicles is by no means a new concept and certainly is not without controversy. Of course, there are folks who speil the potential dangers of MySpace (mainly citing the inappropriateness of certain images that may be found therein). On the flipside, there are those who, even with the best intentions, throw all caution to the wind and dive headfirst into the latest means of "making the church relevant."
"... A year ago, we canvassed church flyers at the local shopping mall. Today we manually post bulletins and church events on Craigslist and blogs. In one year, we’ll be automatically syndicating widgets of the church event calendar and sermons onto MySpace profiles..."
There are aspects of MySpace that make it far from safe for those of us prone to sin. Yet, looking at Jesus' ministry, He didn't exactly hang out with "safe" people all the time. So can MySpace be a legit means of church outreach, or is it just another way your church becomes
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
A Ms. article defending the campaign touts statistics on how many women die each year from botched and unsafe abortions, blaming U.S. and international family-planning policies as major contributors to this maternal death toll.
It certainly sounds benevolent of the feminist agenda to be so concerned about the health and safety of all those unwilling mothers. Beyond the desparation that would drive one to abort their unborn child, there is certainly no question that there are deep psychological and emotional issues that come as a result of having an abortion. That is a reality that any honest woman who has had an abortion will tell you, and those women should be able to express and deal with that impact in safe and non-condemning environments. (The Christian community should be first in line to offer this kind of support, I might add.)
However, I can't help but feel like Ms. Magazine and her masters are pulling the ol' bait-and-switch, preying on the consciences of these women under the guise of protection and safety, while using them as fodder for their own political agenda. If you check out Ms.' defense of the campain, the subtle undercurrent in their message seems to be "since it's going to happen anyway, government should support and fund abortion to make it safe for women." But follow that line of thinking, and it is just as logical to push for government funding for rape, murder, or theft - since they're going to happen anyway, why not make them legal and safe?
Abortion does not merely carry a social stigma - this is far too short-sighted on the part of the feminist agenda (and purposefully so, in my opinion). It is a moral stigma, and you will not stifle your own heart and conscience simply by changing laws. At the end of the day, abortion is still the taking of a human life. Dealing with it on a social level is like putting a band-aid on cancer. Abortion and all roads leading to it are moral issues, and must be dealt with on the level of the heart.
Ms. Magazine's "I've Had an Abortion" Campaign
Thinking About Having an Abortion?
Already Had an Abortion?
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
I'm sorry... what?! I shudder to think of some of my high school teachers carrying firearms (no offense if any of you are reading this), much less actually firing them into crowded school halls at would-be teenage gunmen. But let me see if I have this straight: Give more people more guns and less people get shot.
Now, I am not against gun ownership or the use of firearms in general. But this is the kind of backwards thinking that causes more harm than good, no matter how well-intentioned.
Two words, Mr. Lasee: BAD. IDEA.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
1 | David Wells
The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World
2 | Justin Taylor, John Piper, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll
A Conversation with the Pastors
3 | Voddie Baucham
The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World
The Supremacy of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World
5 | Mark Driscoll
The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World
6 | Justin Taylor, Voddie Baucham, John Piper, D. A. Carson, David Wells
7 | D. A. Carson
The Supremacy of Christ and Love in a Postmodern World
Monday, October 02, 2006
"Don't aim to preach only in categories of thought that can be readily understood by this generation. Aim at creating biblical categories of thought that are not present.
…Some of the most crucial and precious truths of the Scripture are counter-intuitive to the fallen human mind. They don’t fit easily into our heads. …But the Bible will not let its message be fit into the categories we bring with our fallen, finite minds. It presses us relentlessly to create new categories of thought to contain the mysteries of the gospel.
…These kinds of mind-boggling, category-shaking truths demand our best thought and our most creative labors. We must aim to speak them in a way that, by the power of God’s word and Spirit, a place for them would be created in the minds of those who hear. We must not preach only in the categories that are already present in our listeners’ fallen minds., or we will betray the gospel and conceal the glory of God.”
NOTES (things that grabbed me):
Christ's joy is in the Father Himself, not simply in the doing; this is the way Christ desires our joy to be (John 17:13).
Christ's joy in the Father is shared with us through understandable propostitions; joy must doctrinally-based if it is to glorify God (you cannot deeply love someone you do not deeply know). Piper shared ten steps in defense of this point, which are summarized below:
- All things depend upon God - nothing is more valuable than He
- God has no deficiency that would prompt Him to create us
- We are created to reflect His glory, to know and enjoy Him
- Christ is the only way this can be accomplished
- Joy in God is the deepest way of reflecting His glory
- Joy is not meant to be hidden, but shared
- True biblical joy is rooted in the knowledge of God
- Right knowledge of God is integral to worshipping Him and loving His people
- Therefore, embrace biblical doctrine
- Thus may the Church be
Pastor John's manuscript for this sermon is already available from DesiringGod.org - read it here.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
"Neither modernism nor postmodernism is easy to define. Even experts in intellectual history disagree on their definitions.
The majority view, however, is that the fundamental issue in the move from modernism to post modernism is epistemology – i.e., how we know things or think we know things. Modernism is often pictured as pursing truth, absolutism, linear thinking, rationalism, certainty, the cerebral as opposed to the affective which in turn breeds arrogance, inflexibility, a lust to be right, the desire to control. Postmodernism, by contrast, recognizes how much of what we ‘know’ is shaped by the culture in which we live, is controlled by emotions and aesthetics and heritage, and can only be intelligently held as part of a common tradition, without overbearing claims to being true or right.
Modernism tries to find unquestioned foundations on which to build the edifice of knowledge and then proceeds with methodological rigor; postmodernism denies that such foundations exist) it is ‘anitifoundational’) and insists that we come to ‘know’ things in many ways, not a few of them lacking in rigor. Modernism is hard-edged and , in the domain of religion, focuses on truth versus error, right belief, confessionalism; postmodernism is gentle, and in the domain of religion, focuses upon relationships, love, shared tradition, integrity in discussion.”NOTES (stuff that grabbed me):
Carson's mode of theologically thinking is way beyond me. I mean that in a good way. Carson taught through John 17, Jesus' high priestly prayer. Although the depth and bredth of his teaching far exceed my meager notes here, Carson brought out 5 petitions Christ makes:
He asks that His followers be kept safe
He asks that His followers may be one (unified)
He asks that His followers may be sanctified
He asks that His followers would experience the full measure of His joy
He asks that His followers would be with Him forever
Carson's amazing exposition of John 17 roots every request in intratrinitarian love - that is, the love the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have for each other. Christ himself is the supreme Mediator of God's love, exclusive in every way. Go get the mo' bettah notes.
"Many Christians simply thought that postmoderns were a new kind of Christian. But, I believe postmoderns are simply not Christians. Anytime you have a hyphenated Christianity (i.e. New Age Christian, liberal Christian, etc.) then you have negated the Christianity. For postmoderns the issue is one of authority/power as they see all leaders and all texts as means by which someone exercise authority/power over another. They see all authority and power as inherently bad and prefer experience over truth, relativism over absolutes, and tolerance over judgment to varying extremes.
The result is that they will reject any singular interpretation of Scripture arguing that it is your perspective and that there are other perspectives and none are true, so we should be tolerant of all. They will reject any leadership and shun away from what they call “organized religion” and prefer to have their “personal relationship and experiences with God.” …This is because we are dealing with common sins that have simply now been given a philosophical name:
1.) Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we want to be God and decide right and wrong and play with what God says rather than obey it.
2.) Like Romans 1:18, they suppress the truth they don’t like because they want to sin and live their life as they please; so it is never a philosophical hang-up, but a hard heart that is truly the issue.
3.) They think being spiritual is good enough, but James says even demons believe in God, so being spiritual is never enough.
4.) They will use the name Jesus like the cults do, which is confusing, but it is a different gospel and a different Jesus ala 2 Corinthians 11:4....They use God and His people to play with the truth and live as they please."
NOTES (stuff that grabbed me):
The main issue separating Reformed from Emergent perspectives is one of Christology (that is, what you believe not merely concerning the hisorical facts about Jesus, but His very nature and being). The incarnation of Jesus is especially important within Emergent circles, stressing the humanity of Jesus and his immenence as a man. Reformed circles stress the divinity of Jesus, that He is God. What we need is not an over-emphasis on either side, but a balance of Christ's immenence (example, experience) and His divinity (authority).
Driscoll stressed 9 non-negotiables. Christian people everywhere should contend for these truths:
- Contend for Scripture as an authoritive metanarrative (reaching beyond the immediate and historical, providing the framework for our lives and expereinces).
- Contend for the sovereignty of God (that he not only has the power and the right to govern all things, but that He does govern all things) - must be defended against Open Theism.
- Contend for the virin birth of Jesus (this sounded almost random at first, but Driscoll referenced a question posed in Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis - basically asking would it really be so bad if we found out if Mary was not a virgin in Jesus' conception. Bell does not believe this is the case, but simply poses the question, implying that even if you take a few bricks out a theological wall, the wall still stands - a line of reasoning typical in postmodern Emergent circles. Discoll's response was less than flattering of Bell's musings. He emphasized that were this the case, it would not just be "removing a single brick" - it would undermine OT prophesies concerning Christ, etc., thereby undermining the very Word of God. He also emphasized the warnings of Scripture regarding adding to or taking from the Word of God - this does matter; God did that for a reason. Driscoll concluded, "Don't mess with Jesus' mother. I doubt He'd take it kindly.")
- Contend against Pelagianism (Briefly, Pelagianism is the assertion that there is no original sin. Man has the capacity to sin, but it is not inheirent in his nature. This is clearly contrary to Scripture's emphasis that we are born dead in our sins.)
- Contend for the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (maintains that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. God placed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and He bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins, which satisfied the wrath, the justice and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard.)
- Contend for the exlusivity of Jesus (there is no other means to salvation; nothing may be combined to or subtracted from Him.)
- Contend for biblical male/female gender roles
- Contend for the doctrine of Hell (Hell does exist, and you do want to be saved from going there. Interestingly, Driscoll pointed out that secular marketing does this far better than the church does - presenting your "personal hell" as allergies, backache, etc., then offering you a "savior" to get out of it.)
- Contend for the Kingdom over the culture (we tend to look at the Kingdom of God as something that is coming, which it is; but Scripture also presents the Kingdom as being present. We live in the tension of the "already" and the "not yet" but must keep a balance. To simply focus on culture while forgetting that the Kingdom of God is both present and coming is to have too small an aim.)
“We never get beyond the gospel in our Christian life to something more advanced. The gospel is not the first step in a stairway of truths… The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.
We are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience, but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal. 3:1-3) and are renewed (Col. 1-6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom. 1:16-17). …The key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual rediscovery of the gospel.”
NOTES (stuff that grabbed me):
This is the first time in Christian history the Church has had to evangelize to an inoculated culture (exposed to just enough Christianity to be familiar, but not deep). Our society is ex-Christian; Christianity has become a memory.
The gospel must recapture us and we must recapture the gospel if evangelism is to thrive in postmodernity.
The rest of my notes don’t really do this teaching justice. You should definitely check out the extended version.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
“Truth is under attack in modern American culture. Rare is the person who believes that there are facts that correspond with reality (truths) and that those facts are true for all people in all places and at all times. Common, however, is the man or woman who believes that all religions are the same (religious relativism), that tolerance is the ultimate virtue, and that there is a no absolute truth (philosophical pluralism).
Innocuous as these beliefs may seem, they are dangerous. They lead down a path filled with peril. If all religions are the same, then no religion is true. Moreover, if we believe there are no absolute truths, and all truths are equally valid, this will ultimately lead us to nihilism wherein all ideas lose their value. Ultimately the only thing that will matter is who has sufficient power to exercise his or her will.
Much of this capitulation to secular culture’s demands stems from the fact that over the years Christianity in America has been more American than Christian. …The fact is that what we believe determines how we behave. My goal is not to tell Christians what to do but to challenge what we believe. Currently much of what we believe is shaped by our culture and unfortunately much of what our culture believes on a fundamental level is diametrically opposed to biblical truth.“
NOTES (stuff that grabbed me):
Dr. Bauchman gave a superb apologetic contrast between Christian Theism (distilled, the worldview that Christ is supreme and over all) and postmodern Secular Humanism (belief in man, even and especially to the point of atheism). Below are the four questions of every human experience and the answers from the postmodern Secular Humanist (S.H.) and the Christian Theist (C.T.)
“Who am I?”
S.H.: You are nothing. You are an evolutionary accident, a single-celled organism gone wild - an ape that lost its hair and grew an opposable thumb.
C.T.: Who you are begins with who Christ is – Col. 1:5, 16. You are the crown jewel of God’s creation.
“Why am I here?”
S.H.: To make the best of it. To consume and enjoy.
C.T.: To recognize and reflect the supremacy of Christ. Nothing short of honoring and glorifying Him – Col. 1:17,18.
“What is wrong with the world?”
S.H.: There is insufficient education (people just don’t know any better than to act the way they do) or there is insufficient governing by those with greater education.
C.T.: We are what is wrong with the world. We are hostile toward the One who created us – Col. 1:19, 21
“How can what is wrong with the world be fixed?”
S.H.: We need more education, and more government.
C.T.: Only Christ can make things right. There is no other way; He is exclusive – Col. 1:22, 23
This is one of the best teachings I've heard in a while. Check out a more extensive rundown here, and make sure to grab the audio of the Desiring God site when they post it.
“It is only as the evangelical Church begins to put its own house in order, its members begin to disentangle themselves from all of those cultural habits which militate against a belief in truth, and begin to embody that truth in the way that the Church actually lives, that postmodern skepticism might begin to be overcome. Postmoderns want to see as well as hear, to find authenticity in relationship as the precursor to hearing what is said. This is a valid and biblical demand. Faith, after all, is dead without works, and few sins are dealt with as harshly by Jesus as hypocrisy. What postmoderns want to see, and are entitled to see, is believing and being, talking and doing, all joined together in as a seamless whole. This is the great challenge of the moment tf the evangelical Church. Can it rise to the occasion?
…We today are rapidly descending into serious inauthenticity. However, the people of God, across the ages, have also leaned that they can, indeed, recover their lost authenticity when they are willing to cry to God from the depths and make good on what has gone badly. Today is such a day, and God has always been, and always will be, the God of new beginnings.”
NOTES (stuff that grabbed me):
Unlike religions like Islam, Christianity today has no geographical center, no dominate race, tongue, or culture. Christ, then, holds all of Christiandom together – He alone is the incomparable Supreme.
The outcome of the Cross cannot ever be changed. Christianity is ONLY about a supreme Christ – unique, unchallenged, central in and to all things. This is the only Christ we are to preach.
For a complete transcript of Dr. Wells’ teaching, check out Challis.com.
Friday, September 29, 2006
I'm off the '06 DG Conference. Ought to be good. Pray that it will be. If I have internet access there, I'll try to give you a running commentary. If not, I'll hit you up with some conference posts post-conference.
In the meantime, you should definitely listen to this right now.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
From Al Mohler (President of SBTS):
Is NBC seriously concerned that any significant percentage of the nation's parents believe that God did not make their children special? Do they not want their children told that God loves them very much? Just what "one religious point of view" does this represent? In reality, this represents the fear among the media elite that any reference to God will transform them into religious broadcasters. That frightening thought led an NBC executive, Alan Wurzel, to tell The New York Times, "We are not a religious broadcaster." Who knew? [more]
From Phil Vischer (Original creator of VeggieTales):
...Just two weeks before the first three episodes had to be delivered to NBC, I was sitting at a meeting about the VeggieTales movie ... when the head of Big Idea leaned over to me and said, "NBC says we can't say 'God made you special and he loves you very much'." I think I turned visibly white. "How are we supposed to end the show, then?" I asked. He didn't have an answer.
Four days before the first three episodes were due to be delivered to NBC, we got an email from NBC's 'standards and practices' department with a list of lines that needed to be removed from one of those shows - every line that implied God or the Bible might have an impact on how we live our lives today. [more}
But seriously, am I all that worked up over VeggieTales? Not really (though I do think it's a shame to see the shift that will take place in something originally used to teach kids about God.) Cutting Bible- and God-references out of the show seemed like a pretty easy decision for NBC, especially since they are not condoning "any one religious point of view." I guess the more difficult decision for NBC is whether or not to broadcast a crucified Madonna. Double standard, anyone?
Monday, September 11, 2006
I assume you know what illusion is. But to clarify, when I say "security," I'm talking about it from the aspect of having some assurance of safety, even if that assurance is mental or physical, real or imagined. Security in this regard is also often defined as freedom from danger, risk, anxiety, etc. I want to make it clear that I am not talking about the believer's security of salvation here (for this is very secure); I am referring to the kind of security found in terms like "homeland security," "security guard" and "airport security checks."
In the wake of "recent terrorist activity" (that least-favorite buzzphrase that nonetheless seems to have forever infiltrated media vernacular), our government - God bless 'em - has instituted a variety of measures meant to increase security both within and beyond U.S. borders. This is not news to you. We've shuffled together, you and I, sock-footed and vulnerable, through airport metal detectors flanked by armed National Guardsmen.
And so, here we are on the five-year anniversary of 9/11, and we find outselves a nation and a people in so many ways obsessed with safety and security.
Now, to be fair, there is - and should be - a normal level of concern for the security of one's person or family. For example, I make sure the doors of my house are locked at night. I do not flash large sums of cash in public. I look both ways when crossing the street. I do not make jokes about bombs while traveling by airplane. I am glad we have police officers and military personel.
Furthermore, I think it is right of our government (or any government) to institute rational measures of security to protect its people from threat and harm. The need for such measures is simply indicative of the reality of a fallen world. And while such security measures may be instituted from the very least (looking both ways before you cross the street) to those of a more serious, widespread nature (national terrorist attack alerts), they are all, in the end... illusion.
To be continued...
Friday, September 08, 2006
Well, at least this guy seems to have a good handle on the situation. I'll keep saying it - watch your life and doctrine friends.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
All this talk about "conversation" ...I thought this guy was reformed, not emergent. Just kidding, Derek - and thanks for the freebie. Free is good.
It wasn't until the next day that the Lord reminded me of loaves and fish. You know the account - thousands of people fed by a couple loaves of bread and a few fish. What looked like an impossibility became reality in the hands of Jesus.
I was reminded of a well-known quote from Edward Everett Hale, a chaplain in the U.S. Senate in 1903; "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
So maybe I'll buy a video or a bracelet or write a check. I only have a few loaves and a couple fish. But it'll make a difference in Christ's hands.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Invisible Children is a film documentary by three North American twentysomethings who set out for "an adventure" and unwittingly find their way into the cramped hallways and crowded auditoriums of Ugandan towns, where the children hide. Today I previewed Invisible Children, which will be shown at the college/young professionals gathering I attend. The footage was both touching and disturbing and well beyond the typical African scenes of poverty and disshevelment; 8-year olds, so proficient in killing, it is all they know ("I get a headache if I don't see blood."); survivors of the raging civil war, their young bodies mutilated and brutalized; young escapees too desensitized to even cry for the loss of life and innocence ("Here, even fear is an understatement."); a boy, in a rare unguarded moment, sobbing for the loss of his best friend; children praying for their own deaths, so they can see their dead friends and family again.
I watched all that, then went to an air-conditioned restaurant where a generous friend paid $8.79 plus tip so I could eat a turkey burger with cheese, avacado and bacon. Afterwards, I went back to my windowed 2nd story office, stared at my $2000 dual-monitor computer, and drank a tall glass of cold water from a fountain down the hall. I drove home on my three-dollars-and-fifty-cents tank of gas in one of the two cars I own. I ate Thai leftovers for dinner with my wife. I got annoyed that I could not find the remote control with which to change the channel on my 31" television while sitting eight feet away on my plush couch (I suspect my remote is buried somewhere in the mass of toys my one-year-old had strewn about my living room as he played today.) I hugged my son goodnight and kissed his forehead as I lowered his sleepy head down in his crib. I told him I loved him and thanked Jesus that the Lord's Resistance Army would not, in all likelihood, steal him from me this night.
In all the comforts that surround me, I have been most uncomfortable this day.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Jesus never mentioned a lot of things, but that doesn't make any of them "right" simply on the grounds of omission. Weak exegesis leads to weak conviction, and weak conviction leads to weak morality, every time.
I would wager that the overwhelming majority of folk like Mr. Simmons simply support "the right for people to have control over their own bodies" or "the freedom to choose... whatever I want." That is to say - in my estimation - they are not defending abortion so much as they are defending an abstract idea of personal autonomy. Abortion is easy to support when it has has no real meaning or context outside of its association with "personal rights," "freedom of choice," and other ambiguous terminolgy. My guess is that Mr. Simmons has never seen an abortion and is sadly ignorant of what he is actually promoting. For a man of pastoral persuasion, that is uninformed ideology at best, blatant heresy at worst.
My humble thanks to Travis McSherley and the FUS gang for including some of my comments in their follow-up article.
The Boston Globe Article - Pious and Pro-Choice
FUS Response - Abortion is OK - The Bible Tells Me So
FUS Follow-Up Article
Abort73 - info about abortion (Thanks to Off the Wire for the referal to this site in one of his past posts. As a warning, some of the videos and the 'photographic evidence' sections are very graphic.)
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
At last weekend's Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Stanley touches on this issue as it relates to building the Church. Conference-goer Tony Morgan remarks, "Andy explained that God has never commanded him love the Church. He was commanded to love his wife. He was never commanded to build the Church. Jesus said He would do that. Instead, we get it backwards. We try to go build the church, and we pray that God will take care of our family."
As a vocational minister, there are certainly times (more often than I care to admit) that I am guilty of failing to find good balance between time spent at the church and time spent at home. While not to be taken to the extreme, (disproportional neglect of one area for the sake of the other), Stanley makes an interesting point - certainly worth consideration.
Check out the rest of Morgan's comments, including the impact this has had in Stanley's church and ministry, here.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
1. One book that changed your life: Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis (I consider this Lewis' quintessential work . It cleared out a lot of cobwebs in my early days) Bonus book: Wild at Heart by John Eldredge (While I don't endorse this book for its underlying theology, I will say much of Eldgredge's insights in this book resonated deeply with me when I read it; it served a good purpose in helping me deal with my tendancy towards passivity.)
2. One book that you've read more than once: The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul (This was the first "Christian" book I ever read. It completely rearranged how I viewed God. I try to read it annually.) Here are some bonus books I've read more than once: The Dark Tower Series & The Green Mile by Stephen King, Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, The Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore, The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman. I know, I know... they are not theology. I'm such a sinner. (My wife, by the way, will love that I have posted fiction. She loves fiction. She goes through like five a week. No joke. I call her fiction "brain candy." Look honey - I read brain candy too!)
3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Knowing God - J.I. Packer (Rich in both content and clarity - in my estimation, Packer does a great job of balancing theological soundness with grounded application and understandibilty. It's deep and wide; perfect for desert island reading.) Runners Up: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (a classic precursor to modern science fiction, giant squid included. Booyah.) and Desiring God by John Piper (you didn't think I'd get through this list without a Piper book, did you?)
4. One book that made you laugh: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Applicachaian Trail - Bill Bryson (Bryson's account of attempting to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail - Hi. Lar. Ious.)
5. One book that made you cry: Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls (I cried like a baby when that boy's dawgs got kilt. Tell no one.)
6. One book you wish had been written: I wish I knew.
7. One book you wish had never been written: The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God - R. Rice, J. Sanders, C. Pinnock, W. Hasker (In my opinion, challenges the "traditional" view of God simply on the basis that it is tradition, using weak theology to "save" God from culpability when "bad" things happen and presenting God as sovereignly ... not sovereign. I think. I think these guys present a dimished view of God by disproportionally promoting human will at the expense of more comprehensive theology proper.)
8. One book you're currently reading: The Mystery of the Lord's Supper - Robert Bruce (Old school sermons from Scotland on communion - solid. The old school was a good school.) Bonus books: The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (Ouch.) Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman & The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (Almost every night at bedtime.)
9. One book you've been meaning to read: Above All Earthly Pow'rs - David F. Wells (Comes highly recommended... and it was the inspiration for this year's Desiring God conference.)
10. Tag: You're it - GrahamCracka, The Diddy, TruittTwoFive, Neto, WildFlower, Allie the Jewish Girl, Good Will, Old Hops,
11. P.S. : Hey, at least I wrote something...
He moonwalks, cartwheels, and even breakdances. Truly amazing. How do people come up with this stuff?! Says The Diddy, "Dood... I asked him to take his mask off and he shook his finger at me. Mutumbo style." A word of warning though - don't ask him to get close. He will freak you out with his creepy chicken eye.
Friday, June 16, 2006
I'm not so sure about that...
Friday, May 12, 2006
Check out Off the Wire's thoughts on it. You'll find further observations on my part about Mr. Clark's teachings in the comments section.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Listen. (I think you'll especially like the remix at the end.)