Thursday, January 31, 2008

America Does Like Jesus, But Not The Church

Here is a clip from CNN interviewing Ed Stetzer about the offense of the follwer and that Christians today do have a bad name, and many 44% of people are annoyed by them.

Dang so I guess throwing my bible at that one guy and yelling at him to repent and believe was not a good approach. (Just kidding, I did not do that, so don't email me)

Props: Ed Stetzer

Can a Christian Play Secular Music??

Bob Kaughlin over at "Worship Matters" dives into this question, click on any of the below lines for full article:

The most important question to ask (and sometimes the most difficult to answer) is, “What are my motives for wanting to be involved in secular music?”

A Christian’s success in the general marketplace is no sign one way or the other that the kingdom is advancing or the Gospel is being proclaimed.

Secular music doesn’t necessarily mean godless or anti-Christian.

Props: Coram Deo

The Real Matt Jones

Matt is one of the leaders of The Well our church's college gathering, as well as a worship leaders when needed.

Matt is an amazing songwriter an muscian, he is featured in today's Daily Lobo, the University of New Mexico's newspaper. He will be holding a CD Release concert on Friday, Feb 1, 2008 at Ralli's Pub in downtown Albuquerque at 7pm. I cannot recommend this dude strongly enough, he is a great guy, a brother, and a friend, and above that he is uber talented!!

From the Daily Lobo:
Matt Jones likes his music squeaky clean.

"I feel like we could go spend $200, buy a guitar and never tune it, and then play it and release a record and try to get a buzz on it, because it's like something new and something different," Jones said. "But it wouldn't be what we were doing, and it wouldn't be real as far as we're concerned."

The Real Matt Jones released the album Passerby on Tuesday. Jones and bass player Lance Kelly will perform at a release party Saturday at Ralli's Fourth Street Pub and Grill, at 109 Fourth St. N.W.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We Are A Stuff Driven Culture

This talk about a tax rebate given by the government is an interesting one that is about one thing...stuff. We are a culture that is so consumer dependent that the only way the government keeps us economically afloat is to make sure we are buying more stuff at a quicker rate. This rebate is not about giving the American people money in order to save for Johnny's college fund, it is there so we will get it and then in turn spend it on stuff. America's ideal is the status that stuff gets us, that is why we work, why we save money, so we can get shiner toys. I am convicted cause I often, way way too often bow my knee to the altar of new things to buy.

Here is a quote regarding what this tax rebate is all about:

Lawmakers hope the rebates and business incentives will spur consumer and corporate spending and keep the economy from dipping into a recession before the November presidential and congressional election.

Props: Reuters

What Christianity Offers PostModernity..

and where it draws the line:

“What we (Christians) have to offer, I contend, is a missional hermeneutic of the Bible. The Bible got there before postmodernity was dreamed of- the Bible which glories in diversity and celebrates multiple human cultures, the Bible which builds its most elevated theological claims on utterly particular and sometimes very local events, the Bible which sees everything in relational, not abstract, terms, and the Bible which does the bulk of its works through the medium of stories.

All of these features of the Bible-cultural, local, relational, narrative-are welcome to the postmodern mind. Where the missional hermeneutic will part company with radical postmodernity, is in its insistence that through all this variety, locality, particularity and diversity, the Bible is nevertheless actually the story. This is the way it is. This is the grand narrative that constitutes truth for all. And within this story, as narrated or anticipated by the Bible, there is at work the God whose mission is evident from creation to new creation. This is the story of God’s mission. It is a coherent story with a universal claim. But it is also a story that affirms humanity in all its particular cultural variety. This is the universal story that gives a place in the sun to all the little stories.” (p. 47, The Mission of God, by Christopher Wright)

More on Kenya-Uganda-USA

The picture is of a family burned to death in Kenya over the recent political unrest, do we get this reality in our suburban 4 bedroom houses?? Here is a great quote from Jenni's blog "So...":

"i know we have a slew of problems in our country. and honestly, i wonder if some day we will end up with rebellions and overthrow of the government based on political and social prejudice - if our constitution will no longer be a set-in-stone law of the land. i actually think the problems that face the u.s. and europe are possibly as severe as third-world countries; but, they are the opposite problems. instead of too little, we have too much. instead of diseases without vaccines and medical care, we have too much ethically-compromised options (cloning, micro-chips, un-ending life support). instead of obvious safety concerns that bring noticed chaos and violence, we have an delusioned hope of creating a safe-zone utopia which breeds judgment and blame for all kinds of things that are just natural parts of life. instead of obvious prejudices, we live in the cover of judgment and condemnation of people that we wouldn’t ever admit exists (toward different races, people with sexual struggles, immigrants, etc) - under an illusion of love and grace. instead of abject poverty and starvation, we exist in a world of encouraged gluttony and materialism. and on and on.

it’s just that….we have more ability to change this, i think. in some ways maybe we know better. we have so much stuff and money. but, we could be more giving. we could change that. we could stop our gluttony. whereas, over there, there just isn’t food - they can’t really stop their hunger. here, we have experience freedom and a democratic process; we have grown in our understanding of people’s racial and ethnic difference. but there, an attempt at a democratic process has been forced onto tribal people groups who are yet to grasp western living and politics. (the similarities between the rez here and stuff there is stunning!!! i could go on and on about it!)

and mostly, we can fellowship with people who follow christ. we can walk into a building and connect with a church family. we can get a bible. we have the answers to the problems. only, we don’t access it. we don’t let it change us often times. granted, ppl in africa very well might not access it either, if they had it more. they might not change either. but, at least we have the chance. "

I really encourage to read this whole blog very good, very convicting, very encouraging. With all this going on in Africa and even here in the USA what does it mean to be a Christ follower, to be a doer of the Word not just a hearer of the Word?

Zach has a link to the Yahoo News Article concerning this horror going on.

Props: So...

African Soccer on The Rise, Watch Out Beckham!

"Imagine most of baseball's Latin American sluggers returning home en masse to miss a full month of games midway through a regular season, and you'll get some idea of what European pro soccer is currently experiencing. Depleted squads; the general level of play noticeably weakened; and standings shaken up as teams surge or falter as a result of the exodus of so many star performers. The cause of the exodus? The African Cup of Nations, a biennial tournament that pitches the continent's 16 top national teams against one another in a mini-World Cup whose quality now rivals the regional competitions of South America and Europe."

I have always wondered why soccer never caught on here in America. I truly wonder if white America is so obsessed with being dominate that a sport that we flat out are not that good in, in comparison with Latinos or Africans, we are not that stoked on. Is that the reason we are so into football here, because America is the best at this sport, and could that explain the drop off in interest in baseball with Haitians and Cubans dominating recently. We love to claim USA #1 in everything, basketball, football, bad economies...and anything we are not #1 in eh, not so important.

Props: Time

Not Just a Congregant but the Pastor Too...

HT: Crummy Church Signs


It is easy to get wrapped up in our lives, and to look at our economy here in America and feel like the sky is falling. Do we live in this reality that is going on right now??

More than 860 people have been killed and more than 200,000 displaced in the turmoil, the Red Cross said. The Red Cross has put the number at 863. There was no fresh violence reported in Kenya Wednesday.

If this was in Iowa and not Kenya I promise this would be on the news before the presidental primary, or even Britney Spears updates!

Props: CNN

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

Driscoll On Predestination

For those that think that God is not loving because He does not give us "free will" Mark Driscoll pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has a great response.

They Like Jesus, Not The Church

I read this book about a year ago, and recommend it to all. Especially to men and women in ministry as we work to evangelize and proclaim the Kingdom in all areas of life. Dan Kimball has now come out with a DVD set that is based on the book, he has taken the people that were in the book and interviewed them for the videos. Whether you think this is just another thing by the Emergent Village people that we should label as liberal or not is not the point. These are real people, with real opinions, these are people that are like many that are at the University of New Mexico right now, or at Starbucks. We need to listen, we need to be culturally aware of what is going on. We cannot simply throw rocks at culture, because as Mark Driscoll says, people live in culture, and no one likes to have rocks thrown at your house.

Click Here for more on this DVD set.


Click Here to Order Kimball's newest book "I like Jesus but Not the Church: Following Jesus without Following Organized Religion"

Props: (Emergent Village)

Money, It's Gotta Be The Shoes

For many years I would salivate over the thought of owning a pair of "Air Jordans" sure they cost my parents a small fortune, more than enough to feed, provide medical care and education for a kid in Uganda for 7 months, but they are Jordans I would reason. I have since been convicted and devastated over my materialism and "need" for those things, but for ole' times sake here is a Time Photo Journal of the last 23 years of Jordans. Yes Jordans are named so after Michael Jordan the greatest athlete to ever live, heck my daughters name is Jordyn, coincidence, I think not :)

Props: (Time)


I realize I have taken a couple of days to finish up my summary of what went on in STL, but good things come to those who wait!

The last 2 days were jammed packed just like the previous ones. Friday we dove right into the general epistles (James, Jude, Peter) it is so great to dive deeper into these books that so often I myself overlook. Prof. Perry then dove into thinking about what it means to be Christian. What does this look like?? Is it about being republican and not drinking? NO! It is about worship and witness of our Great God revealed through the person Jesus Christ the Son of God, to redeem and reclaim creation! What a thought!!

Friday night was our last night in STL so me and the fellas head out to “Schnucks” the local grocer in STL, and an awesome name, just don’t play the name game with it! We grabbed a six pack of beer from a local brewery and proceeded to head back to the hotel for a last theological discussion in the hot tub.

The final day was only a half day that included our presentations for our NT project. It went quickly and even involved a power outage for an hour or so, fun times!!

The flight back was long 6hrs of stops and layovers and bumpy flights and we were back in the ABQ, tired and excited to see our wives and kids!

All in all a great trip, I am so blessed to have parents who are supporting me in this venture! I look forward to the next Residency coming in July, to seeing new friends and diving deeper into God’s amazing Word!!!

Buddy Going Pro!!!

Taken from UNM'S Daily Lobo Newspaper:

Former UNM goalkeeper Mike Graczyk will get the chance to shut down professional offenses.

Graczyk - one of the most successful Lobos in program history - was drafted in Thursday's MLS Supplemental Draft by the Colorado Rapids. He was the 19th overall pick, taken by Colorado in the second round.

The standout goalie put together an impressive career while at UNM. He owns the program record for shutouts, with 30. His .64 goals against average is the best in school history.

Graczyk was a critical part of a Lobo team that won three-straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles. He earned two shutouts in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, which landed him on the College Cup All-Tournament Team.

Mike goes to Desert Spring Church and is a friend and brother in Christ. It is awesome to see this happening for him and I pray that God uses this to spread His Name in the MLS (Major League Soccer) organization.

Great Job Mike!!!

Props: (Daily Lobo)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Do We Get This Here In America???

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 1 Tim 6: 9-11

How does this sit with us in America, and the American Dream??? This was the question that Greg Perry asked us today in class.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

STL Days 3 and 4

Wow 2 days and 1 word can sum these past two mid-week days-overload!! Wednesday started of with Professor Perry discussing the Kingdom of God and our role in it. I cannot even begin to say how beneficial this talk was. Probably one of the most illuminating thoughts was when Prof. Perry discussed how in evangelical Christianity particularly in the U.S. we discussed Fall---→ Redemption as the scope of the gospel, but he challenged us saying that the bible includes that, but has much more as well and to start looking at the gospel as Creation→Fall→Redemption→Consummation; Really what that means is the gospel brings all things under Jesus’ feet. It is not just about a “personal” relationship with Jesus, but the scope reaches restoring the poor, and showing mercy to the oppressed, working for the good of the community. Prof. Perry then asked us a very interesting question let me paraphrase it and ask you this too:

If you are a city councilman and you look at the neighborhood in your district and see a few churches, churches that do not pay property taxes so in essence do not contribute to the economy of the neighborhood, the next logical question is what does the church do for the community?? If it is not contributing to the economy of the community through taxes, what is it contributing to for the betterment of the community??

That question still is pounding in my head 24 hrs. later. We then continued in our journey through books of the NT, that was crazy.

After some work on my project that covers Revelation 5 (which is where the picture is inspired) I spoke to my wife and then off to bed.

Today we started off with a great discussion of the missional commitment of Paul. That he did contextualize the gospel, in other words he was aware that he was speaking to a specific audience with specific issues and the showed where and how the gospel reached those circumstances. It was a great talk that really encouraged me with looking at Paul’s letters with new eyes, missional eyes.

The afternoon had some more NT books exploration, which was yes you guessed uber-intense.

The day finished with more research into Rev. 5 which I am seeing the huge impact the world that John was writing in, Roman Dictatorship, Caesar worship and mighty kingdoms, as playing into what Revelation shows. To think that what John is saying is that Caesar even with his “grand” empire that stretches over all the world, and with the biggest, baddest army in the world, does not truly rule, Jesus rules, Jesus is the slain lamb that will be coronated King and worthy to open the scroll to bring about the fullness of time. Wow!!!

All in all it was a great 2 days and after I look over my notes and take some time to let everything sink in I know will be beneficial with my thinking and preaching.

People I Would Fight...

I am a pretty laid back dude, probably cause a 12 year old girl could beat me up. But here are some jerks that claim to be Christians, CLAIM TO BE, that I would punch and straight up fight

Props: case you were wondering

The Birth of a New Church

Redeemer Church in Lubbock Texas had it's first service a couple weeks ago. Dusty Thompson is the preacher of this Acts 29 church and a very gifted preacher. If you are in Lubbock I recommend checking the church out. You will need to check out the website though to see where the church is meeting on any given week. Here is Dusty's take on being 2 weeks in:

In these first two weeks, we sang a lot about Jesus and talked a lot about Jesus. That sounds pretty good. Numerically, we had more people than we were expecting…by quite a bit. In our leadership meetings we were guessing between 150-350 people at the beginning. But no one was expecting 510 and 470 on the first two weeks. People are inviting their friends and we have all kinds of people getting to know us and each other. We have some people that are checking out this whole Christianity thing and others who have been out of meaningful church involvement for a while.

Click here for the rest of his blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bill Clinton Had a Dream...

sadly it was during church, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Props: Missio Dei Suburbia

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

STL Day 2

Picture taken outside Covenant's Library, yep that is John Calvin!!

Day 2 started off with my first time trip to Covenant Seminary here in St. Louis, MO. This was more than just a 1st time trip to the seminary, for me this was a very long awaited completion that started with a dream of a little boy (ok a little dramatic). I have for the past 4 years been wanting to go to Covenant, and was even accepted 3 years ago, but due to sin in my life I did not end up attending. Now after repentance and a whole lot of life (Married, 2 kids, 3 job changes and now working in my church) I came to the campus, needless to say it was a special experience.

The day started at 8am CT with a small devotional led by our Professor Greg Perry. Dr. Perry talked about how the church is a bunch of different, diverse parts, but how this was and is totally awesome and necessary how the diverse parts make an amazingly beautiful whole that is able to minister and surround the broken and lost with love and family, true family.

We then headed off to class where we dove right into the NT. We discussed the history surrounding when the NT was written; this included the history of the Jewish people leading up to the coming of Jesus Christ. That portion of the day was great as I am a history nerd and really ate it up. Dr. Perry was going about 100 mph and at some points I felt I was on a dirt bike trying to keep up, but it was a great morning. The morning concluded with some headway into how the canon came about.

Lunch was great, mmm sandwiches mmmm.

The afternoon was filled with time over viewing Matthew and Mark. This is where it seemed to get really intense, but also really eye opening. Needless to say today was a very interesting day, and I felt at the end of it that my head was about to pop, but in a good way! We finished the day with a good dinner and then back to the hotel and hot tub for some theological discussion, good times.

I also just finished listening to the Lobo Basketball game; they beat Utah 77-67 in overtime back in Albuquerque. The Well is also going on right now so I am praying for that, but know that Greg Schneeburger is a way way way better preacher than I am, so doubt I am missed that much, which is a good thing in the sense that The Well will never be about one speaker, but about one Christ where our hope and salvation is found.

Well I am off to call my wife, get some work done and then turn in, looking forward to tomorrow!

Oh yeah did I mention the New York Giants are in the Super Bowl??? Just making sure you knew!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

STL Day 1

We reached STL after a long day of airplanes and airports, yes that is plural for airports. We left the beautifully warm city of Albuquerque at 1pm only to switch planes in Dallas then we went to Little Rock where we stayed on the plane and finally at 6:45 CT we landed, about 5 hours of travel total, yay!

When we got here we checked into the hotel and proceeded to the way too expensive hotel restaurant for dinner. There was good discussion as Scott one of Z's boys and the rest of us talked shop, which meant theology and ecclesiology (aka church study). We then proceeded to the hot tub, yes 4 men that work in churches and read for a living, sorry to burst any hotness bubbles.

Here is the thing that stood out on this trip, before we left ABQ I took a Dramamine pill to help me sleep on the plane, I did not sleepy, so when we arrived in Dallas I did the same, still no sleep. Zach says that half a pill knocks him out, maybe it is the tolerance I built up earlier in my 20's with liquid Dramamine or as the locals put it alcohol. I must be immune to it or something.

Anyway the 1st day has gone well, I survived the plane trips, and even listened to some good White Horse Inn's and Redeemer Church's 1st service.

Tomorrow I head to Covenant Seminary for the 1st offical day of class, I got my #2 pencils, Transformer lunch box and new Nikes!!

STL Here We Come...

Today Vitamin Z, Parker, and I leave for St. Louis for a week long seminary residency which should be fun and intense. I will hopefully have internet access so I can relay the happenings of STL and Covenant Seminary. Three things are on my mind though:

1. I am not the best flier, I am not sure why, I do not think it has anything to do with heights or planes, I think I just don't like not being in control. So that is obviously a sin issue I got to fight, so pray for me as we fly out today that I would trust God and that He would be my treasure and I would learn to be vulnerable more than I am.

2. The other thing on my mind is the weather in STL, I am a desert kid and anything below 40 degrees is way way too cold for me, and it looks to be pretty cold out there, not good not good at all.

3. The most important one is that my daughter is 2 years old today, we are going to have breakfast with her before I leave to celebrate. 2 years!!! Wow my parents were not kidding when they said that time flies.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Super Giants!!!!!

Before the Tampa game everyone said that NY had no chance and the TB was too good and Eli and the NY offense could not compete...Giants Win.

Before the Dallas game everyone said NY had already been swept by the Cowboys and the Romo was the QB of the future not Eli....Giants Win.

Before the Green Bay game everyone said NY could not stop Brett Favre and that the cold weather would do Eli in....Giants Win!!!

Before the Super Bowl everyone is already saying New England is unstoppable and that the NY Giants cannot do it, Eli is no Brady.....


NFC Championship Game

Go Giants!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Yippie Ki Yay.....

So being sick these past 2 days has meant 1. I am catching up on some reading in seminary, not as much as I like due to my sleeping for most of yesterday. and 2. Watching movies at home, today I watched 300 and then this evening Lauren and I sat down and watched "Live Free or Die Hard".

Needless to say I feel I need to punch something and go running into battle with a sharp object. I also realized John McClain from Die Hard could easily kill and bury Jack Bower from 24. Seriously though I feel like my manhood just rose 30 points tonight, Hey I live with a 2 year old so the most I normally get to watch is Dora the explorer.

So before I go to bed I am going to go rig up something to explode!!!

If I Were A Theologian I Would Be...

Hmm... who knew?

Which theologian are you?
created with
You scored as Karl Barth

The daddy of 20th Century theology. You perceive liberal theology to be a disaster and so you insist that the revelation of Christ, not human experience, should be the starting point for all theology.

Karl Barth




Jonathan Edwards


John Calvin


Friedrich Schleiermacher


Martin Luther


Charles Finney


J├╝rgen Moltmann




Paul Tillich


Thursday, January 17, 2008

At Home Sick...

I have been home sick today with either a really bad cold or stripe, I wonder if this was DSC's reaction too....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

But She Still Felt Clean..

I have been reading the whole New Testament for my seminary class this past month and have learned a lot and also have a lot more questions. One of the questions I had as I was reading the gospels, was, what was life like after some of these people's encounters with Jesus.

I think especially on the woman at the well in John 4. This woman had been married quite a few times, and was now shacking up with some dude that she was not married to. More than likely at the start of each of those marriages there was hope that this would be the one. She now was gathering water at the well, probably feeling the pain of hopelessness and despair. "Am I unlovable?? Why can't I stay with a man? What is wrong with me?" those thoughts racing through her head daily. She went to the well around noon which was way later than when the other women of the village would have gone, probably to avoid the looks and the talking behind her back. A social outcast, the village whore, and a woman with no hope. She walks to this well seeing a Jewish rabbi sitting there resting from a journey. Her first thought could have been "oh great, a Jew, just get the water and get back home." Her people and the Jewish people hated each other, so if her own people considered her a filthy woman, what would this rabbi say?

Read the encounter here

The encounter changes her life, she is a new person, she is a hope filled woman as she leaves that well to pronounce to her village, the same people who she was ashamed to be around, she now goes and proclaims hope, redemption and a new life.

What about the next day?? Did she go back to the bed of the man she was not married to? Did she leave the man, did the man get saved and they married?? Although her life was new, and her despair had been turned into hope, she returned home to the same situation she had left that morning. What now??

Desiring God has a great article regarding the shame, and consequences of sin, but the liberation and freedom of the gospel.

They focus on the story of the adulterous woman who was brought to be stoned, here is what they shared, of what could have been after her encounter with the Lord:

As she turned and began to walk toward home she felt clean—cleaner than she could ever remember. How could that be? She hadn’t done anything to deserve to be clean. There hadn’t even been a ritual sacrifice or water cleansing according to the law yet. That rabbi had simply declared her guilt-free, and it was so. No one ever spoke like this man. She heard God when he spoke.

But after a few minutes of walking it hit her: “I have to go home.” Fear shot through her. She wanted to bolt. The rabbi had forgiven her. But waiting at home was her betrayed husband. And her children. And her parents. And his parents. She had shamed the entire family. Her life was like a broken pot; shards all over the floor. Because of her sin. She almost longed to be buried by the stones.

But she still felt clean

Click here for complete article.

Props: Desiring God

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Smurf-day!!! Smurfalicious

Smurfs are now 50 years old!! I grew up watching the Smurfs and even got to go see them on ice!! I am a big fan of the Smurfs and hope to indoctrinate my daughter in all things Smurf, hey better Smurfs than Dora!! There are reports of a Smurf movie coming out, that is freakin sweet, last year there was Transformers and Alvin and the Chipmunks and now the Smurfs!!!

Smurf Here for Article!!

iTastic! Look At Some of What Apple Is Bringing!!!!

I dedicate this to Z and his iPassion for all Mac!!

Movie Rentals on iTunes

Rip DVDs onto iTunes

Ultrathin Laptops

Second-Generation iPhone

High Definition

With the release of a 2nd Gen. iPhone there is talk that over providers will be allowed!! That is sweet for me to hear since I would love an iPhone but do not want to leave Verizon.

Here is the full iArticle

Having No Legs An Unfair Advantage??

That seems to be the case for this dude:

Track and field’s world governing body ruled on Monday that Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee sprinter from South Africa, is not be eligible to compete in Olympic qualifying events. The International Association of Athletics Federations explained in a statement that, after an independent scientific study, it deemed Pistorius’s state-of-the-art carbon fiber prosthetics “should be considered as technical aids which give him an advantage over other athletes not using them.”
Click here for the whole article.

Piper's Prodigal

Check out this great article from Abraham Piper about his days of prodigal-ness. I can relate to this, although my days were more of the 22 year variety. I always remember my father though there to talk to me about Spiritual stuff, I remember him having to come bail me out of jail, and being there when I had hit rock bottom in my college party lifestyle. The grace God gave me for my parents and all I put them through still brings tears to my eyes. I pray that I am as loving and forgiving to Jordyn and the boy due in March as my parents were and as my God is through the death of His Son!!

Click here for Abraham's Story

Also in the article on the sidebar there is a great note from John Piper, Abraham's father.

Props: Life Together

I'll Have a Shot of Church!!!

Interesting article here from Fox News:

To get people to attend his new church campus, Robbie McLaughlin is sending his message out to where the people are.

Next Friday, staffers from Next Level Church of Matthews will go to bars in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte to hand out shot glasses which ask patrons to "give us a shot" and bear the slogan, "Real church for real people."

The idea is to draw people to the Ballantyne campus, which opens next month.

McLaughlin is the pastor, and said he is confident that it will be controversial, but he said the goal is not necessarily to impress people who already go to church. He said it's to impress people who don't.

Next Level is a nontraditional church that encourages members to dress casually and snack on coffee and doughnuts during services.

McLaughlin said the idea has caught on, and in two years, the church has grown from a handful of members to more than 700.

I do not have a problem with this approach, although the truth is this is not really missional, although I am not sure that was their intent. It is a "come and see" approach, shot glass instead of Thomas Kinkade (Sp?) Calendar.


Props:The World From Our Window

Sunday, January 13, 2008

How 'Bout Them Giants!!!!

New York 21 Dallas 17!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rob Bell On His Critics..

"...There are around a billion people in the world who don't have clean drinking water, and 46 million Americans don't have health care. That means if they get sick, they don't have anywhere to go. Half of the world, 3 billion people, live on less than two American dollars a day, so the world is an emergency. It's on fire. It's drowning. It's an absolute crisis, and when followers of Jesus can think of nothing better to do with their time than to pick apart and shred to pieces the work of other followers of Jesus who are trying to do something about the world, that's tragic, and I don't owe these people anything. The would is desperately in need of people who will break themselves open and pour themselves out for the reconciliation of all things. When a Christian can find nothing better to do with their time in the face of this much pain and heartbreak, you start realizing that some Christians need to be saved. How a person would have energy to take shots at other Christians is just mind-boggling. You have to be totally disconnected from the pain of the world to think that blogging is somehow redemptive use of your time. I guess I have some strong thoughts on that." Rob Bell

This quote was taken from the most recent edition of Relevant Magazine. I realize that Bell has some things that we have to say are not great theology, but I do think he makes a good point. It often seems that Christians and particularly Reformed Christians, not all but some, get caught up in books and are not aware of the pain in this world. We sometimes get so busy arguing about whether Mark Driscoll is a reverent man cause he wears a South Park T-Shirt that we miss the fact that billions tonight will not eat as they have not for the past week and we are more concerned about what a pastor wears. I do think there are things we have to keep in our closed hand and not waver on, but sometimes we throw in things that we must have charity on and then burn people at the blog stake for not agreeing. What a witness to the world that is sick of bipartisan politics to show that the Church is no different and all those wacky Christians do is debate on whether we baptize babies or not.


To Be Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself

"To be part of this fellowship is to know the sufferings of Christ and to be conformed to him in contrast to the surrounding culture, to be comforted and empowered by the Spirit, and to have the hope that the God of Israel, who is the Father of the Lord Jesus, will complete the new creation that has already begun. The church is the fellowship that speaks and lives that personal, communal and cosmic story." Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters, by Michael Gorman

This was one of the many great quotes from the chapter I was assigned to read in class. Here is another one.

"Love has a very specific meaning for Paul-conformity to the pattern of Christ's self-giving, sacrafical love on the cross.

...In fact, the love which he speaks overlaps with the Hebrew Scriptures' notion of justice: special, concrete attention to the weaker or needier members of the local or wider community. Furthermore, the love of God in Christ does not neglect outsiders and even enemies. After all, Christ's death was God's gift for those at enmity with God."

Click here to order the book!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Confessions of a Missional Pastor

David Fitch over at Reclaiming the Mission has this great article illustrating the past 10 years of his life as a missional pastor. This is a great list for those who are thinking about planting or going into ministry. I feel I am just starting on this journey and hope to learn from others, learn to avoid certain land mines that others have hit. That is the church after all, it is older men and women teaching guiding and leading the young punks like myself!

Here is a brief list of what David has learned click here for the detailed list:

1. Spend less time writing sermons, more time listening

2. Spend less time reading-writing on leadership and more time walking with/mentoring young leaders

3. Spend less time planning the worship gathering - more time in silence before God

4. Spend more time with the children, less time programming "entertainment with pizza.

5. Spend less time in meetings, more time in the neighborhood.

6. Spend less time in meetings figuring out details to make things work better, and more time in meetings where we ask "what is God doing?

7. Spend less time trying to please Christians

8 Spend less time answering bizarre twisted questions about outlier doctrines

9 Spend less time worrying about numbers

10. Spend less time frantically trying to catch up with all the words I have to write

The first one of spending less time preparing for preaching is the only one that I am unsure of as "good" advice, but again this is this guy's experience and may not correlate 1 to 1 with mine or yours.


Props: Reformissionary

Yeah So There!!!! Culture, Smulture!!!!

UMM I am guessing this is not a emerging church, just a guess...I guess they did have cheesy, arrogant signs back in the day too, interesting...

Props: Crummy Church Signs

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Second Thoughts on Obama...

Earlier I said that I thought Obama was a good choice, however I for the moment am taking that statement back. The reason? Well in light of how fiercely pro-choice he is, I realized he was, but not to this extent, read here...

Props:Between Two Worlds

New Hampshire Surpises..

Well the first primary over it appears that the funeral for the Hillary Campaign '08 has been postponed for now. Just like the McCain Campaign memorial service was put off too. These two candidates who seemed all but done at various times, McCain this past summer and Clinton last weekend are now once again back in the race. What were their keys to victory, here are my opinions:

McCain-not super religious that beats out Huck and not a creepy business guy that beats out Mit, and not arrogant and slimy that beats out Guliani. Plus he has previously won New Hampshire so his popularity was still there.

Clinton-this was a shocker here, I figured that Obama would win and just take over the Democratic ticket. What what Hillary's keys to victory? She claims it was the debate on Saturday night, I doubt that was the key, she came off as arrogant and very partisan and not an agent of change. I believe it was simply a display of emotion that the media feasted on this past Monday. She got choked up and I think that swung the female vote who finally could relate to a woman that had up to that point come across as cold and rather harsh. She displayed gentleness and passion something that I think is natural for woman to display and other women then could finally relate.

So now what?? Well I think Iowa and New Hampshire while good victories for the Huck and Obama, McCain and Clinton, are not exactly good predictors of where this race will go. My predictions remain the same. Republicans will nominate Huckabee a man that is honest, respectful of others but stands firm on the issues important to the American people. Democrats will nominate Obama for the simple reason that Hillary cannot win in the general election, and she is not an agent for the change America is seeking. She said that the change people want is a Democrat in the Oval Office and no more George Bush. NO! The change America wants and needs is someone willing to break down the walls of Democrat/Republican and she has shown that she is not willing or able to do that, just like George W. is fiercely Republican, she is the flip side of the same coin, and that is what America is sick of!

And finally our faithful, well maybe faithful is not the right word, but our governor Bill Richardson came in 4th once again with only 5% of the vote. He still is not dropping out and wants to continue onto Nevada and the west. Governor give it a rest and come back and govern your state!!! You have embarrassed yourself and the New Mexican people enough, come and do the job we entrusted to you and pay you for!!!

N.T. Wright On Jesus' Mighty Works

"the bulk of Jesus' might works, could be seen as the restoration to the membership in Israel of those who, through sickness or whatever, had been excluded as ritually unclean. The healings thus function in exact parallel with the welcome of sinners, and this, we may quite sure, was what Jesus himself intended. He never performed mighty works simply to impress. He saw them as part of the inauguration of the sovereign and healing rul of Israel's covenant god." (Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God")

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Church Community

I was listening to a sermon today by Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, TX and he was discussing the result of the Gospel and he said something that I think a lot of our churches in America miss, but by God's grace some are starting to speak of. He said this:

"(The gospel creates) a community where no one gets to brag, but where everyone is broken but being healed"

I often times find myself not feeling super broken, I mean I am a seminary student, work at a church and have a great family. I fear often I in my heart brag over people, think I am better and whole and complete, think I have found my best life now. Then I hear a sermon like this that rocks my foundation and makes me uneasy and shows the broken jar I am. Thank God for moments like these that help humiliate me and help break me again of all pretensions and haughtiness I have. I am broken, we all are, we will not be fully healed this side of heaven, but we are in process, something that we have to cling to. The cross is not this place where immediate restoration to all things take place, instead for us it is the foundation we always walk on as we our on our journey. Our journey often times will not look like it is going forward, but by walking firmly on the gospel and with the cross in front of us we press on to make it ours (Phil 3: 12-14). Tomorrow night we start up the spring semester at "The Well" a college gathering of Desert Springs Church, I hope to by God's grace to come with humility and brokenness and that others will begin to do the same. I hope that we see ourselves as messy, jacked up, broken punks that deserve hell, that do not deserve grace and salvation, but by the grace and the grace of God alone we come to Jesus as beggars, drunkards, horrors and wretches and cling to the foot of the cross as our one and only hope for healing. That our foundation is not longer in the law of right and wrong, but is the cross of Christ. And our cleanliness is not if we do not cuss or look at pornography but is in the washing of ourselves in the blood of Christ.

What a blessed way to start the week, not by saying I am good and everyone likes me, but by saying I am a piece of crap and the Lord loves me anyway!!!!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Such As....I Believe....Such As....

1 more post today to finish the week on a painfully humorous note:

One History

“We read [scripture], naturally, as part of our real history, secular history, the history of which we are a part. What other history is there? There are not different histories, but there are different ways of understanding history…it is clearly an illusion to imagine that there are two kinds of history - sacred and profane, salvation history and secular history.”
- Lesslie Newbigin in Foolishness to the Greeks

Props: Todd Hiestand

What, The World Will NOT End If Hillary Wins??!!??

According to Albert Mohler the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as Christians we should be wary of thinking that putting a Christian or conservative in the White House will solve everything. In other words politics is not a basket we should be putting all our eggs, most of our eggs or really some of our eggs in.

The rhetoric of the race -- and the rhetoric of many evangelicals -- is disturbing. This race is important and necessarily so. We are talking about the next President of the United States, after all. But evangelicals have invested far too much hope in the political process. No government can make people good, transform humanity, or eliminate sin. The political sphere is important, but never ultimate. Jesus Christ is Lord -- and He will be Lord regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.

Does this mean that I will stop supporting The Huck, no, but what it means is that win or lose Jesus Christ is the only true hope for the world, for the country and for my soul. I believe as Christians living in this world we need to be active in the political sphere to an extent, I will not worship George W. Bush (sorry 700 club). I believe that we should be aware of candidates and do research on them on specific issues, such as abortion and poverty and yes even the environment ( God did tell us to be stewards over His world after all!). I am fiercely opposed to abortion in ALL circumstances and will not support a candidate that thinks killing a baby is a choice that should be protected by the constitution. However I do not believe that if we outlaw abortion which we should, that that would be an end in itself. Jesus again is the only hope for the drug dealer, the homeless man, the homosexual, the suburban soccer mom, Britney Spears, Carlos Griego and yes Chuck Norris too!

Click here for Albert Mohler's complete article, it is worth a read!

Props Between Two World's

John The Baptist's Message

Christopher Wright in his book "Knowing Jesus Through The Old Testament" has a great commentary on what John the Baptist's message was.

"One can imagine the stirring of hearts an quickening of pulses in Jewish homes and communities when, into this mixture of aspirations and hopes dropped the message of John the Baptist, and then of Jesus himself-

The time is fulfilled!(what you have been waiting for as something future is now here and present); the kingdom of God is at hand! (God is now acting to establish his reign in the midst of you); so repent and believe the good news (urgent action is required of you now)."

Wright's commentary within the message shed so much light for me on what John was proclaiming. To understand the magnitude of this proclamation one has to have a good historical, biblical understanding of the Jews in the Old Testament. This statement was groundbreaking, this statement was long awaited, this statement was not accepted. What does a statement like this have for us in the 21st century? Is this statement earth shattering for us who have no concept of something be long awaited??

I fear that we read this proclamation and we clap and maybe smile, but do we fall to our knees, do we see the amazing promise and faithfulness of God vividly displayed? Do we get the urgent action required of us? To repent and believe, do we?? Do I??

The Dark Knight

The new Batman movie looks sweet!! I thought that only Jack Nicholson could pull off the role of the Joker, but Heath Ledger looks to be a good fit. This summer is going to be a sweet summer for movies!

Click here for the Official Dark Knight Site.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Knowing Jesus

I know that Z just recommended this book, but I am doing the same. Knowing Jesus is a great book for anyone that struggles through the Old Testament in how it to the New. Here is a cool quote:
"When Matthew announces Jesus as the Messiah, the son of Abraham, then, it means not only that he belongs to that particular people ( a real Jew, as we have just seen), but that he belongs to a people whose very reason for existence was to bring blessing to the rest of humanity. He shared that mission, and indeed, as the Messiah, he had come to make it a possibility and a reality at last. A particular man, but with a universal significance."

Here is another quote where Wright is discussing the line of Jesus and how only a few women are named and these women are not jews.
"But probably more significant is the other thing they (the women of Jesus' genealogy in Matthew) all have in common. They were all, from a Jewish point of view, foreigners."

"The implication of Jesus being the heir of Abraham and his universal promise is underlined: Jesus the Jew, and the Jewish Messiah, had Gentile blood!"