Saturday, June 30, 2007
Oh, and there needs to be at least a hat tip to this amazing armless guitarist playing Tom Petty's Last Dance with Mary Jane.
Technorati Tags: music
Erik Mongrain - AirTap!
John Butler - Ocean
Andy McKee - Tight Trite Night
Technorati Tags: music
Friday, June 29, 2007
As N.T. Wright has written: “The Bible is not just an authoritative description of God’s plan…it is part of the story itself.“ The Bible is more than a fable or moral compass; it is a complex, rich, historical, spiritual, personal announcement of God in action in our lives and the entire world. It is not an inert story but a lively reality, an ongoing divine documentary that calls us to know, enjoy, and worship God as Yahweh, Jesus, and the Helping Spirit as our years unfold. The Bible is no mere story.
Technorati Tags: Scripture
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I wouldn't call them "our new trinity." Rather, we are just the first church to recognize their existence. They are Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and John Piper. After praying about it, we decided to give all three men a phone call just to be nice and all. Since we will be worshiping them, it only seemed appropriate. The only one we were able to talk directly to was John Piper. When we told him the situation, he was pretty straightforward. His words were something like, "You are wrong. The bible tells us there is only one trinity." With Rick Warren, we were only able to get in touch with one of his associate pastors at Saddleback. He said that he was "about 60% sure" that Pastor Rick would not be comfortable with his deification. As for Joel Osteen, he was at the dentist's office. We did talk to one of his three secretaries. She said he would send us an e-mail about it. Later that day we did get an e-mail from Joel that reads, "I don't want to advise you on this. Just do whatever will give you your best life now." We're going ahead with it. This will really meet a lot of needs within the congregation at Grass Pines. We are pretty sure that both Osteen and Warren will come around to our way of thinking. Piper might be more difficult. If he rejects his deity, then we will switch to our backup: James Dobson.
Technorati Tags: humor
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
9:00 AM - Group Assembly (Each day at this time, the Pastor Knox will model speaking in tongues to the children.)
9:30 AM - Children break up into age groups and head to 4 different 30-minute rotating stations. The 4 stations are entitled:
-"Learn to speak in tongues."
-"Learn how to interpret tongues."
-"Learn how to build a private prayer language."
-"Recreation" (Only speaking in tongues is allowed during kickball.)
11:30 AM - Group Assembly (Students are randomly chosen to perform speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues in front of the larger group.)
Here for full story.
Here the summary and implications for witness are outlined as follows:
1. God justifies people solely because of the work of Christ on the cross. This was accomplished 2000 years ago. But God the Father’s saving love is not only what Christ accomplished, but that he also sends his Spirit to our dead spirits.
2. The Holy Spirit awakens one dead in sin and gives the gift of saving faith. Any presentation of the Gospel will fall on deaf ears until the Spirit begins to "call." For most people their “awakening” is very much like waking up from sleep—it doesn’t happen immediately.
3. In the actual experience of coming to Christ, very few people have an adequate understanding of the work of the cross. The faith that is exercised to reach out to Christ is frequently based on very elementary knowledge. This can be seen in many Scriptural and contemporary examples of people coming to Christ.
4. Those who share the good news of the Gospel must be careful not to omit essential elements of the truth. At the same time it is vital to be sensitive to the realities of what is stated in #3. The beginnings of experiencing life in Christ should not be made to depend on understanding certain information, however true. (However people cannot truly come to Christ if they reject truths of the Gospel.) Life in Christ is a gift of pure grace, received by childlike faith, which is part of the gift. We come to believe in Jesus, however inadequately we may understand.
5. Spiritual growth of those who have begun with Christ is rooted in a deepening awareness of Jesus (the Gospels) and the cross (Romans). Assurance of salvation in Christ will come as new steps of understanding and obedience are taken. Do not talk people into assurance of faith, this is a witness of the Spirit.
Technorati Tags: soteriology
Monday, June 25, 2007
- These truths make me stand in awe of God and lead me into the depth of true God-centered worship
- These truths help protect me from trifling with divine things
- These truths make me marvel at my own salvation
- These truths make me alert to man-centered substitutes that pose as good news
- These truths make me groan over the indescribable disease of our secular, God-belittling culture
- These truths make me confident that the work which God planned and began, he will finish – both globally and personally
- These truths make me see everything in the light of God's sovereign purposes – that from him and through him and to him are all things, to him be glory forever and ever
- These truths make me hopeful that God has the will, the right, and the power to answer prayer that people be changed
- These truths reminds me that evangelism is absolutely essential for people to come to Christ and be saved, and that there is great hope for success in leading people to faith, but that conversion is not finally dependent on me or limited by the hardness of the unbeliever
- These truths make me sure that God will triumph in the end
Technorati Tags: Calvinism
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Come on can’t I dream for one day
There’s nothing that can’t be done
But how long should it take somebody
Before they can be someone
‘Cause I know there’s got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I’m feeling like it’s now or never
Can I break the spell of the typical
I’ve lived through my share of misfortune
And I’ve worked in the blazing sun
But how long should it take somebody
Before they can be someone.
Cause I know there’s got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I’m feeling like it’s now or never.
Can I break the spell of the typical.
I’m just the typical
Can I break the spell of the typical
Because it’s dragging me down
I’d like to know about when
When does it all turn around
- Romans 5:19 "For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."
- Psalm 51 "Have mercy on me, O God,according to your steadfast love;according to your abundant mercyblot out my transgressions.Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,and cleanse me from my sin. . . Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness;let the bones that you have broken rejoice.Hide your face from my sins,and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me. . . Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will return to you."
- Isaiah 6:7 "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."
- John 1:29 "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
- Acts 22:16 "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name."
- Hebrews 9:26 "..he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
- 1 John 3 "..Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. . .he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. . .Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous."
- Romans 6 "...can we who died to sin still live in it? . . .our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. . . So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. "
- Psalm 103 ". . .He does not deal with us according to our sins,nor repay us according to our iniquities.For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;as far as the east is from the west,so far does he remove our transgressions from us."
- Isaiah 43:25 "I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,and I will not remember your sins."
- 2 Cor 5:21 "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Technorati Tags: soteriology
- The Holy Spirit is the gift, the manifestations are sweet by-products of His presence
- The fruit of the Spirit is more important in daily Christian living than the gifts of the Spirit
- The gifts of the Spirit are given for the benefit of the body
- The Holy Spirit gives the gifts as He determines
- Each gift is valuable to the body
A community of people who, in the face of the tribulations they encounter, keep their eyes steadfastly on the reign of God by praying for its coming, by being its disciples, by proclaiming its presence, by working for peace and justice in the midst of hatred and oppression, and by looking and working toward God’s liberating future.
I like that - keep our eyes steadfastly on the reign of God. That's good enough to be in the Bible.
So to the point. I was relatively impressed with Frank Turk's post (except the jab at Bob "Bub" Hyatt) about Dan Kimball's They Like Jesus But Not The Church. Turk highlighted this quote from the book and followed it with some insightful and pointed questions.
I was embarassed about giving my friend this particular bible because all of the negative commentary would distract him from reading about having a positive relationship with Jesus. I wanted his experience of reading the Bible for the first time to be about who Jesus is. I wanted it to be about inner heart issues rather than select outward actions. ... I am all for telling people about sin, but we should do it in the right way, and at the right time.
I remember when I first read it I thought, "yuck, if that's true I don't think much of Kimball but knowing the Pyro guys, I wonder what the context is?" Turk did not attack Kimball, he did not attack the EC, and he even acknowledged that he did not read the entire book yet. At the same time, I'm convinced that he had the same reaction as I did to the extract, i.e., that's ugly, and since he seems like a very intelligent and insightful man, he had to predict that a high percentage of Pyro's huge readership would jump to, "yep, that's another good proof that the ECM sucks". Of course they wouldn't use the word "sucks".
My suspicion that all wasn't as it appears proved true as Kimball took time in the post comments to clarify. Here is an excellent example of grace, precision, and Christ-likeness.
Hello --- Dan Kimball here.
Frank - it is an honor you would choose to read "They Like Jesus, but not the Church" and I hope it will be encouraging and insightful to you about the mission of Jesus we are on in a post-Christian culture.
I have a couple of responses and give some input, as last time I was a focus on one of your postings, it got so out of hand in terms of assumptions being made. So to make sure that those reading and contributing to this, will not make assumptions as quickly I will post some responses straight from myself.
Sorry this is long, but I am passionate about being clear so there are no assumptions made from those who aren't reading the book.
1) Phil- in your you "cent" you wrote: "Even a noteless Bible would still include 1 Thessalonians 4:2-3; 1 Peter 4:1-5; Hebrews 12:16-17; Colossians 3:5-6; and a load of similar texts. Was Kimball planning to tear those pages out of the Bible before giving it to the cohabitating couple?"
If you read the rest of the story in the book, you would read that I went back to the church office and got him a normal Bible that did not have the highlighted and added boxes with notes. As I wrote in the book, I was not embarassed of the Scriptures, I was embarassed that this publisher chose to first focus and highlight so much on pointing out all the "don't do this" things, rather than focus on Jesus and who He is and about salavation etc. This was a unbeliever who I was giving his first Bible to, and I wanted the Scriptures themselves to be what he read, not have him see all the added boxes of human words pointing out the "don't do this" things. It was not the time to do that, I was simply giving him his first Bible. So in answer to your "cent", I ran back to the church and gave him a full Bible, all pages included, but not this one.
2) In the book I wrote who I think Jesus is on pages 56-57. I would tell someone who Jesus is (I am quoting what I wrote in the book) as:
"When I think of Jesus, I think of the triune God, who eternally exists in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coeternal in power and glory (Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14)...the one concieived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-31), a teacher who astonished people with his insight and authoritative teaching (Matt.7:28-29), how he wept for people, even though who rejected him (Luke 19:41, his heart was filled with compassion for people (Matt 9:36). I think of how he stood strong against the religious legalism of his day (Luke 20:19-20). I think of the one who not only drank wine, but provided it (John 2:1-11). I think of the one who didn't just sit in a holy huddle or point out thr wrongs of culture but hung out with sinners and ate with them (Matt 9:10). I think of the Jesus who was tempted and understood temptation yet was sinless (Heb 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). I think of the Jesus who was sent by God because of His great love for humanity to take on our sin (John 1:1-2,14,29; 3:16-21). I think of the Jesus who accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross as a substitionary sacrifice and then was bodily resurrected from the dead (Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24). I think of the Jesus who appeared to his disciples and said they have a mission not to create an inward focused community and to complain about the world, but rather to go out and with the power of the Spirit live missional lives, bringing the light of Jesus to others (Acts 1:8). I think of the Jesus who sees the church as his bride (Rev 21:2,9) and loves the church even when we disappoint him.
I think of the Jesus who is ascended into heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, he intercedes for us and serves as our advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Heb 7:25; 9:24). I also think, soberly, of the Jesus who will one day come again and judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5; Rom 14:9; 2 Tim 4:1). Jesus is our friend and friend of sinners, but he also is a righteous judge who will hold us accountable one day for how we lived our lives."
3) In regards to talking about "sin" with people, I have found that in the context of relationships people have no problem talking about sin. In our church, we talk about sin and repentance all the time. I wrote on page 256:
"If we water down our beliefs and hide who Jesus really is, we would be conforming to the world. Ironically, I have found that people who like Jesus but not the church want noting more than to talk about who Jesus really is and are willing to open the Bible and look at passages that address their questions. I have found that we can openly talk about our beliefs in sin, hell, human sexuality, holiness, repentance, and all the things we would feel difficult to talk about with people outside the church. But the key is how we do it. If we just start spouting our viewpoints or Bible verses without their asking for them or before they have come to trust us, they most likely will shut us out. But if people sense we care about them and can have honest discussion and dialogue with them, we cant alk about absolutely anything.
I recognize it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to repentance and their understanding of their need for a Savior. But we need to do our part."
I hope this helps those understand more about where I am personally coming from and beliefs I hold to which Frank is referring to.
Thank you! and sorry for the long post, but I am finding it better to be as clear as possible so people don't jump to conclusions. And even short (or long) blog comments, it is still hard to communicate the fullness of one's beliefs about something. But I hope this gives some more insight.
Peace in Jesus,
Turk makes a gracious gesture in return noting that he originally stated that he had not read the book in its entirety. From here the comments focus on some really good stuff on the true Jesus.
Your gracious tone is always a lesson to me, so thanks for posting here.
If it wasn't clear, I'll make it clear here that I haven't finished reaing your book and therefore whether you answered these questions later wasn't really my point. It's utterly unfair to judge a book by the first 113 pages when there's still 119 to go.
That said, since you stopped by, you can imagine that I really love detailed affirmations of who Jesus is. I -love- them. For me, it's like when someone asks me why I have a great marriage and I get to tell them about what a great wife I have. So I pronounce a formal TeamPyro "good on ya" for having such a detailed and useful affirmation of who Jesus is. Eventually I may ask you about the stuff you left out, but for now I'm silling to stipulate that it is at least as good as one any average SBC pastor might make.
Here's my question for you, based on that statement: is that the Jesus people say they like when they say they don't like the church? For example, is "the Jesus who will one day come again and judge the living and the dead" or "a righteous judge who will hold us accountable one day for how we lived our lives" or "who eternally exists in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coeternal in power and glory" the Jesus they love?
Your question was:
"is that the Jesus people say they like when they say they don't like the church? For example, is "the Jesus who will one day come again and judge the living and the dead" or "a righteous judge who will hold us accountable one day for how we lived our lives" or "who eternally exists in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coeternal in power and glory" the Jesus they love?"
No, not at all. The Jesus that people outside the church "like" is one more of a Gandhi-like person, who taught about love etc. So it isn't the biblical Jesus, but only what they have a very minimal understanding of. But the exciting part, is that because they respect what they know of him, it then opens the discussion about what the Bible does say about him.
And of course there is plenty about Jesus left out in that statement, but it wasn't an exhaustive list, but did hopefully describe some key things the Bible says about Him.
Thank you for asking!
And Turk closes with:
I like your answer, because it is exactly right.
Is that the Jesus people say they like when they say they don't like the church? No, not at all.
With that place of agreement, I am going to ask you to please be patient until I have finished off your book. I have other questions, and I am going to wait until I have the whole rest of the book under my belt before I ask them.
However, I am going to have a related post tomorrow here at TeamPyro about a different particular example on which I would love get your feedback.
So back to the beginning, too many Pryo-like writers use excerpts like Turk did and too many Pyro-like readers jump to broad judgments based on the small and often misrepresenting snapshots. I sure wish both sides would stop.
Oops, am I guilty of the same towards the Pyroites?
10. It is made certain by the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer (cf. John 10:14–16; 1 Cor. 2:10–16).
9. It was confirmed as the Word of God by Jesus Christ. As Christians, insofar as we believe in Jesus Christ, we must also believe that the Bible is the Word of God.
8. It continues to victoriously withstand the attacks of its critics. Despite attempts to undermine its message, the Bible has stood the test of time.
7. It stands alone among other books that claim to come from God, in both its external verifiability and its internal consistency (cf. Isaiah 41:21–23).
6. It changes the lives of individual people, through the power of the Spirit, transforming those who were slaves of sin into sons and daughters of righteousness (cf. Psalm 119:97–104, 130; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 3:1-2).
5. It is unsurpassed in its literary quality, moral ethic, and social impact as would be expected if God were its Source (cf. Psalm 119:137–144). It likewise possesses an inexhaustible richness (cf. Rom. 11:33–36) which satisfies the thirsty soul (cf. Psalms 1:2-3; 42:1).
4. It is marked by a clear and consistent message, despite being written by many human authors over a period of 1,500 years (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21).
3. It’s supernatural character has been validated by hundreds of fulfilled prophecies (cf. Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:24–27; John 5:39–47; 1 Cor. 15:3–4).
2. It is accurate in the areas in which it can be tested (such as science and history), and therefore credible in areas where it cannot be tested (such as faith) (cf. Psalm 119:160; John 17:17).
1. It explains us and our world in a way that perfectly corresponds to reality. In other words, it is the special revelation (Psalm 19:7–11) necessary to truly make sense of general revelation (Psalm 19:1–6; Romans 1, 2).
Actually the sequence is just made up to look like Dave Letterman's Top Ten Countdown. I like them all equally.
Technorati Tags: Scripture
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Bub - what are you thinking man!?!?
It's ok that some of you won't understand any of the above ... enjoy your innocence, don't try to figure it out.
Technorati Tags: Emerging Church
Humility, increasing love for Christ and his people, hunger for his Word, a joy in God for the intrinsic beauty of who he is rather than primarily for what that beauty can do for us . . . These are just a few of the dozen criteria that Edwards insists constitute the signs of the Spirit's activity in a person's life.
Any alleged religious affection or belief that does not bring us low so that Christ may be revealed and known as high is false. Edwards believed that a true grasp of the revelation of God's grace in the beauty of who Christ was and what he did will always bring us low in our own estimation and bring Christ high. Knowledge that puffs up or that breeds pride and arrogance is misguided and faulty. The affection of humility is the heartfelt desire to see Christ exalted and ourselves brought low. It is also the conviction that prevents us from constantly comparing ourselves with others because we are too busy fixing our gaze on the glory of Christ Jesus.
I also think the reason why Edwards focused so much on humility as an undeniable sign of the Spirit's presence is because it is so contrary to human nature. Nothing comes more unnaturally to us than humility. We are by nature, birth, and choice inclined to promote ourselves, regardless of what it may cost. That a person would willingly go low so that Christ might go high, if I may so speak, is a clear indication of the work of the Spirit.
Technorati Tags: spiritual gifts
Shutdown Season: Willow Creek Community Church Will Close its Doors for the Summer
SOUTH BARRINGTON, IL – In perhaps the most extreme example to date of churches halting ministries during the traditionally slower summer months, Willow Creek Community Church – one of America's prototypical mega-churches – has decided to close its doors until after Labor Day.
"The church leadership took a look at where attendance and giving were last summer, and when you look at the numbers, the case for closing shop just makes a lot of sense," said Willow Creek Senior Pastor Bill Hybels. "For years we've been trying to justify the expense of operating throughout the summer when schools are closed and people are on vacation. We just couldn't do it any more. If people are going to put their spiritual growth on hold until September anyway, why should the church fight it?"
According to the article, not everyone is happy ...
"We had skits rehearsed and ready to go for every Sunday in the summer," said Willow Creek Drama Team Leader Leah Cress. "Now all that work is completely worthless. It's not gonna make much sense to perform a theatrical representation of the importance of beach evangelism in the dead of winter, now is it?"
Read here for the complete story.
“We somehow think that the Church is here for us; we forget that we are the Church, and we’re here for the world.” - Erwin McManus
"The Church's responsibility is not only to hold to the basic, Scriptural principals of the Christian faith, but to communicate these unchanging truths 'into' the generation in which it is living. Every generation has the problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age. It cannot be solved without an understanding of the changing existential situation which it faces." - Frances Schaeffer
"No man has any moral right to go before the people who has not first been long before the Lord. No man has any right to speak to men about God who has not first spoken to God about men. And the prophet of God should spend more time in the secret place praying than he spends in the public place preaching." - A.W. Tozer
Thursday, June 14, 2007
My big concern is that with the collapse of the religious right there isn’t a mature and responsible Christian response that will fill the gap in a constructive way.
And I’m also concerned that the religious right will have left such a bad taste in the mouth of both the political world and the culture at large that there will be a reaction against any expression of faith in the public sphere. So this to me is a danger, but we have to do what we can.
What we should be asking is, how do we help our government be the kind of government that is pleasing to God? What I would hope is that people who are in the Republican Party who are followers of Jesus would use every bit of their energy and power to help the Republican Party reflect more and more the values of Jesus. And that Democrats who follow Jesus would do everything in their power to help the Democratic party do the same thing more and more. Now in that way, you are actually more aligned, you’re a stronger ally, with your fellow Christian in another party than you are with the people in the same party who have no higher allegiance than their partisan agenda.
He adds this sad but true commentary ...
[B]eing a follower of Christ has become, in a way, a subset of being conservative or liberal.
The toplines are:
- Show Respect for the Persons with Whom You Differ
- Give Your Opponent Accurate Definitions of Your Key Ideas
- When in Doubt, Put an Orthodox Construction on Your Opponent's Words
- Never Attribute to Your Opponent More Than He Asserts
- Suspect a Man's Judgment Before You Suspect His Sincerity
- Be Ready to Believe That the Truth Is Larger Than You Have Understood It to Be
One of the reasons for Francis Schaeffer's influence was his ability to present his analysis of the culture with a tear in his eye. Whether or not one agrees at every point with his analysis, and regardless of how severe his judgments were, one could not responsibly doubt his compassion, his genuine love for men and women. Too many of his would-be successors simply sound like angry people. Our times call for Christian leaders who will articulate the truth boldly, courageously, humbly, knowledgeably, in a contemporary fashion—and with profound compassion. One cannot imagine how the kind of gospel set forth in the Bible could be effectively communicated in any other way... [We] serve the One who, on seeing large crowds, "had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd" (Mark 6:34; cf. Matt. 9:36).
We must learn to understand Jesus' powerful deeds in the perspective of the cross. Paul (1 Co 1.2-4), Mark (Mk 15.39), Luke (Acts 4.8-20), and the other New Testament writings as well, do not try to prove Jesus' divinity from the miracles. They rather try to express the meaning of Jesus' miracles starting from the cross.
This is excellent. Some would like to simplify the meaning of miracles as confirmation of the divinity of Christ. R.E. Brown writes:
From the time that Quadratus made apologetic use of the Gospel miracles in his Apology to Hadrian (c. A.D 125) the interpretation of the miracles seems to have been inextricably bound up with the defense of the Christian faith. While the apologetic usefulness of the miracles has had the advantage of leading the best theological minds in the Church to study and comment on it, this constant apologetic coloring of the exegesis of the Gospel miracles has been a mixed blessing.
That is, while there is usefulness in looking at miracles through an apologetic lens, we get too wrapped up in that and miss the real point. One could argue from Scripture that miracles in and of themselves really mean nothing (Mt 7.22; 24.23-25). There were are plenty of others working miracles outside of Christ and His disciples. Miracles are not meant to prove but to reveal and to explain.
Additionally, on one hand, Jesus sees miracles as a sign and a call (Mt 11.2-6, 20-24) while on the other hand He tries to avoid publicity and refuse to perform the miracles expected of Him (Mt 4.1-11; 12.38-40, Mk 8.11-13).
So what's the deal? Start with the cross and look to the future. Miracles serve to reveal and explain. And praise God that He is the God that moves in space-time history.
The first priority of the church is not mission but confession. Any emphasis on being missional that is not already clear on what it means to be confessional will misrepresent the person and work of Christ and hinder the work of the church.
I like it. Being missional is right-on but one can be missional for all of the wrong reasons or become missional focussed such that the real target is missed. The point Downes makes is that right doctrine (and heart) demands missions while missions does not necessarily demand right doctrine and spirit.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
[T]he function of our own obedience, flowing from faith--that is, our own good works produced as the fruit of the Holy Spirit—is to make visible the worth of Christ and the worth of his work as our substitute-punishment and substitute-righteousness. God’s purpose in the universe is not only to be infinitely worthy but to be displayed as infinitely worthy. Our works of love, flowing from faith, are the way Christ-embracing faith shows the value of what it has embraced. The sacrifices of love for the good of others show the all-satisfying worth of Christ as the One whose blood and righteousness establishes the fact that God is for us forever.
Our obedience does not add to the perfection and beauty and all-sufficiency of Christ’s obedience in securing the reality that God is for us; it displays that perfection and beauty and all-sufficiency. Our works of love are as necessary as God’s purpose to glorify himself. That is, they are necessary because God is righteous—he has an eternal and unwavering commitment to do the ultimately right thing: to make the infinite value of his Son visible in the world.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A Dutch smoking ban will come into force in July next year for all restaurants and cafes -- including coffee shops where cannabis is the top attraction, the government decided on Friday.
The rest of the story ....
I wonder if that is tobacco only or will it include marijuana (aunt mary, boom, chronic, dope, ganja, gangster, grass, hash, herb, kif, mary jane, pot, reefer, sinsemilla, skunk, weed, 3750, 420, 51, A-bomb, Acapulco gold, Acapulco red, Ace, Afgani indica, African, African black, African bush, African woodbine, Airplane, Amp joint, Angola, Ashes, Assassin of Youth, Astro turf, etc., Zig Zag man, Zoi, Zooie, Zoom)?
Technorati Tags: current events
If Christianity has anything to say at all, if it has a message worth repeating at all, then at the core is Christ. And not just a facet of Christ or an idea about Christ, not just a theory about Christ's birth or death or resurrection or teaching or deity, but Christ himself, Christ the person, Christ the figure who came to us in the story we call the gospel.
In news that is both shocking and rocking the evangelical world, Rick Warren announced this weekend that he is now a Calvinist and is joining up with the ranks of C.J. Mahaney, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan to support Together for the Gospel.
Complete story at Tominthebox
Monday, June 11, 2007
I think the only thing missing was the "backsides out" advise. While this is not always required in that it depends on the nature of the hug, it's generally safer.
Technorati Tags: humor
Sunday, June 10, 2007
See Tominthebox for details on the new TNAIRSECCLKJMV.
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” - Mk 9.14-29
I've thought of it relative to "level of faith" for healing. I've thought of it relative to understanding prayer and fasting. I've thought of it relative to the linking of the demonic and physical ailment. While I don't think I'm changing my mind on any of that, today I'm reading it as the father of the boy having faith yet still needing help with his unbelief. His unbelief was overcome when as he saw Jesus clearly. It's not really about the boy, the miracle, the inability of the disciples to do the same, etc.. It's about a man who came face to face with the only one capable of overcoming the power of Satan in our lives.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” - Jn 6.25-29
As I blogged before, a miracle is a divine activity in an event in a clearer way than usual. It is a sign which refers to the God who is always near and directing things. To see an event as a sign of salvation requires a salvation consciousness. To speak of a miracle is to emphasize the revelatory character of an event and the divine power manifested in the event. Our emphasis is not on the wondrous element as such but more on the theological and symbolic character.
Whether it's a Bible story of a miracle work of Christ or it is a contemporary example of the Kingdom of God breaking into someone's life, our analysis should not be to determine the formula for this nor to seek more of the miracle, but instead it is to see more clearly the King behind the redemptive act. It is in this that our unbelief can be helped.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
The most vocal critics of Edwards and the Awakening were those who tended to identify the essence of Christianity with intellectual accuracy. In other words, true religion consisted primarily in proper thinking, moderate living, and a sophisticated cultural style. The passions or affections of zeal and love and joy and fear and yearning were a threat to the standard way of doing things in those days. They seemed unruly and out of order, if not chaotic.
Edwards himself certainly insisted on theological precision and decency in all of life, but he also believed that when truth is properly apprehended it awakens and inflames white hot affections for Christ. It's not a matter of either / or but of both / and. Edwards insisted on both right thinking and vibrant affections. For many of the established clergy in his day, the latter were a constant threat to the integrity and validity of the former. But Edwards refused to allow our emphasis on one to exclude the validity of the other.
Technorati Tags: Kingdom of God
Just kidding. I always dreamed that ZZ Top would make some Christian tunes but this ain't them ... and from what I can make out from the lyrics, I'm reluctant to qualify the Winter Band as Christian ... but doesn't that cat (Pastor Steve Winter) remind you of Billy Gibbons, who by the way is nicknamed "Reverend Willie G."? Coincidence? I don't think so.
Don't Be Deceived
I can hear it now, I Thank You "Christainized" ...
You didn't have to love me like you did
But you did, but you did.
And I thank you.
You didn't have to love me like you did
But you did, but you did.
And I thank you.
But you took your love to the cross
I wouldn't know what it meant to be loved to death ...
I want to thank you
I want to thank you
I want to thank you
Yes, I want to thank you
Oh, and for the record, I do believe in the Trinity.
"the nature of the message validates the messenger ..." That's wonderful!
Technorati Tags: Emerging Church
Friday, June 08, 2007
Now the death of the Lord Jesus is absolutely unique. It is substitutionary. There is no parallel death to Jesus' death—his must stand as absolute in our thinking. His substitutionary death on the cross, in space and time in history, had infinite value because of who he is as God. Thus nothing need be added to the substitutionary value of his death, nor can anything be added. He died once for all. Having said that as forcefully as we can state it, we add that, nevertheless, in Luke 9:22-24, we find Christ puts forth a chronological order. In verse 22: "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day." The order is in three steps: rejected, slain, raised. This speaks of his coming unique and substitutionary death, yet this order—rejected, slain, raised—is immediately related by Jesus Christ himself, in verses 23 and 24, to us, the Christians. "And he said unto them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself [renounce himself], and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will loose himself for my sake, the same shall save it." Here Jesus takes this order that was so necessary for our redemption in the unique substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ and applies it to the Christian's life. The order—rejected, slain, raised—is also the order of the Christian life of true spirituality; there is no other.
If we forget the absolute uniqueness of Christ's death, we are in heresy. As soon as we set aside or minimize as soon as we cut down in any way, as the liberals of all kinds do in their theology, on the uniqueness and substitutionary character of Christ's death, our teaching is no longer Christian. On the other hand, let us remember the other side of this matter. If we forget the relationship of this order to us as Christians, then we have a sterile orthodoxy, and we have no true Christian life. Christian Life will wither and die; spirituality in any true biblical sense will come to an end.
—Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality
Technorati Tags: soteriology
- Worship: A life transforming performance for God and the world.
- Word: A life transforming performative document that is intended to be learned and lived out through the Christian community.
- Witness: A life transforming participation in the community of God that reveals Jesus to the world.
Technorati Tags: discipleship
- a means to an end
- a strategy or method for ministry
- a vendor of religious services
- a group is just "for me"
So tell me, what did I miss?
Technorati Tags: ecclesiology
It is a controversy that has been brewing now for almost ten years at Piney Hills Baptist Church in Memphis. At various times during the year the subject comes up, and each time the division between the factions within the church only grows deeper. The whole issue surrounds the pronunciation of the word "naked."
On one side of the issue is the church's pastor, Paul Billingsley.
"The word is pronounced 'nay-ked' just like it's spelled" said Billingsley. "I have no idea why these people want to make such a big deal over how I say it."
But on the other side of the issue is the church's associate pastor, Jeff Cummings.
"I know that it's spelled 'n-a-k-e-d' but you say it like 'nekkid'" said Cummings. "That's just the way to say it. To say 'nay-ked' sounds so 'hoity-toity' and smarty."
Tominthebox has the complete story.
Technorati Tags: humor
If you watch the news, it does seem as though people see the advent of the iPhone as bigger than the Second Coming.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Some thoughts on how worship is done by John Piper (emphasis mine).
1) God-Centeredness. Our worship must have a vertical focus. The ultimate aim is to experience God in such a way that he is glorified in our affections.
2) Expecting the powerful presence of God. We do not just direct ourselves toward him. We earnestly seek his drawing near according to the promise of James 4:8. We believe that in worship God draws near to us in power, and makes himself known and felt for our good and for the salvation of unbelievers in the midst.
3) Bible-based and Bible-saturated. The content of our singing and praying and welcoming and preaching and poetry should always conform to the truth of Scripture. But more than that, the content of God's Word should be woven through all we do in worship and will be the ground of all our appeal to authority.
4) Head and heart. The elements of our worship service should aim at kindling and carrying deep, strong, real emotions toward God, especially joy, but should not manipulate people's emotions by failing to appeal to clear thinking about spiritual things based on shareable evidences outside ourselves.
5) Earnestness and intensity. We will try to avoid being trite, flippant, superficial, or frivolous, but instead will aim to set an example of reverence and passion and wonder and broken-hearted joy.
6) Authentic communication. We utterly renounce all sham, deceit, hypocrisy, pretense, affectation, and posturing. We do not pursue the atmosphere of artistic or oratorical performance, but the atmosphere of a radically personal encounter with God and truth.
7) The manifestation of God and the common good. We expect and hope and pray (according to 1 Cor. 12:7) that our focus on the manifesting of God is good for people and that a spirit of love for each other is not incompatible with, but necessary to, authentic worship.
8) Undistracting excellence. We will try to sing and play and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry or by excessive finesse, elegance, or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through. We will invest in equipment good enough to be undistracting in transmitting heartfelt truth.
9) The mingling of historic and contemporary music. No church or service can be all things to all people. But we do not value stylistic narrowness. We believe there are affections owing to God that different tunes and different texts and different genres may awaken better than others. We will strive to be who we are without exalting our own tastes as the standard of excellence or power. We will see God's guidance in each worship setting to be both indigenous and stretching.
I thank God for His renewed stirring in my spirit to worship Him.
Technorati Tags: worship
Fellowship: A Necessary Ingredient - by Jim Burns
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching. — Hebrews 10:24,25
The Bible calls the church "the bride of Christ…" God loves the church even with all of her inconsistencies. I honestly believe that you cannot be all God intends you to be without experiencing the intimate fellowship that the church has to offer. The church is not a place for you to come, sit, and be entertained. You are a part of the church. You have a job. The church is like a lifesaving station, and this story helps me get a better perspective of what the church of Jesus Christ is all about and what my role in the church should be. On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew.
Some of the members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club's decoration, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half drowned people. They were dirty and sick. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.
As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.
Technorati Tags: ecclesiology
Father Scott's Ten Rules about Weddings - Advice to couples engaged to be married.
1) This is your wedding. It should be the way you want it to be, within the bounds of Christian marriage, our church's tradition, and the dictates of good taste. Expectations of family and friends are always a secondary consideration.
2) The only things necessary for a wedding in this state are a bride, a groom, a license, and two witnesses. Anything else (dresses, flowers, etc.) is simply ornament and unnecessary for a beautiful and moving wedding ceremony.
3) Relationships are more important than ceremonies. A wedding lasts 15 minutes. A marriage lasts a lifetime. My primary concern is with your relationship with each other, with God, and with me.
4) A wedding is supposed to transform two individuals, not into a couple, but into a church. The only reason for a couple to seek Holy Matrimony in the Christian faith is because they want Jesus Christ to be the Lord, not only of Life, but of their household as well. Christian commitment cannot be realized without a mutual commitment to holiness of life.
5) Couples must worship together to maintain a mutual spiritual foundation. Participating in the life and work of a church makes marriage stronger. Attendance at worship is necessary for the vitality of a relationship both before and after a wedding. Couples who wait until they have children to become active in a church wind up with "kiddie" religion.
6) Weddings should be fun. If you are not enjoying the process of planning your wedding, you are doing something wrong. See me for corrective measures.
7) Something will go wrong at your wedding. Something always does. Count on it, and when it happens, don't let it bother you. It will give you something to talk about for years.
8) Many couples miss their own wedding. The swirl of emotion and excitement tends to obscure a couple's ability to enjoy the wedding. Take great care to
work on calm centering before the ceremony so that you may enjoy it fully.
9) Everyone gets the jitters. But feelings of dread, regret, remorse, or depression may indicate a deeper problem. Problems can be solved! Call me and
talk about it.
10) Alcohol and weddings don't mix. Alcohol has been at the root of every significant problem I have experienced in years of weddings. You may think a
glass of champagne prior to the ceremony is harmless, but alcohol added to the stress of the day can have disastrous results. Abstain.
My personal addition to the list ... have the wedding, reception, whatever-you-feel-you-need-to-have early in the morning and get out of there at a reasonable time. Go enjoy that honeymoon!
Since both of No-blog's children are now married, perhaps they would comment on how well he did relative to instilling these principles
Technorati Tags: marriage
Pope continues ... a mature and equipped believer is someone who:
1) is living consistently under the control of the Holy Spirit, the direction of the Word of God, and the motivation of the love of Christ
2) has discovered, developed and is using their spiritual gifts
3) has learned to effectively share their faith, while demonstrating radical love that amazes those it touches
4) gives evidence of being a:
- faithful member of God's church
- an effective manager of life, relationships and resources
- a willing minister to others including "the least of these"
- an available messenger to non-Kingdom people
- gospel driven
- worship focused
- morally pure
- evangelistically bold
- discipleship grounded
- family faithful
- socially responsible
Technorati Tags: discipleship
It isn't enough to simply get a little religion into your life. When we are consumed with adoration and worship for the Creator, we are becoming the men and women to whom God wants to entrust his kingdom. God is purchasing men for himself to be a kingdom whose reign will be felt and known on the earth. He is stirring, stimulating, marking, touching, blessing, healing, and calling a people to himself and he is forming and preparing them to be a kingdom of people who will reign.
Ro 11.36 - For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.
Technorati Tags: worship
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Psalms 102:12 exalts God, "But You, oh Lord, sit enthroned forever.”
As we acknowledge the greatness of God and His supreme position over all creation, we become aware of our own limitations. This discovery drives us to worship, as it should.
Williarn Temple says “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God and to devote the will to the purpose of God.” Can you see how all-encompassing worship is?
It is then that God is enthroned by our praises. The enthroning process is one in which we readily admit that he is God and we are not. Our praises remind us of God's holiness, truth and beauty. We lift up the Lord to his proper place in our lives when we devote ourselves to his leadership and love. This exercise is not merely a church ritual, but a necessary discipline and privilege. We are changed when we worship.
I used to love to sing a little chorus I learned in the church years ago when I was first converted called, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” It beautifully illustrates the power of worshipping the Lord and the impact it will have on our lives.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full into his glorious face, and the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” To see Jesus in his perfection, holiness and beauty takes the air out of ungodly motivations. We can be preoccupied with all kinds of worries, gadgets, relationships and distractions when we come to worship the Lord. But when we get in personal contact with the Author of Life itself, our perspective is renewed.
J. I. Packer says, “Worship in the Bible involves praising him for what He is, thanking him for what He has done, and desiring him to give Himself more glory by further acts of mercy, judgement and power, and trusting in him for our concerns for our own and others’ future well-being.”
Dr. Packer has grasped the true essence of worship. As we interact with God, we will find ourselves more and more satisfied in him and less and less satisfied with the things that have attracted or enticed us.
Technorati Tags: worship
Becoming true worshippers is the chief assignment God has given us in this lifetime. God is bringing the church to her knees to teach her how to express in intimate, loving, adoring language, her love for him and her appreciation of his blessing and loving care. In addition to what we traditionally define as worship, the Lord calls us to live a life of worship. The Word, our walk with Christ and the works of the church as a whole are all expressions of worship. They necessarily flow out of a heart that is devoted to worshipping the Lord.
Traditional expressions of worship come in the form of songs sung and prayers and praises offered. For some, it is easy to get side tracked or annoyed by someone sitting next to you whose expression in worship may be more exuberant and free than you are comfortable with. Some people are tempted to think, “I'll never learn to be this expressive with my body or hands.” But I want you to know, you will. You will either learn it here or there, that is heaven, because you are going there, and that's what everyone does there.
Worship is not about personality, temperament, personal limitations, church background, or comfort. It is about God. We are called to do it for his benefit, not ours. Yet the irony is that we do indeed benefit greatly when we give ourselves to worshipping God. We've been designed to worship. It is our destiny.
In John 4:23, Jesus addresses the woman at the well by teaching her the heart of the Father as regards worship. He says, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” He is and has been actively seeking worshippers since he created Adam and Eve.
Right at the heart of this message is that God is calling a people out for himself to worship him. This is not some kind of ego trip because poor old God has a bad self- image. He doesn't need to be buttered up by the loving things we say.
Quite the opposite is true. God knows that the greater good in all eternity is him. Learning this truth and expressing it to him causes us to draw near to the source of all blessing which is God himself.
As we discover and experience the majesty of God, the reality of his presence in our lives, and his availability to us in our times of need, we will be unable to keep from worshipping him. It is a natural and forgone response.
Technorati Tags: worship